Confidence and swagger

BKLittle03Regardless of my size I have always worn a bathing suit.  I grew up on the water.  When I was a child I would stay in the water until my lips turned blue and my fingers were beyond pruney. I’d swim, snorkel, water ski, sail, canoe, or kayak in the most bone chilling waters.  I didn’t care.  I have always been a water rat.  Heck, in my family we use to have a race to see who would be the first person in the lake any given year even if it meant there was still an ice coat on it!  That never changed regardless of my size.  I would change the type and style of suit I wore, but I was NOT about to give up being in, on, or around the water.

In this weight loss process I realized I had to order a new bathing suit.  I wanted to get out on the water ASAP, but getting a new suit was kind of a requirement as that falling off of me is much worse than someone just seeing my sports bra.  Something about being naked in public that tends to get the cops involved, I have no idea why….snicker.

See, in the summer I kayak a lot. Since I can’t run outside, but I still want to be outside, kayaking gives me the ability to enjoy the outdoors without all of the perils of, you know, killing myself.  Once the water temps warm up to kayak without a wetsuit (yeah, my days of ice swimming are long over) I try to spend at least one or more days out on the water.  Being out there makes my soul very happy, and as an added bonus it makes Perry VERY happy.

Saturday, after I went for what will probably be my last run outdoors for a while, I put the kayak rack back on the car, loaded up, and headed out for a paddle.  Only something was different.  Oh wait, that’s right, I was wearing a 2 piece!  Granted it’s a tankini, but still it’s a freaking TWO PIECE!!  I wore shorts over the bottoms since car seats get wicked hot in the summer, but still it was a TWO PIECE!!!  Are you kidding me???  I got to the park and there were a TON of people out.  I very happily and contentedly launched the kayak without a single thought about what those people thought of what I looked like in my bathing suit.  I even had to cinch my life jacket in quite a bit.  I couldn’t have been more pleased with myself until Sunday rolled around.

Sunday I decided to try a new place to paddle that I saw on my way to Saturday’s location.  It was a kayak only launch tucked in on the headwaters of a local creek.  AIMG_6294s I offloaded the kayak I stripped down to my sports bra as to not stain my new EIS shirt. Wait, let me get this straight, I was basically wearing a bikini?  Yes, yes I was!  Oh, and I probably should buy some smaller shorts as they were falling off of my butt.

As of today I am down 35 pounds.  The number of inches shrunk is racking up.  I’m starting to get definition and toned in areas of my body that haven’t seen muscles probably since I was in the Navy in the mid 90s.  Granted, I still have more work to do, but I am proud of all of the work I have put in.

Today I am paddling with a group of folks who haven’t seen me since last year.  This ought to be fun!

Let me tell you a secret

There currently are 318(ish) million people in the United States. According to the CDC approximately 78 million adults are obese. That doesn’t even begin to touch the childhood obesity rates.  Oh yeah, and that number also doesn’t count in all of those people who think they are obese and are currently on some diet. Let me tell all y’all a secret; WEIGHT LOSS IS HARD.  Anyone who says anything different is a lying sack of shit.

Most people think that the hardest part of weight loss is avoiding eating too much.  Honestly, that’s the relatively easy part.  Run a google search on “ways I can avoid eating” and 113 MILLION web pages come back in return.  Yes, for some people there is the addiction of food (which is a category all of its own), but overall that isn’t the hard part.

What is the hard part you ask?  Being strong for yourself every single day.  Only YOU can keep from eating when you are hungry.  Only YOU can take your ass to the gym when you just aren’t feeling it.  Only YOU, only YOU, only YOU.  It’s freaking exhausting, and when you are going it alone without support it’s even worse.  Add on hitting a plateau, which everyone hits, it makes even the strongest person want to fall into a crying puddle on the floor shoving every comfort food into their mouth.  Or, in my case, start listening to that dark place.

