Friday, February 28, 2014

Keeping It Real.

I stumbled across this article today and honestly, I can't stop thinking about it.

The message is that our bodies are wonderful just the way they are and we should celebrate what we can do with them instead of focusing on perceived flaws and imperfections.

I'm going to walk the walk and share a few of my own "bad" pictures, just because I can.

This was taken at my friend's wedding. My initial reaction was, "oh, damn, my neck is fat and my eyes have bags. I look terrible."

What the hell is wrong with me? This photo captured a moment of pure joy and silliness with a friend that I adore. It's a perfect summary of the amazing experience I had as part of his Steam Punk Wedding. How did I miss all that the first time I saw the picture? Because I was caught up in the supposed flaws of my body instead of seeing the magic of two friends together.

And another picture, even more recent.

My friend, Rik, took this photo as we were waiting to start our California 10/20 Run a couple of weeks ago. What did I see when he showed this to me? I saw my belly sticking out, back fat, a puffy face, and eyes hidden that disappeared behind the bags. Surprised to learn that I'm that critical of myself? Well, it's true. I am. It's something I work on constantly.

What did I miss? This moment was just before an amazing woman sang the National Anthem, before Rik and I started our trek into the mist, and before we enjoyed ten miles of running together, something we rarely get to do since we live on opposite sides of the country. This photo should have brought all that to mind. Instead, I chose to see the bad.

One more, from September.

This is me finishing the first leg of the Ragnar Relay Napa. I had just run across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco at sunrise, a true highlight of my running career. I was handing off to our next runner, my dear friend Tammy. This photo captured so many amazing memories for me. But what did I see? My fat stomach, my short legs, and my round face.

Sheesh, what was I thinking? I just finished running nearly five miles, including a portion through soft sand and another section of straight-up stair climbing. I kicked ass and had such a great run. What a fool I was to see this as a bad picture instead of proof of my awesomeness!

I can't explain how much this article from Runner's World has smacked me around this morning. From now on, I'm going to try to see the good that is captured in a photo and not focus on the silly things that don't really matter.

I'm going to work on seeing the real me. The amazing me. The me that runs relays and up hills and across bridges and full marathons. I'm going to see ME!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ragnar Del Sol?

Last weekend, I ran the 200 mile Ragnar Del Sol relay race in Arizona. I'm still smiling about having such a great time. I'm also going to blog in detail about it, but another night has come and gone and I'm just too relaxed and lazy to spend time typing. 

So, I guess I'll have to blog later. For now, I'll just share some pictures from the weekend. 

Enjoy your Friday and I'll be back soon!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Rik Comes To San Diego!

My Fat to Finish teammate, Rik, is flying in for the weekend. Together, we are running the inaugural California 1020 Race along the coast. I'm really excited to run this with him!

Here's my race shirt, my bed, and my brand-new halo headband. I'm ready to run.

And this is the view from the start line. It was 80° when I was there early afternoon. Race temps at 7:30am Sunday should be perfect!

Good Times Ahead.

It's 5:30 AM, and I cannot get to sleep. I guess I have a lot on my mind these days. So rather than toss and turn with random thoughts in my head, I decided to take a moment and write down some of the exciting things I have to look forward to in the months ahead. 

This month, I am running the California 10 Miler with my fat to finish teammate, Rik. Then I'm off to Phoenix to run the Ragnar Relay Del Sol with my Kilty Pleasures team. 

In March, I'm heading back over to Phoenix to run the St. Patty's Day 17K and then head down to Tucson for my friend's wedding. Later that month, I'm off to Hawaii to run a 10K as part of the Lava Man triathlon.

April brings another Ragnar Relay, this time here in SoCal with my new team, "From Strangers to Solemates."

In May, I will celebrate my 17th anniversary with my husband. And in June, I'm heading to New Orleans for my annual Marine Corps Reunion.

So, it looks like it will be a very busy Spring for me. What about you? What are you doing?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Adjust! Adjust! Adjust!

Oh, the best laid plans, right?

Today is a one-workout day, meaning I went to the gym this morning but won't go back this evening. I had a three mile run scheduled, but last night, I got the wild idea that I would run a 10K this morning, instead.

Not only did I plan to run double the scheduled distance, I boasted about it on Facebook.

Best intentions and all, but no. It didn't happen.

I started running and knew after the first half mile that I didn't have six miles in me. Sure, I could have toughed it out, but there would be fall-out for the rest of the week when I am supposed to run again and spend some quality time strength training. Overtraining is how people get injured, you know?

What to do, what to do?

I ran a full mile, then switched over to the bike. I decided that I could get a 10K in, just on the bike instead of running. So I did.

And funny thing. Halfway through the bike ride, I realized that I felt pretty good. I had all the strength I needed to get the distance done. More than that, I felt up for more running. So I moved back to the treadmill and finished with another 2.1 miles.

Instead of running the planned six miles, I did a brick of a Bike 10K and Running 5K. I finished feeling great and completely proud of myself.

So, how does "didn't run 6 miles" become "proud of myself"? Simple. I adjusted my thoughts.

