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

My Whole 30.

I’m finished with my Whole 30 challenge.  And, boy was it quite the ride.  I didn’t think that I was going to be able to make it.  Grateful that the husband did it with me –for the most part–or I for sure wouldn’t have made it.  I used my Paleo emeals plan for most of the dinners that I made and ended up having enough for leftovers to take for lunch most days.

I’ve learned a few things:

  • I don’t really like coffee.  I know, I know I’m a traitor. I really like the creamer (caramel vanilla, please). I like the sugar. I like warm drinks.  I’m in love with my coffee-making habit.  The smell’s not half bad.  But… I don’t really like coffee.  I was trying to drink it black and that didn’t really work out just yet.  It’s too hard to get used to cold turkey.  Then, I added coconut milk to it to lessen the bitter taste.  That worked for a while but not enough.  I just really don’t like coffee as much as I thought I did. *shoulder shrug* So sue me.
  • I love the way that I feel when I’m eating foods that are doing more good than harm to my body.  I don’t feel guilty.  I don’t have to count calories (woooooo hoo!).
  • When I don’t consume sugar, I go to bed earlier.  And fall right to sleep and I have more restful sleep.  (Gotta be able to wake up early to get to my classroom).
  • My mood is less up and down (thanks, Wes, for pointing this out).
  • It’s easier to eat at home more often since I know what I’m putting in my food instead of having to take someone else’s word for it.
  • I like not having to count calories.

But, now that my Whole 30 is over, I really, really, really want coffee!  Fancy coffee with hearts and stuff.  Artistic coffee.  Must acquire this.  And soon.

Here’s a look at the meals that I consumed for dinner (and lunches) during this venture.

photo3

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photo1

photo7

Wes and I ate GOOD!  And whole, fresh foods for the entire time.  Last week, I even did it this on a super strict budget.  We usually spend about $80 per week  but last week, we only had $50 and needed to purchase food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I took the advice of Robb Wolf from his book, The Paleo Diet Budget Shopping Guide: 1) Shop the ads. 2) Write down the things that are on sale (that are good, whole foods) in columns labeled: protein,veggies, fruits, spices (then I added a column for bulk and canned goods). 3) Search your cupboards and freezer(s) for things you can use. 4) Use Pinterest and the internet to find Paleo (and Whole 30 compliant) recipes that use the ingredients from your list.  

Using these tips, I bought food for the two of us for the entire week for $48.85.  It was freaking awesome.

 photoCheapFood

Overall, I would say that my Whole 30 was a success.  I would recommend this to anyone trying to rid themselves of a sugar addiction and for anyone who wants to get their eating habits under control.  You can find more info about the Whole 30 at whole9life.com.

As a result of my 30 day challenge:

  1. I rid myself of my terrible sugar addiction (thank the Lord!).
  2. I am 7.2 lbs lighter.
  3. I lost 2.75 inches off of my waist.
  4. I lost 1 inch off of my hips.
  5. I lost 1.1% body fat.
  6. I went down .8 points on the BMI chart.

I am at an all time low weight.  I love the way I feel.  I love that I can run for longer distances and longer amounts of time without becoming winded.  And, did I mention how much I love NOT counting calories???

Paleo: I’m about that life.
The
sam

Serial quitter.

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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

Exercising for my sanity.

At first, I was exercising because I wanted to lose weight (mostly so that people wouldn’t ask me if I was pregnant or when my baby was due or any other rude comment in that vein). I kept exercising because I really began to like the “rush.” I also read about the many positive effects of exercising regularly (aside from losing weight) such as aiding in coping with depression and then I was pretty much sold.

I was not wrong about the way that exercise makes me feel. I feel good about myself but, I also feel more sane. Wes might even say that I am MORE sane! I started making goals for myself:
-30 Day Shred (Jillian Michaels’ DVD) in 30 days (it took me something like 45 days the first time I attempted it).
-Significantly cutting the amount of sugar that I consume (I’m doing quite well with this goal, but I have replaced real sugar with artificial sugars this will soon be rectified).
-50 miles in 14 days challenge

There have been more (I think) but I can’t think of them right now. Needless to say, I am showing myself that I am capable of more than I ever thought I could do and keeping my sanity intact at the same time… as best I can.

sam

The worst part (thus far) about weight loss.

