On My Way... To 15 K

Hello, My Name is:

 
HI!  I'm Mel!  :)  A 32 year old Wife and Stay at Home Mom to 3 adorable children currently residing in the suburbs of Chicago.   I love being a Mom and I love my kids, but holy Moses did I ever underestimate the degree of difficulty of such an adventure! 
I love kids and the only thing I have always wanted to be my whole life is a Mother!  That's why I wonder, on those really bad days... what those Mother's that never really wanted to have children must be feeling... those days where even I question "what in the heck was I thinking?" or "What might I be accomplishing if all of my time and energy weren't spent on cleaning, cooking, wiping butts and noses, laundry, dishes, bills and grocery shopping?"  Needless to say, there have been plenty of times where I have felt that the American Dream is nothing short of a Nightmare... especially in light of our economic state!
Course a lot of the reason I've felt this way is due to a complete imbalance! 
Imbalance of hormones, imbalance of energy, imbalance of time, responsibilities etc...  I had 3 kids in 4 years back to back and nursed each one through my pregnancies for a year and half each!  It leaves you drained!  I have had no time to myself to take care of myself or just be.  So I am finally making that time to do so now!

There is no doubt that while my kids are most certainly worth any and all pain and strain, getting them here came with a heavy price tag... on my mental, physical and emotional health.
I had really bad postpartum depression with my last 2 pregnancies.  Along with a cancer scare, (benign) tumor in my thyroid, gum disease, high glucose levels, 50 pounds of extra weight gain and thinning graying hair!  My youngest is now 2 and a half and as my 6 year old put it "Mom, you still look the same as when I came out of your belly."  Out of the mouth of babes!  He's right, I do!  That's not a good thing by the way.   I never lost the baby weight from my first pregnancy, I just got pregnant again, and again! 

Well, it's time to finally shed this baby weight once and for all!  It's time to lower my cholesterol because it's dangerously high.  It's time to eat the right things and do the right things... and so I've signed myself up for a 10 mile race, the Waterfall Glen, Extreme 10 to be exact.  A rigorous course all off road trails!  Ambitious for only 18 weeks to prepare... I know!  Honestly, I'm terrified!
But I knew if I didn't sign up and create a deadline (or invest financially), I probably wouldn't stick to it and get it done!  I also knew that my husband would take me and my time to run and train more seriously if there were an event coming up!  I'm intimidated but committed!  My goal is just to finish and survive the race! 

I was a distance runner all through middle school and high school, a little in my college years.  I had just begun training to run the Los Angeles Marathon with my aunt Helen, when I rolled my car and broke my back in 3 places.  I was 19 at the time.  I wasn't super fast.  I'm rather short, muscular and stalky... not the typical runners build at all... but I just always loved running.  Not to compete against anyone but myself... just do it for the love of it!  I miss it!  I don't even know if I'm still capable... but I'm finally ready to find out!

My main motivation, besides losing weight, getting healthier and finding out if I still have it in me... is to show my children that I can do more than just feed them or clean up after them, or be there Mom!  I can be something else.  I can chase dreams and goals and accomplish things outside of our immediate bubble... because if I don't show myself that, how can I teach them that!?  I imagine their little faces, waiting for me at the finish line... with admiration and pride!  Hey, a girl can dream right?!  Even if the whole event is dismantled and everyone has gone home when I come crawling across that finish line, I'll be proud of myself and I hope my kids will be too!

So the blog.  Yes, I decided to create it for 4 reasons.
1.)  I feel it's a great way to monitor my progress... be it stats or pictures, food journaling.  I'm also interested in tracking my emotional growth.   How my moods and perspectives change, etc... I think it will be interesting for reflection purposes and help to share my progress with friends and family.  I think it will help to keep me motivated if I can see and track my growth!
2.)  I'm hoping that if I have a place to track my progress, publicly it will serve to hold me accountable and I'd be less likely to slack off!?
3.)  I'm hoping that when I'm in a lull or down and out... that someone reading this might be able to offer some encouragement to help me obtain my goals!
4.)  I hope to inspire you!  Whoever you are, taking the time to read my rants... I hope to inspire you to challenge yourself and to conquer your fears! 

So there's my introduction and mission statement!  I hope you'll join me on my way to 15K!  It should be an interesting ride! 

Happy Trails, and feel free to follow me on my journey at:  http://onmywayto15k.blogspot.com/
~Mel

my 2nd and 3rd entries...

