In The Last Year……

Last year for New Year’s, I posted a comparison of what I could do when I started at my local gym and where I was currently. (View Here) Two months later I left said gym and started focused boxing training and running.  So…….I obviously won’t be posting the same comparison because I do so many different things now.  Instead, this year I complied a list of what were my best memories and accomplishments this year:

***Click the links to see the original posts about these events and photos from each.***

Personal 

A New Car – While this one isn’t directly weight loss related, I sort of feel like it is a little bit.  Without the change in my self confidence in the last two years, I wouldn’t have gone after the job I currently have.  I might not have been able to physically keep up with my current position.  However, because of the weight loss and transversely a better job, I could get a new car!

Tenure – I received tenure in my current school district this past spring.  Again, related to the above, without my new confidence and self investments I might not have received such a status.

A Trip to New York – Without my weight loss, I would have never taken this trip.  My friend might not have even invited me, knowing I couldn’t keep up. But while we were there and seeing EVERYTHING, we walked/ran over 100 miles.  I made memories I’ll have forever.

 

Fitness Events

My first Half Marathon – I ran the Colfax Half Marathon in May after training by myself with inspiration from my friend Thomas.  This was a goal I never thought I’d even have and then surpassed.  This race meant the world to me and marked when I think I officially became an athlete and a runner.  I’ll never forget this day!

300+ miles run – Through my training and completion of now two half marathons, I logged 250 miles on my Nike running app as well as completed many many more at the gym.  I can’t believe in one year how many times I ran when I didn’t want to, finished when I didn’t think I could and surprised myself along the way.  Running is awesome and the best promise you can keep to yourself.

Other Races – I also completed The Graffiti Run (5K), The Runnin’ of the Green (7K) and the Rock and Roll Half Marathon.

Tough Mudder – When I signed up for this race/obstacle course, I didn’t even know what I was getting myself into.  Only shortly before the race did I find out it was 12 miles and 20+ obstacles.  This race was so fun and something I couldn’t have done a year ago.  I can’t wait to do it again next year!  I’m already putting my team together!

Ninja Training/OCR – I went out on a total limb this year and took a few Ninja Warrior Training Classes and Obstacle Course Training Classes.  They were so fun.  It’s something I’d love to do regularly but I tend to hurt myself a lot so I can only do it during certain times of the year.  I can’t wait to get back to it!

Mount Bierstadt – Dan, some friends and I hiked Mount Bierstadt this year which goes up above 14,000 feet. I feel so thankful to even live in a place where you can hike that high.  The view from that high is incredible and like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  I wish I had more time to hike and I’m looking forward to the temperatures coming back up so we can.

Rock Climbing – In the winter last year, I went insane.  So this winter I wanted to make sure we had something we could do active indoors.   Rock climbing is a great sport/exercise for so many things and it’s very popular in Colorado.  I’ve been interested in learning for about a year and this year we did.  We now go a couple times a month and I wish I could go more often, yet again.

A Boxer – One of the most important things to me this last year has been my boxing training.  I box 4-6 times a week and I can never get enough.  This December, I registered with USA boxing to compete at the amateur level in 2016.  I have so much more to say on this in future posts but this one is already carrying on long enough. I can’t wait to show off my skills in the ring this year!

Milestones

I hit two major milestones in my life and weight loss journey this year.  I never set these goals but because of my love of health and fitness, they just happened.

Half My Size – Sometime over this summer, I hit half of my original weight of 290 pounds.  My original goal weight was 165 and then I just kept losing very slowly.  Later I discussed competition fighting with my trainer and he set my fight weight at 141.  Since then, this is where I try to stay.

My First Size 0 – While this should have been a post all in itself perhaps, I tried on my first size 0 and it actually fit.  I was at Express and wanted to try on a dress I had seen the previous weekend.  Of course it was gone in my expected size of 4 or 6.  There was only a 0.  I was trying on other items so I grabbed it just in case.  It kind of looked big enough.  When I tried it on, it zipped with ease.  I couldn’t believe it.  I didn’t purchase the dress because I didn’t like it better than one I already had but I still wanted to just because it was a 0.

