Happy Blogiversary

I started this blog one year ago today and I am so proud of myself and what I have accomplished!

Although 2016 was not completely as I had hoped, I have been putting in some thought as to what I wanted to get out of 2017 and I have a list.

First:  I decided I that I am going to do the 50 miles a month challenge. That is 600 miles in a year! With that, I can say “I will walk 500 miles…” Hehe, sorry, I love that song.  Anyway, to do this, it will require me to log my daily steps/miles – which I plan to do in a Log Blog  – stay tuned!

Second: I will sign up and do some random 5ks with my teammates and of course my bestie – Angel again. 2016 had me doing a few virtual runs, but I really need to be out there with the group making this happen. Accountability and all of that.

Third: September is the Nashville Spartan Sprint, and I going to make this happen! Angel, Chris, and Tim are with me… and I hope to meet a few out of town Spartans as well! (Joe, Scott, Ashley – if you are reading this, I am so stoked! Hanging with you guys will make being a Spartan even more real!)

Finally: To continue to be work through my hashtag … I want to be a better me, all of the way around. Lots of things changed over the last year and I know it has tested my patience and even my strength, but I got this… moving forward I will continue #becomingabetterme13173596_10208974174892185_3840443906967224278_o

 

 

 

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Juggling Priorities

When I started this #becomingabetterme campaign, I had one goal in mind… to be a better me. All the way around, from top to bottom, inside and out… just better. The one thing I could not see coming was how  I would have to prioritize the parts of me I wanted to make better.

I have stated in the past that the first stop was actually losing weight, as it was the easiest part of me to improve. Then how I handled people around me. Family, friend, coworkers, etc. Well, the next step would naturally be my career. That is where this blog is going.

Over the last few weeks, I have been trying to settle into my new/morphed position at work. I have been in the housing industry for the last almost 10 years, a lot of that in community management, the last four years in compliance, the last three years in compliance and operation and now managing property operations and compliance. This new position will take more time and probably more patience. Something that I have really had to put at the forefront of my campaign. I am a Gemini, and by nature, we suck at patience. (For you gems reading this, don’t pretend like that insulted you… you know I am right!)

The other thing this position is taking more of, at least for right now, is my time. I want to make sure that everything that is still on my plate until the morphing is complete, gets done, so working weekends and after hours at home is a must. I am perfectly content putting in the hours because the more I do, the better I become, but here is where the juggling happens.

Knowing that I have been unable to get to the gym, I have at least made it a point to watch what I eat. So I have been working off of a modified Whole 30 diet. Since I know that my body relies on the exercise to keep going, but the time and energy does not allow for gym going, I knew that being careful was going to be a must.

Tonight I made it a point to take an extra 45 mins out of my day to get to the gym. I wasn’t going to beat myself up, but I needed that treadmill sweat. I needed the music in my ears as watched the screen show the distance work its way to one mile. My body was starting to crave it, and I had to give in.

I cannot lie, while #becomingabetter me is still my priority, I am truly struggling with which part of ME gets top priority? How does one decide that?

My fearless leader swears by the motto “WORK TO LIVE, DON’T LIVE TO WORK” but when work is a passion (which anyone who work for a not for profit, has to have), and even a huge part of the bettering process, I don’t really look at it that way.

Bottom line, there has to be a way to be a better me at work and still continue to be a better me physically. Every step I have taken so far has been an obstacle, I guess this juggling thing is just the next one?

 

 

Summer of Fun

 

As I was looking at Facebook and going through some of my pictures I couldn’t help but smile. As a mother of active teenagers and then the wife of a game designer I am always busy. Running here… taking kids there… then adding in the normal stuff that every household has to deal with: groceries, dinner, cleaning, WORKING… but this summer, this summer was a little different. I took time to do things for me, and let me tell you, I loved it. Not only did I love it, but truly, I needed it.

