There’s Always Gonna be Another Mountain

I’m finally getting excited about this fitness thing, and I feel like I’m settling into a routine.  Yay me!

In preparation for a quick hiking trip at the end of this month, I’ve been hiking a local “mountain” after school.  It’s a quick up and back with an elevation gain of a little under 400 feet.  It’s a good workout, but it’s definitely no Mt. LeConte!  On May 31 we will be doing the Alum Cave Bluff Trail up to LeConte Lodge for lunch–an elevation gain of about 2700 feet.  I am SO excited, and this time, we are taking my hubby’s boys, Zach and Tucker, along with Zach’s gorgeous and super fun fiance.  This will be her first trip and I’m happy to get to be the one to take her.

When I arrived home, I did the bodyweight exercises I had planned for myself.  I did three rounds of 10 kettle bell swings, 15 squats, and 10 lunges per leg.  I thought about going for a run, but a shower sounded better.

I have about 27 days to get in shape for this trip.  I love setting goals for myself, planning an attack and executing that mother-lover!  I know I won’t be in the shape I was in when we went in October, but I know I’ll be 27 days fitter than I am today.

Here are some pics you’ve probably already seen from my October trip.

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Happy trails! 🙂

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(Not so) Fit-versary: Two Years (Before, During, After, and back to During Pics)

April 30th was my two year anniversary of the day I decided to get fit.  I had big plans for the month of April:

  • I was going to weigh 150lbs.
  • I was going to be in the best shape of my life.
  • I was going to run a marathon.

None of these things happened because little did I know, I was no longer going to have a mother.  Just four short days after my half-marathon on October 4th, my mother became ill.  She was already ill–heart disease, kidney failure, dialysis, but she became hospital-ill.  In January, she became gravely ill.  A month later, she passed away.  And it was awful.  All of it.

I am a binge eater.  A stress eater.  An emotional eater.  A drinker. Bad, bad combo.  From October-January, I ate a little extra.  When I came to visit my mother at least once a week, I would also visit my favorite restaurant and order a burger and booze.  On occasion.  Infrequently.  Once in a while.  I put on a few pounds, but no big deal.

In February, my world blew up.  I dealt with her death well.  I stayed composed when everyone else crumbled.  I made arrangements.  I printed pictures for the tribute table.  I made a video slide show.  I composed a beautiful obituary.  I contacted family members.  I lovingly chose the last outfit my mother would ever wear.  I sifted through jewelry, found her dentures, located her glasses.  I chose flowers, signed papers, wrote thank you cards, and closed bank accounts.

I barely got to say goodbye.

There was no still, quiet moment with a single streaming tear in a solemn room alone with the woman who gave me life.

There was just busyness followed by emptiness.

To ease the pain, I drank.  A lot.  And I ate.  A lot.  I binge-ate, binge-drank, and binge-watched Grey’s Anatomy reruns. As a result, I don’t feel any better and I certainly don’t look any better.  I have gained about 40lbs (I’m TOTALLY guessing because I refuse to get on the scale).  I’ve been getting back into the swing of things.  Running or hiking a local trail after school, body-weight strength training, and eating the proper amount of calories.

So far, it’s been hit or miss.  I’m on the wagon a few days or a few weeks, and then I tumble off that sucker for a week or so and go hog wild (emphasis on the “hog”).

I did take measurements about 2 weeks ago, and I have lost inches, so that’s good.  That’s motivating.  Writing about this is also motivating, not to mention therapeutic.  Once I work up the nerve to get on the scale, I’m sure watching those numbers go down will be motivating as well.

I have set new goals for the summer and fall of 2015:

  • Run a 10k
  • Run a 13.1
  • Run a marathon in October.

Goals are good.  Goals keep a person going.  Goals give me something to focus on.  School will be out soon, and I plan to spend my summer running and getting back into the best shape of my life! 🙂

Where I was two years ago:

I like-a-da foods.

I like-a-da foods.

No chins were harmed in the losing of this weight...

No chins were harmed in the losing of this weight…

I had gained from the 2012 pic, and then started losing again in Apr 2013.  This pic is probably about 245-250.

Approximately where I am now:

Weighing in at about 190 here on April 9, 2014.

