To lead in a new way

I was told at a young age to not fear the game. I do not know if it the thing that resonates most when confrontation arises or what powers my ability to speak out when I believe something should have been handled in a different manner, but it is what I know to be true.

There are going to be people in this world who do not like me. They will try to bring me down, they will disagree with what I stand for, and they will make it known. I’ll be the first to tell you when I know I am not welcome by someone or within a situation. But that does not mean I will back down from standing my ground, nor will I treat you terribly. We live in a world full of people who are offended left and right, those who tear one another down for the smallest of manners, and a society that would rather rip someone apart then build them up. I think this is one of the reasons I stand so firmly on sharing my own truth in a way that does not bring someone down.

This idea of leading by example is not new. It is one that has been around for a long time, but the reality of those following it is fewer and fewer. People would rather be a dictator or force others into situations they never intended to be in then lead by example. The philosophy of treat others as you would want to be treated. Yet how many of us treat others as though they are disposable instead of like they are valuable.

So how can I, an average person with a simple blog about running, lead by example? It’s simple really. It all starts with sharing the good and the bad. Not only will it shed a light on the reality that social media is a world filled with fake stories while normal life can be challenging, it is creating a stronger sense of isolation and depression within our society. We are all going to go through terrible situations and rougher moments in our life. But our ability to invite others in and share in those more vulnerable moments it what will cause a shift in our culture.

It also includes building others up. Seeing someone in a high moment and celebrating right along side them. Reaching out to someone who is struggling and letting them know that I am here for them, regardless of if I know what is going on in their life. And boldly confronting others who I feel have stepped outside the lines in a situation. It is this give and take that will always be a delicate dance. But it is one that I refuse to back down from.

Until next time
-Be Fearless, Go Boldly

When Fear Gets in the Way

I have heard it said that on the other side of fear is where we see the most growth.

And I keep questioning why I let fear stand in my way. Why I let it hold power over me that I never wanted it to have. Fear of what it would be like to walk away from a friendship. What it would be like to run and give it my all. Or to admit my fault in letting fear control various aspects of my life.

It’s a humbling experience to see what fear is doing to my life. I realize that three years ago I should have been in a plane crash, but wasn’t. And seeing fear through that moment and living made me realize I couldn’t live my life in fear. Yet, here I am, a few years later, and fear still holds on to some aspects of my life. Three years ago I returned to running, despite being fearful of reinjury, and decided to give it my all.

And by the grace of God, I have seen so many amazing things come from overcoming this fear. So my question to myself is, what would my life look like to overcome the current fears I have? What would it look like to let someone in when I am so afraid of being used and cast aside? What would it look like to walk away from a challenging situation, even though my initial reaction is to accept defeat and mend what is broken in order to keep it going? What does it look like to truly try, knowing that fear will be there the entire time, but just seeing what could happen?

Clearly in the year of intentional I am being faced with what it looks like to be intentional in overcoming fear in a few aspects. As I write this, I know that some aspects of overcoming these fears will be easy. But some will be the hardest things I may endure. But regardless, I can’t let fear hold me back. I have to be willing to see what is on the other side.

What are you running from?

In the middle of a very strange first date (that now happens to be one heck of a story) I was asked “So what exactly are you running from?”.

It took me a few seconds to try and understand exactly what this man was trying to get across. I replied “In what regard do you mean?”. And very quickly he said “Anyone who runs as much as you do is clearly running away from something”.

I am realizing more and more that those who do not understand the purpose of running for pure fun and enjoyment will always question what in my life I am running away from. A simple answer of “This is what I enjoy doing with my time,” will never be enough for these types of people. They will never understand what it means to go out for a few hours with nothing but your own thoughts to process everything that is going on in your life. They will never understand the emotional release that happens within the miles. They will never see the beauty of the sun coming up on a warm August morning or see the sparkle effect that frost leaves on everything in the middle of winter. The beauty that surrounds us and the streets that are left to be discovered by foot not by car.

Running is not just something to do to run away from your problems. It may be what you turn to when all else seems broken. And within those broken moments you begin to realize just how strong and capable you are. That nothing is impossible as long as you are willing to try and that failure does not exist, but failing to try is the true enemy.

It has opened up this entirely new world for me. One where limits are tested, new records are set, and the only time I am failing is if I fall to a preset limit and refuse to try. And as I enter into the planning phase of my 2019 running season, I am fully reminded of all of this. Especially as I begin to chase bigger dreams and goals, and really lean into the art of falling short of a goal. So my question is this: What terrifies you enough to want to try and fail in the process?