This week I had to have a very frank conversation with Sainted Mary about how in the last 2 weeks on my home scale I had only dropped .2 (yes there is a point there) pounds.  While, yes, I had lost 1/2″ in my waist, the scale hadn’t moved.  I had to be honest with her because, well, the dark place voices were starting to grow louder and louder and she needed to know that.  You know the voices.  The ones that tell me I don’t need a rest day.  The ones that tell me that I can short my exchanges for the day.  The ones that tell me that going to do the gym 6 days a week is a good idea.  Yeah, dark and scary voices. I had to be honest with Mary because if I wasn’t honest with her I know that the dark and scary place would win and I am not willing to do that.

It’s not easy to being on a weight loss journey.  What’s worse is that it’s not easy being on a weight loss journey relatively alone.  Yes, I have a couple of friends who are exceptionally supportive, but they don’t live around here.  They do what they can where and how they can, but it’s not the same as having them here or me there.  Most of my other friends don’t understand, don’t want to exercise, or in some cases claim they want to exercise but when I ask them to do activities with me conveniently find ways to get out of them.  It’s HARD to be strong all the time.  It’s down right exhausting.

So, the next time you meet someone who is really trying to loose weight I’d ask that you ask them, “What do you need from me and how can I help?”  Sometimes just knowing that they aren’t alone helps.

Fountainhead 10k: A moment of clarity

Ah, yes, Fountainhead.  I’ve been here before and yet somehow I signed up to run you again.  I must be crazy.  I knew signing up for this race was going to be on the razors edge.  As an asthmatic I can only run outside during certain times of the year here in the mid-Atlantic.  Between the humidity and the air quality summer is not asthma friendly for running at least not for this asthmatic.

I got to Fountainhead around filled with a calm I haven’t experienced before.  Maybe it was because I knew what was coming.  Maybe it was because I like running with this company.  Maybe it was because I really have gone completely insane.  Regardless of the reason I was completely calm and relaxed.  I think that’s the thing I IMG_6215really LIKE about trail races it’s a whole other kind of animal.  I mean people are relaxing, friendly, and actually enjoying themselves before they start to run!

We (the 10k crowd) started to run after the half marathoners did and the temperature was already starting to creep up.  I was just praying that we would be done running before the air got too thick.

This was going to be an out and back style course which has its merits and its flaws.The first mile of the course was relatively flat, but I knew what was coming.  This was Fountainhead afterall.  Into mile 2 we started down the hill which in my last race was the finally uphill push.  While I was enjoying the speed of going down it (with caution, I’m not a complete loon) I knew that coming back up was going to be a bitch. I had run trudged up it before.

Perry was going to have his work cut out for him given the air quality and the fact that I’m a bonehead and haven’t sewn on his service dog patches onto his running vest yet.  As we crossed the first stream crossing mid way through mile 2 he decided to run through the creek something he never does when we are out on course.  Yeah, buddy, I’m hot too.

I was very proud of myself (and him) given the amount of running vice walking we were doing.  Right up until we hit mile 3.5.IMG_6218  Looming in front of us was this MASSIVE hill.  As we started pushing up the hill my first thought was that the course designer must have thought they had a sense of humor.  This hill sucked every ounce of oomph that I had in me and I still had another 3(ish) miles to go before the finish line.

In life there are these moments where you have a moment of pure joy and clarity.  I had one of those today.  As we were coming down yet another hill with some speed I just remember smiling and thinking, I will never bitch in barre again. Okay, realistically I will always bitch in barre because, well, barre is hard.  The thing is, though, barre is hard but it is making a HUGE difference in my running.  See, as I was pushing up all of those hills and screaming down all of those hills my thighs didn’t hurt, and my ass wasn’t on fire.  This is a massive change from the last time I ran Fountainhead. Note to self; I need to give Alli G and Kelly W a huge bear hug and a bottle of wine a piece.

On our way back towards the finish line I let Perry stop at every creek that was deep enough for him to cool off in.  He was overheating, I was overheating, and yet we were still making really good time.  Perry kept checking up on me a little bit more on the way back as I was having a harder time breathing as the air had, unfortunately, got thick.

I earned this!

I earned this!

We wound up crossed the finish line in 1:30 for a per mile pace of 13:14.  I couldn’t be more happy about it.  Last race in DC until Fall and I ended it right!

