Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Bit of Honesty

I know I still have Part 2 for Kathleen's blog waiting to be published, but I have something that's been weighing on me for awhile now. The Boston Marathon bombing has prompted me to write about not only what's been weighing on me, but a new weight I suddenly felt after hearing about the bombing.

People that read my blog and don't know me may think that I'm always perky and positive; well I'm here to say that this is not the case. Sure, I most definitely am when I'm trying to encourage and motivate people, but I am human! The past few months have been tough, this is the reason I've been quiet for such a long time, I tend to close in on myself when I'm down. I think I've finally been feeling normal for the past few weeks/month. For the first time since starting my weight loss journey on February 15th of 2010, I found myself battling depression again. Don't get me wrong, I would get down here and there (who doesn't), but I am talking about a full on out battle against depression consuming me. I have not felt like doing anything, especially working out, I've felt only like sleeping and eating. And it shows, well it showed... I feel like I have begun to slim up some in the past couple of weeks. What started as a 3 pound gain after the holidays has turned into 7 pounds and I've felt every one of them. And I know what you're thinking, for a girl that's lost 130 pounds I sound awfully ungrateful to fuss over 7 pounds, but on a 5'2 frame girl, that's quite a bit! I have tried to pin down exactly when this all started and the best estimation I can say is somewhere between my Marathon at the end of November and the Ragnar Relay at the beginning of January. It's hard to put into words exactly how I've felt... except that for the most part I just did not care so much about everything I had cared very much about just a short time before. I also struggled to figure out WHY I was suddenly thrust into this emotional turmoil and I've come up with a few theories:

1.) I've read about people that have lost weight or reached massive goals that felt at a loss or without a purpose after reaching success. I think this was part of it for me, but not only that then I had to deal with 2.) The fact that two of the things I had been working towards for almost a year were not only complete, but in my mind they represented failure. My marathon was an excruciating experience for me and I was nowhere near my time goal (I know that's why you don't set time goals for your first marathon!) and I did not match my projected pace for the Ragnar either, especially after that glorious 9.7 miles in the blazing Florida heat. I felt like two of the biggest things I'd been working so hard to prepare for were almost a waste because I failed myself. It's impossible to describe to you all how incredibly hard I am on myself. I blame myself for everything, even things that are so far outside of my realm of control that I can not even see the full picture of the situation at hand - I just know it's my fault. Logically I know that I did the best I could, and I should be proud of where I've come from and everything I've achieved, but there will always be a small part of me that fights against logic to try to self-sabotage. (How many times have I preached that you are your OWN worst enemy???) Which brings me to 3.) I'm not accustomed to things working out so well for me. Perhaps a small part of me fears happiness and what comes with it; I've hit a few bumps in the road of life and just maybe I've always thought that I was destined to struggle. 4.) I was unhappy in my work (until I received a promotion at the beginning of February), need I say more here? 5.) Weight gain. On top of all the other things that were going through my mind, I felt  like I was digressing due to the three pounds I'd gained over the holidays, which in turn led to me gaining more thus deepening my sense of having failed.  

These ideas are all just musings that I've come up with, possibly it has nothing to do with any of that, maybe it was just that the holiday blues decided to hang around a little longer than normal or perhaps a case of Seasonal Affective Disorder. But that does not really matter now, what matters is that I've found my way back and how I found my way back. I've still struggled with my eating some, but not because of depression, because I like to eat and I haven't had to restrict calories in over a year now! So I've been adjusting to counting calories again and keeping a closer eye on what and how much I've been eating. I have to say it kinda sucks after being in maintenance so long, but I'll be much more content with myself to get back to my "happy size". One of the main keys to finding my way back was something I constantly am telling people, (including my Zumba ladies when they ask me how I have the energy I portray!) "fake it till you make it!"  This is vital! Not just for my circumstances, but think about all the times you've gone to the gym even when you did not feel like it and you forced yourself to do it. How many of those times did you make it and feel good about doing so? And I can't count how many times I've made myself go to social events and parties and later be glad that I did because I ended up having a good time. While I'm thinking about my Zumba peeps, I need to give them the credit they deserve, my classes are a huge part of how I kept my head above water. I had to make my Zumba class and that was at least two workouts a week I was guaranteed, and I think those classes, or more importantly those people, were a huge factor in keeping me at it at all. No matter what kind of mood I'm in, by the time I have my time with my class, I feel good afterwards and I'm so grateful that those people keep coming back and are such an awesome bunch. They are almost like a support system for me, and they did not even know it! I think another part of what's helped me come around is that I've set a few new goals. Having something to work on is always good for the soul! 1.) To get to my happy size. 2.) Work on strengthening and toning my body - this means that I will not set a happy weight, for honestly I'd be perfectly happy with weighing 150 lbs and being in a size two. Muscle weighs more than fat and the more you weigh the higher your metabolism is, so bring on the muscle!!! 3.) Get to a point where 13 miles is a baseline for running for me. That way anytime someone proposes a race up to a half marathon, that I'll be ready. I've managed to keep my long runs around 8-10 miles so I'm not just completely out of shape, but I do have some work to do. 

