Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What I Want for the New Year

2012 has been quite a year.
Looking back to Oct of 2010, my goals were simple.
1.       Lose 150 pounds in 50 pound increments
2.       Work out 3 times a week
3.       Run a 5K
You don’t start a journey thinking it will change your life the way this one did to me.
You don’t lose that first 50 pounds thinking, “I may just gain a bunch back after a while.”
But life is a journey, not a destination. 
And my journey is taking me to so many wonderful places and some not-so-wonderful ones too.
I had a FANTASTIC 2012.
I ran a half marathon in Dublin Ireland and visited what I believe is one of the most beautiful places on earth.  (Seriously, so beautiful and the nicest people EVER! Go to the airport and head there immediately!)
I did the Nike Women’s Half Marathon and got my first Tiffany necklace.
I ran 20 organized races for a total of 175+miles.  I trained over 700 miles.
I graduated from college (finally) and got accepted in Grad School.
I met and exceeded some goals.
But, I lost sight of some too.
In July, I hit my lowest weight in years with an 85 pound weight loss. 
Today, I’m up almost 30 of those pounds.
When I started it was easy. Watch calories and move. In those days, I was diligent. I was fierce.
Now, I’m kind of “MEH?”
Before, when I was grossly overweight and unhappy, I blamed my unhappiness on my weight.  It’s hard to face your shortcomings (whether real or imagined) when your scapegoat is gone.
I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but I’m kicking myself for what I haven’t.
I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I don’t want to be the poor pathetic girl, but I feel that way.
If I’m not the Superhuman Running Weight Losing Machine, who am I?
This is what was MINE. I don’t have a significant other or children. I don’t own a home to decorate. My job is a job not a career.
Running and weight loss is what I had that fired me up and filled my life. People got sick of me talking about it. But running and weight loss has been my home, boyfriend and kid for the past year. If I don’t have it, who am I?
Do I become the girl who can’t get a date, let alone a boyfriend? 5 friends got engaged in the last 5 days. And as happy as I am for them, I’m more sad for my lonely self.
Am I the girl in the dead end job?  I’m living paycheck to paycheck. I’m in debt to my earlobes. I am looking, but the economy blah blah blah….I’m grateful to have a job, but I want something that makes me want to get out of bed.
I think this all comes down to one word.  Passion.
I’m missing passion in my life.
I don’t have a passionate love life.
I don’t have a job that gives me passion and purpose.
And now running and weight loss has become like a job.  I pretty much quit the weight loss gig and training for the marathon has become something I have to schedule and sacrifice for.  Don’t get me wrong. I WANT to lose more weight, I WANT run and I WANT to do the marathon, but I also WANT to feel FIRED UP about it.
So, my resolution in 2013 is to find the passion that I seem to be lacking right now. I want to feel ON FIRE about my life again.
I want to find the passionate I felt about running and becoming healthier and thinner again. I want to find joy and passion in other areas of my life as well.
So, for 2013 my goals are going to be vague.
I want to live a genuine life every day.
I want as much weight as possible.
I want to run as much as I can.
I want to find passion wherever I can.
Vague and simple, but HUGE!
I’m ready…bring it on 2013.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy Runniversary!

