Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The most important game the Royals will ever play

It was 2003.
93 games at number one in the American League Central. The Royals were going places. I’ll never forget that season of believing with Tony Pena at the helm. It felt like a different ball club. We had a stronger presence and many folks were hopping on the, “We Believe” bandwagon. I was loving it.
I grew up around the Royals. Not the Royals’ ball club; Not the business of Royals, but the team. My dad directed more Royals’ baseball games than I can remember. I had the fortunate experience of traveling with him to games both home and across the country. My dad became friends with the players, coaches, and managers. Those friendships allowed me the opportunity to meet a lot of really dynamic people and get to know a really incredible team.
I think I was around 10 years old when I first met Frank White. In the dugout, during batting practice my dad introduced me. “Katie…this is one of the greatest baseball players of all time.” Frank scoffed at that. I had no idea who he was. I sat in the dugout with them as they talked. I didn’t consider myself a baseball fan, but I knew it must be pretty cool to be there.
Then, I met Scott Pose. Scott Pose, people. I was enthralled. He talked to me. I had no idea what he said, but he gave me a baseball. I remember thinking that he was one of the nicest people I had ever met. Scott Pose wasn’t part of the team much longer, but that was only the beginning of my experiences with those players and my love for the Royals.
Over the next few years I met a lot of them. I attended a party with my dad and rubbed shoulders with Royals greats.  I prayed for smiles from Carlos Febles, respected Raul Ibanez, admired Jermaine Dye, and loved Mike Sweeney and Joe Randa. My dad (a stickler for rules), would never ask any of them for autographs for me. So I wrote out a letter to Mike Sweeney, and it wasn’t long before I had a personalized autographed poster of him. My mom laminated it for me and it went on the back of my door.
I didn’t fall in love with baseball. I fell in love with that team and those people. They made me love a losing team. Watching them play felt personal. It was exciting to me, even through the losses.  I always had hope that each year could be better than the last. Before I knew it, baseball, the sport, was important to me.
Then 2003 came. I don’t know that I’ll ever get those images out of my head…Tony Pena shouting, “We believe! We believe!”
Winning just felt incredible. We were a family of Royals fans. My mom and I would cheer them on from home when my dad was traveling. Mom tried to pretend she didn’t care about anything other than who had the best butt on the team, but I’d catch her watching plays intently and lashing out in the excitement of homeruns.
It was 2003 when Mom got sick. She got really sick, really fast and my family spent a month by her bedside in the hospital. Waiting for mom to pass was really difficult. But the Royals joined us through it. They were on in every room in that hallway of the hospital. Maybe it was the comfort of America’s favorite past time, or the hope in the promising season, but either way, that team was important.
You will hear people argue that Major League Baseball (or all professional sports) should not hold a place in our society. I’ve had people tell me that they hate baseball and ask me why I care. The truth is, I don’t know if I would love baseball if I didn’t fall in love with the Royals years ago. But I’ve grown to appreciate what place it has held in my life. It united me with my family. It was something I could talk about with my mom, dad, and grandpa alike. We would celebrate the successes together and shake our heads at the losses (all the freakin losses). Grandpa said it best when he said, “We’ve got an Angel and Jesus on our team and we can’t win a damn game.” We may not have had anything else to talk about, but we could talk about that.
In July, 2003, less than a month after my mom passed, my dad’s company had dugout suite tickets to a Royals game. Mike Sweeney was out with an injury and Joe Randa wasn’t in the lineup but I was still excited to go. In the middle of the game Paul Splitorff told me I needed to go inside the suite for a minute. I walked inside and standing by the doorway was Mike Sweeney and Joe Randa…in the middle of the game. Mike smiled at me sweetly and said, “We know it’s been a hard month for you. We’ve been thinking of you and your family, and hope you had a happy birthday.” He gave me an autographed bat and Joe Randa gave me a Royals hat.  I was floored. I couldn’t believe it.
I’ll never forget their kindness, but this wasn’t something out of character for them. These were the type of people on this team. They were the type of people you wanted to root for, and the sort of weird family that you’d want to be a part of. .  I haven’t met anyone on this current team, but from what I’ve seen and read, the players have continued to value kindness and sharing celebrations with the fans over all else. I hope the organization and business of the Royals follows their lead and makes strides like this team has.
Because here we are in 2014. Game one of the World Series is tomorrow. I myself, cannot afford to go, but I’m looking forward to cheering them on with the rest of the city. For me, it’s the kind of thing I dreamed about happening, but never really thought I’d see. Not in a bad way. To be honest, I’ve always been happy to root for the people on this team. I just never knew the fantasy of them actually getting here could be real. I’m not sure if they knew it was either. This game tomorrow is the most important game they’ve played in what seems like a million years, not for what it means for the Royals ball club, but for what it means for all of us. This team should be proud that they’ve united an entire city. Despite all our differences we are happy to come together to celebrate the absolutely incredible ride this team has taken us on this year. That’s how it should be, and I hope it stays that way. Win or lose, we love this team.  But we believe and they believe. I think the odds are in our favor.

