Monday, May 6, 2013

The Finish Line - Metaphorically

This was never meant to be a neverending blog.

When I began this blog last summer, it was meant as a way to chronicle my journey into fitness as I headed toward my 50th birthday.

When I began, I weighed 203 pounds. Or 200. It depended on which scale I used.
March 2012 - with Anna, backstage at "The Choice"

When I began, I couldn't even climb from one floor of my house to another without huffing and puffing. Walking was painful because of the arthritis in my knees.

When I began, I was hitting McDonald's 4-5 times a week, usually for a crispy chicken classic sandwich, large fries, and large Diet Coke. (Because diet drinks help wash away the other calories, dontcha know.)

Along the way, I started walking. Four miles a day, five times a week. Sometimes with temperatures in the 80s and the humidity almost that high.

I nearly passed out on one of those first walks. I was dizzy and short of breath, and I think I clocked a mile at close to 20 minutes because of it. I know Matt was seriously trying to figure out on that day how they would get the ambulance back in on the trail to get me when I collapsed. 

But I never collapsed. There were other times I slowed down, but I never collapsed.

I cried the first time I clocked a mile at less than 15 minutes. And 15 minutes is still a goal, with my average "comfortable for me" pace being closer to 15:30. But it's also not unusual for me to crack 15 occasionally.

Along the way, four miles stretched to five, then six. Then one time I did 10. 

Along the way, Sandi became my rock - the one who would drag, encourage, cajole, annoy, cheerlead...whatever it took to get me out of the house, out on the trail, and moving. I know that from Day 1 she has held back to stay with me, and I'll always be grateful that she has been by my side. (Well, slightly ahead of me, usually. Just about 3 steps.)

Along the way, I learned to eat better - more lean protein and fresh fruits and veggies, less carbs and sugars. More chicken and fish and pork and veggie trays for snacking, less pasta and breads and desserts. Durnit.

Along the way, I dropped 40 pounds. 

Along the way, I decided I could do a 5K Walk. It would be easy, because I did more than that every time I went out. So I did Hoosiers Outrun Cancer last September. And I cried a little when I finished - cried because it was something I thought I'd never do...cried because Sandi was supposed to walk it with me and instead she spent the morning in the ER.
Fab @ 50 - taken Jan. 31, 2013
Along the way, I hit 50. And I was in so much better shape on my 50th birthday than I had been on my 49th, that it didn't scare or depress me like I thought it would. Instead, I was able to embrace and enjoy it...and look forward to the next 50.

But then, I needed something else. I had reached 50. I had lost the weight. I had gotten in better shape. Now what?

So, along the way, I had a moment of insanity and signed up for the 500 Festival Mini Marathon. (Or, as one of my favorite sayings goes, "13.1 - because I'm only HALF crazy!")

Along the way, my distances stretched from 5 and 6 to 8 and 10 on a regular basis. Then I did 11.5 one day...and didn't move for two days after that. But I had done it.

Along the way - back in December - Sandi was sidelined for a month with medical issues, and I had to learn to stand on my own. I had to get out and do my own walking.

But then, she got better and decided she wanted to do the Mini, too. For her, it's a return to something that she used to do all the time. For me, it was assurance that I would be able to finish, as long as I had her by my side.

So now, I'm done.

I've put back on a few pounds, but I've stabilized at a 35-pound weight loss. I suspect I'll drop a few more as we move into summer and it's easier to eat the cold fresh veggies and fruits rather than craving the hot pastas.

I've gone from not being able to climb my stairs to walking a half marathon. Regular walking hasn't become an issue of distance as much as time - it's not how far can I go, but how much time can I spend doing it on any given day because of the other commitments I have.

The knees don't hurt like they did, and the stomach issues improved greatly with the change in diet. I don't cry coming down the stairs in the morning and I don't remember the last time I had to take a "stomach acid reducer" pill to keep my stomach from eating itself.

I've changed wardrobes and eating styles. I've realized that I can do anything if I just set my mind to it. I'm more positive about myself and about life in general.

So for now, the blog is finished, unless or until I decide to do something else big and crazy and life-changing. Or until I find another topic that I think people might want to read about. 

Thank you - whoever is still with me - for sticking around for this crazy journey. Your encouragement has meant the world to me. And hopefully I've been able to give something to you in return.

And goal is too big, if you just take it one step at a time.

God bless.
After the Mini - May 4, 2013

1 comment: