I Love Excuses

This past week, I started ramping up my running milage for my next upcoming race: The Denver Rock and Roll Half Marathon.  This will be my third half marathon on the books.

As I prepare for the race mentally, I’m realizing how freaking lucky I am to be able to run.  For years, like a decade, I told myself I couldn’t run.  In high school, I suffered a full patellar dislocation during a basketball game. (dislocated knee cap) It was quite painful and took a lot of therapy to ‘fix’.  I often wonder if I had been at a proper fitness level while playing school sports, if it would have happened.  Regardless,  I used this as my excuse of why I couldn’t be a runner for a decade.  I also used it when convenient.  If something was too hard, it was obviously my knee issues.  If something was too long, my knee would get swollen for sure……or would it? Let’s be serious: I WAS OVERWEIGHT.  Half of the time it was the knee, half of the time it was me.  As soon as I started strengthening my legs, my knee was never an issue.  Even now when I have knee pain, it’s never from this old injury.

For a decade, I missed out on so many things because of the excuse I gave myself.  As I prepare for my marathon,  I am also fundraising for the first time.  I have joined a team at my gym and have set a goal to raise $1000 in the next month, to donate to Augie’s Quest.  Augie’s Quest is a foundation that is out to Cure ALS. Even though most people associate ALS with “the ice bucket challenge”, very few people know what ALS actually is.

I used to fear something like cancer because it’s the worst thing I can imagine happening.  Now I fear ALS.  Imagine being a runner and then one day you have trouble tying your shoes.  Then next day you trip on a rock you thought for sure you had cleared.  The next month your legs start feeling stiff every morning and you have to develop a new stretching you routine.  Then you notice you can hardly get into the position to stretch.  You’re legs start locking up on you as you run.  Then one day, you trip so bad you’re injured.  After the injury heals you’re disease has now robbed you of the ability to run at all.  And then slowly, you can’t even walk. ALS slowly robs you, day by day, of your motor skills.  Slowly you can’t walk, talk, dress yourself, feed yourself, wash yourself…….day by day. Then eventually, you die, frozen in time and space.  This is my absolutely nightmare.  The worst of it: ALS is cureable if only it had the funding to do so.

We can all help cure ALS.  Can you donate just $5 to help me reach my goal? Can you help me help just one person get the medicine they need to walk a little bit longer? To hug their children? To smile?

give.class.org/kimgalbreath

We never know how lucky we are, until we aren’t.  Help me help them.  If you still aren’t convinced, listen to Anthony’s Story.

 

I AM a Beast!

Well it’s over just like that.  I’ve run my race of the season and it came and went so quickly!  While I sit around in my post race blues, I guess I’ll write you guys a post 🙂

This past weekend, I conquered the Spartan Beast.  I usually run the Tough Mudder as my race of the season, but this year I found it a little disappointing.  Every year I run the Tough Mudder and I feel changed.  It is usually the only race that pushes me to my limits and leaves me feeling accomplished for overcoming my fears in the race and finishing.  This year, it just didn’t feel the same.  The race was held in a new location and the course was much easier.  Everyone I had talked to felt the same way.  So when we crossed the Tough Mudder finish line, I didn’t feel like I’d accomplished my goals for the year.  We raced really well and I completed all the obstacles, but I didn’t feel changed.  I didn’t feel pushed to my limit.  I didn’t learn anything in the race.

So two weeks later, we signed up for the Spartan Beast.  The Beast is a 14+ mile mountain trail run with 35 obstacles.  Most of the obstacles require upper body strength, agility, and practice to complete.  If you fail an obstacle, you’re penalized with 30 burpees.  30.  We had never run the Beast before because we always preferred the Tough Mudder.  I’d always heard it was just as hard, but in a different way.

Start Line: I haven’t been so nervous at a start line in a long time.  I’d never run the course at Breckenridge, but I’d watched the elite team run in on TV the year before and it looked brutal.  I heard them announce that the course was just under 15 miles today.  There always some shouting at the start line about “I AM A SPARTAN” and then it’s time to run.  We made it up the first hill climb fairly easily and I could tell that our trail running training had really helped.

