Running the World

When I started this blog, I really didn’t know what would come of it. I started it at a time where I had a lot of emotions taking over me, and I thought maybe writing them down would help. It did. I debated a little bit about whether or not to make the blog public or not but decided I would because as much as it was mostly for my mental health, I thought perhaps it might inspire someone else. I also thought a happy side effect *might* be someone noticing this blog who could help me figure out a way to reach my surgery goals faster…but really, I didn’t expect it to get many followers or views and expected it to fizzle out quickly regardless of any “big plans” I had in my head.

I need to cut it out with this doubting myself crap! This blog has gone so well! I have gained followers on InstagramFacebook and subscribers here on this blog. Everyday I am astounded by the number of new visitors and views I’m getting from all over the world! 

My blog has had viewers from all of the highlighted parts of the map!

I still don’t really know what will come of this or for how long it will continue, but I’m so thankful for the support and for this outlet. I really hope I can keep it going for all of us! 

On that note, I have some exciting news to share! 

  I ran my first race since my injury this weekend. It was the Run The World 5k at Kent State University where my son is a freshman. This race supports the study abroad program and I thought it was a great race to participate in since my son is required to study abroad for his major. Besides that, I loved the idea of exploring his campus on a run! 

I’d planned to register for this race a long time ago, but then when I sprained my ankle I put off registering because I was unsure if I’d be ready. I ended up finally registering the day before the race, so I hadn’t exactly prepared myself the week leading up to it like I normally would for a race. I babysat late the night before and got up early for the race not feeling well…but I kept calm and carried on, laced up my new Saucony Ride 10s and gave it all I had! 

The race fell on a day that is pretty significant to me. One of my very best friends had a beautiful son named Tyler who was born on September 9th, 2001. Tyler lost his life when he was 7 years old to a pediatric brain tumor but race day would have been his 16th birthday. Like I said, I was not feeling well when I woke up for this race…but, I will always run for those who can’t. Especially Tyler…always for Tyler. 

I felt really awesome during my run in spite of being a bit under the weather. I didn’t get a PR but considering all of the factors I thought would make it a terrible run, I was extremely happy with my time and ranks! It was also a really fun run which is the most important thing! 

Something else very cool is in the works that will take me a bit more “global” as well!  I was approached at a race a few months back by a lovely woman from an internet radio station who asked if she could interview me about running. I love running, but I wasn’t sure I was quite what she was looking for. I’m still a fairly new runner, and I’m not even the greatest at it. Apparently though, that is exactly what she wanted. Relatable, down to earth talk about running and what everyone can gain from it.  I recorded a show with her which will air September 19th at 2pm EST and will be replayed after that. 

I think it went really well, because she messaged me telling me that she spoke to a local running store and we have a meeting set up for this week to talk. She said they are interested in possibly partnering with me for a weekly show or sponsoring one for me! I’m praying about it. It sounds like a very incredible opportunity to share my story and inspire people…maybe brand myself a little for some unknown reason that God will surely reveal to me down the line! I hope you’ll tune in to hear me! I’ll be sure to link all of the shows here on the blog. 

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Goal Digger

I’ve come to realize that I thrive on having goals. I need to have my sights set on something big and I flourish as I work towards achieving it. 

I’ve come to realize that I thrive on having goals. I need to have my sights set on something big and I flourish as I work towards achieving it. 

I’ve gotten away from that a bit lately and I’m ready to jump back, in a big way! 

My goal for over a year was to lose 110 lbs and when I reached it, I set another goal. I wanted to do something athletic and decided a 5k would be the next thing to shoot for and after achieving that, I set another goal. I wanted to get my skin removal surgery. This is where things got complicated. 

I had hopes and expectations that my insurance would cover that surgery. I knew insurance wanted to see stability in my weight as evidence that I was maintaining. I had already hit my goal weight and was perfectly content maintaining if that’s what needed to happen. I enjoyed the freedom I had for awhile since eating to maintain takes so much less thought and effort than eating to lose.  When insurance denied my coverage I kept the goal of one-day getting this surgery, but of course now I see that this is a very long term goal. Saving the money is going to take me a very long time…

I have been sadly complacent since then. My eating habits haven’t been awful, but I’m not proud of them. I’ve neglected to log some meals. I was running pretty regularly but wasn’t making it to the gym. Then, of course that nasty ankle sprain kept me from even running and I ate more out of panic, depression and boredom. Cheese and carbs are my comfort foods. 

