Sunday, October 31, 2010

Transforming My Mind, Body and Spirit

In May, I stepped outside of my running comfort zone and left the gym.  I started Insanity.  I was so scared to start.  I had no idea what was in store for me.

I continue to run and train for a marathon, but I have now completed two rounds of Insanity.

Last month, I incorporated Shakeology into my daily regime.  I have the most delicious and healthy meal of the day for breakfast.

I am at my lowest weight since I was a teenager.

This is how Beachbody has transformed my mind, my body and my spirit?  It can change your life too and I would LOVE to help you get there.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chapter 1 – Training for White Rock

There are so many events in recent history that I would have loved to witness. Being part of the masses brings a different kind of energy that you can only experience in real time, in real life and not through the filters of a television screen or an audio replay. Unlike the interoffice friction that a political discussion can stir, sporting events have this surefire ability to bring people together clearing any lines of division between race, culture and values.

I could only dream to have been one of the thousands in the stands at the 1984 Olympics to watch a young Mary Lou Retton win the all-around Gold Medal in women’s gymnastics or to have been a witness to Michael Phelps’ record-setting eight golds in Beijing in 2008. I wish I could have watched the Saints win their first ever Super Bowl last year and see through my own eyes the joy in the hearts of the people of New Orleans or to say I was there the day Michael Jordan won his sixth NBA championship.

Marathons are an atypical event in the sense that the elite athletes are placed among the amateurs and thousands of cheering spectators line the street to cheer everyone on despite ability. It’s the one event where losers are sometimes the biggest winners and a 70-year grandmother can beat a 25-year young man.

On December 5th, I will be making my 4th attempt to qualify to run the Boston Marathon in April. Running “Boston” is a claim not just anyone can acknowledge. It is a prestigious event and in order to run, your bib number must be earned.

Based on my age and gender, I have to run the White Rock marathon in Dallas in under 3 hours and 45 minutes. It takes training, discipline, grit and a lot of heart and determination to accomplish this feat. I have run three marathons previously and the energy is always unquenchable. It can take your breath away to stand in a crowd at the starting line to know what your body will experience during the course of the next four hours. So I cannot imagine what it will be like to be among 20,000+ in Boston who have traveled from all over the world and earned the right to take part in such an electric and historic experience.

I made it my goal this year to qualify and not a single day passes by that I don’t think “3:45”! I wake up to the thought and remind myself before my training runs of the pace I need to sustain. I place daily reminders in my personal surroundings to keep me focused on my goal and to eliminate any doubt or negativity.

So what happens if I don’t qualify? Will I be so disappointed and lose all my enthusiasm to run? Absolutely not! It is supposed to be hard to qualify. It is supposed to require a nearly perfect race. But who is to say I can’t do the things that I’m not supposed to do?

Check back here on December 6th to hear about Chapter 2 – Training for Boston.

This post is inspired by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.
Mama's Losin' It

If you could witness (or take part in) any event in history, what would it be? Why?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Running Friend

I often write about my morning runs and all things crazy and sometimes scary associated with them.  A lot can happen in the dark of the morning and I take the necessary precautions to avoid any kind of danger.

Running is such an emotional and physical release of energy for me that it allows me to stop focusing on my fear of the dark.  I embrace it along with the stillness of the morning.

This morning as I was coming up on my last hill of my last mile, I was sharply startled by a loud "WOOF".  I jumped a bit, but was calmed to know the voice of the dog came from the other side of the fence and so I just kept on running.

Then, I felt a wet sensation at the heels of both my feet and as my heart skipped a beat, I looked over my shoulder to confront the danger.  Licking at my fleeting legs was THE dog, following every strike of my feet.  I calmed myself by going through all the lessons I learned as a child if I dog were to chase me.  Don't run! Walk! Don't Panic! 

I slowed my pace to a walk as my heart began to beat rapidly.  When I walked, she walked and I was able to claim her as a gentle Rottweiler.   That fierce, yet sweet face is identifiable anywhere.  If she hadn't attacked by this point, I knew she was only befriending me.

So I as gradually increased my pace, she began to tag along and my most feared enemy quickly became my safest ally, my partner, my confidant.  I feared for her life as we ran down a busy street with the early morning traffic.  No leash, no collar, no identity.  Just friend.