This brings me to the second reason I felt so strongly about putting this blog up tonight. I have a friend who has been training for her first half-marathon and is going to run the OKC Memorial Half-Marathon this coming Sunday. I had talked about maybe running with her (not physically with her because she's way faster than me!), but I haven't been training the way I should have been and I do not feel at all prepared. I ran 10 miles on Friday at an extremely slow pace and experienced a massive amount of soreness for the rest of the day. This was a tad discouraging but I just thought to myself, yeah I need to get back into good running shape! I started to tell my friend that I was not going to run the half when I saw her on Saturday, but she expressed concern and nervousness after the Boston Marathon bombing. She asked my opinion and I told her that if it were me, that I would not let someone else's actions dictate how I lived my life, and that I wouldn't let them instill fear in me to stop me from doing the things I enjoyed and keep me from my goals. The way I left it with my dear friend is that if she would run, I would run. Well this weighed heavily on my mind for the rest of the afternoon until I came to this conclusion. If I left the decision up to my friend then I was copping out. For someone that believes so strongly in something, I would be nothing but a hypocrite and a coward if I put whether or not I ran the half in my friend's hands. I knew from experience that if I could run 10 miles (albeit slow and slightly out of shape), that I could run 13.1 miles, too. I made the decision and then got online and registered for the race. Later that evening I texted my friend and told her I registered for the race and would be running come Sunday. I think we're both really excited for both of us to be running! There is a small part of me that imagines how terrible it must have been at the Boston Marathon and how horrifying it would be to see that kind of explosion up close and personal, but I smother the fear. I'm more concerned with following through on something to be proud of, to take a stand for something I believe in. So.  Here's to Boston! Here's to OKC! Here's to runners running because they can, because they love to, because they didn't know they could. Here's to people fulfilling dreams, accomplishing goals and here's to people doing things to take a stand, to make a stake in what's important to them. And thank you to my dear friend for reminding me of all that in just a brief conversation. I can't wait until Sunday and to celebrate our run afterwards. It's going to be a glorious day of triumph.

And next time, more on Kathleen and her inspirational story! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kathleen - A True Inspiration - Broken - Part 1

When I moved to Texas from Saudi Arabia, I had a difficult time adjusting. I had many things going on in my life and no friends. The only friends I had were left in California from before our stay overseas. 6th grade could have been a lot worse than it ended up being, however. I made a couple "friends" that I hung out with a bit, but what really changed my life was when I got assigned to work on a class project with Kathleen. Somehow Kathleen and I just clicked, and through Kathleen, I met some other kids our age and slowly I made friends and life got better. From the beginning, Kathleen and I started up with our shenanigans. Between the two of us we covered the entire spectrum of various personality qualities. From crazy and reckless to motherly and responsible - we had it covered.

Sometimes Kat and I were so much alike that we were like sisters; and acted as such. Other times we were polar opposites, but this is how we balanced each other out. Most importantly though, is how throughout the years and throughout change, we're still there for each other. It wouldn't be adequate to say that we're best friends or any of the conventional labels to describe our friendship; we're Kat and Lealah, plain and simple. After high school, our relationship changed and we grew apart some, we talked less. She went to school in the UK and I went to school in South Texas. We each made new friends and got occupied with college life. We still talked online and kept in touch, it was just far less frequent.

Last year Kat and I talked after not talking for some time, and I found out that Kathleen had broken her back. Or more accurately she had her back broken for her. Something about Kat and I is that we can laugh about anything. Shamefully the method in which she told me her story had us both laughing - luckily we are the kind of people that can find humor in our misfortune or perhaps in this situation find humor in the ridiculousness of which her incident occurred. This is how awesome Kat is. Sadly I cannot do her story that kind of justice, but here it is nonetheless:

Kathleen and her aunt were walking circles around the mall to get a little bit of exercise in. Her aunt had made a joke about how Kathleen was cheating because she was walking on the inside of the circle and therefore had a shorter distance, so they switched spots and Kathleen started walking on the outside of the circle. They were walking on the lower level of the mall and were passing underneath the Sears when out of nowhere a man came flying over the ledge and landed smack on top of Kathleen. The guy took off running and fled the premises. Come to find out, the man had robbed Sears and used Kat as a cushion (intentionally) for his landing on his escape route. Kathleen lay in excruciating pain, broken on the ground as some jackass succeeded in evading security. Kathleen told  me that she was just glad that she had switched spots with her aunt and that the man had landed on her and not her aunt. Coincidence? The paramedics made it to the mall and started caring for her when a woman came running to one of the paramedics with a small child in a panic because the child was choking. Coincidence? When it was all said and done, Kathleen was left suffering and broken, but what did she have to say about it? She was glad that it was not her aunt and that the paramedics were already onsite when the child started choking. It's a good thing Kathleen is such a positive person because she had a tough year ahead of her.