Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fulfilling Moments

Today is such a stressful day for me. Our morning was normal, getting kids to school, but after that it turned to chaos (that we were prepared for because we knew ahead of time what we were facing.) 4th grade awards assembly, then off to the gym, then home for lunch, now it's time to pick up the kids from school, then hair cuts, followed by my showering and getting ready for my first day of work, one kid to swim team, change of the guard (ie: Dad home from work, me off to work), then home to prepare for a 1/2 day of school tomorrow. All the while we are under a severe weather alert... exciting!

I am ALWAYS excited to see my children receive awards. It just makes me happy. I love their satisfied looks on their faces. I love when their hard work is recognized and rewarded! Yesterday was my son's award ceremony and today the limelight belonged to my eldest daughter.

I was praying the ceremony would be QUICK so that we could get there, and get out and I'd be on time to my Zumba class that I was really wanting to take today. Unfortunately, that did not happen. It droned on and on. That's OK though, because my daughter was having a great time! FIVE awards! So proud of her. You have no idea how tough this year has been. She had a bully that we had to deal with. She struggled with organization and complete work. BUT through it all she came out on top and constantly fighting to do her best and be her best. I would say she succeeded. I won't bore you with the details.

I will, however, talk about one of her awards, specifically! My daughter, who came from my gene pool,  received the FITNESS AWARD! To receive this award she had to qualify in each of 5 different activities: Pacer Test (running), Curl Ups, Trunk Lift, Push Ups and Sit & Reach. When I was in school, it was called the Presidential Fitness Award. I never got one. There were some years I didn't try. There were other years I busted my butt and never got one. I was overweight from age 6 until... oh wait, I STILL AM! I was not a very physically active child. I was reminded of that year after year during the fitness test.

Hearing Maegan's name being called for this award made me cry. I cried the happiest tears. I am SO proud of my daughter. When I knew she was going through the testing, I tried to encourage her to set goals for each event and do her very best to obtain or surpass those goals. When she'd come home, she'd tell me she hadn't done as well as everyone else. I'd just ask if she did her best. She'd say, "Yes, I think so." I didn't really expect her to be called forward for the award, by the way she had felt she had done on her tests. So, I was shocked, when her name was called. I cannot begin to explain the amount of pride I have in my daughter. She proved to herself that she COULD do it! She DID it! Way to go Maegan!!! I hope all of my kids will want to be active and lead fit lives. It all starts at home and I am so glad that I can set the example.

Consider this a fulfilled day!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A New Chapter

On Wednesday, May 15, 2013, I began a new chapter in my journey. Realizing that I just can't seem to stay on track on my own, I signed up with a trainer. Philip Search of Life Fitness Training & Co. LLC has taken me on as a client. He has lofty goals for this mother of four. I believe in his direction. I've seen the results of his training on others. I know what can be done, IF I put in the hard work and follow his directions.

Our first session was a lot of hard work, but it was also fun. Having done personal training in a gym before, I thought I knew what to expect. Turns out, I had no clue. The trainers in the gym are not necessarily interested in my losing weight and getting healthy... they are looking out for their paycheck. Philip is patient and reassuring and takes strides to make sure I keep proper form and am really getting something out of my workout.

After having gained back nearly 40 lbs of my original weight loss in 8 months, I'm not satisfied. I'm restless and eager to get restarted. I am eager to see change and to fit into my adorable summer wardrobe that generous friends and workout buddies have supplied me with. I have a closet filled with size 12-14 clothes and I can't wear them. That's depressing! I was so close! Well, the past is behind us and the future is infront of us. I'm moving forward and not looking back. I'm learning from my mistakes and working hard to not make those same mistakes again.

Philip thinks he can get me down to a size 6 or maybe even a 4 -- WHAT!?! OK, I'm just going to trust, and not dwell on those numbers! I'll be happy to slip comfortably into my size 12 turquoise capris! Seeing as how I've not ever worn a size 12 as an adult (at least not in public or comfortably). I have, in my head, a few goals I'd like to achieve. For now, I am just focussing on getting a routine down, cutting out foods that trigger my overeating and finding alternatives to eating when bored or upset.

I'm learning to fit in 45 minutes of cardio in each day, whether I'm running with friends, walking with my family, or going to the gym. The MINIMUM cardio each day is 45 minutes. I'm also relearning how to eat clean and how to help my children eat cleaner! This needs to be a family effort, so that we all encourage each other and are there for each other.

I explained to my children that I can't do this journey on my own. I need them along for the ride. I need their help all along the way. They actually were excited when I made this into a team journey. Now they grumble about their lack of snack choices, but they are young, they will adjust and they still get their "sometimes" foods when visiting my mom or sister. As they know, there are NO off limit foods, just foods that we don't keep in our house and foods that we don't eat on a regular basis. They aren't "treats" -- pets get treats. Our sometimes foods are just not part of our everyday life, and that is OK.

