Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sarah Palin Did a Turkey Trot, so I thought I Might Do One

Brrr...cold. That is all I can say about my first 5k. Okay, that's not all I can say, but whenever I think about the first race I ever entered, the thought of, "dang, that was a cold one" will probably always come to mind. I believe the temperature was 5 degrees this morning when the race started. Yes, that is a 5 with no other number to go with it. What race, you might ask? Well, since it is Thanksgiving, it would have to be a Turkey Trot! You know, imaginary cyberspace friend, ever since Sarah Palin did the Turkey Trot last year in Richland, I wanted to do one. That can be kept between me and you, okay? Hehe.

So, let's take a step back and trace my path to my first 5k, shall we? Let's see. It was about four years ago when I moved back to Prosser to "save money to go to New York". Well, I joined the local gym shortly thereafter. The owner wanted me to check out the new kickboxing class that was just starting, so the first night there, I went...and fell in love with kickboxing (yes, this is a little side note, but it does have something to do with how I really got into running). Let me just tell you my feelings about kickboxing. It is empowering. It makes me feel strong and able. It is a whole body workout. There is a reason MMA people have killer bodies (no, I am not an MMA killer body example...). But during the course of the kickboxing class, the instructor would always have us run through the gym. Running?????? What the heck was this thing? I did not like it because 1) I had no idea how to do it and 2) I was almost always the slowest person out there. Running has always, always been a struggle for me. Who's with me? Who was always the last person to complete the mile during gym? Me. Who was always the last person to get back after running laps? Me. Get the point? Running and me were arch enemies. But I loved and I mean LOVED kickboxing. But running seemed to come with the territory every class. So, I decided to try something. When I wasn't doing kickboxing, I was usually out in the gym just messing around on the weight machines (this was before I knew what to do) or walking on the treadmill, perhaps doing a brisk walk, almost jog. Well, one day, I decided if I was going to continue with kickboxing, I was going to have to start running better. So, while I was on the treadmill, I pumped it up to 5.0 for 30 seconds. I thought I was going to die. Literally my lungs would burst out of my chest and my poor, short, non-runners legs would fall off. Hmmm...they didn't. I kept walking. Hit it up to 5.0 for another 30 seconds. The sweet release of death still did not come. I tried another 30 seconds and another 30 seconds. I think I did a total of two minutes of running that day. Split up between many, many minutes of walking. Not a bad start, I thought. I wasn't dead, so it couldn't be all that bad, right?

I kept going to my kickboxing classes and upping my running times. Still mostly 30 second intervals, but the walking was becoming shorter. I think once I did a one minute run. Yeah...thought I would die again. But I was getting better and better during classes. I wasn't always last now when we ran through the gym. When we did stairs, I was able to complete all of them without stopping. Funny how things like this happen when you work on them. Then, I moved and no more kickboxing classes. I had a little gym where I lived, so I would do my walk/run thing on the treadmill, but why was I running? What was the reason to get my butt out of my couch and go run? Wasn't I only doing it so I could be better in my kickboxing class? Turns out...no. I was starting to actually...enjoy it? I was now at 1 minute of running. I even got a running journal and filled it out religiously, which is strange for me because I'm usually so bad at things like that (tracking...anything). Then, my dad died.

One of my most focused memories during that time was either a day or two after my dad died. It was before his funeral and I really wanted to have a little normalcy in my life, so I put on some workout clothes and headed out to my little gym. Fortunately, there was usually no one else there (crazy people who have access to a free gym and don't use it!), so I was there by myself. Unfortunately, there were full length mirrors. What that had to do with this story, well not much...it was just unfortunate that I had to see myself run/workout almost everyday (this is where I developed the habit of wearing only black while working out because I didn't want to see the jiggles ;)). How was that at attempting to dissipate the somber mood this entry has taken? No? Okay...back to the little gym and the treadmill. I started out going pretty good. Do you ever start a run and just know it's going to be a good one? Oh, I was up to two minutes of running/30 seconds off/back on for two minutes. Well, this was going to be a good one. I had just lost my dad and I had some serious load I needed to give to the treadmill. Unfortunately, I think the treadmill couldn't take it all. If you didn't know this about running...it heightens almost everything. Your brain synapses explode during running (okay, maybe not quite explode, but they are very, very active). I actually didn't know this at the time, so when I was suddenly doubled over in tears, it came as quite a shock. I was already out of breath from running and I felt like I couldn't get enough air. I didn't know it, but my already heightened emotions were overflowing from the chemicals running through my body released by cardiovascular exercise...running in particular. After that, when my whole life seemed to be crumbling around me, I would come to the little gym and run. You would think that I would be getting better and better, but the rest of my life did not support a runner's lifestyle, so instead of getting better, I actually became worse. My times became shorter, and I kept getting in worse and worse shape. Then, I did inventory with Michelle Price.