"Where is your Mommy?"  I shouted, as if I expected an answer.  "Don't run in the street!  Be careful!  Don't cross before the light turns green!"  The rest of the way home, I galloped as she peed and I talked as she wagged her tail as if she enjoyed the companionship.

My friend followed me all the way to the my door.  I told her to sit and she obediently obliged.  I brought her some water and she refused.  I went back inside as I contemplated what to do and when I came back out, my friend was gone.

Sometimes if we take a risk and face our fears, we might learn that doing things are easier than we could have ever expected.  If we always play it safe and don't challenge ourselves to step outside of our comfort zone, we may miss out on the opportunity to experience life's little treasures.

I hope is she is okay.  I feel bad that she left me before we had a chance to say good-bye.  But I know she served her purpose today and hopefully we'll have another chance encounter soon.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Ingenious Idea!

I have an idea for an invention and although I realize I'm risking millions my divulging my secret, I can't help but share my excitement for all my fellow runners.

I'm convinced this invention will transcend the "sweaty to fresh" ordeal, making what now seems nearly impossible, to a simple, efficient experience.  It will preserve the dignity of women and and restore the modesty of men. 

No more sweat-infested driver's car seats.  No post-run funked up smelling vehicles.  This will once and for all bring an end to all my partial boob flashings and keep the peeping runners focused on the path rather than my car. 

My invention will bring the comfort of home to the weekend runner who travels at least 20 minutes for a group run and willl cost less than the tank of gas that got them there.

There really is no telling the time this will save in post-run rituals or the money it will save in washing sweaty towels.  I won't have to worry about sweat stains on my seat belts or the cost to get them removed.

There will be no more contortionist yoga poses to remove my sweaty sports bra inside of my car or embarrassing crotch shots for the gigantic SUV parked right next to me.  I'll be able to drive home in dry clothing and will not have to risk a shoulder separation to get this small luxury.

I've given this some thought and after very careful consideration, I feel my secret million-dollar idea is so worth it, that I've decided to share my idea with all you runners out there who may be experience the same embarrassment and frustration week after week.

Are you ready for this?  A pop-up changing room!  It's ingenious!  I go to my car, I get it out of my trunk and POOF!  Instant changing room!  Just as fast I change into fresh, dry clothing for the drive home, I can fold it up and put away even faster!  This is GREATNESS!  Surely no one has EVER thought of this!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chubby Girl

They say we are all products of our childhood. I’m not really sure who ‘they’ refers to, but if there is truth to this, my childhood has a very direct correlation to the woman I am today.

I was a very chubby young girl. It wasn’t so much that I was labeled, but more the fact that I labeled myself. I lacked confidence because of it, I was shy, easily intimidated and naive. Ironically, my weight was something we RARELY talked about. I was ashamed by it and could tell my parents tried to do things to get me to be more active, but I fought it because I was embarrassed by it.  I was always too afraid to talk about it or admit it.  So I just pretended it didn't exist. 

Here's me playing basketball in sixth grade.  Notice how much bigger I am the other girls.

I always had a clean plate after a meal.

Some boys teased me and would often remind me when I looked like I had gained weight. Those boys were 'friends' of my brother. Even though he has no recollection of these events, I will never forget how he used to stick up for me when the words pierced my heart. It’s probably one of the very reasons we always have had such a close bond and relationship. He always stuck up for me. I hated being the chubby girl. I HATED IT and he knew it.

In high school, I finally decided to do something about it. At that time, 'doing something about it' didn’t necessarily mean doing something healthy about it. I deeply restricted my calories, lost the weight and then let it become my obsession to lose even more. What I didn’t realize was that I just transferred my emotional over-eating to emotional under-eating. I wasn’t any happier because I was skinny. I was hungry but no food could ever satiate that desire. I was starving to find me, my purpose in my life.

Weight is something I have struggled with my whole life. It has consumed my mind, caused me frustration and regret. Food was my enemy and my best friend. I hated what it did to me, but I wanted it so badly. 

I know now that it wasn't food that was making me hungry!  I wasn't happy with the way I looked, so instead of doing things to make me healthy, I told myself how horrible I looked and picked at every flaw I had.  I failed to see the beauty in myself so I fed it with food instead of feeding it with love and nourishment for my soul.

