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Archive for May, 2012

Back in March I wrote a post inspired by a Nike ad. It was called the indoor track and it was about what was going on in my brain while I was running. Yesterday I did a trail run that was part of my hill training for an upcoming race called the TREAD. I thought it would be neat to write a similar post based on that run.

Here it is…

JUST wait for Michael to pick Kaia, Tobias and I up. Still waiting. Smiles. Arrive at the Rogers house. Notice Samantha and Vickey in their Sole Sisters team shirts. I should have worn mine. Oh well. Munch on a date bar. These are yummy but I’m not even hungry. Stupid diabetes.  Get into the Tahoe. Buckle up. Chatter with the ladies about Vickey and the Dodge test drive. Why is Samantha honking? Oh, she’s trying to be funny! Try not to think about the impending run. Stop to pick up Jenny. Damn she wore her team shirt too. Honk. Talk of horses. Moo. Hey Jenny, there’s a cow. Listen to the boys talk about zombies. Boys are weird. I have to pee. Pass Dave. Honk. Rolling hills. Check out the legs on that cyclist! Arrive at parking lot. Haul my behind out of the SUV. Panic. Double-knot laces. Samantha asks if I am sure I can handle this—says they can get another runner. Personal pep-talk time. I CAN do this. I know I can. Just suck it up and run. It won’t be as bad as last time.  It can’t be. I’ve committed to my team and I am going to finish this even if it kills me. It just might but at least I’ll be with friends! They can carry me out. Okay, that’s not funny. Get on with it. Deep breath. Walk. Wow, Jenny has awesome calves. Walk. I want calves like that. Say goodbye to the ladies and the boys. I wonder how Kaia is? I can do this.  It’s only 3K. Come on brain, remember how to reset the GPS. Walk. Fiddle. Tinker. Walk. Reset! There… finally, it’s working! Run. Okay, this isn’t so bad. I’ve got it. Keep running. Just keep running. Horse poop ahead—watch my step. This is a scenic area. Wild violets. The creek sounds pretty. I forgot to pee. Mud. Keep running. More mud. Careful on the logs. Walk. Adjust earphones. What a pretty spot. Nice doggie. Don’t forget to turn left. Or was that right? Yes, keep right. Over the bridge. Pretty white flowers. Gravel. Nice and warm in the sun. I love spring. Drink. Adjust running skirt. Hill. I can do this. Just keep running. Remember to run a bit more at the top when it levels out. Run. Run. Almost there. Walk. There is the big downhill. Freak out. Get out of my head, I can do this. Just don’t think about it. One step at a time. Quit being a chicken—you won’t fall down the hill. Waka Waka. Good song. “This is your moment. No hesitations. Today’s your day. I feel it. You paved the way. Believe it!” Almost at the bottom. That’s a damn big hill. Sigh… that’s going to hurt running back up. Up is better than down. Almost to the halfway point. I wonder which way they are going to go. I’m doing better. Hi everybody. Smile and wave. Up the grassy hill. Turn around near the buildings. “Hey Soul Sister”. Here I go! Up the big hill. Up, up, up! Almost to the top. I can’t make it. Almost there. So close. Leg cramp. Should have hydrated better. Only four more strides and I would have made it all the way. Still, not bad. Better than last time. Run. I wonder if Kaia had a temper tantrum yet? I hope Michael changes her bum. Run. So pretty here. I miss the kids. Looks slippery. Downhill again. Sigh. Don’t slip on the pine needles. Quit thinking about it. I hate this song. Note to self: revise playlist. Shoes are muddy. Damn that downhill was a slow crawl. Check posture. Pick up the pace. No signal on GPS. I should have bought the watch with the GPS built in. Stupid GPS signal—where did you go? I wish I had some gum. Peppermint. Walk. Drink. Did I just dribble water down my shirt? Classy. TREAD is in a few weeks. Panic. Shut up and run. Remember to turn left. Don’t forget. Left. Your other left. Bridge. Run faster you need to make up time. Don’t trip on the logs. I should chip in for fuel. I wonder if Bryan will run tonight. I miss him. I hope Kaia is being good. Slow down for the mud. I hate mud. Runner approaching. He looks fit. Check my posture and pick up the pace. Do I look like I know what I am doing? I’m a runner, of course I do. The sound of water. I should have stopped to pee in the woods. Don’t pee your pants. Don’t pee your pants. It’s so nice outside today. I wonder where everyone is? 3K of hills. Maybe I can handle the TREAD after all. Maybe Samantha is wrong. It’s just for fun. No more hills today. Whew. I’m hot. That was fun. I don’t think I like this shirt. It doesn’t feel right. Oh well. Stretch. That lady in her car must think I’m nuts holding this tree for support. Walk down the trail a little. There they are! Hi everybody. It wasn’t so bad this time. I think my pace was better. Go figure. I did IT!

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The last before & after I posted was in November 2011 and I had just started a Couch to 5K program in order to run my first race. That first race was a week ago and I had a much better pace than I expected. In fact, I set a new PR  (a term runners use for one’s personal record).

Since I started running back at the end of November, I’ve lost more weight and I’ve toned my body more than I expected I would. I’ve discovered I have bad-ass long legs. I always knew I had long legs but it seems the leaner they get, the longer they look. A lady I occasionally run with started calling me “Leggie Lu”. Aside from the legs, I’ve also gained some muscle. Rather than obsess with the scale I’ve tracked my progress with a seamstress’ tape measure. The results… well, since Christmas I have lost 11 inches overall.  I’ve lost inches off my waist, bust, and abdomen. I lost one inch off my neck and a little bit off the upper arms. My calves and thighs are the same measurements but instead of soft and squishy, they are toned and solid. Muscular. I still have weight to lose and toning to do but I can really see (and feel) the results. I’m also finding bones that I’ve never felt—like my hip bones and my collar bone.