*Warning: rant ahead.  Proceed at your own risk.*

Uuuummm, so  why doesn’t anyone talk about the downsides of losing weight?  Maybe because the good outweighs the bad? (no pun intended).  But, seriously, I am freaking annoyed.

I have this frenemy.  She comes to visit whenever she’s least expected. She makes my stomach hurt. She makes me moody.  She makes me crave sweets.  All I want to do is eat. anything. that’s. sweet.  She makes me put the fruits of the spirit into practice. The one that she usually has been “helping” with is self control.  (This could be a good thing but, I don’t want to think of it that way while I’m ranting).

I should’ve known she was coming because all week all that I have been wanting is caramel and whipped cream.  I thought that it was my rebellious spirit acting up (which, unfortunately, is quite normal).  Especially since I’m cutting down on sugar.  But, no.  That was way too simple.

I woke up this morning feeling like crap.  I didn’t want to exercise because I was feeling like crap but, I was freaking hungry!  I ate and was full and I still sat around for a little bit.  As I sat, my stomach started to feel better.  “Oh,” I think to myself, “I think I’ll wog intervals this morning since I’m feeling better.  Walk a minute run a minute for 40 minutes.” 

I get dressed and go out and I’m on pace for 4.2 mph!  Pretty impressive, if you ask me.  Then, I spot a coyote.  All of my survival skills fly out the window and I start walking.  My 4.2 mph will not keep my from being mangled by a coyote.  And I really don’t want to die that way.  I end up walking behind the coyote the rest of the way home.

You may be wondering, “why not take another trail?”  Well, I have a terrible sense of direction.  I get lost going to work if I take a different route.  One night, I went for a walk after I put meatloaf in the oven.  I could walk for about 60 minutes because that’s how long it would take it to cook.  I had been walking for about 40 minutes when I realized that I had no clue where I was or how to get back to my house.  I started panicking because I just had visions of the meatloaf exploding and my neighbors’ houses getting burned down all because I took a walk and got lost.  I’m not joking.  And then there was that time that Jen and I were hiking on a well known trail and we got lost…scary.

Back to the point.  I came home and started feeling sick again and I said to myself, “Why, why, why didn’t anyone warn me about this?”  So far, I’m down about 17 lbs.  My friend has come to visit right on time two months in a row.  I.am.not.happy.  I wouldn’t be sad if we only talked every few months.  Seriously.  We have nothing to talk about.

period-comic

“Monday, March 05, 2007
An Open Letter to James Thatcher, Brand Manager, Proctor and Gamble

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your Always maxi pads for over 20 years, and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core™ or Dri-Weave™ absorbency, I’d probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I’d certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can’t tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there’s a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from “the curse”? I’m guessing you haven’t. Well, my “time of the month” is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I’ll be transformed into what my husband likes to call “an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.” Isn’t the human body amazing?

As brand manager in the feminine-hygiene division, you’ve no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers’ monthly visits from Aunt Flo. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it’s a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend’s testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey’s Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy! The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in capri pants. Which brings me to the reason for my letter.

Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: “Have a Happy Period.”

Are you fucking kidding me?

What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness—actual smiling, laughing happiness—is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you’re some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything “happy” about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlúa and lock yourself in your house just so you don’t march down to the local Walgreens armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory. For the love of God, pull your head out, man. If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn’t it make more sense to say something that’s actually pertinent, like “Put Down the Hammer” or “Vehicular Manslaughter Is Wrong”? Or are you just picking on us?

Sir, please inform your accounting department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flexi-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bullshit. And that’s a promise I will keep. Always.

Best,

Wendi Aarons
Austin, TX”

The open letter is from Wendi Aarons’ blog.  She puts it so candidly.

My sentiments exactly (minus the profanity).

 

sam

Partially victorious.

Today, I didn’t get all dolled up (as if I usually do) but, I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, “She looks good.” That’s when I realized that I was looking at myself in the mirror. I haven’t lost a lot of weight but I am halfway to my goal. What I have done is proven to myself that losing weight is possible without sacrificing much more than a little time and effort. I. Am. Doing. This.


