Walk For the Cure

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Look at all those people. Is there some sort of concert about to go on at Mall of America? Some sort of movie star or book signing? Nope! This photo was taken yesterday Feb 22, 2014 at Mall of America during the Walk to Cure Diabetes. Friday night Jen mentioned she was heading to MOA for the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes on Saturday my heart was elated to know someone walking. Many years ago my brother Rich was diagnosed as Type1 diabetic. This is the kind that you can’t fix with eating right and exercise. This is the “childhood” type, the kind where your body breaks down. (Notice a trend here with my family… our bodies fail) His pancreas crapped out and he has been on insulin since I was in middle school.
When he was diagnosed, I became a fundraising machine, I dont remeber if my first year was the inagural year for the walk, when it was actually called “the walk for the cure” or if it was the following year, but I was involved for several years. Since the JDRF is based out of the Philadelphia area it was only logical that I go to the luncheons, find out the tips and tricks for asking how to raise money and be involved with a charity that hit so close to home. I was a kid, truly I was about 12 years old and I rallied a team, wrote letters, even did the walk… which was LONG!!! Several miles if I remember, which means the “first 5k I did” with Charities Challenge and the #f2fpack was not my first, it was just another supressed memory. However I don’t think doing stuff as a kid really counts anyway. ūüôā As I got older, it because easier to write a check, or drop my spare change in a bin than do the work to walk or raise funds for something.

So all that being said, yesterday I joined Jen and her coworkers at MoA and did the Walk to Cure diabetes. It was SO heartwarming and SO energizing to see 20,000 people there raising awareness hopeful to find a cure for diabetes. Young people, old people, moms, dads, mascots marching bands, it was a-freakin-mazing!!! I have NEVER seen anything like this. The walk I remember was nothing like this, and I don’t know if it has changed now that it has been 22 years (I can only imagine it has!)! This was amazing, truly heart warming. I texted my brother a few photos from the mall, and got a little choked up at one point as I was aout to leave, thinking about how many people want a cure, and how many things out there NEED cures, Cancer, Lupus, Alzheimers, MS, and I got a little overwhelmed. Can’t do it all, but I can do a little bit and every bit helps. Maybe I need to work on being a bit more active in the community again…

So that’s how my Saturday started out… finding 20,000 people to be thankful for… Honoring my brother by walking, and honoring myself with a walk around the mall, inside where it is warm and safe away from the bitter cold and ice. What did you do this weekend?

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Success Redefined

How do you measure something that there is no clear definition of? Something that is not actually quantified by everyone the same way? How can one person simply define a word and it be the pinnacle and definitive answer for everyone. Simple, you can’t, I can’t.
Each and every single one of us must sit back and look at the big picture and look to see what we are trying to find success at. Are you successful can be such a loaded question, and lead down so many roads. It can lead you to a very positive or very negative place based upon where you are mentally and how you interpret the question.
In the health and wellness world how do you view success? When I started losing weight I was over 400 pounds. I know you have read it over and over again but it bears repeating because I will never forget it, I felt as though I was going to die. I was trapped inside a tomb that was my body. I had high blood pressure, dangerously high, I had high cholesterol, horrendous triglycerides and the thought of doing anything except driving around delivering packages in my car, and drinking red bull and Starbucks at all hours of the day and night was my reality.
I am still not at my goal weight, I got to about 250 and my life went through a shift. My personal life underwent an overhaul, my professional life went through a complete shift where I went from working nights and weekends to a 55+ hour a week shift that starts at about 3:45 every weekday morning. I regained in the neighborhood of 50 pounds and if I didn’t know better by most of the definitions that I can think of that would make me a failure.
WRONG! I make my own definitions of success, and I do not view this as a failure, because I am still trying. I am still actively choosing to pick the better choices for food. I choose to go to the gym instead of going to the coffee shop on Saturday mornings. I choose to push myself to be better I choose to get up and go.
I measure success not in the number on the scale, because a number while a unit of measure is not a measure of self worth, and is not a measure of what I have accomplished but in how I feel. I do not measure success in the size of my jeans, or in the number of friends I have or the number of miles I can run, which by the way is ZERO. I measure my success on the number of times I get up when I fall down.
I measure my success on how strong I can be, for myself and for my friends. I measure success in what I can give to others, and the strength I can share. This past weekend I participated in the #happy5k project. (Check them out on Facebook and Twitter!) I love this idea, it is a virtual 5k, and their motto is Have a Purpose, Push Yourself. I love this motto. As most of you know I am currently stuck in the pool for exercise (and if you followed twitter last nights dreadmill went horribly and I am back in the water until further notice) So I water walked my 5k.
I love that there are things like virtual 5k’s that I can participate in that allow me to have the sense of community with other athletes, that can give me the same rush and feeling of success that I had when I did the Prior Fat Pack 5k, or the Fathers Day 5k. I am hopeful that I will be back in action by the time the Color Run comes around in July, but since the treadmill killed me after 1.25 miles yesterday and I can barely walk due to heel issues from it today we shall play by ear.
I had a successful virtual 5k, I am part of something bigger. I love it!
So I will continue on babysteppin-waterwalkin my way thru one setback at a time as long as it takes.
I am a success story, I will forever be my own success story, I just have to decide how I want to end my success story… luckily there is still too much of the story to be written to worry about an ending.
Are you successful? Do you keep pushing yourself despite the odds to get where you want to be? How do you define your personal success?