Here’s what I think it probably the best photo of my from 2015.  My hubby took it at dinner on no particular night and there’s no particular reason I love this photo.  I didn’t even do my hair or put on hardly any makeup. This dress is a size 8 and not a 0. It doesn’t show my new slammin body.  I’m not standing with a popped hip and perfect angle.  No duck lips or ‘smizing’. It’s just me.  And this is the very first year that I feel like I’m finally that, just me.

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Man.  2015 was freaking awesome.  I’m so excited for 2016! Happy New Year Everyone!

 

 

 

Step Three: Green Smoothies

I am, without a doubt, a creature of habit.  I could eat the same meals day in and day out forever if I love them enough.  I have the exact same routine when I’m working. I usually eat the same breakfast and lunch every day.  I even shop at the same store on the same day each week.  I just do.  But lately I’ve switched up my routine and have changed my breakfast back to something I used to really enjoy in the beginning of my weigh loss: Green Smoothies. I blogged about it almost exactly a year ago but wasn’t eating them at the time.

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I HAD been eating a bagel with cream cheese every morning for….maybe a year? Sometimes I’d switch it up with peanut butter but usually not.  I even skip breakfasts provided for the staff at school and eat my breakfast anyway because I don’t want anything else.  I like not thinking about it and still really enjoying it.  I know this doesn’t work for everyone but it works for me.

I’ve been trying to up my protein  since my workouts have increased.  One easy way to do that is in the morning.  So about two weeks ago I switched back to Green Monsters and I’m still having them every morning.  I still love them every morning! You can read the full recipe and health benefits HERE already written out from last year. This year I’ve switched it up just a bit.

 

Usual Recipe:

1 frozen banana, sliced

4 cups spinach

1 cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt

1 T. Peanut Butter

1/2 C. Milk of Choice (We drink soy milk)

 

My Recipe this year:

1 frozen banana, sliced

4 cups spinach

1 cup Light Greek Yogurt (Banana flavored, vanilla when their out)

1 T. Peanut Butter

1/2 C. Water

4 T. Protein Powder (Old stuff I wanted to finish off, it’s gone now and I’m not replacing it)

1 T.  Trader Joes Super Seeds

 

I love this recipe because it’s easy and when I’m out of an ingredient I just make it up.  You can switch the banana for any frozen fruit. I also made the switch from milk to water because it’s cheaper and cuts down on calories.  Also, another change from last year is that I invested in a Ninja blender recently and I HIGHLY recommend them!

My number one reason for liking them is that I feel much cleaner when I have them.  I can feel the spinach energizing my system and the yogurt and everything else are so yummy and keep you full until the next meal/snack.  If you prioritize the ingredients of each of the ingredients in your smoothie it will be wonderful.  Check the labels of your yogurt and peanut butter for sure.  Make sure your buying ones with no additives and junk and it will make a difference, I swear.  And I love the super seeds.  I don’t know that I can really tell a difference but even if it’s placebo effect, I’ll take it.

Enjoy!

Step Two: No Alcohol

Oh boy.  This might be a tough one.

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I have never been much of a drinker.  Alcoholism runs pretty deep in my family and I’ve always avoided consuming too much.  I’ll go out for Girl’s Night Out or have a few when friends and I go to watch fights but it’s not routine.  I don’t keep wine or beer in the house.  I can go out and have no drinks or too many drinks.  (which I always regret)

But lately, there’s been so many events that I find myself excusing a drink here and there and then everywhere.  Everyone wants to meet for a drink or is serving drinks at their get-together.

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For some people, giving up alcohol would be the end of the world.  For me, it’s just going to be inconvenient and not very fun 🙁  I have signed up with USA Boxing to be an amateur boxer this year.  (more on that later…..) They require you to sign a code of conduct against performance dampening activities like alcohol and tobacco.  While this is a perfect reason to cut out alcohol, I’m excited to do it for the calories as well.  I know there are a lot of opinions out there on alcohol, wine especially, but I’m just saying no for the next few months at least. I don’t need it and it’s just empty calories. I went my first whole year of weight loss without a drink, I know I can do it again.

So over the next few months, I’m going to figure out how to meet for drinks without having a drink and how to get through social meet ups without ordering a cocktail. Who wants to join? alcoholcomparisons

 

Step One: No Sweets January

Yesterday I wrote about my feelings of having lost some control over my eating (click here if you missed it).  Everywhere you turn during this time of year someone is offering you a sweet treat or left some out in the office lounge.  90% of the time I’m great at saying ‘no thank you’ or just walking away.  But lately, I’ve been helping myself to half a cookie or a bite of this several times throughout the day.  Those small bites have turned into a lot of bites by the end of the day.  Also, I’m left thinking about the food I just walked away from.  I used to be able to walk away from it and not think twice about it.  Now I walk away day dreaming about what it would have been like and this is NOT GOOD.

I’m ok with allowing myself small treats here and there.  I had a piece of cake on my birthday even.  BUT it’s the craving feelings that scare me.  When my body is clean and healthy, I crave naturally sweet things like green apples and fruit juice.  I ALWAYS have Trader Joes pineapple juice in the fridge.  But now I’m craving candy and sweets all over again.  That is something I’m not comfortable with.  When my body is clean, I don’t really even enjoy sweets.  I can taste how sweet it is and the sugar swimming in my body.  I used to not finish things because they were too sweet.  Now, I just want it all.

So how do I reset my system? How do I make those cravings go away? I’m going to make the food go away. I lay down a “NO CHOCOLATE” mandate in the house about twice a year, for a two week period,  when I feel my control slipping.  But, this year it just felt like one event after another, meet this friend for lunch, celebrate this holiday here…….so I felt like I couldn’t do it in the middle of the holidays.  So I’m going to do……drum roll please…….No Sweets January!

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For the whole month I will not be partaking in candy, cookies, muffins, ice cream or anything of the sort.  I’m hoping by doing this that by February, I can enjoy my candy hearts and then through the rest of the box away and that I won’t be consumed by thoughts of chocolate.  As I was talking to a friend about the ‘post Christmas yuck” he agreed to jump on board!

If you are considering making your first small steps or just looking to gain more control of your cravings, consider a No _______ January.  Let those around you know to help keep you honest.  Also, they won’t be offering you the things they know you are avoiding.  Someone might even do it with you!  If there’s a food or group of foods you are trying to cut down on, consider giving them up for a whole month.  You’d be surprised to see how much your body recalibrates your cravings! If you haven’t already done it…..I’d recommend soda! Just look at all these benefits and tell me it isn’t a good idea!

Bye Bye Sugary Drinks: What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking Soda

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Out of Control

The holidays are so hard.  I’ve been feeling out of control with my eating for a little while now and the holidays totally derailed me.

When you exercise as much as a I do, it’s really easy to ‘forgive’ little treats throughout the day.  After hitting my goal weight, (and then my fight weight) I did really well for a long time.  I stayed balanced with my fitness and calorie intake.  I still stayed away from high sugar foods and kept my system pretty clean.  However, when October hit, I started to struggle.  In mid-October I ran the Rock and Roll Half Marathon.  Leading up to the race, I had been running and boxing so much that I could almost eat whatever I wanted.  So I started to.  I still avoided multiple high calorie/high sodium meals in the same day.  I still would have one or two pieces of pizza and not seven.  I still followed all my ‘rules’ but didn’t at the same time. I found myself excusing little snacks throughout the day.  Sure I can have a few pieces of candy from the dish.  Sure I’d like to try that snack you’re offering.  Sure I want that birthday cupcake.  I deserve it right?

Recently, I haven’t been running at all, except at the gym.  There are no races coming up and I can’t risk the injury of running in bad weather.  I’m totally focused on boxing right now. But when I stopped running, my weight started to creep up little by little.  I’ve never eaten my exercise calories back.  I don’t consider exercise as ‘negative’ to my calorie bank.  But, I would excuse a treat because I exercised that day.  A treat would be one cookie, a small scoop of ice cream, or fruit juice.  But then it turned into candy.  And then a brownie.  And then several little bites all day.  As the holidays go closer, I didn’t do any better.  While my weight stayed consistent-ish, I could feel my system getting mucky.  I like this feeling because it reminds me how clean my body likes to eat.  But then the feeling goes away because it’s your new norm.

