Thursday, June 23, 2016

Taking a HUGE step today.

We tend to remember the negative things that people say about us for years and years.  Years ago and I mean Y E A R S ago, some one told me I had huge arms.  He thought they looked like a chicken leg, tiny on the bottom and big on top.   I've always been self-conscious about my arms anyway, so when this statement was said to me, I took it to heart.  I have not worn a tank top or anything with really short sleeves.  I really let what was said to me affect me all these years.  So I have big arms. . . . does that make me any less of a person?  No, I am a wonderful person.  

I have decided today that I will no longer give that person power over me.  Today I decided that in order to love myself after I lose weight, I need to love myself right now, flaws and all.  Today I decided I am going to wear tank tops. This may seem like a little thing to you, but it is a HUGE step for me today. 

I wore a tank top all day.  I have to say I was really self-conscious, but I was proud of myself that I was able to do it and no one said anything to me, so I am on my way.  Onto loving myself for the awesome person I am and not just how I look.  Today was a good day in my journey to loving myself inside and out.

Also, I had a great day at Weight Watchers:
Starting Weight: 329.6
This week's weight loss: -3.4
Total Weight loss to date: 5.8
Current Weight: 323.8

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Gratitude for my body!!

Last night, at Weight Watchers, we were challenged to look in the mirror and thank our bodies for what it does for us, instead of looking in the mirror and only seeing the negative.  So, here I go:

  • First of all, I am thankful that my body works.  I do not need to be in a wheelchair or walk with a walker, etc.  Thank you body for working.

  • Thank you to my stomach and my intestines for cooperating together and causing my Crohn's Disease to be in remission for almost 2 years, med free.  I truly appreciate this break from a horrible disease.

  • Thank you to my eyes.  I love making eye contact with people and making them feel important because I am focused on them.  Thank you for all the beautiful things and people that I see everyday!

  • Thank you to my mouth for always smiling and laughing and making other people smile and laugh.  Thank you also for helping me encourage and help others by my kind words.  Thanks for the ability to sing.

  • Thank you to my hands for being strong, so I can lend a helping hand, help myself, workout, write letters and words of encouragement.

  • Thank you to my legs for carrying me through the day!  Thank you for helping me workout and for helping me dance and have fun with the kids I work with.

  • Thank you feet for helping me walk and run races to raise awareness for causes close to my heart.

  • Most importantly I want to thank my heart for pumping life throughout my whole body.  I'm thankful that my heart is at the center of everything I do.  It not only gives me life, it helps me love others, love my family, love God, and NOW love myself.
No matter how I feel about the physical aspects of my body, I can put those aside now and really appreciate all my body does for me, flaws and all. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

It's been awhile.

Wow, didn't realize it's been a year since I last blogged.  Time to get at it again.  I look at myself, where I am today, and it is nowhere where I thought I would be at this time.

 I started off the new year with a bang.  This was going to be my year.  I got back from vacation and told my personal trainer, Justin, not to hold back.  Things were going great, joined a weight loss challenge, and then one day in early January, felt something weird in my neck, had pain in my shoulder, and all the sudden had tingling down my arm to my hand, and even had some numbness. 

I will spare you all the details, so the long and short of it is. . .   I have a herniated disc in my neck on the left side.   I will need surgery to fix it in my future, but right now I am keeping it at bay by getting pain management shots.  I also found out at this time, that I also have a herniated disc on the right side of my neck. Eventually I will need surgery on that too.  When the surgery is done I will have to have the bones fused and will lose some movement in my neck.  Scary stuff. 

I let this get the better of me and over the last few months I have gained all my weight  back plus some.  I felt sorry for myself and turned to food for comfort.  Usually when I eat for comfort it is not as bad because I could workout and at least keep my weight the same, but this time I couldn't work out and still turned to food, so there is not beating around the bush, IT WAS BAD.

Before all of this I made big plans for 2015.  I was going to drop weight, do a 1/2 marathon leading up to a 1/2 Ironman in August.  Because of this injury I was not able to start training.  I had already paid for the 1/2 marathon and I decided to go ahead and still do it and my doctor told me if I walked the whole thing he gave me his ok.

Right before the race I headed back to Weight Watchers, started working out with Justin  more and trained as much as I could for the half marathon, located in Denver, Colorado.