Today, food is no longer my friend or enemy. Food is my fuel!  I made a choice to be in control of my body.  I started to run and I couldn’t run without that fuel. Running was so hard initially, but I loved how it made me feel when I finished.  That made me want to run even more.  I loved feeling healthy and I started to love what it was doing to my body.  So I ran a 5K, then an 8-mile race, than a half marathon. Now here I am today, getting ready to run my fourth marathon, and I can proudly say, I love the woman I’ve become.

I am so glad that I was the chubby girl. I needed her to help guide me to serve my higher purpose today. I have such a deep passion for helping people who struggle with weight, because I know what they are feeling and what they are yearning to be.

We can learn from our past, but we do not have to be a product of it.  When we learn, we make a choice for a better life.  We cannot change our mistakes, but we can use them as a tool for our future.  If you're struggling with something and want to make a change, make the choice to make today the first day of the rest of your healthy life.

This post is inspired by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.
In what way were you labeled as a child and how did it affect you?
Mama's Losin' It

Monday, October 18, 2010

Make a Difference

I'm coming off of a really huge high after this weekend.  I had the privilege to attend a leadership conference by Beachbody.  It was one of the preparation leads to opportunity moments for me.

Imagine being surrounded not only by really successful people, but extremely humble people.  No one was better than anyone else, each person had their own story of how and why Beachbody transformed his or her life.  If I've ever experienced a surreal moment, this weekend was it!

It began on Thursday with my Fit Club and I had the chance to work out with friends of Shaun T.  Yes, THE Shaun T of Insanity fame and who I like to believe is my very own personal trainer!  I don't think I ever pushed myself THAT hard.

Friday night was dinner and more inspiration.  We learned about the latest nutritional developments from Beachbody and lots of other exciting news.  The best thing about attending a conference that is about health and fitness is that all the food is FANTASTIC!  I also had the opportunity to take another picture with Tony Horton...sans the sweat!  Again, so nice and so humble...and so funny!

Saturday started out with a mini-P90X workout with Tony on the lawn of the Hilton Anatole.  The energy was absolutely electric and contagious!  A healthy breakfast of Shakeology and an egg white omelet set the tone for the rest of the day.

I listened, I watched, I studied, I took notes.  I know my purpose is to be a leader in getting people healthy and ending the horrible epidemic of obesity.  My heart was there.  I was fully vested in every word that was spoken.

We had an awesome and energetic workout with Donna Richardson Sunday morning.  I remember her from my Buns of Steel days and she is still as beautiful as ever.  We sweat, we laughed, we danced down a Soul Train line at 7:00 a.m.  I've never been happier. 

What a beautiful spirit she is!  She took the time to talk to me afterward and shared her passion with me as I shared my story. It was such a special moment for me to connect with someone like her.

I left the conference on Sunday bringing home two favorite quotes and they both speak of what Beachbody is about and represents.

"A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle."
"Make a significant difference in others in order to make your own life significant."

I can't think of anything else that better represents who I am and my true self.  Helping others gives me energy and make my life so fulfilling!  I can't wait to see what the future has in store for me!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Marathon Goal


This post part of Wordless Wednesdays.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Running is a Gift

Last week a terrible tragedy happened to the running and biking communities in Dallas. One biker, one runner, both on separate journeys, both doing what they love, sharply collided. Sadly, the runner died in the hospital a few days later and the cyclist, though sustaining a few minor injuries, will forever be scarred of this horrible memory.

I didn’t know either person involved in the accident, but it affected me deeply. I especially felt sadness for the victims' families. As a runner, I am very aware that I risk my life every day when I venture out in the dark of the morning, dodging cars, trying my best to avoid dogs and obey the rules of the road.

I wear headphones when I run. I didn’t use to, but free podcasts and fresh new music became my friend and it’s hard to give that up. I sometimes (often) don’t make a conscience choice about what I wear. Sometimes I wear all black. I do take minor precautions. I wear a flashing red light and flash my watch light at any car that approaches me. Most cars acknowledge me by changing lanes. Few don’t see me at all.

I understand that this tragedy will scare a lot of people. But for me, it’s a reminder of a true gift. The gift of running. Anyone who is a runner will get it. We don’t run out of fear of something happening. We run because it’s what gives us the life we breath. It’s hard to explain the beauty of a morning sunrise off the lake as I approach mile 16 or what a runner’s high feels like. The runner’s untimely death is a reminder to cherish the opportunity our bodies allow us to have. Running 19 miles on a Saturday morning is not a burden, it’s a pleasure.

