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Finish Line Heartbreak (for Boston) April 15, 2013

Boston. Oh Boston. Boston MARATHON. The finish line of the Boston Marathon. Seriously? Really? I’m shocked and hurting and outraged and upset. And taking it very personally.

The finish line is… oh, I can’t even describe it. It’s that place of such overwhelming emotion. Every single time, no matter how long or short the race, no matter how painless or excruciating, how much of a struggle it was or how joyful. Because that finish line is the exact spot of DAMN. YOU DID THIS.  You finished the thing you set out to do.

I’ve shed many a tear at finish lines. I’ve renewed belief in myself at finish lines. I’ve shocked and stunned myself. I’ve been heart-explodingly moved by the support of team, friends and family at finish lines. I’ve cheered others on and screamed and jumped and cried on their behalf. At the Oakland Running Festival a few weeks ago, the race was organized so that the half marathon starters got to see the 5k race finishers right before we lined up to begin. It was so exciting. The adrenaline, the joy, the YEAHHHHH! Of the people who crossed that line – sprinting or dragging themselves. It was wonderful to be there and a very energizing way to start our own race. To me, finish lines are sacred spots where amazing, miraculous things happen.

So the bomb attacks at the finish line of today’s Boston Marathon hit me right in the heart. I read this on Twitter.

I agree that bomb attacks anywhere in the world are terrible and tragic. And I also agree that having this experience in our own midst is a way that maybe we can wake up to the fact that many people in the world have to live with this on a regular or daily basis.

And yet, this feels very personal. Someone intentionally set out to hurt runners, and runners’ loved ones (spectators), and race volunteers and other people close to the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

It’s as if someone had specifically targeted a conference full of physical therapists, or writers, or adopted people. Or my family. Yeah, this was like targeting my family.

I didn’t ever have plans or dreams to actually run the Boston Marathon myself. It is an elite event for runners who are much faster than me, and 1) I don’t think I could ever qualify; and 2) I also don’t think a full marathon is in my cards. But I have such profound admiration for so many of my friends who have qualified, and who were indeed running today. I was especially thinking of my Weight Watchers leader-colleague buddy Dani, whom I met at Fitbloggin’ last year.

holding up our blinking ActiveLinks!

holding up our blinking ActiveLinks!

She has had such an amazing transformation in such a short time, and I am so inspired by her and proud of her. Just this morning I saw this awesome photo of her posing by the Boston finish line. It gave me goosebumps.

Dani Finish

photo credit: Dani Holmes-Kirk

In the afternoon I started peeking at Facebook and Twitter, hoping to see a photo of her victorious finish. But then I started seeing posts, like “My <3 is with Boston” and “So sad about the #bostonmarathon” and was like… whaaaaa? I soon found out.

It really is too distressing, to upsetting to comprehend. For a while I was completely frantic trying to find out news of her safety, as well as the status of one of my old college friends and his wife. All were accounted for. What a relief. But the tragedy. Incredible. Dani’s wife, who was standing just a few feet from the explosion, wrote this frightening blog post about her experience.

The idea is for people who are part of (or who stand with) the running community, to wear a race shirt tomorrow. Or running shoes. Or ANYthing to show support. Blue and yellow anything, which are the colors of the Boston Marathon. I’ll be wearing this.

Oakland-to-Boston love

Oakland-to-Boston love

 

In Which Preparing For Fitbloggin’ Saves Me September 11, 2012

ImageFitbloggin’ 2012 is just ten days away and the Twitter/blogosphere is really starting to buzz with excitement. I’m excited too – to reunite with friends, to meet and connect with new people, and to just be in the wonderful atmosphere that is Fitbloggin.

But I’ve had some trepidation. I’m not at all in the same place that I was at Fitbloggin’ 2011. In May of 2011 I was actively blogging – many times a week – and was really feeling great both fitness and blogwise.

This time – not so much. It’s been a struggle to keep up with regular blogging. I feel like every time I sit down to write, I’m apologizing about not writing enough. This year has meant a lot of job transition, which means I rarely feel “caught up” enough to blog. I’m often staying up until 11:00pm just trying to get a grip on my job’s paperwork. Only recently have I just started to feel like I might be getting the hang of things, and maybe, just maybe, I can complete my work during, you know, regular work hours.

