Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm a Runner

I had this amazing experience last Sunday. I ran the whole 8 k at the Goodlife Fitness Marathon. Maybe not a big deal to many, but to me it was a goal that took me 3 years to reach.

In October 2007 one month before my band surgery I did the Royal Victoria 8k. My surgeon, Dr. Brad Amson had asked me to do it. I think he asks patients to do it because it shows a desire to really take exercise seriously and to prove to him that you are ready to do what it takes to make it happen. I remember when he said it to me. I looked at him and nodded yes...but in my head I was thinking.. WHAT are you crazy! I weigh over 300 pounds. Anyways, I figured if he thinks I can do it...maybe I can.

So I decided first thing I would do is get a really good pair of proper running shoes. I figure, if I am really serious about this I better take good care of these poor feet holding up all this weight. I went to Front Runners, which is a hard thing to do....walk in a fitness store at 300 pounds and not feel like everyone there is going to chuckle about the fat girl buying running shoes. The man who helped me was wonderful. He owns the store and he is very good at what he does. I tried on lots of pairs and he watched how I walked to find the right type for my flat feet. He was very professional and super cute too! I paid well over $100.00 and I battled in my mind about spending that much but decided that I plan on doing this as a regular part of my life so it was worth it.

So I started walking and joined a woman's fitness club, much like Curves. The ladies there were great and super positive. So off I went...walking. Got myself an MP3 player and had awesome inspiring tunes to keep me motivated.

That first 8k in 2007 was a turning point for me. I did finish it in 1:37 and when I heard my timing chip beep when I crossed the finish line tears were streaming down my face. I felt like the journey had started and I was on my way. What an emotional moment for me.

I also decided to get a photo of that day and then one two years later when I would (hopefully) be at my goal weight. I did the 8K in 2008 in 1:23, 100 pounds lighter and then in 2009 in 1:04 having lost 155 pounds..about 5 pounds from goal.

Over the last year I have gone regularly to boot camp 2-3 times a week and built up my cardio. For some reason I just could not seem to run very far with out stopping and walking. Nicole my boot camp trainer kept telling me it is a mental block as I am fit enough to do it.

On Sunday October 3rd I ran the 5K Run for the Cure with my Boot camp girlfriends. One of my friends is a cancer Survivor and she is amazing! After everything she has been through and there she is looking healthy and fit, running her butt off!!! My other wonderful friend has also lost a lot of weight. All three of us ran the whole 5K. The energy there was so positive. It was an awesome day and a milestone for me.

It was a mental block that was holding me back. I kept running when my knee started went away. I kept running when i felt went away. When I saw the finish line at the 5K I sprinted to it and realized I had lots of energy left. Maybe the 8 K was possible.

This past Sunday I ran with best friend in the world. She has been so supportive of everything I have done in my life. She has always been a healthy, fit and active person. It was so neat to be a healthy, fit and active person too. I even looked like a runner!
We had this neat thing happen...we stopped to use the porta potty befor the race and there was this huge line up. We did get through the lineups and were late to start the race. We ran down and up to a huge metal gate that ran all the way down the street. We could not get in. We had followed 2 other people and they too were trapped behing the fence. This amazing man, maybe around 50ish, got down on all fours on the concrete and said "Here, use my back". The 2 ladies stepped on his back and up and over the fence. Sue went next. I was last. I kept looking at the fence to see if I could scale it way. I looked way down the street to the entrance..too far, and I looked at this wonderful man who offered his back as a step. I was worried I would hurt his back. Finally I thought I am not 300 pounds anymore I am normal size...I am strong and can use my arms to pull myself up and not put too much weight on his back. It was weird all these thoughts going through my head...fat girl thoughts. Sue said "it's ok" so I did it. Up and over. Landed solid and off we ran to join the race. I yelled back to him "Thank You! " and gave him a big wave as I ran away. I will never forget him. How kind. Brings tears to my eyes just thinking about him.