Until next time
-Be Fearless, Go Boldly

When it snows in Seattle…

You might have lived through it yourself or heard about in on the news, but Seattle got hit by four (yes FOUR!) back to back snow storms, better referred to as Snowpocalypse. For those of us who typically run outside a few days a week, being stuck inside and unable to run for almost two weeks due to crummy road conditions, this has proven to be a very challenging week. A lot of people I know say they just realized why they have been grumpy or slightly on edge. Its because we haven’t gotten our normal endorphin rush from running outside! Trust me, it is a very real thing and something that I personally struggle with. And don’t tell me to just run on a treadmill… That statement means that you just don’t understand the power of running outside and the effects it has on my mental state.

Along with being stuck inside for many, many days, spending a lot of time with my roommates, and doing anything and everything inside, I did a few other things that prove I was stuck indoors for way too long. First, I signed up for the CrossFit Open. I made a statement a few weeks ago to my PT that I just was not feeling up to competing this year. Without missing a beat he said that this competition wasn’t something I should feel forced to do and if I just wanted to cheer on my fellow gym-mates, that it was just as good as competing. Thank goodness for good people like him! But… then I was stuck in my house for way too long and ended up signing up. SO, if you are in the Open, LET ME KNOW! I am getting excited to see what I can do this year and the PR’s I will hit. And of course, to cheer alongside my entire gym on Friday nights for the next few weeks.

The other thing I did with start to really look into my race calendar for the year. I had not signed up for any races and in all reality, it was the strangest feeling. I always have a race coming up or something I am training for. But since October 1st, I have just been maintaining my fitness level and keeping it real. Slightly stressful but also liberating. Well, thanks to the desire to go run, I signed up for my first race of 2019! Just as I ended my 2018 season with a race in the Bellingham area, I am starting my 2019 season in the Bellingham area. I will be running the Birch Bay 15k, which is a lovely race along the water and I could not be more excited! So, if you are up for an early April race, come race with me! And because the race is put on by Orca Running, they are offering a lovely 15% off discount for any of the distances for the race with code: AMIREALLYARUNNER19

So, what do you do when you are snowed in? Do you end up signing up for races and competitions like I do or do you just take it easy and enjoy the day? I am currently very hopeful to get out for a longer run tomorrow now that the sun is making its way through the clouds and warming up the area. Stay safe out there friends!

Until next time
-Be Fearless, Go Boldly

Healthy Weight Week?

I just learned that the third week in January is “National Healthy Weight Week”.  And in some regard, it blows my mind that this is a week long occurrence within our society. This is because when I think of society’s view of healthy weight, the first thing I think of is the BMI chart. Let’s all be real honest right now, that chart is a bunch of bullshit (sorry mom). I don’t normally swear within my writing, but this is the one thing that makes me more frustrated than anything else.

BMI is a broken system. Don’t believe me? Then try researching exactly what its intended purpose was. And then look at what it says about me from a numbers standpoint in regards to my life, or for yourself. The BMI chart takes your height and your weight and calculates a number that classifies you into various categories.  For myself, currently at 5 feet 7 inches tall and 209 pounds, the BMI scale has me classified as 32.7, which places me in the obese stage 1 category.

If you looked at me without knowing these numbers, you would not think to place me in this category. And this is why the system is broken. So to those who are still using this method as a way to designate if you are healthy, please for the love of all things, STOP. You are more then this number. You are more then the number on the scale. You are more then looking like a certain body type.

But when we look at what healthy weight week looks like from a positive aspect, we can see it as a week that begins to promote healthy habits in regards to our health, especially in a week where most new year resolutions crumble. Check out this video I found from a group in Vermont who are promoting this week in a beautiful light:

 

From these two very different aspects here is what I leave you with: Find what your own healthy weight looks like. Remember that it is going to look different on each person. Just like an image that traveled across the internet a few years ago, the same weight on five bodies is going to look different. Because we all are different and no one was created as a carbon copy. If you are living a balanced life, making healthy choices for you, doing activities that you love, and remembering that health and strength is a mindset, then you are doing everything you need to be doing. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Because when we let the world tell us how to live or look, we lose sight of what our true health looks like. So keep living your life according to you. Not anyone else.

Until next time
-Be Fearless, Go Boldly

Thank you 2018

What does it mean to believe in yourself. To be fearless in the pursuit of the unimaginable dream. To know that you are worthy of anything you set your mind to.

In a world that tells us to blend in, its a challenge to allow ourselves to stand out. To trust in the process of what we are doing. To continue to place one foot in front of the other, regardless of what others say. To see our bodies as beautiful master pieces instead of forcing it to fit a mold that is unobtainable.

Something happens when you believe in yourself. It’s this realization that you are capable of anything you set your mind to. Understanding that regardless of what society tells you is acceptable to this world, that they are wrong. Because you are beautiful, you are worthy, you are strong, and you can do anything.

And this is exactly what took place in 2018. I set aside the expectations of the world and sought after what was true. I began to believe in what God has called me to. To deepen my relationship with the one who matters most. To believe that the God of the universe could and does love me more then I can explain or understand. That He has a good and perfect plan for me.

