"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." ~ Anonymous

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Strong 12 Miler

About a week ago I went for my 12-mile long run happy for the beautiful day and looking forward to feeling very accomplished when I finished.

However, my legs were kind of tired or out of sorts and at about mile 8 my knees started to hurt. That wasn't normal, actually it had never happened before.  Nothing major, just a nagging something.  Then my legs began to get very tired by mile 9.

Tired as in I wanted to walk and I wondered how I was going to eek out three more miles.  But I wouldn't let myself walk, because it's kind of a rule of mine -- "You can slow down, but don't walk unless absolutely necessary."

So, I kept plugging along, knowing I had to get home and making some deals with myself:

"The training plan called for 10-12 miles, so you can stop at mile 10 and you'll be good."

That thought really helped me and after that I started with the motivational internal dialogue:

"The next mailbox, and then the one after that...take it a little bit at a time."

"Hold your head up.  You're running twelve miles today, you've got a lot to be proud of!"

"This pain is like the days you've cried and wondered if you can handle the stress of [___] one more day.  You always make it through that and you'll make it through this too."

As I neared the corner of the main road and road that leads back into my neighborhood I decided I could make it home and told myself, "You can stop when you get home.  It will be between 10-12 miles, so that will be perfect."

Then I got closer and I realized I'd get home at about 11.5 miles and I'm sure you can imagine the thought that followed...

"11.5 miles? You can do all 12, so let's take this little side road and get that extra half mile done before the house."

Somewhere in the middle of those last two miles I had the thought that will stay with me forever...

"So, you think you can take me down [stress]?? Well, I. AM. AN. ENDURANCE. ATHLETE. Yea, that's right! I CAN DO HARD THINGS. So, bring it on, because I know how to endure!"

Did any of these thoughts make my legs feel better?  No.

But did I finish all 12 miles? I sure did, and I finished a little before my house.

And as I began walking I started crying a happy painful cry, not caring one bit what the neighbors thought.  Every step hurt and I knew I had pushed myself in ways I didn't think I could.

I got to my house and my legs hurt so bad I couldn't even stretch right away.  I walked into my living room, peeling off my visor, camelback hydration pack, and plopped down on the floor in tears.

I'm pretty sure I freaked out my family a little as I pulled off socks and shoes half sobbing, half laughing all while trying to tell them my legs hurt like the dickens but I was fine.

My daughter asked if they were "happy tears" and I nodded while my husband looked on confused about how there can be anything happy about pain.

Within the next hour I got my legs stretched, downed some ibuprofen and rested enough so my legs would hold me up in the shower.  A couple hours later I felt fine and was able to complete some to-do's for the day.

At the end of the day I was proud of what I had accomplished; not only did I finish a 12-mile run strong even when I wanted to quit, but I proved to myself I can do hard things. 

Pushing through those last three miles gave me the emotional strength I needed right now.  I'll never forget those strong 12 miles and I'll always be grateful they showed up on my training plan when they did.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Long Time No See and a Challenge

Minions always make me smile....  :)

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I've blogged, and at the same time I can.  It's been busy around these parts.  I often think of things to post about, but then never get over to the computer to get the thoughts out.  

At least this time I come back with some good news.  

Half marathon training is going well.  Last Saturday I ran 12 miles and felt like my legs were going to die when I finished, but after taking some ibuprofen and resting them for about an hour everything was fine.  To be able to walk around the rest of the day and be fine after that kind of intensity is always encouraging.  It means my body is getting stronger and that makes the pain worth it.  :) 

My race is May 16th, so I still have five weeks to prepare and I know I'll be fine.  That's a relief.  :) 

The better news I have to share is that I have joined with some friends in a challenge of sorts.  The majority of the group are where we used to live in Arizona about 8 years ago and decided to put forth a challenge to help them prepare for a conference they will all be attending in May.  

I asked the leader what the details were and thought maybe I'd join them virtually just to help me get back on track with my food.  Next thing I knew she had me signed up with the group when they started.  WHAT?!?!  


Actually, it couldn't have come at a better time.  We keep in touch on Instagram, taking pictures of things we're tempted by, sweaty faces and of course... our food... as we feel led.  Everyone is donating an item to a gift basket that will be given to the winner of the challenge.  The winner is chosen by who has the most points at the end and this is how you earn points: 

1 point daily if you stuck to your "diet" (each individual is responsible to decide what that means for them"
1 point daily if you drank your water -- minimum 64 oz.  
1 point daily for every 30 minutes of exercise you complete
1 point weekly for every pound lost -- we weigh on Monday mornings and post our weight.

Then... you can lose points by the following:
-1 point if you don't exercise on the weekend at all
-1 point for every pound you gain each week.

My friend set up a Google calendar and we all check in daily on that.  

I can't believe how motivating and encouraging it has been.  To think, "I need to finish my water bottle and get that point!"  or "That snack will put me over my calorie budget and I won't earn my diet point for today, so do I really want it??" makes it all kind of fun.  

Another aspect that has been fun is I've been able to direct some of the gals over to my blog and share my weight loss story thus far.  This group was limited to 12 participants and most of them remember me as the overweight, sedentary Leah.  

They've been supportive as I've been honest about the 20-pound weight gain from last year and also to share things I've learned along the way.  

Being able to share my story, while also having to be accountable on a very personal level [read: daily check-ins] has been so helpful for me.  My main goal with this challenge was to get back to tracking my food daily, drinking more water and lose some of the 20 pounds I gained.  

Check.  Check. and almost Check.

The scale went down, then up and it's down again.  If I see any loss over the course of this challenge I will feel successful;  because the fact that I'm getting that water drank and tracking my food at least 5-6 days a week is such a step in the right direct for me right now.  

So, life is still going on.  I'm still going through some pretty stressful personal stuff, but there is progress and happy news on the health front and for that I'm grateful.  

Thanks for checking in!  As always, I will never give up and I continue pressing on.