Sometimes I see things on this list and I think to myself, dude...are you nuts? Why in the world would someone subject themselves to such torturous things? Well this most recent check off was no exception to said questions. At the end of 2011 I looked around and noticed how unhealthy I was. I had gained 35 pounds since I got married just three years earlier, I hardly ever exercised and when I did I always quit due to a cold or some other pansy excuse. I decided that this was no way to spend the rest of my life.One thing that Dave Ramsey (a popular financial author) always says is "the good news is, if you're the problem, you're also the solution." When I read that quote I decided that he was right. I didn't need to settle to live in a manner in which I was a victim of my daily habits, I could rise above it and accomplish something extraordinary. It's kind of a lengthy story but it changed my life.......
I started by sitting down and thinking about things that I could work for and one that kept coming to mind was doing a marathon. If there is anything that I hate doing more in this world, it's running. It is so boring and so isolating and is just not something I was ever good at. I decided that this would be something extremely difficult to accomplish but something definitely worth doing, and so I set up my plan. There was no way in heck that I was going to be able to run 26.2 miles with all my excess fat. I needed to set up a work out plan that would optimize my goals and help me to reach this mountainous goal. (side note) One of my favorite shows on TV is extreme make over, weight loss edition. This program is a documentary of a trainer, Chris Powell, helping transform individuals suffering from being over weight to much healthier lives. What I love about it the most is that it's not just about getting skinny and then rebounding. It's about helping that person understand the benefits from being healthy. Chris actually moves in with these clients on the show and helps them transform their lives over the period of one year. One episode I watched had Chris talking to a client who had a goal to lose 250 pounds in one year. Chris said to the client, "losing 250 pounds in one year is impossible, or is it?" That got me thinking, and came to the conclusion that it's not impossible to lose weight and I was going to follow Chris's format and do it.
Beginning Weight = 195
Beginning Waist = 36"
Beginning Bench Press = 110 lbs
Goal to reach overall= 160 (loss of 35 pounds)
1 quarter = lose 15 pounds (180) and finish P90X
2nd quarter = lose 12 pounds (167) and start doing crossfit
3rd quarter = lose 5 pounds (162) and complete a 50 mile bike race
4th quarter = lose 2 pounds (160) and complete marathon
When I first sat down and surveyed the landscape of what a huge thing I was taking on I got pretty overwhelmed. I mean, on purpose I had never lost more than 5 pounds before in my life let alone ran farther than 3 miles. Throughout the year I came to know myself a lot more than I had ever known before. I came to struggle with mental discouragement. I hit so many plateaus and came to question my whole goal and came pretty close to giving up. However, I was determined to never give up. I took a Nutrition class at UNLV and came to understand my enemy, food. I quickly came to understand why I had ballooned up to the point I had gotten to. An individual cannot live on a 4,000 cal a day diet with little exercise without expecting to gain weight. All of the extra large combos, biggie sizes and calorie heavy midnight snacks added up over time and totally destroyed my body. No more of this was allowed. I tamed the beast and figured out exactly how much to eat and what to eat every day to make the pounds start coming off and they did. I started keeping track of everything I ate on my 'Loseit' app on my iphone. This ultimately helped me figure things out. There is a reason every weight loss website tells you to write a food journal and keep track of everything you eat, it just works. After about a month of working with this, things finally started to click and the pounds started to come off. The scale started to be my friend and I began to conquer my bad habits every day. As each quarter came and went I hit my goals and I can't even begin to express how awesome it was to finally have some success.
About half way through the year I began to train to do a marathon. I called my brother up who had done cross country in high school and asked him for tips. He set me up with a running schedule that helped a ton. I ran 3 times a week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, for 12 weeks. Tuesday and Thursday were considered my short runs and every Saturday I did a long run. With every progressing week and month each run got longer and longer until eventually I felt confident that I could tackle the 26.2 miles of a marathon with little to no problem. This whole process was tough. It's never easy to give up so much of one's time to dedicate it to something like this, especially on the long runs. Every Saturday I was gone for 2-3 hours just out running. The great thing after a while though was that it got easier. My lung capacity grew and I began to enjoy running. Sure there were a few set backs like a stress fracture in my foot and shin splints like you wouldn't even believe, but overall it was great to again see that I could tackle this goal no matter what.
