Just START!

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Spencer and I started this business, Novo Veritas, over 2 years ago.

I love it.  All of the work and hours and challenges and success.  More and more every day. It’s a hell of a ride, an intense privilege to work with our clients and we’re currently taking this business in directions neither of us ever dreamed possible…

My personal favorite part of the whole business adventure?  The privilege and honor of being invited into someone’s life at a time where their hearts and minds are more than likely vulnerable, ashamed, determined, brave, scared, fierce, focused and much more.  They invite us in.  Trust us with their stories, their history, their fears and deepest hopes.

And then sometimes, if it all works out just right, they even allow us to join their team.

Most of the people we get to work with approach us for one of two basic reasons…

  1. Tell me how to get started.
  2. Be on my team.
  3. (A close 3rd place would be….)  Hold me accountable.

In the past few weeks a handful of people have reached out to me asking how to get started – and how to build their own teams.  The following is a list I created about a year ago and pulled from one of my previous blogs.  And it’s still the advice I give, still what I believe in my heart.

AND it also happens to be the advice I wish I could have listened to when I got started on this journey to change my life.

 

Here’s what I wish I had been told.  And in the cases where I was told; I wish I could have embraced and BELIEVED it…

1. Your weight fluctuates.  Daily. It will go up or down during training.  If you have your period.  If you eat too much salt.  You smelled a cake being baked. The rotation of the earth. 🙂 Sometimes it’s really legit gain because you simply ate too many calories over a period of time. But you have to understand that your weight isn’t stable in the day to day. Not gonna happen. Quit even thinking it’s possible. And you know what?  It isn’t meant to be. You thought you got to a number and stayed there with just a little effort?  That this whole bodyweight thing was simple math and cut and dried?  Uh…  HELL NO.

2. Take measurements.  I really WISH I had known how big my hips or belly or thighs were at my largest.  I didn’t take measurements because — hell — who really wants to know that they have a 90” waist?  You will wish you had those body measurements for reference and reassurance in the process. At any point when you’re feeling ‘fat’, stalled, discouraged or just wondering how far your journey has taken you — you can pull out a tape measure and be assured, well beyond the confines of a stupid scale, that you were NOT gaining anything but muscle or fitness.

3.  Worry is wasted energy.  Spend time looking for solutions and opportunities.

4. And for the love of ALL THAT IS HOLY quit beating yourself up. YOU, who you are at the very CORE of your being, has nothing to do with the number on a scale or the packaging of your body. NOTHING.  Please, oh please, just believe me on this one.  I’m in tears writing this.  I am crying for you and for myself too. Because I know you won’t believe me, you can’t fathom what I’m trying to tell you… This is the last thing you can possibly wrap your mind around when you’ve battled your weight your entire life and a number is staring you in the face — a number you hate.  A number so large you didn’t know the scale went that high. I know that feeling of panicked desperation and hopelessness as well as I know the sound of my own heart beating. Text me, call me, reach out to me and I will spend the rest of my life relentlessly reminding you of your value to our world. And if you can’t believe yourself, then trust that I’m a way better judge of YOUR value than a stupid mechanical piece of crap you bought at Costco.

5. Don’t pick a number for a goal.  (See 1.) Don’t pick a clothing size either. That’s really just another number. Pick a feeling, activity, ability, destination.  You want to climb stairs and not be gulping for air?  You want to feel solidly OK with how you feel in your birthday or bathing suit? 🙂  You want to be able to hike, run, walk, move better….  PICK something that isn’t a transient, essentially meaningless, number.

6. Know that the BIG picture is worth all the little steps, mis-steps, concerns, questions, sacrifices. It’s hard work. It’s worth it.  They’re points of feedback and learning.  And this whole ‘get healthy’ thing is in NO WAY linear.  No way.  There is nothing direct, logical or straight about this path you are on.  And you’re going to be making shit up as you go.

7. Do NOT let that scale dictate your mood to the world.  So you can’t not weigh…  I get that, but we should keep working on that. 🙂   So you step on the scale and it’s up a bit?  DO SOMETHING about it.  Don’t be a bitch. Or walk around like someone ran over your dog. Or have a short fuse with loved ones.  Or start restricting food because you don’t ‘deserve’ to eat. Or start secluding yourself from the people you love because you feel you don’t ‘deserve’ their love or you’re deeply embarrassed. Stop allowing that stupid, effing, scale to affect your mood.  Reach out. You may not have great control over how you feel, but you can ALWAYS choose how you act and react.

8. Please, please, please love on yourself.  And believe in yourself.  Hang tightly to HOPE. Hope is powerful stuff. YOU will do this.  And you can’t see the day, but it’s coming; you will be healthy and happy. Your weight should not be allowed to dictate ANY of that.  You have so much to offer the world.  You’re an aunt.  A sister.  A friend.  A daughter.  A momma. A lot of really, really remarkable things that no one else in the whole entire world can possibly be! We were only given ONE of you. One. Do what you can each day to help yourself get healthy so you can be around and enjoy the life in front of you.

9.  This isn’t a short-term investment.  Trust the process. Life-time commitment. You will look at something daily and judge it as not moving, plateaued, failing.  HANG ON and look at this from the 3,000 foot view, look at this from a 365-day investment. You will see growth.  YOU WILL.  Really!  Keep at it.  You didn’t gain the weight over night.  You will not lose it overnight. Trite and irritating – but TRUE.

10. One of my favorite songs is ‘Live Like You Were Dying’ by Tim McGraw.  If you are like me you’re living this weight loss journey with a lot of fear.  Fear of going backwards.  Fear of judgement.  Fear of FAILURE…  The ‘what if’s’ can paralyze you…  Holy smokes.  The fear you have embraced and live with could choke an elephant. What if you could just enjoy the journey for what it was and live each day like you are trying to be your very best? Living like you’re dying doesn’t mean you live with no consequences for your choices.  It means you accept each day, each moment for what it is and keep moving toward the goal you want to reach…  (And for back-up… See this video by Brene Brown.)

Trust the process.

Keep moving forward.

Love on yourself.

Happy trails. 🙂

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Wearing my underwear backwards.

08_13_16_trrT_0506-ZF-7509-90007-1-001-014When I was 250+ pounds I used to wear my underwear backwards.

I had a pretty funny flash back to this forgotten and semi-embarrassing fact this morning running with my friend Carlea.


Last year I bought some running tights on super-sale from some obscure running site.  I do this periodically.  I get wonky, weird, off-season, running clothes bargains.  Once in a great while I find something amazing!  It’s all super cheap and a fun, daring, fashion-themed shopping-game of adventure.

