Tuesday, March 27, 2012

That blog entry that makes no sense...

Validation.  Approval.  Acceptance. No matter what term you use, its part of what has motivated me for years.  It's not healthy, and I definitely know that.  Typically I lose the internal battle to say "who cares?" and end up paralyzed by the fear of not being good enough.

My husband was my first boyfriend, but like everyone I had plenty of "crushes" growing up.  I always had a thing for football players, and I often harbored a crush on my closest guy friends.  Is it normal for me to still wonder why I wasn't good enough to catch the eye of any of those boys who interested me along the way?   Admittedly I didn't typically come clean about those feelings, but I remember the two times I have it didn't go well.  I was rejected and then felt that I had made myself weak and powerless by admitting my feelings.

That's not saying that I would go back and change history, but I know deep down that never being noticed all those years ago is part of why I lack self-esteem.   I never dated in high school, there were never any boys interested in me.  I went to school, studied hard, worked, and swam.  I had friends, but I didn't do a whole lot if socializing outside of school hours.  While it was exactly what I wanted, I sometimes wonder if I missed out by focusing so much on my future.

After all, I got the college degree I so badly wanted.  It doesn't make me any better than anyone else, I'm not working.  What good was it really?  Of course, then I realize if I hadn't gone to college I most certainly would not have met Tommy.  And I wouldn't have my kiddos - and they are my everything.  I guess everything happens for a reason.  I just wish I could stop second guessing things and just be happy and 100% content.

I think as a stay at home mom I have way too much time to think about stuff that I shouldn't be spending any time on.  I don't think that working will be a "cure all" but I definitely think that going back to work will help me be a happier, and better person.   In a few more years we will test out that theory.

I just hope that someday I will have the confidence to walk into a room and not wonder what negative things people are thinking/saying about me.  I long for the day when I no longer need external approval, validation and acceptance.

My goal for now... let go of the past.  Let go of those who didn't value me enough to give me a chance.  Let go of the pain and embrace my blessings.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Nutri-Run 20k recap

First off, thank you for those of you who have left me positive comments the last week or two.  I have made some major improvements as far as where I am mentally and emotionally.  It's definitely not something that I can say I have totally resolved, but I am getting better.

Saturday I had my dreaded 20k.  I say dreaded because it was a relatively small race that didn't have any port-a-potties along the route.  I am a runner who finds comfort knowing there are bathrooms along the way just in case.   During 2 of my 3 half marathons I have stopped twice, so a 12.4 miles with no options was a bit scary.  Add to that the weather/time considerations and I was a basket case. The race was at 11 am, which is 3-4 hours later than I typically do my long runs and with our unseasonably warm weather I had no clue what to expect. 

I woke up Saturday morning with a massive headache.  Luckily, a dose of tylenol did a good job keeping it under wraps when I was running.  The weather, while warm, wasn't too unbearable and the rain held off so I was pretty excited about that.  I don't have a mile by mile breakdown of this race as I just wasn't into it mentally.  I tried to just enjoy the run the best that I could, but it was just not my day. I know I ran pretty strong the first 3-4 miles, probably TOO strong.  Then I started having some real pain in my foot.   I took a few walk breaks and it sort of screwed up my rhythm.  

I chose not to take any sort of fuel because I was worried about my stomach causing me problems. I also severely limited my Gatorade and even water intake.  For the whole race I think I took in about 4 oz of Gatorade and 8 oz of water.   Somewhere towards the middle of the race I started to have cramping in my stomach so I would run until I couldn't anymore and then walk.  Unfortunately walking actually hurt my foot worse, so I spent the last 5-6 miles of the race deciding whether to run dealing with stomach cramps or walking with pain so intense it brought tears to my eyes.  I tried my best to stay positive but it was REALLY hard.

That being said, I wasn't terribly disappointed in my time.  It wasn't quite what I was hoping for, I had told my hubby I wanted to finish in 1:55 and I ended up finishing in 1:56 and some change.  So, VERY close, especially given the conditions I was dealing with.

I am actually quite embarrassed by how inconsistent these splits are.  I really need to work on pacing myself better.  I think I would have settled in to about a 8:50 mile if it hadn't been for the foot and stomach issue.  Ah well, there's always next time.  **note:  I forgot to stop my watch, the last split time should be about 90 seconds less.

