My Fitness Journey

Every fitness journey has a story, right? Since I like to tell stories, I’m both sharing mine, and honing my writing skills. 2 birds, amiright?

In elementary school, I always enjoyed PE. I wasn’t the best or most athletic, but I just really enjoyed the games and getting to run around and be loud! One of my favorite games we played was called Steal the Bacon. It was pretty awesome, and no one I’ve talked to has really played anything like it. Our coach was kind of a crotchety old man, but this game was fun, and I’m sure schools wouldn’t allow it now-days. In this game, everyone sits in a circle, and we each have a number. In the middle of the circle there would be something kind of long like a rag or a piece of rope or something. The coach would call out 2 numbers and then go, and those two people would run out and try to grab the “bacon” and get back to their spot first. But, most of the time, both people would get there first, so they would fight over the bacon. Yeah, pretty sure schools wouldn’t allow it.

Then onto middle school. The school I went to had 5th-8th grade. We had PE in 5th and 6th and then we started sports in 7th and 8th. There was also Ta e-kwon-do. If you didn’t want to play a sport, you could do PE. Well, as much as I enjoyed PE, I really didn’t like running. At all, unless we were racing or doing sprints. I could run pretty dang fast. But if we had to run a mile, I would groan and complain and try to think of some way to get out of it. In 6th grade I complained to the coach that my knees hurt. Mostly I was trying to get out of running, but yeah, they hurt. some. The coach watched me run and she told me I run flat-footed. (this is important for later.) We got some insole insert things for my shoes, and that helped out some.

Then came sports. In our area we had volleyball in the Fall, basketball in the Winter, and track in the Spring. There was also being a cheerleader, if you made the team. So in 7th grade, I was mascot! Yep, every pep-rally and football game I donned a 20 year old smelly Blackhawk suit. Kids would either be terrified of me, or they would tackle me. I had a great time though.

(I just noticed they spelled my name wrong… like, in a lot of places. Way to go, yearbook staff.)

I also did all three sports. I wasn’t too bad at volleyball. In fact, I thought I was A-team material, but my coach who was a total B didn’t think so. Ugh. When it came to basketball season, this coach totally stressed me out and made me hate basketball. For real. To this day, I don’t enjoy playing it. You have to bribe me. Then came track season. Aaaah track.

When the season started, I really wanted to do sprints, like the 100 and 200. I should have. I was one of the fastest, and I loved it! But Miss Coach B decided to stick me in the mile, just because she didn’t like me, and she knew I would hate it. And she was right. I moaned and groaned every practice. I couldn’t really complain about my knees anymore because of the awesome inserts. When the first meet was coming up, I was convinced I would suck. Instead, I got 2nd place. What? I’m good at this? I can do this?? This ended up waking up some crazy side to me. I mean, I was already a little nuts, but this took it to a whole new level. I fell in love with distance running. (Suck it, Coach B!) I started complaining that I couldn’t run the 1 ½ mile, which was only open to 8th graders.

Super proud of getting 6th in this meet. Go me.

That summer I ran on my own as much as I could. That Fall, I ran my first road race, a 2 mile run. There were only 4 of us in my age group; a brother and sister (who ended up becoming so awesome in cross country that their dad “happened” to get a job in a school district that is amazing at sports), and a guy that I knew in middle school. The girl our age got like 1st or second overall for females, so they gave me 1st in our age group for females. I was ecstatic but I didn’t have much time to celebrate because I had just enough time to go home and get ready for a volleyball tournament. It was pretty satisfying to see Coach B’s face when I bragged to everyone how awesome I did, especially when I did pretty awesome in the tournament. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to deal with Coach B quite as much that year since she was the 7th grade coach. the 8th grade coach was much nicer and more supportive of me. He’s one of the reasons I stuck it out.

I look so awesome here, amiright? Yeah, that’s my dad’s sweatshirt.

When basketball season rolled around, I went to PE. I just couldn’t deal with it. I had fun in PE though. The shop class built a climbing wall that was like 15-20 feet tall, so we got to climb that a lot in PE. We got so good at it and the coach was so laid back that we all got to the point where we didn’t need the harnesses anymore. Just stick one of those thick mats under us, and we’re good to go!

Then came track season again. This time there was no question that I would run the 1 ½ mile. And I totally rocked it. I made it to the city meet, which was really the highest we could go, but it was still a big deal. Only a few of us made it. I ended up sucking it up at the city meet, unfortunately. I came dead last. Like, sympathy clap while I run down the home stretch last. It was pretty embarrassing, but hey, I was the 12th fastest person in the city. Gotta stay positive.

