Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Acceptance and appreciation

I had an epiphany today -- I like my body! Taking a glance in my full length mirror after I was dressed, I had an instant appreciation for my body. I know this sounds vain, but you have to understand where I'm coming from to appreciate this new thought.

I am a born and bred perfectionist. Have been as long as I can remember, or at least since middle school when I couldn't tolerate getting an A-. It seems all my life I have fixated on being perfect in one area or another. If it wasn't school, it was my marriage, if not my marriage, then my kids. The list goes on and on. This past year, I could feel myself changing from this perfectionistic lifestyle. I found myself obsessing less and less over the things that used to be so important to me. By God's amazing grace, I finally starting seeing some transformation in my thinking.

When I was in the heart of training for the Quad Cities marathon last fall, I radically changed my diet. Well, I tried to change it overnight and that didn't really work. But, I did see some payoff. I lost some weight and gained some muscle tone. I was taking my kids to the pool frequently and everytime I put on my swimsuit, I noticed these minor changes in my body. It didn't take long and soon I was starting to get a little obsessed about my weight, my body fat percentage and getting toned abs and arms. Good thing that was at the end of the summer and swimsuit season was over before it could grow into a full blown obsession. Then, I ran my marathon and fulfilled my goals. As the weather cooled, I started donning my fall/winter wardrobe. All of the sudden, my clothes didn't fit right. Everything was fine when I was wearing shorts and tees everyday, but now my pants were falling off of me! I hated the way I looked in my jeans. Being the cheapskate I am, I didn't want to have to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe and commit to a smaller size, so I decided to gain some weight back by eating whatever I fancied.

That worked for me until about Thanksgiving. After that, I should have stopped, but the bad habit was formed and my cravings seemed to take over. I was on the fringe all December of barely fitting into my clothes comfortably, but I just couldn't seem to find the motivation to make the dietary changes I would need to in order to lose the weight.

Finally, the holidays were over and a new year began. Time for resolutions and for my Boston marathon training to start. This has helped, but not fixed everything. I was starting to worry that I might struggle with my weight and start obsessing about food. I don't want that!! I just want to eat right and enjoy some treats once in a while. I finally think I'm on my way to finding that balance.

It was just so nice to put on a pair of jeans today without a struggle and be able to look in the mirror and think, "I look pretty good." For once, I didn't pick apart my body and lay guilt trips on myself for not eating perfectly. I'm NOT perfect! I know, big news flash, right? LOL I'm saying it for myself. Today, I looked in the mirror and fully accepted myself, imperfections and all. That felt so good!

I hope every woman has a moment (or hopefully a mindset) like this at least once in her life. We are bombarded by images of so called "perfect" women and we are so good at worrying, feeling guilty, and doing everything we can to hide who we really are, I think these moments of acceptance are rare. I'm taking time today to appreciate that I had this moment and for today, I feel great about my body. I'm short, petite (sort of), have a small chest (which I LOVE), and have a full, round booty. :-) God has blessed me and I am thankful. I hope you can take a moment to appreciate what God has given you today too!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Finding motivation

Hello again! Happy New Year! I hope it's getting off to a good start for you. It's been good, but kinda slow for me. I'll catch you up to speed since my last post.

Yeah, yeah...ya know I qualified. Within a week of qualifying, I made my Boston hotel reservations. A couple weeks later, I applied for the marathon. Like thousands of others, I spent a couple of hours on my computer entering all my info and credit card number about 50 times before it finally went through. I waited anxiously another two weeks before I heard from the BAA that my application had been received and upon confirmation of my qualifying time, I would be accepted. I'm now on the entrants list for this year's race and that's good enough for me. Last week, I purchased my airline tickets. All I have to do now is to wait for my confirmation card with my race number. I think it should arrive in March or early April. Oh yeah, I guess I have to start training too!

That's been the hard part - staying motivated to run and think about training again. Since September, I've maintained running three days a week and my long runs have been between eight to ten miles. It's been enough to sort of keep me in shape and fitting in my clothes, but not what I really consider training. I did run the Sprint Thanksgiving Day 5K again in November and did surprisingly well with little training and speedwork. I finished in 22:06! I was quite pleased and shocked when I saw the clock at the finish line. In the last mile, I kept feeling like I was slowing down and was getting passed more than I was passing others. I assumed my finish time would be over 23 minutes, definitely not a minute faster!

Well, that was the last time I pushed myself. Each week since has become more and more of a struggle to find the motivation to do more than the bare minimum. I'm learning to be patient with myself and take things a day at a time. I don't want to get too excited too soon. Last weekend, I joined Runner's Edge for a long run and was hoping to do 10-12. I ended up running 14! Twelve of those miles felt absolutely great! The final two felt like the end of my marathon. I was glad to have done it so I don't have to run that long without the group this weekend. That was my motivation for even going that far. I think I'm going to have to resort to bargaining with myself to get into training mode again. I thought eating like crap during the holidays would do it. I totally let myself indulge in pretty much anything I wanted thinking that would satisfy me and I would want to get right into healthy eating at the first of the year. That hasn't really happened yet.

Yesterday was the first day I had any sort of motivation to do something other than run. For a half hour, I worked on my core, stretched, and did some strengthening exercises using a medicine ball. Boy, do I feel it today!! My glutes and hammies are not happy. I guess that's what I get for neglecting my other body parts for 4 months!

I did something else yesterday to get my mojo back. I figured I wouldn't feel up to running outside today with the freezing temps, but thought I could get excited about working on the dreadmill if I downloaded some new tunes on my new iPod shuffle. I finally took it out of the box yesterday (I got it for Christmas) and synced it up. I've been having computer issues lately, so it took longer than it should have to get it synced and charged up. After 6 hours, it was ready to go. My opportunity for running had passed by the point, so my run had to wait until today. With my shuffle in tow, I went to 24 Hour Fitness for a run.

Okay, so I knew it had been a while since I'd been to the gym, but I didn't expect anyone to notice. I walked in with my card in hand and gave it to the "trainer" at the front desk. He smiled at me and condescendingly said, "You haven't been here in a while, have you. We don't use cards anymore. We use your fingerprints and phone number now." I had to hand over my card and go through the process of getting fingerprinted before entering. So much for going unnoticed! At least everything else was pretty much the same.

Even though I just went 4 miles, I have to say it was the most enjoyable treadmill run I've ever had. It didn't hurt or feel uncomfortable like it usually does. I would have liked to have gone even longer (I never thought I'd say that!), but I had to finish up so I could pick up my son at preschool.

Maybe that's all I needed?! I don't want to think that I'm a runner who needs music to enjoy the experience, but I can say that I think music can enhance it. I still very much enjoy running and chatting with my friends, but when they aren't around and I'm stuck inside, I feel like I need my music to keep me going.

In case you're interested, here are some of the new songs that pump me up: We R Who We R by Kesha, Only Girl by Rihanna, and Satisfaction by Benny Benassi. I learned about the last song from our new Wii (a Christmas present). Can I consider doing Just Dance 2 games with my kids a form of crosstraining? This winter, anything that has gotten me off the couch and eating chocolate is a form of crosstraining!!

Well, that's the scoop for now. I'll write more as my training continues. I can't promise it will be inspiring, but I'm sure I'll have some stories to share. :-)