Hello Stranger.

January 21, 2016

So. Much. Life. Has happened in the past (almost) two years since my last post.  I love a good list.  So here’s a very long winded listed recap of my life.

  • In August of 2014 we moved (again) back to the town where we first moved in together in 2007 and were married in 2009.  We haven’t moved since, even though we are quickly outgrowing our current house.  We love it here.  The school’s are great, it’s quiet and progressive and very conducive to living a healthy lifestyle.
  • I turned 30 and ran 13.1 miles the same day in September 2014.  It was the hardest and best thing I had done up until that point in my life.  Training went really well for the race.  The race itself taught me I enjoy the process of training for races more than the actual races.  It was unseasonably warm.  I forgot to put on sunblock.  I dropped my hat somewhere around mile 3.  I thought “who thought this was a good idea…oh wait, that was me” a lot.  But I finished and am I better runner for it.
  • Things with my eldest bonus-kid  have sadly worsen over the course of  two years. My husband came VERY close to being awarded custody in March of 2015, to have his narcissistic, manipulative, sociopath ex lie and deceive to keep that from happening.  After the last court hearing in April of 2015, we have slowly seen bonus kid less and less. We now see her about once a month at this point, for less than 24 hours.   What little communication between visits, through text messages is only about cancelling scheduled time and is obviously heavily influenced by her mother.  Whenever we do get to see her, she  is always kind, and sweet and you can tell she misses us, even though she won’t vocalize those words.  Her actions say so much.
  • In July of 2015, my younger bonus-kid came to live with us full time.  She is doing great, and things we her mother are great.  Besides that mom is having a tough time in life and doesn’t see her kid nearly as much as she would prefer.
  • The best for last: On October 3, 2015 I became a Mama. Our sweet girl has replaced the half marathon as the hardest and best thing I have done (and probably ever will do).  She is the best. I may be a bit biased.  So what.

I had an easy, uncomplicated pregnancy.  I was active the entire time, keeping up with running until half way through my second trimester, and then continuing Pure Barre classes 4-5 times a week until my 36th week.  The I walked (waddled more like it) 3-4 times a week until the day I delivered.

I was not prepared for the crash.  Everyone talks about postpartum depression.  I had read or heard little about postpartum anxiety.  After we came home from the hospital, when the surge of Oxytocin ended, I was sleep deprived.  I was recovering from labor. I was not feeling like myself at all.  I felt like a completely different person, who had absolutely no idea what the hell she was doing.  I tend to worry a bit, but the combination of hormones and this huge life change began a vicious cycle of worry and intrusive negative thoughts.  The what-if’s had me in tears every other day.  It took me practically my entire maternity leave to accept a few important things:

  • I have to take care of myself before I can take the best care of my baby.
  • I can’t control my baby, but I can learn how to best care for her.  She is who she is, and that’s okay.
  • She’s happy and developing: stop worrying something is wrong.
  • Worrying about things doesn’t keep them from happening.

My current goal is to work in fitness whenever and where ever I can.  It is my best and favorite stress management tool.  Being in Ohio during winter makes this a bit difficult, but I might just have to break down and join the nearby gym for a while.  Pure Barre is my favorite, but the studio is a bit of a drive, so I’m waiting until the babe is a bit older to jump back into things at the studio.  I have been running outside when possible, but anything below 27 degrees or so makes me REALLY cold 🙂

I hope to get back to this space somewhat regularly, so stay tuned for whatever’s in store for me in 2016.

Until next time!

 

 

 

Commitment.

October 27, 2013

Since I began running in 2010 it was mostly to see if I could.  I chose to do something I had never enjoyed nor was good at, because I like a challenge I suppose?  Maybe it was because I lived in an adorable, progressive town with lovely trails within walking distance?  Whatever the reason, I needed to make some drastic changes in my life. I didn’t have a gym membership at the time, so it was a free way to get out and move that required nothing more than some running shoes and work out clothes.  I took a try at it; it was hard.  I got discouraged and fell back into bad habits. Then in January 2011 I decided to start my weight loss efforts for the very last time.  43 pounds and two years later, I run 4 miles in 40 minutes as I am training for my first 10k…which is also my first race.