First Miles: In the first miles we covered some obstacles, 7 foot walls, 8 foot walls and a river crossing.  We were both feeling strong and excited for the race.  Near mile 3-4, we picked up an additional team mate.  As you run these races, the people near you tend to hang around.  You turn around and help the same person over obstacles and you find yourself playing leap frog on the course with the same people over and over. Finally, I just asked a girl what her name was because she appeared to be racing alone.  Emily quickly joined with us and kept our pace.  She stuck with us till the end 🙂

Middle Miles: In the middle miles we covered a lot of the heavy carries.  There’s an atlas stone carry, sand bags, and even a bucket carry filled with gravel.  It’s not easy.  The heavy carries leave your legs dead, your heart pumping and your arms weak.  And they happened all together.  I had been worried about my grip strength for weeks leading up to the race, but it seemed to holding up just fine.  Emily kept us going when we needed and we dragged her through the obstacles.

Burpees………crap:  There are two obstacles that I have failed in the past at other lengths of this race.  The spear throw is one chance at throwing a spear into a bale of hay from 15-20 feet away.  1 chance.  1 fail.  30 burpees for Kim.  The very next obstacle was the rope climb, no problems here.  Then came my nemesis: Mount Olympus.  I have always failed this obstacle.  I can never figure it out in time before my strength gives out.  30 burpees for Kim.  The next obstacle was Hurcules Hoist where you pull a sandbag off the ground using a long rope until you hit the bell at the top and then lower the bag back down.  I foolishly tried the mens weight, and my hands just didn’t have the ability to hold on to the rope.  30 more burpees for Kim.  Immediately following that one was the Rings Rig.  It’s a series of rings and pipes and then you hit the bell at the end.  I was so tired at this point that I wasn’t sure I could do it.  If I were fresh, I could no problem.  But I’d just had two failures.  I couldn’t do more burpees but wasn’t sure I had the strength.  I even cut my hand on the obstacle before I began.  I could have skipped it.  I could have just given up, in fact in the middle, I almost did. But I didn’t. And it felt AWESOME.

Final Miles: In the final miles, you feel like you’re about to finish at any moment.  After we passed the Mile 6 marker (not quite half way) we didn’t see another marker for along time.  We missed Mile 7…..Mile 8……by the time we were in Mile 9, I didn’t know we were so far.  I thought we were at 7.5 and I didn’t feel like I had it in me to finish.  There was still so much left. (Or course I was actually almost to mile 10!) I went to my dark place.  I let Dan and our new friend Emily know that I just needed quiet for a while.  We covered the next half mile in mostly silence while I got mad at nature, the course, the racing crew, life in general…….and then we saw the Mile 10 marker.  I was so excited.  I was worried I would fail.  I thought I couldn’t make it the whole way.  I almost thought about quitting.  And then it came, the relief.  When we hit mile 10, I knew I could finish.  I think a mile marker has never made me so happy before.  We completed the obstacles to the end.

When I crossed the Finish Line of the Spartan Beast, I felt changed.  I felt like I’d overcome fears, pushed myself outside my comfort zone, and accomplished something that I never could have done just a few years ago. I felt changed.   I felt strong, like a beast. 🙂

The next day, we raced again.  If you complete all three lengths of the Spartan Race Series in a year, you get special recognition as a Trifecta Finisher.  All of the medals piece together and it’s a pretty nerdy/cool deal to have done all three.  We decided to all but walk though the race the next day.  The Spartan Sprint is advertised at a 3-5 mile race.  I was hoping for 3 since I was pretty destroyed from the day before.  It was 5.6 miles.  This time we raced with friends and had a great time.  We saw them go through the same struggles we had when we started racing together and watched them overcome fears and the struggle to finish.  Running the race with friends was a much different experience but I’m so glad we did both races.