I believe that I could chase a dream. That I could crack 30 minutes in a 5k and destroy my marathon time. I ended up getting a PR each month in 2018, which was an unexpected blessing and testament to the hard work I put in throughout the year.

I believed that I could love and be loved. I put my heart out on the line, expressed how I felt, dared to get to know new people, and even pursue dating. These are things that I had not entirely done in the past. I know that I can trust people far more then I do, that getting your heart broken is all part of the game, and being willing to try is far greater then just sitting aside watching the world pass by.

I believed in deeper friendships, in trusting the unknown, in my own ability to really chase those big dreams. I’ve always had this dream of being in upper level administration in higher education, but a Ph.D. would be required. And now I am chasing that dream by working towards my Ph.D. I invested in the places I am at most, took a chance on joining a new life group, and really believed in who I am as a person.

The reality of believing in yourself is daunting and challenging. It is easy to say “oh yeah, I believe I can do that”. But when push comes to shove, I have noticed that not as many people actually believe in their own ability. And proving to myself that I could actually believe in myself and change my perspective on this has been far rewarding. 2018 follows through to be a monumental year for me in many regards. And the Year of Believe is added to a list of years that stand out as being on of the more impactful years, right alongside the Year of Strive (2016), and the Year of Fearless (2017).

And as step into a new year, I am excited to see what it has in store and the ways the Year of Intentional will change my life in a new way.

Until next time
-Be Fearless, Go Boldly

Another year down

Some days it feels like just yesterday that I started this health journey. 280 pounds and feeling as though I would never make it out of the state I had set myself in. Diet after diet and nothing seemed to work. When would the moment happen? The click that “they all talk about” when something would finally work?

And yet, somehow, this last grasp for help worked. I say it a lot, but I am still so very thankful to Jen Ramirez for sharing with others what she learned and helping women attack not only the physical but mental aspect of weight loss. That this was a marathon not a sprint. Yet, as a fairly sedentary person, I never fully understood that statement. Now as a marathoner, I understand it unlike I never thought I would.

So why does this year feel a bit more significant then the last few? This last year I turned my focus from weight loss to other things. I can look at you and say “I am exactly the same weight today as I was 365 days ago. But I am a much healthier person and so much has changed.” And know that this is a true statement. I maintained my weight for an entire year. I spent the early part of last year working on strength. And would you believe me if I told you that I gained (at least) five pounds of muscle. I even have the numbers to prove it, not that I need to prove it to anyone.

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I turned my focus from losing more physical mass to gaining strength and running stronger. I accomplished a running PR every single month this last year. I took 47 minutes off of my marathon time, which is rare. Except this types of big PR’s have been my normal this last year. I ran my fastest mile in 8:32 and a 5k in 28:41. Incredible accomplishments that happened once I shifted my focus from weight loss to fitness gains.  You don’t gain five pounds of muscle in a few weeks. I took five months of hard work to get these kinds of results. You don’t get faster in running just by simply running faster. You have to train in a certain way to gain speed or else you will end up getting hurt.

And when I look at the reality that weight loss took a back burner this year, I could not be happier. I have spent so much of my life focusing on a number on the scale when I should have focused on everything else my body was doing. I worked with a new dietitian this last year who is an amazing person and one that I can relate to on a whole new level. And they have helped me see this new aspect of my health journey. We have set up healthy boundaries that allow me to still live my life and redirect my focus where I see fit depending on the season I happen to be in. I don’t think I would have shifted my mindset as much as I have if I didn’t start working with her this past year.

The greatest aspect of all of this is knowing that accomplishing four years of success is just the beginning. I am crossing over to an aspect of this journey that statistics tell us not many cross into. That when you maintain your weight loss for 2-5 years you are significantly more likely to keep it off long term versus those who lose and regain within the first two years. And that makes me think back to the days leading up to this change. When I didn’t know if this would stick, but I was willing to try any way. It goes to prove that if we let the fear of the unknown stop us from taking chances we would never move forward in our lives.

So here I am, four years into this journey. Continuing to put myself first year day before I help others. Finding new things that I love to do and setting goals to accomplish along the way. Knowing that eventually everything about weight loss does stop and the focus shifts. Knowing what the different seasons look like, and when to gain strength and mass for a purpose and when to shift that focus to reach my final goal of weight loss.

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I know that year five will be another great year. It will be one where I go after my final weight loss goal of being under 200 pounds for the first time in my adult life. It will be one where I chase more running PR’s and see how much more I can push my body. And it will be one where I learn more about what maintenance looks like on this side of a weight loss journey. Keeping in mind that I am not alone and nothing is linear. This is a journey after all, and every day is a new aspect of it. But one thing I do know is this: The best is still to come. Regardless of what it might be. So here is to year five, to loving myself more, to continuing to be my best self, and to learning more about what this journey means and the impact it continues to have on my life. Happy anniversary friends.

Until next time
-Be Fearless, Go Boldly