After many months, I had hit all of my weight loss goals and the day of my big race finally came. Months previously I had signed up for THE BIG FREE MARATHON in Las Vegas. It's kind of a cool concept that I should give a plug to while I'm writing about it. Normally marathons have a huge (well huge to me) entry fee like $100 per runner or something like that. With this new concept of race, you pay a $50 entry fee and then as soon as you cross the finish line they refund your credit card and ultimately makes your participation in the race free. Free is always good. Anyway, back to where I was....the day of the big race. To say I was nervous was a huge understatement. I had never participated in something to this scale before. I got to the race at 4:45 in the morning and there were thousands of people there. My dad came out to the finish line and hooked me up with a hydration belt to wear throughout the race #lifesaver.
When time came to start the race they asked everyone who was planning to run a 5-6 min mile to start first. I figured no way would I be able to do that but hey why not start first? I hopped up to the front of the line and the race began. Immediately afterward people were passing me like crazy but I had read somewhere to just run your own race and tune out the racers around you. As each mile passed I tried to stay as hydrated as I could. I kept about a 8 min mile pace and high fived my dad at the first few pit stops that he drove to to take video for me. When I got to the 9 mile mark things got tough. The hills got higher and higher and I had thought I had trained enough for them, not true. I eventually got to the hardest part of the race, 22 miles. It's hard to explain what happened at this point. Never in my life have I experienced so much pain.
I got to 22 miles and my legs stiffened up and began to cramp so much so that I had to sit down, then walk 10 feet, then sit down again. Many times I thought to myself....you know, you could turn around right now and no one would know. Crazy how temptation hits you like that.I didn't succumb though, I conquered the pain. I finally got to the last three miles and it was weird, my legs were totally fine out of no where. I then figured, sweet....3 miles ain't nothin now. Little did I know that my chest and lungs thought otherwise. It became extremely hard to breathe all of a sudden. What the heck, my entire freaking body was shutting down. I became pretty emotional at this point....I know right, what a girl. Seriously though, it was just so ridiculous but I was going to FINISH come death or whatever was around the corner. Luckily the only thing around the corner was the finish line. There was about 100 yards of open land at the end of the race for the finish. I was all alone giving everything I had left to cross that line.
They announced my name as I crossed the line and oh man what a moment that was. I had done it. I had actually done it. Danielle, Laila (in Danielle's belly) and my Mom were there to support at the line. It was so surreal to finally have finished what I set out to do a year ago. Amazing. I spent the rest of the day with family and recovering.
There are few things on this list that will be as hard as this one was to cross off. But ya know what, after this year, anything is possible. I can truly accomplish anything and am so grateful for the people who help me to do so. I encourage anyone who is currently in a similar spot that I was in a year ago to choose to better your life. You can do it. It sucks, it truly does...but you will never regret it. Trust me, you a year from now will have wished that you had started today. I am grateful for a loving family, an iphone that helped me every step of the way and for Chris Powell for giving me the motivation to start this whole crazy thing.
So at the end of all things here are some fun stats from this year....
Ending Weight = 160
Waist = 32"
Bench Press = 210 lbs
Experience this whole story with me in the video below......
