Swimming and being comfortable in your own skin

You know, it makes me sad to think how much time I missed out on swimming these last four years. I bought a swimsuit 4 weeks ago and have gone swimming every single week since. I love swimming. I always have.

I could have been a lifeguard when I was in HS but didn’t want to sit out in the sun all day (gotta protect my gorgeous porcelain skin). Swimming was always one of my favorite summertime activities.

As I got older (and fatter) it became less and less exciting and more and more anxiety-causing to go swimming because I was so uncomfortable in my own skin.

Three years ago, I weighed 10-15 pounds less than I do now. Then, I wouldn’t be caught dead in the pool. Now I’m very comfortable in my swimsuit. Sure, I’m no SI swimsuit model, but I can wear a suit in public without rushing to wrap myself in a towel.

I guess you finally just say to yourself, “Get over it. If people are judging you because you’re fat and in a suit, they’re the ones with the problem. They can go screw themselves.”

So here it is world, me in a swimming suit.

Coincidentally, all of these photos involve me drinking copious amounts of alcohol. The day before my half marathon. Nice work.

PS. Screw you Sarah for looking so amazing in that itty bitty bikini right next to me.

There’s the margarita again. In the pool this time.

I swear, we didn’t have anything to drink.

Race Report: Starting (and finishing) my first half marathon

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
– John Bingham

It started out like any normal Sunday. Well, any normal Sunday where you get up at 4 a.m. to get ready and catch a bus at 5 a.m. to your first half marathon. You know, the usual. My first half marathon experience was nothing short of amazing. God spoke to me through Freddy Mercury, I never stopped to use the bathroom, I ran about 3 miles, I kept smiling and joking throughout and got to see almost every single teammate along the way. I am so grateful for this experience.

Me and Coach Anne – the cool kids in the back of the bus.

Team Challenge Wisconsin met for one last team cheer before the walkers nervously boarded our fancy bus to Napa. I was a ball of nerves. Yes, I’m smiling in the photos above, but my stomach was in knots. What had I done? Did I really sign up for this? What the hell was I thinking? Who in their right mind – at 249 lbs – would do a half marathon? I mean, really…

Well, I guess I’m that crazy fool.

Shortly after we boarded the bus, Dave, one of my teammates, said to me, “You look nervous.” Duh. Of course I was nervous. I had been dealing with an upset stomach all week leading up to this moment. Continue reading “Race Report: Starting (and finishing) my first half marathon”

Do as I say, not as I do

I’ve been struggling with something for awhile now and I can’t keep it bottled up anymore. I’ve tried to be upbeat and positive about this whole sprained foot fiasco. Oh wait, you don’t know about this do you?

Yeah, that’s right. I never blogged about it. Why? Well, I kept putting it off… and off… and off… until I started getting bitter today about he whole thing. Sure, I tweeted about it and made posts on DailyMile, but I never really blogged about how it made me feel. Here goes.

I was scared.

My left foot pain is getting worse, not better. I’m so scared something is wrong that will knock me out of training for Napa. Please send some healing thoughts/prayers my way. Pretty sure I’ll be going to the doctor today. 🙁

I was relieved.

FOOT UPDATE: It’s a sprain of sorts. I have to take it easy and I should be able to still run/walk the Wine Country Half Marathon. Basically, taper is starting a week early. 🙁

I was sad.

feeling like I won’t get to RUN a 5k… ever. #jth says I can jog or walk SLOWLY on thurs. #fitmke #sadmke

I was bitter.

all of you running the storm the bastille tomorrow can suck it.#bitter #sadface #norunningtilnapa

Last month, I had to “take it easy” for the Great Milwaukee Race. I wasn’t supposed to run. But, I didn’t want to let my teammates down so I ran a bit (this was before I knew the foot was sprained). Then I had my long build-up run/walks for training for the half marathon. I did 8 miles… then almost 9… then just over 10 miles. All on a sprained foot. Yep. I am pretty badass. Or stubborn. One of the two.

Luckily, the diagnosis came a week before my taper was to begin, so instead of doing my last long run/walk of 12 miles… I started taking it easy and tapering back early. On the one hand, awesome. On the other, crap.

I had a “come to Jesus” conversation with my trainer via text message the day I went to the doctor. Here’s how it went:

Me: This sucks.