I have been running around 3 miles consistently for the better part of this year, so I decided to go a bit bigger for my first race.  I’m so excited about it, I am already considering signing up for the  2014 Air Force Half Marathon.  I have a few months to decide, since registration doesn’t open until January 1st, but I’m already about 90% sure.  The 2014 Air Force Marathon falls on my 30th birthday.  It feels like I HAVE to do it because really, how many people get to say I ran a half marathon on my 30th Birthday?!

***

I was visiting with my 86 year old Grandma a few days ago, lamenting about how I’m going to navigate potty breaks, if I’ll even need one, in the middle of the 10k.  She told me,

“Sara Beth (that’s what she calls me) stop and go to the bathroom, they will have porta Johns!”

to which I replied,

“But then I’ll have to to stop!  If I am RUNNING a 10k, Grandma, I have to RUN the entire time!  If I am going to do something, I have to DO it right.”  Which in my mind is as close to perfect as possible.

She then told me that sounded pretty familiar and she wonders where I get that from with a definite twinkle in her eye.

***

When I do something in life, especially something I am passionate about and voluntarily doing, I’m going all in.  Running has given me so much in the past few years.  It is my time alone.  It is something I can control at least a little bit, when things feel so completely out of hand with everything else in life.  It has shown me it’s okay to change your mind about things.  People change and grow and that is a good thing.  It has given me confidence and shown me I can live a balanced healthy life, which in turn, has completely squashed my biggest fears of becoming a mother…..Okay, wait, now how did we get here?  Let me digress…

Being an overweight child was extremely hard for me.  I remember being 13 or 14 (or whatever age girls start talking about marriage and babies?  I truly don’t remember.) and swearing to myself to never bring a child into this world, for fear that they would suffer the same cruel combination of genetics, slow metabolism and sedentary lifestyle that I did.  I didn’t want another child to feel like I did all those years.  I may have been extra sensitive, but years of bullying, name calling and self loathing sort of sticks with a person, no matter how “thick” your skin is.  Mine was paper thin, so I promised myself this “no babies” rule all those years ago, and if I am anything, I am stubborn.

Looking back, it was so naive, but so “me” to make such a gigantic life decision as a teenager and stick to it for more than 10 years.

Now that I am 29 years old, with two amazing step-daughters in my life, (who have shown me I can definitely navigate parenting reasonably well? Step-parenting is a whole other story for another time.) I truly think I can make the informed, grown up, decision that I have changed my mind on babies.  I want to have one.

Hmmm, look at that, people can change, it just takes some of us more miles to get there.  For me, it’s been about 260 over the past 2 years.

Headgames.

October 12, 2013

I have began training for my first real race, the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in Cincinnati, and because I am crazy like that, my first race is not a 5k, but a 10k.  I have been running 5k’s like it’s nothing for quite some time, but was having a hard time pressing farther than about 3 and a half miles, so I took a break and then decided to begin training for this upcoming 10k.

Today was my first 3 mile run and I took a route I have run more times than I can count but after I hit mile 2, it was a struggle.  I was totally in my head and already thinking about how in the world I am going to be able to press on thru 6.2 miles in a little over a month.

You see, I have been saying it since I began running, it is SO much mental, almost more so for me at this point, than physical.  I get in my head and start saying things like “this is the worst thing and there’s no way I’m going to continue running the entire time and I’ll never be ready in time and ugh I can’t breathe right anymore” then I hit 3 miles and I’m done.  Just like that.  Today after what felt like the slowest and longest 3 miles I have ever ran I averaged out at 9:56 min/mi.  It was one of my best 3 mile times in quite a while.

I blame a lack of new music…because when I keep the playlists fresh, I trot along and get lost in the music and then I’m done and I feel like a million bucks.  So.  Long story short, I need to invest in some iTunes cards to combat the headgames I’m playing with myself because I know I can do this, and the fact that I ran so quickly this morning shows this training program I’m following (its a mix of comfortable running, cross training days and a once a week tempo run with mileage increasing each week) is definitely working.

Happy weekend, and happy running.

Time.

August 28, 2013

It really does make fools of us all.

