Race Report: Just a few of the encouraging words you had for me

I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your words of encouragement, your blog comments, e-mails, tweets and Facebook posts kept me going in Napa. Here are just a few of them.
  • You are rocking your own world. You have been faced with more challenges than anyone I know, yet you still keep a positive attitude AND find time to help others in their goals! The thing that amazes me is your honesty. You get frustrated, and you let us know. And you get over it and move on to the next thing. You have been kicking butt for CCFA and taking names, all while going through your own struggles. Well, that finish line is waiting for you. I know in my heart you’ve earned it no matter what happens out there.
  • Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, “Always do what you are afraid to do.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • I am so proud of you for what you have already done. I know you are thinking about Napa as a milestone, but I have already seen enough to know that you can do it. I hope you feel the same confidence in where you are in your training. One of my favorite quotes is by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” To me, it’s a two sided quote. If a person is saying one thing but doing another, their actions will negate whatever image they are trying to verbally portray (this is an “all talk, no action” kind of thing). If a person is doing great things, they can lead by example… no words are necessary. You are doing an AMAZING job at the latter interpretation. You are doing so many great things Amy, and are an inspiration to others to want to become better versions of themselves. As you cross that starting line in Napa, do so knowing that all of us back home are cheering for you and sending all the positive vibes we can muster. And, as you cross the finish line (whether it’s in less than 4 hours or more than 8 hours)… soak it all in. Because you’ll never forget that feeling of accomplishment.
  • The only quote I can think of is from the Simpsons when Mr. Burns had a softball team prior to the last game.  I hope you find this inspiring: “So I want you to remember some inspiring words that someone else might have told you over the course of your lives, and go out there and win!”
  • My favorite inspirational phrase to repeat when races get tough is, “Pain is temporary.” When you feel like you don’t want to go on, just think of how great it will feel to cross the finish line, and all the people you have inspired and helped along the way. The race will be over soon but the accomplishment will last a lifetime.
  • What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. You can do this! And sometime in the future when you’re on a bus being carted to your first full marathon, you’re going to think back on this day and remember how nervous/scared/anxious you were and KNOW that you got thru it!  There’s going to be a lot going on around you. The big races have a different vibe and when you finally settle in to your pace, you’re already going to be a few miles in. When you’re surrounded by that many people (3000! its sold out!), in an new place, you have a lot of things to distract you from the butterflies. Enjoy the runners around you, listen to their chatter at first (before you plug in), take in the scenery and try to just enjoy the experience. Don’t worry about your time. You don’t want to walk away from this and not really remember all the things you just saw because you were concentrating so much on your time. Enjoy it. You will finish. You can do this. You’ve already done it, if not all at one outing, in a couple together. When the pack breaks up, you’ll be at mile 2 or 3. You’re still going to have lots of people around you. Feed on their energy and just walk. Just walk. You’ll get to the end soon enough. Think of other, harder things you’ve done for 4 hours…like moving (sucky) or house cleaning (sucky). This is so completely on the other spectrum – you’re in FRIGGIN WINE COUNTRY! You’re with people who have a common goal. You’re raising money for a cause you believe in. You’ve worked hard to get here! Look how much you’ve accomplished so far. You. Can. Do. This. And we’ll be waiting for your pics with that beautiful smile when you come thru on the other side!
  • Here are some classic quotes from running writer and speaker John Bingham: “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” “It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination.” “If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” “As an athlete, when you least expect it, you may find yourself standing on the threshold of an accomplishment so monumental that it strikes fear into your soul. You must stand ready, at any moment, to face the unknown. You must be ready to walk boldly thru the wall of uncertainty.” “For me, like so many others, running is the answer. Out on the road it is just you, the pavement, and your will.” “What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the days gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate.”
  • Remember:  “I can do everything through HIM who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13  and Joshua 1:9  “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” All I can say is, “Thank you!” from the bottom of my COLON!

6 days til the big race

Can you believe the big race is just 6 days away? It all seems like a dream. Someone pinch me. I honestly never thought I would be doing this – training for a half marathon, raising $3800 for Crohn’s and Colitis research and flying to wine country for a race?

Insanity.

There’s nothing else I can think of – except insanity.

I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your love, support and financial donations. Without you, this would have NEVER happened. Your e-mails, phone calls, blog comments, tweets, Facebook comments, letters and encouragement have made this possible.

