Showing a Little Flair

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When I was younger I was always a little out of place. I had lots of friends. Actually, I was friends with mostly everyone, but never really feeling like I had a place of my own. Being a 17 year old female who cared more about board games and softball and garage sale comic books than she did about boys was not as accepted in the early 90s as it is now.

As I got a little older I found my place. With my husbands gang, being a nerd was not only accepted, but really the only way to communicate! Games, comic books, and comic book movies – all part of it. Sitting in the living room until 2AM quoting Space Balls or discussing in depth whether Batman or Superman was better was a normal Saturday practice. I was so happy.  I just still felt like I was not 100% me. Still missing something that I knew I needed.

Moving ahead a few more years, I met someone (whom we will just call “HER” from here on) who was very much like me, only MORE. HER and I laughed at the same jokes, liked the same things, and both wanted to do something crazy, but worried that going outside of our comfort zone would be as scary as we thought it was. We became each others security blanket, both wanting to have an adventure, but still needing someone’s hand to hold in the process. Having HER around made me realize that was exactly how I was, and I didn’t want to be that way anymore.

Before HER, I was Mom and Wife. That was all. Before HER,  my comfort zone was inside the four walls of my home. Before HER, I was content with mediocrity.

Although things with HER went very very south, HER made me look at the world a little differently.

Now at almost 40, I am figuring it out…with HER pushing me a little further outside of my comfort zone, and my husband nurturing my love of all things nerdy (especially my love of Wonder Woman), I have learned that I can be more, and I want to be more.

I know it sounds odd to attribute so much of who I am to someone that I no longer want or have in my life, but as they say, “people come into your life for a reason…” and this could not be more true. HER brought so much into my life. HER brought the people who were meant to be in it – into my life. HER showed me how bad@ss I could be if I wanted to. HER even told me that I was the kind of person people wanted to be around.

Well, I continue to #becomingabetterme, I know I have more zest for life and this crazy flair on the inside for more adventure, so as I grow into the person I am really wanting to become, I am letting that flair show on the outside as well!

 

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Every Step Counts

12513783_10208056304586001_6578090563534272416_oI am a desk jockey. Everything I need is right there. On the shared drive, in my email, or physically in the IN BOX on my desk. At most, I might have to walk to the other side of my room to go to the filing cabinet to pull a resident file, or go down the hall to go to the restroom. That’s really all in the course of my 8 hour (or plus) day.

When I got my Garmin I was not sure what to put as my daily goal, so after seeing my friends work with a 10,000 step goal I followed suite. Soon after, I realized I was no where near that! I am talking like, 2500 to 3100 steps daily! When I realized how few steps I took in a day, I googled “how many steps does an office worker take?” This gave me a variety of answers. To take the average of what all I got, I am going to say right about 2000 steps.

So many people try for 10,000 steps a day. I am not one of them, and here are my reasons….

1554482_10206646011009543_8677066293036355872_n***2000 – 2200 steps roughly equals a mile. Going 10,000 steps would be expecting myself to walk roughly four miles after I put in eight hours of work. This just isn’t possible. I have other things going on in my life. I mean, come on! I am wife of a gamer/game designer, a mother of two very active teenagers, a homeowner, and person of my own. To do this would mean I would have to give up, or take time away from one of those other pieces in my life, and I am not doing it.

****I posted this in another blog , I cannot do the treadmill or the elliptical without holding on, so those steps that I take do not show up. I know I have taken then, so I am not going to worry about not seeing the number show up on my wrist.

****Lastly, I spend time with my trainer, and he busts my @ss, and those days do not require any further steps – or explanation to my poor body that it needs to do more!

Now, all that being said, I want it go on the record that when I go to WalMart, or Kroger, or even the mall (again, judgment free zone!) I like to go an extra lap to add to my steps. At this point in my journey, I have set my daily goal of 5000 steps, and I am perfectly happy with that.

