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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

endurance

run

I am not fast
I often trail behind
I go at my own pace
And I take breaks

I no longer feel the need to keep up with others
Sometimes I fall back into the insecurity
Of thinking I’m too slow, or not as good as the person next to me
But then I remember that I can only do what I can
And my own personal victories are rewarding

It might not seem like I am accomplishing much
But I know I am
I know when to push
And when to pull back
I know my body
And listen to what it needs

I won’t get there in record breaking time
But I’m not trying to
I’m not the most coordinated
I’m not the fastest, strongest, or best

So what if I can’t lift as much as the person beside me
So what if I can’t run as fast as the person in ahead of me
So what if I progress slower than the rest
I’m still making progress

I am not perfect
But I get out there
And I give it all I can
I take the time to do things right
And not rush through to finish first, or fastest

As I build endurance
I build confidence
Confidence to go at my own pace
Confidence to accomplish my own goals
Confidence to stop when I need to stop
And go when I need to go

I might lag behind, but I will get there
And when I do, I’ll be happy about the journey
And even happier to have reached my destination
Because I did it all on my own

spartan sprint: in which 5km was actually 8.5km

Well, hello there! On May 25, I did something crazy and extremely difficult and I keep meaning to write all about it, but to be honest, the last thing I have wanted to do this week (while off work) was sit at my computer, edit photos, and blog. Also, if you’ve been following my blogging in the 10 years or so that I have been doing this, you might have noticed a pattern in which I talk a LOT about something that is COMING UP but then I fail miserably about actually blogging about it when it’s over. I often tend to regret not blogging about events, even though in my mind they are done and I’ve spent enough mental energy on them so that I don’t have the energy to blog about it. Of course I also end up thinking I DID blog about whatever the event was and then kick myself months, years later when I go to search for the blog post only to remember that I DIDN’T WRITE ONE!

So here I am, writing about the Spartan Sprint (sprint! ha! ha!) that I did last Sunday.

Because I knew we’d (read: I would) be in a panic if we left the same morning of the race, we partook of the Spartan deal with Lodge de la Montagne in Tremblant and we had the most amazing one-bedroom suite, with a full kitchen (fully stocked with utensils, plats, pots & pans, etc.) and we ate at a fantastic New Orleans’s themed restaurant called Fat Mardi’s. The hotel room was lovely and I fit in the closet perfectly.

I  mean, I could have moved into this closet and had my own cozy cave.

Just pass me a pillow and a blanket, and I’ll see you in the morning!

My super-duper husband was so supportive, even though terrified of what I was about to undertake, but we had a lovely evening in the Tremblant Village and it was a nice night away for us. (The dogs got to stay Chez PawPaw & MaMa’s.)

 

The next morning I was up, nervous, had breakfast, an energy bar and a Powerade before we left to check out of the hotel and make our way to the other side of the mountain so I could check in for the Spartan. My heat was 11:00 am and they ask you to show up 1.5 hours before then to make sure you have enough time to find parking and get your race stuff.

I was smiling, but internally I was nervous. I’m not great with up-hill and Mont Tremblant happens to be the highest mountain in Quebec. Maybe I’d get lucky and we wouldn’t have any mountain climbing to do? (ha!)

I wanted one shot with Elissa – the woman who always manages to inspire me to try crazy stuff. She has faith in me that I don’t always have myself and pushes me to be the best I can be. She’ll make training programs I don’t think I can do and then I surprise myself by the end of the hour when I did everything without too much trouble. In the end she always said, “I knew you could do this, so that’s why I made this program.” It’s because of her I was able to be talked into trying the Spartan. I knew it would be difficult, but Elissa had faith in me and that made it a little easier to have faith in myself. Elissa is one of the most amazing women I have ever known and the last 10 months of knowing her, I am eternally grateful to call her a friend.

Ok, mushy stuff aside… we found out the day before that the course was NOT 5km in distance, oh, no. It was actually 8.5km and that, my friends, freaked me out. A *little* over 5k I thought I could handle (you know, like, 5.72km or something) but almost 10km? I wouldn’t have signed up if I had known this. I have never done a 5km in jogging and I can’t really walk/jog much more than 4.5km these days without feeling like I need to lie down before I get home. So this made me nervous, but I was going to be a trooper. No turning back once I was there.

