December 27, 2012

Big News!

There are a lot of things that have happened over the past month.  I've done a couple of races, including a Thanksgiving day Turkey Trot where I PRed a 10K with 1:11:41.  I ran a Santa Shuffle in Moultrie with milk, cookies, and Santa at the end.  It was a lot of fun, although mostly filled with people who don't run races.  I defended my prospectus and now I'm all set for dissertation research.  I went to Kentucky where I met my very first nephew, Grant.  All of that is wonderful.  All of it marks my personal, academic, and professional successes, but something happened last night that changed everything.

Really, it changed everything.

Brandon and I got engaged!

He did the whole thing beautifully and I wanted to write it here because I wanted to share it and also because I want to remember it before too much time passes for me and I start to get the details fuzzy.

I came down to Moultrie on Christmasday from Kentucky.  Our family celebrations were a little different this year so the whole family went home on the twenty-fifth and instead of going home with my parents I drove straight to Brandon's apartment.  Brandon took me to the family farm where all of his immediate family was in for the holiday.  We spent the evening eating leftover Christmas dinner and watching holiday movies.  I spent the night at Brandon's apartment and he stayed at his parents' house. 

The next morning I came over and Brandon's mother made the family pancakes for breakfast.  Brandon and I then went and saw what may be the most depressing movie about marriage ever, This is Forty.  We really wanted to like it; I really wanted to like it, but I just couldn't.  Brandon dropped me off at his apartment and went to run some errands, I stayed to put on a dress and get ready for a dinner in town.  Brandon told me he wanted to take me on a date since we hadn't seen each other in over a week and because his house was really busy with people.  He also wanted to take me to drive under the Moultrie Christmas lights as they turn them off on the thirty-first and I wouldn't be back before the New Year.  On Thanksgiving night we went to the Christmas tree and lighting ceremony and throughout December we'd driven under them several times.

When he asked me where I wanted to go I picked Mexican, so we went to El Cantador, a local place in the Wal-Mart plaza.  Later when he asked me if I knew what was happening all I could think was 'Chips!  I just got engaged and I ate chips!  No one eats chips right before they get engaged.'

After dinner we drove to the Moultrie downtown center by the courthouse.  I was wearing a dress, gloves, a scarf, and my new coat that I got for Christmas.  I had bare legs so I was freezing in the wind, I mean really, my teeth were actually chattering.  Brandon and I were walking and he started to tell me that he had been praying for us in the car earlier today, while running his errands.  He had been praying for our future and some of the plans we'd been talking about, including marriage.  He then told me that he'd been praying for his wife for years before he met me and that after he met me he started praying for me specifically.  At some point he realized that the wife he'd been praying for and his prayers for me were for the same person. 

Then he got down on one knee and the rest gets a bit blurry but I know he asked me to marry him.  I looked at him and then I bent down and kissed him and looked at him again.  He said that he knew what my answer would be but I took forever to actually answer him.

"Everyday yes.  Everyday yes.  Yes, everyday, always."  Or, really, something almost exactly like that.  I really wanted to say that phrase.  I'd thought about it.  I wanted to say 'everyday yes' because I wanted to tell him that if he asked me again in a week, in seven years, and in twenty three years and so on that my answer would still be the same and that everyday I would make the same decision.   

And so now Brandon and I are engaged.  We will be getting married this summer in June.  We are both overwhelmed with excitement and I am happier then I knew I could be, then I thought I deserved.  This relationship is the answer to many prayers. 

The next six months cannot pass soon enough.

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November 21, 2012

Wine and Dine Recap

Now that I've had a week and a half to think about the Wine and Dine half marathon I'm ready to recap the race.

First, as per usual, I had a really good time.  Races are fun.  As I've said before I enjoy races because the attitudes are infectious; everyone who's there wants to be there.

Jenn and I got into Orlando on Friday night and spent most of Saturday enjoying the expo, lunching with her family, and trying to take naps since the race was a night run.  Overall the race was a lot of fun.  I started strong but like the Disney Princess, it was really frustrating to get around people who were going slower.  I would be running at a good pace behind someone and they would just stop in the middle of the path to walk.  If a runner needs to walk that is fine.  I walk.  But I jog to the side of the path before I stop running so not to get in another runner's way.  That's a consequence of being a huge race, there is just no room to maneuver.

I held up really strongly until mile 8 or so.  After that my legs felt like lead.  I needed more and more walking breaks and started shuffling.  My goal was to finish in under 3 hours, knowing that if I maintained a 13 minute   mile average I could finish in a bit less than 2 hours and 53 minutes.  

I finished in 3 hours and 31 seconds.  So close to my goal.  I know that if I had just taken fewer walking breaks I could have at least met my original goal.  I'm not surprised that my legs struggled after mile 8 though.  I never trained farther than 9 on my longer runs and I only did that once.  In order to get ready for the Disney Princess race I want to adjust my training significantly differently.  More about that later.

November 10, 2012

Getting ready for the Wine and Dine half marathon!

One of the things that B and other people regularly comment on is just how much stuff that I. and many other runners, take with us on runs.  Now I don't really need all of these things; I just enjoy them.  I like running with music and I like a lot of the information and comfort that some of these things give me.
Here is a list of the things I regularly use on a run, especially anything over six miles:
Brooks Adrenaline Series 12 shoes with two inserts per shoe, one overall insert and one metatarsal insert
Garmin GPS and heart-rate monitor- tells me where I am, how far I've run, calories I've burned, how fast I am going, and other pieces of information I like to see
KT Tape- I use this to tape and support muscles that are injured
Fanny-Pack  Spi-Belt for holding things like keys, IPhone, ID
IPhone- I used my phone to take this picture so my ear-buds are standing-in for this gadget
Bloks- shot blocks are like gel Gatorade.  I eat them for energy if I am running more than 7 miles to replenish salt and sugar
Body-Media- I wear this all day, everyday now.  It keeps track of my sleep, calories burned, and some other pieces of information that I find valuable
Nu-Skin- I put this on places that I already have blisters or am likely to blister on my feet.  It is like a liquid band-aid

Not pictured: my Road-ID.  I forgot this but I always wear it when I run on my isolated paths.  It has my name, my allergies, and my contact information in case something happens to me.
Camel-Bak- if I am on a training run I pack water.  I won't carry any water with me tonight because Disney is very good about lacing the path with water stations.

Also, check out this awesome shirt that I chose, B picked the slogan, and Jenn ironed on the lettering for me to wear tonight for the race!
As this is the Wind and Dine Half Marathon I thought a food related shirt was a great idea.

November 5, 2012

October Recap

October was a really busy month.  It almost always is for everyone because it is the beginning of the holiday season, anyone on a semester schedule like B and I both are is feeling the crunch as the semester hits its stride, and election season is in full swing.  Everyone I know should be busy right now.

Add to that my training for a half-marathon and that I am finishing and about to turn in my prospectus and I am stuffed to the brim with busy-ness.

