My C25K

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I know its clean week, and I'm supposed to be blogging about all of the dirt and grime that I've been scrubbing off of my refrigerator shelves, but- this is important.

For the past 8 or 9 weeks, while I've completely lost track of time, I've been training to run a 5k.

Its not something that I wanted to shout from the rooftops. I didn't want to document my every move in the same way that I did with my 30 day shred. I didn't want to crack under the heavy pressure that my computer screen has the power to put on me. After I did my shred, I decided that I needed to get healthy and lose weight for me. Not that I was doing it for anybody else before, I just felt that if I kept it to myself, the details and struggles, I could keep my goal more personal, just me and the track, and I would commit to it for no reason other than I wanted to. Do you know what I mean? Sometimes we lose ourselves in the efforts of not wanting to let somebody else down. And I needed to overcome that. Which I have.

2 1/2 months ago, I dedicated myself to becoming a runner. This isn't something that I took lightly. I've always, always, wanted to be a runner. Back in elementary/middle/high school, I couldn't even do one lap around the track. I was so overweight, that I couldn't even jog a quarter of a mile. Hidden under my embarrassment for my lack of physical fitness and less than beautiful exterior, was jealousy. Severe, anger filled, envy. I wanted to be better.

When I was 19 years old, I battled with a rush of anorexia, combined with a diet pill drug addiction, topped off with an unhealthy lust for my StairMaster. I locked myself up for days, and emerged 40 pounds thinner. I was thin. My skin was yellow, I was always exhausted and dizzy, but I was thin. Shortly after meeting my husband, but long before we were married, tragedy struck (something I don't think I'll ever be able to bring myself to write about), and just as quickly as I had lost the weight, I put it all back on... and then some. My weight sky rocketed to an out of control 238 pounds (256 while pregnant with Eleanore). Part of that was food allergies (gluten, dairy, fructose), but most of it was depression, both postpartum and non. I needed help.

Over the next couple of years I was diagnosed with IBS, Barrett's Esophagus, and Endometriosis (not to mention, I had two kids!). A real party in the out patient surgery department. All of those things combined tore my obese body apart, cell by cell. I had to change my diet drastically, and slowly, very slowly, I started building my depression and sickness, into strength and brilliance.

After things got on track with my diet, which I thought would never happen, I decided to take on the physical. I started out with walking. Then hit the rowing machine a couple of times. And then, The 30 Day Shred. I was thinning out, I was feeling great. Everybody that had watched my transformation asked me, "What are you going to do next, what are you going to do next?", and I froze. I stopped working out altogether. I took a break.

That brings me back to 2 1/2 months ago, when I decided that I can be a runner. One day while browsing blogs and such, I came across the "couch to 5k" program. Basically, a program for folks like me, who want to get off their lazy asses, put on some running shoes and a sports bra (or if you're me, three sports bras), and hit the track. I didn't even stop to think about it for a second, I was dedicated right then and there. I said out loud to Christopher, who was sitting on the couch next to me (see, literally, couch, to 5k, hah) "I'm doing this running program, I'm starting tomorrow". And that's exactly what I did.

I was scared to death, my first run. I had never run before in my life. Wait, I take that back. I tried to run, back in May, I got maybe 50 feet- and then I sprained my knee. Yeah, that's how awesome I am. I messed my knee UP (did you read that in the ghetto voice that I was using in my head when I typed it? I did my best with the fonts, but- ). I knew nothing about running. I didn't understand how to breath properly (really though, it takes a lot of concentration and rhythm, it took me awhile to get the hang of it). I thought everybody was staring at me (and lets face it, I kind of stand out). My first run, was rough. Even though I was only running 60 seconds at a time, it was extremely difficult, and my body sure let me know it.

My second run, not quite as bad, but I was still positive that everybody was staring at me. Running on a military base, where everyone is clearly in excellent physical condition, SUCKS.

From there on, things got harder, and easier, both at the same time. I knew I wouldn't give up, I couldn't give up. The running sets got longer. I struggled with chest pains, ear aches, pulled muscles- everything. I wondered if maybe I just wasn't cut out to be a runner, but, until I snapped a bone mid jog, I wasn't quitting.

The most memorable night in my dedication, was somewhere around the 6th or 7th week. I had to go run. I had been planning on doing it all day, I knew that my body needed it, my brain needed it too, I had to go. It was late at night, freezing cold outside, and pouring rain. I'm not the type to workout inside on a treadmill. That's the kind of exercise that you do to lose weight, not to feel good. I like to feel good. I can only run outside. I put on my workout clothes, plugged my ipod earpieces into my head, and took off. I, got, soaked. I was the only person out on the track that night (the same as most nights, since I have to go after Christopher gets home, which doesn't really give me the option to pick and choose when my workouts are), the water was coming down so hard from the sky I couldn't see where I was going, my clothes had gained an additional 20 pounds in water weight alone- and I wasn't stopping. I ran my heart out. I ran until my tears mixed with the rain, similar to something from a movie scene. And when I finished my 2 miles that night, I realized that I was doing it. Could I officially call myself, a runner?

