"I'd like to think the best of me is still hiding up my sleeve."
I'm Michelle. I've lost 120lbs (purely through clean eating/intense exercise), and I'm always looking to grow and improve. This is a blog about my life, thoughts, pictures, exercise, fitness, running, nutrition, weight loss, quotes, love, nostalgia, and everything else in between.
The mentally draining part of weight loss is far, far, worse than the physically draining part of weight loss.
Today needed to be documented. Because today I had a really, really really, great run. I ran around 8 miles, and I haven’t ran that much since when I was training for my 10 mile race back in May. I have a half-marathon in 3 weeks, and I haven’t been preparing for it as much as I should have. I needed today is the worst way.
On Friday, I did a ton of squats and weight lifting exercises that involved squats. On Saturday I really felt it. My leg and butt muscles were so sore. It was almost unbearable. I knew there was no way I could work out, so I rested and made sure I’d run Sunday. I woke up today and I was still a bit sore, but not nearly as sore as I was yesterday. I told myself I’d run and see how my legs felt. By no means did I think I was going to have a good run. I thought it was going to be one of those runs where I tell myself to just get through it, but it was the complete opposite. I truly believe this was one of the best runs I ever ran. I felt sooooooooo great the entire run. It was almost effortless. What made me even more happy about this was that it’s been months since I’ve even touched this kind of distance. I really thought it was going to be a struggle. But it wasn’t. Everything about this run was just perfect. The weather was beyond fabulous (honestly even that photo I posted doesn’t do it justice), my breathing was on point, my legs felt so good despite the horrible DOMS (delayed on-set muscle soreness) I experienced yesterday, and I was just in a good place mentally. I was even in a better place once the run was over. It was a crazy endorphin high.
I plan on running 10 miles next Sunday as a part of training for the half-marathon. I’m going to make it fun and run to my gym and back. I googled it and it’s about 5 miles there and I’m going to run home so it’ll be 5 miles back. It’s actually a bit more than 5 miles both ways, so I’ll probably end up doing around 11ish miles. Either way, it will be a challenge and I’m really pumped for it.
I didn’t do the traditional “google a half marathon plan and follow it” type thing. I just have been kind of winging it. I love to run. Running is the source of so many good feelings in my life. For my first half, I decided I wanted to just have fun with it. It’s not about the time for me. It’s about finishing it. Accomplishing a new goal and challenge.
For me, the half-marathon will be a new stepping-stone in my world of running. Today I ran the pavement expecting it to completely suck, but it was unexpectedly phenomenal. It’s days like these that make me so appreciative of the fact that I found running. To say it’s the cheapest form of therapy would be a sincere understatement.
I can run miles and miles in cold weather, but when it comes to walking an obnoxious half mile to class from my college’s parking lot, I curse to myself repetitively until I make it to the doors?
What I feel like when I’m running a long distance:
What I feel like after walking up the stairs:
The other day at the gym I was doing 10 minutes on the stair-master as a warm up for my body-weight circuit work out that I was going to do on my own. And there she was; a woman I used to see at this very same gym two years ago. She looked exactly the same. She approached the stair-master next to me and had her towel and water bottle ready to go. Two years ago she would spend 60+ minutes on the stair-master. Ten minutes was enough for me and I got off. After doing my body weight and strength circuit, I walked to the sauna to stretch and across the gym she was still there, trucking along on the stair-master. Slaving away at the cardio machine. It was as if two years had not passed. It might as well have been deja-vu. She was doing the same routine she’s been doing for years, and NOT making any sort of progress. All I could think to myself as I was stretching, “God, I am so glad I am not like that anymore.”
Today at the gym I saw another girl. This girl is around my age. I’ve talked to her on occasion a handful of times but it’s been a while since our last encounter. She is another one. I’m beginning to see a pattern here. I actually got the chills this time when I observed her. She was on the elliptical. Gliding along… back and forth she went. She was on there again for a good 45-60 minutes. She used to do the same thing 2 years ago. Or it’d be the treadmill. Either one. But yet again, she looked exactly the same.
And then I thought about me. I used to be these two ladies. I used to go to the gym and spend hours and hours on the cardio machines. The treadmill was my weapon of choice. I’d slave away on it. I’d do the classic towel on the top to hide my time. It was a mental battle to get through those grueling runs. Once in a while I’d venture off to the cross-ramp or stair-master. I would even challenge myself to do the stair-master for 30 minutes straight. It was draining. I was tired all. the. time. I’d take constant naps after the gym. I thought I was doing it right because I’d be drenched in sweat and if it was “torture” then that means I’m making progress, right?
It’s so funny now. I never spend more than 10-15 minutes on a cardio machine. I refuse to. I get so bored after 5 minutes. FIVE MINUTES. This is coming from a girl who could never see herself doing anything beyond the cardio room. It was my comfort zone. Just like being fat was a comfort zone. But I was not making progress. My progress halted for a good year and a half. Just like these two ladies who look exactly the same as they did two years ago and are doing the same things they did two years ago.
Is it a coincidence that once I started to lay off the cardio and focus more on weight lifting/cross-fit/my own free-weight exercises, that the pounds started to shed? It was by no means easy to change my mind-set from the almighty cardio to working out LESS and still losing weight.
There was a point in my life… not this past summer, but the summer prior, that if I didn’t do cardio for at least an hour and a half, I wasn’t satisfied. No matter how awful the treadmil felt. No matter how many times I’ve been on the cross-ramp or stair-master, I would not leave until I hit that 90-minute mark.
And now? I’ll work out for 40-50 minutes top. I’m okay with that. I’m OKAY with just using cardio machines at the gym (10-15 min) as a warm up to get my heart racing. I’m okay with eating MORE to lose weight (I’ll be talking about this in a future post) and working out less. It truly is a beautiful thing. I feel free.
Seeing these two women was eerie. It made me reflect. It was validation that what I’ve been doing is right. I used to be them. I was them. Ever since I started to view things differently everything started changing. I don’t know where it clicked. I don’t know when it clicked. I don’t know how it clicked. But dammit, it clicked. And I’ve lost 20lbs since March because of it.
It’s honestly crazy. I never saw myself as doing anything wrong. These two women probably think they’re doing it all right. I sure thought I did. Slaving away at an electronic machine. But they have it all wrong. Two years and they both look exactly the same.
And all I could think about was, “I hope it clicks for them, too.”