Saturday, April 27, 2013

You can't, or you won't?

When you think about it, our bodies are incredible. They can survive without food for three weeks. They shiver to avoid freezing to death. They can lift a car with a pump of adrenaline. We so often underestimate our own strength.

We do this so often that we spend a lot of our lives telling ourselves, I can't do this. 

I can't do it? Or I won't? I've always felt that way about fitness. I felt that way in other parts of my life too. I can't get this job because I'm not talented enough. I can't approach that person because they're "out of my league." I can't pass this test because I'm not smart enough. I can't produce a documentary because I'm not good enough.

I can't? Or I won't?

I can't lose weight because this is how I was built. I can't become a runner because my legs won't support my body. I can't? Or I won't?

The truth is, I just wasn't doing it. I wasn't trying because accepting defeat before you try is sometimes easier than facing the dreaded "F-word." Failure. So I started asking myself that question all the time. Is it true that I cannot reach this goal or am I simply picking comfort over the risk of failure? We waste one of God's greatest gifts to us, the ability to choose, because we want easy over hard, and guarantees over unknown outcomes. That's depressing and boring.

I'm done with depressing, and I'm most certainly done with boring.

People ask me all the time, "What changed?" How was I able to lose 170 pounds in 15 months? I can say that a lot of it has to do with waking up in the mornings and thinking, "I can do this if I really want to." Of course, an incredible support system is a close second, but seriously folks I don't have a crazier story than that. It has been mind over matter this whole time, and my weakest days are the ones when I start thinking negatively again. The days that I eat too much or choose the couch over my workout are just a glimpse of my past, the old Katie that believed it wasn't worth it to try...that she wasn't worth it. It's not that I can't do my workout or that I can't keep my hand by my side instead of reaching for six cookies over one. I'm just saying I won't do this today, because I'm feeling like I can't.

I've faced that several times over the past couple months. I've had a hard time staying on track, even though I'm training for a half marathon. It's actually an almost ridiculous goal for me to be running 13.1 miles in June. I'm condensing a 12 week training plan (for people who have been serious runners for a long time) down to 10. I've been in an endless battle with myself trying to decide whether or not I should do the 10K instead of the half. I made my decision today and I'm ready to share it.

A year ago I thought to myself, I can't jog a quarter of a mile. I went down to the track at 280 pounds and ran that quarter mile because for some reason I chose "can" over "won't" that day.  I know there will be things in my life that I just simply cannot do, but thankfully I've got use of both my legs, a strong heart, and an inhaler. I can complete a half marathon in June if I want to.

I'm reading a book and I really find a lot of value in this excerpt,

"Realistic goals, goals restricted to the average ambition level, are uninspiring and will only fuel you through the first or second problem, at which point you throw in the towel. If the potential payoff is mediocre or average, so is your effort."

I think it's true. We avoid lofty goals to avoid failure and to minimize the effort needed to succeed.

Today I ran eight miles. I spent the entire first mile thinking none other than, I can't do this. My foot was hurting, my knee felt like it was going to collapse. Eight miles? Hell no. Half marathon is out. 10K? Probably not. I started replaying every failure from the week. Then I thought about one of my friends who's been using the "can't" word a lot and it reminded me that I was really saying I wasn't going to do it. It took me another mile to really find my groove, but when I turned "can't" to "can", all of a sudden...I could. My foot pain disappeared and all of a sudden, my knee could carry me. I just kept thinking, I will make it through this mile...and the next one. My knees are weak, but my will is strong.

Now, I've got an ice pack on my right knee and a little soreness in my hip, but I'm alive and healthy.

I can't run a half-marathon?
That's just not true. I can. I will.
I could do the 10K and be pleased, but why do I need to constantly be realistic? I didn't think I could reach half the goals I have in the past year. I haven't met all of them, but I can keep trucking. I've had so many people who have shared their stories of success with me the past year.If I could poll them, I'd ask them just what it is that finally pushed them through the ambition barrier.

You can't nail that interview? You can't ace that test? You can't lose the weight? You can't step outside of your comfort zone?