I remembered two nights ago when I was getting ready for bed: cleaning nose piercing and putting on the baby bandaid so I don’t have to spend $40 (again) on nose rings and so I don’t have to look crazy (again) because my nostril is more swollen than it was the day I got it pierced and so I don’t have to subject myself to the pain (again) of re-inserting my almost healed nose piercing into my nose (I do not have a high pain threshold); I moisturized and wrapped up my hair and caught a side glimpse of myself in the mirror. “My butt’s getting smaller!”

So, while I don’t see a beautiful person when I look at myself in the mirror, lately, the woman I see doesn’t depress me either. “I will praise You, [Lord], for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:14

This scripture – my favorite in the whole Bible- also reminds me of a song by David Crowder Band that I didn’t fully understand the meaning of until two Sundays ago when Wes and I were on our way to church.  The chorus of the song goes like this: “You make everything glorious and I am Yours… What does that make me?”  The answer, of course, being glorious!  I’ve sung this song many, many, many times and it takes the process of me being more comfortable in my own skin to realized its meaning.  Crazy.

sam

All or nothing.

I am finding out that the “all or nothing” approach that works so well (usually) in life doesn’t work so well when trying to live a healthy lifestyle.  Sometimes, I am too lazy or I just don’t have time to exercise during the day.  And, when I think about it, it seems like a logical train of thought to say, “well, I don’t have time to wog (walk/jog) the whole route so I won’t go,” or whatever my lame reasoning is for staying sitting on my butt or laying in the bed when I should be up and out doing something that’s good for my body.

Yesterday, I had an epiphany: 15 minutes of exercise is better than 0 minutes; 30 minutes of exercise is better than 15; 60 minutes of exercise is better than 30.  So, why have I been throwing in the towel when I’m too lazy  or too busy to exercise?  Well, mostly because I didn’t value the time if it was only 5 or 10 minutes.  It didn’t seem like it was going to be worth the time to get all harnessed in (yes, I meant to write harnessed) if I was only going to do something for a few minutes. 

Today, I came across this quote by someone who may be famous, Dr. Duncan McDonald:

15 minutes

So, there ya go.

 

sam

No whining.

This is what I looked like this morning trying to give myself an excuse as to why I couldn’t do the 30 Day Shred video today:

image

 

 I thought about my last blog talking about saying that “I’ll try” to do this or to do that.  I thought about a blog that I read today which was about telling yourself to do the things you may not want to do (within healthy means).  Telling yourself that laziness is not in your nature.  I certainly wanted to be lazy.  I was up for an hour before I finally exercised.  I should’ve known there was going to be a problem because I need to “exercise before my brain knows what I’m doing.” 

But, I did it.  I’m glad.  Laziness had no hold on me today.

 

sam

Two things.

#1.  I think my feet are losing weight.  This is not a bad thing by any means (as I was able to comfortably wear a very cute pair of sandals today that had been sitting in my closet).  But, I didn’t know that feet get fat.  I didn’t know that a person could actually lose weight in their feet… I am pleasantly surprised.

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#2.  I have officially worked off 10 pounds.  I’m pretty excited about it.  So, in honor of meeting my first mini goal (reaching 187 lbs.) I bought myself some legit workout clothes.  Yoovie, I’m taking your advice.

I wanted to wait until I knew for sure that I was going to stick with this fitness thing before I decided to buy new clothes.  I’m one of those people who will sometimes buy all (or many) of the “tools” for something and never do it.  I didn’t want this to be one of my “projects” as fitness is my lifestyle; just like my faith is my lifestyle.

I went to Wal-Mart (my least favorite store in the whole wide world) and looked through their fitness clothing section because I knew that carry the brand that I like: Danskin.  I purchase two sports bras (gotta hold these girls in with two), two pairs of yoga pants, two pairs of leggings and two dri-fit shirts for $50.  Yep. 

And, I saved my money just for this.  See, my hubbs and I are also on a pretty strict budget via the Dave Ramsey method.  We want to be out of debt so that we can give more and have more freedom to spend our money the way we want to spend it… or, as Dave would say, “live like no one else so that we can live like no one else.”

sam