Jay Sheets and Marie Pearl…and ME!

Where I want to be:

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Selfie-alert!

Selfie-alert!

A New Lesson

Just a quick update:

I’m still hitting bumps in the road, but I am not giving up.  I’m getting some decent runs in in the process.  Today I stayed after school–not to tutor–but to run with a student.  Things like this are part of what makes me a great teacher.  She’s a junior and wants to get into better shape the right way, so she came to me!  (Me!?  Really!?  It’s still hard to picture myself as a healthy person!)

In everything you do!

In everything you do!

We ran for 30 minutes after school, and she said she plans to run with me any day I am willing to stay.  We ran and talked (and walked in between!).  I helped her set some goals.  She wants to run a full mile (without stopping–no intervals) for her P.E. final in May.  I assured her that would be a piece of cake!  I convinced her to do a 5k with me in May as well.  That one, she’ll have to work for! 🙂

I’m excited, and so is she.  This may be the motivation I’ve been looking for–to BE someone’s motivation.

Hiking Healthy: Crushing the Smokies!

Hubby and I took a quick weekend trip to the Smoky Mountains.  We drove down Friday, hiked a gorgeous hike on Saturday, and drove back Sunday.  It was a lot of driving, but oh-so-worth it!

We Went to the Smokys last June with the whole family.  I was only a few months into my weight loss journey, and was probably sittin’ not-so-pretty at roughly 260.  I hiked once with the family–it was a short one–and it was rough.  I have always loved hiking, but it was so difficult.  This is me last summer.

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We hiked Andrew’s Bald that day and also went up Clingman’s Dome.  I was beat when we were done.

Here I am this year.  We hiked my absolute FAVORITE hike.  We started on Alum Cave Bluff trail at 6:20.  That was an hour and 24 BEFORE sunrise. 🙂

Arch Rock, 1.4 miles in.

Arch Rock, 1.4 miles in.

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After Arch Rock, we continued up to Alum Cave Bluff to watch the sunrise.  This was 2.3 miles in.

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We continued on our way. I was rocking my MO’ Cowbell half marathon shirt.  I even scored a compliment on it!  People love that SNL skit!  We finally arrived at the lodge which is 5 miles up from the trailhead.

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We were feeling better than ever, so we decided to head to Cliff Tops–another .3.

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Still feeling awesome, we ventured farther up the mountain than EVER before!  This was my 4th trip up and my hubby’s 5th.  We made it to the summit.

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There were no views at the summit, but we hiked a bit farther–.7 miles from Cliff Tops–to Myrtle Point which was absolutely gorgeous.

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After taking in these b-e-a-UUUUU-tiful views, we headed back to the lodge for a sack lunch that consisted of a bagel with cream cheese, summer sausage, oreos, a fruit roll-up, trail mix, and hot cocoa.  It was delicious.

Nom Nom...

Nom Nom…

The trip down was nice.  We saw a TON of people though.  On the way up we were virtually alone, but the trail was packed late that afternoon. Hubby twisted his ankle pretty badly, but we still got a ton of great pictures.

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I felt like I was flying.  I was so light on my feet. I was sure-footed.  I didn’t feel like I would keel over dead at any given second!

In years past, I would be dragging my exhausted body up to the lodge around 3-5 pm.  This year, I bounced up the trail and made it to the lodge at 10am!  In fact, when we made it back to the parking lot after the hike, I was sad to see it end, whereas with all my other hikes, I was dying to get in the car and get my boots off!  This was an amazing day made possible (or at least more enjoyable!) because of my weight loss.

#LiveLifeHappy

Healthy living, folks! 🙂  Do it.

What did I GO! and do now?

I did it.  I am officially registered for the GO! St. Louis Marathon on April 12, 2015.  This race takes place almost two years from the day that I weighed 297 pounds and looked like this:

Notice how I'm trying to hide behind not one...but TWO people!?

Notice how I’m trying to hide behind not one…but TWO people!?

Hiding again. Oh-so-unsuccessfully.

Hiding again. Oh-so-unsuccessfully.

Over 130 lbs later, I’d say I’m a whole new person–or at least half of what I was.