You can't do it, or you won't?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The truth about Dad

I desperately wanted to see Michael Watson play on his senior night, my junior year of high school. I had followed the UMKC basketball team and watched Mike Watson lead the team in scoring all year. I vividly remember being completely devastated when I got grounded for not doing the dishes and missing out on that game I was really looking forward to. I thought to myself, I will never forgive you for this one, Dad.

It began with scenarios a lot like that, and even though I had idolized my dad for years, my attitude toward him slowly began to shift. I was 16. He was rolling into his mid-forties. We were both surrounded by people who loved us, but lost. The excruciating month of watching my mother die propelled us both into new responsibilities and paths neither of us expected. 

But tragedy is tricky. It brought my whole family together, and then I watched as we all fell apart. The truth is, I couldn't wait to run away to college and escape all of it; The disagreements, the arguing, and the ridiculous expectations. His relentless schedule never seemed out of the ordinary when my mom was alive, but suddenly his long hours spent away seemed hateful and heartless. I couldn't understand how he could be spending so much time with his job, his baby, really.

The next five years weren't a walk in the park, and even though I was away at college our relationship was still heavily strained. I spent one summer at home and vowed to never do it again. But jobless and hopeless, I returned home when I graduated. I'll be honest; It was a miserable nine months. I sometimes couldn't even believe I was related to him. I desperately wanted to make enough money to move out on my own.

But we grow up and we learn to see the big picture. Even my dying mother's words didn't really click with me until nearly ten years later. "See the big picture. Sometimes the details aren't as important." I watched my dad make, what may have been, the hardest decision of his life a few years ago. Although he maintained professionalism to the general public, I saw him tormented by his choices: Stay and watch his baby die or leave, let his baby live, and create new opportunity. When he followed his heart, for all the right reasons, he was criticized and ridiculed by none-other than...the baby, and a whole bunch of people he raised and loved. 

This scenario seemed eerily familiar to me. It sounded a whole lot like our relationship the seven years leading up to that time. I had a breakthrough within that experience, where I let myself forgive him for all the ways I thought he wronged me, all the things that were said that you can't unsay, and all those times I thought I needed him and he wasn't there. Because the truth about my dad is, he isn't perfect. He's made mistakes every day for the past 50 years of his life, just like the rest of us. But it's a life that has made such an impact on so many people that I can't even fathom it.

I saw that this past weekend when the KC Sports Commission honored him with the "Community Champion" award. Now everything makes a lot more sense, especially the time he dedicated to work. My dad has launched hundreds of careers including mine and several of my friends, been an advocate for the "little guy", jumped through hoops for others to keep their jobs, not-only accepted the new, but embraced them. He's spent countless hours away from home to raise his other family. He's done it without boasting or drawing attention to himself. 

I got to thinking about what a unique experience I had growing up being my father's daughter. I got to hangout with professional athletes, meet important people, and travel throughout the United States by my dad's side. I learned a lot of hard lessons being his daughter. I had to work hard, earn my respect, the dishes (even with whooping cough). Tough love. I know we won't always see eye-to-eye, but I'll always respect him. I'm proud to call him my dad.

Here I am, and I find myself strangely defensive of a man I complained so much about growing up. And although I'm an easy-going type of girl, I find myself closest to legitimate anger when i think about the thanks and recognition he'll never receive. I believe that you work hard to create your own success. My dad taught me that. But even the old are young and stupid. We're all naive in thinking we're just that good, that it didn't take someone seeing our potential to get us to where we are today. 

You see, the truth about my dad is, he isn't perfect. But the truth is, he is good. I'm not just saying that because he's good at what he does, or because he's a good dad, husband, and brother. He's good because despite the bad times, the mistakes, the trials, his heart has always been in the right place and he has searched for the good in and for people. You're better and I'm better because of it. 

And I just wanted to let you know Dad, that I love you and I forgive you for not letting me see Michael Watson play in his senior game, although I'm sure he may never recover.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dreaded treadmill

Thank you Missouri for letting me run in a tank top on Saturday and forcing me to run on a treadmill today to avoid the freezing temperatures. Before I started prepping for my half-marathon, I really preferred running on the treadmill over hitting the pavement. I have absolutely no idea why I felt that way.