Avg Pace
Overall, it was a fun race experience.  The first 300 finishers got a loaf of Panera bread and a commemorative glass that we could fill with smoothies inside.  The age group winners were awarded pineapples, too bad I wasn't even close this race!  My one disappointment was that it felt like the majority of the runners were FAST.  Typically I finish about middle of the road at worst, and at this race I was near the bottom.  It doesn't really matter, I am only competing against myself.  BUT, at the same time it felt weird. 

My official time was 1:56:11.2  and overall I came in 6th of 7 in my age group and I think 114 of 139 overall.  Not overly impressive, but I will take it.  I am proud that I didn't give up even when I thought I couldn't move another inch.   And, it was great to see my running buddies!  

Last but not least, a few pictures! :) 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My motto, so true. 

It's sort of a painful process to pick yourself apart in order to be a better person.  I didn't post yesterday because I just wasn't in the mindset to do so.  I spent today analyzing one of my flaws that probably causes me the most distress: having a hard time of letting go of people from my past.  

I realized today that I make weird connections.  For instance, if I am driving down the road and see a car that is the same type of car as a lost family member or friend it instantly takes me back to when they were with me.  A horse will remind me of people that I know who have horses, or takes me back to times in my life when I have interacted with horses.  Seeing a child sad reminds me of all of my failures as a parent.   I don't really know how to put this into words, but for me it seems that its almost an issue of me being hyper sensitive to my memories.   I suppose this isn't really a bad thing per say, but in this case it keeps things in the forefront of my memory that I really don't want there all the time.

Sort of along the same lines, if a song is on the radio, I instantly connect it to a person, a place, or a memory.  It doesn't matter what genre, the lyrics REALLY speak to me - they always have.  I think for me its always been easier for me to pick lyrics out of a song and connect with them.  It's easier for me to use the lyrics to express myself than having to try to search for the words to express my emotions.    If I am using someone else's words, it doesn't hurt as badly if they aren't well received.  It doesn't feel quite as much like a personal rejection, I don't feel like I have exposed as much of my heart/soul to the world.  

Of course, the memories invoked aren't always sad ones, the lyrics aren't always a negative.  But, in times like this when I am struggling its easy to get stuck in a rut of sadness and negativity.  I know this, I guess I could turn off the radio - but I can't stop observing the world around me.  If its not a song, it will be a car, a smell, anything.  I love that I am able to connect things so easily, but I wish I could control it a bit more.

This is seriously the most difficult thing I have probably ever done in my life, to air my inner battles.  I have considered making this blog stuff completely private, but for me I think part of the battle is facing my inner demons head on and showing them that I refuse to be ashamed of who I am anymore.  Forcing myself to stop putting on an act and allowing people see the vulnerability, realizing its okay to be weak sometimes.

Hooray for having a mid-life crisis a few years early?  I guess maybe if I get it over with now I won't have to deal with it when I am 40?  I have had several people tell me that they don't understand how I could be struggling the way I am.  After all, I have "lost 125 pounds and look amazing."  Guess what... that's only physical.  While I do want to feel like I look amazing (still working on it, remember I see more than everyone else does and its NOT amazing), the important part is healing from the inside.  As I have said before, I didn't get to be over 300 pounds because I was happy.  So, while I may look "healed" from the outside that part of my journey as just begun.

I have been criticized for expecting too much of my friends, that's its not fair for me to expect them to be there for me when I am feeling blue... that's what psychologists are for after all.  Well, guess what... sometimes all it takes is a friend to look you in the eye and genuinely care.  Sometimes you just need someone to hug you and tell you that it will be okay even if you don't believe them.   And most importantly, sometimes it would be nice to have someone there to call and say "lets go out and get your mind off things."  Honestly, I don't want to dwell on talking about this with my friends.  I want to fix myself, that's the only way to truly heal... I just want them to be there to love me as I embark on this incredibly difficult journey.