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Now… you know that is not where this stops. I am NOT saying that this is the end of the road for me! I want to be a runner/jogger… and will be! That means that when I get to the point of being able to run around the block twice (which means jogging a full mile outside) I will be adding 2000-2200 steps. Then after that goal is accomplished I will move on to running two miles (four laps, or growing my course) that is another couple thousand steps. Then moving forward further, being able to do my big goal of doing four miles… and there you have it! 10,000 steps! My average work day of 2000 steps plus four miles, I got this!

But for now, a (mostly unreached goal) of 5000 steps is A-O-K. Every step counts as I #becomeabetterme.

 

Unexpected Lessons

Screenshot_2016-01-20-22-35-43-1I love when things happen and after its over I get to think back on the event and see it from a completely different angle. Tonight was one of those evenings.

Due to recent action of a certain teenage girl, I had to invent an interesting way to punish her, and part of that included coming to the gym with me. I realize that doesn’t sound like a big deal, and since the point of this conversation isn’t about the trouble, I won’t burden you with the details.

To my point, since this teenager still need to condition herself for her swimming, I had to make sure her work out was appropriate. I consulted the coach and got a list of specific exercises he wanted me to have her do. After giving me the list he added, what I consider the best advice ever, “if there any exercise you do to ready yourself for your Spartan races, add those too!” Boo-yeah! I get to introduce some pain!

So we got to the gym and it was pretty normal. Since there were specific things that Coach wanted her to do, I decided we would start with cardio. Seven minutes on the elliptical was the beginning.  It was while I was on there my mind started turning. I was going to have to do what I see my trainer doing. The more I thought about being the leader the less I worried about what I was doing.

From the elliptical I had her doing some arm exercises, showing her the proper technique and doing the exercises right along with her. I put her on a machine and explained what muscles it was going to work, tested the weight she needed to work with, and pushed her to do just a few more reps. Then I did the same machine and did my reps.

We moved on to some of my favorite/hated plank push ups, and as I showed her how to do them I caught myself slipping more into the role of the trainer.

We pressed on and the work out lasted for about about 30 mins. As it was MY work out and I was leading it, I felt so good! I was pushing myself. Something I really hadn’t done as much as I thought I had.

When we got done I was smiling, sweating, and so happy!

You ask what angle I am looking at them from now? Well, simply the other side of me. When I focused on something besides my pain and worry, doing the exercises is so much easier to deal with. I know how silly that sounds, but its true. It was almost like I had to trick my brain into not seeing what I was doing as physically taxing bs, but rather my own instructional video.

When I am with my trainer, I know I am not easy to deal with. I look at him and think “how can you just stand there and boss me around like that?!” Well, I get it now. Its empowering.  Watching the person you are helping do better – even be better – changes how you see working out period.

I know that tomorrow I am going to be sore, and probably wont be able to walk, but tomorrow I will feel like that voice in my head just used her brain for good instead of to tear me down.

Get Out of My Head!

Screenshot_2016-01-17-22-17-02-1For those of you who know me, you know that I do have a few minor (or at least I hope they are still just minor) health issues. I have muscular skeletal issues in my forearms that even the specialists were stumped by, which causes me to lose grip in fingers/hands. It also causes the muscles in my arms to tighten so much that you can see the each strand of muscle in my arms and I can’t use them at all. Along with both of those symptoms I get swollen fingers.

The other minor issue I have is low blood sugar. If I exert too much and don’t eat enough I get light headed and have on a couple of occasions, passed out.

Although neither are really life threatening I do still have to be careful with how far I really do push myself. I know my limits and butt right up against that line on a regular basis, but I still try not to go too far.

I do have one “disease” that I hear is curable, but still plagues me every day. Its called (in scientific terms of course), my own lack of confidence. That stupid little Heather in the back of my head telling me that I can’t do it.

She is a mean b*tch sometimes, but to a certain degree, I understand why. She and I have made it 39 years doing what we knew we would be good at, and staying inside that little bubble where we knew we wouldn’t fail.

I know I spend a lot of my time reminding others that “THEY CAN DO IT!” or saying “YOU GOT THIS!” and I believe that. I believe that my friends can do whatever they set their minds to. The little Heather has faith any pretty much every one but me.

