Some Things I Hate More Than Others.

Some Things I Hate More Than Others.

I dread exercise.

I basically despise healthy food.

I loathe what the scale reflects back at me when I step on it.

But more than any of that, I hate hate HATE how I look and how I feel in my own skin.

*Flashback to about 30 days ago*

When I look in the mirror, I don’t see the person I used to be OR the person I want to be. I see someone who has been comfortable just “being” and not someone who has a goal to work towards right now.

I was a dancer forever. I was thin with a great booty and fabulous boobs (sorry daddy). I was in shape and could contort my body all manner of ways. Then I hit college. And got married. And then I had babies. And life, and blah blah blah excuses blah blah blah.

After Charlie died, I was diagnosed with anxiety and PTSD, started taking an antidepressant and anxiety medication, and the baby weight just kinda stuck around. I didn’t care about anything, especially that. In fact, I jokingly called the extra 15 pounds I was carrying around “a souvenir.” The comfort food and dinners we ordered for delivery almost every night, combined with an overwhelming sadness made any desire to care about my looks just go away. I didn’t care about myself, just what I was missing with my son not here. 

And then you know what happens when you kept 15 pounds of souvenir baby weight from your first child and then you get pregnant again and gain 40 pounds? All of a sudden you are paralyzed by the extra weight you need to take off. Some came off naturally, and some from building a house and working outside in our new yard and then some? Some just stuck around. 

I became content and complacent and ok with where I was.

Four years ago, I woke up one morning, and like Forrest Gump, I started running. I was done being stuck. I was going to do something  My goal was to run a 5k and that very quickly turned into a goal of running a half marathon. I ran and ran and ran some more. 

I trained. I got fit (but not super fit). I felt amazing. And then I proceeded to run four half marathons and ten 10Ks and who knows how many 5Ks in four years. Hell, I even ran a 10K and a Half on 2 consecutive mornings. Something I never would have thought I could do. But I did it because I said I was going to do it. And maybe because I’m a little crazy.

GSC Finish

Then I quit. I quit running. I quit it all.

My knees hurt. My toes hurt. My arthritis was really bothering me. 

And then I got a divorce and became a single mom. The decision was mutual between us, but apparently, even if you KNOW that everything’s ok and happy and friendly, there’s still a sadness and grieving period that lingers over the newly divorced. 

And y’all, do you know how single moms (at least this one) eat? Well, ones who don’t want to cook two separate meals because their kid is a picky eater just suck it up and end up eating whatever junk is in the house. Or cereal. Or sometimes both. The easier the dinner, the better. And we all know that “easier” and “delicious” are slang for “pretty shitty for you.”

Ok. You can flashback to now. Flash forward. Whatever.

Anyway, now here I am. 40 and a half. Single, and ridiculously happy.

But I am so incredibly freaking uncomfortable in my own skin.

I’m pretty sure the last straw for me was somewhere around mid-April when I was ordering my Listen To Your Mother dress from eShakti and had to measure all over my body. When I saw the numbers that came back from a measuring tape, I literally cried because those numbers didn’t lie. I couldn’t fudge those numbers like I could the scale for things like “I’m wearing clothes” or “I’ve not pooped today” or any other reason to take 2 pounds off the number.

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That was when I realized how much weight I needed to lose. And how many inches needed to be gone. And how I really just wanted to feel more like myself inside my skin.

Here’s where I tell you my big secret: I don’t consider myself fat. I consider myself uncomfortable, a little fluffy, shapeless, and quite honestly, miserable. Now by some standards, I’m obese. By others, I’m still seen as normal. Whatever. It’s my body. I don’t like it.

I decided it was time to try something… anything. Just make a change.

Like they were reading my mind, I happened to receive an invitation to a take a VIP spin class at a new cycle joint in Dunwoody, CycleBar, and thought to myself, “Hmm. This is my chance to be like Jill Kargman on Odd Mom Out and all the UES women who sell their souls to the instructors at SoulCycle and beg to be yelled at and told to ‘man the eff up, warriors, so you can be thin and hot and sexxxxay’ and yes yes YES! I’m in!”

So I signed up for a free class.

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Well, my class just happened to be two days after I started the 21 Day Fix program my friend Sara told me about and sold me on. 21 Day Fix is a Beachbody program that basically tells you to “stop eating so damn much, girlfriend” and makes you exercise for a half hour each day. The first two workouts kicked my butt. Literally. My butt felt like it had been sno’nuff kicked by a zebra for hours on end.

So I saddled up at CycleBar for my class, alone and scared and so excited I could hardly stand it, but already unable to move from the 21 Day Fix workouts. I planned on sucking it up, going all in, and being the unicorn during the class so I could then going home to declare, “I LOVE EXERCISE!”

photo: WSJ

Jill Kargman, Odd Mom Out. Photo: WSJ

Only, ouch.

I was hungry and tired and so sore I couldn’t brush my teeth and I wanted my mommy. And then I realized, no. I don’t want my mommy. I want the body I had when I was 25 years old. So I did what any woman would do. I signed up for another class. And then another.

Now here I am. After completing a full 21 days of 21 Day Fix and 3 CycleBar classes, I can say that I am still not anywhere near my 25 year old body, but I’m down 5 full pounds and 17 inches (no, that is not a typo). If you feel like it, click HERE to see my before and after photos.

As far as cooking and eating right, while single, on 21 Day Fix? Well, I’ve started cooking my weekly meals on Sundays before Henry comes home and I’m ready for the week with lunches and dinners (for the most part). That gives me more time to spend with Henry during the week, to get in the daily workouts, and even hit the pool (because tan fat is better than pasty fat, right?) with the kid.

I still hate exercise and I still basically hate eating healthy because oh my gosh Krispy Kreme donuts are like little round bites of heaven and way better than a salad, but I love the direction this is going.

Because you know what? I hate feeling this way in my own skin WAY worse than I hate eating baked chicken and plain greek yogurt.

**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and a link to my personal Beachbody Coach site. If you have questions about Beachbody or 21 Day Fix, feel free to email me at janasthinkingplace@me.com.**

Goals. And Reaching Them.

Goals. And Reaching Them.

It’s not a secret, if you’ve been around here for a bit, that I have a love/hate relationship with running. I had never been a runner until one random morning in June 2012 when I decided, “Hey, I should run.” Yes, just like Forrest Gump.

Short version of the story: I started Couch to 5k and a few days later was talked into signing up for the Princess Half Marathon, which would be run a short 8 months after I got my ass off my couch. It was with the team from the Ronald McDonald House in Macon.

I’ve been a part of the RMHC in Macon since before it even opened its doors to families. Since then, I’ve served as a monthly meal maker, a weekend manager, a weekly shift volunteer, as a member of the Board of Directors, and now as a three-time member of TeamRMHC. While we don’t live in Macon anymore, a piece of our heart is in The House.

You see, when Charlie died, we asked for donations to be made to The House. If I remember right, over $10,000 was donated in his memory… thus, the playroom was named for him.

CFA Playroom

 

So in 2013, as my fundraising goal, I wanted to raise $2500 in honor of Charlie’s 10th Birthday. That year, we raised $5045. I ran hard and finished with my dear friend singing “Jesus Loves Me” in my ear, just like my Aunt sang as Charlie was baptised an hour before his death.

2014 brought the Glass Slipper Challenge. 19.3 miles of insanity. My goal was $2000, because I couldn’t imagine people would donate like they did the year before. We hit $2567 last year. I was floored. And honored.

This year, being the competitive person I am (with myself), I decided that if we could raise $7612, why couldn’t we make it an even $10,000? I mean, can’t hurt to try, right?

So with all of you behind me, I laced up and trained. And I asked you to donate. And once again, you came through. So many of you. Some with $5, some with more… all with love in your hearts.

This morning, I was in Waffle House with the family and got an email ding. It was a donation for $70. I knew my math. I knew that was the amount I needed. Shaking, I went to my page and saw this:

10k

In my head, the reporter asked me, “You’ve reached your goal… what are you going to do now?”

To which I answered emphatically, “I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!”

We did it, y’all! We did it! 

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! 

Running Contentment

Running Contentment

This week I wrote down the word “Contentment.”

Contentment is always a goal of mine. Sometimes I feel content with life and other times I feel like I’m flailing around like a fish out of water. I long for the times where I can just be.

I’m one of those people who is silently competitive. I like to raise more money than everybody else for my TeamRMHC races (yes, see sidebar for the link to donate). I like to be part of things that are just starting out (see twitter, ello, instagram). In high school I wanted to always win all the awards I could at dance team camp. I’m pretty good at quietly being competitive when it’s something I love. I like to be the best at things. It just feels good.

Lately I’ve felt very much NOT content with my running. I’m not getting faster, at least not a lot faster. It seems I’ve put on weight and allowed myself to get out of shape, causing me to huff and puff through a 1.5-2 mile run. In my head I’m better than that. In my head, it’s easy. In my heart, I want it to be easy. I want to be the best I can be. To be content.

red hare chase 5k

This morning, I ran with my running buddy and cheerleader, Sharon. We headed over to Cobb County and ran a 5k for beer while being chased by Red Hares.

It was a hard and hella hilly race, and my first race since March. Luckily, I hadn’t looked at the elevation chart beforehand because it was pretty much all uphill for the first 2 miles. And like I do, I kept apologizing to Sharon for being so slow. I think I heard her threaten to hit me if I said it again, but I get very self conscious because I’m slow. She runs 9 minute miles and I run 14-15 minute miles. But she reminded me that she WANTED to run with me so I shut up. We were doing it for fun and beer. That’s it. We weren’t out to win the race.

After we finished, drank our beer(s), ate our hot dogs and then stopped at Chick Fil A, I drove home where I immediately posted to a friend that I finished – that I’d had beer and that it was ok to have two before 9:30am because it’s game day and how it kicked my ass.

She responded with Congrats and that (ugh) I’ve inspired her to get back at it.

And that’s when I realized it. I kinda AM finding myself content with my running.

I run how I run.

Which is with arthritis, with big toes that don’t bend at all, and with about 50 extra pounds on me.

Every step is painful and make me question whether I’ve had my medicine or put enough topical pain reliever on my feet. But the good news is that after about 2 miles, the pain is so great I don’t really feel it. But every step is a chore.

But then there are those last 5 steps over the finish line. And they are absolutely worth it.

I’ve found intervals I love (1:30 run/:30 walk) and when I feel like it, I listen to my body. Sometimes it says run through the walk interval and sometimes it says, “Jana, you need to walk for 5 minutes or I’m going to give up.” I’ve learned to hear its cries, and to be honest, no matter what I do, I end up finishing in just about the same time.

I’m content with where I am, with how fast (slow) I run, with the aches and pains I feel and work through, and with the fact that even though I’ll never be THE BEST, I’m content to be MY BEST.

And that’s all I really need  to ever be.

The Dumbest, Most Amazing Thing I’ve Ever Done #GlassSlipperChallenge

The Dumbest, Most Amazing Thing I’ve Ever Done #GlassSlipperChallenge

There. I said it. Running the Glass Slipper Challenge was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.

Yet it was also one of the most amazing.

Twenty-ish months ago, when I decided  to lace up some running shoes and give the whole running thing a shot, I had no clue I would end up running three half marathons in one calendar year. I certainly didn’t think I would be insane enough to sign up for a 10k and a half marathon in ONE WEEKEND. That much I can promise you.

Yet I did.

And (spoiler alert for those who live under a rock) I did it.

Last month, I wrote a quick post about leaving it all on the table and coming back from a race with a new sense of purpose. I can honestly say, having run 19.3 miles (and walked dozens of others) over the course of two days, I left it all on the table and I’m just thrilled to have come back from the race (with or without a new sense of purpose).

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The whole Princess Half weekend was amazing. I drove down alone. It was a great 6 hours in the car by myself. And when I joined up with the RMH van around Lake City and followed it all the way to Disney, I knew the weekend would be great.

RMH Van

Friday morning I went to Magic Kingdom with Kadye.

jana at magic kingdom

 

We rode a handful of rides, including Big Thunder Mountain — MY VERY FIRST TIME!

thundermountain

I spent one night by myself before my friend Melissa joined me on Friday. Our boys have been friends since kindergarten and we’ve really become friends in the last year or so. This was her first half marathon and she was a wee bit nervous. I can’t blame her. Even having run two others, I was nervous, too! After a few hours at the Magic Kingdom with Kadye, I met her and we hooked up with Amy at the Expo.

expo

With my Inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge number in hand and her very first Half Marathon number in hand, we made our way through all the vendors and sponsors with Amy. Afterwards, Melissa and I hit Downtown Disney for an early dinner before hitting the bed for a VERY early wake up call!

That night before bed, though, the most amazing thing happened… The competitive me was proud! I passed the $2500 mark for the Ronald McDonald House!

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 12.57.00 PMI had told Melissa if she was up to a 3am wake up call, she would really enjoy seeing the 10k corrals and start and finish. Last year, we watched the 5k and it helped alleviate nerves about the next morning AND created HUGE excitement seeing people of all ages, sizes, and running abilities cross that finish line.

I met up with Claudia and Angela in the corral. It seemed like there were 5000 people in the corrals and that they took forever to get to the start. But finally it started.

It was a great race… going through the World Showcase at Epcot, around the Boardwalk, and then back through Epcot to the finish. My goal for that race, knowing I would have to run another 13.1 miles the next day, was 1:45.

I finished it in 1:47:17. And that was with an 8-10 minute wait in line for the bathroom.

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Part 1 of the Glass Slipper Challenge: DONE.

After the race, Melissa and I headed over to the McDonalds for the Team RMHC brunch. Little did I know it would be one of the best photo opps of the weekend!

RonaldShoes

The afternoon was spent at Epcot with Amy. We rode rides, hydrated, rode more rides, hydrated, hit every bathroom we passed… we got into the special Disney Visa cardholder spot and got super special lovin’ from Mickey and Goofy. We carbed up at Via Napoli in Italy for dinner. I loved spending time with her and getting to know her better. She’s hardly selfish at all (as her blog title insinuates she is)!

epcotwithamy

 

After an early bedtime and even EARLIER wake up call, it was time to rock the half marathon.

Melissa and I got dressed, had some bagels and yogurt and whatnot, and headed to meet the Team RMHC crew at the lobby. We got the bus with about 100 other dazed and confused and very excited princesses-to-be.

I had told Melissa I would start in her corral and run with her. My friend Amy ran with me last year and it made all the difference in the world when I wanted to quit or when I felt overwhelmed or when I was just bored. We hit the potties, made our way to the corrals, and waited. Finally around 6, it was time for us to go.

princess1

It’s a tough race in that most of the time, unless you start in a smaller, earlier corral, you can’t just RUN. There’s a lot of jogging and walking and what feels like running in place simply because of the number of people. There are around 30,000 who run this race. To say it gets congested is an understatement.

But we ran.

We ran down Main Street, USA in the fog. We ran through Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, and then out of the park.

castle

This was where I hit my wall. After 6.2 miles on Saturday, around mile 7, I realized what a stupid idea this was. I was in pain, it was hot (about 70), it was unbearably humid (like running through thunderstorm clouds but without actual rain), my feet didn’t want to work any longer, I could feel a blister forming under my toes, and did I mention it was hot as hell?

But there was a glorious INAUGURAL medal waiting for me. One that only a few (hundred, okay, maybe a few thousand) people were getting. I mean, my name was on a board and everything. I had to keep on.

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But there were so many miles left.

I kept checking on Melissa, trying to think about HER and not ME. I was getting texts saying “great job” and all that. But goodness knows, it wasn’t fun. I left the fun in the Magic Kingdom.

Now it was just tedious.

Mile 8. Mile 9. Mile 10.

Mile 11. Mile 12.

Only ONE MORE MILE (plus .1). We’ve got this. We were light years ahead of the feared “balloon ladies” and I was even able to help another runner settle down who was panicked about them coming after her. There were thousands of people behind us.

The finish line couldn’t come soon enough.

But in the blink of an eye (kidding – it took forEVER), there it was.

finish

WE DID IT!

(Official time: 3:38:38)

Melissa finished her first half marathon!

And I finished the dumbest, most amazing thing I’ve ever done — the Glass Slipper Challenge.

GSC Finish

On Goal-Setting and A New Sense of Purpose

Last week, I was chatting with a friend. Our quick chats are usually pretty random, but that’s what makes them fun. Sometimes they take a serious turn and wisdom explodes from one of our brains. He was talking about doing something that would leave him, hopefully, refreshed and renewed and with a new sense of purpose. He called it a challenge and said that to him it was going to be like his version of running a half marathon and he wanted to see if he could actually do it.

It really made me think about how running a half marathon effects me.

I’ve always been a list-maker instead of a goal-maker. Being in the moment and doing “today” seems easier to me than looking towards the future with a big giant goal. Having small items to check off and not have lingering over me have truly been the backbone of my existence. Some may even say I fear failure because of not wanting to set long-term goals. Valid thought.

When I set the (seemingly) lofty goal to run a 5k, I thought surely I would never make it. Why? Because it wasn’t something I could put on a list and mark off after a single day or a single chore.

And then I signed up for a half. I swore it was my only one, but everybody else swore it was my “first.” After I finished, I realized what I loved about the goal-setting and goal-completing.

It wasn’t before or during. It wasn’t even the crossing of the finish line.

It was the BIG, GIANT, SWOOPING, CEREMONIAL marking off of the goal on the proverbial to-do list.

The feelings afterwards, after marking the goal off the list are strange. The feelings of elation and accomplishment are quickly followed by a sadness of sorts. Maybe it’s a desperation to quickly fill that marked-out space on the list with something else.

The empty hole that’s left is from my own doing. Running a long race causes your body to push further than it normally should. Even being a “slow runner” I leave it all on the table. Ten steps across the finish and I realize that I’ve left every emotion, every ounce of energy, every bit of mental distress, and every bit of me on the course. Physically, mentally, emotionally, I’m done. Spent. Empty.

After a few days, that emptiness fills again with new hope and new goals and new dreams for “what’s next.” I’m a new person – refreshed, renewed, and with a new sense of purpose.

Here’s to leaving it all on the two race courses next weekend and coming back ready to take on the world and set a new goal for myself.

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