Thursday, March 28, 2013

Surprise and Other Life Changes

By Liz

It was an event two years in the making. In March 2011, during one of the two plus hour long phone conversations with my sister Micki we decided enough is enough. We were going to change. We were going to be healthy. Then in two years March 2013 we would surprise our parents, family and friends in Michigan by returning and running a 5K Race. The Irish Jig in East Grand Rapids, was the designated goal. By gum, we totally pulled it off too. The first stop in this current journey incorporated a few extra people for me and was not an easy task, but one that I’m proud of. Damn proud!

In March 2011, I was at the heaviest I’ve ever been. Now, I’ve always been a big girl and I don’t believe I’ll ever be a size two. However, I was truly just unhealthy. I felt more and more like Aunt Marge after Harry accidently gets angry and she balloons up. Clothes were not comfortable, small taskes were laboring, and I started to get more and more depressed. It was a cycle that I had enough with. The reasons for my sister may have been different, but we both wanted the end results. To be HEALTHY!

Slowly changes happened. We joined a online calorie and exercise tracking system that we could both keep eachother accountable on too. A tale as old as time was the solution. Cut calories and exercise more. Simple right. Well, after years and years of bad eating habbits and starting on seditary lifestyle I had to retrain my mind, body and soul. Eating was emotional for me, probably will always be even though now it is so much easier.

Slowly we both saw the pounds chip off. For me I was able to lose 60 pounds in the first year. It was a blessing that made life so much easier. I was able to do so much more in the activity realm. Like join a work softball team, swim, and not have pain after long walks. The change was great, however I still would lose motivation at times. Maybe even gain back a pound or two then start tracking again. My momemtum slowed down from spring of 2012 through the holidays. I lost an additional 20 pounds. Nothing to balk at. 80 pounds down is huge, amazing even! I was of course hoping for faster results. Who is not when change like this in play?

Nothing like a kick in the pants and the realization that the goal you set two years ago is close on your heels. When we rang in 2013 there was realization that in 11 weeks I was supposed to be home and ready to run a 5k with Micki. She of course had already started training, and I was the slacker. Not for long though, something clicked and I knew that if I was going to actully run and I mean run this whole race I would have to start my training. So I did… I downloaded a C25K App (Couch to 5K) for my first training tool. I’ve heard positive things about them and have never run more than I had to from my highschool athletic days, so I needed to start somewhere. The app has you running three days a week. Starting off slow with gradually adding minutes of running. It was hard, but feasible. If anyone is thinking about starting a running regimine I recommend it highly, good way to ease yourself in with limiting the possiblity for injury.

Still having some issues with people seeing me run, I was happy to run in my neighborhood after the sun had set on those early winter nights. I was actually getting nervous about the daylight savings approch and more light at night. Ironically, by the time that happened I had overcome most of my apprehension and adopted a “who cares” attitiude if people saw me run/workout. Big step for me by the way!

2013 has been great for me health wise. I’ve been motivated and have stepped up to the self imposed challenge. My motivation is infectious and has made me work harder and be more motivated. Sticking to the training schedule allowed me to run my frist on my own 3+ mile about two weeks before heading to Michigan. My runs still may not look all that pretty and have the best pace, but they are runs and that is enough.

One of the best parts about the trip to Michigan is that it was the first time since 2007 that Micki and I were home at the same time. Also, it was a surprise that was two years in the making. Mom had a heads up that Micki and Renee were arriving at GRR and she was keeping the seceret from Dad. We had to make sure that they were going to be home that weekend or it would have been an interesting trip. Timing was key. Micki and Renee’s plane was set to arrive at 1:50pm and they would take their time in the terminal, then suggest a gift shop looksie, and finally a need for a afternoon latte at Starbucks before leaving the airport. This was to keep Mom occupied until my plane landed at 2:27pm.

There was almost a kink in the plan with Micki and Renee’s plane being delayed in Chicago for twently minutes. They did arrive a few momemts before me and located in the same terminal waited at my gate for me to deplane. It was great to see them. Micki looked great too, her training had been paying off and I was so proud. After some hugs and giggles we made Renee walk down first so she could have her camera ready. Then Micki walked out and Mom beamed so happy to see her oldest child home. Following her, the look on Mom’s face when she registered it was me behind Micki was priceless. Let’s just say tears were shed and she was beyond surprised. Phew!

One parent down and now we needed to drop off Renee in Rockford so she could visit with her family and then head back to Holland to beat Dad home for his surprise. Both of his daughters. Well, we made it home in time, in fact Dad decided that he was going to wrap up some extra things at work and took his sweet time getting home that night. Funny, he did not know he needed to come home so we could yell ‘surprise!’ Finally he arrived and we were able to bound down the hallway and get that smirk with the shaking of his head that only he can give in that way. Smiles all around, it had worked! As happy as Dad was to have us home, he’s not all that keen on surprises. Note made:O)

Greeting Mom at the airport, Dad at home, saying good byes...