#c25k Cult

So for those that have followed my blog for a while you remember the launch of the pack, we tag on twitter as #f2fpack¬†now, back in the day we were the #priorfatpack.¬† We did a 5k together back on Memorial Day… it was a long time ago.

Prior to memorial day I had started to train with a #c25k app on my iPod to get ready for the 5k run.¬† I pushed so hard to try to get ready for that run and my body just wasn’t having any parts of it.¬† I went back to training again after that 5k and pushed for the Fathers Day 5k… and again my body rejected my advances.¬† Every time I pushed to try to move past week 3 my body was shutting down.

On this journey I have learned many things.¬† One of which is I don’t quit things anymore.¬† So once again I started pushing myself through the #c25k starting again with week 3.¬† Guess what?¬† I have been making progress!¬† Not only have I made it through week 3, I passed through week 4 and I am working the week 5 program right now!¬† Thursday morning will be my first “no walk” day.¬† 20 minutes are on tap.¬† It would be a lie if I said I am not scared of that run.¬† I mean, the though of twenty minutes of running is terrifying!¬† I guess I just need to make sure I have some good music loaded up and that I don’t watch the clock.¬† I think that has been the biggest positive thing lately, not watching the clock as I run my intervals.¬† That and remembering to puff on my albuterol before I go to the gym, without that stuff I am in trouble.

I hadn’t really looked ahead in the #c25k program to see what was coming up so finding out I had a 20 minute run this week came as a bit of a shock!¬† Up until now most of the weeks had been the same intervals over and over again… for well weeks at a time… I redid week three so many times… SO MANY times.¬† There is nothing wrong with repeating weeks is what I am told.¬† There is no set rules for how this works.

At this point I have given myself over to the program.¬† It almost feels a bit like a cult.¬† I don’t ask why things are the way they are, I accept the program the way it is.¬† I know that there are reasons why I have a 20 minute run Thursday and then Sunday’s run will be intervals again.¬† Why ask why?¬† When I tweeted about the run and mildly questioning the run I did hear that many training programs have longer workouts one day and then it backs off the next.¬† I also was told that this is the turning point of the program… this is where you find out that you can run.¬† Well I figured that out last week when I ran my mile!

I have an upcoming 5k on the books, it isn’t the big Thanksgiving 5k through downtown Minneapolis I am planning to do the Charities Challenge¬†Thanksgiving Day Giving Thanks 5k. I really am torn because I want to do both races.¬† I really would love to spend the morning with my friends downtown because I have never done a race there, however I know there are like 10,000 people signed up for that race and we won’t be sticking together, and I wouldn’t want to.¬† I never want to hold anyone back.¬† The CC group is just amazing, they celebrate everyone crossing the finish line because it is a goal just to finish for some of us.¬† I am so thankful for them this year so it is only appropriate that I spend Thanksgiving with them.

I will likely join CC for the Christmas and New Year run’s as well.¬† Nothing set in stone, finances will be a determining factor as will the weather and my overall health by then.¬† I am excited to be moving forward with my jogging though.¬† I am happy to be an actual athlete, or stating to feel like one.¬† Slowly, one step at a time I am changeing, creating my new self from the lump of clay I was given.

Riding the High

So Thursday was AMAZING!¬† I think it was quite possibly one of the proudest moments of my entire life!¬† I talked to my parents and told them about my accomplishment because you know what… I got bragging rights from that run!¬† My dad had always struggled with his weight, he was heavy as a kid, and for a bit of his early adult life.¬† He was SO PROUD of me.¬† He has become a great cheerleader for me during this weightloss¬†and healthiness journey.¬† When I was young there was a lot of picking on me due to my weight problems and I know he didn’t realize just how bad it hurt me.¬† Our relationship is being repaired.¬† He told me that he has never in his entire life been able to run a mile.

