Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm relevant!

A month ago I ran, and finished, my first half marathon. I raised over $300 for cancer research in honor of my father who has battled Melanoma this past year. I crossed the finish line in 2 and a half hours. I didn't walk one step of the race. I have not written about it or blogged about it since. Why??

Hmmm, not totally sure, but I started to think about it this week after a friend (who graciously reads my blog when nobody else really does) mentioned that she hadn't seen a post race blog entry. I think there are several reasons why my blog has been a cliff hanger stopping on the night before the race. Here are just some of my excuses for not following up...
1. I couldn't walk for at least three days. I intellectually realize this has nothing to do with sitting at a computer and typing, but honestly even that might have been painful after running 13.1 miles.
2. I had company in town. Blah, blah, blah. I had company in town when I wrote the pre-race blog and I write all the time when I have other obligations glaring down at me.
3. I'm not a marathon runner (even a half marathon). I didn't lose the weight I wanted to and I definitely didn't break any records so blogging about a less than gripping race experience seemed sad, at best.
4. I didn't really know what to write....until now.

My legs have recovered, I've come down from my runner's high and I can honestly say it was the most amazing experience I have ever had!! My fat ass (ok, I'm not supposed to use derogatory language towards myself so I will say "chubby") ran 13.1 miles without stopping and without dropping dead. I don't really care who you are....that is an accomplishment. I enjoyed every minute of it, miles 10-13 were very challenging, my knees hurt on and off, my play list on my iPod was rocking and I crossed that finish line with pride in my heart and sweat soaking my clothes. :) The physical strength it takes to run a marathon has nothing on the emotional strength is takes to do something like this. I never once thought about my leg pain, but I constantly processed my life, my past, my purpose and my love for my father (which really inspired me to run this race). I had mantras that helped me to push through and I cried at least three seperate times (thank God it was sunny so I had sunglasses on and nobody saw the tears).

I was so proud of myself for a few days, but realizing that actually my time was pretty much as slow as a turtle was a blow to my ego. I want to be one of those people who finish in record breaking time, weigh a 100 pounds and pretty much exude the athelete vibe. Pity party being over now, I realize that I will/or may not ever be that girl. I have weight to lose, goals to meet and challenges to conquer. I have self esteem to build and a whole life to shape ahead of me. What I do know is that my race was still a race. My finish time still recorded in history. My existince is relevant. I am relevant. And even if one person or nobody reads this blog, its my way of getting my voice out there. And everything we have to say is relevant.....even my words.

I can't wait for my next race!

I don't know why my face it so puffy! I'm used to it look chubby, but it was like when I stopped running all the blood races to my face. :) So thankful my dear friend Andrea was there to support me. The guy on the left is my dad....not idea what he is photographing, but gotta love him!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Rock and Roll

I'm running a marathon tomorrow. Just a half marathon, but still, a marathon. I have trained (probably not enough, but oh well), I have read the blogs and magazines, I have picked up my number and my free samples of Gu and peanut butter, I have carbo loaded tonight with a big pasta dinner, I have hydrated and purchased new running pants and cried and laughed at the fact that tomorrow I am running a marathon. After all of this preparation, I can honestly say that I have no idea what to expect and I'm still a little scared out of my mind.

I know I won't set any records and I'm sure that I will be much slower than the majority of the runners, but not the slowest. I haven't lost the amount of weight I have wanted to, but I ran 9 miles straight a few days ago. I haven't purchased a fancy watch to time my miles and stay "on track" to finish at a certain time, but I am pretty certain I will finish. I haven't conquered all my fears or transformed my life, but I have found the joy of running and the therapy it brings me. I haven't raised thousands for cancer research in honor of my dad, but I have raised $300, and that is pretty great. I haven't thought about my next marathon or even if there will be one, but I am confident I will enjoy every moment of my first one tomorrow. For all that I haven't done or accomplished, there are three things I have under my belt. Baby steps. Just like the ones I plan on taking tomorrow.

So, at 8:30 at night, tucked nicely in bed with my best friend here visiting to support me and many more who are keeping me in their thoughts, I will say goodnight and good luck to myself. I have come far and still have so far to go. Life really is a marathon and not a sprint. What a wonderful adventure both will be.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Oh, Barbara....

With only 17 days left until the half marathon (gulp), I really had to get my head in the game today. I ran 6 miles at the track and although I was a little slow today, I felt good. I got talked into joining my friend later in the day at the gym for a hard core work out. She called it "Barbara" which I thought was strange, but I didn't ask.

Below was me at the gym tonight.......

Alright, so I thought it would be more enjoyable to post a picture of this hunky guy doing pull-ups instead of me (chubby and not near as strong). :) All four of us gals had to use the pull-up machine that "assists" you in the one exercise that I find freakish. Who can really pull their whole body weight up to a bar over and over again? A five year old maybe, but beyond that it is just creepy.

The pull-up was just one of four exercises that we did in a routine called "Barabara". When I asked, I learned that the creators of the famous CrossFit fitness program names many of their routines after ex girlfriends. "Barabara" was either in fabulous shape or she liked to torture people. I not confident of which one.