 

This time I only failed two of the obstacles and finished stronger than I thought I would.  I’m not sure how much longer my body will allow me to do these sorts of things but I’m going to while I can.  I had a moment on the second day with a fellow racer that summed up my journey on these races:

As we approached the Bucket Brigade, there are two types of buckets.  Red for Women (60lbs) and Black for Men (80 lbs) .  You fill your bucket up to the holes and then carry it a quarter mile up hill and back down.  As I started filling my BLACK men’s bucket, the volunteers alerted me that I had the wrong one.  I insisted that I did not.  I try to lift the men’s weight on every obstacle for as long as I can. So I filled my men’s bucket and started up the hill.  At one of the rest points, a girl questioned be about my bucket but seemed genuinely curious.

“So what’s with you and the black bucket? The red ones are much easier” she said.

I replied, “There were days I couldn’t lift a 20 pound bucket.  Today I can lift the men’s bucket, so I did.  I’m thankful for my strength today.” Then I picked up my bucket and kept going.

Be thankful for today.  Use your strength today.  Use your power today!  You’re stronger than you think you are and you’re capable of so much more.  How long have you been comfortable? What will it take to get uncomfortable?

The Way to the Start Line

This weekend I will run the race that I’ve trained the most for all summer: The Spartan Beast.  On Saturday, I’ll run nearly 14 miles in the mountains and complete 30 obstacles.  I’ve never crossed a start line without crossing a finish line.  As the days draw closer, I’m realizing how bad I want it and how much is scares me to think I might not finish.

In this world of strange encounters and social media stalking, I’ve met and come across only a few stories like my own.   I’ve always been touched by  Gary Stotler’s journey to health and we continue to communicate and support each other’s journey’s online throughout the past two years. Gary was morbidly obese like myself and went on to lose the weight and complete marathons.  After reaching those goals, he has gone on to be an endurance trail runner.  Last year I watched Gary train for and complete the Silver Rush Leadville 50.  Again this year he trained for an even bigger race: The Leadville 100.  I felt such joy for Gary when he completed his first 100 mile race in March.  Then he just kept training and training.  He looked like he couldn’t have set himself up better for the Leadville 100.  I tracked Gary online throughout the race to see how far he had gone.  On Sunday, while I was up early, I checked to see where he was before I got out of bed.  He had run through the night and should be finishing in a few hours. And I was shocked.  Did Not Finish.  WHAT? What happened? Is he ok? I must have put in the wrong bib number………

Later I found out that due to both mental and physical aspects, Gary had quit at mile 69.  Now, 69 miles is farther than I will ever travel in a race.  69 miles is a jaw dropping amount of miles, even on the street.  I was so proud of how far he had gotten, but I was shocked that he hadn’t finished.  He had always finished.  He seemed to accomplish every goal he set out for but this time, he didn’t cross the finish line.

So this week, I’ve been trying my best to mentally focus for my race.  As I do so, I’ve been asking myself,  “Did I put too many eggs in the basket?”  Meaning, if I fail the race, will it make me feel as though I’ve failed? Will I feel like I’ve wasted the entire race season? Today is the first day I can say, no. Today I realize how freaking lucky I really am.

In preparing for this race, I have had some of the most fun I’ve ever had.  I’ve met some of the best people on the planet. Nothing can change the journey I’ve been on and nothing can take away the memories I’ve created.  The journey has truly been the best part 🙂

I will give everything I’ve got to my race on Saturday, and I just might come up short.  I’ve done everything I could do to prepare and those who know me know I’ll go as hard as I can.  I know I’ll cross that finish line, but now I can truly say, if I don’t, it won’t be the end of my world. My world is full of awesome people!  Thanks to everyone who has helped me train this year, even for one workout.  You all continue to push me, inspire me and make me the athlete that I am.  Love you guys.

Goat Yoga

Yes, you read that title correctly 🙂  This Sunday I did Goat Yoga with Rocky Mountain Goat Yoga at Just Kidding Acres.  Here’s what I learned:

It is EXTREMELY hard to focus on breathing, foot position or chakras with baby goats around.

I am a yoga fan but would not consider myself a ‘yogi’.  I like to incorporate some yoga movements into my workouts for stretching and recovery.  I like to attend yoga class (usually HOT) when I can, which is not nearly enough.  I’m hoping to get into a routine again soon, as I will need it when I’m ramping up my mileage this fall.

