Monday, May 26, 2014

Why Do I race?

I will never be the fastest runner in a race, but I will always strive to be faster than my last race.  Today I ran a Memorial Day 5k in Florence, Ma.  It runs through town, up a HUGE hill to the VA Hospital, then pass the hospital and back down the hill to the finish line.   Last year my time was 50 minutes and I came in last place.  It is a small race with maybe 60 people at the most.   My goal today was to not walk at all, jog up the hill, and not come in last. 

Me hanging out before the race with some awesome soldiers.

Last year when I got to the top of the hill there was no one there. I was so slow that they had already closed the water stop and everyone had gone inside.   This year there were a lot of people including about 6 Vets in Wheelchairs over by the building.  I had made it up the hill without walking and was completely out of breath, I mean close to death. The two people behind me were catching up, but there were 6 Vets out there to cheer me on, much older Vets. I just couldn't run past them.  I made a split second decision ,ran a little bit off course, took my hat off, and took a minute to shake each Vet's hand and personally thanked each of them, knowing that I might not reach all my goals for the day.   I then started my way down the hill, got passed by the last two runners, but I didn't care.  I kept trudging on and when I got on the flat at the bottom of the hill I kicked it up a notch and passed them and never looked back.

 With about a half a  mile left the next thing I know there is a soldier running with me.  She said that she wanted to run the rest of the way in with me.  She said she was impressed that I never walked on the hill and that I was pushing myself even though she could tell  it was hard.  I almost burst into tears.  That meant so much to me.  Two of my friends came back to run in with me too.  I pushed hard, finished the race, reaching all of my goals for the day. The biggest one is that I shaved 6:42 off of last year's time.  I am very happy with this outcome, but when I think of this race what I will remember most are the faces of the Vets when I stopped running and took a moment to thank them.   Why do I race?  For moments like these. 

Here I am with Airman Christina at the finish line.   She is the soldier that ran into the finish line with me. 
 Me and my Energia Peeps, and my husband, Keith, at the finish line. 
 My friends, Justin Killeen (my personal trainer) and my friend Katie Lipsmeyer.
Hubby Keith and me before the race!!!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

My thoughts on the 2014 Weight Loss Challenge

In January I joined a 60 Day Weight Loss Challenge at Energia Fitness Studio in Hadley, Ma.  This is where I work out and personal train with Justin Killeen, my personal trainer for over a year now.

Justin encouraged me to join the challenge.  I really wanted to, but also had my reservations.  In the past, when I joined weight loss contests, I always ended up sabotaging myself.  I could never have more than 1 to 2 good weeks in a row. 

At this point I had been losing the same 5-7 pounds since September.  It was time to do something and time to stop self-sabotaging myself.  I also wanted to prove to myself, once and for all, that  I could do this. 

I threw myself into the challenge full force.  I basically showed up at the gym every time the doors were open, I continued to personal train with Justin, doing whatever he asked of me, and overhauled my eating, going almost all Paleo.  I started seeing my hard work paying off on the scale and in other ways as well. 

The 60 days have come and gone and I was thinking over what I accomplished and learned along the way.  As far as stats go I lost 15 pounds total.  Seven weeks out of the eight I lost weight.  The one week that I gained weight I only gained .2 pounds (that's point 2).  My first goal had been reached.  I lost weight and didn't self sabotage myself.  I am very proud of this.  After years of doubting myself and telling myself "I can't"  I finally proved to myself that I CAN. 

I really pushed myself physically during these 60 days and saw myself get stronger and stronger along the way.  I couldn't really jump at the beginning of the challenge, I couldn't jump my feet in and out while doing burpees and couldn't jog a 15 minute mile.  I am proud to say I am able to jump a lot more during exercise, I went from doing 36 burpees in 5 minutes, walking my feet in and out, to doing 51 and jumping my feet in and out for about half the time.  I had a goal of running a mile in 15 minutes by the end of the 60 days.  I completed that goal early on and went on to run a mile in 13:44. 
The words I CAN'T have left my vocabulary and my mindset.  I try everything put before me and find myself asking Justin, WHAT'S NEXT?

I can tell that I am walking a little taller and my confidence is the best it has been in years.   I have never loved myself where I am.  I always would say, "When I lose weight I'll finally be happy."  "When I lose weight I will think I'm pretty."  "When I lose weight I will finally be able to do what I want."  "When I lose weight . . . fill in the blank."  People would always tell me I needed to love myself where I was, no matter my size, but I couldn't do it.  I would look in the mirror and look at myself with disgust.  I let things from my past define me and because of losing over 100 pounds and gaining it all back, I had let that define me as a failure. I thought that this time around would just be the same.

During this 60 day challenge there was a day that I looked in the mirror and finally everything clicked.  I finally was able to see myself for who I was and finally let all the things from my past go.  I was able to love myself right where I was and I loved what I saw. The selfies that followed were proof of this. :)  It was a huge turning point for me.  It WAS so freeing, it IS so freeing.  For the first time in my life I am so happy with who I am and I will not let anyone (especially myself) or anything change that. 

Do I wish I would have lost more weight during this challenge?  Of course, but the difference this time around is that I am ok that I didn't.  Before I would have beat myself up and been down about it, but I realize that this journey is more than a number on the scale.  Physically I have changed.  I've lost 15 pounds, but not only that, I am the strongest I have been in a long time.  I am doing things that in the past I would never even attempt, I would just say I CAN'T and give up very easily.  That is not me anymore. 

The best thing that came out of this challenge is that for the first time, in many, many years I am happy and that is the best feeling ever.  I have not just lost inches and pounds, but have lost all my excuses, self-doubt, and my past.  My goal may have been to lose weight in the last 60 days, but I gained so much more that will only help me as I move forward in my journey to health.  

Thank you Justin for hosting this challenge and for believing in me even when I didn't believe in myself.  I cannot wait to see what this next year will hold for me.  Things can only continue to get better.  Watch out, here I come. 

Stay tuned for my final pictures from the challenge and inches.  I will be meeting with Justin soon to get my final stats. 

This picture is me at Energia after reaching my goal of breaking a 15 minute mile on the treadmill.