When I started the journey of #becomingabetterme, I had to start out by figuring who and what I wanted to be. Sure, I wanted to weigh less, I wanted to be healthier, I wanted to be nicer, but honestly, I wanted to be happier.

That was where I had a problem. I have never really been in a place that allowed me enough time to stop and figure out what is that made me happy. Don’t get me wrong, being a mom and a wife makes me happy, but I needed to know what made HEATHER happy. What HEATHER wanted out of life. This summer has given me a glimpse of all of that.

This summer started off with my Journey concert at the track. Then Def Leppard/REO Speedwagon/Tesla at Klipsch. Then two concerts in one weekend Chris Young/Brad Paisley followed the next night by Gwen Stefani. Then last concert of my summer was Rob Thomas/Counting Crows all at Klipsch as well. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but music is a big part of my life and to get to see some of my faves belt out their songs live, well, that is epitome of happy in my book.

Let us not forget my birthday extravaganza… I realize my birthday was a singular day, but as a lover of my special day, I tend to drag it out for at least the month.

Now only was the summer music packed but (as always) we added Gen Con to the mix. (Did I mention I am a huge nerd?) Four days of nothing but gaming… the “four best day of gaming” to be exact. Never a dull moment there. Not only did I spend a lot of brain power winning over half of the games I played, but I got to enjoy the cosplayers in their personalized versions of pop culture, comic, or game character costumes.

To round out the summer, there was a Housing Conference in Detroit I got the privilege of attending. For those who do not know, my job is all rules and regulations and compliance and structure… and I love it. My part of the conference was learning more rules and how to figure  cash flow and net operating income (blah blah blah, right… wrong. I LOVE IT!). Yes, it was mind melting, but I love learning how to do my job better.

Needless to say, in a matter of three short months I squeezed in a lot of play time. Which by extension was time practicing being a better me.

Before I sat down to write this, when I was looking at my pictures I started to get a little down on myself. I ran no real races (yes I have done a couple of virtual 5ks, but no real ones), I haven’t been with Mr T (my trainer) since the beginning of May, and there really hasn’t been a week where I have gone to the gym more than two times, where I was going three to four times each week… but then I looked at what I had done.

I spent time with friends, I walked miles upon miles without flinching, I made my brain stronger, and even taught the noob gamers a thing or two ; ) I enjoyed myself and still did what I needed to do to figure out that I am more than a mom or a wife… I am a person and the happier I am, the more productive I can be!

Once I got past all of that, I also realized that I did put in some serious gym time, and even managed to keep my weight right where I left off in May!

I can honestly say, with the kids back in school and the summer winding down I am looking forward to seeing what comes next!

 

 

 

The After Photo

For those of you who do not know me all that well (or for those who do, but are not privy to this bit of information), I am a Pinterest junkie. Like, cannot get enough… I am always on there looking at crafty ideas, art projects, new styles (since my clothing size has gone down), tiny houses (my obsession) and of course inspirational quotes. Why am I tell you this? Well, let me back up a step or two…

Tonight at the gym, when I got there Mr T was there. He asked me what I was going to do and I told him that I was going to go kick the elliptical in the face. He laughed and I went on about my business. I wasn’t lying… that was, in fact, my plan. I decided that since my new found courage had got me moving on the elliptical, I was going to see if I could up my game. I upped my resistance to 3 (mind you, I had previously used a different -less difficult style – elliptical and upped the resistance, but on this one, a 3 was a big deal) and took off. Since I recently became an “i-People” I did not have the play list on my phone that once did, so I logged into YouTube and watched a few videos of my husbands band (Jon Bon Jovi, in case you were curious) and before I knew it I was at 3/4 of a mile and it was only 11’ish mins. I knew I was going to be under 15 mins so I picked my next video and kept going. At 1 mile I was looking at 14 mins and decided that wasn’t long enough so I just kept chugging away. More of that beautiful man to keep me going. When I got to 23 mins I realized that in less than 5 mins I would be at mile number two. I could do this. I really could. I smiled and sang along to Born to Be My Baby until the distance read “2.00”. I got off, went to go get my wipey for the machine and Mr T caught me, “what are you all smiles about?” I told him, “New record, 2 miles, less than 28 mins, with added resistance ANNNDDD it was on the elliptical, my nemesis!” “He shook his head, and said, “See, you got this! Progress!” He was right, I did have it and it was progress.