I have recently learned that a fellow running mate was a friend of the girl that died last week and my heart was softened to know she died doing something she loved. What made the story even more comforting is that she was an organ and tissue donor and around 75 people were recipients of her precious life.

Her gift was a reminder to live each day to its fullest, to enjoy the little moments and to not miss out any opportunity because of time, money or stress.  Don't wait for tomorrow, live today!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Great Egg Caper

One of the problems running really early in the morning is that I have to go to bed really early at night! Thus, I tend to miss out on a lot of the action that seems to take place in the wee hours of the night, or in my case, after 10:00 p.m.

You might find it interesting to know that I am scared of the dark.  A chicken, a scaredty cat, a wuss, you name it.  Yet, I run in the blackest dark of the morning....fearless.  I've even caught myself running next to a cemetery with no qualms whatsoever.  There is something very different about the dark of the early morning versus the late night dark that allows my biggest fears to escape me.

In the mornings, my biggest trepidations are loose dogs or other crazy runners, but not Crazy Legs.  By this time, the night time riff raff has already taken place and the hoodlums are either in bed or in jail.

So when I left the house early Saturday morning and noticed a very awkward 'wetness' to the our front door, I knew that yet again, I had missed out on some late night shenanigans.  There was obviously nothing I could do at this point, so I drove 30 minutes to the lake, ran my 12 miles and came home to realize we had been the victims of a mindless, teenager-inflicted house egging!  BLECH!

I couldn't wait to tell my husband but it turned out that he couldn't wait to tell me about all the action I had missed out on once again!

I love my husband for many reasons.  He's smart, funny, dresses well, he's tidy, a great dad and very helpful.  But what I really love about him is his ability to be a total BAD ASS when he needs to be.  With him on my side, I know I am completely protected and I always know I'm in good hands.

And this is how it all went down....or at least how I was told it all went down.

11:30 p.m. - Some shuffling noises at the front door.  Ced becomes suspicious.

11:35 p.m. - A loud bang against the door.  Ced immediately pops up to investigate while I'm on dream number three.  He opens the door to find smashed eggs, ketchup, chocolate sauce and some foul-smelling bag.  We were obviously dealing with amateurs.  At least use some dark chocolate!

11:37 p.m. - Ced walks up and down our block, cursing under his breath.  He's HOT!

11:40 p.m. - Ced arrives back at our house and prepares himself for Round Two as two mysterious cars slowly start driving down our block.  " that it?  Is that the house?"

11:41 p.m. - Ced conveniently walks out the back door, dressed and ready for battle, as the teens make their second attempt to deface our house.  The cars pull up...more laughter....but not for long.

Ced shoots out of the back of the house, down the driveway and puts the KIBOSH on their pathetic and feeble second attempt.  Just like those two senseless thieves in Home Alone, their eyes widen, they drop everything and the foot race is on.  He chases them down the street as they make a mad dash to get into the 'get away' car and speed off.

It should be well noted that Ced is very athletic and ran track back in his day.  If he really wanted to catch them, he could have easily.   But something tells me scaring the living crap out of them was more worth it. I'm pretty sure that there is some kind of poop story here, and thankfully, this one has nothing to do with running and does NOT belong to me!

Thanks to the KLZ, Natalie and Liz – a.k.a The Nerd Mafia! I love being part of the WOW!

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

You Inspire Me

About a month ago, I was featured in a story about Insanity on our local Fox station in Dallas.  I had hoped that after it aired, I would inspire others with my story and motivate people to start getting healthy.  I didn't expect that those who reached out to me would be such an inspiration to my life.

A couple days after the story aired, I got an email from Billy.  He told me his story about his weight loss journey that began in January.  We exchanged emails and ended up meeting at the Tony Horton seminar a couple weeks ago.  Since then, Billy and I have become great friends.  He inspires me to be my best.  His attitude is infectious, his willingness to learn is admirable and his drive for success is motivating. 

Billy is in a high risk category for high cholesterol and heart disease, and was suffering with Sleep Apnea, a condition much more common in obese individuals.  He often would make a resolution to lose weight in January but would give up as soon as things got hard.  But for some reason, this year was different.  He saw an infomercial on P90X, looked at his wife and said, "Order that for me now please!" 

Day 1 - P90X

He started doing the videos and said that something about P90X just clicked for him and since then he's been on a mission to a healthier life. He thinks a lot is due to the fact that he can follow the workouts. It's different every day, it changes every couple of weeks and he doesn't get burned out.