This time around it was colorful running tights super cheap.

I show up to meet my friend Carlea at the Saddle for a run.  I wore the screaming-hot-pink tights today for the first time.  They… uh… were built weird. But they were really cute!  I told Carlea I figured I would get used to how they fit as we ran. (Always a bad idea.  Running clothes/shoes really shouldn’t need a break-in period… But in the face of cute/fun clothes; I always forget this ‘trail rule’.)

How weird was the fit? There was a ton of extra fabric in the front/crotch area and they were what we will politely call ‘plunging low rise’ in the back.  So I kept fidgeting with the stupid tights trying to keep them up over my butt.

We finally stopped about 3 miles in while I tried to figure out how to remedy the situation and keep running without flashing everyone in the forest. Carlea and I got to laughing — fairly sure I had to have the tights on backwards.  We checked.  Nope.  But, they sure seemed to be built backwards.

‘I think I figured out why they were on sale’.– Me.  Every time.

We got things sorted out and PG-rated for the rest of the run.  I got to chuckling.  I finally told Carlea that these tights were reminding me of a habit I had when I was obese.  I had kind of forgotten about it.

I have always loved the idea of having matching bra/panties. I just do. When I was obese and desperately wanted to feel good about how I looked and wanted to feel attractive – this duo always did the trick.  Cute undies was a near-daily goal.  When I was wearing a size 26/28 the options were limited.  Or ridiculous. Or really, seriously functional; steel belted bras with really wide straps, scratchy/ugly lace and cotton granny panties.

I finally, after years of searching and failed attempts, found a bra and undies set that matched and FIT and was cute.  I was so freaking excited!  I wore them all day at a conference, felt like a million bucks and was thinking I needed to go out and buy the dang undies in every color they made.  As I got undressed at the end of the day…

I discovered that I had in fact worn the underwear backwards all day.

They fit perfectly, totally ass-backwards.

Huh.

Why had they fit so well you might be wondering?  Well….  I was close to 400 pounds.  And I was built very much like an apple with all my weight in my belly.  With a really flat butt.  My belly was significantly larger than my butt.  So undies are typically cut to cover your bum and lay flat on your belly – right?  They didn’t work for me and my apple-shape.

But wearing them backwards worked for my body…

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Disney with the family.  And yes… I am about 99% sure I have my underwear on backwards in this picture. 🙂

So for about 10 years I pretty much always wore my underwear – cute or otherwise – backwards.  A problem accidentally and creatively semi-solved. I never admitted it to anyone, never advertised it.  But wasn’t proud of it by any stretch.

I was just too fat and misshapen to wear underwear normally…

So I adapted to what worked for me at that time.


So today Carlea and I were laughing over yet another clothing failure I snagged from a clearance rack.

I have lost weight and had the full-body lift surgery to remove 10 pounds of excess skin from my belly/waist.  While I am still built a little funny at my waist with some skin scarring and bumpy surgical ‘seams’ at the sides of my hips — I now have a pretty typical ‘runners’ butt and fairly flat belly.

NOW I can totally wear matching bras/undies if I want to – without having to wear them backwards. 🙂  (I just have to remember to pack them in my gym bag. 🙂 )

Turns out that even putting my underwear on can serve a daily reminder of how my healthy lifestyle now is so different than my Type 2 diabetic/obese days.

Carlea and I both had a really good laugh as I shared this story with her.

I managed to get back to my car and not accidentally show my bum off on the trail.

Today anyway. 🙂

*Screaming-hot-pink running tights are now free to a good home.

 

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Diabetes doesn’t go on Holiday…

img_4329-jpgI had to pull out my glucose testing kit this week.

It’s been in retirement for 3 years.

I am not gonna lie.  It was a bit of a low moment.  I was sad and a little scared.

I had a sudden flash of fear that Type 2 (T2) Diabetes was back or trying really hard to creep back in. I was noticing some things…  Things that seemed disconnected, but hauntingly familiar.

Fuzzy thinking. Thirsty. Sleepy. Insatiably hungry. Irritable out of the blue/out of porportion. Craving sugar.  Feeling ‘puffy’.

Not just the normal things that happen in life, I mean, the ‘symptoms’ were out of place given what was happening in my life.

All of the sudden it dawned me WHY these were familiar…  This is the crap that happens when my blood sugars are out of whack.

I hadn’t felt these symptoms in these odd clusters in over three years…

Holy crap.

It was time to test and see what the numbers had to tell me.


I tested as soon as I put the pieces together and realized I was possibly experiencing some blood sugar issues. My post-prandial (2 hours post-meal) glucose was 111.  For me — that’s a solid, if tad-bit high, number.  But respectable.

Whew.  Little breathing room and stab of relief.

I tested a fasting number the next morning and it was 110.  Exhaling in relief.  On the high side, but arguably good.

Yesterday was 100.

I’m in a ‘safe space’ with the numbers I’m seeing and recording.

They’re not as low as I would like, nor are they as low as I can make them when I’m keeping my diet ‘tight’.

While I’m clinically in a non-diabetic range, I still felt pretty clearly this was a wake-up call.


After Mountain Lakes 100 miler back in September, I had a revelation of sorts.  The conversation in my head (and out loud to Spencer…) went sort of like this:

‘I just ran for 100 miles, for close to 30 hours and fueled that effort with about 5,000-6,000 calories of SUGAR.  And while that’s pretty typical running fuel for ‘normal’ folks, uh…  You aren’t normal.  How horribly WRONG/DUMB/STUPID/RIDICULOUS is that equation for someone like YOU??!  Can I remind you that you used to be morbidly obese, insulin-injecting, T2 for two DECADES.  HOLY CRAP BETSY.  You’re a reformed T2 diabetic and you just ran (which you can only do because you are no longer morbidly obese) eating pure, easily accessible to your blood, sugar. This.is.utterly.asinine. You can’t keep doing this.  It’s a recipe for disaster.’

So I made the decision that I needed to change some things.  Immediately.

It all has to start with my day-to-day food plan.


There’s a health condition called ‘Insulin Resistance’.  It also gets talked about as ‘Carbohydrate Intolerance’.  I’ve done a ton of research on it, and I have come to understand that I am no longer T2 Diabetic, but I am still insulin resistant.  And I always will be. I can certainly manage it, but it’s not going to go away. While it is not an entirely accurate description, I kind of think of it as being ‘allergic’ to carbs.

