Sunday, March 25, 2012

Water stop training, anyone?

Today I embarked on a journey. Not just any journey. Today I set out to run 10 miles. 10 long miles. Prior to this run, my longest run has been a 10k (6.2 miles). My training hasn't been what it should be for my upcoming half marathon. So most of the morning I was sick just thinking about 10 miles.

As I got to the race, I was a little more at ease with some of my friends surrounding me, and my sister runs with me so it was nice to know she would be by my side. As they signaled us to start I just went. The first mile as always was the hardest. Having my sister next to me helped, the rolling monster hills did not. We surpassed water stop #1 and kept going. At an 11:07 mile pace I was feeling good. Water stop #2 is upon us and as always I pour half of it down my front and keep going. There are TONS of training programs out there, where in the hell is the program to teach me how to not look like a complete ASS while downing my water at the water stops???

We hit mile 3 and I am cramping down both sides. But walking is not an option. As we are approaching the end of mile 3, we start seeing others running towards us. The people leading the race blow past us towards their last 3 miles. It is amazing to see how far and fast so many people can run. It is amazing, but it also reminds me how slow I am :)

Thank God for having my sister by my side because we chatted throughout the race which help silence the inner voice SCREAMING at me to walk. We approach mile 4 and my ankle starts to hurt. The distance weighs heavily on it.

As we hit mile 7, I look at Taryn and say "I don't know if my body is made to run 10 miles." She laughs and says "It better be because we have 13.1 in a few weeks" It is then that I remind myself of my favorite Vince Lombardi quote:

“The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It’s your mind you have to convince.”

This is my case is COMPLETELY true. I am a "new runner" as I have only been running since the end of August. 7 mos. When I first started running I was 225 pounds. Running a minute straight was hard, hell it damn near killed me for weeks. Many times as I was running those minute stretches I wanted to quit. Or throw up, or cry. I wanted to hide under a rock. Ashamed of what I had become. What I didn't think I could be. I certainly wasn't a runner. I was a "heavy set girl" struggling with fitness, becoming a new mommy and life in general.

We have all been there, right? Maybe not in the same way I was. But we have all felt inferior at some point, right? That we would never achieve a goal that we were working hard to achieve? That we would never lose those last 5 pounds? Or we would never get the promotion we deserve? Face it we aren't perfect. We make mistakes. But it is what you do with those mistakes or the self doubt. That is what matters most.

What did I do with my self doubt? Well as a mommy, I consider it a success every day that Jayce and I make it through another day  without a major issue, that is a successful day!! Maybe we have bumps along the way, and maybe motherhood is hard, but you do your best. And at the end of the day you move on. My son is happy, healthy and hitting all of his milestones. He wakes up smiling and loves his mommy and daddy, WIN!

As a dieter, I realize that I will have a bad day here and there. Some days those brownies are stronger than my willpower. Sometimes I walk or exercise to make up for the brownies, and you know what? Some days I don't!!!! But I go to bed knowing that tomorrow is a new day and I move on!!

As a runner, I had to learn that it isn't about being fast, it is about FINISHING. I set goals but they were goals that were fairly lenient. I had to learn that at 225 pounds, I wouldn't be able to just pound out 10 miles and I would have to work hard. And hard is a word that doesn't BEGIN to describe my journey as a runner. And the fact is, I may be able to go longer but that doesn't mean it is easy by ANY stretch. But, I continue to work harder. I want to see what this body will do. And I want to feel a sense of accomplishment when I push further than I ever have before.

And that drive is what pushed me to finish today. At mile 8 we went through another water stop and I decided I will finish this with pride and while still running. Then came the last 1/4-1/2 mile of big rolling hills. I will admit to a 10 second walk break on one of them. Then I picked it up and decided to finish strong. Yes, I DECIDED! My body was NOT in control here, I was! PERIOD! The last 1/8th of a mile took everything I had. I picked up my pace and finished strong. I was so proud! Even prouder that I finished up just a few seconds shy of 2 hours. My goal was 2hours and 15 minutes. And I blew that out of the water. In January, I completed a 10k with a 12:25 per mile pace. I figured with nearly doubling that distance, my pace would be closer to 12:45 per mile this race. NEVER did I think I could pull of a 12:00 mile pace, I know my body certainly didn't think it could!! I was on a "high" most of the day. As that wore off, the soreness rolled on in. Now I can barely walk up the stairs and even THAT makes me smile. That tells me that I PUSHED!! That I truly gave it my best!!