The inspiration to run is everywhere now-a-days. There are blogs and websites dedicated to it. There are books and youtube videos.  I can honestly say that these all inspire me.  I love following Distant Runners and I Run to Drink on Facebook.  I read Christopher MacDougall’s “Born to Run” twice and have pre-ordered Ben Davis’ “Do Life”.   In my life, I’m lucky enough to find inspiration around me every day.  My biggest inspiration is my running buddy and friend, Heather aka “Ditto”.  (As in we’re both named Heather… She says, “Hi Heather” and I say “Ditto”)
Ditto is the reason I keep running.  Ditto and I started running at the same time, both of us with the goal of running a 5K in March of 2011.  After that first race, we were hooked. We signed up for other races together and decided to up our mileage.  In June of 2011 we did our first 10K and before we had even finished that race we had signed up to run our first half marathon in December of 2011.
Neither of us were runners before this.  I was overweight and never believed I could run. Ditto joined the swim team in High School to get out of running.  But we loved it.  We trained together. Often meeting for our long runs on weekends and then going for breakfast after.  The server at our favorite restaurant knows that if we order fruit we ran under 7 miles.  Over 7 miles becomes a “Potato Day!”  (Half Marathons have us sharing French toast on top of our regular breakfast!!!) 
We started bonding over running shoes, the best sports bras, dry wick shirts and the best flavors of Shot Blocks. (Margarita sounds good, but not so much!)  We perfected the “Morning Ballet” at travel races…We don’t speak we just get ourselves together walking around the hotel room pinning our bibs and lacing up our shoes until it’s time to go.
We carb loaded at our favorite restaurants, overspent at stores like Athleta and became friends. Even though there is a lot about us that is different; she’s married and  I’m single, I’m 12 years older (but about 3 years less mature)…we found a common ground and built a friendship around this shared passion.
 In January 2012 we bought second-hand bibs for Tinkerbell.  Ditto came in 29th in her age group… the age on her bib was 52 but whatever!  After this race we somehow came up with the idea that we’d each do 10 half marathons in 2012. We signed up for most of the races together but each did 2 without the other one. However, it never occurred to either of us to do more than the other. People would ask us if we were doing specific races and we’d say, “Nope, Ditto can’t do it, so I’m out.” In March of this year we celebrated our “Runniversary” by running the first race we ever did for the second time.

Mardi Gras Madness 5K 2011 and 2012
In October of this year, we received the coveted Nike Women’s Half Marathon Tiffany necklace together.

Two months ago we both signed up to run our first full marathon in March of 2013.  I couldn’t be more proud, excited and terrified to be embarking in this journey with my friend and running buddy…even if I will be a few steps behind her ;)
This weekend, Ditto and I will hit another milestone:  10 Half Marathons in a year.  Last year, the Rock N Roll in Las Vegas was our first and we’ll be there again Sunday night pounding the pavement.
Running has given me so much.  It’s given me confidence, health and inspiration but of all the things running has given me in the past two years, the thing I’m most thankful for is my friend Heather.
There have been PRs and injuries, great races and crappy runs and one (or two) too many cups of frozen yogurt and glasses of wine in the past two years and I can’t imagine sharing it with anyone else.
This weekend (and next because we’re cuckoo!) Team Ditto strikes again! 
Happy Runniversary Friend!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Nike Women's Half Marathon

Nike Women’s Half Marathon 10/14/2012
There were a few reasons why I was super excited to do this race…
1.       It’s HARD to get in to. They draw people by a lottery.  I didn’t get in through the lottery, but found a loophole since I am a student. 
2.       It is in San Francisco…the city of my birth…kind of my hometown.  Although I grew up in Southern California I spent my early years and EVERY significant holiday in the Bay Area.  I found the idea of “going back to my roots” intriguing.
3.       THE BLING!!! This race is geared towards women and they know how to get our attention….a Tiffany finishers necklace…complete with little blue box and satin ribbon…oh and let’s have a fireman in a tuxedo hand it to me…  Really?  You don’t say NO to that!
So I got in.  I prepared by running hills around my town.  I even ran a 10 mile race last week as a training run.  I practiced doing intervals so I wouldn’t feel bad if I had to walk some of the hills…etc. etc. etc.
And after 6 months of waiting and preparation…the day finally arrived.
I went down early (Thursday night) and spent all day Friday with my 88 year old Nonnie (grandmother).  I took her to have lunch with her 97 year old sister.  It was such a nice time and I loved spending it with her!
Then onto “The City” as it’s called.  (I know other places have “cities”, but for me and anyone else from Nor Cal “The City” will always be San Francisco.)