Now here it is two months later and I’m 4 pounds heavier.  I know to a lot of people 4 pounds is a drop in the bucket.  I too would have laughed at that sentence a year or two ago.  However, I’m trying to keep my weight as consistent as possible for boxing.  I need to get back on track.  I need to hold myself more accountable and not give a list of reasons why it’s ok.  Here’s my list of excuses over the last two months:

  1. It’s Halloween
  2. It’s Thanksgiving
  3. It’s Christmas
  4. It’s My Birthday
  5. It’s New Years
  6. I exercised today

But seriously, I’m just being lazy.  I haven’t held myself to the same standards as I have been and I can feel a huge difference.  My insides feel gross.  My energy has been lower and I crave food all the time.  My focus isn’t as strong and my weight has gone up.

Check back throughout the week to see what I’m going to do about it!

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I’m in a video ?!

Wow I really need to update that picture! ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Recently my trainer and gym have been expanding their marketing and were shooting a short ‘promo’ video.

So this is basically totally bizarre for me in a way that might be hard to understand.  When I look at this video, I can see that it’s me and I recognize myself, but it’s hard for me to believe that’s actually me.  Who would put me in this cool video? Why aren’t I cut out?

When you spend the majority of your life in the shadows of society, it’s really weird when you aren’t anymore.  When I was overweight, I wasn’t a wallflower by any means.  What I mean by “shadow of society” is that no one really notices you.  Men don’t look at you twice.  Women dismiss you immediately.  Even though everyone can see you, it’s like they never notice you.  Now people see me all the time. I get the “Skinny Bitch” face all the time. ( you know what I’m talking about) Men look at me.  Sometimes it’s the man with a woman ON HIS ARM that’s looking at me. (which I really freaking hate by the way).

I’ve been struggling with my identity in society for a while now (Read Here) but regardless of what ‘box’ I’m in now, it’s still weird to ME, which I think it most important.  I can agree that the girl in this video looks good and fit.  I agree that she doesn’t look like she has loose skin or literally lost half of her body. I can even ALMOST agree that that girl looks hot.  But it still just doesn’t quite feel like me. I’m beginning to wonder if it ever will.

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I’m the girl that gets cut out.  I’m the girl that doesn’t have hardly any photos of her whole body for almost a decade.  I’m the girl that stands in the back to hide her body from the camera.  I’m the girl that would NEVER be filmed in a video.  Right? Well.  Apparently not.  Do I have to spend equal amount of years in this body that I did in that body before it will fell like mine? That means I’ll feel normal in this body when……I’m…..50?! Let’s hope that’s not true.

 

My First Real Sparring

Last year I wrote tips about how to keep thin on Thanksgiving each day of the week.  Don’t forget to go back and check them out!

Last week, I finally had my first real experience “fighting” in the ring. First let’s be clear.  A fight is when your in the ring to win a sanctioned match.  When you’re training it’s called sparring. Just a note 😉

Most of you know that I’ve been taking boxing training for almost a year.   I box almost everyday and I never get tired of it!  I’ve been toying with the idea of actually competing in the amateur tournament, Colorado Golden Gloves for most of that time.  A few things were holding me back: I hadn’t had enough experience in the ring to know if I had what it takes and……the hubby wasn’t hot about the idea.

After nearly 6 months of training I felt like I had good enough skills and wanted to open up the idea of fighting.  After Dan came to the gym a few times and watched me, he agreed that I could try fighting if I wanted to.  My trainer, Jameson Bostic, agreed that I should start sparring (unsanctioned fights at the gym) more so I could get more experience.  After a few successful spars at the gym, one of the other trainers approached me about sparring with his client.  We set the spar for the next day.

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Right away my trainer had no worries.  He knew that if I could just do what I know, I would be successful.  But that is a BIG if.  Up until now, I had never fought 100% against another person.  It’s rare to spar with someone of your ability and weight.  To make it safe and fair, we usually have rules when we spar.  Sometimes you can only use your left had, sometimes I’m told not to go 100%, sometimes you’re only on defense or offense, sometimes I don’t get hit at all.  While I had several sparring sessions under my belt, I had never gone 100% against another girl with both hands.

I was nervous ALL DAY.  It had been a long time since I had taken hits in the ring to the face or head.  My partner, Brandi, had experience and about 20 pounds (?) on me.  I knew she would hit and she would hit hard.  Would I freeze? Would I cry? What would happen? Jameson knew I was nervous and sent me messages throughout the day.  When I arrived at the gym, I was more excited than nervous.  Today was the day.  Today was the day I’d know if I wanted to get in the ring and compete.  And it was…………FREAKING AWESOME.