My weigh in at Weight Watchers (WW going forward) 2 weeks before the race was 312.4 pounds.  That is the heaviest I have EVER been.  It was really hard to see that and know that I let myself get above 300 pounds again.  Something I thought would never happen.

I headed out to Colorado and walked the race on May 17.   It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I finished, but it was ugly.  With every painful step I took I promised myself this could not be how I lived my life.  I need to get healthy once and for all.  I need to get this weight off, figure out what is going on with my body and do what I need to do.  I need to quit turning to food for comfort.  I don't know what is going to happen with my neck, but until I do I cannot feel sorry for myself anymore.  I know how to eat right and I know how to work out.  I just need to be consistent and love myself way more than I do.  My goals are way bigger than any cookie, cake, chips, or sweet coffee drink.  Food only gives me a moment of comfort, but being healthy and happy will give me a lifetime of comfort. 

This picture is of me after the race.  This is my Fresh Start.  It used to bug me how many times I have had to write on this blog, that I'm starting over, but the fact is, I'm not giving up.  It reminds me of this great quote: " Life is not about how many times you fall down.  It's about how many times you get back up." -Jaime Escalante

So no matter how many times I have to, I will start over, until I get this right.  NO matter what, don't give up, keep trying, keep getting up, and eventually you'll get there.  By the way, I'm down 3.8 pounds since my last WW meeting.  I now weigh 308.6.  My goal this week is to lose 6.2 pounds, to make it 10 pounds lost total.  I weigh in on Tuesday nights, so I will update you then. 

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.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

One Year Ago. . . . .

A year ago today, was the first day I ever worked out with my personal trainer, Justin Killeen of Pioneer Valley Fitness.  That day I started taking my life back  and I am so glad that Justin is part of that. 

Has it been the year I wanted?  Not exactly, but it is the year that I went through and learned so much from. 

First of all, I never thought I was a person with control issues, but I can tell you that is something I have learned about myself working out with Justin.  At the beginning I would fight him at every turn.  I would turn the treadmill down, tell him "I can't" and even tell him "No."  I wanted to be in control of the machines, how many reps I did, etc.  If I couldn't be in control  there were times that I panicked.  So much so, there was even a time that Justin had to physically hold me on the treadmill while I freaked out and finished what he asked of me.  When I did finish I felt such a sense of accomplishment. 

I have learned more than ever that I turn to food for comfort.  I mean, this is something that I have always known, but just how much really came to light this year.  There were times this year, and I am not proud of this at all, where I lied to Justin about what I ate and even lied to him about my weigh ins.  I did this because I was turning to food during tough times and then embarrassed about having to tell him that I had messed up AGAIN.   What was only supposed to be one lie ended up snowballing and everything caught up to me. 

I fessed up.  That was one of the hardest things that I had to ever do.  I thought for sure that Justin would let me go as a client because if you don't have honesty, then what do you have?  Justin didn't let me go.  He was hurt, but he forgave me and we put it behind us.  That really meant a lot to me and I knew from that day forward I would never lie to him again and to this day I haven't.

I had to figure out why I was turning to food for comfort and I had to figure out why I lied, so not only was I learning about my body physically, but I was also growing spiritually and mentally.  I have a counselor that has helped me with all of this. 

During all of these up and downs,  I had gained some of the weight I had lost back and I was really getting down.  I could either let this get to me or get my butt in gear.  I decided it was time to get my butt in gear. 

I'm no longer turning to food for comfort.  I turn to God, write poetry, and journal when I'm frustrated.  I also have a punching bag in my gym, so that comes in handy too.  I have always had a personal relationship with God, but this past year my relationship with Him has grown so much.  I love that God loves me where I am, how I am, and loves me for who I am and not what I do.  I've always known this, but this is the first time I really feel it and get it.

I figured out that the lying had a lot to do with worrying about what others thought and feeling like I was going to let people down.  I have spent my whole life worrying what others think, letting people down, and putting everyone else first.  After all the stuff with Justin I realized the only person I need to worry about is myself and I don't need to worry about what  anyone thinks anymore except God.  If I'm doing what He wants everything else will take care of itself.

