Friday, August 19, 2011

Working towards a new and improved me

Last week, I've done two very important things. I believe they are going to help me on my fitness journey, but also make me feel better about myself.

1) I signed up for my first race! I'm going to participate in Oslo Maraton. Of course, I'm not going to run the marathon. I'm going for the 3K, you know that distance that is so far from a marathon that the race isn't even the same day as the real marathon.

Anyways, it is the perfect first distance for me, as by then I'll have finished c25k and I'll have a few more weeks to work on my speed. Any tips on how to build speed would be greatly appreciated! I'm thinking intervals is probably the way to go, but I haven't been able to find any good sites on this.

The race will (hopefully) give me the motivation to put in the extra effort in my running program. I also love having a goal to work towards, it helps me focus and keep going even if I don't feel like it a day or two. And I've read so much about others who love racing, so I'm hoping I will, too! :)

Image by jscreationzs /

This being my first race, I don't know what kind of times are attainable, so I decided on these two goals: To complete the whole race without walking, and to not finish last.

I've been thinking about signing up for this race for a while, but the thought of finishing last held me back. I was plagued by flashbacks from high school, when I was always picked last for sports, when I always finished way behind the others, when I hated exercising. I was afraid of feeling that way again, afraid of the bottomless pit of self loathing and self berating. I don't have to win, but I really HATE to suck at something.

However, I couldn't let that stop me, now, could I? First of all, just by participating I'd be winning over my fears and bad memories. Second, even if I DID finish last, would it really be such a disaster? I would probably feel bad right there and then, but I'd be able to work through it. It wouldn't be the end of the world. I am a big girl now, and I can handle disappointments. What I CAN'T handle, is sitting around, not daring to live my life in case I might disappoint myself. I've done too much of that in the past.

But, still, I'd prefer not finishing last, so that is one of my goals, and I think it is perfectly attainable. If it's not, well, as the saying goes: "Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you'll land among the stars".

2) I changed my style in clothes completely. I was fed up with my old style, or rather, lack of style. I loathed what I saw in the mirror. I didn't care much about fashion, just put on whatever I found. My clothes were clean, yes, but flattering? Nope.

So, I enlisted the help of a very stylish friend. She helped me choose stylish and girly clothes that fit me, and taught me a thing or two about accessories. It cost a fortune, and I'm sure I spent as much on clothes in that one day as I've ever spent in my whole entire life. But it was well worth it!

Now, when I look in the mirror, I actually like what I see. I'm not so hung up on my weight anymore, because I look GOOD in my new clothes. They work WITH my shape, not against it. And while I am still heavy, I don't think it is as obvious any more. The right clothes can really work miracles, both on your appearance and your self esteem!

I believe this will be an important part of learning to love myself the way I am right now. I've learned the hard way that if you don't work on your feelings, thoughts, and self image when you're losing weight, you'll have a harder time keeping it up, or, if you reach your goal, maintaining a healthy weight. It is not just about the weight, it never was. The cognitive part of this is just as important. And I'll be focusing a lot more on that now, and I believe it will help me reach my goal weight and stay there. I'll keep on finding new ways to treat myself right, and hopefully my mind will catch up and realize that I am, in fact, worth it.


  1. WOW! This post is awesome! I am really proud of you for signing up for the race and shooting for the moon! AWESOME! I am glad you like what you see in the mirror- you were always there!!! :)

  2. Good luck with the race. I haven't made that leap yet. So far, running just isn't my thing.

    Aren't clothes amazing? I had a lot of fun once I got to a smaller size putting together just the right outfit, asseccories & all.

    I think you're right about your head being the most important piece of the weight loss puzzle. If your head isn't in the right place, the weight will never come off. Or if it does, it won't stay off.

  3. So exciting about the race! Good for you! And really enjoyed the last paragraph - so, so true, and it really brought it back home to me. You have to work through the reasons why you got there in the first place in order to not let it happen again. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I'm excited for your first race! I love race days :-) And good for you for changing up your clothes. It really does make you feel like a different person when you wear something flattering!

  5. Hope your first race is awesome...and bet you look great in your new clothes :)

  6. What a great, encouraging post to read! I do believe great clothes can be a huge thing. I remember reading an article in National Geographic a few years ago about how women in nursing homes who had their hair done once a week and took pride in their appearance lived longer and were more socially active. Beauty is important.

    And I so relate to the struggle with doing something that you know you won't excel in! I have written about this so much this past year - running a race I knew I would "lose". I am doing a marathon next month and know that I will likely be last and I have to make peace with that and realize that is excelling - to DARE to get up and do it knowing I won't be even among the best. Last. Kind of like being proud of being humble, but it is being proud of daring not to be best... it IS a great thing because I am beginning to think it might be the key to enjoying life. Congratulations!

  7. (ps - daily mile is a social networking site with loads of people who have done the couch 2 5K program and would have lots of tips and encouragement to offer)

  8. Good for you with your goals and lifestyle change!! If I lived closer I'd run it with you!! I love your positive attitude!!

  9. Great post! And your first race? Whether it's 1 or 10 miles you'll never forget crossing that finish line. WTG!

  10. Jill: Thank you! :)

    Lori: Yes, all of the sudden I LOVE clothes, only problem now is the money ;)

    Kimberly: Thanks! :)

  11. Karen: Thanks :)

    Sarah: I hope I'll love race days as much as you!

    Renkath: Yes, there is something liberating about daring to face your fears. It takes some guts, but usually you find you they weren't as scarey as they felt like. Thank you for the networking tip, I'll check it out!

  12. stochat: Thank you. :)

    jillconyers: Am really looking forward to it, hope it will be great!