I didn’t really realize how bad I was in my own head until I was talking to Hammy tonight. Yes, I knew I had a ridiculous fear of the elliptical…but I didn’t know how deep this insecurity went until we were talking.

See, the thing is, when I am with my trainer I can get about the first 15 mins with little to no struggle, but after that I start to worry, “am I going to over do it? am I hurting myself? have I been drinking enough? have I eaten enough? have I eaten TOO much?” and that is when it hits me, I start getting nauseous and over heated and my palms get all sweaty and light headed… and you name it, it happens.

Since I have really been trying to be better, I have told myself daily that I can do it. Sad thing is, Little Heather doesn’t agree. She doesn’t think that we can handle all of the physical activity, so she goes on her negativity kick and I listen.

I have come so far, physically and emotionally, but I still have so much further to go.

I have been able to cross the four, five, and six foot walls, I have handled the bucket brigade to the best of my ability, I have mastered the cargo net, have even jumped a fire, but I still haven’t been able to overcome my own self doubt. Frankly, I don’t know how to do it.

I often post treadmill photos or goofy pictures of my and the punching dummy at the gym or even before and after pictures. I do that to look back and remind Little Heather that I did it. Maybe it was just a mile, or 15 mins, or even just being on the bike, but I feel like every little bit of proof I can give to the little b*tch, the closer to having faith in me she will get.

Am I crazy, probably. Will that change, I hope so. Am I getting there, definitely.

Just have to figure out how to either turn off that little voice, or find another way to believe in myself.

 

Like Minded Folks

11896339_10207198593023748_5376068536662579002_oHammy (the husband) was messing around on Twitter and made a comment about how one of the gals he follows was talking about how she is on a journey to lose weight and get stronger. I think her line (which could soooo be a tag line for me) was “I might be short, but I am strong”, which of course made Hammy tell her about my journey as well.

Anywho, as I think about everything, but especially everyone, this journey has brought into my life I can’t help but smile. In the beginning of my first blog I talked about how Tampa was where it all started. It is fair to say that had that trip not been what it was, I would not be here typing this right now. Truly some of the best people I have ever met, and to this day make me smile, or laugh, or in some cases shake my head at their goofiness (Eric, Mike, that’s for you!) I watched this group of people who had known each other for approximately 16 hours sit down and have dinner and make fun of each other like they had been doing it their whole lives. I told Mike at breakfast that I had probably heard him say 10 words, but every one of them was a zinger! Eric just made me want to hug him like a teddy bear! Kelly and Michael, I don’t think I could have made it without your smiles. This group ran under the banner of the Corn Fed Spartans. Down home, Midwesterners with a joy for running.

For my first race, The Dirty Girl, I got to meet the ever popular, and so worth it, Momma Bear. Even though she dropped me on my butt, I still love her! I added Heather to my list of forever friends that day too. Now technically I had already “met” her at Denny’s in Florida, but I hardly count that since I was half asleep and we were sitting with our own travel group. Her laugh still makes me smile inside every time!

Then I went to the Indy Sprint (which for the record is over an hour away from Indy… thank you Spartan). As I got to see the group from the Tampa trip and the Dirty Girl,  I was overjoyed! I think my highlight was  getting to add someone that I now consider one of my best friends, and my favorite ginger, (Chris) Lauderdale.

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From there we traveled to Chicago. It felt like I was just building a pyramid and the foundation was this great group of people who I really felt comfortable with. I got to meet some of the northern CornFed folks. Eric and Mike introduced me to Windie, who even covered in mud was a bright spot in the day!

Then it came to a place where I wasn’t even having to travel to meet new and amazing people. One friendship started out as message of Facebook saying “your comment about not needing a before picture on Transformation Tues, because you don’t even want to think about the person you were – and are only moving forward from here was wonderfully said!” has become someone who had enough faith in me to send me his jersey, because he knew I could do it. Thank you, Scott.

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Another Facebook friendship happened by just being a nerd and a Spartan all at the same time. Joe has turned into a sounding board, and someone I talk to daily. Thank you, sir!