I have come a long way since August!!!! 10 miles today, 13.1 in a few weeks, I say BRING IT! :)

Weigh in tomorrow morning, send me some skinny vibes please!!! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

"Why do you do this to yourself??"

Every time I come in from a run and look like death, Steve looks at me and says "Why do you do that to yourself?" HA! Some days, I tell him because it feels great, other days I want to tell him "I have NO IDEA!" Because that is the truth. So today after my run, 2.5 miles with some off roading, and hill training in the 80 degree weather, I sat down on the couch and thought "Seriously, WHY?"

I am on an AMAZING group on Facebook for my local running mamas and these women are so inspiring and most of them have a true love for running. It is what pushes me, what keeps me going. I am not one of those sickos that loves running. The 1st mile is ALWAYS the hardest. I spend my first 12 minutes, literally talking myself into sticking with it. For 12 minutes, the voice in my head screams for me to stop!! It tells me I am not a runner, who am I fooling?? It tells me I am too slow. That people are judging me. That little evil voice tells me to stop, that I will never get faster. It says "face it, Amber, you are just not a runner."

And for those first 12 minutes, I believe every stupid word. I turn up my music in hopes of drowning it out. I press on and focus on my breathing. Then the first mile passes and I think,  well if I can do a mile, I can certainly do another. And I press on. Then my legs tell me that I need to walk, and my lungs beg me to stop. And sometimes I give in and walk a few strides before I am ashamed of myself for walking, so I pick up the pace.

For many, running is therapeutic. It is their quiet time. Quiet time? My inner voice never shuts the hell up. I run miles on end with nothing but self doubt. My body is beyond capable. When will my mind catch up?? When will I stop doubting myself so much?

As I sat here today, I read a thread from my Run, Mama, Run group where all of the women told their "Why I started running" story. So I sat down and wrote mine. You remember the fat girl running story. The LOWEST point of my running career, by far.

It made me realize, that maybe I don't love running. But, I am not "that girl" anymore. I may not look like a runner in my day to day clothes. But when I lace up those running shoes, I am a runner. I am slow and I slouch too much, and I may look like I am dying for my entire run, but I am a runner. I may be full of self doubt and I may want to quit. But I don't. It is with that determination that I plan to complete a 10 mile training run this Sunday.

Why does someone who doesn't love to run, plan to run 10 miles, then a half marathon in 5 weeks? The answer is simple. I may not feel like a runner during mile 1 or even mile 2. I may not feel like a runner when I walk because my legs won't carry me anymore. But I DO feel like a runner when I cross that damn finish line. And one day I will love it...right? :)

Oh and if you are still following me and wanting to know how my weight loss journey is going, HELLOOOO 170's!!!!!! I am 177.9. My original goal was 155, but I am finally getting comfortable in my own skin and am reassessing my goal. I think 160 will make me happy!!

Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What makes me tick?

HOLY HELL!!! Has it really been 2 months since I last blogged?? Well then, expect a weight loss blog VERY SOON:) Because I am still getting skinny:)

BUT this week is something else entirely. 3 years ago today I bought my starter kit with Slumber Parties. A LOT has happened in the past 3 years. I have SO much to be grateful for. THIS blog is about that. About the switch that shocked many and about MY reasons.

 I signed up with Slumber Parties with the intention of simply making extra $$. I did that, and my business TOOK OFF! I was making more working a couple of parties a week than I was working full time. So I soon quit my job and decided to make a go of SP full time. I was thrilled. I worked hard, was building a great team and making money. Everything I wanted:) In 2009, I sold just under $56k in retail and signed 12 girls. That made me #1 New Consultant company wide and I landed my place on the Slumber Parties VIP Advisory Board. I was in AWE! My spot on the Advisory Board earned me a FREE trip to Mexico. I met a lot of amazing women on that trip. 2 days before that trip, I found out I was pregnant. THAT was the most AMAZING thing that happened to me that year. :)

I got the feeling from several women that being pregnant that year would hinder my goals. All that meant is they didn't know me ;) I found out I was pregnant on May 12 2010. In 2010, I signed 16 women and did just under $96,000 in sales. I was #12 in the company that year. I won the 4th quarter contest (my 3rd trimester) and won a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. I upgraded that trip so I could take my family of 4. What an amazing reward for all of my hard work. My little guy was 9 months old when he traveled internationally :)

I had Jayce on January 18, 2011. I backed off to doing just enough parties to pay my bills. Still clearing $50k in sales in 2011. The reason I work is hard as I do is for that little boy <3 I work HARD and Jayce and I play HARDER! I am meant to be a stay at home mommy. I am meant to make sure that my son does without nothing!!! That he sees the world and that first and foremost he KNOWS mommy will never miss anything in his life that is so important. I make my own schedule, I work for myself. THAT is what drives me.