One of the really fun things that B and I did was go to a local church and buy some pumpkins to make jack o'lanterns.  I've bought pumpkins from them before to decorate my front steps but I'd never carved a pumpkin before.  We went to the patch and we both wore our most Halloween type shirts.  B wore a Ghostbusters shirt and I wore a Count Chocula one.

This is a picture of me and my pumpkin, I nicknamed him Ted.

That night we watched the straight to DVD Trick'r'Treat.  One of our fall goals was to watch scary movies and this was one that I had not seen and that I could handle.  It was sufficiently creepy and gory but not about torture or demonic possession; movies about those things seem to impact me deeply.

Another fun thing was the Flint RiverQuarium Zombie Obstacle Course 5K.  This race was a really fun race overall.  You ran an out and back course with strategically placed zombies.  All runners wore a belt with two 'life' sashes.  The zombies' goals were to take your life sashes.  When those were gone you were still able to run the race and go through the obstacles.  This is different from other zombie themed races where you either lose your life and become a zombie and attack other runners or you lose your life and the race is over for you.  I will say that the zombie parts were really fun because it was a rush to get chased and sprint around them.  They had to stay in certain areas that were clearly marked; they were not hiding and jumping out at you.  It was fun to sprint around them.  The obstacles, however, were a total let down as I was expecting something more like the Warrior Dash and less like a fifth-grade P.E. class.

This is one of our friends, B, myself, and a random zombie after the race.  Doesn't he just look thrilled to be in our picture?  

Other fun things this month: bonfires on the farm but there aren't any really good pictures of that, Halloween even though I didn't have that many trick or treaters, seeing Argo in theatres, some good training runs for my upcoming race, lazy Sunday afternoons, getting to see my parents after a long time gone, going to the South Georgia Throwdown in Albany and watching my CF friends be awesome, and savoring the good times of fall.

November is going to be great.

October 16, 2012

A year ago.


Sunday night was the season 3 premiere of The Walking Dead.  B and I decided to watch it together.  We always say that our love for zombie lore and for the love of the show specifically is what started our relationship.

If a year ago you had told me that I'd be watching the season three premiere with my boyfriend at his parents' house in southwest Georgia, after a potluck lunch at a Southern Baptist congregation of about 85 people I would have thought you were seriously confused.

It was a lot of fun.

The above picture is from a very early date when I made sequin headbands and wristbands for bowling in Thomasville.  I now know it was probably me testing him to see how spontaneous and indulgent he was to my whimsy.  He didn't even say boo about it.  I won the second game; he wants a rematch.

September 21, 2012

Just a funny thought...

B and I were talking last night.  It was late and we were both kind of goofy.  

I was wondering aloud 'what if, instead of Jesus washing the disciples' feet, instead he insisted on giving Peter a pedicure?'  Oh, the phrase 'go and do likewise' takes on a whole new meaning to me now.

September 18, 2012

A funny conversation!

B- Guess what I'm eating....

Me- What?

B- A frosty!

Me- You're eating a frosty without me?  You frosty-cheater!!!

B- I'll bet you've eaten some frosties by yourself before.

Me- Not since we started dating!

Bwahahahahahah!  I am so hilarious; I can hardly handle it.

September 1, 2012

Training starts today!

Training starts today!

I signed up to run the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon the second weekend of November and I am stoked to begin my official training.

I have 68 days to get ready to run 13.1 miles with thousands of other awesome runners.  I love big races like this.  Everyone there really wants to be participate so the attitude and atmosphere are unlike anything else in which I've ever participated.  

Now I've maintained a pretty reasonable level of fitness this summer with CrossFit and Hot Yoga but before this afternoon I had not run anything longer than 2 miles since June 2.  I mean, I've built some muscles this summer but running is a very different level of fitness.  It's about lung capacity and muscles working together and asking those muscles to work for a long time, at least 45 minutes but by November 10 I'll be asking my body to do cardiovascular work for somewhere around 3 hours.  

So here's the schedule of work: on Tuesday and Thursdays I'll be doing short runs, on the treadmill until it cools down.  Some of the runs are as little as 2, some as long as four miles.  Shorter runs will be about sprints, fartleks, and other speed work.  On Saturdays I'll be doing my longer slow distances.  Today that was 3 miles, next week it will be four, and so on until I get to 10 miles.  

So, my three miles today?  Really hard and really slow.  The temperature was okay but the humidity was unreal.  

It took me 46 minutes to finish 3 miles.
(I jogged the first mile, walked the second, and fartleked the third.)

My treadmill runs have been much faster, averaging 12 minute miles (roughly) but they're inside and I'm not running in and around other people like I was at the park.  I'm certain that as it cools down and as I get in better running shape I'll get faster and more comfortable.'

I love running season.  It's the most wonderful time of the year.

August 13, 2012

Family Heirloom

Often we talk about getting family heirlooms passed down to us from older relatives.  Most of them, when they got the object, didn't know then that it would come to represent a link among generations, a kindred ancestry, or be used as a way of connecting to the past.  As an example, I use my Nananette's old sterling silver cigarette case as a wallet.  When she purchased it she was buying herself something nice, she did not know then that it would come to be a treasured object of her granddaughter that is both beautiful and useful.

With that in mind, I think I am going to purposefully create a family heirloom.

My sister is pregnant, she's having a baby boy.  I'm working on a baby blanket but what I really want to make is this lovely sleep-sack inspired by Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

I just have this beautiful idea of getting Grant's pictures taken in it as an infant and then having my own children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren all having their own picture in it.

August 11, 2012

A tale of two runs.

Last week I went for my first run since running in Central Park June 2nd.  I met a friend, Tamzyn, at 815 at Lake Ella park and just did two miles.  It was rough.  It was humid and I felt tired.  I finished with an average speed of 12:41 per mile.  The next morning my back was incredibly sore; I must have been slouching while I ran.

This evening I went back to Lake Ella and did another two mile run.  It felt completely different.  First, the weather was not nearly as intense.  Also, I enjoyed the run so very much.  I felt a bounce in my step, I felt comfortable, strong, and faster.  I finished with an average of 12:00 per mile and that still included one walking break.  That's a serious difference.  I know some of this had to do with the weather but also some of it had to do with me.  I felt ready to run.  I'd taken good care of myself all week and had plenty of rest.

I am so very ready for running season to start.  My goals for this week are to run Monday and Wednesday for 2 miles and to run 2-3 miles on Saturday.  I missed running so much and am looking forward to getting my running fitness back up to where it was in April.

August 6, 2012

Biggest Loser

Things are going well.

School starts soon.  I'm knitting a baby blanket for my sister.  I have a big race in November to look forward to through the fall.

Summer, for the most part, is over; B went back to work last week.  I go back in a few weeks.  Structure, pattern, and and a well-balanced calendar are all coming back to me.  This calendar will have real weekends with true Saturdays.

With all of these lazy days of summer, as well as some fantastic dates, I've put on a few pounds.  Nothing too serious, but my jeans are tight and I work out a lot so it is frustrating to know that even with all of the work that I've undone some of my progress.