Even instagram brought me closer to an amazing Spartan Chick. I had been following Jennifer for quite awhile and it was at a race that she introduced herself to me. She amazes me with strength daily, and she doesn’t even know it!

The more people I knew within the team the more connected I felt to this journey. Yes, I picked it for myself, but in some ways, I feel like this group carried me towards it. Aside from reminding me that I could be more and that they were there to help me achieve that, this mud and racing thing brought me back to a wonderful friend. Angel and I had known each other since 8th grade, but it wasn’t until we dove into Spartan that we came back around. Every race I have run since really getting into this, I have run with her, and every race I haven’t run, I have been there to support her.

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Anywho, as I look back to this last almost two years, I cannot believe how long the list of wonderful people have been added to my heart. I know this story is about me, but ultimately, I wouldn’t be ME if it weren’t for each of you!

 

***PS… There are soooo many of you CFS’ers that I would have loved to add to this, but I didn’t want to break your trust in me by using your name without permission. You know who you are, and I love you for it!

 

Blogging Myself Out of a Rut

12493896_10208008548792136_1517999345200834645_oThe end of the year is always rough for me. Not really in a bad way, just rough as in very busy way. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kat’s swim season, New Years, year end reports at work, the cold, the snow… you know what I mean. Anywho, you take all of those things and put them in basically two and a half months and that leaves very little Heather time. Sadly, the thing I have to cut is the gym. I wish it were not so, but I have to be realistic. Like they say, “Sometimes, it is what it is.”

Here it is the middle of January and I am finding it hard to WANT to get back into the swing. I know I did this last year, I remember this EXACT feeling, even though I was not half as dedicated going into 2015 as I am and have been going into 2016.

In the months leading up to my first Spartan Sprint, I did the gym thing. I had no idea what to train for, or how to train, so I stuck with the basics. A lot of my work out was on the bike or a few select machines. I won’t lie, I never really push myself. I don’t think I even understood the concept to be honest with you…

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I ran Miller Park. I finished my race. I felt good. Not physically good, physically I was beat down, but good in my heart. Proud of what I had accomplished. The fact that this race was in November, I remember thinking that I was basically good until after the new year. (I did squeeze in a Santa Hustle 5k in December, but that was just a fun run. No big medal, No obstacles. No stress) After that, I basically just let the couch eat me for the rest of the winter.

March rolled around and the days got longer and the air wasn’t as cool, so I decided I should really get back to it. I spent roughly 3-4 days a week at the gym. The more of a change I noticed in my body the more I wanted to be there.

I laugh as I type this, but my mother once told me, “when you exercise regularly and eat right, your body starts to crave that activity and doesn’t really want the sweets and junk food.” I thought she was crazy until about April. I NEEDED THE GYM. I NEEDED FRUITS. I NEEDED VEGETABLES!!!! I indulged all of those needs, and it felt good.

By mid July I was spending more like 5 days at the gym. I upped my game to the treadmill, the elliptical (which I have already shared that story with you), some free weights, squats, dead lift, and more of a variety of the machines. I even invested in a trainer in September. I was going to be ready for my next race this time!

Again towards the end of the year I was doing a Spartan. As a matter of fact one year minus 7 days later I was running my second Spartan Sprint.This time Ft Campbell. Although comparing the two races would be apples and oranges, I felt WAAAAAY better about this one. It was longer than the first one and a mud run vs a stadium race, but I felt better prepared and physically stronger through out the race than I did my first one. Heck, I even managed to never get the pukey feeling that I had several times in the Miller Park.

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When I fire jumped I felt that same good in feeling in my heart. Yet again, I accomplished something that previously I would have died laughing just thinking about.

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The few weeks that followed that race I was out of town with Angel and Chris as they finished their race season. Then came Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Years… and here I am. Coming full circle. Smack dab in the middle of my year end reports at work, battling 11 degree temps with a full 3 inches of snow, and just now home from Kat’s swim meet.

I have heard that sometimes you just have to talk yourself back into what is good for you, and that is what I am trying to do here. I know I need the gym, I know it will make me feel better, and I know I will be happy once I get back to it… this time I can honestly say I am not lying to myself when I say I will be going back. Not today, probably not tomorrow, but the gym has become a way a life, and I plan to not stray from the Heather that it continues to transform me into.