Monday, June 9, 2014

These old shoes

If you walked a mile in my shoes, you’d probably regret it.
I’ve had these shoes for five years now. I must have bought them when I worked at Target as my back-up tennis shoes. Target or Wal-Mart. I don’t remember what I paid for them, but it was probably a target clearance catch. If I paid more than $15 for them, I’d be surprised.

When I bought them, they were too small for me. I barely wore them. Squeezing my size 10.5 foot into a size 9 shoe was a little rough. I always wore my white New Balance shoes my dad bought me to work in and in general these gray and blue tennies didn’t really match anything.

So these became my go-to shoes for anything that might involve me getting dirty. I didn’t want to risk messing up my good shoes so I’d always throw these on for fishing, muddy walks around the neighborhood, etc.

Now, looking at these shoes that desperately need to be tossed, I can’t help but think about all the things these shoes have seen, endured, and carried me through.  My feet began to shrink as I started working out and before I knew it, this pair of shoes became my favorite.

I had some new $150 New Balance kicks, fitted to my feet, meant for running. But nothing felt as good as my Target clearance shoes. But I forced myself to lace up my New Balance for my runs. They were expensive and the shoe experts told me they were ideal.

Even so, I still used my Target shoes for everything else, when I couldn’t risk losing or destroying the most expensive thing I owned. That means these Target shoes have been with me on every trip I’ve taken the past few years. They’ve been a lot of places and carried me through my happiest of times.

About halfway through my half-marathon training this year I was feeling really defeated. My runs were hard. My knees were killing me. For some reason I decided that switching my running shoes might rejeuvenate me and my legs. Much like switching shampoos, I immediately felt better.

So I used those cheap shoes to finish my training, and I  used them on race-day against my better judgement , constant requests from Eric to just go buy new shoes, and the advice of my running coach. I didn’t think much about it. It just felt better. I used them this past week when I traveled to Arkansas for a little mini vacation. They went camping, fishing, walked me through town, and sat by several camp fires. I left them outside the cabin, dirty and damp.

When I looked at them, I couldn’t believe they had carried me the 13.1 miles on race day or the hundred plus miles of training. They’re worn out, dingy, and just about ready to fall apart. I’m going to go ahead and buy some new shoes per the request of a dozen people, but it’s going to be hard to say goodbye.
I think I’ll keep these babies around for just one more year, in case I need to go fishing, hiking, biking, farming, or ya know ….in case my new shoes give me knee problems. You never know!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The man in the red hat

Scott Bostwick is one of the most influential and inspiring people in my life. I owe a lot to him, even though I never had the opportunity to meet him.

I often think about how many times we brushed shoulders on that football field when I was in college. How many times had we exchanged friendly smiles as we passed each other? I racked my brain trying to remember if I had ever interviewed him before or asked him some question in passing. It became clear though over the course of that 2011 season, that if I had…I would have remembered.