Together, we have raised $3800 for Crohn’s and Colitis research and programs – like sending a child with IBD to a special summer camp with staff trained to deal with these diseases. Together, we are helping CCFA fund cutting-edge research studies at major medical institutions. Together, we are helping find a cure for the diseases that have plagued my family for too long.

Since January, I have lost 25 pounds and 36 inches. I have pushed myself harder than I thought possible. The human body is amazing. And it’s not to say that my training was problem-free. I was plagued by knee problems and then a sprained foot (which I just so happened to roll my ankle yesterday afternoon while walking the dog). I’m down but I’m not out. I’m praying that a lot of rest, ice and ibuprofen will allow me to finish what I started more than 4 months ago.

I will have my cell phone with me during the race. You can watch my progress by logging on to http://www.twitter.com/amykant as I’ll be giving updates via Twitter throughout the race. The race starts at 6:30 a.m. PT. So for those of you in the Midwest, start praying around 8:30 ok? 🙂 Based on my pace, injuries and previous long run/walks, I have a goal of finishing in less than 4 hours. Perhaps there will be a miracle and I’ll finish sooner than that… but I doubt that will happen. My super-not-so-secret goal is to finish by 10:10-10:15 a.m., but honestly, I will be thrilled to cross the finish line on my own two feet (or crawling – just so long as I don’t get carried across the finish line, I’ll be ok). Expect lots of “oh crap this hurts” tweets from me on race day. Maybe I’ll include a photo or two. You can feel free to text/tweet me during the race, but I do not plan on responding to these messages until much later. I might be able to read your messages during the race, and your encouragement is most welcome!

Post race, I plan to visit the medical tent (or the hospital, whatever) or find a tub of ice to sit in. I will also start consuming copious amounts of wine at the post-race party. I will have to numb the pain somehow, right?

I will be writing the following names on my forearms as a reminder of who I’m running for:

  1. Grandma Irene
  2. Beta Epsilon Alumnae Chapter, Alpha Gamma Delta
  3. Alex (from Rachel)
  4. Katie F.
  5. Phillip V.
  6. Robin C.
  7. Uncle Will
  8. Andy K.
  9. Carol R.
  10. ViNeta Bombria (from Carrie)
  11. Scott H.
  12. Angie & Joe Sorge
  13. Aunt Janice
    The last .1 mile is for me. 😉

One more thing – would you be willing to respond to this with a word of encouragement/inspirational quote/funny anecdote? I want to read through these li’l notes on race day as I am bussed to the race (it’s a 30-45 min drive). I will need some encouragement and who better to help me out than my family/friends?

Thanks again for everything.

PS:  A special HI for reader Melinda whom I met this weekend when I volunteered at a water stop for Badgerland Striders. I don’t even know you but you’re awesome.

Mermaid or Whale?

I know, I know. Those lame e-mail forwards, right?! Well, this one found its way to my inbox and I knew I had to share it with you all. I don’t know who wrote this anecdote (and I searched Google for like 20 minutes), so if you do know, please let me know.

Recently, in a large French city, a poster featuring a young, thin and tanned woman appeared in the window of a gym.

It said: “This summer do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?

A middle aged woman, whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster, responded publicly to the question posed by the gym.

To Whom It May Concern:

Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans). They have an active sex life, they get pregnant and have adorable baby whales. They have a wonderful time with dolphins, stuffing themselves with shrimp. They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia, the Barren Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia. Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs.

They are incredible creatures and virtually have no predators other than humans. They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.

Mermaids don’t exist. If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human? They don’t have a sex life because they kill men who get close to them, not to mention how could they have sex?  Therefore they don’t have kids either. Not to mention, who wants to get close to a girl who smells like a fish store?

The choice is perfectly clear to me; I want to be a whale.

PS: We are in an age when media puts into our heads the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream with my kids, a good dinner with a man who makes me shiver and a coffee with my friends. With time we gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that when there is no more room it distributes out to the rest of our bodies.  So we aren’t heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated and happy. Beginning today, when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think, “Good gosh, look how smart I am!”

Perhaps this is where the term “smartass” came from?

Someday, that will be me

I went with some of my DailyMile/FitMilwaukee/Twitter friends down to Kenosha early Saturday morning to cheer on the bazillion people I knew who were running either the half or full marathon.