Oddly, when I look back, I don’t really remember the obese lady that I was. How I felt and how I carried all that weight has become a mere memory. Sometimes I look at the photos and I forget that was me hiding behind the physical and emotional walls that held me prisoner. Other times I feel like I am looking at a photo of a stranger. Back then I would have argued that I was active and healthy even though I was obese. Obesity is NEVER healthy, physically or emotionally and I am so thankful I did what it takes to get this far. I am now overweight and not obese. Soon I will be out of that category too—I don’t have far to go in comparison to how far I have already come in this battle.

You may wonder why I reflect on this. Why not forget about the past?  Taking a look at the journey I’ve made so far is important because it reminds me that I’ve worked much too hard at achieving a healthy lifestyle to ever regress to being morbidly obese again.  The most important part of why I do this is simply to keep a positive outlook and continue being motivated to move forward. To see how far I’ve come amazes and inspires me. Hopefully my story will bring inspiration to others as well because, if I can do this, anyone can! All it takes is a commitment to change and the motivation to follow through.  No excuses!

So, with that in mind, here is are two more before & after photos.

before – over 300 pounds

morning of my first race

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this moment

. . .

“This moment” is my weekly Friday morning post (as long as I actually remember to do it).

It is merely a single photo without a caption and that reflects a moment from the seven days before—a special moment that I want to cherish.

I hope that maybe you’ll want to do the same on your blog. If you do, please post the link to your moment in the comments section.

B(e) Positive!

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I’ve snapped out of my little funk by planning a few fun runs over the next couple of weeks. That puts me in a better frame of mind. One of those runs will be on the weekend of Outdoor Adventure Canada’s Spring Outdoor Gathering or as we call it, SOG.

the old mill

We’ve been granted permission to use a piece of land on the Grand River as our campsite for the Victoria Day holiday weekend. There is a rail trail that runs through the property. If you take the trail for a wee bit less than 4K there is a beautiful ruin—the Old German Woollen Mill. I’ve accessed it by canoe but never on foot. So I am going to run from camp to the mill and back. I may or may not include my warm-up and cool-down walks in the distance which will total 7.7K when I account for the return trip back to camp. The rail trail is flat and gravel covered so it won’t be terribly difficult.

I adore this spot. I’ve taken quite a few photos of the ruins and the one in this post is actually for sale as part of a limited edition. I want to go to the mill ruin again and running seems the perfect way to get there. Now that I know some of the history of the building and the area I’ll be looking at it from a different perspective. Some say the spot is even haunted. Spooky.

I have the TREAD relay the following weekend so it will be nice to get a run in while we are hosting the gathering. I’m hoping that some of my running friends will be there too but if not, I’m okay with going solo.

So there you have it. All I required was a plan to bring me back to where I need to be…

Motivated.

B(e) Positive!

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I’m usually such a deeply motivated and positive person but you wouldn’t have known it yesterday or today. I’ve been in a bit of a negative place, I’m afraid.

Last night I went for a run with the girls—hill training for our team relay later this month.  I thought that this training session would be enough to snap me out of my little funk. It wasn’t. If anything I felt worse afterwards. I went out there with really high expectations of myself. After all, I had just set my PR for running 5K. I figured a bit of hill training would be tough but I was ready for it. I was in a good enough frame of mind before I went even though I was already feeling a little in the dumps. The outcome was disappointing. Frankly, I could hike faster with a backpack on than I was running. I am so terrified of going down hills that my speed slows to that of a snail. I worry about spraining and ankle or slipping and falling. Fear consumes me on hills for some reason. The GPS kept losing its signal and my shoe came untied. When I decided to separate from Samantha and Vickey so that they could get the distance in, I ended up getting lost. I finally found my way to the parking area but by the end of the run I felt dejected.  I was beating myself up for my lack of performance. I was feeling like I should just throw in the towel. My pace was beyond pathetic.

By the time I got home I was feeling pretty low and it didn’t help that Samantha had suggested, more that once, that I drop out of the team relay. I had fought back tears on the ride to the house while I chatted with my friend Michael. The guys left for their run the second I got in the door, so I made myself dinner and ate while my toddler sat in her high chair, coloring on a flyer. That’s when the tears started. I just couldn’t hold them back any more. I was disappointed in my performance but it was more than that. I felt an overwhelming sense of loss. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until this morning.

You see, I often get this same feeling after I hand in a manuscript for a book and finish working with my editor to polish it. I spend so much time focusing on the goal and am almost consumed with it. I work towards making the dream happen with a deep rooted passion and intensity. The outcome, whether it is writing a book or running my first race, is usually completed with a result far better than I could have imagined. The excitement immediately following is incredible. I feel on top of the world and that lingers for a few days. Suddenly I feel a little lost and the empty feeling creeps in. I know this place as I have been here before. I am having a big case of the blues.

Ah yes… the post-race blues.  I’m sure this happens to many a runner and that it is not something unique to me. I know it happens to writers all the time. I have a great running family who have been super supportive and were all there for me these past few days. I appreciate that.

So what am I going to do about this funk?

Well, I am going to suck it up, that is what I am going to do. I will pick myself up, dust myself off, and train for the next event and I will do it with enthusiasm even if my performance isn’t perfect! I will work hard, do my best, and think about how far I’ve come. I will give the relay two-hundred percent because I am not a quitter.  I’ve made a commitment to my team and they have been wonderfully supportive. They’ve also reminded me that this upcoming race is for fun… so I will have fun!

Yesterday an ultra-marathoner who inspires me a great deal replied to a message I sent him. I didn’t read the message until today and his last two words made me feel much better. Those simple and powerful words were…

“KEEP running!”

And that’s exactly what I need to do!

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