In the past, I may have relied too heavily on people and that's part of whats gotten me to where I am now.  So, for those of you who have been there.... I'm sorry if I put too much pressure on you.  I hope that when I finally get back to healthy that you will give me a second (thirth, fourth, fifth?) chance.  I count myself lucky to have more than a handful of people who have loved and supported my through everything, and I know that while you guys aren't around geographically you would do whatever you could to help me through this.  So, THANK YOU for believing in me when I have given up on myself.

I won't always be broken... someday I hope that I will be as good of a friend/family member to you guys as you have been to me.

That being said, don't be surprised if you don't  hear from me for a while - I have a race on Saturday.  I'm dreading it, I am just  not ready for it emotionally or physically, so I plan to just "veg" tomorrow to try to get as ready as can be.  Then of course it will be a busy weekend, it always is with kids.  Next week is packing for our trip, and then next Friday we are bound for my parents' house.  I can't wait...

(I apologize, I know this post is horribly jumpy, but I just can't organize my thoughts tonight.  I am also not proofing this, so again... I apologize.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Coming out of hiding.

Disclaimer:  This post has nothing to do with running, this is my attempt at self therapy.  Thinking through and writing down my thoughts.  Feel free to skip over these posts, they are mostly for myself. 

Day 2... I never thought I would consider plastic surgery.  Yet, here I am seriously considering it - wishing that insurance would cover the costs.  I don't know how I would make it work logistically - I mean, who would take care of my kids and how could I stop running that long?  But, at the same time I dream of having a normal body for once in my life.  Don't get me wrong, I know how blessed I am to be where I am now compared to where I was a couple years ago.  The extra skin though is not only a pain when buying clothes and running, but its also like a weight pulling down on my soul.  Reminding me of the weight, reminding me that I am the only one to blame for the damage I did to my body.

For years, I hid behind my weight.  When I was "the fat girl" I had it as an excuse for missing out on life, an excuse for being unhappy.  If I didn't have any friends, it was because I was too fat.  I wasn't thin enough to be one of the cool kids.  I never had to look any further than that.  It was hurtful yes, but it was okay because it was always something that I could blame on circumstances outside of my control.  Yes, I realize I was obese because of my decisions, but at the time I didn't see it that way.  I blamed my genetics, I blamed everyone but myself. 

Now that I have shed that weight and lost friends along the way, I had the "shocking" revelation that its not the weight that keeps me from having friends, its ME.  I am sure I have many annoying habits, I annoy the crap out of myself, so I can only imagine that I drive other people crazy as well. I can truly tell you that I would likely lay down my life if necessary for any of my friends.  I expect the same from them, and even though I have alot of friends who are there for me, there are very few people who develop that level of commitment to friendships.  I think my deep devotion stems back to my un-diagnosed OCD, when I do something, I give it everything that I have.  I don't know how to be a "casual" friend.  The truth is that intensity is often too much for alot of people.  

I want to be that devoted to all of my friends.  The biggest issue for me right now is that due to the journey I have been on, I have lost most of those who I called friends since I moved to Fort Wayne.  Mostly, its my fault, I have changed.... I have different priorities in my life.  I have to run and workout on a regular basis.  I have to live a pretty healthy lifestyle.  The only way to continue this lifestyle is to sort of mold myself into someone new.  Running and healthy living are a HUGE part of my life.  I don't have the free time I used to, I am a different person.   My whole life I have been the person who put everyone else's needs first, but the journey to emotional and physical health has required me to put myself first.  It's a balancing act that I struggle with on a daily basis, but in the end I would give my last dollar to a friend, I would be their shoulder, I would do anything for a friend.  That's a part of who I am, it always has been, and it always will be. 

The solution to my lack of friends would seem so simple... Jennifer, go out and make NEW friends, go find people who have common interests.  Yep, it should be so simple.  The problem?  I have absolutely no sense of self-worth.  I don't want to listen to myself talk, why would anyone else care what I am talking about?  Why would anyone possibly care about what I am doing, what I have to say.  Spending time around anyone (and I do mean ANYONE) makes me paranoid that when I leave that I become the target of gossip.   I don't know how to get past that insecurity enough to be able to honestly and fully put myself out there to make new friends.   

It seems ridiculous and impossible that things could feel so much more hopeless now that I am pretty much at my goal weight.  I should be out celebrating my successes, instead I often find myself sitting alone in my house wondering what the point really is.  I guess it just goes to show that a weight-loss journey is often times NOT just a physical journey, it is an emotional one as well.   