This is where B factors into things.  B and I are going to do a Biggest Loser challenge together!  Between now and October 30, B and I will be doing weekly weigh-in reports (via percentages, no real numbers) and at the end of October the winner gets to go on a date of their choosing.  If I win I think I want a good lunch followed by zip-lining at the Tallahassee Museum.

I think this is going to be a lot of fun.

August 1, 2012

Just busy.

Everyone is busy.

People take joy in seeing just how much stuff they can cram into their calendars.

Like everyone else, I am busy too.

Dating.  Exercising.  Working.  Getting ready for the next semester.

In the past month I've met B's family, went to a wedding, B met my parents, saw a lot of movies, signed up for some races, cooked, baked, cleaned, washed, spent a lot of time driving to and from southwest Georgia, saw my family, celebrated birthdays, tracked gratitude and positive things, and so many other little things that make for busy-ness.

B showed me his family's farm the other day and I continue to be enchanted by just how different his life was from mine as a kid.  He had acres and acres to explore, rode tractors, interacted with 2,000 pound animals.... me?  I could ride my bicycle manhole cover to manhole cover.

It really is beautiful out there- green and full.

July 21, 2012

Be You, Bravely

I really like the direction that this blog has taken in the past month.

I feel as though focusing on small and large blessings made my blog a more pleasant place to visit and a more positive writing space for me.  

I picked the above picture because I feel as though I am trying to be authentic but at the same time I am looking- seeking- to find more good than not good.  I think looking for good things in my life is an act of bravery, even though it may be subtle and the only person it really impacts is myself.  I continue to struggle with feelings of being enough but the more I focus on good things the more I feel as though there is something more genuine in me that is rising to the surface.  

Today I am grateful for sleeping late, push-ups, red lipstick, sharing secrets, double dates with friends, ladies that give me advice when I ask and hug me when I do not, singing at church, whispered prayers, and light bulbs in the kitchen that work.

July 19, 2012

A Public Plea

CrossFit is awesome.  No surprise that I love it.  They love to take pictures there to document different athletes' progress.  Now, for some reason I seem to be struggling to get a good picture of myself.  Charlie, Pop Tart, Hercules... they all get great pictures, but me?  No.  And no, this is not just negative self-talk.  I decided to show some proof and make a public plea to get some better pictures of myself.

The below pictures were all taken on the same day, from the same WOD.  I do not fault the photographer because other people at CF take pictures of me and they also turn out poorly.

Check out this awesome picture of Hercules. Noticed his look of determination and the blurred foreground.  Really, it's kind of artful.

This is a great picture of Pop Tart.  She has good form, her face looks focused.  Great picture.  I'm in the background, probably contemplating exactly how many days it is until the next Step Up movie, waiting to work in because Pop Tart and I lift similar weights.  That's only 115 pounds by the way.

Now here's a picture of me:

Man, do I look angry.  Strong, determined, but also angry.  I also look mean.  Here's the next picture:

Eyes closed and less-than awesome form.

But the next picture.... it is my personal favorite, really, it is awesome.  B loves it too.

All butt.  All the time.

The worst part?  All of these pictures are online.  

So this is my public plea for better pictures!  Make me look powerful.  Make me look strong.  Make me look kick-ass.  But(t) also please make me look awesome!  Let's start a campaign.  Make t-shirts, banners, signs, etc., whatever it takes to get some better picture of me.

July 18, 2012

Positive and awesome things happening lately...

I am trying to actively look for things that delight me and here's a short list of what tickles my fancy lately....

  • B's beard.  Really, I cannot get enough.  I didn't know how much I liked it until I started dating someone with one.
  • Fun.'s new album.  It's poppy and happy and I like to dance around the living room while I listen to it.
  • My prayer life is much better lately.  It's gotten painfully specific and feel like I'm progressing towards something more genuine.
  • Hair tutorials on pinterest.  My hair has never looked so good since I've discovered sock buns and the gibson tuck.
  • My sister's having a baby boy and that's exciting.
  • School starts soon and I'm ready to get back to work.
  • Physical therapy is really helping my foot to feel better.  I cannot wait for running season.

July 15, 2012

I am enough.

Sometimes it is really hard for me to believe that I am enough.  That I, Elizabeth, can and will be enough. 

It's a challenge because the humanity (sin?) in us wants us to see ourselves as constantly lacking, as never truly deserving of love, trust, connection, respect, or truth.  It seems to be an incessant battle that I face and I know that I am not alone, that most people struggle with self-doubt or fear of rejection; fear of vulnerability and the ridicule of others.

This weeken I met B's parents, members of his family, and some of his coworkers.  Parts of it were stressful because I made it so.  I worried that I wouldn't be enough.  Somewhere around Thursday I was able, through lots of prayer and the encouragement of a stronger friend than myself, to let most of this go because I realized there wasn't anything I could do.

I am who I am.

I worried his parents or friends would see something in me that B had overlooked and point at the cracks or the flaws.  What would happen then?

But you know what?  Nothing happened.  Not because they didn't see something I was trying to hide... they may have, I don't think I care that much.  I decided that if they saw something B wasn't yet aware of then it was better he see them now. 

What a freeing feeling.  Really, I just had to let it go because there was nothing I could do about it. 

I am who I am. 

And I want to be known.  I want to be seen.  I want to let myself be vulnerable and take the risks that need to be taken so that I can search out happiness and joy for myself. 

I am who I am and I am enough. 

July 12, 2012

One mile fun run.

Sometimes at races they have what is called a 'one mile fun run.'  It's meant to attract people who may not think they are able to run 6.2 miles or for families who want to do something athletic with their kids.  I've never done one because I didn't think it was for me.

This morning I went back to physical therapy.  If you've ever been to PT you can relate that it is hard.  Really hard.  And painful too.  I cannot imagine what it must be like to be someone with a long-term PT plan, mine is only for a few weeks.  Today the therapist 'massaged' my leg (I'm pretty sure that I'll be bruised from it in the morning), taped up my foot, and put in some inserts.  She wanted me to run one mile just to see how it compared to some running I did earlier in the week. 

I waited until it was dark.  I used to love to run in the dark because of the anonymity but as I got older I felt more inhibited and vulnerable at night.  I just did one mile.  No Garmin.  No watch.  Just my iPod and shoes.  It immediately felt good.  In fact, it felt great.  My foot loosened up after about a quarter of a mile and I did some fartleks (speed work/sprints).  I felt like I was flying.  I picked my feet up high, pumped my arms and ran just because I could. 

It was awesome.  I'm so grateful for this amazing, strong, fast, powerful, beautiful body.  It can do incredible things.  Sometimes I get frustrated because it doesn't look like the way I think it should on any given day, but most days I realize that the feats I can accomplish are ot average but they are wonderful.

I am wonderful.

July 11, 2012

Pushing past the wall

Distance runners have a phrase for a point in any race where you just don't have anything left.  Your glycogen stores are depleted, your joints and muscles ache, and you're only a breath from falling over onto the path.  Runners call this the wall.  Your body is done and you just have to will it to go forward or quit. 

