Often times when I’m out on my longer runs I witness seemingly happy families and couples–old and young. They’re in the parks celebrating, playing, walking and enjoying life together. Early on in my running journey this used to gnaw at … Continue reading
I’m sitting in the office alone–by choice actually and it’s kind of nice–18 floors above the bustling city streets below me. It’s a typical San Francisco summer day–sunny but cool and the fog isn’t far from the Bay. It hasn’t felt much like a Friday to me and maybe it’s my Eeyore like feeling that I’ve had since yesterday afternoon. Transitions often have this effect on me and I’ve just learned to ride the wave. I will still often try and seek out peace but it usually finds me once I sit down and just be. Sure enough, here I am writing and I can do so now…peace is here, I can feel it. Feels kind of like one of my Mom’s hugs–I miss those.
I may not blog here as regularly as others, but I do write every morning on my BART ride in to The City. They are raw words of wisdom on one page. I write off the cuff and without coffee in me. I’ve noticed they’ve become less about me and more about the lessons I’ve learned by living my life. Not sure who my inner self plans to pass this on to but it’s like I’m writing this to pass it on. “Keep smiling…Love unconditionally….Be true to you…” All like I’m writing to someone else, speaking generally yet specifically about myself/life. I don’t even remember what I wrote about this morning. But this evening I feel like there’s something more on my mind. Bear with me…
I had a friend probe me about what’s going on….why this change or shift that I’m going through. That conversation made me realize that it’s not one thing, person or situation that has this shift/change occurring. It’s not dependent on anything other then myself. My self finally realizing that I need to live my life for me. Make time for me. Be healthy for me. Run for me. Smile and be happy because of me. Love me.
I’m a giver. I give of myself before making sure my basic needs are met often times. I make sure everyone else is happy and taken care of before I make sure I am. I’m ok with this. But I recognize a giver has a greater challenge. We can be givers but we need to be more conscious of balance. A giver will burn out if the output is more then the input. Simple things can be energizing for me–a smile, compliment, a hug, a just because…
Welcome to my life…I started this almost a month ago and never finished it! The month between July 31 and August 31 has been a challenge and evolving period for me the last eight years of my life. I’ve learned to only expect the unexpected. I’m an avid planner and think ahead kinda gal but this month, I usually throw caution to the wind and go with the flow. I’m a live in the moment, day by day kind of creature these 30 days. Why such the 180* switch?
Let me try this for a third time–it’s a charm right? We’re on the brink of the holidays and I’m still trying to figure out where 2016 has gone! I know many have been inundated and saturated with politics this year, but for me 2016 was a lot more then that. This year I became a caretaker again, I’ve paved a new career path, I moved on from a six year relationship, i’ve come into my own through happiness and so much more.
For those who weren’t aware, last Fall I began the search for my next career step. It was a whirlwind two weeks of back to back interviews, calls and research. I finally had a few days to myself with friends and I was planning to use it to clear my mind and make my decision. While I was in Philadelphia preparing to run RnRPhilly, I was standing on a random street corner downtown and I received the call. My Dad called to advise me that he was going to need a heart valve replacement. Time froze and the busy downtown street suddenly had an eerie silence. It was like I was taken back to the day I was sitting on the couch at my parent’s house and my Mom told us she was diagnosed with cancer. So many emotions and no idea how to handle them. I braced myself against my friend and listened to every word my Dad said. Now a year later, he’s not only doing well he’s doing better then expected. Don’t get me wrong, this hasn’t been an easy journey to get here. There were a number of doctors visits, pre-ops, nervous pacing in the hospital, sleepless nights, early mornings, etc. But I’d do it all over again to make sure he would thrive. I’m grateful for the journey and the outcome!