Time feels like it is rushing forward lately.  It feels as if it has no concern for how I need things to slow down.  I turn 29 in less than a month.  When the hell did that happen?  My little step-daughters went back to school in grades 6 and 2.  They aren’t so little anymore.

Regardless of the passage of time, I’m slowly progressing on my weight loss.  After gaining and losing what felt like the same 5 pounds, I weighed in last Friday at 180.  I am a mere 13 pounds from the initial goal I set 3 years ago in January of 167, which is the uppermost healthy weight for a lady standing 5’8″ according to the CDC Body Mass Index chart.

I feel healthier than I have in my entire life; I’m sure I am healthier right now than I have been in my entire life.  Two weeks ago I celebrated one entire year smoke-free.  I am at my lowest weight since my wedding in 2009.  I bought a pair of size 12 pants for the first time in 4 years last week. I am so proud of myself.

And I am so scared. I know I can do this, but there is this huge milestone looming ahead. I have never pushed my body past this current weight.  Even losing 1 pound, pushing myself to 179 will be amazing.  I don’t work well under pressure.

*

We almost bought a house.  Then, last week it fell through.  That was a giant disappointment.  I tried very hard to not comfort with food.  Instead I listened to music (much too loudly for my age) in the car.  I ran on a sore Achilles much too hard for my own good.  (It is still a bit sore, but it has gotten both too dark to run before work, and too hot to run after so I have been hitting the gym instead and spending more time running intervals instead of steady miles)  I let myself feel the feelings and be sad about it.  I did not let myself eat whatever I wanted in an effort to feel better because all that does it makes me feel worse about letting myself do so.

The old Sara would have used this bump in the road as an excuse to completely fall apart emotionally which would have lead to eating anything and everything that I know I shouldn’t and eating it all in excess.  I can’t let that happen.  That is where new Sara steps in and changes things.

While it feels like a new and exciting chapter of my life is being delayed, again, I am attempting to focus on my health and fitness just a little bit harder, in an effort to push through this last 13 pounds and finally be at a healthy weight for me for the first time in way too many years.

I have let life, once again, allow me to neglect this space.  My love affair with fitness has only grown in the time since I last wrote here.

I have never written in depth about how I feel about exercise. I repeat how much I am a happier person because of it ad naseaum, but that only scratches the surface. The gratification it provides to my soul is astounding.  I epitomize the saying “Learn to love the burn.”  My day doesn’t feel quite right on rests days, or days where life happens and workouts don’t, although those have become few and far between lately.  I make the time.  I get up earlier, stay up later to get my heart rate up.  It makes me feel like I have tiny bit of control of things and for a perfectionist control freak, that goes a long way.

So isn’t it ironic (dontcha think?) that the chubby child turned teen turned young adult (who spent WAY too many years feeling inadequate and awkward and everything else you can feel when you don’t look like how everyone thinks you should look) is now obsessed with fitness?  Then again, it sort of makes sense.  I started this journey because of simple vanity.  I weighed 218 pounds in January of 2012.  I wanted to change that number so I moved more, tracked my meals, joined a gym and made fitness a part of my every day routine.  It has been hard, but I now weigh 185 pounds.  I look forward to the most active part of my day.  I live for it.

I just announced my highest weight and my current weight to the internet.  Wow, that is liberating. There’s something I never thought I would do.  It has become so much more than numbers to me; numbers I have been obsessing over for practically my entire life don’t control me anymore.  It has taken me 20 years to figure this out and truly understand it.

I have discovered it is so much more than lowering numbers on a scale.  It has become my life and how I spend my time.  It’s how I manage the stress and cut through the crap and the mundane days and sleepless nights and everything in between.  It is setting goals and meeting them, and creating new ones.  It’s going from being a kid who dreaded running the mile in gym class to being a woman who voluntarily runs, sometimes as fast as a 10 minute mile, sometimes before the sun is up because it feels amazing.  It’s letting my inner 6 year old (who desperately wanted to be a ballerina) shine every time I step into Pure Barre class.  That sense of accomplishment is worth every cent.  I can’t imagine living my life any other way from this point on.  Whenever life takes me away from my usual active routine it shows.  I get cranky and restless and then I remember I call the shots.  I make the time for running, or going to the gym, or going hiking or trying a new class.  It’s all up to me.