I can’t adequately put into words what Saturday was for me. I saw friends complete their longest runs ever. I saw my friends triumph. I saw children looking at their parents with such awe, you’d swear they thought mommy or daddy was a superhero. I cried watching people I didn’t even know cross the finish line. I cried when my friends turned the corner for the last 30 yards to the finish. I cheered for people who struggled to finish the race. I cheered for people successfully completing their races. But most importantly, I saw what hard work and determination can produce. I could see on all my friends’ faces the pure euphoria they enjoyed when they finished the race. I’m no where near the end of my own personal race. But, step by step, race by race, pound by pound, inch by inch, I’ll get there. I’ll cross that finish line. And I’ll be thinking of how lucky I am to have people in my life who pushed me to finish this journey to a new me.

And now, a few shout-outs:

  • Krista, the way you run looks effortless. It looked like just a quick jaunt in the park for you. You are going to be absolutely fabulous at your upcoming races. You inspire me.
  • Tracey, you are a rockstar. You came floating down to the finish line with such a beautiful smile on your face. The fact that you didn’t even look tired is baffling to me. I can’t wait to cheer you on in Rockford! You inspire me.
  • Rochelle, I am so proud of you for rocking this half marathon. You’ve bounced back from your knee injury and showed that setbacks won’t keep you down. You inspire me.
  • Anne, I know I’ve told you this a million times, but you are such an inspiration. Your journey, your story, pushes me. I know that if you can run half marathons for fun after having been overweight, that one day that WILL be me. You make me want to push harder, go faster and be a rockstar. Because that’s what you are. You didn’t let your knee injury take you out. You showed it who’s boss. #lovefest You inspire me.
  • Sarah, I am so freaking proud of you. You bolted down to the finish line like a fiend. Your focus, your determination and your drive make me feel fortunate to call you a friend. You inspire me.
  • Cheryl, you were so determined to finish strong and I’m so proud of you for that! You are setting such a great example for your kids. They’re lucky to have a mom who’s so dedicated to staying fit! You inspire me.
  • Tony, you finished so strong! I know you’ll do many more of these in the coming years. You and Rochelle are so lucky to share something like this! It was great hanging out with you today. You inspire me.
  • Lindsey, I could see the pain in your face as you turned the corner. I admire your determination and the fact that YOU DIDN’T GIVE UP. You finished what you started, and even though you didn’t get the time you wanted, you finished with a great time. Didn’t you JUST start running like 3 days ago? 😉 Take care of your knee and rock it at your next half. You inspire me.
  • Marty, I am so lucky to call you a friend. Your determination, your speed and your smile at the end of the race were so inspiring. I’m so proud of you for crossing that finish line and showing it who’s boss. You inspire me.
  • Mike, your smile at the end of the marathon was infectious. You looked so happy and so proud of yourself for what you were about to complete. I’m so proud of you for rocking this race. Your hard work paid off and now you’re a marathoner! Your journey encourages me to push myself to one day run 26.2 miles. You inspire me.

The people listed above (plus the ones I know I’ve forgotten – Joe, Erica, Matt, etc) showed me what is possible if you work hard. For some, it was their first long race. They made the race their bitch. I’m lucky to call these people my friends. Seriously, I thank God I have them in my life – to inspire, to push, to encourage.

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Weigh In Wednesday: Holy Inches Batman!

Today started as a rather crappy Wednesday. I weighed in at 265, up .2 from last week. I know .2 is nothing at all… but it’s frustrating after seeing that 263.6 two weeks ago, almost 11 lbs lost… to now seeing exactly where I was 2 weeks ago.

I tried to look at the positives, the non-scale victories (NSVs). I feel better. I have more energy. My pants fall off all the time. But then there were the negatives glaring me in the face: You gained 1.5 pounds in the last 2 weeks. What the hell? Why did you make those poor food choices? Did you really need that extra piece of cake? (sidenote: cake was awesome. See?) Did you really need to skip working out three days in a row?

I don’t have good answers for those questions. I screwed up. I keep trying to stay positive but it’s been hard. I’ve wanted to give up. Finally admitting that I need to stop trying to run was a huge emotional blow.

You know what helped me see that weight loss and getting healthy is more than just what you see on the scale?