So late in 2011, an opportunity to switch to Pure Romance presented itself. My first thought was NO WAY! I love Slumber Parties, despite the fact I had my ups and downs with the company. Downs that I do not discuss. If you are reading this in hopes of me putting down SP, you won't see that here. Just know that not everyone shares the things that were done to them in that company. Many people will never have to see the negative, and for that I am grateful. Just know that every company has its negative qualities. There are NO exclusions. I had resigned myself to the fact that every company has its negatives. PERIOD. Therefore anything negative that ever happened to me had NO impact on my decision to switch companies.

The opportunity that arose was one that involved me getting a pay raise. But NOT just me. MY TEAM would see a HUGE pay raise. Do you know how HUGE that is to my team??? I switched knowing that my teams best interest was at heart. I truly thought about this decision HARD. I didn't want to let my clients down. I didn't know if they were loyal to me or to Slumber Parties. I confided in a few of my loyal clients to get their input. Like me, when they saw the product line, they were sold. I looked into Pure Romance KNOWING that I would be able to offer my clients more scents, flavors, bedroom accessories, a face care/beauty line and nicer packaging. I saw quickly that I was switching to a company that focused on women's health and the health of women who have been through chemo. A company that offers TRUE sexual health certification. AMAZING!

Upon switching, I had to discuss this with my team. I needed them to know that I wanted all of them to come with me. I wanted them to make more $. To truly succeed. Many of them came with me. Only a handful stayed. Even then some of those trickled my way. This switch was MUCH bigger than that. Women who were never on a team in SP contacted me. Women who felt like a number on a big team contacted me. Women who had been wronged contacted me. Before I knew it, my team of 20 had multiplied. I also found that women who had wanted to sign up were sold when they saw the change in products and professionalism.Our team is now 100+ strong. In less than 3 mos, I hit the highest level in Pure Romance. My overrides checks in a month are more than my husband bring in in a MONTH! Because of this, I can actually work less. Which means more time with my family, more time with my baby boy <3

Unfortunately, my switch also brought on a lot of negativity. I received a lot of backlash from former colleagues,  from former "friends." I was called out on my disloyalty. Told I should be thankful for everything SP GAVE me. GAVE ME? GAVE ME???? I worked hard for everything I EARNED!!! I am not saying I didn't earn amazing things, but I EARNED THEM!!! I busted my butt for EVERYTHING I EARNED!!!! Let's be clear, NOTHING was handed to me, nor would I have expected it to be. I was told I would fail, by people who clearly don't know me. I was shunned by some. Never in my life have I been treated that way. NEVER. Never in my life with all of my job switches did previous employers or coworkers treat me with such anger. With such disrespect. My feelings got hurt...still hurt if you can't tell. What do I say to those people? Nothing. I have removed the negativity. I remind myself that it is onward and upward. Every night I lay my head on my pillow and I sleep like a baby. I go to sleep KNOWING that my family is better off because I was brave enough to step out of my comfort zone. I was brave enough to make a change for my family. I was brave enough to face the negativity with grace. I am brave enough to continue my journey. This decision was not personal, it was business.

My heart and soul is in the romance industry. I LOVE empowering women, in strengthening relationships, in helping women discover themselves. I love helping my incredible team achieve their dreams. I LOVE my life. I LOVE what I do. I LOVE Pure Romance and the opportunity that arose. I LOVE the 4 amazing women who paved the way to help me every step of the way. The 4 women who welcomed me into their circle to help lead our team to the very top<3. I love the team of amazing women I am on. Women I see every day raising the bar on their goals. The women I see EVERY DAY achieving their dreams! This is the path I was meant to be on. The life I am meant to lead.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this blog. If you have chosen to stand by me, I appreciate that more than you know <3 I truly hope that this blog helps you understand me a little better. Love or hate me, I am me. I am a women who loves my family more than anything in the world. I am a mommy who works hard at being a great mommy to my son. A wife that could be better at housework, but I try:) A daughter who loves my parents and am grateful for having their amazing support. I am a sister who loves my siblings fiercely and will defend them until the day I die. I am FIERCELY loyal! I am loyal to my family, I am loyal to my friends, and I am loyal to MYSELF.

Until next time!

My "why" :)