Wanted By All But ONE…

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

My Passion Project–My Purpose & Myself

Biggest and most challenging project I’ll likely ever take on–myself.  *SIGH* Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad sigh nor is that a complaint.  I’m a worthy project to spend that kind of time and effort on.  Easy is … Continue reading

Eat Pray Run: My Journey of Healthy Mind + Healthy Body = Well Being”

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

For the FUN of the RUN–my 1st Race Recap (ever) of my 10th Half Marathon! RnRSF

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!

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@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!!

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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/

 

I am here to Rock ‘n’ Blog!!!

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Some of you may have guessed it already, but I’m here to make it official tonight with the reveal of my announcement of #RunWithDre!

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Last April I ran my first Rock n Roll Series Half Marathon in San Francisco; ironically it was also my first hometown half!  It was a great memory (and PR) made that foggy Sunday!  Tonight I’m grateful and excited to announce that I’ll be back again this April to run AND blog for this event!

If your 2014 Bucket or To Do list includes getting health(ier), getting fit, running a half marathon, challenging yourself, having fun and/or simply to take a trip to San Francisco then I’m PERSONALLY inviting you to #RunWithDre this April 6 through the scenic streets of San Francisco and even over the Golden Gate Bridge!!

Some of my most favorite running memories are those I’ve run with friends, family, and fellow bloggers (so don’t worry, you won’t be going at this alone)!  If you’ve never been to San Francisco–have no fear–I’ll be blogging with some travel and site seeing tips!  If you haven’t run much lately or at all, I’m (and many other RnR bloggers) are here to help with that too!

The first step is up to YOU–register before it sells out!  Last year RnRSF sold out by mid January (lucky for you, we still have some spots left)!  To entice you, I also have a promo code you can use– RUNWITHDRE (Valid for $10 off the Half Marathon registration fee)!!  There’s a limited number of registrations that the code is good for and it will expire, so sign up to #RunWithDre TODAY!!

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Oh, one last thing…you know those #TweepUps we are always posting about, we’ll have one of those too (in addition to all the race expo, running, and post race concert fun…did I mention there’s a free beer, of course for the 21 and up?!) for you to look forward to!

Now GO!!

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Wrapping up my Year of the Half Rock n Roll Style!

Wrapping up my Year of the Half Rock n Roll Style!

I still find it hard to believe sometimes that I’ve completed 8 half marathons in a little over more than a year from my first!  As this year comes to a close (and my birthday nears) I’m wrapping up my year with my 9th and final half marathon!  I’ve evolved my walking into jogging into running.  I’ve gone from hoping to finish my first half in under 3 hours (finished 2:35) to my last half finished in 2:02!  I’ve gone from focusing mostly on PRs (personal records) to ENJOYING running!  I’m beyond “half crazy”! LOL

One of my most recent experiences around running really opened my eyes.  I was at a table with some co-workers I was getting to know (beyond email exchanges) and all of them had questions for me on/about running.  It was like I was sitting on a panel for runners and non runners.  The best part, I never once thought “who am I to answer these”, because deep down I’m a runner and my head is catching up to my heart on that!

Running has been one of my best forms of measuring my progressing over the last few years.  For those of you who don’t know where I started here’s the summary: I was well over 340lbs, lost my job/Mom/Grandma within a one month period, and in a general state of feeling lost in the dark.  With no Mom, job, or significant other I had nothing to “fall back on” but myself and my current self was in no shape to help anyone including myself.  I didn’t start off running at 340+ lbs, I started by just putting one foot in front of the other and walking.  My Mom was an avid walker so this also served as a way to connect with her.  As the weight came off (both literally and figuratively) walking became easier and I started to challenge myself with walking/jogging intervals.  In time that turned into running.  At some point though, I had to go outside myself for support and in doing so I found great motivators in family, friends, and social media.  Yes, social media played a part in my weight loss journey.  It’s been via social media that I’ve been able to share my story, meet others on their journey and those who I admire and aspire (running wise) to be like some day!  It was the days I felt I had no where to turn when I’d turn to my SM friends and they’d lift me out of my trenches with no judgement.

I’ve met some AMAZING people through running!  This past month I had the opportunity to meet some of my running idols at the RunRocknRoll #RnRLA (Los Angeles) expo.  People like Dani from WeightOffMyShoulders (fellow WeightWatchers leader), Brian from PavementRunner (who’s a fellow Bay Area runner and a TOTAL ROCKSTAR in my book, ironically we didn’t meet until LA), Linze of SeeSharpRun (super fun/funny guy and never a dull moment when with him), John (who is another rockstar and running #SA2LV this weekend), and last but not least I got to meet some of the @RunRocknRoll team (super cool and committed people who’ve put on some amazing races and included me in them)!  My point to calling these people out?  They don’t need the extra follows trust me, they all have quite a following!  But that they are worth the follow, whether you are a want to be runner, new to running, been running, male/female, East/West Coaster, etc.!  These people cover all the basics and make running fun.  They recognize that it’s about more than PRs but enjoying life and running through it, they pay it forward, and they are inclusive in all they do!  They all inspire/motivate me when I feel like I don’t have anything left to give.

I say all that to say this….