 I checked into the hotel and took the one mile walk to the Expotique to meet my running buddy (Ditto) and pick up my bib.

It was cuckoo bananas.  The line to get in  wrapped around Union Square TWICE…almost an hour wait to get your bib!   This is a HUGE race. 25,000 people (mostly women) running through the streets of San Francisco.  I understand doing the expo in Union Square – it’s near the start line AND Niketown (where I mananged to drop the $150 you need to in order to get a ‘free’ gift!) but I feel like it would be better suited to a larger venue.  It was so crowded I didn’t get to see Shalane Flanagan or Alison Felix or Kara Goucher speak.  My friend Craig was on stage with some of them and I missed it.  I couldn’t even see if there were any worthwhile vendors.  We got our bibs and got out.

Just a portion of the craziness!

 I actually had to text Ditto to “Find the Bagpipes” so we could meet in line!
Even with the crazy crowd there were a couple of cool things. The outside of Niketown had a wall and every single runner’s name was listed. 

Ditto was low enough for her to reach!

Mine, not so much!

But it's there!!!

 AND…they had a banner  you could “Tag”…we got there when there wasn’t a lot of room left butsince we call one another “Ditto”, it was easy to find space for that!
We carb loaded at Cheesecake Factory and headed back to the hotel.  Both Ditto and I were a bit nervous and opted for a 3rd glass of wine (to go with our standard 2 glasses with our pasta!) at the hotel bar.
The next morning we got up when our alarm went off at 5:30 and did what I like to call our “Morning Ballet”  Ditto (aka Heather) and I have done a lot of out of town races where we shared a hotel room before and we both wake up in the morning and go about our business without speaking for probably 30 minutes.
At the end of the ballet, we headed the mile walk to the start line…It was incredible. Busses lined up for bag check.  Thousands of people standing, stretching, laughing and hugging in the street.

Two gentlemen dressed as Tiffany Boxes (with marathon bibs on no less)…a group of girls dressed in all black running gear with large sunglasses, French twists, cigarette holders and tiaras ala Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
It was so fun and exciting.  The National Anthem played and we waited patiently and walked slowly to the start line with our corral.
As we approached I put in my ear bud and looked over at Ditto and said, “I think I may cry” I’m not sure why this race was so emotional for me, but…
We hit the ground running.
The first 4-5 miles was easy.  A couple of short downhills, mostly flat with some steep but very short uphills.  People cheered all along the coast as we raced from Union Square through the Embarcadero and past all the piers.  It was overcast and foggy so visibility of the Bridge and Alcatraz was nonexistent, but San Francisco is so beautiful it didn’t matter.
The first big hill was at mile 6.  I took this opportunity by running the first half (albeit slowly) and walking the second half.  I decided to make up my time on the downhills.  I went FULL OUT.  My average race pace is somewhere in the 12 minute zone, but I was running in the low 9 minutes down the hills.
We ran through the Presidio, past the bridge (I can see part of it in some of the pictures, but not when I ran) through the mansions of Pacific Heights past the famous Cliff House restaurant into Golden Gate Park and finished on the Great Highway. 
The second and last hill was at mile 8 and there was a volunteer yelling, “Are you happy? You should be! Why? THAT’S THE LAST HILL!!!”
There are so many things I loved about this race. Nike is first class with amenities. There were plenty of water stations, porta-potties, shot blocks and volunteers. They found LITERALLY the greatest people in the city to volunteer. Everyone had personality PLUS.  There were great places for people to cheer us on and it really helped fire me up.
The inspirational signs and stories throughout the course had me choking up more than once and I found myself having to calm down so I could breathe properly.
This race benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society so Team in Training is in full effect.  However, this is the first time I had seen their effect.  Team in Training (TnT) is set up through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  You commit to raising a specific amount of money and once you hit or exceeded your amount your entry fee, transportation to and from and room at the race are all taken care of.  PLUS you have the opportunity to meet up with Team In Training coaches for runs in the months leading up to the race.  This is awesome, but an added benefit for runners (especially first timers) is that the coaches don’t run the race. They run up and down the course cheering for anyone wearing a TnT shirt and looking out for their specific runners. When they see one, they run alongside the runner, asking them how they’re feeling, giving them tips and encouragement. 
I saw this happen multiple times. It was so heartwarming and encouraging even if I wasn’t a part of the team.
But back to MY race…
I could see the finish line ahead and I put my arms up….this was one race where my finish line picture was going to signify VICTORY!
I got through and got fed through the stall to pick up my finisher’s necklace.  I picked a tall dark and handsome firefighter with a beautiful smile and he told me I did a great job!
 Then I went through the line to get my tee shirt. This is the only race I’ve ever done where you don’t get a shirt until you finish the race.
Then the whole line stopped.  The only other thing I would change about this race is that there is no “runner only” area at the end.  The families could come crawling under and into the area where they were handing out bagels, bananas, etc.  And it was so crowded we were all coming to a dead stop. I started to get claustrophobic.
In the end I zig zagged my way through the crowd to where Ditto and I had chosen to meet and we took pictures with our little blue boxes and then opened them.  I’m so glad we waited to do it together.