When I started high school, of course I signed up for cross country. My oldest brother ran cross country, so he was able to help me find a great pair of shoes. Seriously, I miss those things. They hugged the road and my foot just perfectly. I had a great time. I loved cross country. I loved my teammates. The coach was pretty cool too, but after my Freshman year, she decided to quit coaching, so my Sophomore year, we got a new coach.

She was pretty awesome too, and that year happened to be my best year. I could go on and on about how awesome cross country was, but I’ve already rambled a lot, so I’ll try to speed through this.

I look angry here, which I probably was. I hated this meet. This isn’t the angriest I’ve looked in a running pic though.

I did have a few problems though. During my junior year, I got injured. (Leg extension machines are the devil. Seriously, don’t do them). I was out for a few weeks while it healed. This was kind of good timing though because I was starting to get burned out. Running wasn’t fun anymore. It was a chore. But while I was healing, I started getting jealous of my other team mates. They would come in all exhausted and talk about how they ran 5 miles, and I would sit there like “wow. I wish I did that!” When I was finally better, I felt rejuvenated. I pushed myself to get back in shape to run. I didn’t quite get on the same level as I was before, but I was able to finish the season.

Then came my Senior year. Remember those knee problems I had in middle school? They were back, and the insole things weren’t helping. We had a family friend that was a chiropractor and he thought he knew what was wrong, so we went to him. I ended up going a few times a week for some therapy, but it wasn’t really helping. By the time the season was over, I was the worst on the team. It was a little depressing, but I felt like the girls still looked up to me, which was nice.

After high school, I took a break from running. I would go now and then, but I wasn’t very consistent. When I stated college, I didn’t gain the Freshman Fifteen, mostly because I had to walk everywhere, and I was still fairly active.

Fast forward a while. I now have two kids, and a lot of baby weight. I’m ready to get it off and get back into shape. 2011 was a very hard year for us. We faced unemployment, near homelessness, a ton of family drama, and a death in the family. Running was one of the few things that offered an escape. Things finally started looking up. I was back in school, working on my Associates in Business Administration. I found out my school was doing a 5K, and since I was a student, it was only $5. A 5K for $5? That’s unheard of! So I did it. I was slower than I wanted, but I did it… my first race since high school.

After that, I started running and working out more regularly. In 2012 I had a goal to get down to 130. This was lighter than I had been in a long time. Even in high school I was in the 140-145 range. I didn’t necessarily plan on staying that low, I just wanted to do it, and I had a year. At the time I think I was like 155-160 or something like that.

I found out about a half marathon that would take place in September. Remember that 2 mile race I did in 8th grade? This was the same race. There’s a 2 mile, a 5 mile, and then the half-marathon. I wanted to push myself and run the half. So I did. I pushed myself. There were a lot of days during the summer where I would have to push the kids in the double stroller just so I could get my run in. On the weekends when I did my long runs, I would have to get up around 5 A.M. so I could eat and run before it got too hot outside. When school started in the fall, I had to get up early a lot during the week.

Training was going great. Each week, I felt so accomplished and so awesome when I reached my newest highest mileage. Then about a month before the race, I was part way through a 12 mile run when my knee started hurting. This wasn’t the kind of hurt like when I was younger. This was different.  I couldn’t push through this pain. I stopped running and walked home. I was worried about what this meant for my race. Then I decided that after all my hard work, I wasn’t going to let this opportunity go to waste.

So I scaled back on the running and did more elliptical work. I hate machines. I really do. They’re so boring. It was torture. But my knee healed up, and I was able to race.

I was soooo nervous for that race. It was hard, harder than I imagined. Part of it went by my parents’ house, where I ran when I was younger. That was kind of fun being in that familiar place, but it was still hard. I knew I was on the tail end of the race. I thought so many times about quitting, but I knew there were a lot of family and friends cheering me on, even though they weren’t out there. I felt like I would be letting them down if I stopped. So I pushed through and finally finished. There were maybe 10 places between me and last, but I finished.

I’m all grown up compared to last time I raced here!! (that’s my son on the right! Cute kid!)

After that I took a break from running to let my knee heal up all the way. I was still making progress toward my weight goal. At the beginning of December, I was only a few pounds away. I was on the home stretch, and I just knew I could make it.

And I did make it…technically… because I had my appendix out. Yeah, that wasn’t a fun experience. I didn’t count that as making my goal, because I didn’t work for it. I went down to like 125, but I looked like crap. Once I was able to eat real food, I did. I ate. And ate. And ate.

