Easy vs. Right.

March 25, 2014

There comes a time when you have to decide if you are going to do what is easy or what is right.  Rarely the right thing is the easy thing.  For my life as of late, they are nowhere near each other.

***

Did I  want to move from my centrally located suburb to a small, conservative, rural community 50 minutes northeast? Not really.  Did I do it anyway?  Yes.  Is it what is best for my little family right now?  We think so.  It was the only thing my husband and I thought that we could do to make a hard time for his daughter just a bit easier.  Has it done that?  Hard to tell.  My eternal optimist wants to believe it has and will continue to make things better, but the other half of me, the realist, isn’t so sure.  Adolescence is so hard for a young lady, even with two well adjusted adults parenting her.  That’s not exactly the case for my darling bonus child, but at least we are spatially closer to her now.  I hope she knows how much we just want her to be happy and healthy and well taken care of.  And our door always open.  She has that luxury now that we live in the same town as her.  Minutes from her mother’s house.   She says the word and she can come live with us immediately.

***

It would be so easy to give up on my fitness plans.  It would be so easy to slip into self-deprecating, woe is me behavior.  Everything is so unsure.  Everything feels so in between things here, like I keep waiting to wake up from a very vivid and strange dream.  Change is hard.  I try to not think too long term, just think about each day as it comes and that seems to help. Figuring out a new daily routine in a new house and town can make it so easy to let habits slip, but the right thing for me now is is keep my activity level up, even if it is the hardest thing I have done in a long time.

 

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Why(not).

March 20, 2014

I have been trying to post this for a few weeks.  It is totally disjointed and weird.  You have been warned.

Someone once said, “Know what? Bitches get stuff done”  (that would be the fabulous Tina Fey). This has become my mantra lately.  When it all boils down, being “nice” and “not stepping on anyone’s toes” hasn’t gotten me anywhere in life.  And really, this is my one life, and I’m tired of letting my lack of action due to “not wanting to bother anyone” stand in the way of things.  I can still be polite and a good person while expecting the same from others.  When that doesn’t happen, I’ll say something or do something to merit results.  And, most of the time, it works.  And if it doesn’t, at least I can move on knowing I said something or did something to try and accomplish what I know is right and just.  This is not a new concept, but something has clicked (or snapped is probably a better way to describe it) inside me and it is time for a change.

The world is full of assholes.  This is a fact.  Things are not always sunshine and rainbows.  Another fact.  But I am striving to live my life in a way that those negative people and rough times don’t matter nearly as much as they have in the past.  Because really, what’s the point of letting them when you are not even going to try and change things?

***

We packed up the place we have called home for almost 3 years over the past month.  I think I was a bit in denial about the move, because when the final day with the U-Haul in the driveway arrived, it was rough.  REALLY rough.

I found my groove with running while living there; the neighborhood is one of Dayton’s best suburbs for runners.  I changed jobs, hair styles, multiple pant and dress sizes and my stance on major life decisions all while living within its walls.  I became a better human.  I changed the way I live my life while there, and for that I am so thankful.

As I try to nestle into life within four new walls, I am reminded that it doesn’t matter where I live, as long as it is with my husband I am at home.   It also doesn’t matter where I am, I can run.  Our new place is less than a mile from a bike path that I have already up and down on four occasions.  I am a very adaptable person, I tend to dislike change when it isn’t exactly on my terms, but once I get over that fact and can see the positives, I’m back to normal.

I am trying to get back into a new running routine before the serious training begins in June….I am registered for the 2014 Air Force Half Marathon.  It just so happens to be on my 30th Birthday.  So that’s happening.  I know I can do it, and I know I will.  I also know the only thing that will make it the hardest thing I have ever done is myself….so I’m prepared for that as well.

I’m taking things a day at a time right now.  It’s strange being in a new town PLUS working from home in this new house PLUS a lot of family stuff…it is all a lot when you try and process it at once.  So I try and not do that.  Even though it is sort of my calling card to analyze and think about everything, at all times, from all angles.  That is where the running comes in.  It really does keep me centered and sane, in the mist of huge life changes.  That’s because no matter where I am or what I do, or what life throws at me, I can at least know I have made myself into a runner, and that no one can ever take that away from me.  It is something that is solely mine.

Next time you want to do something, but aren’t sure you can, or even if you should, maybe instead of asking yourself why, try asking yourself why not.

Cheers.

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.

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.

Thankful.

November 22, 2012

I tend to ignore this space when I don’t feel like I’m making any progress on the weight loss side of my life.

Then I remind myself of how a year ago I wasn’t active on a regular basis and the thought of me going for a run was laughable. Now I find myself looking forward to the most active parts of my day.  Just when I think I am getting bored with the gym routine, I dust off an old workout DVD or I start trying to squeeze in outdoor runs again (the weather is giving us yet another small reprieve from typical November in Ohio so I must take advantage).

Tuesday marked 4 months completely smoke free for me.  I had cut down to only smoking in social situations for the past couple years, ones that usually involve alcohol, but 4 months ago I was finally done.

Weight loss is great, but it isn’t like I haven’t accomplished things in the past year.  I have lost about 25 pounds to date, I became a runner and I kicked a nasty habit for good.  I’m so thankful for all of these things, and how they are shaping me as a person as I move into the next years of my life.

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m going out on my own personal Turkey Trot right now!

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.