((Here’s the disclaimer in all of this:  I’m an experiment of one. I lost over 200 pounds, reversed type 2 and somehow fell head-over-heels in love with the endurance running world. Turns out that there aren’t a lot of people like me out there, and the ‘normal’ rules for food/nutrition/fueling just don’t ever seem to work well for me. My solutions and chosen paths are not likely to work or make sense for anyone else.))

I’m well aware that if I eat too many carbs {ANY KIND OF CARBS – YES… Even the ‘healthy ones’}  I get swinging blood sugars.  If I keep carbs {even the healthy ones…} to a minimum — my glucose stays in a horizontal and largely stable line.

‘My body hates carbs!’ — me

‘No.  Your body loves carbs.  It loves them to DEATH.’ — Deb, my sister.

So…

Good-bye to my plant based diet that I loved and enjoyed for almost three years. (Averaging 300 – 400 ish grams of carbohydrates per day with a healthy balance of grains, fruits and veggies.)

Hello again to my old friend, no-and-low carb. (Averaging 40-70 grams of total carbs per day.)

I’m tightly restricting my daily carbohydrate load. ANY carbohydrate source.  Aiming for whole, non-processed foods. And I am most especially vigilant for any of the added or hidden variations of sugars/corn syrups that were truly and absolutely my worst enemy as a T2.

I know how to do this.

I just willingly and knowingly strayed from the basics that got me ‘here’; I strayed from the food plan that helped me lose weight, become non-diabetic, learn to run…  I mean I reversed T2 Diabetes — I suddenly felt FREE and healthy enough to try new things with food, fueling, diet.  So I did!  I’m totally OK with those experiments and what they have taught me about myself and the way my body works.

I just find it humbling and interesting that I am back where it all started.

Back to the very basics of what worked when I first started this crazy journey.  Back to low carb, NO SUGAR, low glycemic indexed foods.

((For my running friends who are wondering about fueling during training and events that this dilemma now hands me…  Well. Join the crowd. Me too.  I’m lost and little bewildered with it all at this moment in time.  But I am deeply driven by the knowledge that if I want to stay healthy and running; I have to stay the course in managing this or T2 Diabetes could possibly win this whole freaking thing. I won’t, can’t let that happen.  So let the new fueling experiments begin. 🙂 )) 


This week has been a solid reminder that T2 diabetes is still chasing me 365 days a year.

It never takes a Holiday.

But, guess what?

I have NO PLANS to take a Holiday either.

How do you make someone change?

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One of the hardest questions I get about my journey in losing weight and reversing type 2 diabetes usually comes in the form of…

‘How do I talk to someone I love/know/care about that they need to lose weight?’

The basic answer, based on my personal experience, is; you really should NOT.

You can not motivate someone else to embrace big changes.

Any of the other folks I’ve talked to who have embarked on significant life changes echo my sentiments.  We all seem to agree that we were ultimately motivated by some seemingly random moment in time or collection of small happenings or a ‘critical’ incident. The decision to make the lasting hard changes was never spurred on by someone’s ‘helpful comments’.

In fact, the opposite seems to be true.  Those times people tried to talk to us about being overweight, unhealthy?  We were NOT ready to listen, resentful to the message bearer and/or defensive that someone should personally attack us about our food or weight.

Not exactly a great set-up or fertile ground for healthy conversations.

Nothing anyone ever said to me about my weight or T2 Diabetes EVER convinced me to change for the long term.

Subtle, friendly, mean, direct, scientific, jokingly.

None of it.

Sure, the times someone approached me or talked to me about my weight or health or how my body looked, I’d make short-term/panicked changes out of grief or embarrassment or blind-hope even. But I wasn’t ready to do the hard-as-hell, wholesale, gritty work needed to make a sustainable change. No one could have convinced, guilted, cajoled or begged me into doing it until I was READY.


  • I was 350-400 pounds, grocery shopping.  Yet again embarking on another diet I’d found in some magazine or had been told about by a friend who was miraculously and easily shedding weight. I was loading up my grocery cart for a successful start to a new diet.  I had ‘light’ everything — including ice cream and ‘diet’ cookies. Everything in the cart was ‘on the diet’. This skinny, older man stopped me in the pasta aisle, looking in my cart and then looked me square in the eye and said loudly ‘You really don’t need all that ice cream and junk food.’  I remember leaving the fully loaded cart in the middle of the aisle and going home — totally mortified.
  • I had an aunt tell me ‘You don’t think drinking diet soda is all it will take to make you thin do you?’ (I was about 13 and remembered thinking that I did, in fact, think diet soda was at least one of the answers that was going to save me. I mean it wasn’t sugar soda and Weight Watcher’s said it was Ok…)
  • I had multiple friends in a variety of ways tell me that the reason I was single was because guys don’t date ‘fat chicks’ and if I could just lose weight I would find that elusive happiness and find the right guy.
  • ‘Do you really need to eat that?’, ‘Aren’t you on a diet?’, ‘Should you be eating that?’.
  • Another relative gave me the ‘we care about you and you’re killing yourself and you won’t be around to see your nephews grow up’ ultimatum.

These comments and interactions may have meant to inspire, enlighten, encourage, scare or spur me into action, but they were by and large (pun intended) destructive and hurtful no matter how the message was delivered or who said it.

When you’re fat/unhealthy/overweight/out of shape; YOU DO NOT NEED SOMEONE TO TELL YOU ANY OF THAT.

You already know it… In all it’s painful and degrading glory.

You are well aware of your situation.

Someone telling you this obvious truth doesn’t make you instantly go… ‘Wow.  Geez.  I didn’t know that.  I should do something about that.  I am so glad they said something!’

It makes you feel deep shame. It pisses you off. Wounds you.

It beats you down because you know you’ve tried so, so many different things and none of them seemed to work and you really, truly do not know what else to do…

You’re humiliated.  You can’t hide the problem of being overweight or obese.  Hell, you publicly WEAR your problem for the whole world to see every minute of every day.

In no way did anyone’s ‘helpful’ comments ever give me the power and energy to embark on the changes that I ultimately would have to make.

Fat chance.

From everything I’ve read about the paradigm of change; telling someone they have a problem doesn’t usually help them move into action to resolve the problem. The trigger for real, lasting change usually comes from a seemingly innocuous, yet life-defining moment, a health scare, turning of the years or some other very personal ‘bottom moment’.

The moment when inspiration for change strikes and STICKS is very personal and pretty darn hard to explain.