When I got in the car, I took my sweat post work pic… I mean how else are you going to know I did it?!?

Anywho, we are back to Pinterest now… I love adding quotes to my page, color me crazy but I do… so I searched “INSPIRATIONAL WORK OUT QUOTES” and right there at the top was “do it for the after photo”. It is what I do this for… the after photo. Not necessarily the one that shows my sweaty face and crazy hair, but the one that shows what I have accomplished. The one that reminds me that I really have made a difference… not just physically but, better all the way around. The whole journey of #becomingabetterme is to see #theafterphoto!  I may not be there yet, but I am feeling good about the path I am taking!

I Can’t Unsee That

A good friend and I were having a nice conversation today. We talk daily, so we are always sharing things we have seen. Somewhere in our conversation he pops off with a “Hey, did you see the article about the Playboy Playmate body shaming a woman at the gym?”  I had not seen or heard about it, so he sent me the link. Before I read it, I was a little annoyed, thinking that someone was getting shamed AT THE GYM, stupid – but then, I read the article. I WAS LIVID!

(To start I will say it was posted on TMZ, so feel free to give it a read for yourself)

The long and short of the story is this Playmate, Dani Mathers, is at the gym, in the “locker room” and took a picture of a naked gym goer taking a shower and body shaming her on social media. Her Mean Girl antics have got her into some seriously hot water (and I personally vote for jail time), but the kicker is her public apology that basically said, “I am not sorry I am a b*tch and meant what I said, I am sorry I got caught saying it out loud!”

After talking telling my friend I read the article, and finished practicing my swear words, we changed the tone of the chatter. We talked about the big what if…

What if that were me??  I have been going to the gym for about two(ish) years now, and am past the initial ‘everyone is watching me’ feeling that I had at the beginning of my visits… but what if I wasn’t… what if someone actually shamed me in my first visit… WHERE WOULD I BE??

The answer to that is sadly simple, I would be exactly where I was two plus years ago, unhappy, overweight, and unhealthy. Those thoughts alone make me tear up. More than that, I would not be where I am. I know that sounds like a “duh” statement, but there is so much involved in that. I would not have met my new friends (and family) on my Cornfed team. I would not have had enough self confidence to go on adventures without a responsible adult to be my security blanket. I would never had the belief in myself to finish – not one, but tw0 – Spartan races. I would not have been able to better myself enough to become a trusted and respected coworker to my team. Above and beyond all of these things, I would not have found myself. Yes, I found me. I am now the person I knew I could be… or at least am pointed in the direction of becoming that better person I am striving to be.

It scares me to think I would lose my sanctuary. I use the gym as my outlet for daily stress, I go and walk my negative thoughts away, I lift away the ugliness that I see going on in the world, and come out stronger and lighter. I need that.

What Dani Mathers did to that poor woman is the lowest of low, and I only hope that it does not turn her off from #becomingabetterher … and take away whatever it is that the gym does for her. I hope that she has the inner strength to give Dani the middle finger and go right back to doing her thang, and doing it her way!

When I thought about writing this post I was so mad, I was worried that I would just use this as a rant, and I finish up (I am still mad, don’t think for a second I am not) it shows me how lucky I am to go to a gym where everyone is friendly. Thank you for being awesome, AnyTime.

Keep it classy, Dani Mathers… hope orange is your new black!

Don’t Stop Believin’

 

As I started this journey I promised to always be honest. Honest about the ways I succeeded as well as the way I failed.

Friday was a success. I am sure there was some eye rolling, especially from those of you who know that I went to see Journey with a couple of friends. Like, “really Heather, a concert is a success? Haven’t you done that before?!” Of course the answer is yes, yes I have, but this one was different.