For today, I find myself listening to sad songs on youtube and watching my kids praying for that childlike happiness and peace.  I can do this, I have to do this.  I have to be better for my kids, for Tommy, and for those people who have loved and supported me along the way. 

I may seem miserable, but your presence in my life makes it worthwhile so please don't give up on me.  You know who you are... 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Taking time to rebuild.

Okay my bloggy friends... I am going to be absent for a while most likely unless I find that blogging can become therapeutic for me.  Some of you may know I have battled with depression for most of my life, never medicated.  I typically go through lulls a few times a year where I get pretty blue.  I always thought my weight was the primary cause - that if I lost weight I would stop having those moments of feeling like I wasn't enough.  Unfortunately, I am finding that not only is weight loss not the answer, it seems to have made it worse for me.

I can't believe I truly thought that losing the weight would make it all go away.  I started this journey to get healthy for my kids and to be a better mother to them.  Somewhere along the line I started gaining a bit of confidence and thought "wow, wouldn't it be great if losing all this weight finally makes me happy with who I am."  Who am I kidding... its probably quite the opposite.  The weight is probably a side effect of my depression and lack of self worth over the years.  Those who knew me when I was younger might be shocked to hear of my lack of self-worth and self esteem.  It's always been there, but in my college years it became much more overwhelming for me.

Every conversation that I have with someone (anyone) repeats over in my head (that's my un-diagnosed OCD kicking in there).  I think of all the ways that I could have offended someone, or all the things that I should have said.  The things I shouldn't have.  The things that they said that I may have taken the wrong way.  In my head, I am always able to find a way to convince myself that they want me to go be gone.  In my head, I don't provide anything that other people need.  I don't feel like I can contribute expertise to conversations.  I'm not great at anything, I am good at being average.  I guess average should be good enough, but I want to excel at something.  I want to feel like I have a strength that makes me irreplaceable.  I don't feel like that.

I am constantly questioning who I am and where I am in my life.  My only reassurance some days that I wouldn't change where I am is my kids.  I love my kids with every fiber of my being.  Without them, I don't know how I would get up some days.  I feel like they are my blessing, not sure what I did to deserve such special gifts - but they are my sun when everything else seems dark.    They are the only people that I feel like I know love my unconditionally.  They don't see all my flaws, I am all they know.  They don't know that I am not as creative as others, that I lose my cool easier, that I am taking too much time for myself with regards to my running.

The first step to healing is admitting our weaknesses, right?  So here goes... my (probably partial) list of sins.
 1.  I am always wondering if the grass is greener on the other side rather than appreciating what I have.
 2.  I have a hard time concentrating on the gift of today, if I am not planning for something in the future I feel useless.
3.  I am too competitive - someone is always prettier, thinner, a better mother, a better listener, a better wife, a better runner, a better friend.   I wish I could stop comparing myself to others because someone will ALWAYS be better than me at something.
4.  I can't look at myself in the mirror without wanting to cry.  I am disgusted by my body.  I can name at least six things I would change about my body.  My body image is severely screwed up and I know it.
5.  I have a hard time letting go of things.  I don't like people not liking me.  I don't like feeling like I was replaced.  I logically know that some people are here for a lifetime and some for a season, but I can't help but feel like a failure when someone decides they don't want to be friends anymore.
6.  I am afraid of the label of "depression."  In our society, its a dirty word.  Getting help can even increase your costs for life insurance.
7.  I over-analyze everything.
8.  I am never happy with what I have accomplished, I always feel like I could have done more/better.

I realize that I may lose some followers over this post, but for me this blog is about the journey I am on to a healthy me.  Now that I am mostly there weight wise (still need to lose 15-20 pounds ideally), its time to get serious about my emotional health.  This is my first step.

I am not posting this looking for people to post comments to boost me up so I am going to disable commenting on this post.   I don't want anyone to worry - this post may seem hopeless, like I am drowning, but honestly it feels good to get it out there.  I am ready to start healing - it will be a long road, but the only way to live a full life is to somehow learn that I do have value.  I will post as I find the need, but it may be sporadic for a while.    I have a perfectly timed trip down to see my family in less than two weeks, I have a feeling that will be a very healing time for me.