On this day three years ago, I received the news of Coach Bostwick passing much like a lot of Northwest students and alumni, via social media. I felt a sudden aching loss for a man that I had never met. That could well be one of the many reasons Eric and I decided to produce Dream Season that year. Both of us felt an incredible pull to tell his story and follow the team and community that loved him so much.

During a time when most of the people who loved him were trying to come to peace and say goodbye to a son, father, brother, coach, mentor and friend, Eric and I were just getting to know him.  You could say that I met Scott during our first interview with his nephew, Aaron on our first day of filming. It was clear from the beginning that Scott meant more than words to Aaron and also as we soon found out, to anyone who ever knew him.

Coach B’s “Dream Season” soon became ours as we got to know his family, team, and his extended family (the whole Bearcat community). There were so many different stories to tell, but they were all united by a love for a great man and the tragedy of his sudden passing.I can tell you now that Eric and I had no idea what we were doing. I think it was a gift from God and Scott that people who didn’t know us at all, let us into their lives without question. 

“It’s cool if we come to your baptism, right Jake?”
“Josh, we’re coming over. Give us a tour of your apartment. That’d be great.”
“AT, there’s a Bostwick barbecue after the game? It cool if we join?”

Someone asked me today if there was anyone who didn’t want us to do this story. I don’t think I have ever been asked that before. And my answer surprised even myself. During an emotional and difficult time, more than 30 people said “Yes” to us when it would have been just a whole hell of a lot easier to say “No.”  Eric and I took that for granted then, but looking back I am just so incredibly grateful.

Coach Bostwick’s immediate family allowed us the privilege of getting to know him and telling his story. Jake’s family let us stay with them when we made the journey to Iowa. J.Lo’s family hung out in a basement all day as we interviewed them one-by-one. The Bostwicks? Every brother and sister, his mom and dad, Aaron and Preston all sat down to be interviewed. They all poured their hearts out to us about Scott, who he was, what he stood for, and the type of men he had raised on the football field. They talked to us without reservation, like we were family.
Who was Scott? The Coach I came to know was unwavering in his love for his family. He practiced an unconditional love for his football players and friends, the kind of love that can only be achieved with the power and willingness to forgive and move on. He was honest. He would tell it to you straight and expected you to do the same. He was funny and ready to deliver his smile in a moment’s notice. He expected a lot out of people, but wanted to live up to his own expectations.  He was dedicated to everything in his life that he loved, including Northwest football.

Anyone who knew him, knows those things about him. But here’s what Scott taught me over that year. He renewed in me my willingness to forgive. The stories of him forgiving transgressions and allowing people to move forward with him by their side, really struck me.

He reminded me that dedication to things you love isn’t just nice, it’s necessary. There was one point when we were completely done filming everything, but were thinking about giving up. Finances and emotional fatigue wore us to a breaking point. But we sat in our office (my apartment kitchen, with a computer on my dinner table), and actually discussed out loud what Scott would do.  It was his dedication that drove us to continue.

He taught me that you can’t take anything with you when you go. But the love in the hearts of all the people he touched, that will remain forever and in a sense, it’s really what you leave behind that matters most. How you live your life, matters. How you treat people, matters. That man’s legacy is eternal and it will be passed down from generation to generation.

Every time I see a cardinal, I think of Coach. It seems like I’ve seen a lot of them the past few years, but maybe I’m just noticing them more now. Either way, it’s always comforting to think about Scott kind of just watching over everyone. He’s the kind of guy I would have wanted in my corner. His family, that team, and his extended family will always be family to me and Eric.

Scott helped a lot of kids grow up and overcome life obstacles on the football field. It wasn’t any different for Eric and I. We were just two kids who didn’t know what we were doing. Scott and the people he loved, gave us a chance to learn and helped us grow up.