Let me back up a little. For so many years there were things I wanted to do, was even invited to do, but the fear of failure kept me from saying yes and tagging along. Things that involved physical exertion was always a no for me. I missed out on so many adventures for fear not being able to handle the activity, getting winded and tired, and then letting my friends down. Keeping them from enjoying their adventure was the LAST thing I wanted. So I respectfully declined, and then just lived vicariously through their stories later.

Since I have been working out and walking and just all around treating myself better, I have been able to enjoy life so much more. Friday was one of those days. Jennifer had gotten two tickets to see Journey (one of my all time favorite bands since I was old enough to have an opinion on music), and offer one to me. I did not even hesitate to say yes to her! It wasn’t until later that I realized the concert was actually at the track (Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for those who didn’t realize I was a Hoosier) on Friday before the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. When I found out, I still didn’t get nervous or worried, I knew that there would be a ton of walking (and as a side note, a TON of people watching… including the Mariachi clown in the chaps who happen to ride a Harley, but anyway)  I was perfectly fine with that!

Jen and I walked all over the Snakepit (a rather entertaining section of the track, I might add), people watching and laughing at the distinct generational differences and later met up with another one of my favorite people, Emily with her family, by the concert section of the infield. It was a fabulous day. Laughing, dancing, and singing our hearts out! I am not sure of a time I was happier?! It was truly a dream come true, and this would have never would have happened just two short years ago.

When I began working out and doing all of this to become a better me, the tool I used to measure myself against was other people, Spartan racers specifically, but I don’t need to do that. I can measure me against me. Using the old me as a starting point, I have come leaps and bounds from where I was.

A friend recently told me, “I don’t think you are becoming a better you, I think you are becoming the you you were always meant to be.” and he was right. This is me, someone who isn’t (as) scared to try. Someone who has enough get-up-and-go to be able to see a concert where about 4 miles of walking could happen. More than that, someone who isn’t going to give up what she wants just for fear of failing.

Again, I say this was a success. I got to fulfill my dream of seeing one my all time favorite bands in concert. A small victory, but a victory none the less… and ya know what? Those count too in this journey of #becomingabetterme.

Mile Minus Minutes

IMG_20160523_210859On Monday May 23, 2016 I got two seconds closer to my goal.

To say that sounds absolutely silly, I know, but what if I say that those two seconds are being added to nine minutes. Whaaaa?!?!?! Yeah, I said it! Nine minutes!

Let me tell you a story.

When I started doing races and exercising I had NO idea what it meant to time a mile. I had only ever done OCRs where there were bottlenecks at the obstacles in a Spartan and then there were stopping points where you play in the mud at the Dirty Girl or fun 5Ks where you stopped to get sprayed with neon colored goo in the Neon Dash or even maybe a stop for hot chocolate at the Santa Hustle. There was never a time where I wanted to know how long I could do a mile in.

The more serious I got about exercise the more I learned, that like with anything, to get better you have to know where you start. So one afternoon last summer, I decided to go to park and walk the track and see exactly how long it took me.

Now I am not going to pretend that I went as fast as I could, or pushed myself as hard a could. I wanted to make sure that I could complete the full mile. I feel I should also say, (since I vowed to always be honest in this journey – whether it be good, bad or ugly) that although I had done 5Ks and OCRs, I got winded fast and was always glad for a brief breather.

Anywho, in that lap around the 1 mile track at Hummel Park I timed myself at a 27 min mile. Now, I know that is really a sad starting point, but it was the truth. Here I am, less than a year later looking at the timer on the treadmill thinking “HOLY MONKEYS I DID IT!!” I got under 18 mins! Now, as you all have figured it out, I always have another goal, and this is not an exception. I am still trying to figure out this whole running thing (still a work in progress), but I would like to see a 15-16 min mile, but that’s another story.