If you are that person who is still insisting that someone in your life really needs to make a change, needs to lose weight, needs to get healthy.  You care deeply, are afraid for their health and you genuinely  want to help. You just.need.to.do.something…

The list below are the traits I sought out for my ‘team’ when I was finally ready to face the truth, do the work and make a change.  In hindsight, these are the things my friends had been slowly and quietly doing over the years to try to get me to a healthier place. These are THEIR tricks…

{Actions speak far more loudly than words ever will.}

  • Listen.  Listen for open doors or pleas for help or blatant defensiveness or fear.  Then, and only when they open the door and invite you in, do you have permission to engage in the conversation about how you can help them.  Don’t answer questions that have NOT been asked. Don’t offer advice that has NOT been asked for.
  • Set an example. Sign up for a 5K and invite them to join you to train for it and walk or run it. Move your normal meeting spots to a walk or coffee shop instead of a bakery or fast food lunch. Find subtle, genuine ways to shift the patterns of your friendship away from food and toward conversation, activity.
  • Be ready to embrace their change WITHOUT JUDGEMENT.  There are all kinds of programs that people lean on/cling to/buy into when they are ready to commit to losing weight and changing their lifestyle. Programs and options we may or may not agree with or understand. BUT if someone wants to lose weight, learn new eating habits and get moving — GET OUT OF THEIR WAY!  If someone is simply jazzed that they have found something to be excited about — be excited with them!  If they’re willing to own it, work it and make it part of their life; who are we to judge?!  Our job is to unequivocally support them.

‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can not make it drink.’

The horse will drink when it’s good and thirsty.

Not when YOU think they’re thirsty.

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WHY can’t I take my own advice?

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Wendie and Betsy 2016

 

I weigh the same today as I did last year.

And it’s the same as the year before.

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SAME race 2015, with Spencer

This is 2+ years of stable weight for me.  Ups and downs, but year over year – I am staying almost the same. 🙂

And THAT is a big deal in my world.  A world that was dominated by very consistent weight gains my ENTIRE life.  Mixed-in with radical, unsustainable, starvation-style, short-lived weight losses. Such a life-long, nasty, horrible, depressing cycle.

Until 5 years ago.

I enlisted the help of Wade, Hannah, Liz, Deb and Anneke to be my accountability team and help me get control of my life before Type 2 diabetes and obesity killed me. I carefully tracked my weight loss over the 3 years I was losing and checked in with them all weekly.  But I have only been tracking my ‘stable’ weight for the last year and a half. This was in part prompted by Spencer asking me why I was paralyzed with fear at a ‘small’ weight gain.  I was in total meltdown, convinced I had gained 15 pounds or more overnight.  When we really investigated it and broke it down; it was about a 3 pound weight gain.  It felt MUCH BIGGER. But the truth was that I hadn’t tracked my weight consistently so I had NOTHING factual to go on. So the past 18 months or so I have documented my weight along with my workouts in my Garmin database.   Now I can only argue with graphs and facts.  Not my faulty and anxious memory.

I weigh 172.8 pounds today.

The part no one told me about this whole journey was that every little dip, dive, gain on that scale (Which is ENTIRELY NORMAL) often escalates into emotional drama and fear and over-reaction. I am ashamed to admit how many times I have stepped on the scale multiple times within a single day seeking reassurance or in some way hoping that stupid little machine would banish my fears…

Holy crap has the scale/my weight/a NUMBER had me in a chokehold.

This morning it was in graph form for me to see.  No arguing with anything.  I weigh the same as I did last year.  I told Spencer that my weight is now 2 years stable.  And his response ‘so what does that make you think about…?’

Good question. 🙂

I thought about ALL of the wasted time, drama, energy, self-loathing that have gone into the last few years where I was SURE every single food choice had the ability to catapult me backwards or derail my efforts. Let alone when I let the daily number on the scale dictate my mood for the day…

But this mornings weight and graph were pretty solid proof that I can actually manage my weight with food and activity. I’m doing the right things over the long haul, even if I don’t get the day to day stuff just right. 🙂

This morning’s realization and conversation also got me thinking…  Had I been open-minded at the start of this whole thing and could have listened to and absorbed some grounded advice — what information would have been helpful?

I really wish I could have told myself a few things when I started this whole crazy journey…

Told myself and BELIEVED it…

1. Your weight fluctuates.  Daily. It can go up or down during training.  If you have your period.  If you eat too much salt.  The rotation of the earth. 🙂 Sometimes it’s really legit gain because you ate too many calories because your friend Wendie makes this insane guacamole that you can not stop eating.  But you have to understand that your weight isn’t stable in the day to day. Not gonna happen. Quit even thinking it’s possible. And you know what?  It isn’t meant to be. You thought you got to a number and stayed there with just a little effort?  That this whole bodyweight thing was simple math and cut and dried?  Uh…  HELL NO.

2. Take measurements.  I really WISH I had known how big my hips or belly or thighs were at my largest.  I didn’t take measurements because — hell — who really wants to know that they have a 75” waist?  You will wish you had those body measurements for reference and reassurance in the process. At any point when you’re feeling ‘fat’, stalled or just wondering how far your journey has taken you — you can pull out a tape measure and be assured, well beyond the confines of a stupid scale, that you were NOT gaining anything but muscle or fitness.

3.  Worry is wasted energy.  Spend time looking for solutions and opportunities.

4. And for the love of ALL THAT IS HOLY quit beating yourself up. YOU, who you are at the very CORE of your being, has nothing to do with the number on a scale or the packaging of your body. NOTHING.  Please, oh please, just believe me on this one.  I’m in tears writing this.  I am crying for you and for myself too. Because I know you won’t believe me, you can’t fathom what I’m trying to tell you… This is the last thing you can possibly wrap your mind around when you’ve battled your weight your entire life and a number is staring you in the face — a number you hate.  A number so large you didn’t know the scale went that high. I know that feeling of panicked desperation and hopelessness as well as I know the sound of my own heart beating. Text me, call me, reach out to me and I will spend the rest of my life relentlessly reminding you of your value to our world. I’m a way better judge of your value than a stupid mechanical piece of crap you bought at Costco.

5. Don’t pick a number for a goal.  (See 1.) Don’t pick a clothing size either. That’s really just another number. Pick a feeling, activity, ability, destination.  You want to climb stairs and not be gulping for air?  You want to feel solidly OK with how you feel in your birthday or bathing suit? 🙂  You want to be able to hike, run, walk, move better….  PICK something that isn’t a transient, essentially meaningless, number.

6. Know that the BIG picture is worth all the little steps, mis-steps, concerns, questions, sacrifices. It’s hard work. It’s worth it.  And this is in NO WAY linear.  No way.  There is nothing direct, logical or straight about this path you are on.  And you’re going to be making stuff up as you go.