I was invited to Goat Yoga by my amazing friend Sarah.  Sarah has had a long journey of health and recovery and back again several times over.  She’s someone that you’re constantly impressed by the things she’s done and overcome and came out the other side unscathed. (#mostly)  She helps me take life not so seriously and most importantly we laugh.  A LOT.  So when we were “OHMMMMMMing” and the baby goats are mewing, I can’t handle myself.  🙂

 

Before class, we laughed.  During class, we laughed.  After class, we laughed.  If I were going for a super killer yoga class, I would have been HIGHLY disappointed.  But this wasn’t regular yoga, it was goat yoga.  The whole concept was as ridiculous as it seems.  You’re doing downward dog and suddenly a goat is chewing on your hair.  You’re doing tree pose while a goat is peeing next to you.  Some people were even doing yoga ON goats who refused to move and snuggled up on your mat.

Here’s what I learned from the experience: Sometimes, it’s all about the experience.  Sometimes you just need to giggle and not take yourself so seriously.  It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the day to day and trudge along.  Take time to be silly.  I feel better going in to this week than I have in a long time and part of the reason is Goat Yoga.  You can’t take yourself too seriously at Goat Yoga.  It’s impossible.

I highly recommend Rocky Mountain Goat Yoga not for the yoga, but for the goats.  If you live in the area, get yourself a ticket! The classes will and do sell out.

There is No Finish Line

I’ve crossed many finish lines in my day, both literal and metaphorical.  But there’s one race that even though I’ve already won it, I’ll never cross the finish line.  I might not ever see it in the distance or even know what that finish line looks like.

I’m talking about health of course.  I will forever chase and have to re-evaluate what healthy means to me.  I now know that food and the balance of life and activity will follow me till the end of time.  Sometimes people ask: What keeps you motivated? How do you keep going?

While there is a definite ebb and flow to motivation (even mine) there has never been a time when I felt “off the health wagon”.  I’ve made poor choices here and there but I’ve never thrown in the towel.  Why? Because it’s only now that I realize what was actually happening to the inside of my body while I was morbidly obese.  Some of you have read on this site in the past that I never thought it was all that bad.  Now that I’m on the other side, IT WAS THAT BAD.  I got winded and tired from walking the dog.  I woke up most mornings with ‘sugar yack’ or ‘carb cloud’ and I thought it was normal.

Definitions ala Kim:
Sugar Yack: That feeling in the back of your throat that causes you to clear it over and over and over because you ate too much sugar the day before.  Or it seems like your saliva it’s self is part sugar?

Carb Cloud: Much like a beer hangover, it causes you to feel sluggish and just can’t quite get going during the day, until you’ve had enough carbs again.  I know you’ve been here!

These used to be daily occurrences to me.  I didn’t realize that most people don’t spend their morning getting over their diet from the day before and breaking through their carb cloud.  I didn’t even realize that I only felt like that BECAUSE of my food intake.  I didn’t even know what I SHOULD feel like. It’s those feelings that keep my food in check.   Some of you laughed out loud or knew exactly what I’m talking about with “sugar yack” and ‘carb cloud’ and I can tell you, it’s not supposed to be like that.  Now I fuel my body to get it to do the things I want it to do.

I stay motivated because whether I like to admit it or not, I was staring an early death in the face.  I wrote last week about choices if you haven’t checked it out, and I guess this week is too.  It’s not one choice.  It’s a million.  Every choice I make either helps me feel proud and motivated or sad and defeated.  I choose proud.  I choose to do things that others can’t because that’s who I want to be.  That’s what I want for myself.  I know I won’t always look like this.  I know I won’t always be able to deadlift over 200 pounds.  I know I won’t have biceps forever and if we ever have a kid, things are likely to drastically change.  However, this is who I am today, and I’m pretty proud of her and I know she will never go back to where we used to be.  When you’ve been there, you know.  You know there is nothing that would make you want to go backwards.  I honestly don’t worry that I’ll ever be over 200 pounds again.  The difference I feel now makes that ghost scarier than any horror movie I’ve ever seen.