#46 - Bobsled an Olympic Track
Who hasn't seen the age old classic Cool Runnings. I remember when I first saw it when I was I kid. Who wouldn't want to feel the rhythm....feel the rhyme....give it up it's bobsled time? Putting together this Bucket List I thought about things I never thought I'd be able to do but would love to do someday. Well, this past weekend someday finally came. Every year we have a father and sons ski trip in Park City Utah. Normally we spend time on our trip hitting the slopes, playing video games and watching the STEELERS dominate the AFC championship time and time again. This year when planning the trip we thought back to last year's trip and how great it was and spit ideas back and forth about what we could do to make this year's trip more epic than it's ever been in the past. The idea of Bobsledding came up but was dismissed because who actually goes bobsledding...really? Anyway, time passed and it became a possibility that bobsledding was going to actually happen. Long story short we booked our reservations. It was probably one of the most anticipated activities in ski trip history and rightfully so. All day saturday while we were conquering double blacks and epic falls the olympic track couldn't be removed from anyones' minds. Finally the end of the day came and we got to go to the track in Park City. When we got there we were immediately ushered to sign our lives away through various waivers. We sat through an orientation of the many ways death could possibly happen. Following that we were shuttled up to the top of the track. We were assigned to different sleds and went over even more safety rules, it turns out this stuff is pretty dangerous I guess. When we got to our sled, my dad and I decided to ride in the back. The driver packed us into the sled and we were off. My dad tipped the guy at the starting line to give us an extra little push. It didn't feel like much at the beginning as we started off pretty slow. As the track progressed though we went...fast. Holy crap did we go fasst. I couldn't see much as I rode in the back but oh man could I feel the 4 g's that piled down on me with every turn. We reached a top speed of 78 miles an hour and finished the track in 54.01 seconds. It felt like a lot more than that but it was honestly one of the greatest rushes of a life time. The craziest thing is that it was like ten times more intense than any roller coaster I've ever been on and I didn't even wear a seat belt. We found out that Michael Howarth and Chris Wood who also rode with us in a different sled rode with a celebrity driver, Pat Brown. Pat was the coach of the Olympic bobsled team from Jamaica that Disney based their hit movie Cool Runnings after. It was cool to say we were amongst so many olympic gold medalists. Honestly, this was one of the coolest things that I've ever done in my life. It showed me that really nothing is impossible and that anything on a bucket list can be checked off as long as you stick to it and work hard to cross things off the list. I would recommend this experience to anyone! I absolutely loved every minute of it! Thank you to those who made it possible
This is just before we head in to orientation and sign away our lives.
Just before we got into the sleds. The girl with us is an olympic gold medalist in luge. She rode with Michael and Chris.
#50 - Ride in a 50 Mile Bike Race
One of the greatest things about having this bucket list idea is that I get to go out and experience new things that I have never tried before. I get to push myself to new limits as I try to reach goals that I set for myself and then tell you all about it. This past week I marked off another thing on my list as I competed in the annual bike race called "Pedal to the Medal." It is a race to benefit the athletes in the local special olympics. My dad is recently very big into bike racing. He and his road bike have reached goals and destinations that I only dare travel by car. A few weeks ago he asked me if I wanted to participate in the Pedal to the Medal race. Though I only have a mountain bike and don't have any prior racing experience on wheels I told him I'd join him. He gave me fair warning that this race was shorter than the usual races he participates in but to make up for the shorter distance there was going to be a massive hill climb. I figured no sweat, I can do anything. I learned that it would be a bit harder than I previously imagined.
Coming down the hill was pretty intense. I was not able to pedal as I ran out of gears but it felt so good to be going down and not up. I think at this point was the hardest part of the race. After I soured down the pass I got back to the 12 mile stretch before the hill. Previously, this was a piece of cake but boy did that change. I had the hardest time getting back to the finish line. I passed numerous people reliving what they had for breakfast and I felt their pain big time. As I got to the end I thought of the many metaphors I would use this race for in future sacrament talks and soap box speeches for my kids. It was definitely rewarding to get to the finish line and seeing Danielle and Mallory there with my dad giving me the thumbs up as I finished. They were so nice to come and support and wait for the probable 4 hours it took me to get my butt up the hill and back. We enjoyed cheeseburgers together after the race and my dad even won the most spirited uniform award. He was pretty stoked about it as his jersey he was sporting made the Steeler Nation proud.
I was so happy to get this checked off my list. I think in the future I am going to train a bit more before I take on such a daunting task and probably will be taking on the 100 mile mark soon enough. Thanks to everyone who made this possible and for everyone in my life that keeps me pushing up the tough hills of life.