Testing. Testing. Is this mic on??? [Pattern testing.]

Last week, I felt like a celebrity.  One of my blog posts was featured on a really nice website that I follow (without my prompting the blog owner to please-please-pretty-please feature me) and I was selected as a tester for a new pattern from an indie designer called 5 Out Of Four patterns.  My husband pretended to be my paparazzi and took all of these pictures of me.  They came out great!

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{Guest post} Why I don’t diet.

Have you ever met someone and instantly clicked with them?  That’s what happened when I “met” Sherry.  I say “met” because we met on MyFitnessPal and realized that we were so similar.  She was the first friend that I had that shared my love of running.  I didn’t love running when I met her, but over time, I grew to love it and -dare I say- NEED it.  

Sherry inspired me to stay on top of my fitness goals and to push myself when I really just wanted to quit.  She is an amazingly inspiring woman who has a lot of life experience and wisdom to share with the world.  You can find Sherry on YouTube.

-sam

For so much of my life, dieting was supposed to be my refuge, my fix-all plan to extinguish every miserable piece of fat on my body and turn me into some all-star beauty queen who was free of hurt, shame and embarrassment. Dieting would turn me into the girl who was courageous enough to stand up to any task. Dieting would turn me into the girl who didn’t get pushed around. Dieting would turn me into the girl whom everyone wanted to be, rather than the girl I was: the girl who no one wanted to become. Continue reading

Don’t look up to me.

A lot of people have been telling me recently that I inspire them to be fit.

“If [Sam] can do it, I can do it.”

“I can’t believe you’re still running [while pregnant]!”

“Seeing your posts reminds me that healthiness and activity are a part of a lifestyle… thank you for leading by example.”

These are such huge compliments.  Like, really though, I don’t “deserve” it.  I’m not saying I don’t deserve the compliment because I have some sort of reverse pride issue.  I’m saying this because I really don’t deserve it.  Let me explain:

I’ve been doing this exercise thing for a while now.  At first, I wanted to lose weight (see my post about that here) and then -when I wasn’t losing weight no matter how much I worked out- I changed my mind about my motivation (I posted about that here).  I decided that I wanted to see if I could stay committed to something even when I don’t see results.  I wanted to break this habit of quitting things when they weren’t going my way.

But now that I’m pregnant (30 weeks, 3 days as of today) my motivation for working out is kind of selfish: I don’t want to be fat.  Yep, you read that right.  I don’t want to be fat.  I run; I eat healthfully (most of the time); I do yoga; I don’t indulge every time I get a whim.  All for one reason: VANITY.  It snuck up on me out of nowhere.  I’m pretty sure vanity has been in mind heart for some time now but I’m only just now being honest enough (with myself and with you all) to talk about it.

Yes, there are articles about the benefits of exercise while pregnant.  And then there are all those birth analogies about birth being a marathon- I wonder why “they” never compare birth to a HALF MARATHON??? I know what that actually feels like.  But, basically- besides the fact that I need to exercise for my sanity- many days, I only exercise because I don’t want to be fat.  It’s so freeing to admit that.

So, don’t get me wrong, I love the compliments but I just want you all to know that you need not look up to me.  I’m vain.

 

sam

Pride.

I never knew that I was prideful about my job until I went to a baby shower a few weeks back.  The women were all sitting around talking.  Mostly making small talk.  The worst.  Finally someone talked to me (I don’t really like talking to strangers).  She asked me what my husband did for work.  I told her.  And then she said something, she asked me if I stayed at home.  My reply, “Ummmm… no.  I’m a teacher.”   It made me feel so good to say that.  But why?  I felt good knowing that I had a job “outside of the home” even though I have quite a few friends who are blessed and happy to be stay at home moms.  While I respect them, I just never thought the stay-at-home gig was for me.

Flash forward to Easter Sunday.

