Category Archives: Inspiration

Beginning Again…with Beginner Shred

While I was planning this post I went back and read my last one, which was several months ago.  It was about how I’m constantly abandoning this blog, because I feel like I have nothing to share.  It was another post about how I’m starting again and I’m going to keep fighting.  Well…here I am again.  I often feel like I have nothing to give and I can’t help anyone, because look how much of a mess I am.  Maybe this is exactly what I have to give.  I’m someone who makes mistakes.  I’m someone who lets life get in the way or gets down and frustrated and quits.  I’m also someone who keeps starting again.  One of these times I hope it sticks, but I’m not going to stop fighting until it does.

 

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Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here’s where I am right now.  I have done all 3 races at the Princess Half Marathon weekend for the first time since I was injured in 2015.  I am working on taking care of myself and making my health and well-being a priority.  It seems that this is something many people struggle with.  How do we balance it all?  I don’t think anyone has it all figured out.  All we can do is keep trying, and that’s what I’m doing right now.

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After I got back into running, and had my comeback half marathon, I needed a new challenge.  Strength training has never been my thing and I’ve always wanted to work on it.  After a trip to the Dollar Tree, where I hit the jackpot on workout DVDs, I discovered Beginner Shred with Jillian Michaels.  I like a lot of her other videos and this seemed like great way to get myself back into strength training.   It includes three twenty-minute workouts (not including warm-up and cool down), which combine strength training and cardio intervals.  Each workout increases in intensity and is meant to be done for 10 days.  This is very similar to her other DVDs, but it is meant to ease you in.  It makes a good choice for people who are just getting into fitness or starting over after some time off.  I just completed day 5 of level one, and I’m excited to see how it goes.  Stay tuned for my progress, and other fun things.  Let me know if there are any common weight loss or health and fitness questions you have.  I’m certainly no expert, but I’ll do my best!

Keep Getting Up

I feel like I’ve written almost this same blog post so many times over the last couple of years. For one reason or another, I have had to start from zero on my fitness journey many times. I’ve let it get me down and discourage me from sharing, because I felt like I didn’t have enough to give.

This time didn’t seem any different, but once again, God has used a song to speak to me. Music is powerful, and this song is no exception. It played while I was in the gym, starting over for what seems like the millionth time. It’s only been a day or so since I told myself that I probably can’t run another half marathon. “Can’t” is that word I used to hate so much. It’s the word that got me to start running in the first place. I started running because I refused to admit that there was something I couldn’t do, just because I was afraid to try. For so long, I’ve felt like that girl was gone. The girl who never stopped trying, no matter how many obstacles got in her way? I thought she was gone forever. For the first time in a long time, I saw a glimmer of her in me again.

I’ve gotten off track again! The song! It is called, “Keep Getting Up” by Mandisa. The words have been speaking to me for a while, but the person in the song always felt just beyond my grasp. Today, as I got lost in the words, I felt them start to sink in. They actually started to feel possible.

It’s not gravity that tethers us to the ground
What if it’s only doubt and we can somehow shut it out
Get mad and shout, “I won’t stay down”

I still have a lot of work to do, and I know I’ll still have tough days, but today was the start of something. Today, I started to feel like me again. That girl is still in there, fighting. Step by step, day by day, maybe even minute by minute, I’ll get her back. I have to.

My first race ever! One of the best days of my life.

Finding my way back to running…finding my way back to me…

Wow. Has it really been a year since I’ve written here? I suppose it has! What a year this has been. Most of it was plagued with injury, which meant I was mostly frustrated. I was in physical therapy for several months. I’m technically “discharged,” but I still have a long road to recovery ahead of me. It seems like I take two steps forward, then one step back. I am getting better, but setbacks have been a regular occurrence. I have gone from being sad to angry to afraid, and back to sad again. I miss running. Most of all, I miss who I am when I’m running.

My running has been a lot like my therapy. I would really get going for a while and then something (an increase in pain, the flu, etc. etc.) would hit and derail me. Then, I’d have to start all over again. Sometimes I’d get back to it and keep progressing for a while. Other times, I just didn’t start again for months. In the last couple of months, I just haven’t been running at all. Today…I ran. I didn’t run far, and I didn’t run fast…but I ran. I lip-synced, I danced (only from the waist up…I was on a treadmill after all), I got sweaty. It was amazing. I cannot remember the last time I had that much fun. I felt alive. I felt like me again. I had forgotten what the runner’s high felt like. It is real and it is awesome.