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Yes, She is My Daughter

10953376_10205614488302120_304534573142270864_nMy house has been a cesspool of disease this past week and in that I learned a lot about how people see me. I know that sounds like an odd way to start a blog, but its true.

I said I wanted to start a writing about becoming a better me and that is more than just my fitness and weight loss… it is also about me growing as a person and generally trying to become better. I learned over the last few days that several of my friends (or even acquaintances) see me in a way I have never seen myself, so here is story of that.

Tuesday night,  at about 10pm my daughter, Katie, started vomiting. Not just a little, but like her guts up. This went on through the night and into Wednesday. Several blankets changes and hours later she finally had nothing left to purge, but she was still not doing well.

About 3pm Wednesday afternoon she asked me to text her coach to let him know she was not going to be at practice that day. With it being the day before Mid-State, she was concerned she would not be allowed to swim as she was missing at least two pre-meet practices. Of course Coach was concerned primarily about her health, but for the sake of the team wanted me to keep him in the loop about her return so he could fill in her relays as needed. When I informed her about his response she looked at me all ragged and pale and said, “OOOHH MOM! I WILL BE AT MID STATE!” I won’t lie, her response made me roll my eyes at her. Here I am looking at this pitiful soul who hasn’t eaten all day, and was a asleep on the bathroom floor for a good part of the night, trying to tell me she was going to swim in less than 24 hours. The kid was crazy!

Shortly after that conversation I looked over and she was mouth open, hanging off the couch, passed out and dead to the world. I was sad for her, she was not going to be swimming at Mid-State.

Thursday morning Kat came bounding into my room, “Mom! I am better! So I am swimming tonight!” I hoped she was right. I really wanted to see her make it, but I was saying prayers and doing the appropriate dances to the appropriate Gods to make this happen.

Thursday evening Angel went with me to the meet. We talked about the sickness that took over this child and how I believed she was crazy to even want to be there, let alone able to have the physical strength to be able to swim. Angel looked at me and said, “she is your kid.” I really didn’t think much of it, and the night went on. Kat swam the 200 Medley Relay, the 50 Free, and the 100 Free. At the end of the 200 Med, there was color drained from her face, after the 50 free, all color was drained completely. There was nothing in the tank for the 100 – and she didn’t do as well as she wanted. Mind you, she wanted to get to finals, that was her goal. She cried at her so called failure. Instead of getting in the top 8, she got 10th and 11th… she was sick, trying to die, and still just a hair outside of the finals circle. She refused to listen to me when I told her I was proud of her. And I was.  She left everything she had in that pool. Her dedication definitely showed.

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So to come back to my point… how people see me… as I told this story to several people I heard things like “I wonder where she gets this?!”or “Like mother like daughter!” or even  “She comes by it honestly”… I had no idea. Honestly, no clue. As I am writing this, I told my daughter what I was writing, and even she told me that she knew that’s where she got her determination and stubbornness. How is it that so many people can see such things that you never knew were there? I live my life everyday, but its those on the outside who actually know me. What else am I missing? Do you see this determination as good thing? Is stubbornness a positive?? In this quest to #becomeabetterme, I suppose my first step should be to learn more about who I am before I try to change anything else….

That being said, I think my next entry will be a combination of words and phrases that are used to describe me. For this I will need your help, dear friends. Please, please, please take a couple of minutes to post in the comments things you have noticed about me that I may have overlooked.

 

Learning to Run

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Before I did the Nashville Sprint in October, I got myself a trainer. I knew that I was pushing myself about as far as I would on my own, so I needed someone who would push me a little bit further. Anywho, when I started with my trainer, I was asked to fill out a short questionnaire.

The last question on there was “What are you looking to accomplish by having a trainer?”

After I read that, I had to stop and actually think about it… I knew that I wanted to lose weight and be more tone, I also knew that I wanted to make sure I didn’t disappoint my friends whom I was going to be racing with, but I wasn’t sure that was all.