Thank you for those of you who have been in my life, those of you who put up with my mood swings, those of you who love me regardless... you know who you are.  I promise, someday I will see the person you see.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fear of Missing Out

Okay my bloggy friends - I need some advice.   I have a 20k next weekend and then a half marathon on April 1st.  There is a cool local race this weekend that I wasn't planning to run, but I have a fear of missing out on this fun race.  Doesn't help that I looked at last year's results and if they have a similar turn out I could potentially place in my age group...  knowing that I couldn't go out and run a "fun run."

I really need to get in a practice long run this Saturday afternoon.  I normally run in the morning, the 20k is at noonish, and has no bathrooms on course, so I REALLY need to get my stomach figured out before then.

A couple of other factors:  the race is $25 (which seems high for a 5k) and I have several friends running it (not that I would run with, but we could hang out/chat before and after).  

All that being said... WHAT DO I DO?!?!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Losing it!

There are alot of things I could start my blog out with today, but because I am excited it finally happened... my toenail fell off!  I turned black after my half back in October and its just been hardly hanging on and was actually painful at times.  Does it make you a true runner when you are totally not bothered by your toenails falling off?  Although, I am putting in a request to not lose anymore over the summer - I really love my flip-flops!

So, with that exciting news out of the way... lets get down to this last weekend's long run.  I have been struggling with my stomach again as of late and I am really worried about it.  I have a 20k next weekend and from what I have been told there are no port-a-potties.  I hate to admit it but that could spell disaster if my stomach decides to act up.  That means this weekend will be a dress rehearsal of what I am going to do to prevent any problems. 

Saturday's run was about what I expected... I decided to run outside so I could sleep in a bit plus the weather was supposed to be pretty nice, mid 20s to 30s.  Some people think that is cold but its just about perfect for me!  After a quick slice of bread I was out the door by 7:30... it was beautiful out, cool and sunny.  After a pit stop at mile 3.5, I headed back out to finish my run.  Miles 4-7 seemed so easy, then my stomach started acting up again.  After my last stop at mile 9 I wanted to give up and not finish the run, but I got out there and did it anyways.  You can tell by my splits that I was struggling those last miles.  My stomach was cramping and my heart just wasn't in it, but I didn't want to regret quitting.

When I was done, I HURT.  I knew I had pushed too hard for a long training run.  I knew I would be sore, so we planned a family walk for the next day to stretch things out and help make sure I didn't get too sore.  Sunday rolled around and I wasn't feeling too bad, but it was such a beautiful day that we couldn't just sit inside so we loaded the kids in their strollers and headed out to a local "dream neighborhood" and spent between 2 and 2.5 hours walking around looking at $500k homes.  

Yes, this is one house - it has its OWN cul-de-sac!  The garage was at least a 6 car garage!  I'm imagining this one is probably much more than $500k!
We didn't take the garmin,  but when I got  home I calculated the route to the best of my ability and it looks like we walked between 5.5 and 6 miles!  A HUGE feat for my couch potato, computer loving hubby!  Honestly, I think the walk took more out of me than the run on Saturday.  If we plan to be out that long again I think I will be taking some sort of snack.  It was great to get out as a family and do something active - I hope we can continue this in the future.  The only downside - SUNBURN!   I was wearing a tunic shirt that had a v-neck in the back, so my back, shoulders, and face are all burnt! :( 

Things continue to go moderately well on the food front... I am incorporating veggies and healthy foods and reducing the processed foods.  I am so proud to say that I have basically maintained the same weight since August of last year except for a short lived bump up during the holidays.  I'm still not in love with the body I have been left with as a result of the extra weight I carried around with me for years, but I am slowly coming to grips with it.  I still would love to get to 175,  but for now, I will be happy 5-10 pounds heavier.  I'm healthy and that was my biggest motivation for this whole journey.  

I wanted to blog about a couple other things, but my head is throbbing so I need to find some tylenol and my bed.  I will try to post later in the week. 

One question for my readers:  being that I am new to the whole eating vegetable thing, I would LOVE any creative tasty recipes, do you have any favorites?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I'm back!