Today I hit the wall at CrossFit.  The WOD was hard and it was a partner WOD meaning that someone else was depending on me to hold up my end of the work.  I was feeling that panicky sensation I get when I can't control my breathing or my heart rate and I feel really, really close to crying.  But I was feeling all of that while I carried 55 lbs on my back and did lunges.

But I made it.  I made it mostly because Nizar was waiting on me to do my work and because Jon was yelling at me.  Somewhere I dug it out the power to do as much as I could.  This work out was really hard- it wasn't like Nizar was just sitting there waiting for me, he was struggling too. 

We are capable of more than we think and it's a mental issue over anything physical.  I am stronger than I thought.  I don't know if year-ago me would recognize present-day me.  I know that I've come a long way and it's scary how much a person can progress in one year. 

So today's positivity thought it about change and finding something strong within myself, something that I saw in today's WOD but I know it's more than that.  The fact that I even looked within myself says a lot about where I am now. 

It's awesome.

July 10, 2012

She-Ra, Princess of Power

At CrossFit everyone gets a nickname.  Mine is She-Ra, Princess of Power.  A guy named Geoff gave it to me one night because he and I constantly traded 80s related quips.  I also like to think it has to do with the fact that during the school year, after teaching night classes, I would do the WOD in lipstick.  Something about the juxtaposition of a fully-made lady backsquating, box jumping, and doing push-ups really made the 'Princess of Power' nickname stick. 

She-Ra, she's awesome.  She was He-Man's twin sister and rode around on a unicorn-pegasus creature named Swift Wind.  Swift Wind also talks.  I love her.  Her and Rainbow Brite are the two cartoon characters I remember best from my childhood. 

Firstly, I am thinking I will consider dressing as her for Halloween. 

Secondly, I think this may be the best nickname I've ever been given.

July 9, 2012

Little bits of positive

There are a lot of little things going on here lately.  This week will be weird in that my schedule is being changed because of some appointments with a physical therapist (a running related injury).  But I did want to take some time to write down the smaller things that I've seen and really enjoyed.

  • My cat, Simon, is systematically carrying a complete set of eight coasters from my living room to my bedroom.  He may be plotting to kill me....
  • There's a wedding this Saturday and I'm looking forward to it.
  • CrossFit games start this weekend and the crew is getting together at the box to watch them this Sunday.
  • Sunday afternoon yoga classes really make me feel happy.
  • I'm pretty sure I'm going to get crafty between now and Saturday.
  • In the summertime things are just slower down South... and I love that.
  • Paleo is more enjoyable when I include dark chocolate and do not take it too seriously.
  • I can deadlift 200 lbs and back squat 185.  That's pretty awesome.
There's a lot of great things happening right.

July 8, 2012

Feeling almost like at home

This morning I got to church and discovered that most of my Sunday school class was sitting together.  I think this was all accidental and organic but I really needed it.  I'm a single person and I don't have any family at the church I attend in Tallahassee.  Worshipping in Tallahassee is a very different experience then what I wrote about last week where this one place feels like my whole past.  At the church I attend in Tallahassee I often sit by myself.  I sit near or around the same place every week and people always ask me the vague question of how I'm doing and often they ask if I'll graduate soon (no, I won't). 

But this morning I had a place to sit.  A place that I made my own with a group of people who, even though I'm not close with them, made me feel as close to belonging as possible.  They knew my name and visited with me. 

It meant so much to me that I actually went back tonight for evening worship services, or what I call 'round two.'  I hadn't been to evening services in ages.  For months I'd been going to small group Bible study but that's on hiatus for the summer.  Before that I went to Sunday night yoga classes which I believed were as edifying as evening service (they were then, but I don't think I'd find them that way now).  The evening service was 90% singing and I really needed that.  I told the minister, half-jokingly, that if every evening service was singing I would never, ever miss. 

I've been praying a lot lately for a more personal relationship with God and been asking a lot if God actually knew me, if he knew what I was doing and if he thought about me.  If he cared in the very intimate details of my life, not just the love and the salvation and the heaven, which are all grace-filled gifts, but I wanted to know if he actually knew what I was doing on any given day.  And what's more, I wanted to know if it mattered to him, if I mattered to him a daily basis. 

Today I felt like some parts of those questions were answered.  In the yoga studio there is a quote about how the spring bud blooms in stages, how it unfolds in its exact moment and not a moment before.  And it doesn't just burst open, it opens with purpose and timing.  Today I felt like some of my own petals were being opened, even if it was just a little bit.

I'm grateful for that.

July 7, 2012

Catch-up post

What day are we on now?  11, 12, 13, 14?  So I'm behind on my posts but that's only because I've been having such a good time this week. 

On the fourth a bunch of us from CF Tally got together at the box and celebrated with beer and WODs.  We grilled elk burgers and there was plenty of great food.  We blew up a lot of stuff in the back and eventually watched the fireworks at Tom Brown Park.  Really, I can't remember the last time I had that much fun on the fourth of July. 

On Thursday Brandon and I went to see Tab Benoit, a blues musician, at a venue here in town.  Neither of us knew anything about him before we went to the show but we both enjoyed it.  Benoit is from Louisiana and kind of had this whole 'Creole I eat crawfish for breakfast and I'm extra awesome and you will dance to my sultry music' kind of vibe. 

Friday night really deserves it own post.  Let's just say that I'm being treated very well.

So, all of this kind of comes down to a post about fun and friends.  Spending time with people you care about, people who make you laugh, people you want to be around, well those things are renewing.  They're not just a breath of fresh air, they're like dunking yourself in a cool mountain stream: a jolt to the soul.

I'm grateful for this week.

July 4, 2012

Day 10

Yesterday I drove up to a part of southwest Georgia to spend some time with B.  I hadn't seen him for more than a week because of a commitment he had.  The plan was that I would cook dinner for us (macaroni and cheese and it was incredible) and then we would see a movie.  It was a great date and we both had a lot of fun.  But one of the things I was most excited about, because I'm sentimental, is that I made a point to show him this tiny little ol' blog of mine.

You see, he has his own blog which I found very early on when we first started to date.  I found it and read it without his permission, not that he minded.  It was a blog, online for everyone to see. 

Just like mine is supposed to be.

Well, I was reading his blog and there were little bits and pieces of stuff that I didn't know or hadn't heard about- yet.  Nothing big, all average stuff.  But part of me felt left out and that hurt my feelings.  Then I had a bit of an epiphany: what if I was letting B feel left out and hurt too, but my decision was purposeful because I had excluded him from the blog.

Well, I hated that he might be feeling as hurt as I was (turns out he wasn't) and that had to stop.

So yesterday while I was cooking dinner I gave him the link and let him read until he fell asleep to his heart's content.

Turns out it was no big deal.  Also, now I don't feel like I'm being secretive.

So yesterday's positivity post is that now the blog really is truly and purposefully public.  I'm grateful  for that, it needed to happen, and I feel a bit silly for postponing it.

July 2, 2012

Days 8 and 9, University City coC

After yoga class on Saturday I packed my car with all my dirty clothes, my adorable dog, and headed home.  I hadn't been home since before my pilgramage up north and really missed my parents.