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Some people think boxing is just violence with rules. I used to not be able to watch boxing or MMA on TV because I thought it was violent and gross.  My first time sparring another girl the whole time I thought, “Why is she trying to hurt me?” But now I can see the sport that is in boxing.  When I’m in my corner, I’m not thinking about hurting the other person.  I’m thinking about beating them at their own game. I’m thinking about when they throw that punch I’m going to be right there throwing back. I’m thinking about their rhythm and dominant side and how I’m going to throw them off.  I’m not thinking about how much it’s going to hurt because it doesn’t.

During the round, my adrenaline is so high, I barely feel getting hit.  I’m more focused on the timing and her errors.  We fought three rounds.  My coach and I were hoping to go longer but her coach called it. Meaning…….I kicked her ass.  See below for a breakdown of the rounds.

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It felt INCREDIBLE.  To be clear, it’s not punching the other girl, making her bleed, or even injuring her that felt incredible.  Beating her at her own game felt incredible.  Being the faster, smarter and stronger fighter felt incredible.  Knowing that all the work I’d put in, all the sweat and tears felt incredible.  Seeing the look on my trainer’s face and knowing he was proud was incredible.  Over coming my own insecurities of not being good enough was like flying to the moon. I lived off the high of winning my first real spar for a few days.  There’s no feeling quite like proving yourself wrong or realizing you can do whatever you want to do.  You’d think that I’d gotten used to breaking the odds or overcoming new goals, but thankfully it just gets better and better.

Click here to view the whole fight via Google Drive

Round One: I spent WAY too much time trying to feel her out.  I was trying to find her rhythm and I was on the defense.  My trainer expected her to fight much differently so I spent some time trying to figure out their plan instead of destroying their plan.

Round Two: During round two I fought much better.  I spent less time worrying about what she was going to do and put my plan in motion.  There was even a moment in round 2 that she gave up and dropped her hands.  I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do so I stopped too!  But I knew in round 2 I was going to ‘win’.  Her punches weren’t strong enough and I was able to anticipate her throws quite a few times. After two right hands from me her mouth started to bleed.

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Round Three: Brandi stopped about a minute into round three.  She had hurt her shoulder and her coach didn’t want to continue.

Overall I’m really happy with how I fought.  Watching back the video, I can see all sorts of things that I did wrong.  I missed opportunities and always go to the left.  But instead of beating myself up about the errors, I’m still holding my head high for getting in!

 

 

Rock and Roll Half Marathon

HOLY COW!?! It’s been a month since I posted?! Things have been soooooo super busy that everything has gotten away from me!

Things here have been going pretty well.  I’ve really gotten back into the swing of things with work and still finding time for fitness. The hubby and I signed up for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon way back in July.  Since then, we have been going on long runs every Sunday together.  Things were much much different this time around for my second half marathon.

The Training

For my last half marathon, I trained religiously.  I followed the Jeff Galloway plan (mostly…..) and tried to mix running with my regular boxing schedule.  I ran short runs once or twice a week and a long run on the weekend.  Of course I slowly ramped up my mileage until running 13.1 all by myself.  This time I did things much differently knowing I had the mental stamina and physical endurance to carry me across the finish line.

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Dan ran short runs on his own during the week.  I skipped almost all of the short runs!  I found that I was training so hard and long at boxing that I didn’t need the extra running time.  Also, my body was happy not to be running so many miles.  I still ran long runs on the weekend, but this time I had Dan with me.  The runs went by a lot faster having someone with me.  We don’t really talk when we run but it’s different to have someone there with you.  I enjoyed the time together while still being able to have plenty of mental time to sort through my brain. I could always keep up on the long runs even with skipping the short runs.

As the marathon grew closer, we knew we would run out of weekends to practice the whole 13.1 miles.  I knew that if Dan could do 10 miles, he could do 13.1.  The first time he would go the whole distance was in the race!

The Morning Of

The morning of the race we were both pretty nervous.  The temperature was much colder than we were used to.  Also, we had to take a bus downtown to get to the race and we were feeling anxious about getting there on time.  I checked a backpack for the first time at a race as well.  I always avoided this because I thought it would be a pain, but it was actually pretty convenient.  The bus got us downtown in time……..to stand in line for the bathroom.