We were super lucky with temperature on Sunday, it wasn’t too hot and the breeze was nice. The start of the course suddenly became overcast and it was refreshing as you went through mud – OH THE MUD! (it was delightful! I loved that part!) – and up the hill. Shawn surprised me by updating my facebook status about starting the race as I went along. I didn’t think he’d wait around for hours and hours, but he was there when I got to different obstacles and taking my photo. So these photos (although not the most flattering) are courtesy of him!

And we’re off!

All this time I was worried about not being able to run for most of this, and yet, I hardly ran at all. We turned a little bend (jogging) and were suddenly ini knee-deep (for me) mud, climbing through trees and rocks up the hill. Up, up, up. This uphill wasn’t so bad. It was tough, especially with the mud, but it didn’t freak me out like what would be coming up. So many people lost shoes in the mud, and fell before the first climb was done. We were jokingly calling this the Spartan Hike, because that’s what it felt like. We were clinging to tree branches and rocks to pull ourselves up the mountain. It was slippery and sort of steep, but not at the highest peak yet. I was NOT racing, I was not doing this obstacle course to race, I was doing it to prove to myself that I could do something like this.

I was told we’d be climbing uphill three times along the way. Ok. Tough, but I could get through this, right?

Once up through the mud, we came DOWN through mud. Slippery mud on steep downhill course was a little nerve-wracking to me. I didn’t want to fall and hurt myself, so I was slow. Once we got downhill we had our first actual obstacles. First up was a mesh-climbing thing. (net?) You go up, over, and down. Although it was a little scary coming down, I did this one with zero problem.

Spider Cat, Spider Cat, doin’ whatever a Spider Cat does.

Then we had the Hercules pull, or something. I think that’s close. You had to pull a propane tank up to the top and then let it down (slowly). I believe the “women’s” tanks were about 60lbs.

Julie & I did this together, but she seemed to have left me to lower it myself. 😛

Jumping over hay bales! This happened a few times. I fell off of each and every one. In fact I fell over/off of every single wall I had to go over. It became sort of a running joke in the end. I have a huge bruise on my right hip, but I didn’t really hurt myself seriously. So it was all good!

Then there was this wall thingy that you had to walk across. It wasn’t really made for short people who had never tried anything like this before. Shawn’s comments on FB were hilarious.

Shawn’s comment: Update: Trying some horizontal climbing…

Shawn’s comment: Update: annnnnnnd Burpees!

Have I mentioned how much I hate burpees? I do. Stupid things. And if you couldn’t do the obstacle you had to do 30 burpees instead. Now burpees give me horrible head-rush, dizziness so I never actually did 30 of them. Yes, I know. But I generally got 15-20 in when I was supposed to do 30 depending on my level of exhaustion. So, I did DO them.

We then had to carry a weighted beanbag (pancake) thing up a hill and back. Yes, that is snow. There was still some snow on the mountain. We found it refreshing at times and used it to clean mud off our hands and stuff. This one was tough. I had to sit for a bit at the top of the incline before continuing on downhill.

Then came monkey bars. This is one of those things that you think, “oh, I can do this! I used to be AMAZBALLS at monkey bars when I was a kid!” but you know, you haven’t actually tried monkey bars SINCE YOU WERE A KID.

Wait, you mean this doesn’t just move you forward like an escalator?

And then you make it two rungs and fall and end up doing *cough*18*cough* burpees. The bright side is that Shawn caught me on all of these obstacles right at the start so it looks like I DID get through them. Heh.

Then came the BEST part of the race…

WATER STATION!!

Water is the best thing ever.

Then we went back up the mountain. This one was tough and I wanted to stop. I had to take breaks. My friends helped encourage me along and I just wanted to give up. I saw the MILE 2 sign and wanted to cry. We’d only gone 2 miles? There were THREE MORE to come!? We went up, up, up. Finally there was some downhill but first – we had to go over an inverse-wall. This means the wall slants down on the OTHER side. I got boosted up and then I just slid down… BOOM! Landed on my hip and rolled over and up. Everyone asked if I was ok and although it stung a little, I was fine. We went down more mud and rocks and had to go “over” giant, muddy ruts in the ground. The athletic people jumped, I walked through the mud. 😉 I think there was something at the base of the mountain again? I can’t remember. But we started back UP HILL by crawling UNDER a wall, in the mud.

Then came the Never. Ending. Climb. OMG.