For a moment, at the beginning of all that, I thought I was going to have to postpone my next career move but I landed at a place that was supportive of my situation and worked with me to make it through. To that point, this (is it still new a year in?) new position has brought a lot into my life. I’ve experienced the expected “ups and downs” of working life, but I’ve chosen to grow from it instead of let it get me down. I’m not perfect, I’ll make mistakes but I will learn from them. I’ve met some impressive and amazing people–young bright minds, wiser older ones, and many more. I’ve also met the one who makes me happier. Yes, happier–I make me happy, he makes me happier. I’ll get into that later but it’s because of work that we even crossed paths (I literally mean that). Doing what I do, choose to do, can have it’s moments–moments when I feel like I’m trying to manage a tornado, hurricane and blizzard all at the same time. But then there’s those moments when the storm clears and the sunlight of gratitude shines. Makes doing what I do worth it to me. I’m a “what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger” kind of girl and I live it.
As my life was starting to settle back into being my own again, I had a moment hiking in my favorite local spot. Well more then a moment, I was hiking for about three hours and then it happened…the tears just started streaming down my face. I knew, I knew the feeling I felt but I didn’t know how to handle it yet. I finally went home not because of a distance or time goal was met but because I finally felt what I needed to feel that day. I didn’t have the answer(s) yet but I didn’t need it. I allowed that feeling to develop and evolve for almost three month before I finally knew and had the words I needed in order to express it. Then it was over.
Some planned travel helped transition me into my new found independence. I guess I’d been independent for a while though being that we were in a long distance relationship. The trips were new, eye opening and awe inspiring! The first two being international and two places I’d never been before–Canada and Hong Kong!! My trip to Canada was to Vancouver specifically. Four days in this beautiful city to run and yoga was the best thing I could do for myself at that point in time! I’ll be back for sure! Hong Kong was to witness my BFF Stef and her (now) husband Rob wed!! I’d never been to Asia at all so this was a first on so many levels! Seeing their love and that of their closest friends and family reminded me what life is really all about. Venturing off to explore on my own renewed that love in myself! Finally (and maybe not so adventurous) I went back to LA for the first time since leaving my last job. This trip, while simple, allowed me to really let go of anything I was holding on to from that and move on. It also reminded me of how far I’ve come in my journey as I completed my 30th half marathon there thanks (in large part) to Rock N Roll and the amazing people I’ve met through running their races–many of which I saw while running there!!
I’ve done this–life–on my own before, as an introvert it doesn’t bother me. So I was prepared to do it again. In the process of tidying up to do so, he crossed my path–well I think I technically crossed his. He tells our story of how we met so well even I get lost in it like I’m watching some made for TV movie–LOL! We’ve taken it one day at a time but I feel like I’ve known him for years. Two so different yet so very similar in many ways. Our difference compliment each other and our similarities blend. As I said before he makes me happier. I am my own happy–it’s not dependent on another. I’m grateful for him.
So here we are…a year later from when this all started to unravel on me. Progress? ABSOLUTELY!! Better for it? No argument there! Lighter? In one sense, yes–another, no LOL. But this is life…it isn’t perfect, it (often) doesn’t go “my way”, sometimes it’s not fair (or at least feels like it) and there’s plenty of challenges that are faced along the way. But you know what? It’s ALWAYS worth it! Life isn’t perfect, but it’s always…ALWAYS worth it. If I knew then what I know now, I’d do it all over again. I may have some bumps and bruises but I survived and more importantly I’ve thrived from what I’ve experienced and I plan to keep doing so. Life isn’t perfect but I’m beyond GRATEFUL for every moment of it that I get to experience!
I’ve seen and heard a lot of inspiring things over the course of the last couple of days and while I may be tired from the full schedule that I’ve been managing, I’m smart enough to know that I’m seeing and hearing all these things for a reason! I’ve said it before and still believe “EVERYTHING in our lives happens for a reason and exactly when it’s supposed to happen.”
I’ve been working on this post for over a week now…Recently, I saw a good one “REAL > perfection”. Why do I think this is so great? Simple, there’s always a part of me that gets caught up in the whirlwind and strives for perfection. But that’s not what it’s about and SURPRISE–I’m NOT perfect!! The REAL me is far from perfect and perfect isn’t even realistic, so why even attempt at making it part of my goal(s). I could sit here and point the finger at others, but that’s not realistic. I’m the one who makes the choice. And if I feel out of control then that’s a result of the choices I’ve made.