Dad¬†was always, in my opinion, the more fit of my parents growing up.¬† Yes he struggled with his weight,¬†he had been¬†near 200 pounds for as long as I can remember, but he did things like go hunting in the mountains.¬† That meant he had to “be in shape”.¬† Not in that “round is a shape” way.¬† We had a treadmill, he used it.¬† He had a gym membership, and he used it.¬† Mom exercised too, she would swim laps while she went to night school, but I never really thought of her as active.¬† Her job keep and kept her sedentary.¬† So when I told them both about my accomplishment I really felt amazing when they both told me that they had never in their lives run a mile.

I felt like an athlete.¬† I woke up wanting to go back and run again, but I resisted the urge because I know I need to hold off and wait to see how my body responds.¬† It is sometimes so difficult for me to walk the line.¬† I want so much to push my body, push it until it breaks and I vomit in the gym like you see, or don’t see on The Biggest Loser.¬† I know that because of things like my fibromyalgia, and my ehlers-danlos I need to respect my body even more than normal.¬† I know watching friends recover from injuries and how long it takes healthy active normal people to recover that an injury to me could be a potential disaster!¬† So I strive to create balance.

So Friday begins my crazy work schedule and my next formal workout won’t be until Sunday… when I head back to the gym for another #c25k run.¬† I am excited to try week 5.¬† I wont lie, there is a part of me even now that is still scared to try week 5, even though I just did this amazing thing the thought of those intervals and the potential to not do it scares me.

I will be squeezing in two sessions of Just Dance or Just Dance 2 in on the Wii during Friday and Saturday as workouts since my gym isn’t available 24/7.¬† I also need to make a shopping list and pick meals for the next week.¬† I am setting myself up for success any way I can.¬† #NoExcuses That mile¬†reminded me that I really am making progress, even if I can’t see it all the time.

Have you done any amazing things lately?  Surprised yourself?  Got any suggestions for my dinners this week?  Let me hear it!

Today I am a Runner

Yes, just last night I sat at a table with Jen, a priorfatgirl and said I was not a runner.¬† Today my tune has changed.¬† No I have not yet completed c25k.¬† I did clear a hurdle which I never completed before though.¬† I finished week 4!¬† I did all three days of it!!! Freakin¬†AMAZEBALLS!!!! I mean, let’s be¬†honest here for a moment, holy flippin cow!

As I drove to the gym this morning I was nervous.¬† I didn’t have nervous tummy or anything but the nerves of my impending run were starting to weigh on my mind.¬† I told myself I had done this run twice before and it was no big deal.¬† I was sadly the FOURTH person checked in at the gym this morning.¬† Such a slacker.¬† I signed up for my machine and away I went.

As I got to my last interval I reached for my dumbphone… as in not smart phone I sent the saved text that it was my last interval for the set and I knew I was almost done.¬† I ran my little heart out thinking about how proud my family would be of how far I have come.¬† I thought about people in my lives who had passed away… sadly there has been a lot of death around my friends and I lately.¬† Perhaps it is the time of year, but as the woman on my app said One minute remaining I grinned knowing “I got this!”

The “cooldown” kicked in with¬†the app, which I don’t generally do because I have more working out to do, and I looked out into the darkness of the morning to see rain falling from the sky dancing in the lights of the parking lot.¬† It felt like those raindrops were full of emotion for me.¬† A release, a gift from above to remind me to keep going.¬† After about 90 seconds of walk… I hit the 1.5 mile mark on the treadmill and I did the self inventory and at that moment I knew it was time.

I sped the treadmill back up to my “run” speed.¬† Now with my short little legs my maintainable run speed is 3.6.¬† I can sprint at 4.2, but running is 3.6… so I keyed 3.6 and hit enter…. and away I went. #c25k counted down and finished itself off and I figured it grooving to my tunes, feeling the rhythm in my body and I ran.

I let my feet pound of the deck of the treadmill planning only to run until I was tired of running or my body was ready to give up.¬† Then it happened… that thing… that only seems to happen to other people.¬† I didn’t stop running at .1 or .25¬† when .5 came around the emotions started welling up inside of me.¬† (in fact I am getting a little emotional right now!) My body was ready to be pushed, ready for a challenge.¬† I kept running and I ran the entire mile.¬† That is right… I RAN A MILE!!! Today I became that person.

As I neared that last tenth of a mile I have to admit I started to get scared, mostly because I was doing it.¬† I wasn’t too tired, I felt like I could do more.¬† I wanted to push myself farther.¬† However I am bad about knowing my limits at times and I don’t want to overdo it.¬† I also was feeling fearful that once I stopped I would never be able to do it again.¬† What if this was a fluke?¬† What if I can never run again?

I left the gym and wanted to call and text¬†everyone I know!¬† I wanted to text Ann and tell her right away because she has really been behind my running since before I did my first 5k¬†but I didn’t want to wake her up… but this morning really changed something inside me.¬† I can feel it.

Today I became a runner.