Another thing I have learned this year is to be more communicative.    When it gets tough my usual MO is to not talk about it.  Keep things in.  Say that I am fine even when I am not.  Justin has made me communicate with him.  He won't allow me to say "I'm fine" anymore or be silent. It's not always easy to tell him how I am doing, but I am communicating better and things are going better because of it.  I am also making a HUGE effort to communicate better in my everyday life.  I do not need to keep things in anymore.  I stand up for myself when needed and let people know when things hurt me.  I feel so much better now that I communicate better.  Holding things in only led to me not feeling good about myself, which ultimately led to me turn to food for comfort and we all know where that leads. 

Another huge corner that I have turned is that I no longer hang on to the past.  That has been an up and down battle all year.  I had lost 106 before and I gained all of it back except for 1 pound.  I was looking to that as a major failure.  I was also dwelling on other mistakes from my past and situations that had come my way in life.  I was not forgiving myself.  In fact I was turning to food through all of this.  Even though I felt bad about gaining the weight back I would turn to food, which would just make me feel worse.  It was and is a vicious cycle and one that no one will understand until they have walked in my shoes. 

In the last few weeks God has really freed me from my past.   He tells me to not dwell on the past in the Bible.  It says in Isaiah 43:18 "Do not dwell on the past; Forget the former things."  If God can forgive me and doesn't dwell on my past mistakes, it was time for me to do the same.  I feel like I have turned a HUGE corner with this and it was like a ton of bricks was lifted up off my back. It will always be a struggle, but it is one that I am beating more and more everyday. 

My goal this past year was to lose 100 pounds.  Did I hit that goal?  No.  Am I disappointed?  I was at first, but as I looked at the past year and all that I have learned and how much I have grown, I know that everything that happened, happened for a reason and I am exactly where I am supposed to be. 

How much did I lose?  I have lost 30 pounds this year.  That is on average 1/2 a pound a week.  I'm back at it.  I'm mentally and spiritually the strongest I have ever been and I look forward to this next year.  I know that with God, Justin, and my Counselor, James, helping me I will hit all the goals that I have. 

Justin, thanks for a great year.  Thanks for never giving up on me.  Thanks for not letting me quit when I wanted to.  Thanks for holding me on the treadmill.  Thanks for challenging me.  Thanks for all the encouragement.  Thanks for getting tough when I needed you too.  I look forward to this next year and am so glad that I have you by my side. 



Monday, October 07, 2013

Another poem

I have been turning to God's word when I am stressed lately.  I am trying to turn to God for comfort and not my old stand by food.  I have been taking the scriptures I read and writing poetry based on those scriptures.  Here my latest poem:

Be Still by Melissa Black

"What am I going to do?  Which way do I turn?
I need help.  For help I yearn.

"Be Still"

My heart is racing
I'm up and I'm pacing.

"Be Still"

Decisions I need to make
Medicine I have to take

"Be Still"

I can't fall asleep.  I get no rest.
I'm trying to figure out what is best.

"Be Still" 

I let fear rule my thinking day after day.
"What if" is a question I often say.

"Be Still" 

"What is that?  What do I hear?
In the midst of the chaos, a voice is near."

"Be Still and know that I am God." 

"Be still, listen, it's going to be ok. 
I am God I will take all the chaos away.

You don't need food for comfort or approval from others.
I am your friend and I will stick closer than a brother." 

I'm glad I listened and was still.
I can't do this on my own.  I never will.

If I can just remember this I know I'll be alright.
I need to give it all to God, for me He will fight.

Psalm 46:10- He says, "Be still and know that I am God."

Proverbs 18:24- One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Deuteronomy 3:22- Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God Himself will fight for you.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Poetry instead of food

Tonight I wanted to turn to food for comfort, but instead I wrote a poem. Here is it:

My heart is broken, hurting, torn apart
which way do I turn, where do I start?

I look to the left, I look to the right
who will help me through this fight?

People close to me, look to me, they have a lot going on.
I don't know what to do, I'm overwhelmed even though I'm supposed to be strong.

I'm not feeling well.  All I want is to be healthy
I look up and ask, "Who is going to  help me?"

The Lord answers me and says, "Remember I created the heavens and earth
and I've been here to help you since the day of your birth.

Just call out to me, I hear what you say.
I will help you.  I will help you,  day after day."