My uncle was kind enough to let me come over and use his treadmill today after work. I just couldn't face 33 degrees and the rain/sleet mix. I thought it would be an easy three. I was very wrong. I had to run in intervals and it seemed to drag on forever. I'm actually pretty positive that's what forever feels like. I can't wrap my mind around how six miles felt so much better than three. 

Regardless, I've yet to miss a training day. I'm feeling really good about that. Positivity is key at this point.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


 When I got into working out last year, my dad took me to the New Balance store and got me fitted for some really nice running shoes, shoes I certainly couldn't afford. They've held up pretty well, but they're incredibly heavy. My feet have also shrunk over the past year and the flat-foot insoles are now overcorrecting my arch issues. Today, my dad surprised me and took me to get some new running shoes and some "lifting" shoes.
The running shoes are a lot lighter. They probably won't hold up as long, but I want to give them a shot. The other pair are just some generic, Nike tennis shoes. My dad got me these so I can keep New Balances for running only and have another quality pair of tennis shoes to use during my other workouts. I'm so thankful for these new shoes. Unfortunately, I just do not have the money to spend on nice shoes. That's really the main expense in running and I would have had to splurge soon, so I'm just really happy my dad could help support me in this way. 

The other day I dropped some of my paycheck at Dick's Sporting Goods. I got some energy gels and jellybeans and a little running pack. The new running gear has been crucial to my running success. It's a lot easier to carry my phone and my inhaler. Plus, the energy/protein gels are actually super helpful. I used them on my six mile run since it was over an hour. Getting the new shoes today kinda has me pumped for my next run! It's like everything is coming together. I never knew I could be so excited about this stuff!

I can't do this

This week was the first week that I thought to myself, I can't do this.

I had a short 2.5 mile run on Tuesday. I couldn't make it through. I had to switch over to intervals, walking at least a half mile of the whole thing. I felt completely defeated. I could barely pick up my legs. Then on Thursday I had a three mile run. I jogged that whole route, but I was miserable. It was rainy and gross and I just kept telling myself that it was too much for me. I can't do it.

Then yesterday happened. It was beautiful outside, a little chilly start to my run, but perfect. I knew I had a five mile journey ahead of me. I had dreaded it all morning on my way back from Arkansas. So when I got home, I immediately fueled up, suited up, and watered up so I could hit the pavement.

The first two miles were a little difficult, thinking about how much I had left to go. I decided to jog off my normal route, searching for a road I had once driven down that was scenic and close to home. It took me over two miles to find it, but it kept my mind off of that "I can't do this" gut feeling. I jogged down that mile stretch of road. It's one of those hidden roads in suburbia that makes you feel like you're out in the country, completely disconnected from civilization.

That mile passed, and much to my dismay, that gem of a path dumped me out on one of the main roads. I found a sidewalk and started heading the direction of my apartment complex. I misjudged how far away I was and before I knew it, I was at the bottom of my biggest hill-to-date. At this point, I was already five miles in, but decided I would stop running when I reached my apartment. I popped in one of my energy jelly beans (that I'll post about at a later date), and jogged the hell outta that hill. I found myself switching between grass and asphalt the last mile to my place, trying to avoid the Saturday rush whizzing by me on the outer road by my apartment.

Six miles.

I can do this.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It's worth it

 Week two was a success. I continue to surprise myself.

I completed a 5K in under 36 minutes. That was my goal for May, and I've already done it. I ran four miles without stopping. I'm still trying to figure out how I did that, but I'm not complaining. I honestly feel like four might be my max for jogging without stopping, but only time and my body will tell. I could tell that my legs really wanted to stop around mile 2.5 this past Saturday, but my mind wouldn't let them. I think there's a certain breaking point, and I'm only going to push it so far. I need to keep my body healthy and injury free.