So, will I never grace the inside of Shyndigz again? No way! Of course I'll go back there and savor one of their delicious deserts one day. Weekly, however, not gonna happen. I can still go to Bottom's Up Pizza and nom on a slice of JoJo or Chesapeake. What I won't be doing is eating pizza weekly, or maybe even monthly. All things in moderation. And those foods can wait until I have regained my self control. Fat burning and weight loss are a must. I can't keep hoping and waiting. The time is NOW!

27 years of obesity -- I'm finally breaking up with obesity. But as they say, Breaking Up is hard to do! The road won't be easy, but it will be worth it, in many many ways. It's time to let go of the excuses. It's time to amp up my game. It's time to Rock n Roll!!!!!!

Peace out... I'm headed to the gym!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Beautiful Moment

I got up this morning, dressed and headed out the door to meet Kim for our run. 3 miles were on tap. It was warm, but I didn't care, I was going to log those 3 miles... for Boston, for ME! I wasn't going to give up for anything.

When we finished our 3 miles, we walked to cool down and then stretched. When we parted ways, dawn was breaking and I knew I was going to get a reward on my way home. I got in my car and headed for the interstate.

The moment I turned onto the interstate, the most beautiful sunrise greeted me. The sky was blue and there were clouds here and there, but the most beautiful orange and pink sunrise was bursting forth from the sky. It was a beautiful sight to behold, a beautiful moment in time. It was my moment, my sunrise, my reward for a job well done. I'm so thankful for the beauty God has created.

I came home, got the kids off to school, did my 60 squats for the squat challenge and then took another child to school. Then I promptly fell asleep on my mom's sofa. Another nice reward after that early run. A good 20 minute power nap, while my daughter played with her tupperware cooking set on the floor beside me.

I realize I'm generally a happier person if I get up early and get moving immediately. I think my kids appreciate it when mom works out before waking them up. I appreciate everything a little more after a good morning run. Sometimes, I wonder why I don't run more often.

Tonight we took the kids for a froyo treat at Sweet Frog. We saw some of our friends while we were there. When we got home, I realized I had time to make it to ZUMBA at the gym. Matt put the kids to bed and I left for the gym.

After an amazingly fun Zumba class, I am finally home. I'm exhausted and I think we did about 150 squats in class. My thighs hate me tonight... which makes me love them. They put in some tough work today! I'm so grateful for my legs. I hope I never take them for granted. They may not look the way I want them to look, but they are there, they work and they are incredible.

Now, I'm headed for the shower and then to the comfort of my bed, where I will cozy up to my husband and I will give thanks to God for the blessings in my life, for the sunrise, for my running partner, for my spouse and for my working legs.

Today I am thankful.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Did you think I abandoned my journey?

Well, in a way, I DID abandon my journey. Life sidetracked me and I allowed it to do so. Cait had her MRI's and while we found no seizure activity, we did find a tethered spinal cord. September - January we were bombarded with doctor visits and then she had surgery in November, family came for Thanksgiving, then more doctor visits another hospital stay in December, then a follow up in January. And since then, Cait suffered 2 broken bones in one of her legs. She certainly does keep my life interesting. After 4 children, I thought I'd experienced just about everything, but Cait has proven me WRONG! So, in all of this, I kind of lost myself, not to mention I tore my quadriceps tendon the weekend after Thanksgiving. I was not able to resume running until the end of February. This put a HUGE hurting on my success and I lost track of eating properly and I went in a tail spin and gained back a lot of weight. As for disappointment, yes, I'm experiencing that. However, I am a strong woman and I am a determined person. I'm never going to give up on achieving my goals.

Recently, my father became insulin dependent. This scares me to no end. His genes are part of me. His insulin dependency is helping to motivate me to get back on track. I do not want to have to spend my life shooting myself in the stomach with chemicals to keep my body functioning properly. I was born with a healthy body and it is up to me to KEEP it that way.

Now that I am back to running my three miles three days per week, I have injured a shoulder. Thankfully, the doctor that I am seeing did not tell me I cannot workout. Instead he is putting me in physical therapy, so that we can rehab my shoulder and get me back to full workouts. So, currently I am focusing on running, strengthening my legs and strengthening my right side.

Coming up:

  • April 27 SuperHero 5K
  • May 11 Color Run - Baltimore
  • May 11 Glow Run - Richmond
  • June 22 Jack & Abby NeoNatal Foundation 5K
  • June 22 Congenital Heart Walk
  • July 13 Westby Centennial Fun Run
Having a schedule of upcoming races and activities helps me to keep my eye on the prize and keeps me moving and motivated.

I've initiated a Facebook Squat challenge with some of my sorority sisters and low and behold, others have joined in on the challenge! How FUN! Our first 50 squats was today! Cait actually did squats with me while I did mine. My little 3 year old workout buddy is the best! 