So I tell Him what is going on and all my concerns.
He says, "don't worry my child I won't let you get burned."

So tonight I go to bed knowing everything will be ok
and tomorrow God will help me face a new day.

As I sleep I know I can rest
Because God NEVER slumbers and He ALWAYS protects.

This poem is based on Psalm 121 1-3

1-I raise my eyes toward the mountains where will my help come from?

2-My help comes from the Lord. The Maker of heaven and earth

3-He will not let my foot slip, My protector will not sleep.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Loving all of me

I have some amazing friends in Colorado that I met on Facebook. Richard and Carlos are their names. Richard has lost 160 pounds and started a coaching business called Overweight To Endurance Athlete (O2EA). I met them through a friend and joined their Facebook group in early January of this year. I instantly bonded with the group as most of them have been battling weight issues and totally understand what I am going through. They are an amazing group of people.

In April Richard and Carlos came to Massachusetts so Richard could run the Boston Marathon. That is the first time I got to meet them in person. I hung out with them the day before the Marathon and it was like we had known each other for a long time. That is how I feel about everyone in the group. Richard and Carlos and most of the group members are based out of Colorado and are a great support system to each other. I have been super disappointed that they are in Colorado because I really could use the support that they all give to each other in person. I knew I had to go and meet these amazing people. That opportunity came sooner than I had thought it would.

My family and I planned a vacation to head out west for a road trip. I flew out early and spent 4 days with my O2EA family. I got to meet everyone that had been supporting me for months online. The first night we all got together it felt so weird to be sitting there, in person, with them all. Again, it was like we had known each other for a long time. I got to hang out with them, workout with them, and talk with them. It was just the recharging I needed to keep going in my journey.

One of the highlights was climbing up Richard and Carlos’ backyard with Richard. (They live on top of a mountain) We sat up there and talked awhile. He was encouraging me in my journey, but pointed out that he could tell I wasn’t happy. He asked me, “Can you look in the mirror and say that you are happy?” I realized in a lot of ways I am not happy. I told him that when I look in the mirror there is still a lot of things I don’t like about myself physically. I don’t like looking in the mirror. Yes, I have come a long way in my journey, but I still see how far I have to go. I still see the parts of me that I don’t like.

As we talked I realized that I am still looking back more than I realized. I always talk about RELENTLESS FORWARD MOTION. No looking back at the past, only look forward to the future, but I slip from time to time and look back and remember losing the weight the first time and remember gaining it all back and think about how I failed.

I told Richard that there are A LOT of things that I love about myself and he said, “You can’t just love some things about yourself. You have to love all of you.” People over and over have told me that I need to love myself where I am right now. That losing the weight is not going to make everything better. That if I don’t love myself now I will not love myself any better just because I am thin.

I have a God that loves me unconditionally. He loves me flaws and all. He never leaves me, never gives up on me, and doesn’t ask me to be a certain way for Him to love me, so why do I do that to myself? I just don’t know how to get past what I see in the mirror and how I feel about myself, to love me where I am today. I pray and thank God for all that he has blessed me with. I ask Him to help me see myself as He sees me. I try to forgive myself for the mistakes I have made in the past. I pray and ask Him to help me see all the positives and to learn from the negatives. I ask Him to teach me to love myself as He loves me, but it is hard and I have been struggling with this a lot lately.

I know some of my blog posts seem to repeat themselves, but for those of you who have struggled with your weight or are still struggling with your weight you understand that this is a cycle. That the mental part of this process is the hardest and if we don’t work on the mental aspect we will never have the physical achievements that we want.

Recently I asked myself if I were to never lose another pound would I be ok with that and the answer was no. That saddened me because I am not defined by the scale or my appearance yet I am basing so much of my happiness on that.

I keep thinking that dropping the weight will make me happy, but after a lot of reflection I know that this is not true. I need to love all of me right now, right where I am. I’m not sure how to do this, but I am going to work on this, because being unhappy is not where I want to be.
With God’s help, my counselor’s help, my family and my amazing friends’ help I know I will be able to overcome this. Thanks Richard for our talk on top of the mountain. It was hard, I cried, I have reflected on what you said, and have grown because of it. I truly believe God puts people in our lives for a reason and I thank God every day for you, Carlos and my O2EA family.

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.