It was such a wonderful and inspiring weekend and it totally lived up to the hype!
I hope to do this race again in the future and to get more Tiffany for my new collection!

On Sunday 10/14/2012 I…
Ran First for me…and the little blue box
Ran Second for my family…it was so wonderful to see my Nonnie and my Great Aunt
I #run3rd for Girl empowerment, Matthew Shepard, Diana’s Staph infection,  Jessica Ridgeway, and so much more (my index card disintegrated in the mist, fog and sweat…) but most of all for our Blog Guru , Linda,  who had the courage to do her first 5K on 10/13
Pre-Race Index and Arm:

POST Race Index and Arm:
Nothing says "class" like a porta-potty in the background
“Things I learned from NWM: You should practice running downhill in addition to uphill so that your abs don’t hurt worse than your legs the day after the race!” ~ Ditto, 2:40:32
“Best race reward ever…Tiffany.  Second best?  Nonnie’s deviled eggs!!!” ~Heather, 2:47:30
HKS 10/16/2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Perception Problem

We’ve all seen the drama surrounding the  Wisconsin News Anchor who received an email  that stated, “surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular…” among other not-so nice things.
This email so infuriated her husband that he posted the letter on his Facebook page and so created the great debate.  Was viewer Kenneth Krause simply giving feedback or was he bullying Jennifer Livingston?  I’m not sure I know the answer to this, because it brought up a whole different set of emotions for me.
Jennifer Livingston doesn’t look that different than I do and what struck me is this portion of the email.  “I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.”

How does he know she doesn’t live a healthy lifestyle? 
The simple fact is, that size does not = health.
I don’t know what Jennifer Livingston does in her free time.  With 3 young children and a job as an anchor, she probably doesn’t have much time.  However, what if she practices yoga three times a week?  What if she gets off the air in the morning and goes for a run? 
How does this viewer know how healthy she is just by looking at her?
There is a universal idea that thin equals healthy. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are plenty of people who are within a healthy BMI on a doctor’s scale, but cannot walk up stairs without getting winded because they are not fit.
There are people, like me, who are considered obese by doctors, who can run half marathons.  Does that sound like someone who isn’t fit? 
I don’t look that different from Jennifer Livingston, yet I go to the gym 5 days a week.  I consider exercise an important part of my life.  I consider myself a good role for young girls. 
In fact, I consider myself a better role model for young girls than a thinner person who doesn’t exercise or eat right.
Someone who is Jennifer’s size can still be fit and healthy and she is most certainly a role model. She is a woman, a wife and a mother. She is a REAL human being who is showing young women in her community that hard work and determination can help you live your dreams regardless of size.
And Kenneth Krause doesn’t know her.  He doesn’t know what she does with her free time. He doesn’t know if she lives a healthy lifestyle or not.  He only knows that he sees someone who is not the media’s version fit. 
For all I know Jennifer Livingston is lazy and doesn’t care about being a fit role model for her children and the children of Wisconsin, but I’m not assuming either way.
What I do know is that Mr. Krause doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
He proved that by writing a letter that was hurtful and based on perception rather than reality.  Based on what he saw and what he believed to be the truth rather than seek to understand the real truth.

