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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Running, my fourth love! (God, hubby, kids, running)

I grew up in a home where healthy eating and exercise was non existent. I was that "skinny fat" girl who was killing herself from the inside out with bad foods and lots and lots of soda! 

 After having two kids and feeling like a blob of fat, I knew I needed to get healthy! In January 2009 right after my second child turned one, I started running (it was more like jogging, gasping for air, and wanting to pass out) half and full marathons. My first training season, I started training with Team in Training. TNT is an organization that trains you to run marathons and raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I ended up fundraising $3,400 for the LLS. 

I completed my first full marathon in 4 hours and 34 minutes at the San Diego Rock N' Roll Marathon in June 2009 with TNT!

(Pretty sure I earned those two free beers at the finish line!)

That was a miracle in itself! I never believed in myself enough to accomplish something like that. I had multiple people in my life saying I couldn't do it. If it weren't for my hubby and kids and their constant love, prayer, and support, I know I would have not crossed that finish line. 
As soon as I crossed that finish line, I burst in to tears and I felt like I was going to collapse . Actually, I started crying at mile 20 until the end, but you get what I'm saying! 

(My hubby. My best friend. My number one fan and number one supporter.  Yes, those are ice packs attached to my knees because I was pretty sure my knees were going to fall off with that toe nail I lost at mile 16.)

After that, I automatically fell in love and with the sport (along with other sports like biking, kettlebells, crossfit, and lifting in general).... Despite the aches, pains, blood, sweat, tears, early mornings, and missing toe nails.  It became my therapy, my escape, my quiet time, and my alone time with the Lord.  
This was after I completed the Two Cities full marathon in 2011. This was a huge accomplishment, but definitely not a PR by no means. I was dealing with a knee injury and I had been sick the entire week before, even the morning of. I had a fever and felt like crap, but I still did it even though I was in pain! I finished in 4 hours and 52 minutes and I was devastated with that time initially. But then I realized, I wasn't trying to beat any record or anything. My goal is always to just finish, even if I have to crawl across that finish line. I was so proud of myself for doing it, especially under my circumstances. 

After that, I was on the verge of wanting to throw in the towel and just give up. I kept telling myself the pain was not worth it! I needed some motivation to lace up and hit the trail again. I ended up taking 3 months off from marathon training. I would run a few miles a week, and do Insanity or go to the gym. My workout routine started to crumble and I noticed my body changing on the outside and I felt it on the inside. But again, I had little motivation to get back out there. 

In February of 2012, I went to the doctor and found out I had pre cancer cells on my cervix, which led me to having an ablation and a cervical cone biopsy to scoop out all the "yucky stuff" on my cervix. After going through this, and being forced to take over a month off from running, in addition to the other three I willingly took off from training, I knew I had to stop making up excuses and just GET OUT THERE!

 I began training harder than ever and changing my eating habits. I went gluten free (not by choice. I really miss it sometimes!) and began juicing. I drink 32 ounces of fresh veggie juice daily.  Between the hard core training and eating healthy, I was able to set a very big PR in the San Francisco Nike Women's Marathon on October 14, 2012. I crossed the finish line in 3 hours and 56 minutes. I thought I was seeing the wrong time as I crossed from being delirious from exhaustion. How could someone like ME get a time like that?!? That's what I truly love about running. You are only competing against yourself. I am proving to myself that I am in better shape now after having two kids, than I have ever been. 
(Seeing my beautiful and amazing family at the finish line brought me to tears of happiness and thankfulness.)

Unfortunately, the ablation and cone biopsy didn't do the trick. I had to have a hysterectomy (leaving my ovaries) on March 22, 2013. I am way too young for this! This was physically and more emotionally painful than most things I've experienced in my life. Oddly enough, after going through this, it has made me so much stronger and determined to NOT STOP MOVING and training. No excuses is my motto. God will carry me and has carried me every step of the way in this crazy game called LIFE! 

God moment: I got cleared to start running and lifting lighter weights TWO WEEKS after my laparoscopic hysterectomy! 

I have continued to run half and full marathons, with a 5k or 10k mixed in here and there. I even convinced the hubby to train for half marathons!! I've been trying to convince him to run fulls, but I'm pretty sure that will take years of bugging him! I ran his first half marathon with him in November of 2012. We ran together every step of the way, even holding hands as we crossed the finish line. ::insert cheesy comment here::  We are running our second half marathon together on May 19, 2013 at the Cal Classic! My husband amazes me in all that he does. I am one blessed woman! 

(Right after we crossed the finish line together in November 2012. Finished in 1 hour 52 minutes 15 seconds.)

There are plenty of mornings, especially those 3:45am double digit run mornings that I wanted to crawl back in to bed and pretend my alarm clock never went off! I wanted to hide my running shoes and blame the kids for hiding them! But, as soon as my feet hit that pavement, and I have worship music blasting in my ear (I only wear the headphones in one ear), I am in my happy place. 

Why do I get up so early to run you ask? It's all about balance and not letting my "me" time take away from my family time! If a run is going to take time away from my family, I won't go! Plain and simple. My family comes before running. 

There are many times I beat myself up for not getting up to run. But I have to remind myself what's more important in my life and be happy with what I'm able to do. I think it's hard for moms, and females in general, to not be our own worst critic. It's a daily struggle for me. I just have to remember how God views me. He thinks we are all awesome and beautiful just the way He made us. 

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