The workout:
1. Warm-up on the stair climber for 20 minutes (NOT to be confused with the stair stepper. The stair climber has stairs that move continuously and you either have to keep stepping or risk falling off the back. By minute 5 I was covered in sweat, but I managed to complete all 20).
2. 20 pull-ups
3. 30 push-ups (Most of us opted for "girly" push-ups on our knees)
4. 40 squats
5. 50 crunches
6. Repeat steps 2-5 FOUR times or until you feel like you want to vomit or faint.

Honestly, it went by quickly and despite the sweat pouring off my body I felt pretty good at the end. I was so proud that I kept up with three gals that are smaller than me and who weight lift more often than I do. Will I be able to walk tomorrow? Unlikely. That ok though....pain means progress!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Keep on Trucking....

Greetings fellow bloggers. I haven't written in weeks so I thought I would send something out into cyberspace today. Why haven't I written? Too busy with work? On a luxury vacation? No access to the internet? Nope. None of the above. Frankly, I've been in a funk (oh, and only a handful of people even read my blog so I didn't think taking a month off would really matter). :) I put all my eggs in one basket and was very hopeful about getting a job that I interviewed for and, shocker, I didn't get it. You mean there are other highly qualified people out there looking for a job?! I had no idea. :) Perhaps my confident attitude clouded this fact, but this was my DREAM job!!! And it sucks and I cried and I got a little mad and then I do what I always do.....keep on trucking.

I developed the skill of "keep on trucking" (yes, that is a medical term) out of necessity, not by choice. I didn't choose to have some of the things happen to me that have in the past few years and I definitely didn't enjoy them. What I did CHOOSE, however, was to not spend my days living beneath the dark cloud that is grief and sadness. I continue to choose this and although hard days and disappointments still grace my front door, they now fail to stay for a long visit. This most recent setback had me "funky" for longer than I liked so I was excited to celebrate Memorial Day with some of my favorite things to cheer me up. The outdoors, family, friends and laughter.

When I pulled up to my house after working the morning shift at work I was graced with a flag blowing in the wind. My dad (yep, I'm that girl that is living at home to save money and I'm ok with that....most days) had mounted it on the fence that led to the "Early KOA" camp ground that would remain open the whole three day weekend. There is nothing like a flag blowing in the wind and I was instantly proud to be an American.

I'm an outdoors girl by nature so wearing raggedy clothes and boots for a whole weekend as I sit around a camp fire, play horseshoes and breath the fresh air of the Pacific Northwest is just about bliss for me. I've mentioned the lovely Northwest in several of my posts, but honestly people, you CAN'T beat a nice day in Seattle. :) The rain held off and friend and family camped in their motor homes right on our property. Above is Lucy waiting patiently for someone to emerge from indoors....perhaps with a hot dog

There are countless reasons why I love my family and this picture is just one of them. Through a brassy sounding boom box, my mom heard an old favorite and insisted my dad dance wit her. I both cringe and love the fact that I have done and will probably do this same things many times in my life. Dad obliged and the dance the whole song right there in the grass. I was playing around with camera settings and I was mad this came out slightly blurry, but I've since decided it adds a bit of drama to it. Dance on you two!

So there you have it. Funk lifted, fabulous weekend spent with those I love, honoring those who fight to keep us safe. Nothing better. The fresh air cleared my head and I'm left with a few thoughts......there are more jobs to land, more positive than negative in my life and building the life I want is always my CHOICE!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Running my ass off...

Ok, ok, the ass hasn't actually fallen off yet, but that would be a welcome side effect of training for the Seattle Rock and Roll half marathon. Several weeks ago, when I hit "confirm" on the marathon website, I instantly feared and regretted my decision to run 13.1 miles. On purpose. In reality, the most miles I have ever completed at one time is barely 8 and I think I was probably 30 pounds skinnier then where I stand on the scale today. Sure, I completed a 10k in January in just over an hour and I definitely could have kept going, but we are talking about DOUBLE the distance. Yikes.

There isn't much I can do at this point. The entrance fee has been paid, the date is set and I'm NOT going to make a fool of myself by faking an injury or simply slacking off and pulling out of the race. Nope, that won't happen. My only option, therefore, is to run. My ass off. I accomplished 4 miles on Monday this week and then a little over 5 on Wednesday. I ran through a literal downpour of Seattle rain and an emotional one of just not feeling fit enough to keep going. I have acquired a dull ache in my left hip (I can honestly say I have never had a pain in my hip. Its an odd sensation) and my ankles and knees continue to be slightly sore either after a long run or simply a day at work on my feet. Fabulous.

As the weeks tick away and June 25th becomes a reality, I will contine to push myself physically and emotionally. I want to reach this goal for the weight loss, for the fundraising for the American Cancer Society and for the feeling I know will be waiting for me when I cross that finish line (whether I'm on my feet or crawling). This week? 8 miles is the goal. The status of my ass actually falling off? I will keep you posted. :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

We're doing something right!