True, I’m a little wheezy now and will probably have to take extra medicine for a couple of days, but it was definitely worth it.  I’m looking forward to running this in the fall with another few months of torture barre to help propel me even faster.

Changes: Inside and Out

Over the course of the past 5 1/2 months I’ve been logging my food, workouts, weight and measurements. It’s become second nature. The thing that I haven’t wrapped my brain around yet is my shrinking body. I’m seeing the changes happen a pound or 1/4″ at a time. It’s really hard to wrap your brain around all of the changes happening at that glacial pace. I even touched on my struggle in my last post. Not to mention I’m avoiding buying any new clothes until I’m swimming in my old ones just to save some money. 

This weekend I flew out to Colorado Springs to see C and run a race (go figure). Unfortunately, the threat level was raised for the U.S. Air Force Academy. That means that they were forced to shut the race down since no non DoD card holders could get on base. Not only did this suck because it was going to be a super fun run, but now we had to come up with Plan B to burn the budgeted calorie expenditure that I had established with Sainted Mary.  C and I decided on yoga. But, but, but I didn’t bring yoga clothes! C to the rescue! 

See, C has a slight Under Armour addiction. She has lots of it. (As an aside I blame her for my growing addiction.)  Her addiction, though, was my saving grace. She had both pants and a top that would fit me. Wait, my SKINNY friend has workout clothes that will fit me?! My inner skinny girl was thrilled. My inner fat girl wasn’t convinced. Then this happened. 

 skinny under armorHoly crap!!! Who IS that girl? This is the first picture where I can actually see the hard work, hours, and many many miles I’ve put in. Even better? I’m only 60% of the way there. I’ve got another 18 pounds I am going to lose. Still, DAMN!!! 

Maybe it was a hidden blessing that the race got cancelled because I fit into my skinny friends clothes!  

Director’s Run: Another PR

I woke up this morning to the perfect temperature in my bedroom.  I definitely did not want to get up, throw on my running clothes, and go hang out with the same people I see Monday through Friday.  However, as this was the General’s inaugural event I ripped the band-aid off and removed the covers.  Oh this was going to hurt.

When work sponsors a run, with no entry fee, you sign up for it.  Yeah, you have to surround yourself with people you work with, but still NO ENTRY FEE!!!  That’s the runners holy grail isn’t it?

IMG_6029We got out of the car and I put my pink and orange Glam Runner tutu on.  Hey, all road races require tutus.  Besides, if you are going to make me go to work on a Saturday and run with the people I work with dammit I’m going to have fun doing it.  Someone should have given them the same memo.  I was the only one in a tutu.  What’s wrong with these people??  Do they NOT have a sense of humor???   Sigh.

As with any first time event there were kinks.  The 5k,IMG_6022 10k, and 1mi folks were all picking up from the same line. This meant that the line was super long.  Perry passed his time waiting in line by grazing in the lush grass.  I swear the dog thinks he’s part horse.

However, even with the kinks as with all military events we were starting on time come hell or high water.  At 0755 we received our safety brief (it wouldn’t be a military event without the safety brief.) At 0800 on the dot the 10k folks left the start line.  Now, I’ve run on base before and I knew that the course was going to be on the river for a while.  I was just praying we weren’t going to be barraged with the wind.

Unfortunately, the 10k was going to be a double loop course.  I’ve mentioned before how much I hate double loop courses.  They suck.  You have to run by the finish line.  Talk about demoralizing. I knew that pacing myself was going to be a requirement.  Not only for the miles, but for my poor lungs too.

The good news is, though, that all of those trail runs, spin and barre classes are really paying off.  I managed to run sub-11 minute miles for most of the course.   While road running is certainly easier to run than slogging up and down steep hills, I missed running in the woods.

Perry and I came across the finish line in 1:09.  That’s a new PR for us!  As IMG_6034we caught our breath before climbing in the car to go home he decided that he was starting his nap time immediately.  Hey buddy, I don’t blame you.  I’m right there with you.  Oh wait, I have to drive us home.  Shit.

Ultimately, I’m happy with the way I ran this race.  I ran it with the same plan that C and i have for the race in Washington; run 2 songs walk 1 song. If I keep this up I’m totally kicking my baby brother’s asses in June.