I decided I need some new goals to get me back on track and think that publishing them here is just the accountability that will get me there. What good is a fitness blog from a chick who just writes about her past achievements?!?

So, here it goes…

My first new goal is to lose 10 more pounds, and I hope to do this not because I’m unhappy with my weight but because I probably should have had those additional 10 pounds in my initial goal from the start. I didn’t because my goal of 110 lbs seemed impossible already, but I knew back then that I wanted to because this would take my BMI to a “normal” range. Right now, I’m still technically considered “overweight” and in 10 lbs I won’t be…but, it’s really not about that. It’s more about knowing that the only reason I left those 10 pounds out of initial goal was fear, and I’m just not afraid anymore. 

My second goal came courtesy of a good friend of mine who announced on Facebook that she is looking to run a certain kind of race in the future. A certain kind of race I thought I had no interest in doing. Unfortunately for me, when one of your best friends tells you she found a great training plan and it sounds super doable you just add run a half marathon to your list of goals. Then you immediately regret typing it because now there is no turning back! 

These are not going to be easy to achieve. Losing weight when you are obese is a lot easier to do than when you weigh less. These 10 pounds will be worlds more challenging than the first 10 pounds I lost. Running my first 5k was hard…but a half marathon is 10 miles more than that and I’ll be training after an injury that kept me from running for over 3 weeks.

I’m hoping all of these challenges I’ll face in my near future will at least help me create some interesting content for this little blog! Feel free to let me know what kind of documentation of this journey you’d enjoy seeing. 

Now it is time for me to turn in and rest…I’ve got big goals waiting for me in the morning. 

Rash

Pain doesn’t just show up in our lives for no reason. It’s a sign that something in our lives needs to change.

Yesterday I discovered a nasty little surprise.  

Oozing. Stinking. Angry. Painful. Itchy. Weeping. Inflamed. Burning. Disgusting. Embarrassing. 

I got my first full blown rash from the loose skin I am carrying around after my weightloss.

After insurance denied me coverage to have this excess skin removed, many people suggested I “encourage” rashes. You see, insurance companies often like a long history of rashes before they will cover this surgery. 

“Almost” rashes like I typically get aren’t good enough. The fact that I need to constantly think about preventing rashes isn’t good enough. Having to figure out which clothes will not fold my skin certain ways where it will rub during a particular type of workout isn’t enough. Having to worry about making sure I can clean and dry myself promptly after sweating or risk a rash under my skin isn’t enough. Having to use anti chaffing cream and powders regularly to avoid a rash isn’t enough. 

No, the inconvenience of these things isn’t enough. 

They need you to have the rashes. Oh, but not just have them. Have them and suffer from them badly enough that creams don’t clear them up. 

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s bullshit. 

So, I refused to “encourage” these rashes. Mostly because…..ew, gross. Secondly, because I think these people who intentionally let their skin get that bad are doing a disservice to everyone else. These fabricated rashes minimize what other people actually suffer from. Lastly, I’m not a perfect person, but I try to be honest and transparent. 

Therefore, I am careful to do everything I can to avoid rashes when I can. I’ve done a good job so far. I’ll see red and sore patches sometimes after I wear a certain item of clothing…or after a certain kind of workout. I just care for that sore area right away and take measures to keep the skin healthy, clean, dry and comfortable. 

Despite my best efforts I’ve ended up with a rash. Its really gross. I’ll spare you from pictures. Its quite uncomfortable. It’s definitely a nuisance and I’d be much less grouchy right now if I’d been able to avoid this. 

However, I have to believe that everything happens for a reason. I know I’ve spoken a lot about wanting surgery to remove this skin over the past few months. I’ve been met with doubt by a few people over these months. Many who have implied my desire for surgery was for mere “cosmetic” reasons. Even though I know what I deal with daily, some of these comments got into my head and made me question myself for a moment. Was I overreacting?