Since I am starting over again, I think I’m going to try to approach this like a new runner. As someone who has been running for a few years now, I remember being a little jealous of people who were new. There is nothing like the excitement and the sense of accomplishment you feel every time you accomplish a new goal, no matter how small it might be. Now, I have the chance to experience all of those things again, but with the knowledge of a more experienced runner. It might just be the best of both worlds. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but it will be worth it. I am worth it.

When I go back and read what I wrote last year, it looks like I am in exactly the same spot. Sometimes it feels that way too. All I can do is go from here and work every day to get back to who I know I’m meant to be, even in small ways.

We’re on this journey together! Please don’t hesitate to contact me by email, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter if you have questions or just need to talk to someone who understands. Blessings and happy running (or walking or whatever you love) to everyone!

Note: I wrote this last week, and technical difficulties delayed the posting. A few days after I ran, I got sick. It’s another setback, but I’m not giving up!

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Ups and Downs of Healthy Living

As some of you may know, last year was a difficult one for me. I had many struggles with my health that made it difficult to train for my second half marathon. In the weeks leading up to the race, I got sick again. So, I didn’t get the training in that I’d hoped. I still felt like I would probably be able to finish, and felt I should at least try.

Race day came, and we’ll just say that parts of my body were already feeling iffy. I got going, and the farther I went, the more I hurt. There were definitely times when I didn’t think I could finish. The one thing that remained consistent was God. He never left me, and he always let me know He was there. Throughout the race, I saw people with shirts that said “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13) This is a verse that has brought me strength and confidence throughout the past few years of struggle. No matter how much it hurt, I knew I could finish. I did, with a decent time, but it wasn’t pretty. In the following days, I got sick as well. So, this time, I came back sick and injured.

I won’t lie. The weeks that followed have been pretty difficult. I realize all of these are first world problems, and I don’t have an incurable disease. I know I came home to a roof over my head, food on the table, and a job. It has still been frustrating and painful. I haven’t been able to run more than a 5K distance, and cross training has been slow going as well. There were times when I wanted to quit. As recently as the last few days I have thought about it, if I’m being honest. Running is hard, and can be painful on a good day. Why do I even bother anymore? (I do get the irony that this post is going to follow the one called “Why Are You Running?” by the way…) In the last couple of weeks, I have tried to slowly get back on track. I won’t say that I am 100% confident right now, but I do know one thing. When I am running, I feel more like me than any other time. I am going to do everything I can to get back to the person I used to be.

I know that recently I have stepped away from this blog and social media. I could come up with all kinds of excuses…too tired, too busy, etc. etc. The truth is, I didn’t feel like I had anything worthwhile to contribute. I haven’t been on track with exercise, so I couldn’t give you any fitness tips. My attitude and focus have been up and down and all over the place, so I couldn’t inspire you or give you advice. What I have realized recently, is that this is precisely why I should be sharing. I am sure a lot of you have experienced struggles in the journey to healthy living. Maybe if I am honest about mine, someone will feel less alone. We’re all in this together! It is never going to be easy, but it helps when you feel like someone else understands.

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Please feel free to contact me through Facebook, Twitter, email, or in the comments with any questions, or if you would just like to share.

Why are you running?

On a run several weeks ago, I encountered a family pulling a little girl in a wagon. As I ran past, she said “Hi,” and I said “Hi,” back. Just as I got past her, she said, “Why are you running?” I was in the zone, and already gone by the time her words hit me. They stuck with me though. Why am I running? As I ran, I thought about this. My first thought was, “Because it’s fun.” This is true…sometimes. It can be fun, but any runner can tell you that it’s not fun 100% of the time. It can be hard, frustrating, painful, and downright maddening. All these things considered, it is also one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.

Anyone who knows about my background knows that I was never an athlete. Pushing my body to the limit, and accomplishing something on this level, gives me a joy that I never imagined. I am living a life I never thought possible, and it is thanks in large part to running. It sounds crazy, and sometimes I wonder why I do it. Then I remember the indescribable feeling I have when I accomplish something I never thought possible.

I used to see people running and think, “They are crazy! Why would you put your body through that?!” Now I know. I do it because is part of who I am. No matter how fast I go, no matter how far I go, I am a runner.

If you run, why do you do it? If not, insert any other physical activity you enjoy! Why do you do what you do?

