Remember how last time I checked in, I was training for my first 1/2 marathon in foreeeeeverrrrr? And I promised I wouldn’t quit? Well guess what? I actually ran it, and I didn’t quit. I mean clearly, I quit blogging. But I didn’t quit running. I tortured myself with mid-day and after work runs because as we have previously discussed, I have borderline PTSD from almost a decade of rising before the sun for morning swim practices. So I suffered through 90% humidity and 98 degrees (
both the temperature AND the boy band) in the summer months, and finally was rewarded with my first trip to Vancouver. I hung out with lots of really awesome new friends, I slept on a sidewalk, I shopped til I dropped the morning before the race, and then I got to do this:
Disclaimer: the first picture isn’t mine. I pulled it of the interwebs but it isn’t copyrighted as far as I know. The others I took and yes, Vancouver is that awesome. I won’t bore you with the minutiae about the race, other than this- I ran slow (by former Jen standards) and I enjoyed EVERY minute of that race. The first 8 miles were a breeze. The weather was phenomenal, the course was fun and not too challenging. I was averaging about a 9:00 min/mile pace. I really started to hurt around mile 9, as I didn’t run more than 9 during training because a) I didn’t carve out the time for long runs and b) my knee was giving me some grief the last couple months. Anyway, I made sure to just keep moving, no walking, no stopping. I had a smile on my face the entire way and when I crossed the finish line somewhere around 2:03, I was thrilled that I just did not quit. It was by far the slowest 1/2 I have ever run, 10 minutes slower than a pregnant half marathon I ran many moons ago. But it was hands down the best running experience of my life. And perhaps the pinnacle of the race? FREE BRUNCH AFTERWARD.
If I had recapped the race in the immediate aftermath, rather than 49 weeks later, then it would have been much more drawn out (yes, this is an abbreviated version), with many more details and gushing about the post-runner’s high that I had. But alas, the months have marched on and my memory has faded. Plus, I’m sure you’re not here to read about the last race I did. You want to know what else has so occupied my time that I couldn’t return to bless you with my verbal diarrhea for over a year. Well, this happened:
Ahahahaha just kidding. The shop is closed.
I’ll tell you what happened. It wasn’t pretty.
Within a couple weeks after that race, I started dealing with a lot of “stuff” to put it mildly. I experienced some pretty traumatic events in my professional life. I won’t get into the details but that, coupled with the extreme exhaustion caused by ramping up my running, the travel to/from Vancouver, camping out in Vancouver, the race that I was ill-prepared for, being severely sleep deprived the whole trip, and some personal drama (save the drama for yo’ mama please) led to me suffering from some very severe fatigue, plus other not so awesome symptoms. The thing is, I didn’t hit “pause” throughout this. You can’t really do that when you have a job (that by the way, you HATE because you’re being harassed daily), three kids, and a very full life. So I kept on moving. I was going to Flywheel five days a week because at the time, I didn’t know what was going on with my body, and I knew that working out always helped de-stress me. But little did I know that this constant high intensity cardio was actually not good for me. So I gained 10 pounds (on top of the baby weight that I was still nurturing from 2014, oops), I was constantly fatigued, my blood pressure was high, and essentially left me feeling worse
when it was time to go… than ever before. I felt like my body was attacking itself.
I started working with my endocrinologist to get to the bottom of my concerns, and he determined my body was over producing cortisol, also known as “the stress hormone.” It was in a constant state of “fight or flight” because of the physical and emotional stress I was undergoing daily. My thyroid was also acting funky again, so we adjusted my meds and he recommended taking it easy with the cardio, trying yoga and walking. Um what did you just say? WALKING? WHAT IS WALKING? Like that thing you do when you bring your groceries inside from the car? I don’t even understand these words coming out of your mouth, Doc! But at this point I was just so sad and frustrated, I was willing to do whatever he told me, besides give up Diet Pepsi. Sorry, it’s true. I have problems.
While it wasn’t that difficult for me to change my fitness routine, I had another problem: my career. I was so completely miserable in my job that it affected my interactions with most everyone in my life. Again, I won’t get into the gory details but I was desperate for a way out. When I was at my rock bottom, a wonderful friend/mentor linked me up with her friend. They counseled me through the situation, and eventually, helped me get a new job. The day I accepted this new job, it was like 10,000 pounds have been lifted off me. And I wanted to write 10,000 words to express how grateful I am to them, but I clearly cannot find the time these days, so this will have to suffice. THANK YOU GINGER. I am crying just typing this, because I was in such a dark place and assumed I would have to become jobless and then destitute and WHAT WOULD I DO WITH ALL MY LULULEMON????
Once I started my new job, everything changed. I had a beautiful on site fitness facility complete with a MASSAGE THERAPIST, a cafeteria that serves delicious sushi every Wednesday, walking trails, a commitment to wellness, a free nutritionist, rooms with treadmill desks, and hi did I mention the sushi day? Basically, it was everything I could ever hope for in a job, besides the fact that The Avett Brothers don’t play on site every Friday. That was an unfortunate downside of this company, but it’s okay, I got over it. My mental wellbeing changed significantly within days. But here is the thing… my weight/body did not. It was like I had permanently damaged my metabolism or something. And well, if you are a woman with a history of body dysmorphia, that kinda sucks.
So around New Year’s, I decided to start lifting heavy weight again. Mostly lower body, like squats, lunges, and deadlifts. Because who doesn’t want to turn their pancake butt into a peach? AmIright? I also began tracking my food intake, using the very nifty app My Fitness Pal. I calculated my nutritional needs/macro numbers at Bodybuilding.com, and then plugged all that into the app. PS- you may be asking what macro’s (macronutrients) are, and I would love to post a link, but most of the decent ones are tied to websites trying to sell you crap, so you can just google if you care to learn. Anyway, once I started tracking my macros and adding a little resistance training to my workouts, I started seeing changes in my measurements and my weight. Conservative but encouraging. Then I quit because well, I just have a really hard time sticking with stuff, as you have already seen many times if you have been following this blog. To those of you who have stuck with me, anxiously awaiting a post once a year, CHEERS to you!
I got down on myself again about the weight gain, because on May 8, 2017 I hit an all-time non-pregnant high weight. In fact, I *achieved* the weight that I was the day I gave birth to my first kid. I won’t share the number because that is unimportant to y’all, but it was completely demoralizing. I started in the mirror and thought “I don’t have a mom bod. I’m pretty hot, right? Where is all that weight hiding?” Oh right, I got that skinny mirror at Walmart and it makes my legs look long and lean, and all my selfies are taking with this miraculous phone that has a *slim face* feature. Wow, Samsung really knows what women want! And to dear sweet Super Dad, who said “but muscle weighs more than fat, right Honey?” BLESS YOU. But fool, I know my body fat percentage and I am not walking around with 3% or 13% or even 23% body fat my friend. That is not muscle. It’s fat. It’s a lot of fat. Oh sweet baby Jebus where did all that fat come from? Oh right, Bojangles. BISCUITS. FRIED CHICKEN. I’m hungry right now.
So how did I remedy this situation? How did I lose 12 pounds and 6% body fat in 8 weeks? Stay tuned, I’ll be back tomorrow. I PROMISE. No really, I have the post drafted and it is scheduled to post tomorrow.
Here’s a hint, and it doesn’t involve herbs or shakes or wraps or any of that other crap people try to sell me on the regular…