Postponing the Inevitable

 
Today was going to be my 'BIG Picture' day where I take the dreaded "Before" picture and post it here along with my weight and measurements for the world to see!  (EEK!)  I know I'm crazy!  But if I'm gonna do it, freak'n do it right, right?!  BUT, I woke up with an awful sinus infection and I'm still rock'n this strep throat... so I'm giving myself a pass... for today!  Tomorrow, it's on... or off,... with the clothes.  :/

So for today, I'll share with you my 'experience' on my last run... a couple days ago before I got sick. 
I was running the paths behind my house... they're about 3 miles total, winding around a creek and nature preserve that extends through a bunch of homes in our development.  There are deer, coyote, beaver, raccoons, rabbits and more!  It's really beautiful when it's not so dreary out... the picture below is crappy, took it with my laptop camera on photo booth... but you get the idea!  With a view like this from my master bedroom, it's been taunting me for the last 6 years... come run me, come run me!  I have a few times, but not on a regular basis like I'd like.


So I'm out here running and instead of feel'n the vibes from my jams or enjoying the beautiful scenery I'm focused on my freak'n fat tummy!  My waist band can't seem to stay put... it's either above the roll or below it and either way, the fat is NOT secure!  Ewe... all I feel is this fat stomach bouncing up and down while I run!  I don't understand, I imagined this going a lot more like this:

and a lot less like this:
But hey, you gotta start somewhere!

I kept trying to encourage myself, "you're a lot further along than anyone on the couch right now" or something to the effect that I had read earlier on Pinterest.  But it didn't help.  All I could think about and all I could feel was ashamed!  How could I let myself get to this point.  I felt embarrassed and ashamed, and grossed out!  All this negative chatter just swirling around in my head began to make my shoulders tight and my body stiff, and my feet heavy!  I stopped at the creek on the bridge to stretch out.  Suddenly there was something more beautiful before me that completely took my mind off of how ugly I felt!
It was a Cardinal! 
Now, I don't know if you have ever seen a cardinal?  This is only the 2nd one I've seen in the 6 years I've lived here... but against the bare brown branches and white sky... snow on the ground, it's a brilliant sight!  I've always felt like running puts me closer to God.  In nature.  It really can feel spiritual at times and it's one of the things I love most about it.  We just sat there for a minute, this cardinal and I ... staring at each other.  I began to feel better.  Silly even, for feeling so crappy only moments before that. 

I mean really, I have given birth to 3 beautiful little people!  I have nurtured and nursed these three little people for the past 6 years straight with the very same body I created them from, and you know what!?  SCREW the fat roll!  Who cares!?  Do I want it gone!?  Sure!  But in the whole scheme of things... I am damn proud of my body and what it is capable of!  What it's done!  And so what if I'm a little heavier for it... ok, a lot heavier. 
At the end of the day, I'd do it all again!  It was just what I needed that red bird!  Reminding me of the beauty of life.  When you see something bright in the darkness, it's just a beacon of hope!  Keep the faith! 
I ran on!  I was lighter on my feet, my head was held high, I had tears on my cheeks and a bounce in my step!  Free!  Freedom!  This is what it's about!  Free yourself from the negative clutter that fills your time and brain, and just be!
I kid you not, that bird followed me, hoping from tree to tree, until I reached the end of the path and continued by road about 200 meters up.   I felt like I was in a cartoon or something...where the birds sing along and land on your finger!? 
It may not seem like a big deal, but in that moment... it was magic!
 

THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 2012

Gearing Up!

 
So... being that it's been nearly 15 years since I've really ran or trained.  And seeing that I am a good 50 pounds heavier than I was then.  Considering that I have high arches, I pronate, my gait is weird, I have weird bones all over my feet that rub wrong.  I have fractures in my spine, torn cartilage in both knees... arthritis in my neck, feet and hands and really bad Sciatica.  I probably shouldn't be running at all.  Quite frankly, it is one of the worst things you can do to your joints and body... but at this point, this extra weight I'm carrying isn't healthy either. 

Since running is the one physical activity I've always enjoyed... I've decided to just proceed with caution.
One of the most important things you can do as a runner is to purchase the correct running shoe for you!  This is so much easier said than done however, even with the help of trained professionals!  You will probably shell out a small fortune just finding the right shoes.... but the way I look at it, it's cheaper than all of rehab and physical therapy I would need later for injuries.  And since the shoes are only gently used when you figure out they're not the perfect match you can possibly recoup some of your losses on ebay, craigslist or the like.  Here was an article I finally found that helped me figure out what type of shoe I would need. 
http://www.sierratradingpost.com/lp2/running-shoe-guide/

So when shopping for my new running shoes, I went straight to Nike.  Because 15 years ago, they made my favorite running shoe!  Well a lot has changed since then and Nike no longer seems to work for me!  I think I tried all of them on and bought 2 different pair before I accepted this fact.  No more Nike!?  But what's a girl to do!?  I am a running shoe orphan... and there are so many options out there!