Overcomer

For various health reasons (none of which turned out to be serious, all of which are on their way out), this has been a rough year. I started out running my first half marathon (and the 5K and the 10K…) at the runDisney Princess Half Marathon weekend at Walt Disney World. I was in the best shape I have ever been in, and it was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. After I came home, it seemed like one thing after another sidelined me. I tried to keep my fitness level up, but I would take two steps forward and one step back. As soon as I would start getting my running built back up, something else would happen to set me back. It has been pretty discouraging, to be honest. It has been far from the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through, but I definitely had some down times. There were moments when I wanted to just give up. What was the point of trying, if I was just going to have to start over again later?

Over the past several weeks, however, I have been getting stronger every day. Sure, I have had some setbacks, but I feel like I am on my way to a comeback. As He often does, God has been reaching me through music. Each time I run, I seem to hear the song I need at the moment I need it. This song is “Overcomer” by Mandisa. I’ve always related to it, due to the healthy living journey I have been on. Now, I hear it in a completely different way. If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend you find the video on YouTube. I hope you are changed by it too.

Here is a sample of the lyrics:

“You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds you
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer”

“The same Man, the Great I Am
The One who overcame death
He’s living inside of you
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the One who holds your life
There’s nothing He can’t do
He’s telling you”

Deep down, I have always believed these words. I know “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” (Phil. 4:13). However, I am still human. Doubt creeps in. I begin to think that I can’t do it anymore. I can’t go on. Little by little, I am reminded that God has made me strong. I am capable of so much more than I thought. I am an Overcomer…and you can be too.

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Finding my way back to running…

A few weeks ago, I started running regularly again. I started out with about 15-20 minutes, because I didn’t want to overdo it and get injured. It was hard…really hard. I got very discouraged, because I thought “If I can’t run for 15 minutes without wanting to quit, how will I ever run a half marathon again?” I kept pushing forward, gradually increasing the time, but it wasn’t really getting any easier. I really thought about giving up. I told myself that maybe that amazing race weekend was a once in a lifetime experience. It was just a moment in time I would have to remember fondly, but never experience again. I tried to tell myself that would be okay, but the truth was that it broke my heart.

I kept pushing through, refusing to accept that my first half marathon would be my last. A little over a week ago, something happened. I finished a training run and while it was still difficult, it felt good. Really good. It felt like I was on my way back. For the first time in months, I actually felt like I can do this. I can find my way back!

I decided at the last minute to register for a 5K that I had been considering running for several months. This was the same race I ran last year, after completing a month-long road trip during which I ran twice. Results were not good. If I recall, it took me nearly an hour to finish. My mom was there again this year as official cheerleader/photographer/stuff holder. I told her not to start worrying about me until after the one hour mark. Since I was even more out of practice than I had been last year, I did not have high hopes. It was a pretty hot day, and I expected that to make things more difficult as well. I crossed the starting line, and made my way through some narrow spots. Soon, I found my rhythm. It was hot and it wasn’t pretty, but it was amazing. I felt like me again. Surprisingly, I finished in 40 minutes! This is only about 5 minutes slower than my PR!

I met Deena Kastor (Olympic medalist in the women's marathon) after the race!
I met Deena Kastor (Olympic medalist in the women’s marathon) after the race!

I don’t expect this to be an easy road, by any means. I do expect that I will get there. I will get back to the girl who finished that half marathon a few months ago. Who knows? Maybe I will even pass her.

Doing Nothing, but Staying Strong

As you may have noticed, I have been absent from this blog and from most social media. In February, I completed the Glass Slipper Challenge (10K plus a half marathon…also the 5K for kicks) at Walt Disney World. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt more accomplished. I will write a full post on this (with pictures!) at a later date. I returned from that trip, and almost immediately got the flu. I have been feeling pretty crummy ever since. I went to the doctor and he assures me it is not serious and it will go away. I just have to wait it out.

Waiting…it is something I have never been good at. Yet somehow, it is something God continually wants me to do. Doing nothing can be so much more difficult than doing something. Just when it seemed like I figured out what made me the happiest, that part of my life was taken away. It may only be temporary, but it has still been difficult. My biggest stress relief has been taken from me during a time when I very badly need stress relief.

“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10) God uses all sorts of circumstances, large and small, to refine us. We learn something in each trial, and become stronger in the process. What I am learning is that this situation is no different than half marathon training. It took strength, endurance, focus, and determination to prepare for that race. When things got difficult, I kept my eyes on the end goal. Now, I must do the same. No matter how frustrating this might be, I have to stay focused. If this means I have to rest when I want to run, so be it. If it means I have to start over completely as a new runner, so be it. It may look like doing nothing, but is it really?