 I’ll always be grateful to the man in the red hat, the man I never met, who coached us through some of life’s hardest lessons and gave us the opportunity to succeed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Defining Katie

I’m less than 40 pounds away from my goal weight. It seems small in comparison to the over 170 pounds I’ve lost so far, but it also seems like an eternity away. I decided something several months ago. I’m not going to spend that “eternity”  be defined by my weight loss.

Thanks to social media, weight loss has become quite the fad. Let me start by saying,, it’s a fad I support. It’s not a new  concept. People have been gaining and losing weight always, but social media has catapulted people into new, healthy lifestyles who may have once ignored direction from friends and family or advice from doctors. I’m that person. Social media made it possible for people to watch others transform their lives.  It also kept you updated minute-by-minute on everyone’s lives. Photos, statuses, notes, and wall posts keep you filled in on what everyone is wearing, where they’re going, what they’re doing, and who they’re doing.

Envy used to be a sin reserved for the present, but now you can look back at people’s lives, watch them in the moment, and also see what’s coming up for them in the future. It makes you happy to be so connected to everyone, but it also drives you mad. I’d be lying if I said social media had nothing to do with my desire and drive to lose weight. I saw people reach their goals and lead lives I wanted. It didn’t determine my weight loss, but it drove me.

I never wanted to be better than anyone, but I wanted to be equal and I never felt like my outside really measured up to my inside. I never really worried about my strength, intelligence, sense of humor, or kindness, but those things are harder to measure on the World Wide Web.

I kept my weight loss to myself for a long time. The first 100 pounds. But then I realized I could be someone that helped others start the most important journey of their lives. So I decided to blog and to share. It was a great decision for me. All the support really drove me to continue on the right path, and it was the right path.

I did everything the right way. I ate healthy. I exercised. I indulged in my favorite food sometimes and skipped workouts on occasions. I saw a lot of success. My weight loss success drove me to succeed in other areas of life. But this past summer, when I struggled in certain areas of my life, the weight loss slowed and then it stopped for several months. I became very depressed about not continuing to lose weight. That’s when I realized…

My weight loss defined me.

I managed to bring myself out of that depression with the help of a couple friends. Eric and I started training for our half-marathon and I got back to normal, healthy routines. I was running over 20 miles a week at certain points in that training, but I only lost 15 pounds over those months and most of it happened in the first four weeks.

But I’m not sad. If I continue to exercise and watch what I eat, the weight will come off slowly, but surely. I am healthy. I am off my blood pressure medication. I am capable of running over 13 miles without dying. I can move your couch by myself and I can breathe walking up and down the stairs with ease. It's a place I never thought I'd be, and now I'm happy to settle into a state of normalcy.

When you're over 200 pounds overweight, losing the LBs becomes a full-time job. It's a choice between life and death. But there's a lot more to me than how much weight I've lost and although I'm excited to continue to share my journey with everyone, I'm also ready to let the world in on other parts of my life. Because I'm not Katie, the girl who lost weight. Period. I'm Katie, the girl who lost weight and learned to live.

This year I started two new documentaries. By the time I'm 30, I'll have three documentaries under my belt. I flew in a plane for the first time in ten years. I traveled near and far with people I love, and made some incredible memories. This year I watched several of my students become incredible leaders. I worked hard. I played hard.

I learned some things about myself....
I'm a music snob, even though some days I have quite possibly the worst taste in music. 
I prefer being organized.
"I was born with an enormous need for affection, and a terrible need to give it."- Audrey Hepburn
I'm generally a good cook, but I mostly suck at baking. Ask Eric about my "chocolate chip pancakes" that were supposed to be cookies. 
I know exactly what I want out of life and have a general plan on how to get there. 
I am happiest with people I love and care a lot less about what we're doing.