Before I put a nice little bow on this blog, just let me say that I look back over the course of the last year(ish) having pictures and comments and now even this website to look at, I take a moment to relish in the victories I have had and the milestones I have accomplished and even more than that how much better I feel mentally and physically. There have been so many of you who – without even knowing it – have inspired me to keep going. For that, I thank you all and wish you success in your journeys as well.

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Bling or No Bling?!

There are days when I am headed to the gym and I just say, “today… today I am going to do a 5k!”

For whatever reason this always happens on Saturday mornings when the sun is out and it is just beautiful. One would think those are the days where I would want to hit the trail, or even go to the park and hike, but for some crazy reason those are the day when I want to get on my favorite treadmill (the one on the end closes to the windows so I can enjoy the sunshine – again one would think I would want to do it outside, but I do better on the treadmill). I turn on HGTV with closed captioned so I can watch reruns of FLIP OR FLOP or FIXER UPPER put in my ear buds and go for it. A 5k in about 65 minutes. No frills, no big production, no costumes or novelty Tshirt… just walking, tv, and the sunshine.

On Facebook there are always virtual 5ks popping up in my feed. Sometimes the medals are gorgeous, sometimes not so much, but the question is, every time you do a 5k either at the park or on the treadmill should I get a new medal? I mean, we don’t call ourselves bling whores for nothing, right?  With that, does it make you snooty to sign up for virtual 5ks and not actually go to the big events all over the city?

Well, for right now, those questions are all back burners, because today I saw a bling that I must have! I even went to the gym to get in a “warm up” of a mile and a halfFB_IMG_1459299889789 so I can get up bright and early – or about 10am – to get my new bling in. Here it is…

Anywho, the point is, (other than this specific nerdy bling that I MUST have) is it ok to run a 5k every weekend and order the bling?  Is there really any difference between a virtual 5k and regular big crown running – 5k? Somebody please help me, because I don’t know what to do about my desire for bling, I can’t help it… l am an addict!

 

Sometimes I Fail

Me cargo net 2When I first started my journey, or pretty much any endeavor in life, I ask those who have been through it to tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly of how they got where they are or how they achieved the goal that they set out to achieve… and 99% of the time the answer was something along the lines of “EMBRACE THE SUCK” or “I JUST DECIDED TO DO IT AND I DID IT”. Those answers, my friends, are not and were not helpful. So, when I started this blog, I promised myself (and those who asked) that I would talk about the good, THE BAD, and THE UGLY!

Today’s story is an ugly one. Of course I will inevitably find the silver lining (because that is what I do)… but it sure doesn’t start off all rainbows and sunshine.

Last night I got a text from my trainer asking if I was going to make it, I messaged him back saying I would, unless he needed to reschedule… now, this was not a ploy to get out of going to the gym, actually I was looking forward to it, I was just trying to be accommodating of his time as well. Anyway, he replied with, “nope, you better be here!” To which I thought, sure, no problem.

I got the gym about 20 mins before my time slot so I decided to hop on the treadmill, which is what he would have had me do anyway. I set my speed at 3.1 and took off. I got 3/4 of a mile done in less 15 mins, but decided to stop so I could hit the restroom and fill my water bottle up before we started. Mind you, I was still ready to go for it.

He called me over when it was my turn to start, and we spoke our regular greetings, and chatted as he set up the bench for me.

Let me back up a second, I should say that his work outs with me are three different exercises twice around, and we do three different sets. Mixed into this work out is always lunges and squats. Always. Sometimes he throws in jumping jacks, sit ups, or burpees, but I can guarantee to be doing the lunges and the squats.

OK, so he has me working on the bench, then dumb bells,  then incline bench, then incline dumb bells… and the further into this work out I get the more I feel that familiar burning in my forearms. I am trying, with everything I have, to push back the freak out I can feel brewing in my gut, while at the same time push the bar and the dumb bells up over my head, but neither was happening.