It got so steep I learned something about myself. I apparently have a phobia of steep inclines. Mostly going UP. I got vertigo and I was already tired from the climbing and once the anxiety began, I couldn’t stop it. I was hyperventilating AND breathing hard from the climb and that’s when I just broke down. I collapsed into a ball and just started sobbing and gasping for air. I couldn’t feel my tongue, my hands were tingling. A friend’s husband got me up that mountain. He’s also a police officer and I think he’s totally in the right profession. He talked me up that hill and didn’t leave my side. He got me from tree to tree and the entire time I just wanted him to go on a head and catch up with his wife. He stayed by me, talking me through my panic and through my I Give Up breakdown. A day later I realized that my body was in shock. I recognized how I felt and my reactions as how I felt after my trauma in March 2013. That last part of the climb up nearly did me in and I was so embarrassed and disappointed in myself. I am ashamed of that breakdown but once I was up on the top of the mountain? I was fine. All panic subsided. I was DESPERATE for the next water station – which was still 3 obstacles away. (There are a few things about this event that I did NOT like and the lack of water stations AND personnel along the course in case of emergency, etc are my two biggest problems.)

The next obstacle was parallel bars. Women could go along sideways on one bar. Sliding themselves along. Even after that breakdown on the mountain, I was ready to try this one and I made it about 3/4 of the way across and I was SO PROUD. But because I fell I was supposed to do burpees. Well, I took my 3/4 of the way as a completed task because there was no way I could do a burpee then. We then crawled under what we thought was the “barbed wire” obstacle. It was a net, low to the ground, covered in fake vines. So you pretty much crawled along on your stomach or hands and knees in some places. The ground wasn’t too muddy there.

Then we went down a very steep part of the mountain where there were two more obstacles. A boulder roll (plus burpees) or boulder carry (men) and a javelin toss. I admit, I skipped the burpees when I missed the target from the javelin. All I wanted was water. WATER! I was so fatigued by then I was shaking. My body was coming down from the panic on the mountain AND tired of the physical stuff, too.

Then we climbed up AGAIN but it wasn’t so bad. It was a tiny, muddy and rocky path through trees and it was sort of fun. Then came the barbed wire crawl. DOWNHILL, through trees, and in the mud. That I enjoyed. (Yes, I liked all the mud stuff.)

Photo credit: Epic Action Imagery

They tell you at the top of the run that there’s a photographer at the end, so try and look alive. ha!

More downhill, we were in the home stretch! I even jogged for a tiny bit of this!

Somewhere in there were more walls and more hay bales. I went over (with help) – and fell off of, each one. I don’t remember where they were though. That last mountain climb sort of fogged everything up for me.

I think the hay bales were right before the fire jump. I really wanted my fire jump photo to be ready before this post was done, but our half-hour block seems to be the only gallery NOT completed for the jump. I had two false starts before I was able to overcome my fear of being burned to a crisp. That fire was a LOT higher than I thought it would be from looking at past photos. I’m short. I don’t jump. So I was sure I was going to fall into that fire. But I didn’t. Not only that, by my second start/stop, the crowd around the fire obstacle started cheering me on and when I DID jump (and didn’t fall!) they all cheered loudly and someone even yelled, “You are a Spartan Warrior!!”. That made me feel great.

Unfortunately, Shawn was still standing in a spot where we’d come down the second hill and missed me finishing the race. He wanted to get me crawling under the wall but somehow missed me. 🙁 Alas. I met up with him after we were all done. So I have three more official photos to get from the Spartan site – the fire jump, slip ramp and finish line.

After the fire were rings/rope and I just walked right past that and did burpees. I knew I’d not be able to get that one. I got 15 burpees in before I thought I was going to pass out. Then I just casually walked away to the one obstacle I was dreading the entire time I signed up for this…

The slip wall.

You have to pull yourself up a wall with a rope. The wall is on an incline and it’s super slippery. I was SURE I wouldn’t make it up, but it was the LAST thing to do before crossing that finish line. And my rule was – try everything you know you can’t do before giving up (I skipped the rope climb and the rings, I tried everything else!) so I took hold of that rope and started to climb up the wall. My first foot slipped and my self-doubt came back really strong, but I put my foot back up on that wall and I got up to the top in ONE shot! I have never been more proud of anything. Even getting through this course paled in comparison to my walking up that wall. Once up, you have to shimmy/slide down a rope. It was a lot higher up there than I thought it was (9 feet maybe?) and of course, I FELL down that rope. I just slid down like a stone in water and landed on the guy who was holding the bottom of the rope for me. Heh. I didn’t hurt either of us though. Pat (the guy who got me up the mountain) was behind me and joked “Well you had to complete the set” or something to that affect. It cracked me up.