So, this leads me to one conclusion I’m fairly confident about.  I conclude that the email he sent doesn’t necessarily make Kenneth Krause a bully, but it most certainly proves he is kind of a jerk.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I TRIed and SUCCEEDED! (in reverse!)

Apple Valley Fall Festival Reverse Sprint Triathlon
When I started getting healthier, I started realizing I could do more than I thought.  After discussing it with some friends I realized I wanted to attempt a triathlon.  BUT, I had some rules:
1.       It had to be a sprint…this means it’s a 5K, 14ish mile bike ride and short swim
2.       It had to be a pool swim- I wasn’t ready or willing to train in open water yet
3.       It had to be reverse. For my first time I wanted to swim last since I wasn’t accustomed to running and biking soaking wet.
Lo and behold what should come across my email but a Schwaggle coupon for a Reverse Sprint Triathlon, about an hour away from my home, for $27.
Sold!  I signed up with some friends and training commenced….kind of.
The running was no problem. I run all the time.  I do half marathons.  A 5K is an easy run…BOOM!
The swimming was a little bit iffier.  I bought a more structured swimsuit. One that would hold everything in that needed to be held.  I started doing laps at my gym, realizing as I was doing it that I needed a swim cap, goggles and ear plugs.  This summer I was at the pool a couple times a week practicing my strokes.
ALAS, the bike.  OHHH, the bike.  Let’s start with this, I own a bike.  It’s a mountain bike I won in a contest for something when I was a server at Applebee’s in 1999.  Yes, you read that right. My bike is over 10 years old…OH and I’ve ridden it approximately 10 miles since then.
It was gathering dust in my folk’s garage. I got it out and my friend made sure there was air in the tires, the gears and chain were good and brought it to my house.  The first time I rode it I was like a monkey in the circus. The seat was a little low and I was literally hitting my own chin with my knee…not so good.
In the meantime I took a bunch of spin classes, often doing it sandwiched between a run and a swim.  I was confident I could PHYSICALLY, but I was terrified and kept putting it off….I’ve had some bad bike luck.
AGE 12: Riding my 10 speed in my neighborhood. Lose my breaks going down a hill and crash land on some grass. Literally bite THROUGH my lip.  12 stitches…plus I’m pretty sure my hymen was no longer in tact.  I still have a scar

AGE 15:  Riding bike to local shopping center with best friend,  going past a driveway.  A cute guy in a mustang clips my back tire. (we both stopped for one another and then went…) He’s dreamy, I ride away…I still have a scar

AGE 21:  I go on a bike ride with a friend. I borrow his mom’s bike.  We share a pitcher of margaritas.  On the way home he goes over the paseo bridge and I choose the path under.  I never come out.  Oops, I hit the planter…broke the wheel of the bike.  Did I mention I DO NOT condone drinking and riding?  $100 and some pride later…
NOW, I have to ride a bike 14 miles.  How am I gonna do this and not fall on my face?  I buy a helmet, my roommates boyfriend generously raises my seat and tunes up my bike.
I go on my FIRST and ONLY training ride one week before. I manage 12.5 miles.  I’m feeling good…but still a bit terrified!