I have a follow up with my doctor today so she can check my sprained ankle. I plan to show her the rash while I’m there, hopefully get some treatment advice and I’ll have her document it. Maybe someday, I’ll suffer enough for insurance to take my need seriously. 

In the meantime, at least I can take myself seriously and try to distance myself from the doubt that others want to infect me with….like an incurable, persistent rash. 

PR

A PR is limited only when you stop trying for more. Don’t quit. I won’t.

Personal Record. 

It’s a term any runner is familiar with. We strive to beat our OWN best time or pace. We celebrate it when we do. It’s a race only against ourselves. Nobody else is needed in order for us to win…or lose. 

In my first 5K race, I placed 2nd in my age group. My time was good. Lots of people were faster than me… many were slower. I was not unhappy with my time. I was proud! I was so happy and nobody was going to take that away from me. 

In my 2nd 5K race, I knew I wanted more. I knew the variables would be different. Different competitors, a different terrain, different weather (good golly, the humidity! 😓) , different everything! Except me…I wouldn’t be different unless I tried to be. 

Because I knew so many variables were different and I was inexperienced at that point in understanding exactly HOW, I just randomly set an odd goal. “I want to at least place in the top 15 in my age group…and beat my time from the last 5K.” Don’t ask me why I said that about the top 15. That was so random and unnecessary. I couldn’t control how many people ran slower or faster than my best…heck, I didn’t even know how many people were running in total, let alone in my age group! For some reason though I felt like I needed a way to compare myself to others. 

I began my race, and it was a hard one for me. I started off really strong but maybe too hard with too much humidity and got lightheaded. People started passing me…what felt like tons of people. Definitely more than 15 people…I tried to notice how many appeared to be in my age group.  I was ready to call my husband not even a half mile in to tell him I quit. 

Then, I remembered the other part of my goal. The important part. I wanted to beat MY own race time. I could control that. So, like Forrest Gump, I was running. 

I ended up placing 4th out of 21 in my age group this time. Not 2nd like in my last but I beat my own time. I didn’t get a medal for 4th, I didn’t “win” against my competition but I knew that I’d beat the only person in that race that I was really competing against. Me.

My race stats from my first 5K compared to my 2nd 5K showing that I didn’t place as high against my competition, but beat my own PR.

I feel like a lot of people worry about my state of mind when it comes to my body image after the weightloss. They think I’m comparing my body to other people. That I’m striving for perfection…or a theoretical “top 15 in my age group”. I’m not. I promise I am not comparing my body to yours or Kylie Jenners or Marilyn Monroe’s or anyone else. 

I am unapologetically striving for more from myself though. I’ve EARNED that with the efforts I’ve put in. 

If I don’t train for a race, I have nobody to be angry at but myself if my time is not up to par.  If I train hard, I know my time will reflect that. 

I’ve trained HARD for this body. Hard. I’ve logged every bite of food for over 500 days. I’ve put in hours at the gym and worn through countless pairs of shoes to get here. I went from not being able to do a single “modified” pushup in a workout to doing 90 decline pushups in a workout. I’ve gone from not having any core strength to doing advanced abdominal exercises while smiling through them (I LOVE medicine ball situps on a decline with russian twists, ok?!). 

My body is not reflecting the efforts I’ve put in because of my stubborn skin that can’t be exercised or dieted away. It’s OK for me to want it gone. I’m not vain. I’m not letting other people’s bodies determine how I feel about mine. I’m just trying to get my outside to more closely be the “result board” that reflects the effort I’ve put in to get to this PR. 

I want to word this next part carefully…

I’ve gotten many, many, many messages and comments from other moms who say they have loose skin as well and were never obese like I was. They tell me that pregnancy did that to their body. They remind me that I may have had the loose, saggy skin even if I never carried or lost all that weight. That I may have ended up with a stomach that looks like this just from carrying 4 children. 

They remind me that I am blessed to have gotten the chance to carry and birth 4 children because some don’t get that chance and please for one second don’t think that I don’t agree! 

Some of these women have learned to love and embrace the bodies they have because of the story their body tells. 

I UNDERSTAND and RESPECT all of that. I do. I think it’s BEAUTIFUL and admirable. I feel like I would likely feel the exact same way if I were them.

I’m not them. This is not their story. This is mine. 