7. Do NOT let that scale dictate your mood to the world.  It’s up a bit?  DO SOMETHING about it.  Don’t be a bitch. Or walk around like someone ran over your dog. Or have a short fuse with loved ones.  Or start secluding yourself from the people you love because you feel you don’t ‘deserve’ their love or you’re deeply embarrassed. Stop allowing that stupid, effing, scale to affect your mood.

8. Please, please, please love on yourself.  And believe in yourself.  YOU will do this.  And you can’t see the day, but it’s coming; you will be healthy and happy. Your weight should not be allowed to dictate ANY of that.  You have so much to offer the world.  You’re an aunt.  A sister.  A friend.  A daughter.  A momma. A lot of really, really remarkable things that no one else in the whole entire world can possibly be! We were only given ONE of you. One. Do what you can each day to help yourself get healthy so you can be around and enjoy the life in front of you.  Be around for US.

9.  This isn’t a short-term investment.  You will look at something daily and judge it as not moving, plateaued (favorite Weight Watchers scapegoat phrase right there…) failing.  But if you can just HANG ON and look at this from the 3,000 foot view, look at this from a 365-day investment — you will see growth.  YOU WILL.  Really!  Keep at it.  You didn’t gain the weight over night.  You will not lose it overnight. Trite and irritating – but TRUE.

10. One of my favorite songs of all times is ‘Live Like You Were Dying’ by Tim McGraw.  You’re living this weight loss journey with a lot of fear.  Fear of going backwards.  Fear of judgement.  Fear of FAILURE…  What if…?  Holy smokes.  The fear you have embraced and live with could choke an elephant. What if you could just enjoy the journey for what it was and live each day like you are trying to be your very best? Living like you’re dying doesn’t mean you live with no consequences for your choices.  It means you accept each day, each moment for what it is and keep moving toward the goal you want to reach…


Even though I was intellectually aware of all of this,  I sure as hell did not understand it.  Couldn’t figure out how to apply it to my situation.  None of it.  I know that until very recently I simply wasn’t ready to hear it,  understand it.

Today prompted a lot of thinking.

This time I really am listening. 🙂

I hope that anyone else who might need to hear this is listening as well…

 

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5 years.

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It’s been 5 years since I started this whole wild, crazy, life-saving journey.

1,825 days spent working to change my ways.

Most of those days I worked hard, got it right, or at the very least I tried to make the smartest choice I could at any given moment.

Some of those days I just held on for dear life.

A few of those days were walks backwards. Regressions, lessons, pity parties and more than a few tears…

I am 5 years in today — with hopefully many, many years in front of me.  I am cherishing the time that this lifestyle change bought me; time I plan to continue to use to love, adventure, run, grow, LIVE…

I have been handed a second chance at life and I am not going to waste a single moment.

Five(ish) years ago my doctor basically told me I could be dead in 5 years if I didn’t make a serious change in my life.  Obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol were taking their toll.

Here we are 5 year later…

And I’ve made some serious changes.


I love when someone close to me — who KNOWS what I have been through says … ‘Five years ago would you have ever guessed…?’

The answer is always ‘no.’

Always.

I knew things had to change. But let’s be honest… I really had NO idea how this whole ’embracing a healthy lifestyle’ thing would go.

Or what I would gain.  Learn.  Love.

How radically different my life would become.

There are inspirational quotes that speak to this — but in reality that time was going to pass anyway.  Each day was marching forward no matter what. I could have used those 1,800 days to hone my skills with needles/meds/glucose monitors and gotten to know even more fast food drive-thrus and bought more ill-fitting clothes in the largest sizes possible.  I could’ve kept marching toward a sure and early grave, merely treating the disease as I gave up trying to save my own life.

Not to be all dramatic or anything — but seriously?  That is exactly what I was doing…

Instead…

I woke up July 2 five years ago and I began to fight.

I built and then clung to a team of support people.

I was fiercely determined to find a way to make this work.

I started to eat less and move more.  I started losing weight and gaining control of my blood sugars.

A year in, I kicked diabetes to the curb.

I found running after a lifetime of saying I would only ‘run when chased’.  And then fell head over heels (pun intended, although I really have fallen on my face a few times…) in love with running.  Trail running to be specific.

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I’ve worn tight/short spandex shorts in public.  Many times. 🙂 I’ve even run in just shorts and sports bra.

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I can cross my legs. I can see my feet. I can fit in an airplane seat. 🙂

And then there’s the whole bathing suit thing… 🙂

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I still have to watch portions.  I still fret over the scale. I still feel like a 392 pound woman walking around some days. But I NOW have tools and people and goals that make all of those issues seems less-important and way less all-consuming than they were even a year ago…

Nothing happened overnight.  It was tons and tons of little baby steps on a wild roller coaster ride.

But I never, ever could have guessed where this was all headed or how my life,  body and health would change.


If you would have told me 5 years ago that I was going to be able to use my story of being morbidly obese, Type 2 Diabetic, inactive, really just ambling around and waiting to die….  If you would have told me that I was going to be HELPING others to try to reclaim their lives, I would have told you that you had lost your mind.

And yet that’s the biggest gift of this whole endeavor.

Meeting people like me.  People facing triple-digit weight loss, stern orders from Docs to ‘do or die’ and the inability to even know how to take that first horrifically-frightening step forward to save their own life.

I know how they feel.

I was THERE.

I remember going to bed on July 1st terrified out of my mind at what I was about to embark on.  And yet MORE terrified of what my life would be like in 5 years if I didn’t get started.  I don’t remember sleeping very well that night. 🙂  But I remember that when I woke up on July 2, 2011 — my feet hit the floor and I KNEW in my heart and soul that this time, this TIME, I was going to be successful in making some big changes. My life depended on it.


I’m not done.

I committed to this change for life.  I’m still learning and growing and changing.  And it’s not linear. There are still good days, bad days and habits that have to be shaken off or replaced.  I’m really not done. 🙂

But every single day is a gift.

The people in my life are blessings beyond words.

The people who started this journey with me, the ones who run beside me now and the ones in between at every cross/turn/bump who supported, cajoled, questioned and supported me.  It’s an entire, bustling village full of people who got me to this point.

This girl has a heart bursting with gratitude and joy.

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Fat in California…

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American River and the town of Auburn are behind us. Spence and I are heading out to run the Quarry Trail.

I am a California native.

In thinking about it on todays run… I spent all of the time I was an adult and working in California obese, inactive, eating all the wrong things.

I am not really exaggerating.