John: Why? It will be fine!

Me: Because I want to do it all 🙁

John: U will just not this week, u wanna be fit for life, not just a couple of months, right?

Me: Yeah. You’re right. I know I need to listen I just don’t want to. Haven’t had an “easy” week since I began training for the half

John: That could be part of the reason u are hurt at the moment.

Me: Prolly. Guess I’m just afraid of going back to my old routine of nothing. Know what I mean?

John: I will drag ur punk ass out of ur house and make u workout if u do!

Me: Deal.

I have tried to accept the fact that I had to stop running. I have tried to accept the fact that I had to drop out of a 5k two weeks ago. I have tried (and failed) to accept the fact that I can’t run the Storm the Bastille 5k tomorrow. This race is especially hard for me to miss because back when I decided to start this journey, my goal race was to run the Storm the Bastille on July 8. Sure, I am freaking doing a half marathon next week, but I can’t help but feel like a complete failure. My one, measly goal – Run the Storm the Bastille – #amyfail. Yes, my goals have changed. I can do 3.1 miles in my sleep. But I haven’t actually RAN a full 5k yet. This has been a psychological barrier for me and I have been eagerly anticipating the chance to show myself I can RUN a 5k.

Then there’s this whole all-these-people-donated-money-for-charity-because-I-said-I-would-do-a-half-marathon-and-I-went-and-overdid-things-and-may-have-put-the-whole-race-at-risk factor. Yup. I’m doing this whole get healthy journey for me. And I am worried about what my family and friends will think if I fail miserably next weekend. When I started training, my goal was to be at a solid 15 minute mile pace (4mph). I’m quite certain if I was able to run more, I would have no problem maintaining this pace. However, due to all of my training setbacks (including the knee problems a few months ago), I have been logging a solid 16:30-17:30 walking pace. So now, my new time goal is in the 3:30-4:00 range. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others… but I have friends who are in the sub-4:00 MARATHON time range. And I’m just praying I can do a sub-4:00 HALF MARATHON. It’s a kick to the ol’ ego, that’s for sure.

I need to stop putting myself through this, but I can’t help it. There was a time (just months ago), where I couldn’t understand why some of my friends were working out ALL the time. They were running 7-8 miles FOR FUN. My idea of a good time was ordering a pizza, drinking a 6-pack of beer and watching basic cable Law & Order: SVU marathons. My idea of a good time was certainly not training for a HALF MARATHON. SVU Marathons are much more entertaining.  Now, ordering a pizza, drinking beer and watching SVU Marathons is still high on my list of fun times… but the times I’ve been able to run – actually RUN – I can’t describe the feeling as anything short of euphoric. It’s amazing what the human body is capable of. And I know mine is capable of running.

I know I need to listen to my trainer, my coach, my doctors… but I can’t help feeling like I’m a failure. I feel like giving up. I feel like putting on my fat pants. I feel like burying my sorrow in peanut butter M&Ms, fruity cocktails, microbrews, high-carb, high-fat meals… (and trust me, I have done this in recent weeks). But I know that is giving in. I can’t fall back to the old Amy. I can’t let the old fat girl win. The new fat girl is so much more fun. She feels better. She can walk up flights of stairs without losing her breath. She is 10 days away from completing a half marathon (at 250 lbs, none the less). She needs to get over herself, put on her big-girl underwear and stop being such a baby.

I guess what I’m trying to say is… don’t be stupid like I’ve been. Be smart. Accept your setbacks. Grow a pair.

A walk down skinny lane… and fatty place

First, we begin with some cuteness overload.

That’s me and my first dog Sammy, circa 1985. Wasn’t I a cute li’l kid?

Moving on… I was looking through some old photos from high school that had been posted on Facebook and couldn’t help but think, wow, that was ME.

In the Photo #1 below, I was probably about 130-140. I think this was freshman or sophomore year of high school. I was thin, but not real thin. I’ve never been “that” girl. My friends were always smaller than me and I felt self-conscious all the time. I thought there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t as thin as the others.

The next three photos are from my senior year of high school. Photo #2 was my costume for the play and looking at this photo now, I yearn to be that size again. But in 2000, I hated that I was a 12/13 and the other girls were 2s, 4s, 6s, 8s, whatever. It didn’t matter that I was at a good weight for my height (I probably could have lost a few pounds, but still, I looked GOOD). I just didn’t think I looked good. I’m guessing that in these three photos, I weighed in the 165-180 range, but if you asked me, I would have said 145 or 150.