The home my parents live in now is not the home(s) I grew up in as a child.  It feels like home because my parents are there but one of the most significant reasons it feels like home is because I get to go to what I consider my home church- University City church of Christ

There is something like going to your home church that is very restorative.  I feel like I did my more of my 'growing in the spirit' at University City than anywhere else.  I love it not because the sermons are great (they are) or the singing is amazing (sometimes it is, sometimes it's just average).  I go because somewhere inside University City is my history. 

My parents met at UC, got married there, I was brought there as a child.  Those people there know me.  They knew me as Betsy Dean, most of the older men and women still call me that.  They know me as an adult.  They went to my sister's wedding, my grandfather was baptized there.  It's probably the place that knows me best.  Those people have seen me at my weakest moments, they care for me, they love me.  They have known me through all of my life there is something about that intimacy that makes going back there renewing to my spirit. 

If there is a place where my history lives, where it lives that is beyond my parents' hearts, it is inside University City church of Christ.

June 30, 2012

Days 6 and 7

Last night I didn't really have time to post because I was too busy having awesome friends over at my house.  Charlie and Ana are great girls that I know from CF Tally and over the past six months I have become close to them in a very specific kind of way.  CF breeds a very unique kind of trust- not necessarily an emotional vulnerability from pouring your heart to someone but a different kind of risk.  You're letting these people see you sweat and grunt and scream.

And fail.  Sometimes your body doesn't do what you think it can and you bail on the weight.  Or you fall or you cry or you throw up. 

Or maybe you just want throw up.

But sometimes you win.  Sometimes you reach a personal best and these people, like Charlie and Ana, are your witnesses.  They high-five you and recognize that you just did something amazing.  They see you do the things that you had no idea that you could do.  And you see it in them too.  They see your body change and your mind develop into someone you only really recognize when you're at CF and with these people. 

Really, it's pretty awesome.  So for days 6 and 7 my positivity post is about how these people are witnessing changes in me I never knew about and it is incredible.

And I am their witness as well.

June 28, 2012

Day 5- Some Nights

Day five: this song is great.  The video is a bit bizarre (okay, it's very weird).  However, the song is great.  The chorus reads as follows:
"But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for, oh
What do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights, I don't know... (come on)"

Something about those lyrics really sit well with me right now.

Today I went to hot yoga and later to CrossFit.  I've also kept Paleo for the past two days and I feel awesome, albeit hungry sometimes.  My friend Charlie gave me some protein power to drink for times when I need a pick-me-up. 

Good friends.

June 27, 2012

Day Four

I am grateful for today's WOD (Workout of the Day at CF).  It was ab work, overhead squats and sprinting.  Quick and dirty and awesome. 

Sometimes I go to CrossFit and it great and sometimes I go and it is amazing.  The atmosphere, everyone is hyping each other up, people are yelling at each other, cheering them to their best.  I love it there.  I especially love it when it's like that. 

Excellent WOD.

June 26, 2012

Day 3- Hot Yoga

So I'm into my third day of positive blog posts and I like where this is going.

Today's post is about yoga.  I've blogged about yoga before- why I love it and how I got into it but today I want to write specifically about my relationship with hot yoga. 

Funny- B asked me if hot yoga was sexy yoga.  I told him that yes, yes it was.

What I like best about hot yoga is what it teaches me about myself and my body.  If I'm not feeding it properly or working to maintain a healthy lifestyle, nothing tells me faster than hot yoga.  My machine has to be working in top shape to endure 90 minutes of sweat, humidity, and fluid loss.  Lately I've been sitting through large portions of the class.  I've felt nauseated, weak, low blood sugar, as well as angry with my lack of stamina, frustrated that what I have done previously now seems very difficult, and struggling to finish.  

But this is why I love hot yoga.  I love it because it tells me when I'm not treating myself right.  See, I can muscle my way through a CrossFit class because it is 45 minutes of crazy adrenaline.  Zumba is all dancy fun all the dancy time, and I'm not running right now.  Yoga is too internal and too focused on inner thoughts for me to escape any kind of evidence that I'm not treating my body exactly right.  It's like looking in a mirror of all of my habits or past behaviors.  Hot yoga makes me acknowledge all of those things. 

And that's why I love it.

I think by Thursday I'll be feeling a lot better in my yoga classes. 

June 25, 2012

Day 2

Today I got new running shoes.

They are awesome.

Tonight I did back squats and I am in love with back squats.  Want a nice butt?  Pilates and yoga are great but (pun!) back squats are where it's at.

I'm grateful for the rain.  Looks like B's family is getting the 'rain with a name' that they are fond of- they're in agriculture.

I'm grateful that I'm still hopeful.

June 24, 2012

Day 1

Things that I like about today include:
--- the homemade macaroni and cheese that I made; it is amazing
--- good scavenger hunt dates with B
--- the cool weather that allows me to open all the windows for the first time in more than a month
--- B going to camp.  He loves camp and he's happy to be a chaperone this year and I'm happy that he enjoying himself.

June 22, 2012

It's 'facebook official.'

I have a boyfriend.  He's really cool and thinks I'm cool and I think we're cool together.  On the blog I'll refer to him as B.  I'm still not exactly sure when the best time will be to show him the blog.  I thought about it yesterday and went back to peruse my previous months' posts. 

It was a whole lot of this:

Paleo, paleo, I heart paleo, paleo is the devil within me, dysfunctional relationship with food, paleo is awesome, exercise, exercise, exercise, more about how paleo makes me nuts, etc.

Now, this blog is titled "Genuine Efforts: Attempts at healthy living" so writing about my weird love/hate relationship with Paleo, food, exercise, CrossFit, binging, running, and how awesome I am on any given day fits the theme here in my own corner of the internet. 

But I don't like that this place has become kind of whiny and redundant.  So, I'm going to make some new goals for this blog.  Starting on Sunday (because I can only start something like this on the first day of the month, January 1, or a Sunday!!) I'm going to make a point to post everyday for a month about things I like about myself, things that I do well, and other general accomplishments.  Firstly, this will be good because it will shift the tone of this blog from one of exorcising my demons to one that focuses on how and why I do good things for myself.  Second, I think writing like this will be more fun and fulfilling and I think that when I do decide to introduce B to my blog it will feel positive and overall more balanced.

Also, I've been feeling really crafty lately (in a Martha kind of way, not in a Wiley Coyote kind of way) so maybe I'll also be posting pictures of things I make.

It'll be a good kind of change.

June 14, 2012

Running in Central Park

The blog has been quiet because I have been busy.  I spent two weeks traveling the northeast with my parents.  We went to New York City, Newport, Norfolk, Boston, and Colonial Williamsburg.  It was busy and didn't leave a ton of time for structured exercise, beyond all the walking. 

But I did get to have an awesome run in Central Park.  I ran a 5K in 36:52.  I thought that was pretty respectable for not having run in the six weeks before.  I didn't know much about the paths in Central Park before I got there so I just planned on following other runners to get an idea of where I could run and what I should avoid.  Runners are cool like that.

