Tag Archives: Failure

Running for the Win

Many changes have happened from my first 5K in 2012 to my first 10K in 2015!

Many changes have happened from my first 5K in 2012 to my first 10K in 2015!

My almost two-year gastric sleeve journey brings so many rewards. Better physical and mental health are the biggest rewards naturally. After completing my first 10K race this weekend, though, I’ve realized the best reward really is the confidence and pride I have in myself. All it took was running 6.2 miles to get this through my thick head.

When I signed up for this race I admit I was a bit cocky. I ran my last 5K race with my best time ever so I figured it was time to push myself. So what if my pace was still pretty slow and that I still walk and run? I found a 10K race set for about two months later. Perfect! I would be ready and confidant.

As the weeks passed, I started to reconsider my decision. My hamstrings and shoes were bothering me. I missed a week of running due to a cold. Excuses, excuses, I know. I got over my cold and went right to the store for new shoes. I was back on track.

Well, until I looked at the race course. I picked this race because it included running over the Golden Gate Bridge, but in my excitement I forgot I would have to go up hills to get to the bridge. Oops. So with two weeks until the race I added hills into my training. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fast. “I am going to die” kept going through my mind as I stumbled up hills.

While I was nervous up until the race started, I did manage to keep my mantra in mind: “all you have to do is finish.” Before every race my 7-year-old tells me she hopes I win and I always tell her I’m running to finish, not to win. This past Sunday when I said it I realized I actually am trying to win. I’m trying to beat my previous pace, but really I’m trying to beat my doubts, my lack of confidence and my fear of failure.

So, how did the race go? The first quarter-mile was a lovely start and then the first hill appeared. I braced myself to be passed by “real” runners, but it didn’t happen. Yes, some people were running, but others jogged up and some even walked. Woo-hoo, I wasn’t the only runner/walker! It was a huge relief to know I wasn’t alone in my running method.

Before I knew it I made it to the Golden Gate Bridge. My Facebook friends know from my photos that I have a slight obsession with this bridge. It’s beautiful, spectacular and iconic and I can never get enough of it. To run over it and back was the highlight of the race. It was difficult to navigate at times as the walkway isn’t wide, but when I turned my head to take in the view, it took my breath away…more than the running. I couldn’t help but smile as I ran over the bridge. I’ve lived off and on in San Francisco for over 20 years and this was the first time I ever ran on the bridge.

The bridge is 1.7 miles each way and while it was amazing, the crowds, inclines, and staircases made it difficult at times. I am still getting used to confined spaces and the lack of personal space in races. I was bursting with pride when I stepped off the bridge, but self-doubt tried to creep back in. I paused for a second as I realized I had about two more miles to go. As if on cue, my ever-supportive husband texted me. I laughed and regained my confidence as I scanned his text and saw the words “Pull yourself together! What will you do? Is this a question?” It’s from my favorite Pixar character, Edna Mode from The Incredibles. Hearing hearing her voice and thinking of my husband’s support, got me back on track.

Well, until the last mile when my hamstrings ached and I calculated that I wouldn’t make my goal of finishing in 1 hour and 15 minutes. My spirits dipped and I considered just taking it slow, but I was able to brush off the negative attitude and kept going. I couldn’t finish in 1 hour and 15 minutes, but I could make it in 1 hour and 20 minutes and so I did!

Pancakes and beer with a gorgeous view after the race!

Pancakes and beer with a gorgeous view after the race!

Crossing a finish line never felt so good! The pancakes, sausage and beer breakfast afterward was the best meal I’ve had in a long time. I sat down on Crissy Field with my breakfast and new race t-shirt and stared at the bridge. I sipped my beer and smiled as I then and there decided I really had won the race. I pushed aside my doubts. I kept believing in myself. I came out a winner.

Pushing myself out of my 5K comfort zone into a 10K unknown experience was just what I needed for my continuing weight loss journey. While I’m all for comfort and stability, I know that I need challenges and goals to keep motivated and inspired. While I’m learning to enjoy where I am in my life, I know that I need to push my boundaries and limits from time to time.

I’ve also come to realize that disappointments and failures will come along with the successes. While at times I think of my slower pace and my run/walk style as failures, deep down I know they aren’t failures. Change and growth aren’t always comfortable, but for me they are well worth it. If you told me 3 years and 100+ pounds ago, I would run in a 10K race over my beloved bridge, I would have laughed and said, “Oh, no, not me.” But here I am the winner of my own personal race. Now, that is winning, isn’t it?

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I’m an Imposter and I’m Owning it!

JentheImposter

Yes, I’m Jen the Imposter. Not for long though as I’m back on track with my weight loss journey!

Yes, I said it. I am an imposter. At least that’s how I feel these days. I feel fat. I feel defeated. I feel I’m heading on up the scale, not down the scale. I am lost, frustrated and terrified.

Mostly I feel this way because of the dreaded scale. Of course I’ve said in the past that the scale is not the end all, be all in weight loss success. I can’t deny it’s importance in keeping track of my health and right now I’m four and half pounds above my weight window. At least that’s the number that’s in my head. I haven’t entered it in the My Fitness Pal program for the past two weeks since it doesn’t count if it’s not written down, right?

Before my gastric sleeve surgery, a gain of five pounds didn’t mean much. What was another five pounds on an obese body? Now that I’ve lost 100+ pounds, five pounds means more. It means I have the start of a muffin top and my breasts feel a little bigger. I can still fit in my clothes so that’s a relief, but I’m sure another pound could make my jeans tight and my bra tighter. Pudgy and doughy are good for pastry, but not on my body! Especially in light of all the work I did to get to this place.

So I’ve felt like a fake thin person for the past two weeks. While on the outside I think I look the same as before this five-pound gain, but on the inside I don’t. I feel like a fake healthy person. I started eating more protein bars and the scale is showing the results. So I stopped buying them and what did I do, but start eating my kids’ protein bars. Sigh. Bars are out in this house as well as bread for me. A bagel and cream cheese here, a slice of peanut butter toast there is not something I can handle these days. Time to own that face and step back from the carbs.

Even though I’m almost two years out from my surgery, I am very fortunate to have the support, encouragement and compliments from my family and friends. For the past two weeks it’s felt so wrong to say “Yes, I’ve lost 100+ pounds.” to people when in fact it’s only 97.5 pounds these days. I feel like such a liar.

But you know what, I’ve finally realized that we’re all imposters at some point in our lives. We all put on masks and act like who we’re supposed to be either to our community or to ourselves. Sometimes things just go off course or just plain wrong. I think it’s important to be who you want to be and need to be, but if you mess up, it’s really OK. Deep down, I know I’m not a failure. I have accomplished a lot and it’s fine to fail from time to time. It’s coming back from the failures that help define who you are.

So, yes, right now I may feel like a weight loss fake. And technically I am since I’ve gained weight and I let my exercise and eating habits go to hell for the past few weeks. But you know what…I’m going to own it. Yes, I’ve screwed up like I’ve done in the past, but this time is different. I now know that I can be successful. I’ve maintained my weight loss since July 2014 and that’s damn impressive! I can do it again if I really, really try. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Thanks for letting me share my failures of the past few weeks. If you see me with a bagel, feel free to gently remind me to put it down. Or actually feel free to slap it out of my hand. Perhaps it’s time for some tough love to get me to the next stage of my weight loss journey. Time to build up my strength, pride and accountability as I go back Down the Scale….