This was about two and a half years ago. I wasn't in the worst physical shape of my entire adult life, but it was close. I weighed over 300 lbs. (there you go people, you can know where I came from). 313 to be exact when we started a Biggest Loser competition. I'm not ashamed of that number because it represents where I came from and where I will never be again. Well, during this competition, I decided to follow Jillian Michael's exercise plan. She does circuit training with one day of cardio. She also encourages cardio on the days that you do circuit training for "extra credit". I fully embraced this and started my education on exercise. For the most part I chose running to be my form of cardio. I also started to eat better and learn about food and nutrition. Put all three of those together and you can't help but get results. It is when you take one of those away that progress slows way down or halts all together. But I digress, this is a blog entry on my running past. So during this competition, I decided that I wanted to be a runner. Before this I had only dabbled in it basically halfheartedly. I started to run outside. Now, this is an entire different beast than running inside. It is hard! At first, I thought I was crazy until I had a friend confirm that the same thing happened to her, so I felt better after that :). It was also during this time that I realized I did my best thinking while running. And this made sense once I read about the brain thing. And I just felt great after I got done. Usually not during, but after...about a half hour after I just started to think life was really, really great. But, unbeknownst to me, I was not pushing myself like I could. The competition ended (I won) and I kept on it. Then, I moved to Utah.

I still have not entered a race at this point. Running was still a very personal thing to me. It was me time. It was a time to forget the world and refocus on what was important in my life. But moving to Utah and meeting my running friend (see previous running blog in September) inspired me to be better at it. Inspired me to take it a little more serious than a couple times a week cardio workout that made me feel really, really great. So, I entered my first 5k today. It was a glorious struggle. I have never, ever run in weather this cold. Not even close. And here I was, all alone in a sea of runners and people like me who thought they might be considered runners someday. I did not recognize a single face in the crowd. But I felt excited and determined. I knew I was able to run for 3 miles straight, but in this cold weather? Would it defeat me? No. I will not be defeated because once I set my mind to something...I do it. It hasn't always been this way, but it has become who I am. And who I always wanted to be. The horn sounds and we're off. I start at a steady pace, keeping my eyes ahead, my arms in a relaxed 90 degrees, pumping slightly, neck and head relaxed. And I just go. Not fast by any stretch of the imagination (confession: I only had one hour of sleep the night before because I was so excited, I couldn't sleep), but I did not stop. I did not walk...for 3.1 miles. At mile 2, I pulled my hat off because I was too hot and near the end of the race I reached up to my head and it was a mess of ice and hair. And I finished at 37 minutes. I'll take it. But here's the thing. I'll take it for my first race, but I won't take it for my second. Today, I became a runner in my mind. Truly a runner. Watch out Sarah Palin....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Plan For Not Writing My Retail Holiday Rant

So, remember how last year I came up with a great way to combat the retail holiday blues by working out and just thinking positive? Do you remember how well that went?? Yeah...not so well. By the end of the Holiday season, I was pretty much mush that would come home and just sit in front of the tv. I had no energy to do anything else. This year, though is going to be different, imaginary cyberspace friend! Okay, so I'm going to workout, but I'm not going to force a positive attitude because I know that will never work when I'm in the midst of Retail Holiday Hell (can I copyright that?). So, I am going to have a goal instead in the month of December. My goal is to read the entire New Testament. I figure it will get me a little more in the Christmas spirit and maybe, just maybe I'll have a better attitude. I'm not going to hold my breath, but it maybe, just might work. And maybe by time December 31 rolls around I won't be giving my soon to be annual Holiday Retail Rant. Maybe. Like I said...not holding my breath.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Stefanie's Mission Statement