As of today, I’m 15.5 weeks pregnant.  But when I got dressed for church today, I put on a long fitted t-shirt and a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans.  I told Wes, “I don’t look pregnant today.  Just pudgy.”  His response, “You look beautiful.”  He’s so good for my ego but I wish I always felt beautiful.  Like if I could harness the way that he looks at me and see myself that way, it would be freaking awesome!  It can’t be that hard… can it?

I didn’t think anymore about it until we got to church and I started rambling:

“I mean, I guess it’s good that I’m not noticeably pregnant yet.  I don’t want to gain a lot of weight.  It’s just that before I started exercising, people would always ask me when the baby was due or if I was pregnant.  That was part of the reason that I started wanted to walk for exercise and eat more consciously.  Now, that I am actually pregnant and I’m not pudgy with just fat, I want people to notice.  I don’t want them to think it’s normal.  I mean, ask me when my baby’s due.  Pleaseeeeee.”

And there’s the pride.  Pride about my job.  My career.  Pride about my looks and the pudge that I worked really, really hard to get rid of.  Pride.  Always showing up when I least expect it.

pride

 

sam

Liar, liar. Pants on fire.

personality

Lies are one thing I can’t stand.

Have I ever told a lie? Yes. Many times. Do I regret it? Yes. The thing is that once a person hears something over and over, they start to believe it. Growing up, my mom always told me how smart I was and I believed it. This worked out for me since I’m a teacher now and I’ve got some education under my belt but the issue I have with this is what about the other good qualities that I possessed that she didn’t highlight?

Did she tell me I was pretty or cute or even beautiful? No. Did she tell me that I was giving and generous? No. As far as I knew, the only thing that I had “going for me” were my smarts. I can’t really say that I blame my mom. I think she was trying to find something, anything positive that she could point out to me to make me feel special…maybe there weren’t very many good things about me from her perspective.

Was she attempting to scar me? No. Did she know she had the potential of scarring me? Probably not. But I gave my mom lots of power because she was the most powerful person that I knew. So whatever she said, I believed because…why would she lie to me? I didn’t set about writing this post to talk about parents. What I wanted to touch on was lies. How they impact people.

Another thing people lie about?   Being happy for others when they accomplish something.  Am I guilty of this one?  You’d better believe it.  It’s not really that I’m lying, it’s that I’m happy with a twinge of jealousy.  So, that may be lying but I’m not entirely certain yet.  I’m in this really weird place where I’m not accomplishing any goals.  But I’ve been trying not to have any goals so that I can give myself a break.  That’s a story for another day.  The stories that I’m most jealous of are my friends who are accomplishing lots of fitness goals.  I’m happy for them and the cool, new things that they are finding that they are capable of but I’m also jealous.  I’m jealous that they’re doing all of this cool stuff while I’m just here pregnant and trying not to eat every single thing that I can get my hands on.  Haha!  Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way feeling sorry for myself but I feel the need to just sort of let this out.  What better way than in a public forum that holds my vulnerability up for scrutiny?  Isn’t that fun?!

It’s nice to end a blog entry with a nice, new piece of wisdom that I’ve discovered about the topic that I’m covering but I don’t have any wisdom.  I just know that there’s still a lot of work that needs to be completed within me so that I can truly be happy for people (including my friends) without being jealous.  And I don’t want to feel as though I am lying when I congratulate them on their accomplishments.

 

 

 

sam

Thirteen point one. After.

I feel so awesome!!! Sore.  But awesome.  Today, one of my kids asked me, “Why people are so crazy to run THAT far.  Like, what’s the point?”  I have the perfect answer.  I run because I can.  I never in a million years thought that I would enjoy it.  Thrive on it.  Need it.  I run because it makes me happy.  Literally.  I push myself to do things like running 13.1 miles because it’s so awesome to see what my body can do.  I can run 5 miles.  I can effortlessly (almost) run 2 miles in 22 minutes.  I did that yesterday.  Seriously.  I. can. run.  And I love it.

Yesterday, I met a guy on the shuttle home who was 76 years old!  Yes, 76!  He said that he didn’t start running until he was 50!  He ran the half marathon in two hours and five minutes.  Like… what?!?! That’s crazy swift.