Wow..longest post in the world! So off we went. I knew the race course and thought I can run to the turn around part of the course (4.5k) got there and kept going. Got to 6K and thought.. Hey, I have never done that before!" kept going and thought only 2K and your there. Sue and I saw each other and cheered each other on several times. We run about the same pace. At the 7K marker I thought I feel so tired, but if I walk now I will be so dissapointed in myself. Keep going! So I did and sprinted across the finish line!! I turned around and there was Sue. We hugged and had a few tears and celebrated a great run. 53 minutes! Sue said "next year we do the half" and now I think it is possible! My life has changed so much in so many ways. It feels great to challenge my body and see it getting stronger. I always thought those "runners" were crazy.....Now I get it! Next year the 21K Half Marathon!

Friday, September 17, 2010

You know me....I look a little different now

I was away for 2 days at a work conference/training. It was great because I was able to see some of the other folks in my profession from all over the Island. Amazing Women! We used too see each other a few times a year for training but thanks to budget cuts we now only see each other every year and a half or so. A few of my work friends have not seen me for a year and a half (most of my weight came off in the last 2 years). So I go up to my friend S. that I have known for many years and say Hello. She looks at me for a few seconds with this odd look on her face and I say to her...I look a little different now. S. grabs me in a big hug and says "oh my god..I didn't recognize you till I heard your voice". This has happened to me a half a dozen times and it certainly leaves me with mixed emotions. I think I still look like me but a lot smaller. Having been big all my life people know me as a "big" presence. Now I just blend into the crowd. How odd to have people that know you ...not know you. I have had clients from the past come to the front counter at work and ask to see me and when I go to meet them they ask again for Barb and I tell them Hi, it is me Barb..I look a little different now. Sometimes I am happy to share my story about my changes but sometimes the attention feels weird. One of the many things I hated about being a "big girl" is that you can never just blend in....I'm not talking a person with a little chub on them...I'm talking 300 pounds and yes, we take up a bit of space. Now I just blend's a lot less stressful. I remember the feeling of walking into a room of people at 300+ pounds and thinking quick can I seat myself in a far corner of the room so folks aren't staring at my big butt in this small chair. Funny thing about being that big is you are a big presence but you are invisible (as a human being ) to a lot of people... especially men. Guys do not like fat chicks! I shouldn't say husband has loved me big or small and I love him to pieces for that! I should say some guys don't care for the big girls. Funny now that I am a "normal" size men smile at me and chat all the time. Women smile more at me too. How come? The first few times it happened I quickly looked in a mirror thinking maybe my hair was doing something funky or my mascara was smeared and people found it amusing. Apparently my hair and mascara were fine. Maybe it's me...maybe I don't send out the "don't look at me" vibe as much any more. Any ways.. I have rambled on here long enough. Bit of a scattered writer...but wanted to share some thoughts on the "you know me" experience.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why little Chickadee?

I wonder where to many things have happened to me over the last few years. I wish I had kept a blog from the start of my weight loss journey. I guess in the beginning I wondered if I would fail at this.. like every other time I tried to lose weight. I did not trust myself and it took time for me to see and accept that this was working..I was losing weight and keeping it off. IMAGINE THAT! It did, and I made it happen. Me and my trusty band and a lot of determination. Wow. It still seems surreal to me sometimes.

Any ways... the title Little Chickadee came from a term of endearment from my Dad. I adored my Dad and he always made me feel special, worthy, and loved. He has called me his little Chickadee since I was a very little girl. He still called me his little Chickadee when I was a 39 year old 300+ size woman. Unconditional love. He always loved me just as I was. My Dad passed away 5 days after an operation to remove a tumor from his lung. It was devastating to say the least. It will be 8 years Sept 15 th since he passed away and I still miss him dearly. When I am out working in the garden and the little chickadees come to grab a sunflower seed from the feeder I think about him and his great gift of love. Chickadee's are the cheeriest, friendly, little bird. Kind of what simple sweet joy looks like.
I was so lucky to have had such a great Dad. He really helped me make it through a lot of tough times....just knowing how special I was to him made me feel like I mattered.
So that's my little story about the name of my blog. My wish for the universe is that everyone has someone that makes them feel special, worthy and loved.