 

 

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A million tiny choices

When people in my new career hear my weight loss story, the first question is almost always “How did you do it?” Depending on the audience, I tend to tailor my response to what they are expecting to hear or maybe what they need to hear.  Lately, I’ve been playing a lot with the idea of choices.  The truth is, it was a million tiny little choices that brought me to my life now.

My hubby first started sparked the idea in me.  Recently he’s been ordering new things at restaurants we go to all the time.  The other day he waited patiently for someone to turn instead of cutting someone off and then the whole lane opened up.  He waits patiently for a older lady to cross the street and the parking space we need opens up. He says “Change your choice. Change the outcome. Let’s see what happens.”  Lately, both of us have been rewarded for small choices that change our course.

When it came to losing weight, it didn’t wake up one morning and decide “Today is THE day!” I didn’t start officially on any single day.  It was 100 choices over three weeks and then I noticed my pants are a little too big.  Then I decided to keep making those choices and add more to see how I could change my outcome.  And 1-2 MILLION choices later, here I am.

It’s making the same choices day in and day out to focus on your health.  It’s choosing health over whatever else may come. Example: My friend recently joked about me being the energizer bunny.  Trust me people, I’m just as tired as the next person. I also want to sleep in late and skip the gym.  I also want to eat stacks of pancakes instead of hard boiled eggs. I just make it a priority and hold myself accountable.  I don’t let myself get away with excuses.  Excuses lead to me being 300 pounds.

 

It’s making new choices, risky choices that might be uncomfortable. For example: I’m about to run the Tough Mudder for the third year in a row.  The first time I went, I ran it with strangers and didn’t even really know what I was getting myself in to.  Instead of backing out, I chose to be uncomfortable and I’ve been running that race ever since.  It’s the best race I run all year.  Another example, recently chose to share my story with someone at the gym and now they are turning into a weekly client, which could blossom into years of revenue.

 

But it’s also about forgiveness. You’re not going to make the right or best choice all the time.  And you have to learn to forgive yourself.  I still eat crap sometimes!  I skip a workouts! (really, I swear!) I scream at the car in front of me instead of waiting patiently.  But I try not to dwell on those choices.  I try my best to forgive myself and move on.  You can’t change the past because it’s in the past.  What’s the point of being sad or mad about it? Let. It. Go.  Make better choices today.  Be awesome TODAY. 

No one chooses how you feel.  No one is going to make the choice for you.  No one will be there when you have to hold yourself accountable.  You could work with a whole team of fitness experts (I know a great one if you need a card…..) but in the end, you choose what happens. Trust me.  If I could make the choice for everyone, we would all be happy and healthy and running a mountain somewhere.  We would all feel what losing 160 pounds feels like and you wouldn’t be here reading this blog. I can’t make that choice.  But you can.  What choices will you make today?

Favorite Exercise #1: Jump Rope

In elementary school we ran a fundraiser every year called Jump Rope for Heart.  You had to get sponsors and jump rope for so many minutes in gym class each day.  I also remember not being very good at it, as I was most sports. I lacked the coordination and cardio strength to be successful at jump rope.  This left me feeling like a failure, unfit and added to my self doubt.  As a child, I always blamed myself for not being able to do certain movements in gym class or at sports practice.  Now that I am studying fitness training and how programs should progress, I realize how unprepared I was for many of the movements that they expected us to be able to do.  Did we jump rope each day for just a few minutes before being asked to do it for 20? No.  Did we do supportive strength exercise for the muscles needed to jump rope? No.  Did we do cardio regularly? Maybe 5 minutes to start each class.  The problem was in the program, not the exercise.