Photo #3 was my show choir dress senior year. Yes, show choir like GLEE. I was that girl. 🙂 But I was also one of the biggest girls in the choir. Sure, I had the biggest boobs too, but that didn’t matter. I was always the biggest. I was never paired up for songs where the guys had to lift up a girl. See me standing on that box? I was a “wallflower.” Not good enough to be in the front. I sometimes thought this was because of my size.

Photo #4 is when I had a huge solo as Dorothy at our spring concert. Again, I was bigger than some of the other girls and suspected that the only reason I was chosen as Dorothy was because of my long dark hair. I struggled with self esteem issues back then, even when I was absolutely beautiful. I mean, look at these photos. I was a healthy, young girl. But I thought I was fat because I wasn’t the same size as everyone else. I wasn’t fat by any means.

As I change my life… I look back at this time with shame. I also wonder, if I thought I was so fat back then, what would the 17-year-old Amy say of me now? She’d probably die of heartache.

Sidenote: how did this girl not have a serious boyfriend in high school? I mean, really. WTH. More on my love life in a future post.

As I got older and drowned my sorrows in food, I started to learn some fat girl tricks. Fat girls, you know what I’m talking about. When someone wants to take your picture, you find a way to block the fat – by whatever means possible. It could be a table, bag, book, scarf or even your friends. I don’t know why I thought these little tricks would work. People know you’re fat. You can’t hide it… so why do we try? The worst part about all of these photos? I probably weighed 210-240 in them. That’s more than 25 pounds LESS than I weigh now. I would die to wear those “fat” jeans again. A size 16 or whatever they are would be a dream come true right now.

So, there you have it… the good… the bad… and the ugly. I kid, a li’l bit anyways. I don’t think I’m ugly. I do think I’m pretty (or at least I have some good features). Gosh, if I was both fat AND ugly, there’d really be no reason to change anything. Ok, I’m not really that shallow, but you know what I mean. Looking back and seeing what I was… and looking and seeing what I’ve become is a huge wakeup call. I don’t want to let the 1998 Amy down. She never thought that she would gain more than 100 pounds in 12 years. She had bigger dreams for herself.  It’s time to make those come true.

Am I crazy?

Two workouts/one day.

Yep, I’m certifiable.

Actually, I think I’m on some kind of high. Is this what it feels like to be fit? Is this what it feels like to know you’re doing something RIGHT?

Cuz if it is, I’m down with it.

A few notes:

  • The part I hate most about my body is my midsection. I would chop it off if I could (even though it does make a good resting place for a bowl when I’m sitting on the couch). I know I need to do abdominal workouts in order to fix the situation but they are quite difficult. It’s not the lack of muscle that makes them difficult. It’s the giant blob of fat between my chest and my thighs that makes it difficult. Do you see pregnant women doing situps? No, because there’s a giant mass on their abdomen. If you have a flat midsection, imagine trying to do situps with a basketball under your shirt. Yeah, it gets in the way. I think I could do them better if it wasn’t for the blob, but if it wasn’t for the blob I wouldn’t be doing them right now. Catch 22?
  • When I do jumping jacks, jump rope or the butt kicks in Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred, I feel like the house is going to crash down around me.
  • Also, when I do the jumping jacks, jump rope or butt kicks in the 30 day shred, I’m pretty sure my face gets smacked by my boobs.
  • Will I get to the point where my thighs don’t rub together anymore? Cuz that would be awesome. Former fat girls, can you tell me?
  • I love dailymile.

And… a post workout photo. Gentlemen, eat your hearts out.

How did I just realize this?

I bought my winter coat last year during an after winter clearance sale. It was a steal at $13.

Well I just had a li’l punch to the gut.

Imagine my surprise to see it is a maternity coat. Shiz. No wonder it fits so nicely. Omg. I am sitting at the airport right now both mortified and highly amused.
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Fat Fotos

You know those fat photos you hope never see the light of day? Well bring on the sunshine… cuz I’m sharing. If you’ve met me in person, you know what I look like… so why hide it? Consider this my before or “I never want to be this fat again” inspiration.