This post from my friend Anne:

It’s just a number, I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with it. I had to quit the scale like I quit smoking, drinking, Red Bull (well not anymore, I had some last weekend). It’s easier just to never do it. Once I step on I may be sucked into that world of weighing multiple times a day. I remember some of the tricks I used to play with the scale:

  • Step on the scale first thing in the morning. Pee. Step on again.
  • Stand with my feet to the outsides of the scale to see if that changed my number.
  • Weigh myself with just my underwear on. Then naked.
  • Hold my breath.
  • Worry about the number allllll day.
  • It’s too high – skip breakfast.
  • It’s low – skip breakfast. Or celebrate with a huge breakfast. Or ice cream.
  • I don’t like the number. Don’t eat all day? Or at least set out with that intention and end up binging.
  • Weigh myself at home and then again at the gym.
  • Weigh myself every time I go into the bathroom.
  • Fret over a loss or gain of .2 and not understand why people laughed at me when I told them about it.
  • Search my brain for justification of why the number was too high. The cookies the other day? Salty dinner last night? I drank too much water? Too little water?

All in all it just became too much. I’ve got issues, sure. But I am hyper-self-aware and I knew this was all unhealthy and taking a toll on me. (By the way, I certainly don’t punish myself with starvation anymore.)

This morning when I weighed myself, I can honestly tell you that the majority of the bullet points above were things I either did or considered doing.

Wake. Up. Call.

I can’t keep focuses on the scale numbers. There are so many other ways to measure success.

The mirror is another way I obsess. Some days it says I’m fat. Sometimes I tell it “Don’t talk about me like that! Would you say that to someone you love?” And sometimes I don’t fight back at all. Those are the days when I try on 6 outfits and hate all 6. Tom calls it closet puke. He’s knows I’m having a bad self-image day when he comes home to see clothes strewn all over the place.

But some days, like today, I feel on top of the world.

{…}I put on a new set of pretties this morning and really looked at myself. My legs look toned, my arms are (dare I say) better than Michelle Obama’s, and I can see just a little tiny bit of muscle definition in my midsection. I’ve made some amazing changes. Can I just be happy with that?

Today, yes I can. I am happy with my progress. I am happy with myself. And at least for right now, it doesn’t matter how much I weigh. I looked in the mirror and saw myself, my progress, my own face, my own skin.

And I liked it. (link)

Here is how I measured success this week without using the scale. I lost 7.25 inches in the past 4 weeks, with a total of 12.75 inches lost in 8 weeks.

Oh. Mah. Gawd.

Holler at ya girl.

March 3, 2010: Weight: 265.0 | Neck: 14.25 | Bust: 47 | Below Bust: 40 | R bicep: 15.25 | L bicep: 15.25 | Waist: 45.25 | Hips: 51.5 | R thigh: 29 | L thigh: 29.25 | R calf: 18 | L calf: 18.25 | L knee: 18 | R knee: 18 | total -9.2 lbs | total -12.75 inches

I have now lost 2.5 inches of boobs. If I lost that kind of rate in the gut and bootay regions I’d be happy. Hey body, let’s lose in a uniform pace, mmmkay?

Inspiration Board

I am a visual person. I need to see a visual representation of my progress and, well, one of those tickers just won’t do the trick. I’ll still have some type of “scientific” ticker/chart/etc posted here, but I wanted something more pretty for my home.

So, I created an Inspiration Board. It’s a 12×12 inch piece of cardboard I decorated with papers, ribbon, chipboard (and packaging) from Cosmo Cricket‘s Earth Love line, some vintage ribbon and ric rac, some Thickers alphabet stickers, glitter, Pink Paislee brads and some other goodies.

My plan is to add a sparkly gem for every pound I lose and I have li’l chipboard lovlies to represent various milestones (5 lbs, 10lbs, 5%, 10%, etc). And yes, if you see in the images below the li’l butterfly with the “100 lbs – goal” and thought “oh, Amy doesn’t need to lose 100 pounds” well, for 1) I love you. Marry me? and 2) get with the program. I weigh 264 pounds. At least that’s what I did at the beginning of December. If I weigh less than 264 (oh gosh that is painful to type) at the Fit Milwaukee Challenge weigh-in Wednesday, I will give reward myself on the board accordingly. If I weigh more than 264 (oh please God no) then I will readjust my goal weight to whatever 100 less than that number is. Of course when I hit my goal weight, I may change it to a different number, but I’m 5’8″ with broad shoulders and I don’t think much less than 165 would be good for me.

If you’re viewing this blog in a reader, you’ll probably have to click through to the site to see the gallery below.

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