Now I love to Jump Rope.  I use jump rope as my cardio in a circuit before anything else.  I love to jump rope and I recently learned to do Double Unders. (Two rotations of the rope in one jump) Here’s some benefits to jumping rope:

  1.  It’s super cheap!  You can find speed or regular jump ropes on Amazon for $5-$8 that will actually last for a while and start you on your path of jumping rope.  You don’t even have to buy one when you’re starting. (See Invisible Rope below!)
  2.  It’s portable!  You can literally jump rope anywhere and everywhere.  I used to have a jump rope in my office for quick cardio bursts.  I have a jump rope with me almost everywhere I go.  It’s so easy to get in a few quick minutes.
  3. It’s a HIGH calorie burner! Jumping rope is one of the only activities that burns calories as quickly as running, without actually having to run. 10-16 calories a minute! 
  4. Good for the Brain! Jumping rope is great for the brain because it demands both physical and mental focus.  In order to do it correctly, so many systems need to work together.  
  5. Agility! One of the typical mental images of jumping rope is a boxer.  The reason for this is because boxer’s jump rope for the foot strength and agility on the balls of their feet.  Always jump rope on the ball of your feet! 
  6. Bone Density! Most people would be surprised to hear that jumping rope is better for your joints than running because the shock is absorbed by both legs instead of one at a time.   

Source Article: 6 Surprising Benefits of Jumping Rope

While I’ve been jumping rope for a few years now, I tried to go back and think about how I really learned.  Hopefully this helps a few of you be more successful:

  1.  Just get your feet moving: Sometimes starting with a rope just hurts.  If you are hitting yourself every few jumps, you’re never going to want to continue.  If you have fear of the rope, it could even get worse.  Jump rope with an “Invisible Rope” first.  Jump to the beat of the song.
  2. Watch yourself in a mirror: Now, watching yourself jump rope can be quite shocking if you have as many ‘nonfirm parts’ as I do. 🙂  Just watch your feet.  If you are jumping with the invisible rope from step 1, make sure both feet are off the ground at the same time BEFORE adding the rope.
  3. Rope Progression: Start with a softer rope, even one of the beaded ‘playground’ ropes.  DO NOT get one that is so soft that it holds NO shape when you are jumping.  (Even though they are usually super cute and brite) Work your way to a wire or thin speed rope to do more complicated jumps.  As you learn to jump rope, you’ll learn what you like in a jump rope.  If the rope is messing you up after you’ve been practicing a while, it could be the rope. 🙂 Length of rope is also important.  To measure, stand on the rope and the handles should meet your armpits.  Some ropes are child length and some are for giants.  It makes a big difference.
  4. Exercise those muscles: Jump Rope uses all of your leg muscles and even into your glute. (Duh!) Any additional leg strength exercises that you can do are going to benefit your jumping rope.  Calf raises, lunges, squats, deadlifts…..it’s all good!
  5. Time: I started with a timer for jumping intervals.  At first I could go for a minute and eventually two.  The more I tried, the better I got.  You can see yourself improving with this exercise easily.  Now I count my jumps because I find it keeps me more accountable.  Now, if I use a timer, I’ll just slowly jump.  But if I give myself a number, I’ll try to get it done ASAP!  A typical AMRAP or Circuit for me these days has 200 single jumps and 20 double unders each round.
  6. Keep Trying!  Don’t let more than a few days pass before practicing again!  With jump rope, muscle memory is key, so just keep trying.  I think you’ll get addicted pretty quick!  Get that heart pumping!
  7. Form is really everything:
    1. RELAX!  When you are jumping rope, relax everything as much as you can.  This includes: knees, hips, calves, shoulders and especially neck.  Keep your body aligned but relaxed.
    2. Jump Up and Down: I know how this sounds but what I mean is, jump in the same exact place each time.  If you are finding yourself moving forward or backward, your body isn’t aligned.  This can lead to knee and hip pain.  Until you are more advanced, you may lack the proper ankle and foot strength to do fancy jumps.
    3. Don’t jump so high: Half the time I see new ropers, they are jumping 18 inches in the air!  You literally need just a few inches for the rope to pass below you.  The more force you use to jump up, the more force you put on your joints when you return to absorb the jump and reload for the next.  Also, a higher jump takes more time.  The closer you remain to the earth while you’re jumping rope, the faster you will become and the healthier your joints will be.
    4. Shhhhhhh!  You should listen to yourself jumping rope just like you watch your feet.  If you sound like a herd of elephants, your putting an elephant’s worth of force on your joints.  If you sound like a mouse……duh.  Try to make as little sound as possible when you’re jumping rope.  This keeps your joints light and your form in check.  Aways jump on the pads of your feet.  Not your toes.  Not your heels.  Trust me.