There were times where I would start a diet, try to get active, only to give it all up in a freaking hurry. As soon as I got hungry or sore – I would quit. And then gain even more weight. Like probably 30 different times. Hell. Maybe 50. Or more. You get the point.

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Easily 350 pounds and 20 years ago.

I see California as my ‘fat’ young adult years.

It’s where pre-diabetes walked in the door and would soon refuse to leave. I don’t have memories of California that aren’t of me as an obese adult. Happy, but the obesity and type 2 Diabetes were escalating rapidly.

Doing something new that I never knew existed always makes me introspective… And this time doing something new in California – in a place I drove by for decades – made me sappy, happy, grateful. I mean this is a place that could have been my stomping grounds had I been in any shape to have been stomping around.

Spencer and I along with our friend and fellow ultra-runner Josh Hough are in Auburn, California this weekend to run in a training camp.  We will run 70 miles of the Western States Endurance Run 100 course over the next 3 days.  Spencer and I did this training camp last year and it is ahhhmazing.  Running a historic course. Non race event, just long training runs that are supported. Surrounded by amazing athletes and folks passionate about the sport of trail running.

This year our road-trip brigade came down a day early to get our bearings, get set-up and simply spend one day relaxing.

Turns out that none of us are very good at relaxing. 🙂

Spencer and I went for a run this morning on a new-to-me trail that is right off of a highway I traveled for decades with my family and during College.

I was telling Spencer that my life is just still so surreal on a few levels.

Being in California, eating plant based, running…  Those are all things I could NEVER, ever have imagined when I was living in California.  I found myself thinking  about 6 different times this morning… ‘WOW! Is this really my life now?!’

I’ve driven by this spot for 20+ years and never thought for a split second about trails in all the years we drove by.  This specific freeway off-ramp had ALL the good fast food you could possibly want before heading up 84 to Tahoe.  I know those locations by heart.

I never thought I’d be back here one day and parking at a trail head so we could go run alongside the American River for a few miles.

Who knew?

I never imagined I would want to climb the trails in the Sierra’s, or run on them, or care deeply about treading the ground of a historic running race.

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Yet, here I am.

And I’m loving this view and experience of California that requires me to get off of the roads, explore  and eat healthy and move along under my own power.  And explore!

I am happy and healthy and do NOT take any of that for granted for even one second.

I have been given the second chance at life. Not everyone gets that chance.  I won’t waste it.

I will use this weekend to build new and healthy memories in the state that I grew up in.

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I love the Cali trails.  And they loved me right back. 

Mac 50K and Laziness

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Josh, Alan (ran his first ultra!) and me.  Running from Ridge, toward Horse.

Mac 50K this year was fantastic!  Cool, rainy, muddy, friends, laughter, perfection…

Mac is my favorite race, in one of my favorite places in the world.

I approached the race as a long and supported run to practice for the event I have in September. I was testing gear, making sure of my shoe choice, practicing my new-found downhill skills and I HAD TO WORK on fueling. This was my chance to put it all together and watch it work.

In the back of my head I knew I had run this race in 8:04 in 2015. So I’ll go ahead and admit that yes, I had a trying-to-ignore-it-but-it-was-out-there goal, to try to break 8 hours. I was trying not to think about that. It was NOT the point of the day.

Ultimately, I nailed everything I set out to do.

SOME MAJOR WINS!

Fueling was better than it has ever been.

Gut stayed intact.

Loved my Altras. (I still have all my remaining toe nails!)

Comfy with my hydration pack and know where to stash everything.

FINALLY got to run an entire 50K with my friend/running partner Josh.

Spencer placed 8th overall.  He had a fantastic run and wrote a great blog about it. Read it here.

Wendie paced Josh and I the last 5 miles, after cheering and crewing for us the entire day.

It was a perfect day.

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Patrick! An important part of our Novo Veritas team. He was at the start line this year to cheer us on.

From ‘The Saddle’ (last aid station) to the finish line is about 5 miles or so.

Everyone was muddy and tired. The finish line was really looking good at this point. I’d slipped and gone down in the mud at least 3 times. I was an unharmed, total mud ball head to toe. 🙂

Josh knew my not-talking-about-it-goal. I could see him assessing the situation. He knew we were in a race against the clock to break 8 hours.  We were appropriately tired, but totally healthy.  We COULD pull it off, if we picked up the pace.

I knew it.

I was just pretending to ignore it.

A portion of my brain was totally fine with not finding that goal.

To hit that goal would mean that we would have to run consistently and fairly hard for the remainder of the course.

That’s a lot of hard work at the end of a whole lot of hard work.

It had been a day of huge wins ALREADY. I didn’t even have to cross the finish line to have felt like the day was a smashing success.

But as I was starting to push the edges, with Josh speeding up, my brain was busy trying to convince me that we just didn’t need to put in the extra effort to hit that goal…

‘Bets. Just walk.

You’re going to finish close to last year’s time anyway. Close is good.

It’s fine to ease back now, Spencer and Josh and Wendie are still going to be proud of you no matter what.

This was a tough course. Take it easy. You’ve earned easy.

Just being out here is enough.’

I recognized that my head and her subtly negative voices were trying to shut things down.

‘Head’ management is very much part of the training for ultras. You literally have to practice making sure your head doesn’t talk you out of completing what needs to be done.

This is always scary and fascinating to me. Sometimes my brain drags out ‘the big guns’ and I really have to fight to just keep breathing and moving.  This time – since this race was essentially a practice run and I was surrounded by friends I trusted deeply – I decided I would just watch and see what demon/trick/weapon my head was going to try to drag out into the light…

My brain went straight for it’s old friend laziness.

‘Take it easy, you’ve earned easy. There’s no harm in just walking at this point…’

I have had years of practice being lazy. Honestly, it’s the natural go to for me.  And at this point in the race – 26ish miles in – my legs and back were screaming for me to just. stop. running.  My belly wasn’t thrilled.  My feet hurt.  I had these OBNOXIOUS and painful adductor cramps violently grabbing hold of my upper, inner thigh – and stopping me dead in my tracks a few times.

My body was doing it’s part to try to stop me.

My brain just joined in on the chorus.

I’ve done a few races at this distance, so I can now say that I have been here before in some form or fashion. This is the point where I simply have to buckle down and keep moving forward as best I can. And I have all kinds of tricks stashed away to IGNORE or quiet the chatter in my head that isn’t productive or healthy or nice. I usually just kind of blank out without fully defining whatever weapon my brain has chosen, count steps, breathe, and try my best to ignore whatever tricks my head is playing.

But this time I instantly recognized laziness.