These last 12 months have been my first that my goal has been to maintain my weight and not lose it. What a roller coaster this has been! I learned quickly, that I knew how to lose but I had no idea what it was like to maintain a healthy weight. At first I dropped some more, then I maintained my goal weight for a bit, but after that a series of events happened and I’ve been in a gain mode for a while. Maybe it’s all the traveling I’ve been doing this year, maybe not. Maybe it’s the personal struggle of trusting myself and my abilities, maybe not. But even if it is due to all that, my goal has always been to live and lead a healthy life. That involves being able to transition when those times arise in my life. Making my new healthy habits fit. How do we do that?
I said it in the beginning of the year and I’m realizing how today…2014 was a year of challenges. Don’t get me wrong, challenges aren’t a bad thing. They change us and often for the better–making us stronger, better, and wiser. Those things that push us out of our comfort zone are what expand our comfort zone until it no longer exists. I’ve done this before. For example, I started this journey by walking to be active. Then I tried going faster little by little. I worked my way up to jogging a mile without stopping and I still remember to this day how great that felt…I ran, WITHOUT stopping, a whole mile! Then I ran/walked my first organized 5K. I’d intermittently throw in some 10Ks to kinda prove that I could do more. Finally someone said to me, “You know you could run a half.” I looked at her and thought she’d lost her mind or wasn’t talking directly to me! LOL….love this woman though, then and still now! She told me I could and I showed her (and myself) that I was able! It’s the same in life. Constant cycle of doubting ability (or assuring a confined comfort zone) and breaking those barriers down. I’m realizing that I’m still going through these cycles and will until I no longer have barriers/a comfort zone to break through. Is that realistic? Maybe. I may not live that long to find out though as it could take many many years to accomplish.
There’s another great quote that comes to mine as I type this…”It’s not who you are that holds you back; it’s who you think you aren’t.” **I’ll pause to let you ponder that one** OK, ready? It got to a point for me when I realized the more people would challenge me to do bigger and better things. The more people would start to see this new me and the potential that I was (apparently) exuding, would tell me and encourage me to think/do bigger and bolder goals. It was this point in my life that I recognized that I was the one holding myself back and I was doing it every day, sometimes multiple times a day. How? Every time the words “I can’t…” came out of my mouth, I was doubting my own abilities. I was saying couldn’t even before I tried. The day I realized that was the last day those words ever came out of my mouth again. It took a while to stop thinking them–especially when a certain trainer would have me do atomic push-ups on the TRX. But it was challenges like that which made me stronger. All this spread beyond my fitness and strength goals.
But since that peak, I feel as if I’ve lost sights of goal setting and achieving. When I was losing there was always a goal out there–lose weight, hit my goal weight. But since then…since then I forgot that I need to now set regular goals. That this journey with my weight and health is never over and always present in my life. That every choice I make ripples into the next and they all affect my wellbeing. Now that I’ve said this, I need to focus forward and work towards a maintainance lifestyle. Which requires regular self assessments, healthy choices all around, positive thinking, living life active and reflection/me time to rest and recoup. My focus first is assessment which I’ll address in my next blog post. Followed by a blog post about healthy choices, and so on. This is what my “Quest for a RE-ReNewedMe will entail. This is my choice, I will post about it (all–good, bad, and ugly) because I’m REAL and far from perfect. And because the ultimate goal is really about continuing to strive and become a better version of my self while living my vocation to help others–BALANCE.