 

 

I’m a Dirty Girl!

So word is apparently getting around that I like to lift heavy things, climb like a monkey and run in the mountains, preferably while covered in dirt. Two or three weeks ago my friend/colleague/trainer Matt asked me if I would fill in a place for someone who had dropped out for a Mud Run.  Matt is my weightlifting coach at the gym where I work (still weird to say….) and lets me come to his class and disrupt the men in their routine by adding sass and slowing everyone down. 🙂 He’s also the size of a refrigerator. So when he pulled a pink tutu out of his bag, I could hardly contain my excitement.  Matt’s girlfriend, Sarah, had someone drop out of her team for the upcoming Dirty Girl Mud Run.  The tutu and matching princess socks were the required costume.  He was willing to take over my shift so I could go run in the mountains covered in dirt.  What a guy!

So of course I agreed to the race without even considering it much of a question.  I signed up; put on my tutu and met up with the girls.  I was running the race with Sarah and Krista, each of us in our required tutu.  I felt like I knew Sarah through Matt but I was meeting Krista for the first time.  The last time I agree to a race without looking it up and ran with strangers, (Tough Mudder 2015) it was the most fun I’d ever had on a race.  So I figured it was worth the risk. AND WE HAD A BLAST.

The Dirty Girl Mud Run is a 5K course in Copper Mountain with 10-12 obstacles.  It was attainable for all levels and a great race for newbies.  This was Sarah and Krista’s first obstacle race and I knew that I was agreeing to go their pace and be a supportive team member.  To be a total cocky jerk, the race was really simple for me.  I tried to focus on being patient, encouraging my teammates and having fun with racing.  Check check and check.  It was a great day.

I almost got emotional a few times on the course.  I’d never run an all female race before.  Also, I’d never done one with so many of my ghosts along the path.  Again, to be a total jerk: Most races that I run now, I NEVER would have been able to do before.  I rarely see someone the size that I used to be in a race and never anyone bigger than that.  Most races I run, my old self wouldn’t have even knew existed. This race is attainable for everyone so I saw so many versions of myself along the course.   I remember one girl in particular.  We were coming up to a climbing rig with: a cargo net climb to the top, horizontal traverse across a cargo net and then slide down a fireman’s pole; then crawl through the bubble pit to the other side.   The whole thing was maybe 12-15 feet up in the air.  Ahead of me I saw someone who was larger than my past self just giving everything she had to get to the top.  But down below I saw my old self.  She was standing to the side and wasn’t even going to try.  Both my teammate Sarah and I tried to encourage her to try and offered to help her.  It was clear she was just going to watch.

I wanted to encourage her more and fill her with a sense of inspiration and rigor to give it a go, but she was so defeated before she began.  I saw myself in her eyes.  I knew she would never try; no matter what I said.  I watched so many women that day accomplish something they never thought they could.  One woman was frozen at the top of a long slide and my team spent a long time trying to encourage her.  Eventually she told us to go.  She had the biggest smile on her face when we found her at the finish line to tell us that she had done it!  But to the girl at the cargo net, she wouldn’t know.  She wouldn’t know what that was like.  I don’t know that woman.  Maybe just walking the course was her goal that day.  Maybe that brought her more joy than the obstacle would have anyway.  But I saw it in her eyes.

Defeat. Not defeat from fear of the height or the obstacle.  But defeat from even trying.  I’d been in that place so many times.  Here’s what I think she was going through her head:

I’m to heavy for that.  Will the obstacle even hold me? I’m not supposed to do those things.  What if I fail in front of everyone? I know I can’t do it.

These phrases kept me from even trying to lose weight so many times.  “I know I can’t do it.  I’ve tried already. What if I fail?” Fear of failure is something I deal with everyday of my life.  Its something that I struggle with in everything I do.  But I keep trying.  I keep failing and trying to be ok with it.  I’m trying to be ok with not being able to do EVERYTHING.  But it’s hard.  My fear of failure made me miss out on so many things in life.  I’m not letting it rob me anymore.  I almost missed out on the most beautiful Saturday on Copper Mountain with the most beautiful of ladies! 🙂

UPDATE: BIG CHANGES!