While we were standing in line for the port-o-johns, we heard the first wave starting. I refuse to stop during the race unless absolutely necessary.  We were in wave 6 and were trying to keep a time of 2:10.  I really wanted to beat my previous time, even if just by a minute.  I knew that if I ran the same pace I’d run on our 10 miler, I would make it.

I’m usually really early for races and end up standing at the starting line for 20 minutes at least.  BUT, we waited for the bathroom for so long that we almost missed our starting time.  When we were walking up, our wave was starting.  So there was no time to stand and get pumped but no time to get nervous either.  So there’s no ‘before the race’ picture otherwise it would have been a selfie in the port-o-john. Gross.

The Race 

Dan and I had planned to run the race together and cross the finish line together.  Since he had never gone the full distance, I was worried about Dan over-pacing himself and not being able to finish strong.  Once we started, Dan made a rookie mistake and I was glad I was there to fix it.  Dan took off like a bat out of hell.  We are used to running 9:30-10:15 pace.  We ran the first mile in 8:30.  In a race, it’s so easy to get caught up with those around you.  It’s easy to run at their pace not considering how much farther you have to go.  (And let me tell you, most of the people in front of you in mile 3 are way behind you in mile 10 if you know how to pace yourself) When I finally caught him in mile two I said, “The point isn’t to beat everyone. I can’t keep running this pace and I can’t chase you for 13 miles. Are we running together or not? Let me pace you.” After that, things went much better.

The Rock and Roll is a very cool race.  They had lots of local bands along the route.  Also, the Denver route loops for the first few miles downtown so there are lots of spectators.  The sunrise was beautiful and the people of Denver cheered us along the way.  Some of the route was even our usual running route!  We passed our apartment four times, which got harder each time!

When we picked up our race packets, they had wristbands with paces of them.  We picked up the 2:10 wristband so all through the race I knew if we would finish on time.  Because Dan sprinted the first two miles 🙂 we made up extra time that we needed at the end of the race.  Each mile we were ahead but close to the pacer.  In mile 10 the 2:10 pacer runner passed us and I was devastated.  My heart sank and I thought we wouldn’t finish in time but I was also thinking that the pacer was a little too fast according to my calculations.

When we hit mile 12, I knew it was close.  The last mile of the course was fun!  My nike app clicked over to mile 13 and we could see the finish line around the corner.  I grabbed Dan’s hand before we crossed the finish line.

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12079065_10102992279455089_4559804762725556327_nThe Times:

Official Colfax: 13. 2 miles, 2:21    Nike +: 13.1 miles, 2:18

Official R&R:  13.5 miles, 2:17     Nike+: 13.1 miles, 2:12

So according to my records, I broke my last time by 6 minutes.  What made me even prouder was setting almost all new personal recorders and FINALLY breaking half an hour on a 5K, so thanks to Dan for running to darn fast at the beginning!

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Proving Myself Wrong

This weekend was very emotional for me because I traveled to my hometown for my brother-in-law’s wedding.  It was a joyous occasion and a few days filled with memories and flashbacks.  Some were great and some were painful.  I’m of course going to focus on one of the more painful ones.  I feel like I had a bit of a break through in my emotional journey this week.

Over vacation it’s always hard to get a workout in but since the hubby was with me, I knew we could carve out some time.  Twice I went running and did some body weight exercises.  On Sunday morning, I was able to get away and spend sometime by myself on the track.  While I was running, it hit me.  This is where I gave up on myself.

All through my childhood I never felt good enough.  I felt the same way when I did sports.  In basketball, I was always second string no matter how ‘hard’ I worked (which let’s face it, was never really that hard).  In track, I was never fast enough or fit enough to have any success at running. I ran the 400 meter, the 4 X 200 meter and sometimes the 4 X400 meter. I remember a lot of 4th place ribbons but NEVER a 1st place.  I now believe that it was on that track that I gave up on myself.  I suffered an injury during my freshman year of basketball where I dislocated my kneecap.  I used this as my excuse for rest of high school and beyond. “I can’t run. I have a bad knee.” is what I would tell people all the time.