Tonight my neighbor came over to our house and watched the kids for us (I'm not good leaving the babies with anybody else, even if they're a good friend, I'm that kind of mom), and Christopher and I went down to the track together. We forgot bug spray, so that was awesome, and we forgot the camera, even more awesome, but- this was it.

Tonight, I ran a 5k with my husband.

I didn't do this for anybody other than myself. I didn't do it for the jerks in middle school that called me fat, which, I was. I didn't do it for my husband, who will love me no matter what. I really, truly, did this for me.

When I crossed the finish line tonight, I burst into tears. I was crying so hard that Christopher thought I had hurt myself. I had run so fast that last quarter of a mile, faster than I've ever let myself go, that I had no breath to tell him otherwise, (not that I would have, even if I could have, because emotional moments like that aren't the kind of moments that you want to interrupt with an explanation of "no dear, I'm alright, nothing is broken or sprained or pulled, I just ran a freakin' 5k for Gods sake!"). I walked around the track with my hands on my hips, slowly catching my breath, my chest pounding, thinking about how my life has changed. With every burning exhale, I thought about how 5 years ago, I would have never pictured my life ending up like this.

I saved myself.

Since starting my training, I've lost 4 pounds. Nothing spectacular in the way of numbers, but, damn, I feel good. I'm stronger. I'm in better shape than I've ever been in before. I'm down to 185. And... did I mention I can run a 5k?

The face of accomplishment.


Fallon November 11, 2009 at 11:03 PM  

Wonderful Tia! SO so happy for you :)

ElegantSnobbery November 11, 2009 at 11:04 PM  

Tia - holy crap you write such a beautiful story. Seriously, I'm the worst runner in the world. Worst. I can't get to my mailbox and back without wanting to die... but after reading this post, I want to run, too! You make it seem magic and I want to be magic!

Congratulations for running your 5k! What an accomplishment!

Lauren November 11, 2009 at 11:10 PM  

Big big hugs Tia. You are glowing in that picture. 5 K is an amazing feat - you can do this, again and again!

The Momma November 11, 2009 at 11:19 PM  

WOW! WOW! WOW! That's all I can say! I REALLY want to get to that place where I make myself better for me. I think this may have just set me on that journey! Thank you!

Sara November 11, 2009 at 11:20 PM  

I wish I knew how to spell the noise I'm making right now.

You are an inspiration! Go Tia! You may not have inspired me to clean my house, but I feel moved to drag out the workout clothes and yoga mat. It's too freakin' hot outside to run still. :)

Michele Maule November 11, 2009 at 11:30 PM  

You are such an amazing woman Tia. an inspiration for so many. Thank you for sharing this. Hugs.

Right As Rain Creations November 11, 2009 at 11:43 PM  

Thank you for sharing - I laughed and cried!

And you are gorgeous, inside and out! I'm officially setting 185 as my goal, because if I look 1/2 as good as you, damn!

craftattacks November 12, 2009 at 12:02 AM  

congratulations, Tia!! that is amazing and truly inspiring!

Mitzie November 12, 2009 at 12:31 AM  

I was fighting back tears reading your story! Thank you so much for posting this. You look aboslutely amazing.

Anonymous,  November 12, 2009 at 12:31 AM  

YOU DID IT! I can't imagine running a 5k. Hell, I can't run PERIOD. I want to lose weight but I cna't seem to get off my ass and make the change.

Ghada November 12, 2009 at 1:19 AM  

Awesome, saw your post on the Facebook group and thought I'd come read your story! I'm just in the middle of week 1 and have come down with a cold, but am determined to keep going.
Thanks for sharing, totally inspiring :)

Oh Mandie! November 12, 2009 at 6:22 AM  

So awesome Tia!! I seriously need to follow in your foot steps and get my unhealthy rump off of the couch!

I used to do cross country in high school ... I'm pretty sure now I couldn't run 20 feet without getting winded


Chubby Stubby Kay November 12, 2009 at 6:29 AM  

You truly amaze me more and more, Tia.

Congratulations on the 5K. Not only do you amaze me, you inspire me as well.

I have always wanted to be a runner, but always told myself I couldn't do it...Today, I will tell myself I can.

Thank You.