The Midwest weather has kept me on my toes. I ran in temperatures ranging from 34 - 70 degrees last week. My knees are tired of it and so am I. That said, I'm just entirely grateful for the opportunity to run. My pictures post-run are often sad looking. The first five minutes after I complete a run I slow down, snap a picture, and document exactly how I'm feeling. I promise that ten minutes later I feel like a million bucks. It's a high that I can't describe. I literally feel like at that moment I could do anything I ever dreamed of doing. That's a scary sort of thing, but it's exhilarating and it's the reason I continue to run. It hurts every time, but it's worth it.
After 4 miles!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Finding fitness focus

 I love alliterations almost as much as I love sweet tea, but seriously...I'm finding a new focus.

Losing weight has been on the top of my "to-do" list all year. It's been all about eating right and working out so that I can get healthy by losing all those extra pounds. It has been challenging and sometimes heart wrenching. Stepping on the scale every morning has become habitual. It often leads to disappointment, because the weight just doesn't fall off like it used to.

I realized that I started this journey to get healthy, live a better life, and prove to myself that I can do whatever I set my mind to. So, why have I boxed myself into a number? Frankly, that's just stupid. So I'm finished with that for now. I have started a new chapter where I will focus on fitness and start chasing other goals I never thought I'd touch. Until June 8th, my focus will be on training for my half marathon and taking care of my body so I can finish the race. I should continue to lose weight, but I don't want to make that number a higher priority than my training.

Last week was really successful. The plan I'm following includes three running days (short, medium, long), two cross-training days, and two rest days. I've been jogging for awhile now, but no matter what I do it always seems that I have to stop to walk after a half mile. It has become very disheartening. I don't know what happened, but last week a lightbulb went off. Maybe I should slow down my jogging pace and see if I can maintain it?


I completed my 2 mile, 2.5 mile, and 3.2 mile jogs without stopping to walk last week. My average minute per mile was consistent with what it was when I was stopping to take walking breaks, but it seemed to be better on my legs and not as difficult on my lungs. I am slow. So far my average minute per mile pace is between 11:20 & 11:40. But if I could maintain that for 13 miles, I'd be happy. We'll just see where this goes. My expectation is to complete not compete.

As far as training goes, I'm approaching it with the same mentality. I want to find some pleasure in this process. For my short & medium runs during the week (which only go up to 5 miles), I will complete them with the intention of not stopping to walk, just so I can build up my endurance. I will aim to complete my long runs, even if it means walking. I'm also focusing on a diet that will better prepare me for long runs, even if it means slowing down the weight loss.  Avoiding injury and staying healthy are very important to me during this process.

Training was awesome last week and I got to complete my long, 3-mile run out by the lake. I even followed it up with some fishing. It was a tiring week, but every day was a success. I went out for my 2-mile run today and was ill-prepared for how hard it was. Regardless, I'm ready for the ups and downs. I'm ready for the hard times and the good times. I'm ready to surprise myself. Here goes nothing...
Lake time.
Fishing after my first time jogging a full 5K without stopping.

2 Miles. Felt like 5.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The new goal

It's going to happen.
On June 8th, 2013 I will complete my first half marathon. Or I'll die trying.

I am icing my foot as I sit here and type this. I couldn't find my ice pack so I improvised. I'm using my wine bottle cooler as a replacement. It works well enough! Unfortunately, I think I may have injured my foot. The outside of my right foot gets random, aching pains.  I hope it's nothing too bad, but thankfully I'm in the beginning of my official training and I've been taking my rest days very seriously.  Before I panic and bring my training to a screeching halt, I'm going to go get some foot advice from my favorite shoe people, New Balance. My shoes are worn down. I definitely need a new pair, and I'm hoping it's a worn out pair of shoes that is causing my foot pain and not a stress fracture or something else that could stop me before I even start.

Fingers crossed, because I have not been this excited about something in a very long time. Although running is a continued challenge for me, I've been so ecstatic about my runs the past week. The weather, training plan, and new goals have me totally psyched.

I plan to post more tomorrow about my first official week of training and my new goals, but for now it's time to tend to my feet and my general well being. Sleep has never sounded so good.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Overwhelming support

I was completely overwhelmed today. I woke up to a series of comments that brought me to tears. I have been so incredibly grateful for all of the support I've received from family, friends, and even strangers throughout my journey so far. I struggle to find the words to communicate to people just how much of a difference their kind and encouraging words make in my life.