All I had to do then was take a few more steps and cross that  finish line. I was looking all over for Shawn, not knowing he was still waiting for me to pass in the wrong place. I had really hoped he’d seen me get up that wall and cross the line. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way, but when I met up with him afterwards I was so happy to see him!

I was wet, covered in mud, exhausted, still embarrassed about the breakdown on the mountain, but I was DONE. I made it. I didn’t let anyone pick me up on at ATV and drive me back down the hill. Some amazing participants also stopped while I was down and gave me some water and encouragement. So many people helped others over and through obstacles. I finished the course in 3 hours, 40 minutes and although that’s probably really slow to some, to me? To me it’s AMAZING.

This was the toughest physical challenge I have ever undertaken in my life and with the exception of that uphill nonsense, I think I sort of enjoyed most of it. I really loved the mud stuff. heh

I wear my battle scars proudly. I am covered in all sorts of bruises and scrapes that I didn’t even know I had gotten.

Way more bruises on my legs and arms now than the day after. They all appeared throughout the week.

I knew about some, but others were a surprise. Plus I had two triangles of sunburn on the backs of my legs. I didn’t sunscreen there because I knew I’d be covered in mud. Turns out the mud must have rubbed off on those two places. It wasn’t too bad, just a surprise. 😉

And with the exception of my socks? Everything else survived the mud.

One wash and everything (except the socks) came out good as new! I was surprised about the shoes, I was worried they were goners.

And so, that was my race. I should have done some running this week, but I was sore most of it. I did go to my Interval Training classes on Tuesday and Thursday though. Tuesday my legs didn’t want to hold me up, but I got through it somehow. Taking a lot of breaks and being frustrated with myself for taking breaks on things I KNEW I could do without one. However my muscles were sore and TIRED.

I’ve spent a lot of this week outside though gardening and yard work, and just sitting in the fresh air. I go back to work on Monday and I’m sort of bummed about that because I really love day time puttering and exercising.

I survived and I don’t know if I’ll do this again ever. Sometimes I think I will and other times I am all, “No way!” I’d like to try it again if there weren’t as many steep inclines. I have been having nightmares about that last hill much of this week. Ugh. Some other participants said that this was the hardest Spartan they have done and they aren’t all this mountain climby. Maybe I’ll train more this year (work on those monkey bars!!) and think about it later. The farther away from Sunday I get the more I think I enjoyed most of what I did. It was exciting and scary and I have now experienced both the most physical challenge of my life (Spartan) and the most mental challenge of my life (jumper guy trauma) in the last year and a half and I know I am a stronger person because of this. Friends help a lot. They are what makes all of this possible. With friends, and determination, you can get through anything.

Also, my husband is amazing and I would be lost without him. He’s my rock and his support means the world to me. I love him.

Home, exhausted, showered, and *almost* all mud-free!

weekend workout – january 18 & 19

The last couple of weekends my trainer has been posting little work-out ideas on our facebook group for my fitness class. Just ideas of things we can do at home on our own. I had been trying to make my own programs but honestly that would end up eating up any motivation I might have had, so I like that Elissa is posting ideas for us. I tried to do the one she posted last weekend but couldn’t make it through. My not sleeping is one factor the other is the new medication I’m on temporarily to help with my anxiety – it makes me nauseous and diminishes my appetite so I am not eating nearly enough to be working out much. Alas.

But I’m trying to get as much as I can in!

These workouts are found on Pinterest and although she shares them privately with those of us in the group, I am going to be linking to the original post (if I can find it) and give credit where credit is due since I’m posting it on my blog. I’m not sure what the protocol is here, so just know that this is NOT something that either I nor my trainer came up with.

This particular work out is from Annica Nicole, she calls it the Ten Down Tone Up.

Now, I tried this one Saturday and only made it through three times. By the time I got to 7 burpees I was ready to collapse and I felt like crap. That was my cue to stop. Mind you, I started this late at night and I don’t think I’d quite digested dinner even though I thought I had waited long enough. On top of that, I was bored. It was too repetitive and my mind was wandering (and not in that “wow, my mind was elsewhere and boy was this fast!” sort of way.) So I didn’t finish it – but I DID get 50 squats in because I love squats. Yes, I know. I’m odd.

