Friday, February 19, 2016

Numbers are everywhere!!!

Everything I can think of in a given moment has some level to which we rate ourselves to...some score or number associated with it.  When having our babies we are weighed and measured monthly to ensure that everyone is growing nicely and we are on track.  Then as the end date approaches the doctors always seemed to tell me to just relax and try not to eat too many sweets between now and when the baby came...did he know who he was talking to?  Then the baby arrives and we are waiting on APGAR test results, you would call family and friends and all they want to know is how long, how big, at what time???  STATS are all consuming!

As a runner I am also very focused on the stats that bring me into a race. I am looking at my pace on my long runs, what can I hold for my pace runs, and of course I have all those numbers from previous races that I must compare them to.  When I finish a race I dive into the overall results and try to find where my moment of truth hit the fan and where I started to fall apart.   If I had only done this much I could have come in this place.  I don't know that I would want to be a runner that doesn't like to slice and dice the data, that drives me, but those days when I just go out for a run for the sake of a run are enjoyable...just not something that would push me.

So now as the age number keeps getting higher I am looking at that scale number even closer.  I don't want to be at a place that will keep me sluggish, unhealthy and not moving.  I fear that an object at rest will in fact stay at rest and my love of all things sweet and salty will only cause the scale to keep creeping upward.  So yes, I hold onto yet another number as a touch point for where I need to be...where I feel comfortable...what keeps my body in a state of movement without having it hurt so much.

Goals on this scale have shifted over the 23 years old and 200.8 pounds the only thing I could focus on was that number.  I did everything I could to learn to eat healthy and start to be active again.  I did that and nine months later had hit my goal weight of 150 pounds.  I still knew I was a "bigger" girl and not the stick figure that I saw all around me in the media.  I was okay with that.  All of the pregnancies got me up and down 200-150 again and again and I knew I could handle it.  When I started my final journey in 2014 I knew that I was aiming for a different goal.  Yes, a lower number on the scale was a part of it, but I was going for the big picture.

Rinny Carfrae..No clue what she weighs...just that she is STRONG!
The big picture shifted a bunch as I got older.  I think with my found love of running, biking and swimming I realized it was not about a look per say or a goal number on the scale.  To perform in the conditions I wanted to be in and have the results that competitive Julie wanted...I had to find the balance between strong, healthy, lean and fit.  I now thumb through different magazines that aren't filled with tabloid gossip.  I read inspiring stories of people that have taken up a sport for various reasons.  Never on the front cover does it say...lose 10 lbs in ten weeks.  These are stories of people that are changing their life not for a fad but forever.  The pictures I see are bodies that have been put through the test and are so very strong from all the hard work they have committed to.  I look at these images and I see determination, will power, strength, sacrifice, inspiration, and belief in one self.  I never look at them and wonder how much they weigh.  Being heavier on the scale can mean you are stronger and more fit than that person that weighs 15 pounds less than you.  A number can mean so little!

At my lightest weight on this journey I hit 136 pounds.  I am roughly 5 foot 6 so when calculating on BMI I was at 21.9...which is in the normal range of 18.5-24.9.  Today at 141.1 pounds I am 22.8 on BMI...back in 2001 when I weighed 200.8 I was 32.3 BMI which was in the Obesity range.  I don't typically look at the BMI calculator but just wanted to plug it in for sake of additional data.  I do however care what my husband says and thinks.   Back in January of 2015 when I was getting into the shower he said...that's enough you are going to start looking too skinny.  So over this past year I have focused on strength and finding my comfortable zone of weight.  I know for me it's not one number to focus on.  But when a pair of pants starts to not fit's time to refocus and get myself back into my zone so things don't get out of hand.  

So yes...there is the scale...and it can make you feel a lot of different ways.  But remember that the scale is only one aspect of the journey.  Things you are now capable of because you decided to make a change can mean so much more than a number on a scale.  Being able to run/walk 2 miles when you haven't done that in doesn't matter what the scale says.  Being strong, making the hard choices, and everyday focusing on improving you and being better than you were yesterday...those are things that will get you to your goal...and I don't think the goal is a number...but more a overall feeling.

Continue to Embrace the suck...choose you...and worry less about the number...Strong is SEXY and muscles mean commitment!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Giving up...why is it so hard!

This weekend was one of the hardest workouts I have ever done.  I have never finished a training run and almost been in tears.  I have finished a race and been so happy that tears are shed but never me...alone... in my basement... about to lose it.  We find a way of setting high expectations for ourselves and anything short of hitting them is a "huge failure" in our own eyes.  This run was seven miles at a eight minute mile pace...I have not run that for a LONG time and never have done it outside of a race day run, never just for fun or a part of training.  I knew it would be hard but knew I could do it.  Five miles completed at the pace...then turned it to an 8:06 pace....only held that for 1.5 miles then turned it back up to an eight minute mile pace.  

As I ran during those last two miles I just was so mad at myself.  I also knew in that moment how ridiculous it was that I was getting frustrated with me.  That I was trying my very best for that day and that I have come so far.  I also knew that pushing myself through those last two miles, even though it was a slower pace than my initial goal, was WAY better than quitting and would still give me a feeling accomplishment at the end.

What happens with me when I quit...I feel miserable...I get mad at myself...I generally will start eating crap food with little to no nutritional value to "make myself feel better."  I then start the miserable feeling of why the heck am I eating this crap...I know it is so bad for me.  Then I tell myself to just finish it all so then it will be done and then I can stop thinking about it and the moment of weakness will be over.  Oh...did I just define a binge ;)

The choice that I made this weekend, although it did nearly bring me to tears....I kept on pushing through.  I know how hard these 26.2 miles will be in May and there will be many times that I will want to stop, to just through in the towel, to think that I don't have what it takes.  I also know that dialing it a back a little bit to regain control but still stay focused on the goal is better than just stopping.

When we stop, quit, give up...we have to restart the whole process all over again...and usually the distance between where we were and where we want to go has gotten a bit bigger.  We feel like failure is just the easier way out...that making the bad choices will feel better than the harder moments of small misses of reaching that end goal.  When we give up, those bad choices become all we can think about...and we wonder what our next bad choice will be and then say that our initial goal was just so unrealistic and we really can't do that.  We slowly convince ourselves that hard is in fact impossible.

If I stopped at mile 5 and did not push through I would then think the next time faced with a seven mile pace run that I couldn't do it, that I would fail.  I know now because I pushed through that the next time I will succeed...and it will be hard...but I can make it to the end without stopping and maybe not changing the pace slower....and if I do slowdown-that is not is progress.  I do not sit at this keyboard and believe that I am anything close to perfect...I know that I have flaws and I have a lot of work to do every day to help me remember that.  I need these small moments of success to fuel me to get to that next bigger, harder moment. 

I was asked the other day by a friend what is my goal with all of this Orange Visor stuff...and my answer is this...I want other moms and women and men and people to know that yes things are hard...but they are not impossible and every day we work towards our own goals is a step in the right direction...and giving up is in fact harder or may even be more mentally challenging than pushing through and working for it and getting to that end goal.  We have one chance at being the best person we can be...and every day is a chance to work towards it...remember that when you want to give up.  You have the chance today...take it.

Embrace the suck...choose you!