Anyone visiting the site lately would see that I have been quite remiss at keeping you up to date on my struggles and accomplishments but this time, I have a really good reason.

I’M NOW A PERSONAL TRAINER!

For the past 9 months I have been balancing Teaching Full Time, Working at the gym as a club assistant part time, Interning as a personal trainer part time, studying for CPT certification, maintaining my marriage and fitness level, and trying to be an adult.  Whew.  That was a long sentence.  It’s been an even longer 9 months.

Last week was my last week of teaching for the forseeable future.  While I could turn this post into a long list of reasons of why I left teaching, that’s not what you’re here for.  I am officially unemployed in education.  That feels weird to say.  I’ve been teaching for 10 years and this year, I finally made the switch. I’ve been considering becoming a personal trainer since first getting bit by the fitness bug in 2014.  I used to think, “How cool would I be to be at the gym all day, working out and helping people…..but that would be way too hard and nearly impossible to do while teaching……”

Similar to my obesity, I found every excuse in the book not to switch careers or follow my dream.  Here’s what’s REQUIRED to become a personal trainer:

  1. Certification
  2. Get hired

Some gyms require a bachelors in Exercise Science but a lot don’t really care.  I always made excuses of why I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t take time off teaching! (Turns out I didn’t have to) There’s no way I could balance all of that and not let my health slip! (Check! Done!) There’s no way I could ever leave teaching because I love it so much! (False.  I didn’t have the confidence to believe I COULD do something else.)

It’s been my dream to be a personal trainer for years.  This year I had the opportunity laid out before and every door opened through my journey.  This was the year that I switched my life and changed all over again.  People say “I could never do that” when I talk about three areas of my life: losing weight, moving across the country and now, changing careers.  But the truth really is: if you want it bad enough, you’ll make it happen.  Those three changes have completed changed my life and made me happier than I thought I could be.  How cool is that?

So over this summer, look for lots of changes on the blog.  I want to update the homepage, new photos, the works!  I can also now (legally) give workout advice and routines with some confidence that I know what I’m talking about!  What an exciting journey!

Summer Subjects to look forward to:

Mud Runs!

Least favorite/Most favorite exercises

What’s a Macro?

A runners body…..

Summer Recipes

Quick Tips

LOTS OF NEW INFO!

 

 

Running of the Green

For the past three years, my husband and i have completed the Running of the Green Lucky 7K in Downtown Denver. You can read about last year’s race: here. 

When you run the same race with the same course for three years, you can feel such a difference! You rarely get the chance in fitness to compare one workout to the next.  This was a cool experience! Here’s a snapshot of each year’s race: 

2015: I had never run farther than a 5K.  I didn’t even know if I could. A few days before the race I went out and ran 4 miles just to be sure.  Since I’d already signed up with friends, I figured I had to do it. I didn’t look at the course and it was brutal!  So many hills….will the race ever end?

Pace: 10:49 .  I was walking every 1/3 to 1/2 mile.

2016:  I was much more confident after running it once.  I knew what the course would be like and when I should walk.  I felt more confident about racing and new I could finish.  The course still felt pretty hard but not as hard as the first year.  I ran some of the uphills but still walked frequently.

Pace: 10:00,  I walked at least 4-5 times

2017:  I knew this was my year.  I knew I could finish faster and push myself harder through the course.  I’m faster now and I’ve been training on hills and trails a lot more.  I am so much stronger now, the race felt kinda easy!

Pace: 9:06,  I only walked once!

Overall I know I’m always getting stronger and faster but it was amazing to FEEL how much stronger I was.  In 2015 I dreaded every hill and walked almost all of them.  This year, I sometimes noticed the uphill or was able to easily push to the top.  I was proud of myself when I crossed the finish line, thinking of how hard it had been the first time and how far I’ve come as a runner and as an athlete.

In the middle of a journey it can be so difficult to feel yourself getting stronger especially when you aren’t using a scale.  While the number on the scale is important, I find that I’m measuring my fitness more and more by my abilities than by the numbers. And the numbers are in: I’m pretty freaking strong.