And it was really pretty cool to define it, understand it and then just accept it for what it is.

I didn’t bother trying to evict or ignore the thoughts.

I sure as hell didn’t give into it.

I just decided to run with it – and tire it out.

Here’s where my thinking went…  When I’m on a training run – and my coach has given me parameters – I always go straight for the middle or low end of whatever it is that I’m being told to work on. Unless specifically told to do so, I rarely push to the outer, upper  edges or beyond in training on my own.

It’s a subtle, persistent form of laziness.

I mean training to run ultras is hard work in and of itself.  I’ve done a lot of hard work to get to this point and lose weight and reverse T2 diabetes. So does it really matter that I’m just a tad bit lazy about some aspects of training?

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Camera covered in mud and rain. Josh pushed me to give my all in the last 5 miles. I mighta, sorta threatened to throat punch him at one point.  Re-enactment at the finish line. 🙂

To be clear – I’m not being hard on myself or beating myself up.

I ran a freaking great run.

And this ‘work’ going on in my head around battling and understanding laziness was fantastic and constructive.

I ultimately kept on Josh and Wendie’s heels and PUSHED hard to the finish. I put down faster miles at the end than I had most of the day.

I’m just acknowledging that I recognized the voice screaming in my head as my long-lost, best-forgotten, crappy ex-best friend named laziness.

And I decided that I don’t want to be friends anymore.

So I just ran away. 🙂

I ignored the normal long-run pains and tiredness and just PUSHED hard to the finish. My training allows for that. My body was working her butt off. And this really was a training run – so why not PUSH hard and see what happened?

As I ran, in the back of my head the idea was clanging around that I am SO FREAKING CAPABLE of being and doing so much more.

If I’m given the chance to push hard, do I always give it my all? Or do I get lazy?

It’s an idea that I just can’t let go of…

What exactly would I be capable of, if I refused to let laziness win?

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I got home and Spencer and I were debriefing the race.  I walked through the pieces that went great; fuel, shoes, handling the wicked leg cramps.  Spencer and I both agreed that we could clearly see the core and strength work we’re doing with Jordan paying off as I was able to manage the slides and the muddy, steep terrain really well.  And then I ran faster miles at the end…

I was really proud of the effort I gave at Mac.  I’d had a good day.

I also told him that I recognize I get lazy in some of the targeted training runs during a training cycle. I cheat myself and aim for good enough/middle of the road. By doing what I’m told – instead of really testing the limits. I told Spencer I was going to work on learning to push myself harder when given the choice. I confessed that I know that I  sometimes let myself off the hook when I really should be capitalizing on the opportunity to push to another level.

The last few miles of the Mac I kept thinking…

I’ve come so far and I’m more in love with trail running and my body is doing things I never, ever thought she was capable of. And I know without a doubt that I am capable of still more strength and more growth and more change and well… just more good stuff.

Laziness isn’t going to win this race. Not this time. I’m going to keep training to out run it.

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My friend and pacer Wendie.

 

 

Docking the boat.

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I walked miles.  Each day.

End of an amazing, epic adventure!

As I sit in the airport waiting for the flight home — I still feel the rocking motion of the boat.  I’m told this is a phenomenon called ‘Jimmy Legs’. 🙂

I’m soaking in the memories of the experience and the bittersweet feelings of saying goodbyes with new friends.

Yet I am finally headed home.

Such a wonderful mix of feelings…


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I spent a LOT of time in my bathing suit. 🙂  I was either ‘sweating (walking) or swimming.’ most of the time on days that we were at sea.

I spent a lot of time sitting by the pool (saltwater pool!) working on this blog. I was slathered in sun screen since I skimped on ‘solar cream’ on day one and seriously sunburned my rear-end…

Lesson quickly learned. 🙂

This whole experience?

An incredible gift.

We’ll start with the short version

I stayed active. Made the best food choices I could given the situation. I’m thrilled I was entrusted with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from my university. I met some incredible friends.  I’m so happy to be headed home.

Win, win, win!

The longer version?

I came on this cruise intent on doing the best job I could for OSU and also to work on testing my lifestyle in a new environment.

You’ll recall that I shared in my previous blog that I was worried about gaining weight, getting lazy and going bezerk with the unlimited food.

I really wound up learning/re-learning some critical life lessons.

I realized about three days in that there was a massive amount of accumulated life wisdom on this boat regarding health, wellness, business, adventure, relationships….  So I shut up. Listened intentionally. Observed. And tried to ask some good questions when I had someone’s ears.

Here’s my top ‘lesson’ list straight from my journal:

Age is simply number.  There were 55 year olds who are marching steadily toward the grave with an attitude of having given up.  There were 85 year olds kicking up their heels, laughing, having the time of their lives with each of the days they have left. Age is only a number.

Size matters. European food portions were served on this ship. Not American super-sized versions of portions.  There was a dazzling array of foods — at seemingly all hours.  Elegant and intentional presentations. Food and the dining experience was treated with respect and care.

Size REALLY matters.  Again, this is a European ship. Smaller towels, smaller showers, smaller chairs.  It is built for a non-obese/normal weight population.  A large (pardon the sad pun) portion of the inhabitants of this ship were overweight or obese. They struggled with some of the accommodations.  Watching their struggles served as a good reminder for me. The old me, 392 pounds, wouldn’t have fit in my shower stall in my room. Likely wouldn’t have been able to use the commode that was wedged into a tight corner.  I couldn’t have sat in the dining room chairs, worn the luxury robes provided and would not have been able to share a stairwell with anyone. That’s just naming a few of the reminders I saw that put my old and new lives in perspective.

Friends. Friends are where you make them and where you take them.

Accountability. I found new friends on the boat who quickly and happily agreed to being accountability partners. Meeting for walks/stretching/running, grabbing extra ice waters and focusing on great conversations; not on food. I shared my goals and ideas — they shared theirs!

Kindness knows no language.

Listen.  Two ears, one mouth.  I listened a lot on this ship.  Heard incredible stories of strength and determination and heartbreak.  I consciously tried to make sure I walked away from a conversation having listened more than I talked.  I mean, I know I talk. A lot. And I recognize that it’s a bad habit. This ship was good practice for me to re-learn the value of listening.

Drink water.  The older runners on board make plenty of water a daily habit.  Sparkling eyes, great skin, general good health. They were laughing at me when I finally strung together all of their advice and told them the only thing I could find in common with all of them was that they wouldn’t give-up, had worked to make sure running stayed a habit in their lives and they drank plenty of water. Everything else they suggested/lectured me about was a wildly mixed bag of contradictory advice.