Today I did this in the late afternoon and I mixed it up a little. Instead of doing 10 of each, then 9 of each, etc. I started with 10 burpees, 9 squats, 8 lunges, and so on. This meant that I ended with 1 burpee. Then I started over with 10 squats, 9 lunges, 8 bicycles, and so on. This actually allowed me to do the program longer and not take breaks. Also it appeased my Wandering Mind and I was able to ALMOST complete it. Alas, I had to stop by the time I got to 10 push-ups. My arms were giving out and I was exhausted. By this time the dogs had decided that I had been ignoring them long enough and Sophie decided it was time for me to pay attention to her.

Make sure you stretch like this, Mummy.

While I was on my last 30 second plank (before I stopped), Sophie came over and smacked me on the head with her paw. Then she stuck her nose in my ear and eye and I was laughing so hard I fell over. Thankfully, I’d already reached my 30 seconds. 😉 As soon as I was on the floor she burrowed into the space between my head and shoulders and grumbled at me. This prompted Jinx to come over and see what was what. He smacked me on the head with his paw, smacked Sophie in the face and then tried to pull her away by her tail (his way of playing). Then they both swarmed me with wet noses and paws and I got the idea… it was time to stop. I was getting really tired anyhow.

I made it through to the end of the circuit I was doing and Jinx stayed beside me on my mat until I had to do burpees again.

Is this how I do it, Mummy? Am I planking correctly?

I have to say that my abs are already killing me from yesterday’s workout. I did way more today so I’m not sure how I’ll be tomorrow. I may or may not work out, it will depend on how I’m feeling. I won’t be able to make it to class on Thursday because it’s my birthday and I plan on eating all of the roast beef and mashed potatoes for dinner and that is not food I want to eat before an hour-long Crossfit class. 😉 I’ve been pretty good at working out three days and then taking a day of rest over the last 2 weeks. I’d like to keep it up. I’m not sure how it’ll go when I am back at work. All that work will cut into my free day-time time and I’ll have to go back to only having evenings to exercise and do homework! Alas!

I’ll also be happy when the roads aren’t so icy and I can start attempting to jog again!

the Year of Being Active

The past year I have made some pretty big changes in my life. Having to deal with chronic pain and fatigue was really starting to get old and I needed to try to do something to help with that battle. Something that wasn’t just a prescription from a doctor. I am tired being a slave to medication so I decided to be active and not passive in my own physical well being. With the added excitement in my life this year (the jumper guy, the layoff, and other fun things) I needed to channel all my negative energy some new way. Sitting on the couch reading – my usual method of escape – wasn’t cutting it any more.

Last September I started doing Aqua Fit through a staff fitness program at work. Turns out I have been missing that from my life. It was low-impact and suddenly most of my pain issues were managed in a much better way and I my flexibility had started to come back. It was enough at the time for me to start rebuilding my body’s strength. In January I challenged myself to do x-number of push up and crunches each night before bed. That helped me a lot with the upper body strength. I added stretching in as well to help with my constant back and hip pain. I did something similar in February. I also tried to do the ab challenge over the summer (making it only 15 days out of 30, but I just didn’t have the TIME in the day to get 100+ crunches in. Goodness!) With the surprise trauma I experienced in March, I was strong enough (thanks to the aqua fit) to add running into my weekly exercise schedule. The running hasn’t been easy, but it helped me in so many ways. Sure, I haven’t been out in over a month but I haven’t stopped the activity. In fact, I’ve stepped it up a notch!

Me & Elissa – October 27

Enter Elissa.

At the end of August/early September, I kept seeing this one name in my FB newsfeed over and over. I noticed that this person and I had almost 20 friends in common and everyone was praising her spirit and fitness motivation. Turns out this was right before she was about to start offering weekly fitness classes. Bonus – the classes are literally a block a way from my house. Talk about a sign! So I dropped into the first class to see how I’d like it and I was immediately filled with a sense of contentment. Everyone was laughing and smiling and friendly and Elissa was so effervescenty and warm. So I bought a card for 15 sessions and have been going to the indoor AND out door classes. I have gotten to know Elissa even more in the last two months and am possibly ready to be the President of her fanclub. Even though we grew up not even 5 minutes from each other, I never met her until this fall and I am so happy that I did.