Well, imaginary cyberspace friend, it's just you and me again. I feel like I'm with an old familiar friend when I'm writing to you ;). I just finished a book called "The Omnivore's Dilemma." I started reading it a few months back and got about a third of the way through when I got distracted in my life and set it aside to do other things (you know...move, change my whole life, etc.), but I picked it back up because just reading the first third opened my eyes to what I was putting in my mouth so much that I couldn't wait to see what the rest of it brought me. I was not disappointed. I don't know if I'll ever be able to look at a piece of meat the same way again! Especially meat from a fast food restaurant or even a sit down restaurant. For example, an ad on TV for a local restaurant boasts that their Grade A USDA choice beef is from cows who are only fed an all grain diet. Wait. That's probably not something you want to be proud of because, in case you didn't know, feeding grain to a cow is like feeding grass to us. They can't digest it without great difficulty and it wreaks havoc on their system. Also, if they're being fed an all grain diet, that means the cow was raised on a killing farm, where he lived a lovely life standing in his own feces and being pumped so full of antibiotics, there was no way he was getting sick in his short, unhealthy life. Don't even get me started on the hormones to bulk him up! And yes, we are ingesting that whenever we eat meat from a cow that was fed an all grain diet. Sigh. I love learning about food. And I love that I have such a passion for it! I have never enjoyed reading non-fiction before. But that was mainly due to the fact that I had to read history books that were quite boring (at least to me...yeah, once again...wrong degree there). I started reading another book called "The China Study." I'm only in the first part of it, but already it has made me say out loud...on the train...no way! How's this for no way...in 2006 "we [spent] one out of every seven dollars the economy produces on health care." That was five years ago (almost). And we all know the economy tanked since then, so who knows how much is spent now. I know we, as a country, haven't gotten any healthier (in general). The man who authored this book, T. Colin Campbell boils it down to this: "The answer to the American health crisis is the food that each of us chooses to put in our mouths each day. It's as simple as that." I am so excited to read the rest of this book and compare it with what I've read so far. I can also tell why Jim gave this to me...vegan boy ;). We'll see what happens.

So, I've been going without dairy this week. It was two different people who led me to try it, and I figured if two people, that I trust eat well and are well informed, told me I should try it.... Okay. It's been hard! There is dairy in everything! Unless I go to specialty stores and get the non-dairy stuff, I could not eat chocolate! Even the darkest 80% make you want to choke on some dust of chocolate had milkfat in it!! I couldn't believe it. I have eaten way less sweets this week, but it seems like I've eaten more breads. I've eaten more fruits and veggies, which is a great thing. And I discovered bananas don't upset my stomach as much as I thought they did (although I know now I can't run with one in my stomach!) I also discovered I like soy chocolate milk. Oh, and oops...soy peppermint hot chocolate (as I am typing this, I realize that this contradicts my previous statement about chocolate...there was probably trace amounts of dairy in the mocha used to make the hot chocolate). So, I've learned soy is not the devil. And not as gritty as I remembered it being. I will admit, I haven't tried soy milk, plain and simple. I guess I probably should before my week is up...tomorrow :). Now, I don't have terrible skin, but one of the two said my skin would start to look better...I'm still holding judgement out for that one as I have a zit forming below my lip as I type ;). I do feel better, though. I hate to admit it, but I do. As I was riding the train home today from work (yay for public transportation!) I just kept thinking that I feel great! Both mentally and physically. I didn't think that there was a connection until right now. I know I won't be able to give up milk completely, but this week has been such an eye opener to exactly how much dairy products I've been consuming...all of my life. And it got me to thinking...if I consume that much dairy in my foods, why the heck do I need to drink 3-4 glasses of milk on top of that?! The system is screwed up. I could probably give up drinking milk out of the carton and be perfectly fine in my daily nutritional requirements that dairy provides. On a side note, it has been fun to get other people to find non-dairy things for me. It's like a hunt! The chocolate hunt left me a little sad because I came home empty handed, but other than that :).

So, reading these things has got me to thinking about my future and what exactly I want to make out of it. I've been thinking about a mission statement because all great companies/people have one and stick to it. I've never had a mission statement for my life because I've never had a mission in my life and reading today brought back all of that passion that led me to so drastically change my life. It has been simmering these past couple of months, but today it boiled. I think my mission statement will start out with a quote I read today and end with what I will accomplish and with what dedication I will put into it. Okay, let's see if we can flesh this out, shall we, imaginary cyberspace friend?

Stefanie's Mission Statement
"There are, in effect, two things: to know and to believe one knows. To know is science. To believe one knows is ignorance" Hippocrates. My goal is to know. To learn, study and continue to learn and study everything about nutrition. To not be complacent in this knowledge, but to foster it's growth for the good of the community as a whole. My goal is to never compromise my nutritional standards and to be the best Dietitian I can be. I will not strive for recognition, but will, instead focus on the rising generation, one individual at a time.

Okay, that sounds pretty good. :)