I started reading reviews and articles about finding the right shoe.  It seems my problem is that I need both a cushion shoe and a support shoe, to my knowledge you can't get both?! 
The third pair of shoes I bought were Asics.   They got great reviews but they just didn't work for me.  I had pain throughout my entire body from doing 5 miles of walking... just walking!  I developed plantar fasciitis previously and these shoes seemed to make it worse! 
So next I tried the Brooks.  I thought for sure, this is the shoe!  I had a professional help me pick them out.  I loved the way they felt in the store!  They fixed my pronating problem and supported my arches... they felt great!  Then I got out on the trails.  OUCH!  I couldn't run more than a half mile with out feeling pain under my knees and especially in my shins!  I felt like I had to stop running or I'd get shin splints, but I wasn't winded or tired . I felt like I could keep running if it weren't for these particular pains.  This is what led me to believe that I had the wrong shoe... even though at this point, I felt like it was my problem.  There must be something wrong with me!?  I had shelled out over $400 already and still hadn't found what I needed.  I was discouraged and frustrated!  Really, it would have been so easy for me just to throw in the towel right here and say I am too old, too fat, too broken and I can't do this!!

Instead, I decided to do some more research.  Surely, I couldn't be the only person out there having trouble with their shoes?!  I wondered, how many people have simply put on any old shoe and tried to run... felt pain and quit.  How many people have assumed they are not a runner or they can't run, simply because they were in the wrong shoes?! 

I found a thread on Runner's World about 'barefoot running.'  It got me thinking about the way I was coached and trained to run in high school and how it most likely led to so many of my injuries.  I was always taught to run heel to toe!  You drive off your heels and roll off your toes, with long strides! 

While it might look pretty, it doesn't make a lot of sense and causes more problems and impact on your body and joints.  Really, for the least amount of pain, strain or injury... we should be leaning slightly forward, taking shorter strides and landing on the middle of our feet, rolling off our toes.  There is a shoe FOR ALL FOOT TYPES that supports just this style of running and it's made my Newton!  I swear they are not paying me to write this... but Newton if you're reading and want to advertise here (and send me free shoes) ;), you can gladly have the space! 
But seriously, I feel indebted to them for creating such an incredible shoe!  I know a lot of runner's find them unstable and weird, I'm usually in the minority for most things... but they work for me!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fBh2qH4QbM

I got the Newton Trail shoe and I love them... they're really bright... but honestly, I like that part too! :)
They're pricey, but worth every penny!
Here's is THE shoe for me... finally!  :)
http://www.roadrunnersports.com/rrs/products/NWT115/

This was my fifth running shoe purchase, so I finally found a website that allows you to exchange your shoes within 60 days of purchase, no questions asked... if they're not the right shoe for you!  Course, I found the right shoe on this purchase and wont need to... but why oh why did I not find them for my other 4 purchases?!
Here's a link to their website if you're interested and you can get 10% with this special link:

http://www.roadrunnersports.com/rrs/offer/referAfriend.jsp?tellapal.id=9fbc2abf-8b5d-4276-93a4-b45048b1dfa1&e=melgrimsug%40yahoo.com&f=Melisa&l=Sugden&dist_src=facebook&fb_source=message

If you sign up for VIP, I think it's like id="mce_marker".99... you get free, faster shipping, and discounts off the shoes!  I saved id="mce_marker"3 even with the id="mce_marker".99 VIP membership due.  I was impressed when I received my new shoes too that they included a return address label with the POSTAGE PAID!  Unbelievable!  They will pay to have you send your used shoes back if they don't work?!  Wow, pretty amazing customer service, again I kicked myself for not buying my previous 4 pairs there.  They were awesome with my order too! I had to call and cancel the first one after reading reviews that Newton's run a FULL size larger than you would usually wear, so I am a 7 and a half, I bought 8's... I had to call, cancel and reorder 8 and a half's. They handled it no problem and got them out the same day!  I can't say enough great things about this company, I'll be buying all of my running shoes here for now on!  They also participate with I Give... a fundraising opportunity where a percentage of your purchase is donated to the charity of your choice.  You must however, install the IGive button on your computer. 
http://www.igive.com/

My first run on the Newton's I ran nearly 3 miles... only had to stop a few times, but not due to the shoe! Simply because I couldn't breath and had to cough up a lung as if I had been smoking my whole life!  Seriously out of shape here folks!

Next I headed over to Amazon and purchased a pedometer watch!  It only set me back around $30.  And it tells time, keeps track of your heart rate,  has a stop watch, counts calories and fat burned, tells you your speed, distance etc... it'll really help me to keep accurate stats on my training runs. 

I've been researching training programs and proper diets.... I'll be getting into that more soon, but for now we're battling strep throat this week so I'm laying low with chicken soup! 

So I'm all geared up to go now and ready to run!

If you are local and ever feel like walking or running with me... trust me, I'm slow... just let me know!  Or if you're interested in running the race with me!?  I'd love a buddy!

Happy Trails,
~Mel

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