I feel like I start all of my blog posts apologizing for being absent for so long.  This time I have a fairly good reason - at least for one week of my absence.  Audrey over at A Mama's Goals is doing weekly challenges and I am joining her on the the journey.  Last week the challenge was to give up facebook and blogging for a week!  Talk about difficult, I use social media to stay somewhat connected to adults.  Without that, my only social interaction comes from my kids.  And, while I love them to pieces, I do need some connection beyond an almost 5 year old and 2 and a half year old.   

Anyway, after that it took me a while to get caught up with everyone on facebook and with the blogs.  I am sorry if I didn't comment on all of them, but I think I am finally caught up! Since I was gone I have been doing pretty good with the training schedule.  I did miss one run due to my kiddos being sick.  My son ended up with double ear infections and my daughter ended up with a sinus infection!  Luckily, the antibiotics are making them less grumpy so I think they are on the mend!   To break up the monotony of this post.. here's a picture of my sweet boy passed out in my arms at the pediatrician.  Poor kid, he cried for hours that day. 

Last weekend, I had 11 miles on the schedule for my long run.  I ended up hitting the treadmill at the Y yet again.  I really dislike doing the long distances on the treadmill, but it really helps me keep my pace slower and more controlled.  I felt like overall this run went much better than the week before.  That is, until the last mile and a half.  My stomach started cramping something awful and everytime I tried to run I just couldn't, so I ended up walking the last mile or so.  The first 10 miles I averaged a 10 min/mile pace.  This included some walking the last half mile or so - but for the majority of the time I kept the treadmill at a 9:49 min/mile (6.1?).  The  good part of this run is that my legs felt fantastic and I even felt okay cardio wise... stupid stomach.  I haven't been watching my diet - guess its back to cracking down before long runs!  I will eventually get my body to stop revolting against me on these long runs... my persistence will pay off someday! 

I have some exciting things coming up in the next month or two running wise... 
March 24: Local 20k race
March 30: going out of state to see my family/run a race
April 7: Oak Barrel Half Marathon - excited to have my whole family there to cheer me on, will be the first time my dad has been there! 
April 15:  Local 5k 
May 5:  Indy Mini 

This week has been interesting weather wise.  We got up to nearly 70, then today it was in the 40s again!  I wish it would pick a season already!  I have been enjoying some outdoor runs though so thats good. Wednesday the wind was CRAZY with 25-35 mph sustained winds with gusts to 45 mph.  I decided to run outside anyways because the temps were awesome.  Today I was feeling chilled to the bone for some reason so I stuck to the treadmill for my scheduled 3 miles.  I got my mileage done but it was slower than when I run outside - this seems to be a common problem!  I did manage to get in a short bit of hill training.  I ran .25 mile on an incline of 7 at 6 mph.  Not much, but a start.  I have a month to get ready for Whiskey Hill!  Hoping I will be ready!  

Last but not least - food!  I have been expanding my horizons and I am SO proud of myself.  I know it sounds like I am bragging here, but I have never been a fan of vegetables.  I would eat corn and lettuce.  If it was a good day I might eat celery and raw broccoli (only the very tops).  About a year ago, I started eating squash as well.  But, the last few weeks I have been incorporating veggies into at least one meal a day (normally two).  I am now eating: carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and zucchini (only tried it IN things, but it still counts).  I also ate some other sort of bean and asparagus at the running banquet .. but I didn't like either of them enough to make them again.  It feels great to be setting a good example for my kids even if they won't eat the veggies just yet.  Wednesday night I got brave and tried turkey meatloaf with zucchini in it (I skipped the mashed potato topping) and opted to try making cauliflower fritters.  Shockingly, my daughter who refuses to eat veggies cleaned her plate!   I was so impressed - will definitely be making those again!  I wasn't nearly as gourmet tonight, but I did remember to take a picture!  It was a yummy dinner, and incorporated two different veggies with a bit of brown rice and sauteed chicken with sweet and sour sauce.
I had a huge serving of chicken, but I was craving protein and its relatively healthy!

Once again, I apologize for not posting more often.  But, thank you to my followers who stick around despite my inability to make my blog entertaining!