Sooooo the day arrives.  I have packed my transition bag, arranged to carpool with my two friends who are TRI-ing with me and get ready to go.
We are running a bit late. The lines for the bathroom are long, it’s a crazy morning. We barely get our bikes in the transition area before the gun for the 5K run goes off…
But we make it.
I ran at below a 12 minute mile, which is slow for me in a 5K, but not when I have to bike and swim after.  By mile 3, I’m feeling confident and I start picking off people in front of me.   Guy in black shirt,  girl in green tank top, girl in mud run shirt,  guy in white shirt…..
I did the race with my friends Cody and Marcy.  Cody was fastest.   We knew he’d be on his own in the front.  But Marcy and I pretty much planned to hang together.  She’s a faster runner, but kept looking behind her to see how far back I was.  When I got to the transition after a short 5K (my garmin only clocked it at 2.96 miles) Marcy was still there transitioning, so I went as fast as I could and started the ride with her.
(The winner was coming in from his bike ride as we were leaving!!!!)
Marcy rides her bike a lot. She gave birth to adorable twin boys in January and hasn’t ridden much, but she knows what’s up with gears and how to maneuver hills and flats, etc.  She stayed with me giving me pointers throughout the ride.  She pulled ahead a little bit at the hills but let me catch up to her and we finished the bike ride together (it was longer than advertised…over 15 miles).  It was scary because we were on the open road with cars and SEMIs flying by us….
The transition for the swim was confusing.  Change at the bikes, run around the building in bare feet go to pool, and run about 100 yards to the finish.
We were both feeling weird about running in our bathing suits… I took off my shirt and said, “I’ll swim in my running shorts, let’s just go” We grabbed all of our stuff…not knowing this was a bad idea and ran.
We got to the pool and adrenaline took over.  I said, “Screw it, I’m just going like this!” Marcy said, “Don’t you want goggles?” I turned around, grabbed my goggles and her and I ran to the start of the swim.
I am a stronger swimmer and dove into the pool ready to go.  The swim was 150 yards or 6 laps across.  They had us to the laps staggered so you start at one end and finish at the other end of the pool. Up one lane, down the next.  I couldn’t get my breath in the first lane, but remembered by the second and was passing people.  Breathe out under water, deep breath in every 3 strokes.  I got to the end, jumped out and there was Marcy about one lane behind me.  She came up for air and looked at me and I yelled, “You got this Marcy, I’m waiting for you, we finish together!”
She finished and we ran to the finish line.  2:01:33 and 2:01:34….
I can’t believe I did it!  And you know what I would do it again.  Funnily enough on the car ride home all three of us would start sentences with , “Next time we do this, we will….” 
So I guess there will be a next time. =D

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Epiphany Starts Here...

Oprah calls it the “Aha Moment”.  It’s that moment of clarity, a defining moment where you gain wisdom.  The kind of wisdom that can change your life.
I thought I had already had this. I have changed my life in the past two years.  Although I still feel like me on the inside; funny, irreverent, loyal, warm….a lot has changed as well.  I have a determination I never knew I had.  I have a can-do attitude that extends into my physical health and well-being.  I have a desire to be the best person I can be.
But last night someone said something to me and if I was a cartoon, an enormous question mark would have popped up in my thought bubble.  She said….
“Is that your passion?”
She was talking about something I “thought” I was extremely passionate about, something I thought I’d want to grow with and maybe even make a career out of. 
The simple fact that I questioned it made me think twice and ask myself , “What ARE you passionate about?”
The answer was as clear as a bell…
Not just running, but how running has made me feel.  How it has given me strength (not just physical), courage and pride. 
I read about it.  I study it.  I think about it.  ALL.THE.TIME.
Then my monkey mind kept going…
It’s not just running, it’s being fit.  It’s how my attitude and self-confidence has changed. 
This is what being fit looks like for a fitness model…

And this is what being fit looks like for my friend who is a good 6 inches shorter than me….

And this is what being fit looks like for ME….