Blowing a snot rocket on the boat deck is a) not acceptable or appreciated and b) super tricky with cross winds. 🙂

Rest.  I got great advice from a guy named George on day 12 of this adventure.  He had my number as far as my cheerleader/extrovert/go-go-go personality.  He said ‘Take ‘me’ time for you. Rest, recharge your emotional self.  Not just your body. Or you’ll crash.’  And MAN WAS HE RIGHT!  That sounds crazy given that I was on a luxury cruise ship in the middle of the ocean.  And resting and relaxing is like ninja-expert-professional level sport.  BUT I hadn’t been resting or relaxing for me…  So I took a day and slept in.  Hard.  Woke up after about 14 hours of sleep.  Ate a good food.  Worked on this blog.  Just kind of ‘hid’ and took care of myself all day long. Even extroverts need some quiet time now and again.

Routine.  Routines are powerful.  I spent time thinking about whether the routines I have created were being used for good/health or comfort/excuses/control. 🙂  Shaking up my routine has helped me evaluate those elements that I want to embrace and those that perhaps weren’t serving me best after all.

Be present. So hard for me to remember. But I had plenty of time to practice breathing and enjoying only what was in front of me.

This time on a ship was good for me to realize I can stay active and make smart food choices.  It did NOT look at all like the activity and food that would be my ’norm’ back home, and it honestly took me about 8-10 days to be OK with that.

I kept portions under control. I took stairs. I drank water. I mostly stayed away from the desserts (Fresh sorbets… Man. They were amazing!). I kept the focus on people and good conversations instead of food. By the time we docked, I knew every nook and cranny of that 1/13th of a mile track on the top of the ship. 🙂

I am reminded that I really do have the best of both worlds.

I loved this trip, new friends, the countries, the Panama Canal crossing, the fire-testing of my lifestyle in a totally new environment.

And yet I am thrilled and excited to be heading home to my family, friends, healthy foods, trails.

It is NOT the whole story…

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Running into the sun, on trails, with friends…

I was just telling Spencer and one of our mentors, Shawna, recently that I wish I could re-write an article about me that was in Runner’s World Magazine. It talks about my weight loss/type 2 diabetes transformation.  It is answering the question ‘How running changed my life’. (Here is the Runners World Article)

I wasn’t even aware they were doing the profile. The first time it appeared I freaked out. Just a little. More than a year later and the story keeps popping up. It is AWESOME!  I get a total thrill/shock every single time I am scrolling through a feed on Facebook or Instagram and see my picture. 🙂

But I also cringe a little every single time it re-appears. Cringe?  WHY?!  Well… It misses the stories about the people that are very much a part of this whole adventure and the moments that make my heart sing and some of the things no one really wants to talk about.

 

Given the chance, I really would like to add/edit/re-write that story to make it a little more complete. Here’s what I would add, here are some of the key additions I would want people to know…

There are people who walked every single step of this journey with me. They believed in me when I embarked on this crazy, huge, scary lifestyle overhaul. I had proved to all of them that I was really, really good at failing at diets. I have a life-time worth of experience at failing at diets.  They stuck with me anyway.

My running coach, Spencer, is the one person who has put up with untold amounts of sass and tears and freaking-ridiculous-questions as I continue to learn to run. Spencer has watched each mile build into more miles and bigger goals and even bigger dreams.

My running and training partners. The ones who meet me at o’dark thirty.  In the rain.  With smiles and headlamps and laughter and patience.  The ones who encourage shenanigans.  The ones who helped me learn how to pee in the woods – and not get caught or get poison oak. 🙂  The ones who encourage me to sign up for crazy-ass distances for the fun/adventure/epicness of it – just to help me test my boundaries.  The ones who spend their vacation time traveling to a race to run some of the late-stage miles with you to make sure your butt crosses that finish line.

Kyle at Gallagher’s in Salem.  Kyle fit me into my first ‘real’ walking shoes when I was finally down to 280 pounds, registering for a walking marathon and had finally scrounged up every last ounce of courage I had to walk into a ‘real running’ store. Kyle was kind and helpful and never once acted like I didn’t belong in their store. Never. I still buy my shoes at Gallagher’s.  I went in to see him today as a matter of fact.

They didn’t talk about how much I hated.  hated.  hated.  those first few tentative steps that were trying to learn to run.  How embarrassed I was and mortified at the thought one of my neighbors would see my 250 pounds bouncing along with my face a charming shade of ‘heart-attack red’.  Or how I was breathing so hard I genuinely felt like I was going to throw up. And yet even as hard as it was, I oddly and intuitively knew I could not give up. I had to keep trying to put one foot in front of the other no matter what anyone thought. This was the make-it-or-break-it point.

They didn’t talk about how hard I worked for and how much I cherished some of the first days I ran without those extra 10 pounds of skin hanging around my belly.  Or how months later when I was all healed Josh and Wendie went for a run with me in Bend (3+ hours from home), on isolated trails, so I would feel comfortable stripping down to just shorts and my sports bra to go for a run.  That ‘shorts and sports bra’ dream was hatched the very first time I ever went to a race and saw women running comfortably and carefree in next to nothing. I on the other hand was carefully and strategically covered in head-to-toe compression gear just to keep my extra skin on my belly from gaining unstoppable momentum and beating me to death.  I ran that day with josh and wendie in just shorts and sports bra.  I felt the sun on my belly.  And the sun on my mid-back.  And I was running on world-class trails. With cherished and trusted friends who knew what this meant to me.  I felt free, brave, happy – and comfortable in my own skin for the first time in a long time.

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Just a sports bra.  Oh.  And shorts.  I have on shorts. I promise.

They didn’t talk about how when I finally ran one full mile without stopping I bawled like a baby out of pure joy and quickly called my friend Wade to tell him… I HAD DONE IT!!  (Bets!  QUIT YELLING IN THE PHONE!)  I was hooked at that moment on asking my body to try to do more… I knew in that moment that my body was strong and my mind could be my biggest weapon if I wanted to work on them both…  🙂  Could I do a mile and half?  Could I possibly run a 5K at some point?  What else could I do?  What else in life had I missed out on because I had been obese and immobile?  Oh my heavens…  I felt like the doors to the whole-wide-world were finally opening and I was getting to run though them…

They really didn’t tell the whole story.

They didn’t tell my favorite parts of my story. 🙂

And maybe that’s good.

I mean, my story isn’t over.

Not by a long shot.

I’m still really busy writing it.

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Signing up for the 100 miler.  Happy and excited and realizing I get to live my dreams…