Sometimes you get lucky and people come into your life at just the right time and that’s what happened to me when I met Elissa and joined her fitness classes. She inspires me, helps motivate me and is just an amazing new friend in my life. She’ll even brave the chilly cold October weather to train us outdoors because we want to do it! I am enjoying her classes and her friendship so much. This is someone who had four children and and a husband (who helps out with each class, too! He’s an unsung hero in my books) and she makes time to help others and is always smiling. ALWAYS. And so positive! What an inspiration.

So with Elissa in my corner and my newly found love of staying active I am feeling better both mentally and physically and I am stronger than I have been in both ways, too. Life is still throwing curve balls and things are difficult but I’m not letting it get me down and I am focusing on my health. I have muscle definition (amazing!) and I can lift weights that I couldn’t even hold a month ago.

I’m not reading much at all and I rarely hide my head inside the laptop any more, but right now I need to be active and not passive. So, I’m being active and I have found a group of wonderful people who are helping me stay inspired and motivated and…well… I’m even officially signed up to suffer – er participate – in the Spartan Run in May 2014 with a group from the fitness class. Elissa did it last year and survived – so I guess I can too? 😉

So, I have had a Year of Going Place and a Year of Doing Things. This year is officially my Year of Being Active. I will beat this fibro business and I will be pain-free and stronger eventually. That is my goal. This is SPARTA! Or, a reasonable facsimile thereof.

fit for my own reasons

A little pet peeve of mine is when people assume I am running and exercising because I want to lose weight. They also follow up these assumptions with questions about “What sort of diet are you on?”. THAT question in particular truly makes me angry. I know I’m not skinny and I know I am overweight, but why does that make it ok for someone to assume that I am doing something just to lose weight? That this is my ultimate goal?

This isn’t something that happens a lot, but it does happen more frequently than I’d like it to. I hate when people make assumptions about others when they know nothing about them or their history.

In my lifetime I have had a cornucopia of health issues. From almost day one on this earth, I have suffered some sort of medical issue. Sometimes I would baffle the doctors (heck, pretty much my entire family baffles doctors on a regular basis. Our family motto should be “Medical Anomalies R Us”.), sometimes I would get illnesses that hadn’t been had for decades. I had seizures regularly until puberty hit and they morphed into migraines. (Yay?) I have had more digestive issues than I really think is fair for one person and many of them were tied to mental health issues. I have worked long and hard on trying to better my life and health. I have done a ton of work mentally and now that I am able, physically, in order to be able to get through a day without some sort of health problem or pain.

Since I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia I have been fighting an uphill battle trying to figure out how to best manage the pain I am in. I am sick and tired of a) being sick and tired and b) taking medication. I don’t WANT to take medication. I have been taking some form of medication for most of my life and I am tired of spending money and filling my body with things that I want my body to make on its own. I have managed to cut out almost all medications and now only take one regularly (because I cannot manage the pain without it – yet) and one occasionally. Considering I used to take what seemed like a pharmacy’s worth of pills, I say this is a huge accomplishment.

The weight I did gain in the last 10 years was 100% a result of anti-depressants. I gained 60 pounds (in three months!) on medication that literally helped save my life. For a brief moment I was extremely self-conscious of this weight gain, but then I sort of forgot about it. I was suddenly happy. Happiness was such an abnormal feeling for me and I was certain it wouldn’t last, but with a lot of help from myself and from others who loves me, it stuck around. So I was “fat” and happy. I could live with that. Heck, I would live. That’s a bonus.

However that medication (that I no longer take) messed up my metabolism, so I never could lose the weight. I was exactly the same weight each and every year I did my physical and nothing would change that. I don’t eat a lot, but I wasn’t very active (sudden weight gain can make your body foreign to you and things that used to be easy are so VERY difficult.) I was surviving though and still happy, even if I wished I could fit into the guest room closet full of clothes I refused to give away.

I hate when people talk about dieting all the time. And I dislike the fact that women always seem to BE dieting. Serial dieters. I refused to let that be me. I didn’t want to diet, I wanted to make changes in my life that would be permanent and that would hopefully help with my pain and occasional other issues.