Now that Fitbloggin’ is just around the corner (how did that happen?!?) it’s forced/allowed me to really think about what’s been going on this past year. There is a phrase that floats around the blogosphere: if a fitness blogger stops blogging, it probably means they’ve fallen off some wagon or another.

That’s both true and not true. It is, as they say, complicated.

A year ago, I was high about Fitbloggin’ and the fitness world. I was preparing to get certified as a Personal Trainer with a specialty in Corrective Exercise. I was studying, I was really into it. I was planning to start my own business in personal and group fitness, awareness, body image and food. I was going to call it (get this!) FoodFoodBodyBody. I took several seminars in Small Business ownership. I set up a business account. I joined a network of women working in health and wellness. I was so pumped!

And then what happened?!

About that time I signed up for my first triathlon training. And while that event was one of the most arduous-yet-meaningful experiences, one of the greatest challenges and accomplishments ever, I think it was the beginning of my unraveling. I thought I was going to turn into a lean, mean triathlete machine, but instead I ended up putting on weight. And no, it wasn’t “all muscle.” During the training I had to wrestle with a lot of person demons. I was afraid of my bicycle. I had panic attacks when I tried to swim in open water. I was always the Very Last Person during our training workouts, and slowly this began to wear at my self-confidence. And as I spent weeks training, I got more anxious and nervous. I started doing a lot more comfort eating. I tried to justify it by telling myself I was working out a lot more, but the fact was I was self-soothing because I was so damn scared.

During that time, when my self-doubt was peaking, I started doubting my business plan. I was thinking, who the hell am *I* to tell anyone else what to do in terms of fitness or healthy eating? So I started backing away from that. I started building all sorts of roadblocks to actually accomplishing that goal which had once excited me so much.

I finished the triathlon. Or, I sort of finished it. I felt good but I also felt crappy. I couldn’t help feeling like I had cheated somehow. So what did I do? I signed up for the Hike Team – during which I injured myself – and then I signed up to do ANOTHER triathlon. I know. What was I thinking? I wanted a do-over. I wanted to Get It Right that time. But because of my injury, and my frazzled self-confidence, that one didn’t work out the way I had planned either. I dropped out of the Maui (Olympic) Tri and instead did the Wildflower Mountain Bike (aka Sprint) Tri. Which was on one hand an accomplishment, but again, it didn’t solve the problem of Getting It Right.

During all of this, I look back now and I see what my worse mistake was: I stopped blogging.

I hid.

I think if I had openly chronicled (I mean really chronicled) all of the self-doubt, all of the decisions, the comfort eating, the freakouts, I think it would have taken care of itself. I mean, that’s the lesson of this blog. Being honest and out there kept me healthy for over two years. But hiding away almost threatened to put me back where I started.

Also during the last year, my beloved endocrinologist left the group practice. I was devastated. I felt abandoned, and I acted out. (in a way that could really only hurt myself) I stopped tracking my blood glucose, stopped eating so carefully, and never made an appointment (until last week) with a new doctor. I was pouting. I was really sad about this. But of course that didn’t help the course of things.

I’ve been rewriting/rehearsing/freaking out about my performance at Fitbloggin’. It will bear some resemblance – but only about 50% – to last year’s show. There’s a lot more I’ve gotta say/show/express. I’m hecka nervous about it. But also excited. Because the stakes feel greater somehow. I’m not just doing a show about how Totally Awesome my “journey” has been – but also this time – how kind of un-awesome and humbling and HARD it’s been.

But the very act of being honest is, I think, (or, I KNOW) – where the good stuff is. I’m relieved and happy to be getting back to basics. Which for me isn’t so much about working out in any particular way, or counting calories. It’s about being Real.

 

No Cliques, Only Free Hugs! December 10, 2010

I am so excited to be attending Fitbloggin’ 2011 in May! I know, it’s almost half a year away, but still, I am SO EXCITED! I am re-vamping and polishing my solo performance and getting soooooooooo excited to meet friends who have meant so much to me but whom I have yet to meet in person.

After last year’s conference, I heard some random grumblings and read a few blog posts about how there were “cliques” that made some people feel uncomfortable or unwelcomed. Now I hate cliques more than anyone, but it occurs to me that someone might think that *I* am part of some clique. MizFit blogged about this and my response was, it’s not a clique, it’s a friendship, and if you feel left out, then … then what? Tough luck?