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Fall Pictures 2014 004

I will celebrate my two year anniversary with a run.  A really, really looong run.  I will be working on a training plan that will fit my schedule and not kill me.  I’d like to try to keep up the fitness level I have now–I can currently run 10 miles with relative ease–and I want to work on speed. In addition to that, I will start my actual marathon training in December.  I will probably use Hal Higdon again.  It was easy and it got the job done.

Goals to reach by April 2015:

1. Lose 20 lbs.  I’m currently hovering around 165.  I’d like to be 145 when I run, but I’ll be happy with anything from 145-155.

2. Run 10 minute miles comfortably. I know my race pace will be slower, but for shorter distances, I want to run faster!

3. Finish my marathon in <5:45:00.

Here’s to a new training plan and more regular blog updates!  Wish me well.

Happy (marathon) running!

Long Time, No Post.

Things have been hectic since I ran my half marathon.  I’m overwhelmed (and underpaid) at school.  I’m teaching two new classes this year in addition to being the Student Council Sponsor (an unpaid position).  We’ve had Pink Out for Breast Cancer Week including a Pink Out game, we held a blood drive on Friday, October 10th, where we met exceeded our goal, and we are in the planning process for the Halloween Dance which is scheduled for next Thursday after Parent Teacher Conferences.  I’m tired just thinking about it all!  At least we have saved some lives in the process!  Have a gander at our spoils:

I vant to suck your blood!

I vant to suck your blood!

It was extra cool to donate and to see so many of my students brave the big, bad needle, since my momma has been in the hospital since last Tuesday, and has received 5 units of blood.  She’s not doing so hot: end stage renal failure, heart failure, low bp, bradypnea.  Lots of other fun stuff.  She goes in to have a cardiac cath done tomorrow because her heart is functioning (ejection-fraction rate) at <25%.  This is worrisome because she just had a cath done a year ago and they put in 11 stents.  It’s pretty unlikely that she has clogged up that much in a year’s time.  They may put in a defibrillator too.  It’s scary–even scarier since I can’t be there due to being so bogged down at school.  My brothers won’t be there either.  I hate to leave her hanging.

The reason this ties into my fitness blog at all is that my mom is the main reason I made a change for the better.  She saved my life (by proxy).  I saw how imprisoned she was in her own body.  She is sick all the time.  She is uncomfortable all the time.  She has so many meds that a nurse has to come refill her pill box for her.  Her eyes are so bad from the diabetes that she can no longer see the lines on her syringes to dose her own insulin.  My dad–a heavy smoker and drinker–is legless and feels as if he is suffocating despite each ragged breath.  I knew at 300 pounds, I was careening toward that same life…if you want to call it that.  I saw my mother’s misery, I saw my father’s helplessness, and it scared me straight.  I turned my life around.

My parents will probably both be gone within the year, but I will live my life to the fullest to honor them.  I know they are proud of what I have accomplished, and I will continue to make them proud. I even have marathon aspirations, so maybe with their motivation, I will actually be able to cross that finish line. I will take them with me for each step of a Sunday afternoon jog.  I will run every race for them.  I do it now, and I will do it long after they are gone. ❤

Run far. Run happy.  Just run.

I Finished my First Half Marathon!

Celebrating with the kids post-race. :)

Celebrating with the kids post-race. 🙂

Welp, I did it, and it was great!  On Saturday morning, the family got up and headed out the door for St. Charles, MO.  We stopped at Denny’s and I indulged with pancakes and hashbrowns.  Yum.  We ran a few errands, and I tried to find some compression pants in a smaller size, but with no luck.

We went to the Expo where I received an excellent stretch and a looooong, much needed massage from a young man named Ramone.  I told him I wanted to marry him.  He thought I was joking.  I picked up my shirt and car sticker and a few coupons.  One coupon was for free socks, so we visited that store, since it was basically in the same plaza as our hotel.  They were out of the free ones, so they gave me an even better pair of Saucony dri-fit compression socks.  Score!  And in talking with the young lady behind the counter, I found out her grandparents live in the same community as me and I’ve done several training runs by their home.  Small world.

We ate at a cheap Italian place.  We were tired, and the restaurant was next door.  I ordered lasagna.  It was frozen!  I was so tired that I didn’t even complain.  I just ate around the solid parts and we went back to the hotel.  We watched a bit of Harry Potter, and we had the lights out by 9pm.  I think I fell asleep by 9:30 and slept well all night–which is uncommon for me.