Maggie November 12, 2009 at 8:48 AM  

You are a fabulous storyteller, and damn, you look great! (Said that in my most jealous, yet totally impressed voice.) I think you need to forget about the "numbers" of weight, and pay attention to how you feel.

Amanda November 12, 2009 at 8:58 AM  

damn girl! you f-ing ROCK!!!! congrats!

Giggly November 12, 2009 at 9:00 AM  

You look fantastic Tia, but more importantly you feel fantastic, and that is fabulous!! Very, very cool. Health, these days is such a difficult thing to achieve and YOU have done it. I am so happy to have discovered you and this emotional journey you have let us all be apart of. :)
Congrats and big hugs to you!!!

SillyLittleLady November 12, 2009 at 9:18 AM  

Congratulations! Very inspiring story, maybe I'll go try and workout today (between all the classes, meetings and homework...) but if you can fit it in, so can I!

Keep up the great work :D

Anonymous,  November 12, 2009 at 9:52 AM  

Awesome, awesome, awesome!

You look AMAZING. Great post. :)

Household 6 November 12, 2009 at 10:37 AM  

This is an amazing story about success! You are wickedly awesome!

jessicajane November 12, 2009 at 1:21 PM  

i agree with elegantsnobbery, you make me want to run.

you look really good in that picture! your stomach looks a lot smaller.

way to go tia.

Megan November 12, 2009 at 1:56 PM  

You are amazing, my dear! (And a hot mama!)

Anonymous,  November 12, 2009 at 2:25 PM  

you rock! eventually one day i want to do a 5k, but it's still in the distance... i saw your pic last night on flickr, and i thought "wow, she did something great" and today i read the story. hooray for you, girl. you deserve to treat yourself well, and your accomplishment shows!!

Nen November 12, 2009 at 2:57 PM  

awesome is all i can say!

Denise November 12, 2009 at 3:49 PM  

I am in tears! Awesome! I get your feelings of wanting to be a runner, I have always "wished" I could run...maybe someday I will get to that point.

Christina November 12, 2009 at 5:44 PM  

Truly awesome! :D Thank you for sharing this wonderful blog post with us. I would like to try running too...but I have some ankle problems so I can't do high impact stuff like that. My technique for exercise is the stationary bike these days, but I am still battling the bulge! ;)

Kitty November 12, 2009 at 8:57 PM  

OMG! that's so totally AWESOME!


*hugs and smoochies*

Teri November 12, 2009 at 9:22 PM  

Oh my god, Tia! You look beautiful! You did it! Makes me wanta do all the things I've always wanted to do.

Teri November 12, 2009 at 9:24 PM  

You rock! I'm gonna go do some of the things I always wanted to do...I think I'll get the bike out this weekend.

soul_searching_mama November 12, 2009 at 10:04 PM  

Congrats!!! That is definitely something to be proud of--and best of all you did it for yourself! :) Thank you for sharing.

Christopher And Tia November 12, 2009 at 10:22 PM  

You guys. I'm overwhelmed by your support. Completely, speechless.

When I wrote this blog post, I was shaking. My hands hovered over the keyboard, and my eyes burnt with fear. Writing something so personal, is hard.

You guys have shown far more support than I ever expected.

Thank you. So much.

Kristen November 12, 2009 at 10:45 PM  

WOOHOOOO Way to go TIA!!!! That's exciting. I'm proud of you!!! I know that mean A LOT to you!!!!

lollywood November 12, 2009 at 11:44 PM  

thats awesome!!!! congrats!!!

Betsy November 13, 2009 at 2:48 PM  

You GO, girl!! That's awesome! *SO* proud of you! :)

AlyGatr November 20, 2009 at 7:02 AM  

I'm sorry I completely missed this post! Thank you for sharing your beautiful story...and WOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOO for your 5K finish. It makes me feel REALLY bad about whining about my 5K time the other day :( I know I should just be happy that I'm getting out there and doing it rather than sitting on my duff. You are doing such an amazing job and I'm proud for you!!!!

Amy December 27, 2009 at 10:58 AM  

My eyes welled with tears as I read about your 5k! I'm on Week 2, Day 3 (After doing week 1 twice...yeah. And "accidentally" skipping a week, I AM BACK.) and I'm doing well and actually enjoying it! The thing is, though- I still can't imagine actually being able to run a 5k. I've neverrr been able to run- overweight and out of shape my whole life- but now at least I'm working on it. I will repeat weeks if I have to, but I'm determined to make it!

Thanks for the inspiration and renewed motivation, Tia!

Anonymous,  June 28, 2010 at 10:52 PM  

I just started C25K today and reading this post motivates me so much more to keep it up. I think we're alike in sooo many ways and you are an inspiration <3

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