The Roller Coaster We Call Maintenance

This spring, I reached my goal weight. I was thrilled, relieved, and terrified. Thrilled, because I had worked so long and hard, and had finally achieved my goal. Relieved, because I once thought it wasn’t possible. Terrified, because I had absolutely no clue how to maintain. Losing weight? I had become pretty confident in my ability to do that (finally), after I lost over 100 pounds. Gaining weight? I think we all know I was confident I could do that as well. Maintenance? I had no clue how to do that. I’d never been at goal weight, so I certainly had never maintained.

I embarked on this new journey with a little bit of trepidation, but I was eager to get started. Everyone has different opinions about how maintenance should be done with Weight Watchers. Some eat every point coming to them in weight loss, and they continue this in maintenance. Some eat only their dailies (which increase by 6 in maintenance mode), and others are somewhere in between. I used only my dailies most of the time. Once I entered maintenance mode, I wasn’t sure what I should do. First, I tried sticking to my dailies. I lost two pounds. I knew I needed to adjust my points, or I would continue losing. I tried eating more. I gained…then I gained some more. I went up 5 pounds in total, and showed no signs of stopping. I went back into weight loss mode, readjusted my goal weight, and began losing again. Once again, I reached goal, went back to maintenance, and began gaining weight. I am still tweaking my methods and figuring things out, and I seem to be getting on the right track.

I am still not sure what maintenance will look like for me, but I know I will figure it out. I know that this is where I am meant to be. I won’t give up, no matter how difficult things may get. The journey to healthy living, weight loss, and maintenance is never finished. It takes adjustment to figure out what works for you. Never give in. Never stop believing in yourself.

This is a post I have been holding onto for a long time. I felt like I was holding myself back a little in sharing with everyone, because I am still figuring this out. However, I have realized that by sharing struggles, we can all learn from each other and we can feel a little less alone. Please let me know if you have questions, need support, or if you have suggestions for future posts. You can send me a message on Facebook, Twitter, or email me at the address on the right of the page! (I’m sorry I had to remove the contact form, but I was getting a ton o’ spam!)

Running to Remember…

Twelve years ago today, I was on my college campus, just minutes after I heard the news of the terrorist attacks. I stood in the student union and watched the footage of the first plane hitting, then the second. Everyone crowded around the televisions in shock and disbelief. Could this really happen on our soil? This was the land of the free, the home of the brave. If something like this could happen here, what would happen next? What were we supposed to do now? That day, my friends and I did the only thing we knew how to do. We got together and prayed. None of us really knew what to say, but we spoke from our hearts, crying out to God in sorrow, confusion, and fear.

In the days, weeks, months, even years that followed, we tried to process this event. We all came together and remembered. Even if we didn’t know someone who was directly affected by the attacks, we were all affected. We all lost something that day. Twelve years have passed, and we all remember where we were when we heard the news, and what we did next.

Just a few days ago, I was able to reflect in a new way. I participated in the Run to Remember, a 5K and 10K race held to honor those who were lost that day, twelve years ago. It was my first 10K, something I had spent months training for, but it was profound in so many other ways. The event opened with a presentation of the colors, followed by the National Anthem. Then the statistics were read. We reflected on how many adults, children, and first responders were lost. We heard how many children were left without parents, how many people were injured, how many were still affected by post traumatic stress disorder. They were haunting numbers, just as large as I remembered. Then, we were led in prayer. Just like all those years ago, we prayed for God to watch over those who lost someone…to watch over us all, and to help us remember.

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The race began. Once I crossed the start line, it was not unlike other races I had participated in..until I caught up to the firefighters. Two firefighters ran in full gear. The heat was blistering, and they ran the entire 6.2 miles. I ran with them, slightly in front, or behind them for the majority of the race. It was truly an honor to be running alongside them. Along the course, there were firefighters standing to the side, cheering us on, and thanking us for participating. It was incredibly humbling to have a firefighter thank us for running in a race. They risk their lives every day, running into danger when others run out, yet they were thanking us for running on a course. I can’t quite describe what that was like.

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After we crossed the finish line, there was a memorial. There was a color guard and firefighters in full uniform stationed outside. We were given a flag to place inside the memorial. There was a space for each person we lost in the attacks, printed with their name. We were to place the flag beside the name, and write down the name so that we could go online to read that person’s biography. We have all heard the numbers, but to see thousands of names and thousands of flags was staggering. We placed our flags there and left the memorial. Suddenly, the fact that I was standing in the same city where I heard the news, just miles from my school, just hit me. Tears came to my eyes and I spent a moment reflecting…remembering. To take something that I have truly come to love, that has changed my life, and make it a part of this beautiful tribute was something I will never forget.

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