A few weeks go my dad and I sat outside in front of a bonfire (yes, I live in the woods) and polished off most of a large bottle of red wine. We normally have no problem communicating and talking about things, but I waited till he was a little buzzed before I asked the question that had been on my mind for a while. "Do you worry about your cancer and think about it all the time?" I asked. I wasn't really surprised by the answer, but it was interesting to hear it. He told me he constantly checks his tumor sight and wonders if it will come back and thinks a lot about whether the cancer is traveling around in his body undetected. I had no empathy, since I have never been through something as life altering as cancer, but I sure had sympathy. In fact, I have begun to live my days in the same manner. Does he have the sniffles? Why? Is the cancer multiplying as we sit here over dinner (or a bottle of wine)? It is exhausting, terrifying and back breaking.

Last Thursday, for the first time in six months (which is a long time in the world of cancer), my dad had another PET Scan. The scan itself is not painful or stressful. You basically get some radioactive sugar water pumped through your veins, lay in a tube for a looooong time and then get a nice little snack of crackers and juice to boost your sugar levels again. (Side story: when they pulled dad out of the tube for his half way point snack the nurse said "Oh its sunny outside!" She, of course, was referring to the current weather, but dad replied "What? Is it July already?" :) So, its a long, but painless process).

The painful part? WAITING!!!!! He was told his doctor would contact him on Monday with the results, but if you have ever dealt with a doctor you know that their time lines are a bit relaxed. Monday passed with no phone call or text from my dad. I figured that he would only contact me at work if it was good news so by the end of the night I was convinced the Melanoma had taken over his body and he had one week to live. I went to bed that night with a heavy heart and a lot of anxiety. To cut the story short....basically I heard the phone ringing when I was in my room getting ready for work on Tuesday morning. Nobody ever calls me on this phone so I NEVER answer it. I had a feeling, and went with it, and ran to listen to the message. It was was my dad's doc saying "your scan looks fine". Forget the fact that doctors shouldn't leave messages like this on answering machines, my father told him to call his cell phone and this said doctor is now not my dad's doc. Besides all that, it was amazing news. I called Pops instantly and fought back tears of joy.

I'm not sure what it is.....the praying, the positive thinking, his new cancer fighting/no sugar/no chemicals diet, the placement of Mars in the universe. Who knows. All I know is that we are doing something right. No signs of cancer and a whole lot of time ahead of us to keep kicking cancer's ass! Oh, and maybe he will continue to worry about what is floating around in his body, maybe we all will, but for the next few months we can safely say that all is good.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What the heck do I eat?!

This is kind of what I felt like today.......let me explain.

Since taking on the "cancerhasaffectedmyfamily/I'mtiredofbeingchubby" challenge of changing my eating habits, I have had more than just one mountain to crawl over. Limiting dairy has been less than fun (I still have cheese on my list of "just not ready to give up yet") and only letting natural/organic goods pass through my lips has taken some getting used to and requires some advanced reading of labels at the grocery store. Oh, and speaking of grocery stores, pretty much every store in a ten mile radius of my current home is stocked with crappy, chemically enhanced garbage from either a box or a farm in Venezuela. Ugh.

Fast forward from the beginning of my journey to today, and you will find me currently pulling out my hair in frustration about what the heck I'm supposed to eat! This is usually not a problem on the days I work as I work in Seattle.....A. at a restaurant dedicated to serving ONLY local, natural and seasonal food (I also get a great discount) and B. in a location where I can walk to not only several markets that specialize in this kind of eating, but also a half dozen restaurants that also serve chemical free, real food. On my days off? Well, that is a different story.

I've been fighting a cold, so the ONLY thing that sounded good for lunch was soup. I didn't exactly have a soup preference in mind, just soup in general. My stores of choice included Safety-Way and QFSea (I wanted to protect the name of these mega-stores for obvious reasons) and a handful of gas stations. Yum. I spent twenty minutes in Safety-Way and learned that their "vegetarian" tomato bisque has enough sodium to give the Dead Sea a run for its money as well as more fat than I need to consume in a week. QFSea, I thought, would have more of a selection in their deli that definitely appears to be nicer than Safety-Ways. Nope. A cup of even their "light" soup could put a diabetic in a small coma. I refused to even try the canned aisle in either of these stores because lets face it, the chemicals on the back of those cans are too hard to spell and most likely radio active.

All of you out there that understand nutrition and what I'm trying to do to my nutritional life can collectively sigh as you hear the choice I made. Won Ton soup from the local Chinese restaurant. Sigh. In my defense, this was my rationale......A. Non-dairy B. Low fat C. Local?? (the restaurant is local....okay that is a stretch) D. Hot and soothing on my sore throat. I sat, arms folded across my chest in failure and despair, as I waited for my to-go order. The soup was delicious, but I had buyer's remorse and I know that this is just the start to the ultimate question. What the heck do I eat!?? Especially when surburban America offers little in choice.

Suggestions? Comments?