The break down:

My goal was to run the whole way… and to finish the race (but that’s kind of a given). I also wanted to start off in the back of the pack.  I wanted to run my own race.  I needed to run my own race.  As my sister-friend, Priscilla, said, this race was God confirming that I had what I needed within me.  He’d already placed it there.

Mile 1 (13:10)  This isn’t so bad.  I think I can do this.

Mile 2 (12:22)  …

Mile 3 (12:50)  I think I’m hungry.  How is that possible?

5k time–>(35:17) Not bad.  Not bad at all.

Mile 4 (11:09)  I wonder if that was my fastest 5k.  I hope so.  That would be awesome.

Mile 5 (11:07)  I’m glad they gave us GU.  They taste like butt but they do the trick.  I’m kinda getting tired.  I’m thirsty.  Holy smokes! I’m doing this!  Thank you, Jesus!

Mile 6 (11:53)  I have way more miles to go. I may have to walk some.  No… I think I can just slow down a little so that I can make my goal of running the whole time.

10k time–> (1:12:28)

Mile 7 (12:38)  I passed someone who had been running the whole time and I smiled.   “You’re doing a great job!, ” I said, “We’re halfway to the finish!”  I’m HALFWAY TO THE FINISH!!!!!!!

Mile 8 (12:44)  It was right around here that I started melting down.  My legs were getting heavy.  Really heavy.  I had to concentrate on picking up one foot and then the other like my big brother told me.  I read my sister-friend, Liel’s morning text message: “Good morning sunshine! Here’s my prayer for you: Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young (wo)men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:28-31).

It was at this point that I also called my brother for some encouragement.  It was so cool to hear him and my sis in law and my nephews cheering for me.  I needed all that I could get.

Mile 9 (14:11)  ThankYouJesusThankYouJesusThankYouJesus.

Mile 10 (13:35)  There was a HUUUUUUUGGGEEEE hill somewhere around here.  I thought it was gonna be all downhill and it was not.  That’s okay.  I came up with a strategy: run down the hill and speed walk up the hill. Now that I see the numbers, I don’t think I was speed walking!  Hahaha!

Mile 11 (13:29) Almost finished!  I also picked up a mate around this point.  There was a guy that I kept passing but he started to walk.  I needed him to run!  So I encouraged him to keep going, “I’m trying to keep up with you! Come onnnnnnnn!!!!” And he actually came with me.

Mile 12 (15:08) Here is where there was a girl who looked to be younger than me but she’d run out of steam.  She would jog for a couple of steps and then stop.  I encouraged her to run with my mate and me.  She stayed with us, too!  At the finish line, it was the three of us.

Mile 13 (12:31)  I wanted to run the entire last mile but I didn’t make myself do it.  I thought I had enough power to get me through but it felt soooooo long.  I walked some.  I walked more than I should’ve.

Mile 14 (11:38 min./mile pace)  Run it in!!!

Now that it’s all said and done, I think I really want to do the Tucson Half Marathon in 2014.  I will have the same goal of running the whole time but I will also add in another goal: to beat my time from this year by at least 10 minutes.   I think I can do that.  With God’s help.

p.s.  After yesterday, I think I am a REAL runner.  I think I finally earned a Black Girls Run! shirt.  #justsayin

 

TucsonHalfMarathonDecember82013

 

sam

 

Not impressed.

I’m one of those people who thinks, “If I don’t post it on Insta, Twitter, FB, etc. then it didn’t really happen.”  The “it” is exercise.  I post just about every run on social media.  And every time I practice yoga.  And every time I do ANYTHING fitness related.  It’s just what I do.  I just want everyone to know that I’m exercising.  I do it partially for accountability and partially for the glory…

impress

Yep.  I said that.  For the glory.  I didn’t realize about the glory part until today.  Crazy but it’s true.  I saw a picture on Insta and it strung a chord in my heart.  My friend, Liel, always talks about examining our hearts for our ambitions in life.   Am I exercising to get fit?  Or to look good for Wes?  Or to gain some other external satisfaction?  What is the point of it all?