As I stared at the question I realized that wasn’t all I wanted. I wanted to run. Like, really run… like I wanted to be able to run a 5k. So, that’s what I wrote down. I actually wrote “I WANT TO BE ABLE TO JOG/RUN 4 MILES”

and that is where it began….

As I said before, I had gotten pretty used to the treadmill, but what I did not tell you is that I lack balance (or grace, whatever you want to call it). Every time I am on the treadmill I HAVE to hold on. I don’t know if I really suck or if it yet, another, mental block but, if I do not hold on, I get off time and stumble. I have never actually fallen while on the treadmill, but I would really like to keep it that way, so I hold on.

Anyway, after realizing that learning to run on the treadmill would not be easy, I was going to have to figure something out. Besides, since I am being honest, I did not and do not want to run at the gym for fear of doing it wrong or falling or I don’t know… killing myself in front of everyone there.

I figured the only way I was going to be able to do this was to run around my block. My block is about a half mile so I figured I would give that I try. I put on my arm band for my phone, put in my ear buds, and gave it a go! I started off with a quick walk, then about two houses down, I broke into a jog. I have no idea if I was going a JOG speed, or if I was at a RUN speed, but I was going. I was running. I made it for a count of about five houses, then I walked for two, and kept going with that rhythm until I completed my half mile. I was tired and it was JUST a half mile, but the only way I would get to four miles, was by figuring out the first half.

The problem I am facing now is that I do not want to lose my momentum, but its too cold to run outside and I know I cannot run at the gym. I have set the treadmill to no incline and the speed to 3.2mph and all I was doing was showing people what a human version of wiener dog looks like… short legs that move at the speed of light, but still at a walk.

Anyway, here is where I need you to tell me: what you wear when you run in the cold… it is January in Indy, which means temps in the 30’s most of the time. Then I need to know if you have tricks that keep you going? And to add to it, I am curious about what keeps you from giving up, especially when its cold? HOW DO YOU DO IT???

Bottom line, I want to be a runner, and I just need to learn how to achieve this goal…

 

Confession of a Fraidy Cat

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I called myself a “fraidy cat” for a good reason. See, 2014 was not the first time I tried to get into shape. In 2012 I started going to the Pavilion that is attached to the high school… there were about five machines, seven ellipticals, and two bikes. It always seemed that when we went in the bikes were taken, I had NO idea what to do with the machine, so the elliptical it was.

(I will go into the whole ordeal with my thoughts on the machines at some point in the future, but that is definitely a blog for another day.)

Here is where the confession comes in. I would get soooo nervous just standing by the elliptical that my heart would start racing, my palms would start sweating, and I would feel like I was going to die. JUST BECAUSE I WAS STANDING BY IT! Since I basically was mid heart attack, doing anything on the stupid machine was almost impossible, so three minutes in I would have to stop. I couldn’t breath and my heart was trying to pop out of my chest. Needless to say, I decided I really did not need to exercise. So back to the couch and my fat life I went.

Once I got serious about it (as I talked about in the last blog), I knew I had to start small. So it was all about the bike. I could do three miles in about 20 mins with no resistance added. Then I could do four miles in about 25 mins, then I got it down to five minute miles, but still tiring out after about four miles. I knew the key was to try pushing a little harder each time, so I started adding resistance. Eventually I was doing seven – ten miles on the bike setting my resistance at two, while rereading Fifty Shades of Gray on my Nook. (Did I mention this blog is a zero judgment zone, well it is!)

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When I got to that point, I knew I needed to up my game.

I am not sure I mentioned, at my current gym, the bikes are right next to the ellipticals so I was constantly aware of their existence, but would do everything in my power to avoid them.

Anyway, upping the ante meant it was time for the treadmill. Now, I had used one before, and had anxieties with them, but nearly like I did with the elliptical. So I got on. No elevation, just a walking speed, and one mile at a time. The first time I did it, I walked for about 13 mins and managed to get about a half mile, AND I WAS DYING!

I allowed myself the to stop as it was truly a good next step. Once I got home I started to beat myself up about it. “Can’t believe I didn’t even go a full stupid mile! How are you ever going to do three miles on a course if you can’t do one on a stupid treadmill!?” I was so mean I hurt my own feelings… but I pushed on.

