Sunday, May 26, 2013

New Perspective From a New Friend

This is a picture of my new friend, Sara. Today we met for coffee, but it is not the first time we met. About a year and a half ago after moving here I was training for the Las Vegas Half Marathon to raise money and awareness for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. I was out jogging in my new home town, went out a ways, and started heading for home. On my way home someone out running caught up to me and ran with me for a few minutes. She told me I was looking good, asked if I was training for anything, so I told her. She really encouraged me to keep working towards my goals. A couple days later there was a generous donation added to my fundraising page from Sara. It really meant a lot to me and is something that has stuck with me almost 2 years later. We started following each other's journeys. I was very inspired by all that she has accomplished with her running. We really didn't talk much except through comments on each others blogs.

As most of you know the last 2 1/2 years have been very rough for me starting with a Crohn's diagnosis and a move across the country. I gained back 105 pounds of the 106 that I had lost. This has been hard for me, but as you know, November 5, 2012 I started taking my life back. I work with Justin, my personal trainer and to date have lost 50 pounds on my way to losing around 150 pounds. The last 6 months have been a roller coaster of emotions and hard work. I'm proud that I have lost 50 pounds, but I am still dealing with a lot of emotional demons that make it hard. I'm getting stronger every day and am very proud to be on my way.

I decided a while back it was time to do another race. December 2011, the 1/2 marathon mentioned above, was my last race. It was time, so after talking to Justin, I decided it was time to do a 5k. I started my training and was back on the same road slow jogging in the same direction that I was that day so many months before. My knee was hurting and I was battling a Crohn's attack. I was praying to just make it to the police station, which was in the distance, to use their bathroom. I had my music on and the next thing I know, there is a car driving along side me. I was startled, but this lady, was totally encouraging me. "Keep up the great work. You're looking good. Thanks for the inspiration. I just had a baby 10 weeks ago and you are totally inspiring me to get out here running again." I said thanks and just like that she drove away. It meant a lot to me that someone would stop to encourage me. I have heard horror stories of some of my plus size athlete friends having mean things yelled from cars, so I was very grateful that she was encouraging me. As I was making it the last few yards to the police station I suddenly realized who that was. It was the same lady, Sara, who had encouraged me months before on the same road.

I follow her blog, so when she mentioned the baby I put two and two together and realized it was her. It really put a smile on my race and made the last few yards to the police station more doable. As I was using the bathroom a text came into my phone. It was Sara tweeting, that she had seen me out there and that I was doing a great job. It made me feel good because the last thing I felt was anything, but good in that moment.

The next day I had received an email from her apologizing for heckling me from her car. I told her that she could heckle me anytime. :) We started exchanging emails and knew that we needed to meet for coffee and not just at the side of the road.

Today was that day. We talked about her precious baby, who I got to meet. How priorities in racing change when you become a parent. How after children it is so hard to get back where we were. We talked about goals, dreams, our kids, our husbands, the Boston Marathon, Ironman, and so much more.

One thing that really stood out to me is that Sara was talking about her own journey and how she can't wait to be a fast runner again and qualify for the Boston Marathon again. She is hoping to qualify at a marathon this fall. She was telling me that in just the last week there were two times she did not want to get up and train. She had a chest cold and was very tired, but she looks at her goal of running Boston and has goals a year and a half out, and knew if she didn't get up these two mornings it would affect her goal of Boston and her goal that is a year and a half out. Everything she does is leading up to those goals. Every moment, every choice, will affect the outcome of those goals. WOW, that just hit me.

I have goals. I want to lose 30 more pounds by my trip to Walt Disney World on September 8. I want to lose 100 total pounds by my 1 year anniversary with Justin. I have a goal of a half Ironman in 2014 and Ironman Wisconsin in 2015. These are my goals as far as my health goes and my races. I have been struggling the last few weeks. Everyone has been very patient with me, my counselor is helping me with the mental aspect, and I am ready to take back control of this journey.

I am going to cling to my journey's theme Bible verse, Isaiah 43;18-"Forget the former things; Do not dwell on the past." What has happened has happened, it's done. There is nothing I can do to change that, but what I can do is change what is going to happen from this moment forward. Every decision I make right now will affect the outcome of the goals I have. It can affect my goals in a good way or in a bad way. Every food choice I make, every time I justify my way out of working out, every time I tell Justin "I can't do this," every time I sit down to watch TV or spend way too much time on the computer, or turn to food instead of God for comfort are all decisions that will have an adverse affect on my goals.

Every time I get up a little bit earlier to workout, every time I put the junk food back,every time I turn to God instead of food for comfort, every time I fight the urge to justify not eating right or working out, every time I fight through the urge to run when things get hard, every time I trust Justin and JUST DO IT, every time I don't get in my own way, every time I believe in myself and do what I need to do, these are all the decisions that will have an AWESOME affect on my goals.

I've been spending too much time lately feeling sorry for myself, not focused, and sliding backwards. My dream to do an Ironman, has been just that, a dream for 6 years now. It's time to make that dream a reality. I have the people to help me make it happen and today, I have a new perspective. Sara told me today when it is hard for her to do what she needs to do, she envisions herself crossing the finish line at The Boston Marathon. She envisions herself getting her medal and the feelings she gets when she does finish and it helps her to do what she needs to do. I have worked the finish line at Ironman Wisconsin several years now, I have worked it in Arizona, and in Canada too. The feeling of watching my friends and family finishing that race and being able to put their medal around there neck is amazing. As I struggle to make the right decisions I will take a moment to think of the finish line at Ironman Wisconsin, I will imagine them saying, "Melissa Black, You are an Ironman" and will then make the right decision, so I will be ready to start that race September 2015.

Sara has a 4 month little girl. I can see how much she loves her and wouldn't change anything. She has goals now to get back to where she was as far as running goes, before her baby girl was born. I know she will get there, she will qualify for Boston again, and will race the best race of her life because of the perspective she has going into training for this race and the most amazing thing will be when she crosses the finish line she will have her little girl there greeting her. What a role model she is for her little one. Her daughter will grow up knowing that she can do anything she puts her mind to.

We all have obstacles that come into our lives. Whether it's Sara having a baby or me getting a Crohn's diagnosis, it's time to overcome these hurdles and reach our goals.

When I cross the finish line at Ironman Wisconsin I will have an almost 18 year old daughter and a 16 year old son. I will have shown my kids that no matter what, no matter how long it takes you can reach your goals and have your dreams become a reality. Today I stop dreaming and start making this a reality.

Thank you Sara for not only a new perspective in my journey, but also for a new friendship. I cannot wait to be in Boston cheering you on to the finish line.


Denver Skip said...

Hey you!
YOU are a rock star! What a great and inspiring story! I'm not seriously overweight but I would love to lose 20 lbs. But I'm kind of a lazy bones. I don't workout/run very often, always finding excuses not to go but after reading your story and seeing how excited you are about your goals, I'm gonna get my butt in shape! I'll try to run a 5K by the end of June after I get back from California. I'm proud of ALL you O2EA folks and I'm so happy that you all are encouraging and supporting each other. Hopefully we can all run together someday.
Keep up the good work and remember to keep going forward because the past is THE WRONG WAY!
love and hugs!

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you. Your steps forward are far larger and more numerous than your steps backward. Keep shrinking and keep working out!
Love you,

girlski said...

This made me tear up. Awesome outlook!! You will be an Ironman. Just say that to yourself when you're having a tough day!