 

When I first began exercising, it was to prove to myself that I can do whatever I put my mind to.  I can run if I think I can (and if I practice).  I can do yoga if I think I can (and if I really, really, really practice and then practice some more). But it’s not really about whether or not I think I can; it’s more about being empowered by God to get my butt MOVING!  I cannot let my pace or time or distance become an idol in my life.  I can’t let fitness become an idol in my life either (although I’m not quite sure how I’ll know that I’ve put it on an altar).  Like in Jimmy Needham’s song, “Anything I put before my God is an idol/ Anything I want with all my heart is an idol/ Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol/ Anything that I give all my love is an idol…”

I don’t want exercise and running and fitness to be an idol in my life.  Because of this, I am no longer going to post my pace for my runs and walks.  Who am I trying to impress?  Who should I be trying to impress?  No one.  I may write my times down if I do something extraordinary that I didn’t think I could do but as a general rule, I will no longer post the pace.  Why?  We are all in a different starting place and a different point in our regimens.  I don’t want my friends comparing themselves to me to make themselves feel worse (or better) about where they are in their fitness life.  Let’s just cheer each other on no matter how fast or slow.  No matter how many miles travelled.

And that’s just what I will do.

sam

Serial quitter.

fbstatus
I wrote the above note in a fb conversation with my older sister before I realized how profound it was (yes, I’m patting myself on the back). I did. I used to quit EVERYTHING: relationships (the very few that I had), college (over and over and over again), work, easy work, hard work, New Year’s resolutions (yep, I decided they were useless and “resolved” not to waste anymore time setting myself up for failure). I was good at it, too. I would see myself getting close to a goal and then instead of running toward it, I would put on the brakes, then reverse: sprinting in the other direction (and that was BEFORE I started to like running).

It’s hard to imagine that girl now. But, she’s still there. Inside. She’s comes out every once in a while and then I have to shut her up by reminding her that: 1.) I am capable. 2.) I am not the loser that she tells me that I am. 3.) I can do ALL things through Christ… He is much, much bigger than any deficiency that she sees in me. 4.) I’ve set lots of little, accomplishable goals and have had success in completing them (how many times do I have to mention that I actually graduated college–she was in my head a lot during those years. Like a lot. A lot).

These things prove that I am no longer a serial quitter. No matter what she thinks. Or maybe…

GiveupGivingUp

…I am still a quitter. I am my biggest obstacle. My brain and my heart battle it out constantly (this is where my stubbornness is NOT handy. It’s actually kind of frustrating sometimes). I really have given up giving up on myself. I think. Or at least, I’m working really hard in that area. The little goals I make are all (and always) pieces of a larger goal (even when I don’t really realize it). But, looking at the big goal is way too much for me (and for her) to handle. It’s like if God told you your whole life story. Every obstacle. Every victory. Every single thing that happened to you. Would you be able to handle it? Or would you totally freak out? “You mean, this guy that I’m talking to isn’t “the one?!?!?!” He introduced himself to me as, “Will… God’s Will,” I had no need to question it. I just assumed it to be true.” Would we be able to recover from the setbacks? From the failures? Would we be able to pass up the “once in a lifetime” opportunities that come our way?

For me, getting my body and my mind into shape is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I need to do it now to make my future better. I am learning things about myself. I am learning coping mechanisms… ones that are more productive than gorging myself with Kraft Caramels (a.k.a. little pieces of heaven) and Sonic chocolate shakes with oreo pieces (yum!). Way better than nagging my hubs (he is so patient). And better than sleeping my life away (I’ve tried that. I still managed to wake up with the same problems).

I’ve decided to work my butt instead of my buts. No excuses. Failure is not an option.
workourButts

So, ya, I’m still a serial quitter… but not in the way I used to be.

sam