I woke at 5 and had all my race gear in the bathroom, so I could dress without waking the family.  I was still pretty out of it, so when I turned around in the bathroom with my clothes in my hand, I dropped my socks.  In the toilet!  I’m soooo glad I had gotten that extra pair the day before!  To run 13.1 miles in uncomfortably thin cotton socks would have been a nightmare!

I scarfed a granola bar and a fruit bar and woke the fam.  They all bounced up and were ready within 15 minutes.  We hit the breakfast downstairs.  I had coffee, and the kids had muffins and yogurt.  There were other runners there, but they were pretty obnoxious.  They really seemed to just want to hear themselves talk.  They were having a conversation, but each person’s was one sided.  Just a bunch of declarative statements, really.

We arrived at the public parking lot.  It was dark and cold.  We waited in the car for a bit, but then I decided to head to the start line at 6:40.  The race stared at 7:30.  I used that time to stand in the super long port-o-potty lines and meet up with my friend who was running too.  She and her husband lined up at the back of the 10 minute mile line.  I lined up with them so that I would have company while we waited for the start.  After a mile or so, when the crowd thinned, I slowed my pace to a 12ish minute mile pace.

After the start, I was overwhelmed with emotion.  It was a big deal for me, having weighed almost 300 pounds in 2013.  I realized how hard I had worked and how far I had come, and that I was realizing a goal I had set for myself and trained religiously for for months!  It was all I could to to not ugly cry.  The feeling passed, and I ran a great race. For the first half of the race, every time I would pass a mile marker, I would think, Wow!  Really?  Already?  

There weren’t as many spectators as I thought there would be, but the High-Five Zone at mile 5 was pretty cool.  The only negatives were that I had over-hydrated, so I had to stop at several port-o-pottys, and halfway through, I started having tummy trouble, again…having to stop at every port-o-potty. 😦  I thought it was because I had drank more Gatorade than I’m used to, but that night, my daughter got sick too.  Figures that I would have a stomach bug on my first big race!

Even with the frequent bathroom breaks, I hit both of my half marathon goals:

1. Finish in under 3 hours (My finish time was 2:48 flat)

2. Run the whole course without walking (I allowed for bathroom breaks…just didn’t know I would be taking so many!)

At mile 10, the flat course became a hilly course.  Ouch.  Bad place to add some hills if you ask me.  I was still feeling okay, and had plenty of energy.  At one point, as I was passing everyone who was walking up the hill, a woman yelled, “You run that hill!”  I loved that encouragement.

Mile 11 was the longest mile in history.  I don’t think I ever saw the mile 12 sign. I must have missed it. During the final miles, my hips were hurting, and I had to stop and stretch them and my quads, but other than that, I felt great.  Others around me were miserable.  Someone with knee pain was telling her husband it was worse than giving birth.  Some were limping. Some were sitting on the curb.  Some were basically crawling.  I was so proud of what I was accomplishing and how well I had trained for it.  My body was not giving out.  My mind was not giving in.  My heart was not giving up.

Finally, people started shouting that the finish was just down the hill and around the corner.  I was thinking:

A. OMG…If I was running a marathon, I’d only be HALFWAY!

and

B. OMG…I’m going to finish a half marathon! 13.1 miles!

And then I saw the finish.   I saw the clock.  I saw that I was going to beat my goal by more than 10 minutes.  I crossed the line.  I jogged a little farther and began walking toward a gate to get some good stretches in.

My hubby came over and hugged me.  A big bear hug.  He was so proud.  The kids were proud too.  I celebrated (even with my bad tummy) by getting my free beer and some delicious blueberry bread.

We walked around for a bit and then went to the car.  We stopped by the mall, so I could return some items, we shopped a little, and then we stopped for lunch.  After this, I was beat.  We got home, I took a shower, and I hit my bed and stayed there watching tv all evening.  Heck, I deserved it. 🙂

It was an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to do it again!  I’ll be working on speed now that I have some miles under my belt.

Now the question is…to marathon, or not to marathon…

Sunny selfie in my race shirt.

Sunny selfie in my race shirt.