I can imagine that it would be tough to go to a conference and not know anybody. And everyone is all huggy and happy to see each other, and you’re just standing there against the wall, and thinking, this sucks. Everyone is in a clique! I’m going home NOW!

I don’t want that to happen.

Recently I saw that Alan had Tweeted that he was going to get a FREE HUGS shirt to wear to Fitbloggin’. And I thought about the clique grumblings and thought, what if a LOT of people wore FREE HUGS shirts? So if anybody was there on their own, they could just go up to some random person and get a free hug, and instantly they would feel not so alone. Right? Wouldn’t it be awesome if a WHOLE BUNCH OF PEOPLE wore the FREE HUGS shirt and NOBODY felt left out?? How awesome would that be?

So right now, Team Free Hugs has two people. I would love to grow that team between now and May 2011! The rules for membership are simple:

  1. You have to attend Fitbloggin’. Although I suppose you could also participate remotely, by Twitter. But I’ll leave that campaign to someone else to organize.
  2. You have to wear something visually conspicuous that says FREE HUGS. It could be a T-shirt that you purchase here, or that you make at home with an old undershirt and a Sharpie. Your choice.  You could also tattoo it in Dayglo colors on your bicep. (MizFit?)
  3. You have to be willing to hug anyone who comes into your path looking like they WANT a hug. You’re GIVING hugs to people, not imposing them on anyone.

That’s it! Down with cliques! Up with hugs!

This is the T-shirt that I want.

Which one do you like best? Have you ever gone to a conference and felt alone? Would it have made a difference if you’d seen a bunch of people with open arms wearing this?


 

I’m Going to Fitbloggin’ 11! August 20, 2010

Oooh! I’m so excited that I just signed up for Fitbloggin’ 2011. What is it?

The FitBloggin’ Conference is for anyone who blogs about fitness, wellness, good food and a healthy lifestyle – regardless of where they are in their journey.  The goal of FitBloggin’ is to bring together the community of health-conscious bloggers for a day of education, networking and friendship.

More than just “another blogging conference”, FitBloggin’ is all about the desire to use technology, blogging and social media to motivate, inspire and foster a culture of health and wellness. We strive to bring together bloggers from all walks of life to create a tightly connected group of men and women who care deeply about and are committed to spreading this passion for fitness.

All I can say is, I’m incredibly excited to meet many of my invisible friends out there, people I’ve been admiring and inspired by this past year. We’re going to get to meet, talk, run together (there’s a 5k!) and blog about it all. Woo-hah!

 

Time Squeeze March 22, 2010

Well, I’m in one of those places where I have so much to blog about but not enough time. This upcoming week is going to be CRAZY. I’m finishing up one of my classes which means I have mega papers to read and grade; I’m doing my final week of training before the MARATHON; I’m squeezing in a ton of work because next week (the day after the marathon!) I am taking off for Costa Rica (this does not even seem REAL to me) to help my BFF celebrate her 50th Bday. (one great thing about turning such a nice round age is that your friends all have these great celebrations!)

But there is so much on my mind. These are the things I would love to blog about when I catch a minute sometime.

  1. I’ve just recently had several spontaneous Twitter conversations about people who want to know how to deal with good friends who are very overweight or unfit. I have soooooo many thoughts on this. My short two cents on it: “Love ‘em and leave ‘em alone.” But it’s a lot more complicated than that, and I want to write about it.
  2. My aspirations for Fitbloggin‘ 2011 and how sad I am to have missed all the fun at 2010 last weekend.
  3. Why running is not like riding a bicycle. Even though I cannot ride a bicycle.
  4. How I got a little lackadaisical with the diabetes monitoring and then woke up. Again.
  5. “Feeling fat.” That’s gonna be a big one. It was inspired by reading this.
  6. And also inspired by a recent incident of TERRIBLE vanity-sizing in which I tried on a size 12 garment that I bought in 1982, and it WOULD NOT BUTTON.
  7. Geneen Roth’s hot new book, Women Food & God and how I think its message is more aligned with Weight Watchers than a lot of people seem to believe.

As always, I will take votes for which ones to tackle first! When I have a minute. Maybe on an airplane. Wait, are they going to have Wi-Fi in Costa Rica? Uh oh.

 

 
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