I really want to lose these final 40 pounds and get the skin surgery I've been dreaming of (see future blog post). I wanted to let you know that this weight loss journey has provided an incredible portal to finding myself. I feel like some people never get that opportunity. You might see my blog transform to include a lot more about my whole life, because it plays just as big a part in my weight loss as exercise and eating healthy. I'm incredibly thankful for all the support I've had until this point and I can't wait to share as my life continues to change and I continue to transform into the person I've always imagined myself as.

When it's all said and done, I want my weight loss to be  success that I had that opened the door to several other opportunities in my life. I'd like to be defined by the love I choose to give and receive and I hope that any person on a weight loss mission remembers how important that really is. You'll have ups and downs, but never let your life be defined by the number on the scale.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dear Mom - I survived a half-marathon

Dear Mom,

Remember when you bought me those purple spandex pants to wear to dance class when I was 13? I was a little skeptical to wear them to class that night, but you insisted that they were “cute” and all the other girls in the class would be jealous. They literally pointed and laughed at me when I walked in.  That experience was really only half as bad as the time you picked out a metallic, shiny, long-sleeve button up for me to wear to the 8th grade winter dance.

Mom…you gave really terrible fashion advice.

I don’t know why that popped into my head the other day as I was searching for a shirt to wear on race day. I opted for a clearance, gray dry-fit shirt. I tossed out your loud, and unique fashion advice years ago but I’ve held onto your advice on thrifty shopping. Thanks for that.

A little over two years ago I weighed almost 370 pounds. I’m glad you never saw me like that, because I’m sure you would have blamed yourself. Which is strange, because I kind of blamed you. Even though I was always overweight, I blamed your death for causing me to completely give up. But here I am, nearly 180 pounds down…and happy.

I did something this weekend I never thought I’d do. I ran a half-marathon. I finished it in less than three hours. For a girl who “ran” an 18:30 mile two years ago, that’s pretty good. Of course I was disappointed in my overall time, but not for long. I thought about what you would have said had you been there and I know you would have been pissed had I chosen to dwell on my time instead of the great accomplishment of finishing.

Eric and I trained several months for this. You never met Eric, but you would have loved him. He pushed me through some really difficult runs and difficult parts of life. He’s now stood by me through the two biggest accomplishments of my life and of course has absolutely no idea just how important he’s been to me.  I cried in his arms when I finished the race. He probably didn’t know that either. Knowing he would be there when it was over, kept me going.

Dad was there too. He has offered such unbelievable support for me over these past few years. He was cheering for me along the course and he was waiting for me at the finish line. I knew he’d be crying too since he cries at everything just like me. He might be the only other person in my life who realized the importance of that moment and I’ll forever be grateful that I got to share it with him.

I was going to tell you about how it rained cats and dogs for most of the race and how my leg cramped the last tenth of a mile. But really I just wanted to tell you that it happened. I crossed the finish line.  Eric and I celebrated with giant beef burgers and beer. Then we went to a really fun wedding that night and danced all night, even though it hurt to move.

Mom. Life is short. You would know that better than anyone. I guess some days feel incredibly long, like you might never make it through.  But Saturday was one of those days that I want to bottle up and replay on those difficult days. The only way that day could have been any better would have been having you there.

I’m still high off the weekend. I’m high off the accomplishment, fun, and love that I have in my life. I expected the world to stop for awhile when I finished that race. But it kept moving like it always does. Two days later and Eric is already asking me what’s next? What a great gift, to be blessed with time.

 We’re moving onto our next goal, but I wanted to just take a quick minute to let you know I survived and how happy I am.  I still miss you and wish you could be a part of such a transformative part of my life. That was clear this weekend. But I have some great people in my life Mom, and while they don’t have the answer to everything like you seemed to…they DO give better fashion advice.

Monday, March 31, 2014

How NOT to train for a half marathon

Things not to do while you're training for a half marathon:

1. Forget to stretch because, stretching is boring. Who needs stretching?!
2. Eat Mexican for lunch before a big run.
3. Drink alcohol in excess.
4. Skip your long run for the week because you accidentally skipped some short runs earlier in the week.
5. Eat your weekly intake of calories after your long run for the week. Chocolate milk, ice cream, or cheeseburgers? I know….all of them!