Time went by and I was upping my elevation to an incline of 3.5, and getting a mile done in about 21 mins. As I was doing this fairly regularly, I would walk by the ellipticals and eyeball them fiercely, but still not giving in to the urge to try again.

And then I did. I got on it. Was I scared? Well, heck yeah I was! My insides burned, my brain tried to stop the internal riot that was my body protesting, and I was scared to death. But my earbuds rocking out to Walk the Moon, and my feet were trying to keep time, I did my first mile in a little over 14 mins. I did it!

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That damn machine (pardon my French) did not take me down!

Now, in all fairness, I do not do the elliptical every time, I really have to be in the right frame of mind to get on it, but I do still walk by it, smile and know that I can do it. Maybe just for a mile, or 15 mins, but I can do it.

Who knows, maybe 2016 will bring me up to two miles on that stupid thing and one step closer to #becomingabetterme ….

How My Story Begins…

 

The beginning… where do I start?

I would probably say it was in February of 2014… in Tampa Florida. Or more specifically in a mini van on the way to Tampa Florida.

Up until that point in my life I had always played it safe. Never really doing anything for myself, but really not knowing what I wanted to do… or if I really wanted to do anything for myself at all. I had always done whatever it was my family needed or wanted me to. Don’t get me wrong, I took care of myself, but hobbies were really limited to things that I could do at home or ones that involved my family. My husband always tried to push me to find new and fun things, but I just didn’t know what I wanted, so I stayed put.

Back to the trip. I was with a friend, in a crowned mini van, on the way to watch these people do this crazy OCR thing… I had no idea what that meant, but I knew I didn’t want her going alone.

Over the course of that weekend, I learned that OCR – Obstacle Course Racing, was something that these people did for fun. I knew this stuff existed, but I thought it was just on American Ninja Warrior or Wipe Out… not real life.

But these people… these people whom I traveled with, were like me. Worked 9-5, had families, were even in their 40s… were just out to show themselves they could do it.

I wanted to be more like them.

Fast forward to the April of 2014. I joined a gym… yeah, I could not believe it myself. I. JOINED. A. GYM.

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I really was not good for much but the bike, and even that tired me out, but since I committed to doing a 5k Dirty Girl Mud Run in May, a 5k Neon Dash in June, and then a Spartan in November, I had to do something.

I was sooooooooo scared. Like ready to puke my guts up scared, at the beginning of the Dirty Girl. I made it… barely, but I made it. To be honest, it killed me.  I had waaaaay more training to do before I would be ready for anything else.

Moving forward even further, by the end of October, I had managed to get get in a couple more 5ks and even a 10k, but the upcoming Spartan Race scared the you-know-what out of me… for days I cried, scared of failing, scared of disappointing me and my friends, and even a little scared of dying… but I did it. I really did it! (please note: there was whining and crying, but I did it)

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Feeling like a BEAST going into 2015, I knew I had to up my game. So I went from the bike to lifting weights AND walking on the treadmill. I thought I was the cats meow (as my grandma would say!)! So I signed up for a few more 5ks, another mud run, and even thinking hard about doing another Spartan.

Somewhere in the middle of 2015, I felt a rut… I needed something to help move forward and that is where my hashtag came into play… #becomingabetterme

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I wanted to be more than this new body I was working on. I wanted to be a better person, PERIOD.

Now here is it the start of 2016 and over the course of the last six months several of my friends have asked what I have done to get where I am… so I decided that part of my #becomingabetterme campaign (hehe, I like calling it that), I would journal all the good, bad, and ugly that happens as I try to do the right thing, and show my friends that it isn’t easy – but it doesn’t have to be horrible and painful either.

***side note: one of the hardest things for me is to get in a rut and forget what I had done to get to that point. This blog is not only for anyone who wants to read it, but for me to remind myself that I am #movingforward, #gettingthere, and am #stilltrying.

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So, to those of you who have made it to this line, thank you… this is just the beginning of the story of a better me….