In Good Health,
@ReNewedMe, aka Dre
So it’s Friday and I’ve pretty much am a week into my new mindset and life philosophy of #EatPrayRun and #FindingBalance. I think my small changes starting out have been good. Look, this isn’t my first “rodeo” and I don’t have a lot of weight to shed like I did before, so I know my small changes will be slow to show and subtle. But the difference is that nowadays I’m much more accepting of that. So what do I have to be proud of this week? Well for starters I didn’t quit on myself!! Hello, HUGE victory right there!!!! I half joke but am also totally serious when I say that I’m usually the only thing in my way when I haven’t reached a goal I set out for myself. It usually comes down to my mindset. So I’m well aware and very much an advocate for #HealthyMind = #HealthyBody = #WellBeing. People say you are what you eat, but I think it’s more you are what you think. That’s the root of it all. We know what’s good for us and what’s good fuel for our bodies, but we choose otherwise. I know healthy food makes me feel good from the inside out–better energy, my skin is clearer, no more headaches, etc.
Many of you know that a good amount of my 170 lbs shed was done after I went back to WeightWatchers. The plan wasn’t anything earth shattering but the support I got from my meeting group/leader and the accountability that it gave me helped me reach my weight goal. Yesterday I battled with myself about whether or not I should go to a meeting while I’m in LA. The thing I was hung up on (and asked a bunch of people about) was that I’d have to weigh in. I knew I had a great week but I wasn’t necessarily ready to get on a scale yet. The good thing about where I’m at this week–no scale. I can often get handcuffed to a scale and stuck with what it reads. I know that living a healthy lifestyle is more than that. As a Lifetime WW member, I’m only required to weigh in once a month. The answers from my friends and family varied. Honestly, I could’ve asked a million people and the decision ultimately come down to me.
I got up and went this morning…weighed in and everything. And you know what? I gained and it didn’t phase me one bit. I wasn’t “whatever” about it, I wasn’t upset about it, I honestly wasn’t anything about it. It was astonishing to me. I sat down listened and actively participated in the meeting. Which was nice to be at considering I was somewhere where no one knew me as a leader so I could 100% be a member! And I left to go run the rest of my errands, in a good mood. I was happy because the results of the scale didn’t deter the rest of my day! It didn’t ruin my day. It didn’t give me the attitude of “well F that I’m going to go eat whatever I want”, etc.
I surprisingly felt empowered by the whole experience. I went grocery shopping for good/healthy food, I went to the gym, I got my work done, I cooked my dinner, etc. I even planned my next day and actually through my return home! Bring it on new week!
So what’s my update from my first week of #EatPrayRun and #FindingBalance….do what makes you FEEL good…genuinely. I talked to family and friends this week–one convo even got me motivated to get up and out to a run–prior to I was finding an easier way out to do my workout. I ate what I wanted to and it was healthy too! I logged/tracked what I ate, even if I exceeded my daily target. Once I did, I didn’t feel guilty about it. Which, for me, often leads to consuming even more out of spite. Say YES to you and NO to others. What do I mean by that? Well…sometimes you need to say ‘no’ to others requests/needs of you in order to provide self care for yourself. It’s just like the instructions on the airplane when the oxygen masks come out–you put yours on before helping others. Take care of your needs and then, if you have the time, energy, money, etc. go and help the others in your life. Forgive yourself. May sound silly but I noticed that often times my actions are reactions from something else and they are usually rooted in me feeling guilty about something. So I’m learning to forgive myself when necessary.
More to come next week!
Happy and healthy weekend!
People often ask how I did this, why I got started and how I kept going. I seem to have a form answer to give but really I don’t think I was as conscious of this all in the moment as I am now. I’ll never forget that month of August in 2008 when I lost my job while my Mom was terminally ill in the hospital. A week later, shortly after she was allowed to go home (not because she was better but because there was nothing more, medically they could do to improve her health) I lost my Mom. About a week after that, I lost my grandmother who’d been battling heart disease. What a four weeks right?!
Although it may seem like it, this isn’t some “aha moment” that happens where something “clicks” and all of a sudden this whole process becomes easy. Quite the contrary…and it took a while too! But at the time I did know one thing, genetics wasn’t in my favor (from both sides) and while I didn’t have control over that, I did have the option to have control over my weight. Don’t get me wrong though, I didn’t do this because I was afraid dying. I don’t fear dying–we are all here for a purpose, once we fulfill it, that’s it and we don’t have control over that. I made changes to my health because I wanted to start living my life. I realized just how precious and (possibly) short it can be and I wasn’t going to take it for granted. In my current state of being at the time, I was far from living life. I wanted to thrive and I was barely surviving.