I am STILL considered OBESE by BMI standards.
I still weigh well OVER 200 pounds.
But I run half marathons.
Sometimes, when I’m done, I meet my friends for a friendly game of Ultimate Frisbee (which according to Sparkpeople burns approximately 840 calories PER HOUR.) 
There are days when I wake up and go to the gym for an hour and then run after work. 
A 3 mile run has become “only 3 miles”. 
A 4 mile run is an easy day.
A 6 mile run is standard.
I am what fit looks like and the world needs to know that.
That is my passion. That is my mission. That was my epiphany.
After I was asked  that question,  all I could think of was, “People need to know that they ‘CAN’.  They need permission to try. I’m a classic example of someone who THOUGHT and BELIEVED I couldn’t do things, then I did.”
I don’t think everyone should become a runner.  I don’t think every person should be training for half marathons.
BUT, I do believe that everyone has the opportunity to be healthy. I believe that people need to know that healthy and fit doesn’t look the same in everyone.  I do believe that people just need a little bit of encouragement.
I am lucky.  I have family and friends that believe in me.  They have supported me from the moment this journey began nearly two years ago.  Not everyone is as lucky as me, but maybe, just maybe, I can be the encouragement for those who don’t have any.  Maybe I can be the inspiration to those who need it.  Maybe I can be a role model for those who are looking for one.
I’m not saying, “I’m so great look at all I’ve accomplished, look up to me!”
I’m saying, “If I can do it, so can you.”
I’m saying, “You shouldn’t be embarrassed or discouraged because you may never be the stereotype of a fit person.”
I’m saying, “Yes, some people lose 80 pounds and look like a super model, but most of us, still look like real people.”
But we’re happy and healthy and have done something really special and important to be proud of.
We live up to our own expectations.  Shouldn’t we have HIGH expectations for ourselves? 
I truly believe I’m meant to have a BIGGER life than I have right now.  My life is awesome and I’m happy, but if I want to do great things, I have to do them.
How am I gonna do this? I’m not quite sure….
But isn’t recognizing I want to do it the first step?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sometimes You Run A Race and Sometimes You RUN the Race...

     As many of you know I’m committed to community service. I’ve found a joy in helping nonprofits in my community and I learn so much by giving of my time.  Last year I was honored when I was asked to be on the Board of Directors of the Brenda Mehling Cancer Fund (BMCF).  This organization was started by Brenda with the help of the Santa Clarita Valley Chapter of Junior Chamber International (The Jaycees) in 2001 to support cancer patients ages 18-40 as they undergo treatment.  It provides services to meet daily needs that are not covered by insurance.  Typical grants cover $500 worth of medical co-payments, rent, transportation, repairs and groceries.
     Brenda Mehling was a Jaycee in Santa Clarita, CA.  In her late twenties she was diagnosed with breast cancer and received generous support to overcome her illness.  During the process, she realized the health care system was not equipped to meet many patients’ day-to-day needs through months of treatment.  Brenda always thought of others, so inevitably she set up the Fund to help them.  In February of 2004, Brenda lost her second battle against cancer, but the BMCF continues to realize her vision to help young people fighting this disease.
     Each week the BMCF gets approximately 10-15 requests for help.  Yearly, we are able to help about 20% of those who need it.  Since it was founded, the Fund has provided almost $300,000 in services for over 400 adults across 30 different states.
We are the little nonprofit that could.  Much like Jackie Chan, we’re little but powerful.
     Our biggest fundraising event of the year is the Fight it! 5K. This year I co-chaired this event for the second year in a row.   
     Let me preface that I try really hard to be a positive person.  I generally see life as good, the glass as full and the sun is shining, but organizing a charity event with almost 70 volunteers and goals to have 400 runners and raise $40,000 can be daunting.
     Plus, as an avid runner and race goer, I am committed to having a well-organized, fun and safe race.  I’ve been to races where they ran out of cups and others where they ran out of water and others where I didn’t know which way to run….none of that could happen at “MY“ race!
    And things went wrong.  We didn’t get the amount of sponsors we wanted, some of our donations fell through, volunteers are difficult because they’re donating their time and volunteer work tends to get pushed down the priority list when necessary.
 BUT…for every sponsorship we didn’t get, 3 people raised money through our website and donations.
For person who couldn’t step up, three more came to my rescue.
And on race day, every stressful day leading up to it was erased when I saw the smiling faces of kids finishing the 1K with the Chick fil-A cow, the tired but happy faces of people finishing their first 5K and the accomplishment of the folks that ran our difficult and hilly 10K. 
I got to encourage people in their first race, I got to help local small businesses promote themselves by having them in our vendor village, I got to see the faces of people who won age group awards.
I got to hand out prizes to people who raised the most money. 
By 10am that morning I was exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally but my heart and my soul could run have run a marathon.
So, sometimes you run the race and sometimes you “run” the race, but the results are the same….
I’m proud to say that our “little” race had over 340 runners and raised over $27,000.  The BMCF will open funding in July and all of that money will immediately go to young people fighting cancer. 
And that makes every second of stress worth it…