First, my bigger goal of 100 running miles this month depends on me running 10 miles each Saturday and 3 miles each weekday. So far, I'm on track. Running 6 miles this morning would have just been an extra 3. So I met my bigger goal distance and stayed on track.

Second, I didn't let the initial running failure become a complete loss. Instead of walking out of the gym with the attitude of, "well, forget it today," I switched to the bike and get on trying. I knew that 20 minutes of riding was way better than 20 minutes of nothing.

Third, by not quitting, I gave myself time to get over whatever was going on with my body and start running again.

Finally, for another day of committing to my health and fitness, for waking up at 5am and getting to the gym, for keeping my eye on the bigger goal of a solid February, I am declaring myself awesome.

And here, because "why the heck not?!", is a selfie of me at the gym after the run/bike/run. Please note the crazy bedhead and massive sweat-covered forehead. Who says working out is all glamor?

Monday, February 3, 2014

My "But" Is My Problem.

I'm three days into my 28 Day Challenge, and I've discovered one very simple and obvious truth:
My "but" is my problem.
 I should probably explain.

For the most part, I tend to avoid the scale. I don't obsess about my weight or feel the need to chase a specific number. Instead, I pay attention to things that mean more to me.

  • Are my clothes fitting more snug this week than they did last week?
  • Am I sluggish and tired?
  • Was my pace noticeably slower than the last time I ran this distance?

These are cues to me that I need to refocus on my overall health and fitness. And over the last month, my answers to those questions were more often a "yes." To get back on track, I've created a 28 Day Challenge for myself. I'll share the details of the challenge in a later blog (when I have some results to share, too!), but the basic idea is that I am going to be completely focused on fitness and nutrition for all of February.

And that brings us to the title of this blog entry. As I was planning out my month, it became immediately clear that my "but" is my problem.

I will eat healthy and work out the entire month...
... but not the first weekend, because friends are visiting.
... but not Super Bowl Sunday.
... but not the next Friday and Saturday, because I'll be with a friend out of town.
... but not Sunday the 9th, because I'm going to LA to see The Book of Mormon.
... but not the 15th through the 18th, because my friends are visiting from out of state.
... but not the 20th through the 23rd, because I'll be running Ragnar Del Sol with my friends.

See what I mean? I make plans to stay on track with my eating and my working out, then my "but" gets in the way.

What's a guy to do? I want the results that come from completing the challenge, but I also want to have the fun that comes with seeing friends, celebrating good times, and indulging with favorite foods and drinks.

And that, in a nutshell, is my constant struggle. I am a very social person who needs to engage with friends, so hiding away for a whole month is not a solution. I might get through the physical challenge but my mood would be truly foul.

Abandoning the challenge in favor of my social life isn't a solution, either. I'd have fun with friends but be secretly miserable about how I feel physically.

Here, then, is the solution I have come up with. Instead of an either/or, I am going to find a way to respect both my need for consistent workouts and nutrition with my desire for social activities.

Yes, I enjoyed my friends visiting. But while they had a few beers, I was content with a single Diet Coke and a lot of water. It was their company I enjoyed, not the excuse to opt out of the challenge I had just begun.

Yes, I enjoyed Super Bowl Sunday. I had a great time, in fact, commenting non-top on Facebook with the hashtag #superbowlwithjohn. I opted out of traditional Super Bowl Sunday foods and alcohol, though, choosing to go with a healthy menu. And for the day, I was well under my planned calorie intake.

Yes, I am looking forward to spending time with my friend in Dana Point this coming weekend. And I'll indulge a bit with the food and drink. But I'll be very specific about my eating, track the calories, and get out for my scheduled long run.

It will be the same for the rest of the month. I'll enjoy what I'm doing and make sure the social interaction is the focus, not the food or drinks. I can honor my commitment to my physical fitness without sacrificing the fun of life. If not, what's the point of being healthier if not to enjoy the days I'm living?

I guess I don't have a "but" problem, after all.

And with that, I'll share a little something that will soon be hitting the Facebook page of From Fat To Finish Line. There will be a series of images and quotes featuring all of our teammates, and here is a sneak peek of one with me!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Why a Selfie?

As many of you have already heard, today is #SelfieSaturday. I'm encouraging all of my friends online to share a photo of themselves today, whether it's an action shot from a racing event or a just-woke-up bedhead shot or anything in between.

But why? What's so important about posting a photo of yourself online?

I'll tell you why. Because posting a picture can be a very empowering thing to do. Many people that I know, especially those who are unhappy with their bodies, are in the habit of hiding from the camera. They see themselves as unattractive and think the whole world sees them the same way, and who wants a picture of that?

That's crazy talk, by the way. The people in your world already know exactly what you look like, and they don't expect you to become like a mega-photoshopped super model. They love the person you are, just way you are.

Posting a photo of yourself for others to see is a way to fight back against those damaging voices in your head. It's a way to say, "this is who I am and I am proud of myself." It's not about vanity or arrogance, it's about confidence.

I'm going to keep encouraging my friends to share photos of themselves, because I think you are all wonderful and deserve to have your happy, smiling faces out there for all the world to see.

And just to prove that I can talk the talk AND walk the walk, here's a selfie that I just took now. It's one shot, no retakes, and no editing.


Get on board with this, friends. Because this is happening.