Yes, my body tells a story of my children but it also tells the story of the many years of abuse I put my body through. This story is the one I want to forget. 

 I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it. I hated the old me. Its ok for me to want to forget her and be done with her. Anyone who knows me will recognize that I’ve never hesitated to cut toxic people from my life without a second thought so why should I feel differently about trying to let go of my old toxic self? I did not hate myself BECAUSE of my weight. I ended up that weight BECAUSE of how much I hated myself. 

I just want to embrace and love the new me without it being tarnished with reminders of some very dark times. 

Please, try to understand. Stand by my decision as friends and encouragement. 

I know every person who messages me is trying to help me feel better. They are trying to show solidarity or give a different perspective. They mean well and are trying to be helpful. I’m not mad at any one of you for trying but I will tell you that despite your best efforts or intentions it is not helping. 

I don’t expect anyone who hasn’t lived through exactly what I’ve lived through to understand my feelings. That’s not why I am writing this. I’m writing so that when someone who IS feeling this way stumbles across this blog, maybe they won’t feel so alone and ivalidated.

I’m not striving for perfection. I’m not here to compete against anyone but myself. Only I will ever understand the tough competitor I can be against myself…

A PR is limited only when you stop trying for more. Don’t quit. I won’t. 

Running Away

Nomatter how far I’ve come, I can never run away.

Nobody warns you about this part. Ok…maybe they do, but you don’t listen. 

You don’t listen because you think it won’t happen to you. 

You think that getting fit and slim will be all sunshine and roses. You know it might be hard to get there, but in your head you think that once you’re “there” everything will be perfect. 

It’s not.

That’s not to say it’s not good. There is so much good that has come from this! 

I will say without a doubt that if I could have felt the way I feel now for just one day when I was heavier, I would have started my journey so much sooner. Being able to go up a flight of stairs without getting winded, running with my kids, having a normal blood pressure for the first time in years and perfect bloodwork (and avoiding the morbid but warranted warnings from my doctors that I may not be around to see my kids grow up!) these are all amazing things. These and many other wonderful outcomes that I’ll save for a future blog post. 

It’s not all good though. 

I’ve noticed people treat me differently. I don’t blame them. I AM different. I’m a completely different person than I used to be. Sometimes they miss the old me, but I don’t. I wasn’t happy then. I didn’t like myself then. Not because of my weight…my weight was a by-product of a lot of self-hate. So while some miss the old me, I’m begging them to try and love the new me the way I do! Unfortunately, just as they are stuck on not wanting to get to know the “new me”, I refuse to hang on to the “old me”.  Therefore, we grow apart. That’s ok. It’s life. However, just because it’s ok it doesn’t make it easy. 

My body is still betraying me. How can a body that I’ve pampered and groomed and treated with such care still go against me?  I’ve fueled it with the right foods and the perfect amount of calories and macros. I’ve taken time everyday to stretch and strengthen each muscle. I’ve rehabilitated the organs I abused for so many years. I shed 110 pounds… I’ve done everything I could to show my body that we are not what we used to be and part of my body disagrees. 

Let’s call this part of my body Ms. Skin. She’s a bitch. 

Ms. Skin tries to act like she’s on my side. She claps for me when I run. She hangs from my arms and stomach and thinks she’s cheering me on. *clap*clap*clap*

Ms. Skin doesn’t realize how much it hurts. Ms. Skin doesn’t care about the rashes that could develop because of her clapping. She doesn’t know that I hate running without headphones because I need to drown out the sound she makes. Ms. Skin doesn’t realize that the faster I try to run to get away from her the more she holds me back. 

Ms. Skin doesn’t care that tucking her into my clothes makes me appear much bigger than I am. 

Ms. Skin doesn’t understand how embarrassing and uncomfortable it is to refuse to do exercises my trainer assigns that involve jumping because of how much pain she causes me. 

Ms. Skin doesn’t care about how my 3 year old tells me my stomach is “just like a monster”. 

Ms. Skin doesn’t care about the rude comments from strangers. 

Ms. Skin just likes to cling to me, reminding me of the “old me” that I hated….Reminding me that I can change and control so much but that nomatter how far I have come, I can never run away.