Thank you.

Monday, April 1, 2013


I did it!
I'm finally under 200 pounds. A year ago, I remember thinking how incredible it would be if I could break 300 pounds.  When I did that, I couldn't believe it. Here's my post from that day, less than a year ago.

May 28th, 2012:

"Today is a big day. is a ginormous day! But it’s a smaller me celebrating such a big success. 

I’m finally out of the 300s as far as the pounds go. I weighed myself this morning to discover that I am down to 298.6. I haven’t seen a “2” in front of my weight since high school. Today was a day of mixed emotions. I caught myself thinking, “How did I let myself get to over 300 pounds?” But then I reminded myself that that part of my life is over. I will never be over 300 pounds again (unless I weigh myself tonight ;0) ) I’m only a quarter of the way to my goal, but this my friends… is a huge success.

I have officially lost 52.4 pounds in these three months. I can’t wait to see what I am capable of in the coming months."

Here I am, less than 50 pounds away from my goal weight. Will it be hard? Heck yes. Can I do it? Get ready, world! I haven't seen a "1" in front of my weight since junior high. I've lost almost 170 pounds. Instead of reflecting on how horrible I treated myself for most of my life, I decided to focus on the good. I met another goal. I conquered trials and tribulations on the way. I'm getting ready to start training for my first marathon. Some days I'm weak, but most days I'm strong. If this is ONEderland, I'm ready to make the most of it. 

This was my biggest moment on this journey so far. I just never thought I'd be here.

Thanks for all the continued support. You have no idea how much it means to me. 

Missing mom

Yesterday was a beautiful Easter Sunday. I was so excited to put on my brand new summer dress and strut around in my favorite wedges. I absolutely love spring. The lovely weather and bright, sunny skies just renew me.

I slept in late and headed out for a run after breakfast. It was perfect. I got ready for Easter dinner while listening to my favorite Eric Church and Garth Brooks songs. It dawned on me that this would be a perfect day for fishing. So, I packed up my bag with jeans and a tee to change into after dinner. I even packed my cowboy hat because I honestly have no where else to wear that thing, even though I love it. I hopped on the scale before leaving for the afternoon.

199.8 pounds.

I'll have a whole post dedicated to that number, but I have to mention it in this one to explain the rest of this post.

It was a really happy moment, a huge accomplishment. And then like lightening, it hit me. I wish my mom was here. I banished those thoughts to the back of my mind, grabbed my keys and headed to my dad's.

Dinner was nice. Not like it used to be, but nice. I got to spend a little time with my younger sister and see my dad, happy to be home from a long business trip.  But I knew they were coming. The tears. Of course I was right. When I got into my car to head to the lake, that song was on. It's the one that gets me every time. So I cried like a baby for the first time in a long time. I made it to the lake just in time to watch the sun go down, alone on a rock, right by the water.

In just a little over two months it will be 10 years since my mom died. Ten years. That's so incredibly insane to me. I don't think about her every day like I used to, but about once a year or so I become overwhelmed with loneliness. Yesterday was one of those days. It's usually something sad that triggers those feelings, but this time was different. It was a beautiful day. I spent great time with family. I met my biggest weight loss goal to-date. I wanted so badly to share those moments with her. I wanted to remember them with her in them. But unlike my journey this past year, wanting it more won't make it happen.

My mom was difficult, but brilliant. She could make me laugh and cry, all in the same moment. She drove me nuts a lot of the time. But if there's anyone that could be more excited than me about my past year, it would have been her. She would have demanded celebration, even if I tried to fight it. She would have danced around the kitchen and smothered me in hugs. Just like my struggles, my victories are not the same without her.

I  woke up this morning after three hours of sleep and decided to pull myself together. She really wouldn't want me wasting my life away feeling sorry for myself. I said a little prayer, snuggled my cat, and decided to make the most of my day.  That's what I have to do when I'm missing mom.