For My Health and for My Girls
Ready, set, go, and we were off! It was a beautiful day made even better by the awesome band that was giving us our proper send off into the streets of downtown Providence. As I started making the trek with the thousands of other crazy runners that Sunday morning at 7 am, I wondered about their reasons for doing this race. My reason was on my mind for the twelve weeks leading up to the big day and now it would be put to the test.
Let’s rewind to where this journey began. For my birthday, I gave myself a gift, a race registration and a 12-week training program for the Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon in Providence Rhode Island. It proved to be one of the best things I have ever done for myself. During these twelve weeks my life has changed so dramatically. I began the journey, not really understanding the true meaning of health, fitness, and happiness. Keeping in mind fitness has always been part of my life. I swam competitively for many years, was nationally ranked in several events, and even earned a full scholarship to college, but still, I never really got it. I was too busy being preoccupied with longing for the look of an elite athlete. Thanks to genetics and extremely hard work as a kid, I have a good foundation to work with, but it was never good enough; my 5’ 3” frame was just not cutting it. I found myself still wanting more, but I didn’t know how to get there. After college, I was still surrounded by thousands of resources and dozens of fit friends, and I still felt alone. It has always been strange to me that people view me as lucky. They say it is “easy” for me to be fit and that I am blessed as a forever-athlete. However, I was scared out of my mind that this time would be different... I would fail.
After my first daughter, my body bounced back like it was on a mission, despite being limited to just walking during the pregnancy. I didn’t start working out until she was nearly 6 months old and was pretty easily at my pre-pregnancy weight just weeks after birth. The story was not quite the same with the second. Once again, I was limited to just walking and my diet was really good, but the baby belly didn’t just disappear this time. During the first few months, it was just my lil’ one and I up during all hours of the night. Having two non-sleepers results in a lot of alone time watching late night television. I believe I watched the Insanity, P90X, and Brazilian Butt Lift infomercials at least a dozen times. I knew I wanted to start a program, but it would have to wait a few more months. I didn’t start working out until she was also 6 months old because I knew that me working out meant an end to nursing. No matter how much oatmeal, almonds, carrots, greens, and any other lactogenic food I consumed, I knew my milk supply was going to lean and eventually disappear. The good news, both girls were ready to move on to food and bottles, bad news, no more extra calorie burn for mommy.
So, in early June, I began this challenge of losing the weight and getting in shape. I had exactly twelve weeks; it was crunch time. To avoid making this race a disgrace, I had to reach a certain level of fitness fast. I was determined to be successful. I made a post on Facebook, “P90X vs. Insanity, which one do you suggest, and why?” and my wall blew up with responses. One friend even suggested that I contact her friend that is a Beachbody coach for help. So, I did. I love being able to discuss purchases with an “expert” and hear what they have to say. The new friend suggested I join her 10-day Shakeology Challenge as a boost into my training and a way to start off on the right foot. It was exactly what I needed and perfect timing. All the training began at once: Insanity, cleaner eating (with Shakeology), and running three days per week. My body responded amazingly and I lost 7.5 lbs in just the first 10 days!
During the challenge I was also given the secret weapon of long-term healthy living and the secret is, drum roll, determining your “WHY”... now I am not one that likes the fluffy/feel good stuff, but this is for real!!! What my coach had me do was get over and go beyond all the superficial things that I thought were my reasons to be fit. For example, looking nice at the wedding in the cute dress, being able to wear shorts with confidence, walk around in my swimming suit and not worry about what was hanging out. She wanted this time to be different for me; this time I would create a life-long change by attaching it to an emotional WHY. As I said before, I basically grew up in a swimming suit and constantly compared myself to the ideal bodies around me. It was not easy at times; believe me! My WHY was much deeper than any of the previous stated reasons or the ones you might even be considering. My WHY is for my health and for my girls. My health includes trying my best to beat the odds that are stacked against me: cancer on my father’s side of the family and heart disease and diabetes on my mother’s. The for my girls piece is because I want them to have a true female role model in their lives that they can look up to and want to be like. I often tell my students to be leaders by example, and that is the epitome of what I am trying to do for my daughters. I want them to see/know/feel that their mother is confident in any situation wearing any piece of clothing, makes good choices about diet and exercise, and is a positive/honest person.
My WHY allowed me to stick to the Insanity for the entire 60 plus days, even though it would have been so easy to quit and no one would have faulted me for it. I was sleeping at most 3 hours at a stretch and holding the little one at least 16 hours per day. The training runs were even more challenging than the program. I was doing nearly every run with the girls in their double BOB stroller. Looking back, this did not help me with form on the hills during the race, but oh well, I wouldn’t have done it any other way.
I used this WHY during the race and it kept bringing me back to a positive state of mind and forced me to keep going. I didn’t walk one single step, the run became slower and slower, but I didn’t walk! During the final climb to the finish line I saw my WHY standing on the sideling line cheering me on: my husband, my girls, and my mom. I felt their love and how proud they were of me. I was truly so proud too. Tears filled my eyes with happiness. I crossed the finish line at 1:55.53 knowing that I had achieved success and this was just the beginning of a very new healthy beautiful life for my family and I!