Friday, August 30, 2013

Coach, Mentor & Friend

I started running with Fleet Feet's No Boundaries Couch to 5k program 4 years ago this month.  At the time the program was still pretty new here.  It had 3 coaches, Matt & Christi Beth Adams (the owners of FF) and Tammy Sanders.  It was a special group - the people and the coaches.  I can easily say it was a life changing experience for me.  One of the really great things about it was that I felt like I really bonded with the coaches.  

At the end of the training, I knew 2 things - I wanted to keep running and there was no way I ever wanted to start over.  I'm sure Tammy doesn't remember it, but I remember being very afraid of training for a half marathon.  When I asked her if she thought I could do it, she was so convincing that I signed up for FF's training program the next January.  And I've been training with FF and Tammy every since.

Christmas lights run with Tammy & Nicole
One of my favorite Tammy quotes is that you will never regret the runs you go on, but you will always regret staying in bed.  I can't even list the number of times that thinking this in my head has gotten me out of bed, shoes on, and out the door.  Tammy has always encouraged me in all of my crazy running plans.  There have been many times that I've told her whatever my current insane plan is and she just shook her head, but then found encouraging words to share.  

When Mark and I decided to train for our first marathon in 2011, Tammy was one of the first people I shared this goal with.  We were running that race with Team in Training (TNT).  She had also done her first marathon with TNT.  She was amazingly supportive and more than helpful when we were coming up with fundraising ideas and plans.  She lost a grandparent to a blood cancer, so it's cause close to her heart.  This year she helped us create a team to train with FF and fundraise with TNT.  To check out that site click here.

More than a running coach, mentor and encourager Tammy has become a great friend.  We've had many long discussions on Monday nights about a variety of subjects.  It's easy to become friends with people you spend lots of time and many miles with.  I'm thankful for all the friends I've met through running.

This past weekend Tammy told me and Mark that she was leaving FF.  I'm being completely selfish when I tell you how sad this makes me.  Of course, I can't really blame her for wanting more flexibility and to have her Saturday mornings back. Without Tammy, I wouldn't be the runner I am today and possibly I wouldn't be a runner at all.  And, as she keeps reminding me, she's not going anywhere.  She's getting married in a couple weeks and they will continue to live here.  She's assured me that she'll still be at Tin Roof 2 on Monday nights.  She is leaving FF very amicably and going to work in a completely unrelated field.   And in her words, she'll be a great ambassador for FF.

Tammy, I can't thank you enough for the amazing influence you've been in my life.  Thank you for always having a smile and an encouraging word.  Thank you for all the times I've come to you nearly in a panic about a running problem or a race and you've always calmed me.  Thank you for believing in me before I believed in myself.  Most of all thank you for being a friend.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Weighing in

I realize that you aren't supposed to ask a woman how much she weighs.  I'm sure there's an etiquette person somewhere frowning on me because I'm about to disclose my weight here.  But I need to.  I need to say it out loud, to see it written and for the accountability that comes with sharing that I have weight to lose.

The number I'm going to post will probably be surprising.  Every time I tell someone they look at me like I'm a crazy person. But I promise it's real.  I had a fitness assessment two weeks ago today.  And I couldn't ignore the number that glared back at me.  I can hear some of you in my head telling me that I look fine or even pretty.  And I know some of you will rush to tell me that a lot of it is muscle because I run so much.  That is true.  But I can't claim it's all muscle.  Just like I can't blame it on being leftover pregnancy weight (wait maybe I could, I mean Jesse is only 12).  

The truth is I've always struggled with my weight.  Not in a huge way, but in smaller ways.  I've never been extremely overweight, but I've always had a little extra.  And for the past several years it has crept up 2 and 3 pounds a year.  Last year was more like 5 - 7 pounds.  Yes, it was a very stressful year, but I can't keep buying in to these excuses or I'll never reach my goal.  

I'd like to point out that I don't have an unrealistic body image.  I know that I'm not out of shape or obese.  But I also know that I want more for myself.  And I want to free up the time I spend worrying about losing 20 pounds to do other things.  As importantly,  I want to run faster.  Besides speedwork, I know losing weight is probably the best way to get faster.  

So here it is - I weigh 188 pounds.  The scale actually said 190, but 2 pounds were subtracted for my clothes and shoes.  It is interesting that, while I haven't lost a lot of weight from running, I have changed shapes.  I've worn a size 10 jeans for the last 8 years.  When I had Jesse, I weighed somewhere in the range of 195.  I can't believe I've let myself get this close to how much I weighed when I was 9 months pregnant.  It's unacceptable.

Food is my problem.  Clearly, I burn plenty of calories running and working out.  The problem is I know how hard I work and how many calories I burn, so I have no problem justifying a dessert or two. For the last two weeks, I've been tracking my calories and let me tell you, it's pretty obvious how I gained weight.  Tracking food has definitely lead me to making better choices.  And I've lost a couple pounds already.

During the fitness assessment, I also learned good things about my self.  My level of cardio endurance is better than about 90% of my peers.  I also have really strong core muscles.  However, my percent of body fat was not pretty.  I'm also about as flexible as a steel beam, but that I blame on genetics.

The first goal I've given myself is to weigh 175 on October 20 (the day of my next marathon).  By the end of 2013 I want to weigh 165.  And my final goal would be in the 150s by March 2014.  I have other goals like eat 3 servings of vegetables a day.  Some of you will say that seems easy, but track your veggie intake for a few days (and no fries don't count) you just might be surprised.  

Speaking of marathons, I need some help.  I ran my first marathon in 2011 as a part of Team in Training (TNT).  I loved it.  The support on the course from other TNT people was outstanding.  I felt like I had a personal cheer team the whole race.  But more importantly, I helped raise money to find a cure for blood cancers.  All funds raised through TNT go to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's mission - to cure blood cancer and give support to patients.  My personal goal is to raise $5,000 by the Nike Women's marathon.  Please support me and LLS by making a donation here.