Eric and I have taken an unconventional approach to this whole marathon training business. I'd like to think we take an unconventional approach to producing documentaries as well. Ya know, like the longer, more painful approach. But by golly, we sure have a lot of fun doing it. 

We ran 11 miles the other day and didn't die. So, maybe this is exactly how you should train for a half marathon. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

You can be great

You’re stopping yourself from being great and here’s why…

When I was eleven years old I had this big dream. I wanted to live in a mall with all my friends. We’d travel through the halls on rollerblades and bikes and live off of cookies and pretzels. We’d throw dance parties and only go to school if we felt like it.

My dreams matured as years passed. I wanted to be high school royalty. I wanted to make movies. I wanted to wear cute sundresses and vacation in the Keys. I wanted someone I liked to actually ask me out. I wanted to go to work happy. I wanted to own my own business. I wanted to be the life of the party.  I wanted to spend days camping and hiking. I wanted to get married and have kids.

I pictured these things, but I didn’t approach them as goals or realistic dreams. They were the type of thoughts I had right before I went to bed at night. They were fantasies, much like my mall dream and never once did I think, I can actually have these things if I work for them.

When I looked in the mirror at over 350 pounds, I sometimes thought; This will do. Sometimes I applied a lot of extra effort to how I looked. I might buy a new outfit and put makeup on. But honestly the best thought I ever had about myself was…Yeah, I look okay for being a fat cow. And for some reason (that I’ll never understand,) I let that be good enough for me. I was so embarrassed of myself that I mostly stopped caring all together. I stopped brushing my hair for a year. I didn’t care enough to chase my dreams, because even though I desperately wanted them, they just seemed so out of reach and completely unreasonable.

So, I’ve been facing this new, weird feeling. I look in the mirror and I’m pissed. I don’t like the way I look. I don’t like the way clothes fit. I can’t stand how thin my hair is, and I wish I could completely get rid of these dark circles under my eyes.  But I realized feeling these things is better than feeling nothing at all because while there will probably always be something about myself I’m not satisfied with, I now know there are some things I can change. If I want to lose this muffin top, I will do just that.  And these days, when I throw on my favorite outfit or curl my hair just right, I think…Yeah, I look pretty good. Period. End of thought.

Knowing that I have the ability to change myself for the better gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams as goals, whole-heartedly.  I was stopping myself from being great because I didn’t believe that I was capable of change, I didn’t think I was worth change, and I didn’t think life would wait for me to change.  I didn’t think I was great, so getting there seemed out of the question.

I wasn’t scared of failing because I thought starting in the first place was worthless. But to be great and achieve the great things you want to in your life, you have to think you’re capable of greatness. My nose will always be pointy. I will probably always snort when I get really tickled and I may never climb Everest. But it took me 15 years to realize that all the things I want out of life don’t have to be pipe dreams. And if I still really wanted to live in a mall with all my friends, sipping on Orange Julius and swimming in the fountains, I would actually have the courage to work toward it no matter how outlandish it may seem. Thankfully, I graduated to dreams of finishing a half-marathon, taking a fishing trip, fitting into my size 10 cocktail dress and swimming a mile.

Stop thinking you’re not worth all the great things you want out of life. Instead of sleeping with your dreams, start chasing them.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The greatest running advice ever

I’ve received two great pieces of advice in my lifetime. I’ll save one of them for a later date, but I’ll share one with you tonight.

Don’t go out like an asshole.

My sister gave Eric and I that sound advice last year before our first 10K. I can’t remember who told it to her, but I’m positive she appreciated the tip as much as I did. She encouraged me to start at a normal, steady pace. You start too quickly or too hard and before you know it, you’re huffing and puffing or worse, pulling your caboose over and stopping your race before you even really get started.