And he's not stopping anytime soon!  Since January, he has completed two full rounds of P90X, and is currently on his third round and just started Insanity!  His starting weight was 320 lbs. and he has lost close to 60 lbs. and is on a mission to get to his goal weight of around 200.  Continually making and working towards his goals is something he could have dreamed of in the past. 

His future plans are to run a half marathon and complete a triathlon too!  Check him out today!  He works so hard and was singled out by Tony Horton for his efforts! 

I think the sweat on his shirt is proof of his hard work!

How cool is this picture?

So what motivates Billy?  What was it that made 2010 different? 
He has strong faith in God first and foremost and a wonderfully supportive wife and two amazing daughters.  Even though he still feels he has quite a way to go, he is very humbled by how many people that he has inspired.  It's obvious he has a zest for life and this year has taught him so much about living the lifestyle he is entitled to life.
"The adrenaline rush, the endorphin rush, the competition, the fact that I continue to push the envelope.  It motivates me even more when I can post what I did and people are amazed. It's not really amazing what I do because anyone can do it if they will just commit to putting in the work!  Too many people give up too easily, they stop before they should, they get stuck in their head.  Get out of your head about, just show up, do your best, forget the rest, keep at it and remember it's not about that one failure, it's not about yesterday, it's about what are YOU going to do TODAY!  Think of it as one day at a time. Think about today, don't think about yesterday, it's history.  Don't think about tomorrow because then you are not focusing on today."

What would you say to the person that is in the same situation you were in January?
"I'm talking about people who want the easy way out, the quicker, easier way.  I could have easily taken that way too, but I refused to do it.  You have to want it.  You have to say okay, ... I'll do whatever it takes and I will not let those voices in my head stop me.  So ask yourself, where do I want to be in 6-18 months from now?  Am I ready to start today?  Don't say I'll start tomorrow because you're already letting your mind keep you back.  TODAY IS YOUR DAY!   Are you ready?  Let's do this!!!"

Friday, October 1, 2010

Running Week

My marathon is just two months away.  In other words, I'm in the phase of my training where I'm either getting really burned out or really learning to become an efficient distance runner.  Thankfully, this time around, it's the latter.

Spring may be the time of the year for new beginnings, but with the arrival of Fall and its cooler temps and crisp morning greetings, I feel rejuvenated, alive and in the best shape of my life.  This week has been filled with Adventure, Setback, Excitement, Exhilaration, Joy and Laughter.

The week started off with a crazy 17-mile run in pouring rain, thunder and lightning.  Thanks to my ever-faithful running crew, we all made it together.  Running in a pitch-dark wooded neighborhood as torrential rain continually doused us, one of the runners in my group summed it up best as she proclaimed, 'this is where my husband doesn't understand me!'   We all silently snickered as we trudged upward on a steep and slippery hill because we get it and we get each other.

I woke up Tuesday morning to horrible stomach cramps and completely lacking energy.  I listened to my body and obeyed its message.  No running for two days!  That was hard, but I needed it.

I found out Wednesday that I was one of three winners of this cute shirt, thanks to the wonderful ladies over at Run Like a Mother blog, I won this cool Oiselle technical running shirt for describing my inner beast. I love this blog!
I also came home Wednesday to the arrival my mid-season training running shoes. There is nothing better than a fresh pair of shoes for a early morning run.

The rest and cooler temps did my body well.  Thursday's schedule called for a tempo run.  I just kept feeling faster and faster.  I finished my 6.4 mile route in my swiftest time ever.  This was such tremendous validation for all my hard work!

For the first time in many, many months, I broke out my running tights! Yes, I actually was okay to cover up part of my appendages without dying of heat or without sweating profusely.

AND....I officially bought my entry into the White Rock Marathon.  Best $100 I spent this week!

Finally, what is a week without a good pooping Crazy Legs story?  As I approached an intersection, I could see his Shaggyish silhouette ahead of me and although I considered changing routes, I decided that passing him shouldn't scare him too badly.  I briskly ran past only to feel a sudden jolt of flailing awkwardness maneuver a swift re-pass.  He flashed by, made a clean pass on my right and then sprinted up my favorite hill.  He took a sharp left into a parking lot and just like that...Crazy Legs was gone again. 

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