What I think I was really excusing was my feeling of failure.  If I never tried, I never failed right? I committed my time to music and the arts and decided that was good enough and it has brought me so much joy in my life. But I gave up on my dream of every being a runner or a strong athlete.

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As soon as I arrived at the track, I felt it all over again. The track felt huge and yet so small at the same time.  I could hear my coaches yelling about how slow I was.  I could hear myself saying I would never be fast enough.  I would never be a runner.  I would always be ashamed of my athleticism.  I would never feel good about myself.  I would………give up.  It wasn’t just one day or one track practice; it was over time.  But that’s where it happened.  That’s where my life got paused.  That’s where I decided I wasn’t worth it.

As I began to run, I knew I was going to click over my 200th mile on my Nike+ running app. I thought back to all the miles I’ve run in the last year. One year ago I ran my first 5K. I remember being SUPER nervous like everyone was going to be watching me. I didn’t know if people would walk or run or judge me for walking. Now here I am, literally hundreds of miles from where I was. When you’ve trained and become a runner at a higher altitude, it’s much easier to run at a lower altitude. I’d already set how far I wanted to run before resting, but I found I never needed it. I could just keep running. And running. And running.

As I clicked over that 200th mile, which in all actuality is probably my 300th mile (since I never track at the gym and forget sometimes), I could feel my old self running with me. I could feel that 14 year old girl who never felt good enough falling behind. I could hear her shouting that I’d never be good enough or fast enough or pretty enough or just……enough. But this time I knew she was wrong.

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She was wrong about so many things. So many things. Now I try to never think I can’t do something. Sometimes I think maybe I shouldn’t, and then I try anyway. Now I know that with the proper training, I can do anything I want to do. Now I know that only you can change you.

15 years ago I could have never pushed myself to run that track the way I did because I never knew I had it me in.  Now I know.  That’s the difference.  Sorry for the language mom, but I ran the shit out of that track.  All by myself.  With no coach.  No teammates.  No one to push me but my own self.  And if felt freaking awesome.

I’m a Tough Mudder

Last weekend I ran and finished the Colorado Tough Mudder! For those of you that don’t know, the Colorado Tough Mudder is a 11.6 mile race with 20 obstacles.  If that wasn’t hard enough, you start at 9,000 feet above sea level and rise another 2,600 feet along the course.  Needless to say, it was a hard hard race. I’ve heard of obstacle races but never done one.  So like usual if I’m going to bother, I might as well start with one of the hardest right? 12038341_10102940125571889_6562355846442917289_n

 

My friend Blanche approached me about running it a few months ago.  I’ve known Blanche for several months now and we work out together sometimes at TOS Boxing Gym.  She is simply the sweetest and nicest person I think I’ve ever met.  When she first asked me, other than it being a messy obstacle race, I didn’t know much about it.  Being the moron I am, I agreed to do it before knowing much about it.  No one would have EVER approached me about running a race like the TM 3 years ago.  Not even 2 years ago.  1 year ago I’m not sure I could have finished. Thank goodness I felt obligated to fill one of the spots on Blanche’s team after I’d agreed or I might have missed out on one crazy and incredible weekend.

When I finally looked up the race, I couldn’t believe what I’d just signed myself up to do.  The Tough Mudder is an expensive race, plus it was a three hour drive to the mountains and required a hotel night stay.  I was already worried about how much money it would cost.  So I spread the registration, parking pass and hotel night over a few pay periods.  Eventually I saw on the Tough Mudder site that you could volunteer the second day of the race and get a reimbursement for your registration. Um…..run the race for free if I volunteer? Sign me up! More on that later….

So we arrived in Snowmass Village, Colorado on Saturday Morning.  We got up pretty early to leave the city and make it in time for my start wave.  We made it with over an hour to spare, which I was thankful for.  At this point, I still didn’t really know what to expect.  I had looked up the race course and saw it was 11.6 miles and not the 10 miles I had been told.  I saw where the obstacles were and how far the running distance was between but I didn’t look up the obstacles or how to do them.  I have been going to obstacle course training once a week for about a month.  So I knew there wouldn’t be anything that I didn’t know how to approach or have the ability to do safely.  I set out to run the course with two objectives in mind: finish and don’t get hurt.