So, I see a group of runners and decide to follow them.  I get into the groove and I'm having a good time and all of the sudden I see people on either side of us wearing green t-shirts saying things like "Way to go" or "You're doing great, keep it up." 

Turns out I had joined a race!  I love races.  They are a great atmosphere; everyone running in them wants to be there.  I kept going with them, ran through the finish line, they even shared their water with me despite the fact that I didn't have any numbers.  Then I finished up my 5K.

I had a great time.  The park was beautiful and everyone was in a good mood.  It was a Saturday morning so the park was closed to cars and the weather- an unusual cold front that kept the mornings in the 60s- made the run amazing.

Only downside: the next two days I hobbled around because my stupid foot gave me such trouble. 

Things with the young man are still going well.  I told him about the blog but asked him to not to read it yet.  When I'm ready for that then it will happen.  I'm really trying to take things slowly and deliberately and not just rush through everything because of how good it feels.  It's a challenge. 

Actually, it's really hard not to try and manipulate things to go faster.  There are two things working in my favor: this young man treats me better than anyone ever has before.  Really, if this doesn't work out then he has spoiled me for someone else.  The second thing working in my favor is that I have decided to let him- as much as I can- dictate the pace of the relationship.  So far this is working out really well.  It has led to some occasional confusion on my part but overall I am satisfied with this decision. 

Slow and steady?  No: slow and with purpose.

May 14, 2012

Something new

Okay, so I just haven't had that much to say around here lately.  I mean, without a race or event to train for there's just less to think about: I go to zumba, to CrossFit, and now to hot yoga (for the summer).  I've basically retired my running sneakers for the summer minus the running at CF or if I get the occasional inspiration to head out the door. 

I've also had a bit of a logistical issue with the blog.  I've started seeing someone and wasn't exactly how or if I should introduce him to my little corner of the internet.  As of yet, I'm still holding back.  I'm not ashamed of anything I post here; most of it I am incredibly proud of, some of it is bittersweet, but showing him the blog seems a bit....


I'm not hiding anything but I do want to hold back a bit and take my time.

But I did promise any readers I have left that I had an announcement:

I joined Weight Watchers.

Now I've lost somewhere between 60 and 65 pounds on my own and that's a serious accomplishment but at the same time that's just it: between 60 and 65, meaning I'm swinging back and forth those 5 pounds and not losing any more.  I just thought I needed some structure and I already think that going in to weigh is a benefit for someone like me who does not do well with anonymity when it comes to reaching goals.

Accountability helps me.

So I will be posting more about WW, their new Points Plus system, WW vs. Spark People, and anything else that I find awesome.

I believe in fairytales and serendipitous encounters.

PS- oh, and I love power squats.  Like, really: love.  Love, love, love.

May 6, 2012



Can you hear them?

I don't have much to say this week but I promise something is just around the corner and it's exciting.

April 21, 2012

Week Workout Recap

This post is mostly for my own records...

Sunday- Gulf Coast Half Marathon
Monday- Rest Day
Tuesday- CrossFit
Wednesday- Zumba and CrossFit
Thursday- CrossFit
Friday- Zumba and CrossFit
Saturday- 3.1 miles (36:40)

April 18, 2012

Gulf Coast Half Marathon Recap

This picture is pre-race,and yes, we're both wearing lipstick for a race.

On Sunday morning my friend Avni and I woke up at 430 and got ready for my second half-marathon, the Gulf Coast Half Marathon in Pensacola.  It was Avni's first.

13.1 more miles. 

The race was great overall.  I didn't get the time I was hoping for but I did have a great time.  This race reminded me of Springtime Tallahassee in that it was very communty supported.  We ran through a lot of neighborhoods and people were out there cheering us on and that means a lot to me.  That's what I love about the running community.  One woman was even offering shots of rum from her driveway.  Another woman let me use her restroom in her house.  Like I said: community supported.  Also, all of the water spots were sponsored by different businesses on the island and each had a different theme so one water station was Greek/Roman themed, another was 80s hair metal bands, another was a Jamaican party.  That station even had food which was awesome because the race couldn't promise food at any of the stops so when a different water stop had orange slices it was just awesome.  Essentially people/businesses just bought this stuff themselves, cut it all up, and offered it to 2000 strangers.  I just love that about local races. 

After the race there was food and drink for runners and their people.  Publix was one of the sponsors so they brought in a ton of bakery cookies.  Land Shark was another sponsor so there was plenty of that too.  The only thing I couldn't really understand was the main food option: beans and rice.  I think it was from Moe's.  I'm sorry, but when did rice and beans become post race food?  This is my second half marathon and neither event had what I considered to be the most basic of all post race foods: the bagel.  Bagels are delicious.  They are chewy simple carbs that I don't let myself have that often and it is the the only thing I want after I run more than 6 milesThe only thing.  At the Disney race they gave us hummus, crackers, edamame, and gummies.  No bagels.  I was so frustrated by this.

The rest of my post Sunday events involved me trying to find a bagel.  Avni and I went out to eat afterwards but we missed breakfast by 30 minutes and I tried repeatedly to get a bagel but was denied at every turn.  I had to wait until I got back to Tally.  Good grief.  I know this seems silly- it's just a bagel.  I know that.  But really, rice and beans?  Hummus? Who thinks these are good ideas after you've run 13 miles? 

I know who thinks like this....

People who don't run 13 miles.

April 8, 2012

This year in words.

About a year ago I was writing about the 2011 Springtime Tallahassee 10K.  I was worried that I'd be last.  Springtime Tallahassee 2012 was last weekend and I didn't run it.  Instead, I ran the Warrior Dash. 

It's really been a busy year.

I ran Springtime Tallahassee.

I climbed a mountain.

I embraced Hot Yoga.

I ran a Turkey Trot.

I passed my comps exams.

I joined CrossFit.

I subsequently fell in love with CrossFit.

I ran my first half-marathon, the Disney Princess.

I ran a Warrior Dash.

Sometimes it is hard for me to keep things in perspective.  I only remember the most recent fact that my last two longer runs were horrible.  

But look at that list.  It's hard not to be proud of my accomplishments when I add them all up like that. 

Really, this has been a pretty awesome year. 

Next Sunday I have another half-marathon.  Yesterday's 10 miler was really hard.  I basically threw in the towel with frustration- why would my body not do what I told it to do?  I was exhausted and today I was in some serious pain.  I keep reminding myself that if I evaluate the my whole progress one (or two) bad run doesn't really matter.  I look at everything and one bad training run isn't the end-all of my experiences. 

It's like one meal in a year's worth of eating.  A few bad meals- even a lot of bad meals- do not determine my overall success or worth.  Neither does one workout dictate my overall value as an athlete. 

It is not the individual pieces of my efforts but the sum of the whole that evidences my acccomplishments.

March 26, 2012

I have to make a decision

Do people still use pros and cons lists anymore? 

I need to make a decision and am wondering if a pro/con list might make it easier.

Do I try to stick with Paleo or do I go back to calorie counting? 