Guess Who’s Back

At 5:30 this morning my alarm beeped at me, it wasn’t a wake up alarm like most normal people. It is my are you at the gym or on your way alarm. My evening reminder that I need to move my body.
Since getting the news from the cardiologist that I am cleared to resume activity on Monday… I had yet to test my limits. I knew Wednesday would be the day. Usually I get to the YWCA about 6:15 on Wednesday for water aerobics… Not this time.
The excuses are gone. My heart is strong and it has reinforced my mind. I know now what needs to be done. I know what I want and how far I am willing to go to attain my goals.
Shortly after 5:30 my membership card was scanned at the front desk and with my Polar Heart Rate Monitor on I climbed the stairs to the cardio area. Today would not be an elliptical day. Oh no, the eyes are back on my desire to run. My body wants to be like everyone else. Diseases and difficulties be damned, I am pushing for it again.
I picked my favorite treadmill, located in the weights section infront of the windows and started Week3 again.
I ran. I did my intervals like a champ! When the 28 minutes were up I wadn’t ready to stop. My obsessive nature pushed me… I dug in and rooted out and found myself finishing out 2 miles in just under 38 minutes. While I am not breaking any records I did it and I was proud.
I then headed to my class and started to feel like the old me. I miss my long workouts. The feeling like I accomplished something great, something amazing. When people would find out how much time I spent in the gym they would always be surprised. I enjoyed that surprise. It made me feel like less of a fraud at the gym, like more of an athlete. Endurance… the ability for my body to match the sheer will of my mind. I need that, it keeps me strong, it keeps me going.
So I am restarting c25k. I may end up on Week3 for six months but I am not giving up! Balancing that training with the elliptical, water aerobics, and hopefully some Zumba I will be all set for my next adventure.
Eyes on the Prize! I am back! RAWR!!!

Gym Talk

So all this new working out twice a day, changing my routine stuff has left me neglecting blog world.  Splitting my workouts up has been, overall good for me I think.  While I feel as though it is taking up a larger portion of my day, because I am in the gym TWICE, not just for one chunk, I find that I feel less pressured while I am there.

There had been times when I would go for my “marathon” cardio sessions, which could at their peak last up to three hours, and would grow so bored, and literally would feel the hate building for the boredom of the gym.¬† Knowing now that I have an end point preset every time I step onto what ever machine I get onto has me focused, giving it my all.

In giving it my all, I find I am still struggling with my target heart rate.¬† Well duh Kris, you have only been working on it for what, a week?¬† Holding myself back from going “balls to the wall” during a workout is super difficult.¬† I am looking into HIIT training more.¬† I think C25k may make a regular reappearance in my training, perhaps I will use the elliptical for it, just to push myself a bit.

I have a tentative schedule for my workouts right now, and it seems to be working.¬† I don’t want to lose focus though.¬† Mondays and Wednesday mornings and Tuesday nights¬†are, at present scheduled for water aerobics class that is about 55 mins long.¬† I have these blocked out in my schedule.¬† I really enjoy being in the water and these classes are the ones that provide me with a little more of a challenge, or something different that the land workouts I currently do don’t provide me.¬† Outside of that I have “45-55 minutes of cardio” scheduled Monday &¬†Wednesday¬† nights and Tuesday &¬†Thursday mornings with the chance to take a water¬†aerobics class instead on M, W, Th nights, which likely won’t happen, or would be simply more of a stretching type class as I have concluded I am just not burning enough to make those classes my workout.¬† I am also entertaining the thought of setting the alarm early on Fridays to get in a quick 30-min cardio session before my on-call starts.

Cardio, it is such a broad term.¬† I want to keep things interesting, and keep my body guessing about what is coming next.¬† I really LOVE the elliptical, like REALLY love it.¬† There are two types of elliptical machines, well three if you count the kind with no arms, in my gym.¬† I used one of the older models this week when the gym was really busy and I could feel the different muscle groups being used.¬† So I know I need to change that up a bit.¬† So I know I can use one machine one day and the other at another point.¬† There is also the recumbent bike, and my bicycle, and the treadmill.¬† What I am thinking about is perhaps making a training schedule of what I should be doing on which days, however I am worried I will fall into the I don’t want to do this trap.

So for now I will just keep rolling with the punches, and keep letting myself do what I want at the gym since I can’t do it for as long as I want.¬† It is kind of funny how that works…¬† When you can’t do something you want to do it more.¬†¬†Today is Morning water aerobics (20-minutes of step aerobics in the water, plus some water barbel work etc) and tonight is cardio, I think elliptical but we shall see when the evening rolls around.

Please stay tuned to the blog this weekend… I am putting together something VERY special… I just need to get everything set up first.¬† You wont want to miss this!