So that’s how I started. I guess the “easy” part was that I did have a clear start and a why. That all evolved over time, what was rooted in the passing of my Mom and grandma internalized and was more focused on me. It all happens with one step at a time and a consistent focus forward. Looking back to learn is ok, but staying there isn’t an option that you can keep while on this journey.
Even now, maintaining a healthy weight seems more challenging than losing-I’ve spent most of my life losing weight but rarely if ever maintaining a healthy one. So how does one maintain a healthy weight, live a healthy lifestyle and enjoy the life they’ve been blessed with? Great question and I plan to find out! Some of my favorite (and regular “go to” movies have themes like this. While I don’t have the means to jetset off to Europe or Asia or anywhere else in the world, I know that I can have similar growth wherever I am (now a days that’s a moving target, LOL).
So I invite you to join me on my journey I’m deeming “EAT PRAY RUN” where I find my balance in living healthy and happy–both inside and out, because a Healthy Mind + Healthy Body = Well Being.
My activity of choice may be obvious to many of you who know me, but for those who don’t I’ll share some details….When I first started trying to live healthier staying active was challenging, I was over 345lbs. So I started by walking, my Mom was an avid walker and I felt more connected to her when I’d go out for these walks. Over time, my walking has evolved into running and in August of 2012 I ran my first half marathon. Now I’ve completed 12 more and counting! If you’ve never done one, the training programs alone can seem daunting. 13 weeks of running with long runs ranging from 5-12 miles long. Now that doesn’t seem as long to me anymore but doing them on a regular basis since 2012 has and I recently hit burn out mode. But in my heart I love running and know I don’t want to give it up, but we have been on a bit of a break.
So enter in my “EAT PRAY RUN”!! We all know what’s best to eat vs what’s not, but many of us don’t do it. But I know how good I feel when my body is fueled vs fed. By that I mean, when my eating habits are centered around fueling my body for optimal performance (day in and day out, in training, or competition) versus feeding my body either based on emotions or feelings. When I “feed” myself, it’s usually higher in fat, salt, and sugar. When I fuel myself it’s usually healthy fats, low sodium, minimal/no sugars and lots of water. I feel my best when I eat like this, I end up having better and more sustained energy and sleep better too! So there’s the EAT of my “EAT PRAY RUN”.
The PRAY is more about allowing myself time to reflect internally. I’d confidently say that most of my energy/focus in a day is externally given–work, family, friends, etc. It’s not a complaint, just an observation on my part that there needs to be more of a balance there in order for me to be able to provide my best self to those that I love and care for. My PRAY will be spent in morning “me time” where I quietly reflect on what my day has in store, morning yoga and a motivational short read. Additionally, in the evening I’ll plan to do some “me time” through reflection and meditation. I figure that’s a good way to wind down my day. I don’t know that I’ll have something to check in with here daily, but if I do, you can be sure that part of my PM PRAY will be a blog.
Finally, RUN. Kinda obvious what that will consist of, right? LOL. But in all seriousness, I want to fall back in love with running–whole heartedly. I know that part of that is realizing that I do run (as a wise person told me once) because I can and want to, not because I have to. Also, someone else shared some wisdom with me in that, not every run needs (or should be) treated as a competition. PRs (personal records) don’t need to be achieved at every race. These are both important for many reasons, one being self care for my body. Even elite athletes have time off from competing, and I’m far from an elite athlete! But seem to neglect working in the balance of training and resting. Finding and practicing this balance will be part of the RUN of my EAT PRAY RUN.
All three aspects are key in me learning the balance of living this weight and healthy lifestyle, which is ultimately my goal. I know the yo-yo living of training hard to burning out is a reflection of the way I used to live. In order to truly not go back to that, I need to change how I live day in and day out–internally. What I think, I do. So I will do my best to keep it mostly positive because I know that ripples to many other aspects of my life. It can easily break me when I’m struggling with food or a workout. Which can just as easily domino beyond just one day!
