Sunday, March 20, 2011

Work it Off; Sweat it Out

What have you done? Have you ever asked yourself this question? For me it's usually negatively associated with having made a mistake or doing something really stupid. When my mom used to say this to me every part of me would freeze and this awful feeling would creep over me like a paralyzing infestation. What did you do?

But these days I find myself asking this of myself in the sense that I am mentally checking in with myself, "What did you do?" One of the best feelings is coming home after a long day and thinking about all of the things you have accomplished. And since my day usually starts at 5am and goes until probably 11:30pm I have a lot to ponder. Not every day is a good one though, and sometimes it's hard not to want to think about everything that went wrong. In fact, about three months ago the martyr in me would prefer that. But things have changed so much in what seems like such a short amount of time.

It's March 20th. Eleven more days in this month and it's gone. Where did it go? Well so I started training in January and signed up for the marathon in February....what do I have to show for it?

First off, as of now, my running has improved immensely. I am now able to run for 90 minutes on the treadmill (and today I did an hour on the elliptical and another hour right afterward on the treadmill). I am extremely proud of my endurance, but even more impressed with the increase in pace. Getting up to a 6.0 pace was such a struggle, I used to only save it for the last 45 seconds of my run. Now? Now I can almost start my run at this pace. I am able to hold it for almost an hour, and that my friends is impressive. My bursts are now reaching speeds of 8.0-9.0! So in all of that, my mileage has increased steadily as well. Running for an hour is equivalent to just under 6 miles; running for an hour and a half is around 9.....groooovy! One worry I have about this is, surprise, not me burning out but rather whether I will be able to match this pace and mileage once I make the full transition outside. I went for a run a week ago today and it was great! I did over 4 miles and could have done more but I desperately needed to get in the gym before heading out for a much needed shopping trip that afternoon.

Speaking of shopping trip, that's the part I am really impressed with. After working my ass off for 7 days a week for at least 2 hours a day, I am finally seeing some results. I went to the Aurora shopping mall and came home with practically a whole new wardrobe. I've lost a significant amount of weight in all of this, and don't ask me how much because I'll tell you I don't know. I can't even begin to tell you how many people have given me awkward looks and asked how I don't know. Well my friends, the simple answer to that is that I haven't been checking. When I started this training I told myself I wasn't going to weigh myself to determine my success; rather I am going more by how I feel and trying to be healthy.

Anyways, like I was saying before I interrupted myself, I've lost quite a bit of weight in all of this. So much so that I just bought a pair of jeans that were...are you ready for this, an 8!!!! I haven't been an 8 since high school and they were even slightly loose! Take a moment and realize that if I were telling you this to your face I'd be jumping up and down with a huge smile on my face probably shouting, just a little. I didn't want anyone to miss out on this visual :)

Furthermore, as the shopping trip continued we went to New York & Co where I bought things in a size small (what?!) and four amazingly cute bras from Victoria Secret. If you don't know, I have not been able to buy "cute" bras for many years now. And when I say this I am referring to anything that isn't black, nude or white. But now, now I have one with hearts and rhinestones, electric blue and this TMI? I really don't care though because I was so excited I was fully prepared to wear them on the outside, but I was advised from a good friend that I would probably get some stares from that.

So these are my achievements and above all I feel great! My favorite part in all of this though is not related to how I look but rather to how I approach obstacles these days. I wrote a post earlier about how things have been rather difficult lately for me and they haven't exactly gotten any better. In fact last week I was up to my eyeballs in stress and was still expected to go into internship to work with kids. I asked myself if I felt like I could even emotionally handle myself around the kids with the mood I was in, and I contemplated not going in but because of how short handed we were, I had no choice. So what did I do? Well I took the bus home, walked into my apartment where I collapsed into my bed and just let the tears spill into my pillow. I cried my eyes out for a good 3 minutes before I picked myself up, sat down at my vanity to fix my makeup and walked back out the door to go to internship. After I was done for the day I felt great; the kids were a good mood booster but at the same time I feel like that one good cry was an amazing release. I took myself to the gym after internship for another release through a long run. I can't get over how great it is to just mentally check out for an hour. My legs are running on that treadmill, and I can feel my feet making contact with the belt but my thoughts are so far from that impact that before you know it 54 minutes have gone by.

Maybe this sounds kind of funny, and the more I think about it I might sound a little crazy. But everyone's gotta have their something. Something they love to do, something that drives them, something to get them to not do their homework...because let's be honest, there's always time for a run, it's just an hour right? All of the problems of your day will linger until you close them off and if that means taking an hour or so away from my life well then I'm going work it off and sweat it out.

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