I know it’s been a busy and crazy year and starting this year with doing just my 2nd half ever I’m ending it by completing my 9th!  How apropos that it will be on the same course as many of the above and with @RunRocknRoll!  This post is a reminder to pause through all the hustle and bustle (especially coming up with the holidays) and remember how far you’ve progressed this year.  Change is constant, we often overlook the positive changes we’ve made because of this.  Once upon a time, the #RnRLV was on my bucket list for runs because it usually fell on my birthday weekend.  This year it’s a few weeks earlier, but I feel it’s still a great way to celebrate my life–I’ll be running in a 5K the weekend of my bday in lieu of!

People often ask why I run…I’ve heard a lot of other’s answer this “because I can”, “it keeps me sane”, etc.  And while those all apply to me as well I’d have to honestly answer that I run because it’s a blessing on the life I was graced with.  It’d be like being given the gift of life and not waking up each morning.  I haven’t always had the ability/capability to run, now that I do I won’t take it for granted. This is why I’m ReNewedMe.  I couldn’t go back to what I knew as “normal” and in turn I created my new normal and realized change is good and not as scary as I often saw it to be.

#TransformationTuesday–My First 5K to my 7th Half Marathon!

#TransformationTuesday–My First 5K to my 7th Half Marathon!

I LOVE #TransformationTuesday! I’ll admit, when I first saw this hashtag, I thought how egotistical are these people! But I realized that I was bitter and upset–not with the world–but myself. Now I recognize and realize that #TT isn’t about … Continue reading

Mind Over Platter–A Food Lesson Learned Running

How is it that when I want to be mindful that I think about everything else except what I want to be focusing on?  BUT when I just want to be “brainless” I’m all of a sudden very aware of what I’m doing, feeling, thinking, etc?! What gives?!?!

This didn’t come up out of no where.  A couple of weeks ago I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a Mindful Eating Event hosted by FoodieMcBody.   It was a great and very eye opening event.  I was there with a room full of about 10 other people and I realized I felt very alone.  We ate in silence without eye contact and I realized that I don’t normally do this because I didn’t like the feeling of feeling alone.  I’m not going to give it all away, I HIGHLY recommend if you are ever in the Bay Area when she hosts this, that you attend in person!  Of course you leave something like that feeling empowered and inspired to want to live the rest of your life like this–eat by candle light every night, sit down to dine, one bite at a time, put down your utensil after each bite, etc.  But reality is, that doesn’t happen!  I ate about a cup of food that night after have a very full and active day and I felt completely satisfied.  For the next two weeks, my mind felt like I should eat myself out of house and home!  Often not even remembering how much and what I even put in my mouth–let alone how it tasted–kinda like my eating out of the peanut butter jar yesterday!

Then I had 10 miles to run last Sunday–during which I was very mindful and aware of how my legs, lungs and (in general) whole body felt while running.  I heard every pound of my feet on the pavement, every breath in and out, and person pass me along the trail.  I felt every tightness in my calves, quads, hamstrings, and burn in my lungs.  Starting out, I could have sworn I heard every tick of time going by–SLOWLY…much like my speed.  And then I thought…”How is it that I’m so aware of all this while I’m running but I’m so unaware when I eat?”

Have you ever thought about or asked yourself that?  Am I alone here too?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT trying to deter anyone who’s thought about trying running to not try!  I LOVE running and there isn’t anything I’d rather do (I think that’s pretty evident being that I’m approaching on completing my 7th in 14 months this weekend)!  Running is very much a mental activity while at the same time not.  I have been on runs where I literally have almost closed my eyes while running because I’ve gotten so relaxed–head to toe, inside and out.  It’s like meditating but easier–in the sense of hitting that happy non scattered place in your head.  In that sense, it’s that aspect of running that I’ve become “addicted” to.  After completing my first someone asked me how I liked it and how I was feeling now.  When I paused to think about my answer, I realized I hadn’t had a long run since my half and I missed that “happy place” that long runs take your mind to!  I say it in jest but it’s kinda true, running gives you a sense of a high that you really keep wanting to get back to.  Training for long runs teaches you how to physically get there but once that becomes a natural movement for you–knowing you pace–you are able to get to that quiet place and enjoy the run!

So I guess I’ve kinda answered my question here…In order to be as mindful eating as I am a runner, I need to set up those routines so I don’t over think so much and can just sit down (that may be the hardest part to implement right now) and enjoy my meal.  I can eat until satisfied and not be concerned that some child somewhere else is going to starve because I didn’t join the “clean plate club” that meal.  I can stop and enjoy my food and not be worried, sad, or concerned about what’s going on outside of that very moment.  I can enjoy and learn to stop, pause, and be aware/present in that very moment and OK with whatever may happen at said moment.

I think to help, I’m going to continue to read up on this with the book Savor by Thich Nhat Hinh which informs readers about mindful living and how it relates/impacts our eating.  I may be at a point of maintaining my weight, but I know what got me to my highest…it wasn’t ONE piece of cake, pizza or bag of chips.  It was my relationship with food and the practice of eating/dinning.  That fear of the unknown–as small or simple as it may actually be.  That not wanting to feel the pain, sadness, anger, etc so turning to food to numb it because mentally it was unbearable.  Running has taught me more than just how to run (because I never was good at it…I nearly passed out after my mile run to earn my Presidential Fitness award in 8th grade!); it’s taught me how to be mindful, present and aware.  Running has taught me how to feel, be ok with what I feel, and that I’ll survive whatever it is I feel.

The view from my last 8 mile run in San Mateo and the thought I had while approaching that turn.

The view from my last 8 mile run in San Mateo and the thought I had while approaching that turn.