Pros to Paleo
1. No calorie counting
2. Fat is not the enemy
3. A gluten free and low-dairy lifestyle seem to help my workouts
4. For some reason I run faster on Paleo
5. I lose weight on Paleo at a pretty consistent rate

Cons to Paleo
1. Carbs are the enemy and carbs are delicious and diverse
2. Paleo is complicated when you're eating with a group of people
3. Paleo is expensive- meats and fresh produce cost green.
4. Paleo makes it hard to think about non-Paleo foods all the dang time

Pros to Calorie Counting
1. Everything is fair game
2. More adjustable to my outings
3. More adjustable to my budget
4. I lose weight when I'm consistent

Cons to Calorie Counting
1. Counting is tedious
2. I do lose weight but it is slower
3. Seems to be hard to predict how my body will feel on any given day

I cannot keep going back and forth between Paleo diligence and eating whatever I want so I have to make a choice.  Paleo gives me better athletic performance but I need to find a way to balance out this rather restrictive lifestyle with other food choices without going overboard.

I'm still thinking on the issue.

March 20, 2012

I fell and it wasn't graceful

Well, Monday through Friday Paleo went great.  Talking with my counselor really helped me let off steam and I found it easier to control myself.  Win for me.  Saturday I went over the edge at the birthday party.  The food was just Too Good. 

Really, just too good.  Grilled hamburgers, Tasty Pastry cake (same people who made my birthday cake), beer.  Just too good.

Now I'm back to Paleo-ing and going at the workouts like the zombie apocalypse is tomorrow.  The Warrior Dash is in less than two weeks and I am super excited/nervous. 

I did have a race this Saturday and it sucked.  I was trying to beat my time from the Turkey Trot 10K.  I'd had good strong runs at much faster paces and I was hoping to bring in something similar on a timed race.

No dice.

In short: I fell.  No injuries but it really slowed me down.  First I lost some time when I fell and then I was a bit more ginger.  I tripped a couple more times.  When you're trying to beat a previous time by two or three minutes and you lose those minutes in a fall and then never recover your pace, well, you won't meet your goals.  It's fine, just disappointing.

Hopefully the race next Saturday will make up for it.

March 12, 2012

A conversation

So for days I've started Paleo then in the crucial decision making time of the hours between 4 and 8 I would always slide downhill.  I would eat whatever was the least Paleo I could find.  Anything with carbs, dairy, sugar, and without meat or eggs was the only thing even remotely appetizing. 

So this afternoon I went and saw my counselor.  It's not a secret that I see one.  I told her what had been happening and how I could not stop thinking about foods.  I told her about the Paleo challenge. 

She said this: "cut yourself some slack."

I give food this power over me. 

It was her professional opinion that this challenge may be doing more harm than good as far as my emotional tie with food.  She said that on weekends I should be more flexible because it gives me something to look forward to and then lets release some of the focus I give to food. 

And then I felt better.

I felt relaxed and my Paleo dinner didn't feel like a punishment but like another healthy decision I could make for myself.

Talking to her really helped, if for no other reason than that it give me a place to put those feelings.

March 9, 2012

Day 9

I feel so sick.

Made it all the way until dinner.  I bought a pizza.  I thought about Paleo dinners and none of them sounded even remotely good.  A few even made me nauseous.  I couldn't stand the idea of more meat.

Too much dinner.

Boo Day 9.

March 8, 2012

Update on the challenge

Today's day 8 of the challenge.

Still doing well.  While I don't always have a 100% Paleo day I'm still able to get through most days with what I would think of as a 90% success.  At Disney I managed to do all Paleo at the meals but indulged in my absolute favorite Disney food: the Aloha Dessert.  It's pineapple juice with vanilla soft serve in it.  Like a pineapple float.

It's amazing.

Really.  Think about it: cool, refreshing ice cream with tart juice.  I don't know who thought of it but they deserve a raise.

So maybe that's how Paleo will work for me without making me crazy... trying to find a balance for 90% Paleo, 10% something else somedays with most days being a more strictly observed high protein, low carbohydrate, Paleo lifestyle. 

6 miles on Tuesday at a new personal best with average splits of 11:48.  Paleo makes me faster and I really like that.  I'm going to try and get in 8 miles this weekend.

March 3, 2012

Day 3

Four miles with Tyeler.  I convinced (coerced) her into doing the Warrior Dash with me and my friends.  She's not an athlete, yet, and for her this was very difficult.  I had kind of forgotten what that was like.  She walked when she wanted.

Mile 1: 11:48
Mile 2: 12:20
Mile 3: 15:47 (I walked 1/2 a mile with her)
Mile 4: 12:00

So despite the walking I still kept things under a 13 minute mile average and miles 1, 2, and 4 are all around 12 minute miles which is great.

Almost didn't make my Paleo goals for the day.  Some leftover EPCOT candy got the better of me and I say mesmerized by the Milano Pizzeria take-out menu for at least thirty minutes before I just decided that the candy was regrettable but not a pass to go crazy for the rest of the evening.

So I consider today a success.

Still not sure how to handle Disney though....

Any suggestions?

March 2, 2012

Day 2

I made it through day 2.

Headaches (almost) all day.

Went to CrossFit where I did my very first Double-Under.  Not sure what a Double-Under is?  Check out this video:

Then I went to Zumba.

Tomorrow I am going to be really, really sore.  Super.

March 1, 2012

30 Day Challenge

Overeating does not make me happy.
Overeating does not make me happy.

Overeating does not make me happy.

I have a thirty year career as a binge eater.  I remember the first lie I ever told to my parents (that I remember) had something to do with eating my sister or someone else’s candy bar. 

I always find it difficult to articulate the feelings of shame, humiliation, anger, frustration, and disappointment that I associate with these episodes in my life. 

Shame and humiliation: “How did I do this again?  Didn’t I learn anything from last time?”

Anger and frustration: “I’ll never reach my goals if I keep doing this.  This is self-sabotage.”

Disappointment: “All that work and I undo it so quickly.  What’s wrong with me?  Why can’t I control myself?”

Well, I’m trying really hard to give up this destructive habit for 30 days.  March 1-30.  Not for Lent, not for anyone else, but for my own sanity.  Tomorrow is my last PhD exam.  I’ve definitely been eating to compensate for the stress and also, it’s my pattern to eat a lot while I’m working on big projects.  Also there was a lot of eating at EPCOT but the race celebrating is over now. 

But I hate it and I like myself less when I do it. 

So I am challenging myself to a 30 Days of Paleo. 

What’s this?  I’ve been doing Paleo since January, so why this challenge?  Well, I’ve gone off Paleo every now and again, for parties or events, for emotional eating, or sometimes for convenience. 

How would I feel if I really did Paleo for 30 days uninterrupted?  When I’m following Paleo I feel amazing.  I feel fast and strong. 

Can I do this?  Honestly, I’m not sure.  I think I’m going to have to define some rules that may make it easier as well as mini-goal rewards.

First, on the 24th I’m hosting a bridal shower brunch.  I plan on going off Paleo for that brunch.  Not for the day, just for the morning.

Next week I’m going back to Disney.  How will I handle that?  I don’t know yet.