I’ve applied that logic to my life across the board, but I must have forgotten it in recent months. I’ve been pushed close to tears almost every other workout. Why can’t I run more than a half mile without stopping? I felt like I was starting all over again. Why do I feel like I’m 350 pounds? We’re planning on a half marathon and I can’t even run a mile? Things weren’t looking good.

Then by some miracle, that advice popped in my head today and I was actually excited to get out and run in the 32 degree weather. That’s right. I said excited. The last time I was excited about running was months and months ago. So, I made it home after work and started my run. I took off at a pace closer to 12:30, as opposed to my 11:30 pace I’ve been trying to maintain.  I had an 11:30 pace six months ago when I was running every day. I need to ease back into this.

So whatda ya know? I jogged those three miles without stopping and it only felt terrible for about a half mile of it. That’s progress my friends and for the first time since the start of phase two of this journey, I thought, I can really do this. Not only can I do this, but we can do this. Because if I can do this, so can Eric.

Time to apply this logic to swimming.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Good morning, Moon

You know how you know someone wakes up before the butt crack of dawn to work out?

They tell you.

I’m telling you now that I’ve been waking up before 5 in the morning to get to my workouts in. I have to tell you this because I’m using this blog to keep me awake for at least another hour. At what age is it socially acceptable to go to sleep at 7 P.M.?

The workouts have been good, but I can’t say they’ve been brutal. I want us to push a little harder, hurt a little more, and feel just a little bit better. That being said, I’m pretty amped about our commitment and know that these wee hour workouts will ultimately pay off. 

What have I learned about myself and life before 6 A.M.?

·      Yogurt and granola bars are not a substitute for a delicious and filling egg breakfast.
·      The body will actually function before daybreak.
·      It’s possible to shower, dry your hair, and get your makeup on in less than 15 minutes.
·      You need flip-flops in winter.
·      Driving at 5:30 in the morning is nearly enjoyable.
·      My cat thinks waking up before 5 is unnatural.
·      You can run laps inside!
·      My knee hurts less in the morning

Eric has managed to make it to every early morning workout, which has to be an act of God. I’m not sure how I’d be handling this alone, so I’m very grateful.

It’s five minutes until 8 P.M.  Sleep is now acceptable…right?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Gym rat

I’m out of shape. I fell out of the exercise habit and I paid the price for it both physically and mentally. The good news is, I’m well on my way again and I’m feeling consistently happy and hopeful for the first time in months.

There was a lot of gab about people deciding to start weight loss and lifestyle changes at the first of the year. Social media makes it pretty easy for people to share their opinions…on everything. I saw several posts about people excited to work toward a new and better person. For some of them, this will be their first legitimate effort at changing their habits. For others, this may be the 2nd or the 15th time they’ve tried.

Alongside those hopeful and excited posts about new starts were other posts saying that people trying to lose weight or get fit this time of year were just “joining the new year’s resolution bandwagon.”   They implied that their gym membership was a waste and an annoyance since they’d become unmotivated eventually. It’s a shame really, because it’s never the wrong time to make a good effort.

Eric and I joined a community center just a couple days ago. It has workout equipment, an indoor track, basketball courts, and a swimming pool. We have to prepare for a half marathon at the end of April and a triathlon later in the year. So even if Eric drowns and I face plant off my bike again, at least we know we gave it all we had.

At this point in my journey I was more than ready to commit to a gym and the perks it has to offer. -30 degrees? I can run inside and not on the dreadmill. A year-round swimming pool will help my muscles and provide me a little variety. And I know enough about weight-training to be spending some consistent time focusing on various muscle groups.

I didn’t always feel “ready” for a gym membership though, and I’m sad for anyone who is starting the new year out feeling discouraged. I’m disappointed that so many people have reacted so negatively to people wanting to change their lives for the better. Eventual success or failure should have nothing to do with it, because recognizing you need the change and wanting it are the first steps.