On the food -- this is the most difficult part for me. I've taken myself off of coffee and gone to green tea, no sugar. I'm attempting to not eat junk, but this weekend was a rough one for me! Lots of cake (birthdays and wedding showers, oh my)... but today is a new day, there is no cake in my house! I've had a spinach feta wrap and green tea, and then a protein bar for snack. Lunch will be veggies & triscuits w/ humus along with 1 egg cup (recipe found on Pinterest, and I subbed egg whites). Afternoon snack will be 1/2 of a banana in a high fiber low carb wrap with a serving of natural peanut butter. Dinner will be chicken and veggies, just not quite sure yet, how I'm cooking them.

I was unable to do a run this morning, so I may do a run this evening. I have completed 50 squats, I'm planning to put in 50 monkey's and then I'll be doing push ups, planks and side plank as well as an inverted plank with a butt raise/pulse. I'll be using the resistance band for bicep curls.

I'm looking for a good tabata workout and a good (FREE) Tabata app for my phone. Suggestions are welcome!

Finishing Will Never Be The Same

My race finishes have forever been changed by the events of 4/15/13 at the Boston Marathon. Whenever I cross a finish line from here on out, I will not be saddened by the works of a coward, rather I'll be empowered by the response of those first on the scene and I will be celebrating the memory of those who lost their lives and honoring the lives of those who lost there limbs and suffered from the acts of the coward.

No finish will ever be in vain. No finish will ever be about me. My finishes will be in gratitude to a God who is with us even in the midst of these horrible atrocities that mankind chooses to bring upon one another for reasons that are beyond my comprehension.

The horrible actions will NOT take away my desire to run races. It will not diminish my trust in human kind. It will not defeat my kind spirit. Now more than ever, I am inspired to love my fellow man more and to be more generous with my kindness. Evil cannot defeat us unless we allow it.

Finish your races with hands held high in memory, in honor and in thankfulness.

Fitness Test

Today my oldest child had her physical fitness test looming over her head. As we drove to school I asked her about it. She said she was nervous because she could only run between 10-12 laps, while the fastest kid in her class could do 33 laps. She told me that with her short little legs, she just can't go as far as everyone else or as fast.

I told her a little story about her mommy. I asked if she remembered when I ran my first 10K. She did. I said, when I got to mile 5 of that 10K, I wanted to give up. I was running alone, I was hot and I was feeling defeated. I didn't stop running. Instead, I prayed, "God, give me wings to finish this race!" At mile 6, I was talking myself into walking across that finish line. I got to 6.1 and the guy holding the sign said, "You are ALMOST there!" I was near tears. I was ready to give up and just walk that last .1 -- but then I heard, "MOMMA!" I said to my daughter today, "Maegan, that was YOU calling out for me! YOU are the wings that God sent me that day and pushed me to go all the way to that finish line running!" If you don't know the whole story, when I heard her calling for me, I motioned for her to come join me on the course... she and her brother & sister came out and held my hands and ran with me to the finish line. It was one of the best moments of my entire life. I reminded her that with God, we can do ANYTHING we put our mind to, and He will see us through whatever it is.

I also told her one of my running tricks, when I think I can't go any farther. I said, "When you feel like you are ready to give up, don't give up, instead, make a little visual goal, find a spot on the course and say, I'll run to there. Once you get there, pick another spot and run to it and just keep doing this until your time is up." I told her she would be surprised at just how far she can go by accomplishing little goals and meeting them.

She told me her goal today is 15 laps. She also told me that she didn't want to be in the lowest level, so when she ran 12 she was happy to be in the 2nd level. I told her that I thought 15 was a great goal, it's 3 more laps than she has done previously and that with focus it is attainable, and to be happy when she hits that goal.

Bless her heart, she was still worried and said, "Mom, what if I don't make my goal?" My answer to that was simple. "You don't give yourself the option of not making your goal. You BELIEVE you can make that goal, and you don't doubt yourself. You set the goal of 15, you'll achieve the goal of 15. And no matter what, as long as you do your very best, you have nothing to be upset about."

As she got out of the car, I asked her if she was ready. She said yes and I said, "You can do this! I love you!!!"

I'm praying that she has the best run of her life today. I'm hoping she will one day learn to love running, not for exercise, but for the release of tension it provides, for the outlet it is, for the power it brings, for the confidence it builds. I'm so proud of her for talking to me about her fears. I was very fearful of the physical fitness test as a child. I was the fattest child in my class. My legs rubbed together when I ran and it HURT. I would be chaffed and have a difficult time walking once it was over. My poor thighs would just be burned raw. I was embarrassed. No, I was mortified. My friends would receive their presidential awards, and I would cry silent tears because I was too fat and out of shape to ever be good at anything. Her fears are different from my fears a little bit, but they are still very real fears. Her talking about them with me gives me a chance to lift her up, to build her confidence, to let her know I'm proud of her and that no award is going to make me love her more. Just knowing she did her best and is proud of herself is all that I ask and all that I need.

ROCK THAT TEST, MAEGIE!!! I adore you and KNOW that you can do whatever you put that amazing mind to! Never Give Up!!! GOD'S GOT YOU! GO BABY GO!!! Oh how I WISH I could be at that track today with a poster cheering on my baby girl! My heart is with her.