But I did join Weight Watchers a year ago today. I stayed on the program for 6 months before I was sure it wasn’t for me. Sure, I lost 11 pounds in the first two months, but then I hit a plateau. I wasn’t doing it to diet, so much as to help track what I was eating. After six months of realizing that even though I ate so little – but enough! – on a regular basis (naturally, not due to the program) and adding exercise in slowly, nothing was changing. So why pay for something that wasn’t working? I just reactivated my MyFitnessPal account and can do the same thing for free on my phone. What WW did help me with was kickstarting my body into a new phase. I added more fruit into my diet because, really, I wasn’t eating enough fruit and veggies regularly. Tracking the food helps you have an idea of what you’re eating. I’m a lazy eater. But it wasn’t worth the monthly fee.

So I started changing up what I eat. I am not good at sticking to healthy eating all of the time because although I am not a big eater, or a stress eater (in fact I DON’T eat when stressed) I have a tendency to be a lazy eater. I’ll happily eat a couple of bread rolls and some pate over sticking to gluten-free foods and veggies. I love me some bread. And potatoes. And when I am PMSing, I love me some salt and fried things. I’m sort of lucky I guess because I hate chocolate, I hate alcohol (especially wine) and I don’t really like sugar. Not to say I don’t get cravings for these things once in a while, but I don’t binge on them and I’ll generally choose salt over sugar most days.

But in addition to trying to keep to a gluten-free, non-processed food meal plan, I added more and more activity to my daily life. I fell in love with aqua fit (water aerobics) last year and found that this was possibly the BEST way to manage my fibro inflammation pain. I kept it up for all three semesters (I do it through work) it was offered. I started again this fall.  I began running to help deal with the anxiety and panic attacks that started up after the (very) traumatic incident in March. I wasn’t going to be owned by anxiety and depression again. I was going to deal with it medication free (as much as I could) and not be a victim of my own brain. I started adding other activity because I was -shockingly- enjoying the running and I wanted to do MORE. I recently joined a fitness class that is just around the corner from my house, run by an amazingly motivational and positive woman whom I must have grown up with just around the corner and only met her now. A class full of friendly people that I know, knew, and am just getting to know. Everyone supports each other. It’s amazing. And a lot of hard, sweaty work. But I am loving it. Me. Loving exercise. I am doing stuff at home, by myself. Me. Motivating myself. I am a new person.

And I am feeling so much better both mentally and physically. I don’t think I’m ready to stop the daily medication for my pain, but I think I am getting to a point where I’m almost ready to try it out again. It’s scary because I don’t want to get to the point where I can only eat soup because it hurts too much to chew. Or have Shawn put toothpaste on my toothbrush because I can’t use my hands to squeeze the tube. I am hoping that by eating healthier and exercising more I’ll be able to nix the medication eventually. Fingers crossed (while I can!)

The last year of my life I have made some pretty major changes to my lifestyle and surprised myself by sticking with these changes. Seriously. I mean, I’m running now. Slow and grumpily, but I go out and I run and walk and run and feel AMAZING after I am done. (And feel like crying and throwing a tantrum while I’m running.) I am enjoying so much more life than I used to. I hadn’t owned a scale since the fire in 2006 until last September when I bought one for weekly weigh-ins with WW. I don’t even remember to weigh myself weekly anymore. I stand on it maybe once a month. The number doesn’t change much but I know the size and shape of my body has changed immensely.

It’s a super slow process and as I build up the strength in my body and my endurance, I am feeling so much better. But I won’t lie and say I’m not frustrated occasionally by my super slow progress.

Since September 23, 2012 I have:

Lost 13 pounds (sometimes it’s 15lbs)
Lost 5 inches from my waist
Lost 4 inches from my hips
Lost 2 inches from my thighs
Lost 2 inches from my boobs (which are still the biggest part of my body. Sigh.)

Gone from barely fitting into XL-sized shirts, to being just shy of fitting into Medium sized clothing. (Damn boobage keeping me in the Large for now!) My winter pyjamas no longer fit, so I’ll have to buy new ones. And I have gone down a full size in pants. I haven’t been trying to lose weight, it’s just a bonus of keeping active to reduce the constant pain I am in. It’s certainly a happy bonus and I’ll take it. (Though I could use extra money since I have to buy new clothes for work soon… Sheesh.) And I feel healthy.

Healthy.

Weird.

I’m running and exercising for my own reasons.

I’m doing this to keep myself alive and able to function like a (semi) normal person. I’m trying to stay sane and pain-free. Not everyone’s reasons are the same. We are not paper dolls. We are not one-size-fits all. We are unique and beautiful. We are human.