And came back a bunch of that weight I worked so hard to lose. Frustrating for sure. The first half of 2013, I didn’t really work out much. Between school and my husband looking for jobs after school, it wasn’t really a priority. Then we moved into an amazing community. There was a walking trail right behind our apartment. The kids were still young, so we spent a lot of time exploring the trails and neighborhoods around us. We found fun parks and cool places we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I slowly got back into running.

I found a race I wanted to do early the next year, so I worked hard and trained for it. About a month before the race, we moved apartments into a nearby city. This disrupted training some, as moving is very exhausting and stressful. Then came the struggle of running in a new neighborhood where I didn’t know the streets as well. Somehow I managed it and ran my race, and a few others, with no problem. 2014 was good for me fitness-wise. I ran 3 races and I worked out some in our apartment fitness center. But I knew something was missing. And I had another problem.

A nerve in my foot had gotten pinched. Running ended up being too much for my poor foot. I mean, you try running 5 miles with your foot feeling all numb and stuff. It got to a point where I decided I needed to back off of running for a while. It sucked. I was frustrated. 2015 found me wondering what the heck I was going to do to get fit. I didn’t really have a goal weight in mind, I just wanted to be fitter.

Then I found an amazing blog while scrolling through Pinterest. I seriously think this blog was an answer to prayer. It showed me things that I knew, but I didn’t really know. Things that my husband has been telling me for years, but I didn’t get it: If I want to get rid of my mommy tummy, cardio isn’t the answer. I needed to lift weights. Ding! I found my new thang. Between the blog and a book recommended by the author of the blog (I’ll share more on these later), I was excited. I had something new to learn and to do.

Money was an issue, so I couldn’t join a gym. I did what I could in our apartment fitness center. It wasn’t much, but I was able to modify some things. And I loved lifting. I hadn’t really lifted weights since high school. I felt awesome. I loved watching the weight go up and my muscles start to show. I loved looking up body building stuff online, even though I don’t intend to become one. I just loved the gym life.

Then we moved. Again. The city we were living in didn’t agree with us. We moved into a great new apartment not far from where we lived previously. The same walking trails and neighborhoods were near-by. Yes!

Well, as I’ve said before, moving sucks. Moving boxes and furniture became my workout as we moved from a 3rd floor apartment to a 2nd floor apartment. Then about a week after moving in, my husband had to go out of town for a couple weeks. Being in a new place, I didn’t really know the rules and taboos and stuff of our new fitness center, so I didn’t want to take the kids with me. I was excited to get in there though. From what we saw when we checked out the apartment, it looks pretty awesome.

Hubby came home, and it was time for me to get back to work, after taking about a month off. I excitedly went to our new fitness center. I quickly realized how much it sucked. It was worse than our last one! I tried my best to make do, but it just wasn’t going to work. I hated working out there.

A crappy fitness center and a pinched nerve meant I was stuck. Again. Hubby and I tried a fitness routine with each other, but it just didn’t work out. I tried working out at home now and then, but I just couldn’t make a habit out of it.

Then Santa brought us the gift of gains. Well, not really gains, but we got some cool equipment. We got one of those body works machines that uses your body weight. We were super excited. We loved working out on it. It was so much easier to do that then try to plan out some random workout. A few weeks later we got a stationary bike. Woo!

Our new toys!!

A couple of months later, I was at a playgroup with people from church. One of the moms asked if I had ever done Cross fit. Ah, Cross fit. I had so many thoughts and ideas about it. One the one hand, I thought it would be awesome. I knew the cross fit community was pretty awesome. I’ve seen some of the things they do and would think “Oh, I want to try that!” But on the other hand, I heard too many stories of people getting hurt because of bad form or bad trainers. I wanted to check it out, but I was scared.

It turns out someone from my church was trying to set up a cross fit group. She had most everything there at her house. She was offering us an amazing deal. The kids could play while we worked out. Sure, I decided to check it out.

And it’s been amazing. For the past couple of months, I have tried and done things I never thought I could do. I still get to do a lot of the lifting that I love, but I get to use actual bars. Before, I only had dumbbells, which were okay, but not quite the same. I get to work out with an amazing group of women. I get to know them better than I would have otherwise.

That’s my amazing friend Pomai helping out there!!

I still have a pinched nerve in my foot, but I’m able to run a little more now. I’m trying to just get back in the habit, even if it’s only a couple miles at a time. My body is already changing thanks to the cross fit, so I’m excited thinking about how I’ll look in a couple months between that and the running.

Well, there’s my life’s story! (almost!) On my blog, I plan on sharing some of the workouts I do, progress I make, maybe some yummy recipes I’ve tried, and lessons learned. (I’m pretty clumsy, so I have a few don’ts to learn from). Enjoy!

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