Family time ensued. We talked, shared, joked, and laughed while catching up over dinner. Micki and I also were able to share the plans we had for that Saturday morning and was hoping that Mom and Dad would not mind watching us complete the Irish Jig. Little did any of us know that winter was still in full swing in Michigan and we would have snow the night before the run and chilling temps to greet us. It was still a blast. My friend Katherine and her son Jacob, who knew all these plans was also there to cheer us on with silly string and some sweet Irish Swag. We did it. We ran our first sponsored run/race together. What an accomplishment. I am so proud of my sister. Hell, I’m so proud of me! :O)

2013 Irish Jig 5k March 16, 2013 with Micki
Crossing this goal/run off my list made me happy and sad. What’s next? Well, with the encouragement from my awesome Seattle friends I’ve already registered for two more runs this year. I’m fresh in training for a 8k (5mile) run on May 4th (Star Wars Day). I also signed up for a color run with Jamie and Tier in August. I am so happy to have these goals to help me keep up my momentum.

This sure is a long story, thanks for hanging in there with me. I just have a few more things to share. I want to thank my sister for helping me start with setting our Jig 13 goal. It is what I needed. Katherine, my friend who has been there for me showing support and love along the way. Thanks for being part of this journey too! My roommate and friend Kelli also encourages and supports. I really appreciate her too! Finally, Jamie and Tier have been two Angels. These two strong women encourage and support me. We support each other. Checking in on our fitness and health goals. They have been invaluable part of my success. In other words I have not done this alone, I share my success with all of you.

About that kick in the butt since the start of 2013. With my amped up training schedule and momentum, I’ve been able to shed an additional 30 pounds since the start of this year. Yes, for those of you keeping up with the math, that is 110 pounds that I’ve lost. Wowzers Penny! Horray!!!!! I’m super happy about that, I’ve not felt this healthy in over a decade. The best part, is this just encourages me and fuels me to continue to keep going on my path of being a healthy person. Thanks for letting me share my journey so far with you. Hope it inspires and encourage you to set goals and to work at them. You can do it! I did!

To being healthy and happy, my wish to all of you!

At my heaviest Pic taken August 2010, Me today March 28, 2013 110 lbs lighter!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lake Michigan

By Liz

Taking a break this week, but check back next week when I share my recent adventure back to the Mid-west. In the meantime enjoy these pictures of Lake Michigan at sunset.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Nature Urban Style

by Liz

One of the great things about living in Seattle is that it is surrounded by so much nature.  The beautiful Olympic mountain range sits across the Sound to the West and the awe-inspiring Cascade mountain range to the East.  The concrete metropolis is inundated with lush and beautiful scenery via parks, trees, and water.  Now every city has it's fair share of parks and beautiful places to get in tune with the outdoors while never leaving the city limits.  Each city that I've had the pleasure of living in beckoned at least one escape for me.  

Growing up in Grand Rapids, MI my refuge along with my family was the near by Garfield Park, it has a wicked frisbee golf course too!  While off at college, I was drawn to the Waterfront Park in downtown Charleston, SC.  Yes, the same one with the Pineapple Fountain and really big bench swings that over looks the Bay where I would spy many Porpoises.  In Holland, MI going out to the state park and walking along the coast of Lake Michigan and watching the sunset was always a peaceful escape.

In Seattle, I've found many places that give me that urban nature need.  Proximity is key for the place I have been enjoying a lot lately.  That is Green Lake, the mecca to many of Seattle's walkers, runners, dogs, rowers, park lover, and organized sports participators.  It is a park that can be enjoyed year round and even found a couple of friends and I  singing Christmas Carols during the luminaries path this past December.  I find myself enjoying jaunts around the 3 mile loop while getting lost in my thoughts, listening to music, or catching up with my sister.  I've meet many smiling faces and seen tons of cute dogs.

Although I would love to escape the city limits more often than I do, I'm appreciative to have such wonderful and beautiful places to escape the humdrum of city life in my back yard.  So, pack a picnic or just a jacket and your walking shoes and get out enjoy what wonderful parks your city or town has to offer.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Dear Annoying Advertisers,

by Liz

An open letter to flyer on windshield advertisers,

Dear Annoying Advertisers,

I understand that you want your business to get some extra exposure.  Walking around parking lots or streets and depositing your flyer, menu, or coupon on unsuspecting cars is how you chose to use your advertising budget.  Let me enlighten you… That method backfires more than not.  I will go out of my way to not support a business that uses this tactic. 

Harsh, you say? Well, let’s look a little closer at this.  Walking to my car after work or an adventure out and about I see a piece of paper tucked under my windshield wiper.  First though: CRAP!  I got a ticket.  How did I park wrong?  How much is this going to cost?  Why oh why me?  Then as I get closer I see that it is not an envelope and most likely not a ticket.  Second thought:  Crap!  (not shouty capitals this time).  Someone left a note on my car because they hit it or think I caused their car damage.  What did I do wrong?  How much is this going to cost?  Why oh why me? Lots of thoughts going through this head in a span of fifteen seconds

Finally, I reach my car and pull of the anxiety ridden piece of paper to find out that XYZ Gym is opening and there is a new special or MR. Restaurant has a new menu and I can get free egg rolls with an order over $50.  DAMN advertisement.  You made me experience a moment of apprehension.  First off, GRRRRRRRRR!!!!  Now I’m irritated.  Oh, my irritation is not just over the worry caused, but now I have to dispose of said flyer.  Of course there are no recycle bins near by and I don’t want to litter so I bring the flyer into my car.  Now I have to remember to bring it in to the house or straight to the recycle bin when I get home. 

Instead of being excited about your business or cause, I’m just plain pissed off.  I’ve spent all this extra time thinking on how I will not be supporting your business or cause. How about them apples advertisement genius.  Shame on you flyer on car windshield guy, shame on you!

Annoyed and Irritated