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I've Been Robbed

Comparison is the thief of joy.

I wish I had written that statement.
Hell, I wish I could remember it.
This is my latest battle:  more difficult than losing weight, harder than running 3 half marathons in 3 weeks, unable to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
I am not anyone else.
I am ME.
There is no comparison.
Then why do I compare myself to everybody, every day.
I have so much to be proud of, but I continuously knock that pride down because of what I haven’t accomplished.
A friend says, “Wow you’ve lost weight.”
My answer? ”I still have a long way to go”
Because I’m comparing myself to my friends who never had a severe weight issue or celebrities who can hire trainers or Biggest Loser contestants who make losing weight their job.
A friend says, “Gosh, you’re amazing. You’re running so much”
My answer? “Yeah, but I’m slow”
Because I’m comparing myself to my swifter friends who are not carrying 50ish pounds of extra weight or what Runner’s World Magazine says is a normal pace or the fact that when I log my exercise on a website a 13 minute mile is considered fast walking not running.
I keep stealing my own joy.  Robbing myself of what I have done and what I continue to do. 
I need to take off the ski mask and gloves.  I need to stop creeping around joy like a bandit ready to swoop in and stomp it until it becomes misery and stress. 
This is my life. These are my accomplishments.
This is MY JOY. 
They belong to me. I can share, but they’re precious and I need to keep a close eye so I don’t steal it from myself.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What Happens When The Dreams You Didn't Know You Even Had All Come True?

I just spent $150.00 on a race. I’m sure it will be at least another $500.00 before it’s all over.

But I’m giddy. I can’t sleep. I’m so stinkin’ excited.

The Nike Women’s Marathon and Half Marathon is mecca for lady runners. They try to keep it small (only 25,000 runners….), women are let in by a lottery and many women put their names in year after year after year and don’t get in.

But I found a loophole.

Nike is a company that celebrates women athletes and caters to the young ones. So, they keep registration open for college students.

Hey, wait! I’m a college student!

As if making the decision to go back to get my Bachelor’s degree wasn’t already a great idea….look what it got me!



I started to think about why THIS RACE was making me so excited.

I wanted this race….bad. Probably because it was the hardest to get in to.

Even when I didn’t get picked in the drawing, I knew I was meant to do this race. I KNEW I was going to be running from the Union Square and through Golden Gate Park.


Maybe I want to do it because I was born there. Maybe it’s because I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I can talk my folks into being at the finish line and bringing my Nonnie.

As I continue on this journey to lose more weight and become more healthy, I’m realizing that races have become the goal AND the reward.

A year and a half ago, if you had told me that running a difficult half marathon would make me this happy I would have told you that you were out of your mind.

But I got in and I’m ecstatic and excited and I feel like my dreams are coming true.

And the Tiffany finishers necklace doesn’t hurt either…