This year August will be different…I will do more than survive…I WILL thrive. I will take what I learn each day to build on to the next. Each small step leads to bigger change. I will stumble but that’s part of the process. I will get back up, dust myself off, and continue on…I’m that determined to find the balance in my healthy lifestyle–i prefer and enjoy it over the alternative and I want it to become easier over time.
Stay tuned for more on my #EatPrayRun, #FindingBalance and #DreGetsHerGrooveBack!!
For daily check ins, you can find me on Instagram and Twitter at @ReNewedMe
In August 2012 my goal for my first half was part serious and part joke–I kept saying that I just wanted to complete all 13.1 miles, upright and cross the finish line on my own two feet. Then I started training and decided I could finish and that I wanted to complete it in under 3 hours; I ended up finishing in 2:35 so I was thrilled! Then I did my 2nd half and beat that time by almost 20 minutes, then my 3rd half and PR’d again by another 5 min, and so on. PRs became something I was getting used to and using as my focus/goal for each race. Then the inevitable happened and I didn’t PR. I was kind of bummed at first but I got over it, it was bound to happen at some point and I really hadn’t trained as well as I could/should have. Then it happened again…I not only didn’t PR but I came in at the same time I did as my 2nd half and here I was completing my 9th! Something dawned on me then…
This past Sunday I completed my 10th Half Marathon, it’s still amazing to me that within less than two years I’ve completed 10! So here’s some background. I am born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area–hills are part of my regular training/runs. I did the RnRSF last year for their inaugural race and it had some good hills in there. This course was a “go big or go home” kind of hill course and if you don’t know SF, then you should know that “inclines” are anything that are not pancake flat and “hills” are some serious climbs–whether that makes them short but steep or long. Comparing this year and last year’s courses felt like night and day! Once I faced the facts of what the course had in store from me I decided my goal was going to be “enjoy the views…and yes that was definitely a plural!” This course started us out at the beach at sunrise for 0.25 miles then we headed up our first set of (many) hills into the sunrise itself–we had hills for breakfast! Once we got into the Presidio and Sea Cliff it was all postcard views from there–and we were going to earn them! I could talk about them but I will just post some of the pictures that runners took along the way. I thought of stopping but I chose not to except for once and that was with some fellow bloggers who were cheering runners on along the course between miles 2 and 3!
@pointonemiles and @pavementrunner
Explaining these views is pointless, they speak for themselves. But for someone from here, they even got me to consider stopping because they were SO BEAUTIFUL!!
From top/bottom and L to R @sojomy, me, @pointonemiles, @katietheactor, @hayz808, @pavementrunner, @run_westin, @runrocknroll
This weekend was more about why I enjoy running and not about how fast I could finish it! Isn’t that what life in general is about? Enjoying the journey and not focusing about how fast you arrive at your final destination? I was so proud of myself for my finish but I was elated at the finish line because the amazing fun-filled weekend I had was well spent and worth the hurt (and tiredness) that I felt! I met people who inspire/motivate me daily via social media and I feel like we all really know each other like any other friend I’ve had for years! We all instantly click when we get together like we’ve never been separated by distance. We encourage each other to keep going when it feels hard or hurts, to go further when we feel we’ve gone the distance, to keep our heads up when we keep ourselves down, to be proud of what we’ve done because we couldn’t at one point, and to enjoy the view and have fun because in the end that’s what it’s all about!
This weekend I conquered the hills of San Francisco, I completed my 10th half marathon (and plan on completing many more), I was blessed with some AMAZING views and I’m grateful to be a part of this running community that spans over many miles, ages, demographics, experience, etc. We all have one common thread and it keeps us together through all the ups and downs–or in this case peaks and valleys!
For more great views check out RnRSF recaps at http://www.pointonemiles.com/ and http://pavementrunner.com/rnrsf-2014/