These negative people are the ones who have spent years and years in the gym. They’re consistently making progress, staying healthy, and meeting new goals. Do you know what I have for these people? Respect.  I’ve only been working out regularly for a couple years and Lord knows that I’ve wanted to just throw in the towel on it a dozen times.

Unfortunately, I have no respect for someone who thinks another person’s goals are too lofty or efforts in vain. Everyone has to start somewhere and if it’s in “your” gym, during “your” time, I hope you welcome them with open arms. The Royals may not have succeeded with this motto, but we can; This is “our time”. Now is the time to make a change.

My gym experience so far? I’m feeling really good and really positive. Eric is a great motivator. He’s in better shape than I am which really pushes me to try harder. He stays positive, but also treats me like all my little successes so far are expectations not miraculous victories. I want to reward myself for everything.  I did week two of that Couch to 5K workout without stopping.  Woo!  Eric’s thoughts? “We should have started with week three.” That’s the truth, and I’m realizing that where I’m at in this journey should be accompanied with a lot higher expectations.

That being said, I still feel a bit discouraged. A lady at the gym the other day told me I should start by walking on the treadmill a little every day. She told me to, “Just take it one day at a time.” I’ve come to the sad realization that even after two years of working out and losing 170 pounds, I’m still the “fat girl” at the gym. People are quick to offer unsolicited advice. It’s frustrating and a little bit hurtful, but it also makes me want to push that much harder. I’m just not much for settling into negativity.  Getting healthy and feeling good about myself are priority, and these little things shouldn’t stop me from getting there.

I hope that everyone finds a way to strive for the 2014 version of themselves they so desperately want to meet. I hope that through discouragement and failures they find a way to pull themselves back up and keep pushing. . I hope these things for myself as well and I know having a good partner to help a long the way will be of great benefit. Attitude is a choice, regardless of the direction others around you may be pushing. Stay positive. Stay strong. Here we come.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


It’s January 5th so I guess it’s time to post about the new year. Don’t ask me what happened in my life over the past year. I have absolutely no idea how I got from January 1st, 2013 to today. Seriously.

I do know that the past year was full of stories and if I have anything to say about this year in front of me (which I do), this year will overflow with stories.  If God and life have anything to say about my coming year (which they do), I know those stories will range from tragic and painful to inspirational and outrageously fun. I hope no matter what, that my stories are filled with the kind of love and laughter I’ve become quite attached to over the past couple years.

Resolutions this year? I don’t want to box myself into a very specific set of goals that will determine how I feel about myself after these 365 days pass. I won’t be doing that. However, I whole-heartedly support the idea of resolutions and taking some time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you want to go. With that in mind…

I resolve to:

Have more victories.
I remembered a victory I had over a year ago. Eric visited me at work. When he left, he gave me a goodbye hug. As he pulled away he excitedly told me, “I can fit my arms around you!” and hugged me again. I had lost about 70 pounds at that point and it was an exciting victory in the middle of my journey to a healthier and better me. There will be more victories in 2014.

Work hard.
I was rewarded this year for my hard work…with more work. I don’t want that to end since I’m on my way to having a career I thought I could only dream about.

Play harder.
 I’ve seen life and death already in 2014. Beautiful babies born and hard goodbyes said. It’s true what “they” say. Life is short. I don’t know what I was doing the first 24 years of my life, but I wasn’t embracing that ideal. Life has gotten a lot sweeter since I realized that enjoying this crazy ride is part of what makes this life not only bearable, but enjoyable.

Love unconditionally.
For those that I love, no stipulations or obligations. I love you plain and simple.

Give freely.
I don’t have a lot to offer materially, but I think I have a lot to share and should give more freely.

Cue that hallmark music? Come on folks, we’re all trying to create better versions of ourselves. Cut me some slack. Let me post this cheesy New Year’s post and let us move on with our lives. I’m excited to see what my friends and family do with this year. It is going to be a year of opportunity. Don’t pass any one of them up.