I feel like I have grown so much as a human in the past year.  Instead of dwelling on the defeats of my past I look towards the successes of my future.  I know nothing in life worth having will come easy, that just isn’t my life and that’s okay because I can do pretty much anything if I want it bad enough.  And these are the thoughts I have from 20 pounds away from my goal weight.  That is the part that astounds me.  I haven’t even gotten there, but I know I will.  I haven’t been sure of too many things in this life thus far, but this one I am certain of: I will see myself at a healthy weight in the next year.

The bad days still happen.  The old, tired, negative voices that have held residence in my head for the majority of my life will not go silently into the night.  But with every step of a run they get quieter and the confident lady inside me is beginning to drown them out.

2013.

January 9, 2013

I have a short list of goals for 2013.  2012 was a great year for me but I want to make 2013 even better.

The top of my list is to consistently hold myself accountable for what I am eating.  So far so good on that front, and it has paid off with a 4 pound loss in the past week.  While I am eager for the weight loss aspect of my healthy living, another huge part is that I am trying to focus on the bigger picture and how the exercise/weight loss is only one aspect.  I feel great when I eat healthy things, and I feel like crap when I don’t.  I want to feel my best as often as I can. I am also too hard on myself when I am not losing….hell, I am too hard on myself 90% of the time when it comes to body image.  This year I want to change that.  No more self hate.

Tying into my overall healthy lifestyle, I want to spend more time doing things I love so I have decided to read at least 52 books this year.  I am blogging about that over at A Book a Week in 2013.  Reading has been something I have done excessively since I was 6 years old and got my first pair of glasses.  When in college, I did not have much reading for fun time, due to the reading for school, so I am making up for all that lost time (6 years during my undergrad then Master’s program) by taking up this challenge.

Lastly, I have decided this is the year we stamp out all of our petty credit card debt/have a year of nothing NEW on credit.  We began this year with a New Year’s Eve hotel stay at a Hilton, which is something I would have put on a credit card in the past but I decided we would not.  And we were still able to set back some monies from our last pay day as well.  So I have set a good model for the rest of year.

Here is to 2013 being as positive and productive as I can make it to be!!

Stuck.

September 24, 2012

So.  I have been losing and gaining the same four pounds for about two months now.  It is getting really old.  I’ve decided there needs to be some major changes to my routine.  I’m going to keep with the moderate to high intensity early morning workouts but I’m striving to do something different every day.  For example, today I ran intervals of running/power walking switching every minute on the treadmill for 25 minutes.  Then I did the aerobic program on the elliptical for 15 minutes.  I think I need to get over my fear of something new and try the rowing machine.  I used to bike either on the stationary or recumbent and I haven’t been doing either lately.  I’m also going to start walking a couple miles in the evenings as well.  I need to get my husband in on this (he recently went from retail where he was on his feet all day long back to a graphic design 9-5 job where he sits all day) as well.  The fresh air will do us both good and since we are in Ohio, the pleasant early fall weather could be gone any day.

The biggest thing is: I need to clean up my diet.  I am not doing very good lately with making healthy choices with what I put in my body.  I need to remember just because it is the weekend, it does not justify eating poorly.  Or just because I had a shit day at work, doesn’t mean I get to eat pizza for dinner. Breaking 20+ years of emotional eating does not happen over night, but I have already made gigantic strides on certain things.  I no longer eat when I’m bored, and any time I’m hungry right after eating I drink a glass of water because I’ve learned I’m usually just thirsty.  I often think of the following quote I saw on Pinterest:

“Do not reward yourself with food, you are not a dog.”

I also need to remember it took 2.5 years for me to gain almost 40 pounds, Losing 20 of that in 9 months isn’t horrible progress.  It is twenty pounds down.  I have a 2 1/2 year old niece who weighs about 26 pounds (she is a lil thing!) and that is practically what I was carrying around before.  That is some heavy stuff.  I need to stop comparing my current progress to how my last weight loss went.  That was three years ago.  This is now.  I need to learn to stop looking back so much.
It doesn’t get you anywhere but stuck.

This week is all about looking forward, because like it or not, the future becomes the present every day.