So, to encourage me to try harder I have some mini goals:

If I make it to Sunday I get a new bag of socks.

If I make it to the 8th (over a week) I get a new pair of exercise capris from Walmart.

If I make it to the 15th I get two new exercise shirts

If I successfully make it through a party on the 17th then I get a manicure/pedicure that I already have a Groupon for.

If I make it through to the 25th I get new compression socks.

If I make it to the 30th I get to enjoy the entire 31st (the day of the Warrior Dash) with a strong race and all of the festivities afterwards including beer and anything else.
*I made it through day 1.

February 29, 2012

Disney Princess Half Marathon

So, yeah, I ran a half marathon this weekend and this was my costume.

The Disney Princess Half was an amazing experience.  I've never participated in anything else quite like it.  More than 20,000 participants were registered for the race.  I mean it: incredible. 

Every single person there was there because he or she wanted to be.

I ran with a smile on my face the entire time (I think).

My official time was almost exactly 3 hours.  I wanted to run it in under 3 hours but I had to wait in a long line for a restroom at one point and that added a good bit of time to my official race time.

I got to meet Jeff Galloway at the runners' expo the day before the race.

Jeff Galloway is a famous runner and an Olympic athlete.  He advertises a run/walk method to make races like this more accessible to people.  He also started the Tallahassee Gulf Winds Track Club 30-something years ago.  It was awesome to tell him I was from Tally and that I had started my own career as a runner with the running/walking method. 

This is after the race.  My friend and teammate, Jenn, ran as Ariel from The Little Mermaid.  I ran as Princess McAwesome.  If you can't tell, my shirt says "I'm living my dream."  The tiara never made it to the finish line, actually it didn't make it beyond mile 1.  Too distracting and kept getting snagged with wind and stuff. 

Overall, this was a fantastic experience and I feel like I accomplished something really special.  I'm excited for my next race on April 15 in Pensacola, not to mention the Warrior Dash on March 31.

Tomorrow I am starting a 30 day challenge, check back for details.

February 19, 2012

Why do you subject yourself to these things?

“Why do you subject yourself to these things?”

This, or something along these lines, was a question that a friend asked me the other day when I was expressing excitement for some of my upcoming events, like the Disney Princess Half and Warrior Dash.

“To prove that I can” was the only response I could come up with immediately, but the question stayed with me so I thought I would answer it more fully here.

First, the most pragmatic reason for signing up for these admittedly self-punishing races and challenges is to keep me on track with my weight loss.  Now that I’ve lost almost 65 pounds since I started this whole thing I better understand what keeps me motivated.  Signing up for some kind of race and acknowledging it publicly commits me in a way that nothing else will.  So, expect me to look for more races and athletic events and expect me to talk with you about it.  Publicly committing keeps me honest.  Additionally, I’m less likely to eat crap when I know I have CrossFit or an 8 mile run in the morning.  It motivates me to eat well.

Second, it part of my insatiable desire to be considered an athlete, and an extreme one at that.  I think that a lot of people who grew up heavy/fat/portly/chubby can agree that people may have thought of them as smart, funny, cute, humble, kind, jealous, awkward, whatever else and a hundred other adjectives but probably do not remember that other people, or themselves, saw them as athletic or as an athlete.  There are always some exceptions: lots of female softball players are a bit rounder and it doesn’t hinder them at all.  Also, there are a lot of men whose heavy bodies gave them an athletic advantage like in football, rugby, or wrestling.   But for me?  No, not athletic.  And so now, as I try to make up for something I can’t even label and try to redefine myself, being a casual exerciser is not enough.  I need to compete.  I need to improve.  I also need to visibly show people that I can do these things.  It is the bizarre, psychotic need to validate myself and be validated by others.

Third, it is addictive and quantifiable.  Losing weight is addictive.  Lifting more weight than I did a month ago?  Addicting.  10 and 11 minute miles?  All consuming.  I have to try to do them again.  Can I beat myself?  Counting pull-ups (or attempts at pull-ups) is a quantifiable thing.  Measuring weight?  I can count that and actually document improvement.  Dead lifting 100 pounds one week and 115 two weeks later?  That’s something I can write down and see on paper that I am improving and getting stronger.  Running one more mile than the week before is something I can keep track of.  Unlike my pants which some days fit better than others or my struggles with binge eating which can emotionally wreck me for days, finishing a race or doing what others think you cannot do is this identity-changing, all-satisfying, fulfilling experience I would wish for everyone.

So, with that, I think I’ll sign up for the Gulf Coast Pensacola Half Marathon in April.

February 13, 2012

The briefest of updates

1) Comps (the Big PhD exams at FSU) start next week.  I won't be around in person or in the inter-world. 

2) 10 miles on Saturday with a very respectable, best-ever time.  Also, saved a yellow lab and was able to reunite this dog, Buster, with his owner.  The dog was lost and miles from home.

3) Probably won't have time to run tomorrow morning; will be grateful for the CF class.

4) When I panic I eat more to the point of excess/feeling angry and frustrated with myself.  Tomorrow I will not do that.

5) Internet is sporadically out at my house.

6) When comps are over then Anna and I are throwing a post-stress party at her apartment.

7) This blog will be updated, even if it just these kind of blurbs.

February 9, 2012

Even faster than Tuesday!

Today I ran 3 miles.
First mile in 10:08.

Total three miles in 32:25 for an average pace of 10:48.

I am amazing.

But any potential readers probably already know that.

February 7, 2012

What I've got to look forward to...

Things right now are crazy insane.  I've got more work than I can actually do, comp exams in less than two weeks, and my first half marathon on the 26th.

And I'm not done.

Three people have commented on my weightloss and newer, more muscular, svelte body since Friday.  Winning!

On March 17th I want to run the Trail of Payne 10K in Gainesville.

And here's the awesome: I signed up for a Warrior Dash!  A CrossFit friend posted that the Jacksonville Living Social Deal of the day was half off the entry fee and here's what else is fantastic- the race is in Live Oak.  That's only a bit over an hour from here.  Closer to Tally than to Jax, at least.  A Warrior Dash, and other obstacle-based races are very popular right now.  There are similar versions called things like the Spartan Race, the Savage Race and the truly amazing, the Tough Mudder.  These are for-profit races so there is a real emphasis on everyone leaving as a satisfied customer, meaning people feel like they completed things and had a good time. 

On Saturday I jogged 10 miles.  It was exhausting and at mile 8.5 I almost started to cry I was just so frustrated.  I just wanted to be done, desperately.  But I did it and I'm glad I can check that part off of my training. 

One more thing: today I reached a PR.  I went out to run three miles with my friend Jenn and I was flying.  I finished my first mile in 10:38 and ran the whole thing in 32:54 for a 10:57 average pace.  That is amazing.  That is amazing for me and overall awesome to shave so much time off my mile pace.  I don't know if I can repeat it (I like to think that I can) and I know that I won't even be trying for those kinds of speeds on race day because I need a pace that I can maintain for 13.1 miles, but still, Ah-May-Zing.

Here's a Warrior Dash video for those that might like more info: