In the Valley

I have mentioned many times before that the most difficult thing I have ever attempted is not the marathon. No, in actuality, it is taking control of my thoughts. Changing my negative thoughts to positive ones. And I’ve been having a lot of negative thoughts lately. Mostly due to this occurrence:

weight gain

Ouch…

In January, I set a goal to run a sub 23:00 5k. I thought it would take me most of the year to get there because my 5k PR in December was 25:23. But on March 23rd I participated in the St. Louis Take Steps for Kids 5k and ran 22:47. A 7:20 pace!!

My first thought was this is a mistake! There is NO WAY that was a full 5k. So I checked it with gmap-pedometer.com and my online garmin map. Sure enough, it was 3.1 miles. So I met my goal super early!! I was stoked. All that hard work in the gym suffering through crossfit definitely paid off!

And then I came back to Texas and something changed. I still can’t quite pinpoint and I don’t think I ever will. Mostly because I don’t think I can point to one cause. There were many things going on at once. Moving, making arrangements, applying for jobs, becoming a Mary Kay consultant, spending time with family, living apart from Josh, subbing in a new school district. Phew! My mind was definitely elsewhere. Then I started feeling sick. An allergy or ongoing sinus infection, who knows.

But I’ve told you all this to tell you that I am not performing well right now. And do you know what someone who is afraid of failure does when they aren’t performing? They just stop. Why would I want to go running when I could barely breathe? I decided that maybe my body was trying to tell me to rest. So I took a few days off, which kinda turned in to weeks.

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But I finally realized that all the time in the day I spent worrying and feeling guilty about my lack of exercise was far worse than any workout or bad run. Don’t get me wrong, bad runs suck, but that pain is only temporary. Feeling sorry for yourself is an all-day pain.

As a Mary Kay beauty consultant, I get to listen to motivational messages every day. And I heard one recently that was particularly interesting. (Sometimes these messages are more inspiring to my fitness goals than my MK ones…) This message was about failure. Ha! how perfect for me right?

Here were the main points:

1. “As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” The key word is walk. Keep walking, don’t quit and wallow

2. It’s great when things are easy but it is in the “valley” that we learn and grow

3. If you eliminate failure so it is no longer an option would you still cross that finish line to your goal?

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And she is so right! I need to eliminate failure from my options. It seems like a long time now but it was only 4 short years ago that I was 220 pounds and completely unhealthy both physically and mentally. If you’ve followed me much, you know I keep a diary and I like to go back and read it every so often for perspective. And that is exactly what I did. I wanted to remember what it was like when I was in that valley. This is an excerpt from a time in my life when I was feeling pretty darn low. I had started taking Zoloft for depression caused by body image issues. Ironically, the Zoloft caused me to gain 60 pounds so I stopped taking them in May 2009.

Sunday August 16, 2009
Zoloft permanently affected the chemicals in my brain. I no longer care about things like doing dishes, cleaning house, staying organized, doing laundry, keeping my car clean, eating right, or exercising. I hate myself even more than before I just don’t dwell on it like I used to. I don’t know what to do. I feel lost and so angry. I pray that I will one day get closer to the old me but right now it seems miles away and I don’t feel like walking, or even crawling for that matter. Josh has been so good through it all but I know he misses how I used to be…Better.

At the time I wrote this, I honestly didn’t know if I would ever get back to a healthy lifestyle. I had tried and failed so many times that I was losing hope. But I kept walking through that valley. Very slowly, I may add, but nonetheless I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and I managed to make it out of that valley.

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Sunday December 19, 2009
I have decided to accept that I weigh 220 lbs. I cannot change something until I accept it (did I say that already?) I WILL change this. It may not be this week, this month or even this year but I WILL succeed. I WILL achieve.

3 years later I weighed 65 pounds less and was even happier and healthier than before I entered the valley.

before_after

I lost another 10 pounds after this photo was taken and have been maintaining since then =)

Remembering this was just the motivation I needed. (Sidenote: To anyone who is going through a weight loss journey, or any journey for that matter, keep track! It is so important to keep track of your progress because you will need the motivation!)

I had the right idea back in August 2009. Stop wallowing and just accept it. Then move on. So here it is:

I have decided to accept that my running pace has increased significantly from where I would like it to be. I WILL change this. It may not be this week, this month or even this year but I WILL succeed. I WILL achieve.

Progress Not Perfection

“Well, it was just a dream, just a moment ago
I was up so high, lookin’ down at the sky
Don’t let me fall

I was shooting for stars on a Saturday night
They say what goes up must come down
But don’t let me fall”

-Don’t Let Me Fall, B.O.B

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6 comments

  1. Seeing your pace drop off can definitely be frustrating, but you are soooo right, it is important to just keep moving forward. The pictures of your transformation are incredible! Such hard work and dedication it took you to get where you are now and that’s simply impressive!

    1. Thank you! I’m glad I took pictures because it’s easy to forget. I get focused on the negative or failures instead of how far I’ve already gone!

  2. You can also look at this way…you’ve had several S.E.E.s recently (Significant Emotional Events). When you experience this type of thing, cut yourself some slack. Recognize that you’re probably going through a form of the stages of grief – your psyche is working you through that process. Two things to remember – one, it’s natural for you to feel that way. Two, the key word is THROUGH – when you finish, it’s time to go on whatever’s next. We all do this, we just forget to remember that it’s natural. You’ve already proven that you can accomplish your goals. Just keep doing it!

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