11990557_10102931922171569_8121776386348160277_nBlanche told me to start without them because she knew the group would slow me down.  What she didn’t know what I wasn’t running for time.  I was running for the experience.  The only reason I had trained was so I had confidence about my abilities and knew what I could do.  I of course waited for the team and we all started together.  At the start line is Sean Corvelle.  He is known as “The Voice of the Mudder”.  He gave an incredibly motivating speech filled with “Hoo-rahs” and shouting.  He informed us of the Mudder Motto: No Mudder Left Behind.  So when you finish and obstacle, you turn around to see who might need help behind you.

I was thankful that I had not looked up the obstacles.  There were a few that I might not have tried if I knew exactly what I was doing.  Some were freezing cold, some were wet, some were waist high mud and some were physical.  Of course I loved the physical obstacles the best.  When I got to the “Berlin Wall” I knew exactly how to get up and over by myself without getting hurt.  This is why I went to training.  Here’s a perfect ‘cat hang dismount’ over the wall!

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One of my favorite moments of the race was at this obstacle: Balls to the Wall.

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Once again I made it up and over with no problem.  My teammates were aghast at my ‘monkey’ capabilities. But once again….training!  When I got down, I waited for my teammates and looked for anyone that needed help.  Once all four of us were over the wall, I saw the crowd was cheering someone on.  At the top of the wall, a girl was stuck.  She was heavier than expected for the physical requirements of this race.  I saw myself in her immediately.  Everyone was encouraging her but no one was up there with her.  I looked around and said, “Is anyone going to get up there?” And then I realized I was probably the best person to do it. I was NOT going to let this girl fail.  So I climbed the obstacle once again and talked her over the top.  She was frozen and terrified of falling.  BUT with my help, she was able to muster enough courage to get over the wall herself and down safely.  I’ll never forget the smile on her face when she accomplished it.  I don’t know if that girl finished the race.  I know I’ll never see her again, but that moment was special to me.  I saw so much of myself in her and it felt awesome to help her!

The hardest part of the race wasn’t the distance or the grossness or the altitude or the obstacles.  The hardest part of the race was how long it took to do it.  My team crossed the finish line in just over 5 hours.  During the last hour I was really bored.  I was tired of the race, tired of being muddy, tired of running, just…….tired!  I knew I could keep going and I never thought of stopping.  5 hours is a long time for my brain to focus on any one task.  I do 50 million things all day everyday and to take that big of a chunk of time was hard for me!  I think I could have finished in 4 hours but it was worth the extra hour to have the company!

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On Sunday, Dan and I volunteered at the check-in table. It was so fun to wish the runner’s good luck and answer questions they had about the course.  Later, after people couldn’t check in anymore, we got to go to the finish line and put people’s headbands on when they crossed the finish line!  That was even better!  We could watch them go through the last obstacle, Electroshock Therapy, and then cheer them into the finish.  Electroshock was no joke.  It dropped me to the ground!

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Here’s what I knew about running the Tough Mudder:

  • It would be hard and gross.  It would be long.
  • Wear clothes that I don’t care about! (Which I did end up crossing the finish line with less than I started with but I kept and cleaned everything else)
  • I’m going to need a serious nap afterwards.
  • I could do it.

Here’s what I didn’t know about the Tough Mudder:

  • What I was really getting myself into.
  • When running the TM there’s a huge sense of camaraderie. Everyone is one big team; at least until mile 9 or so. There were 7,500 runners the day I ran.
  • HOW Hard, HOW Gross, and HOW Long it would actually be.
  • That I could get though it without breaking down mentally.
  • I wouldn’t be able to take a nap for sometime but Free Pumpkin Beer kinda helps 🙂
  • How proud I would be to finish.

Things to remember for next year:

  • Spray sunscreen is really convenient for your hairline which will be nearly purple by the time you finish if you do nothing.  See above shot of Electroshock Therapy.
  • Wear a bright color so you can find yourself in the photos as your # is likely to be destroyed.
  • Bringing a backpack or bag is not as much of an inconvenience as I expected, like one of the members of our team did.
  • Bring a better marker because a Sharpie will wash off in the first obstacle.

The Tough Mudder is another thing on the very long list of accomplishments this year.  It’s something I could have NEVER done before.  It’s something I couldn’t have even dreamed about doing.  And now I’m a Tough Mudder!  Hoo-RAH!