I had to stop. There was no more. The voice in my head told me it was full on freak out time, so my body complied. Light headed, dizzy, sick to my stomach, all of it. Then to add insult to injury, I could feel the burning behind my eyelids. I was about to cry. I knew I failed, and I hated it. So what did I do next? Well, I quickly said goodbye and left. The second I got to my car the waterworks started. For a minute there, I hated myself. Full on self loathing…

I drove home and went over every moment of the work out to analyze exactly which point was my breaking point and when I figured it out, I calmed down a little bit. I knew it was all about my limits. I know that the point of work outs are to find your limit and march past it, but with my arms I can’t do that. I can push a little, even tip toe over the edge, but there is no marching.

Even after a coming to terms with what happened, I know I failed. And I am actually ok with it. Failing is part of becoming better. What I won’t do is quit. Absolutely will not.

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here is the text from my trainer… he couldn’t be more right.

About 30 minutes after I got home I got a text from my trainer, checking on me. After explaining where I was in my head, and the conclusion I made, he sent me another text, this time reminding me to look ahead.

I know sometimes I will fail, otherwise #becomingabetterme won’t be worth it.

 

Coming Full Circle

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Two of my favorite CornFed inspirations, testing my skills and pushing me out “on a limb” @ Shades State Park (thanks Chris and Mike, love you guys!!)

For the last two years I have been using words like reps, squats, work outs, calories (and burpees) in pretty much daily life. I have posted transformation pictures, gym memes, race photos, even gone as so far as to talk about my trials and tribulations with the elliptical… but I never really understood what that was doing. I was just being me. That was all. I mean social media is to a place where you talk about what is going on in your life, right? Well, that is what I was doing. Or at least I thought that was what I was doing.

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When I decided to get healthy, I was really paying attention to others who were doing similar things, I found my inspirations in people who probably didn’t even know. I found myself interested more in small victories than larger ones. Maybe because smaller ones seemed to be something I could handle, I don’t really know but those were the ones I watched. Don’t get me wrong I was amazed (still am for that matter) every time I saw someone post their crazy burpee challenge videos, or the “I just ran 10 miles, and I feel great”‘s, or their trifecta medal pictures, but it was the small ones that got me. For example, a friend posted “I finally broke down and did it, I joined the gym. Now to figure out my schedule.” That too me was huge, because I know what that is like.

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This is Becca, she is on the same journey, love seeing her progress as well and positive energy!

It is not easy to go home after work, change clothes and go to the gym. It is not easy to NOT order that piece of chocolate pie at the end of a fantastic dinner out. It is not easy to put your tennies on a snowy Sunday and turn on Zumba or Wii Fit, or Just Dance just to be healthier, but I do it because of the people I have behind me. The ones who try to talk louder than that voice in my head telling me I can’t. The ones who, on the course, tell me to step on their shoulders just so I can get up the embankment, even the ones who tell me to go one step further, even when I think I can’t.

Over the course of the past few months I have received private messages or even was tagged in a post where my friends would tell me that they were on their own journey of “becoming better thems”… I smiled, gave them virtual high fives, a “go get’em”, and then went on.  I am sure that part of me not making any more of a fuss about it was because, well, I am dumb and really couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of inspiring anyone else… still can’t for that matter…

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y’all know Angel, she is the foot in my butt that I often need. She reminds me how far I have come, even when I don’t see it myself. Thank you, Ang!

But after several conversations this week I have realized that you can inspire and be inspired by the same person. You may be the reason they go a little harder, and because of them you do one more rep… I am not going to sit here and pretend I anything special, because I am still Lil’ Heather… a whole 5’2″ spunky nerd that (most of you) have known for a while now, but I am trying. I want to be a better me, I need to be a better me, and I continue to see inspiration in my friends and if along the way, my story helps you get off of the couch and come fight the elliptical with me, then great!

I think that is what they call coming full circle, right? Starting at a specific point them coming all the way around to the beginning? I guess the point I am trying to make here is I have been inspired by so many of you, and it makes my heart swell to know that I have given something back.