Tuesday, November 8, 2016

really long post about how my life has changed

In the last six months my entire life has changed. Not because life itself is all that different, but because I've had a complete and utter personal transformation.

I'm not sure where to start. I'm not sure where it really begins, or if I can adequately explain.

I just read the last post I wrote in April, which reminded me of what an awful spot I was in. I was feeling terrible, all the time. My brain chemistry was shit, in spite of being properly medicated. My body was feeling old. So old. So tired. So...just done with everything. Not suicidal, but just so fucking tired.

I went to the doctor in May because I was feeling so awful.

I was diagnosed with prediabetes. Basically, she told me that if I didn't do something RIGHT NOW about my sugar (which was stupidly high), I'd be in full blown diabetes within the year. That sounded...terrifying. And awful. A life full of needles and no beer.

It woke me up. Anyone who's ever read my blog, at any point in the last ten years, knows I've done things before. I've done Paleo. I've done a stint as a runner. I've done food tracking in many forms. None of it worked because my brain likes to feel better via the endorphin of food. Exercise sucked. I hated it all. I never stuck with anything because it didn't matter enough. It was never important enough.

Diabetes made it important enough.

So I went to the gym. I started lifting weights, doing a program called Strong Curves. I started feeling stronger and better, and started eating less carbs. Got my sugar under control.

In June, I went back to work full time. I'm an ABC manager at a local craft brewery and I fucking love my job. I bartend 5 nights a week, and going back to full time work was one of the best things I've done for myself in ten years. I didn't realize how much I needed the stimulus of being outside my house. Working full time helps my brain chemistry in an amazing way. Working full time at a local place that people come to regularly means that I now have this huge circle of people I know, and hang out with, which means I'm not pathetic and lonely anymore.

I was still not healthy though. I was still depressed.

A friend somehow convinced me to sign up for a Spartan Race. I couldn't run a mile yet I signed up for a race that required five. Since I paid for it, I decided to train for it. Started running again, working my way up to 3 miles by August. Kept lifting weights.

And then ran my first Spartan race. It was the worst day of my life. 4.7 miles, 22+ obstacles. Even the starting line is an obstacle-you have to go over a 4 foot wall to even start the race. I couldn't go over the wall. It was humiliating. I couldn't get myself over and I'm standing there with all these people and I had to have my friend boost me up to go over.

In Spartan races, if you fail an obstacle, there's a 30 burpee penalty. I failed so many obstacles. I couldn't climb the rope, can't do monkey bars, and don't get me started on the inverted wall. It was awful. So awful. I was a complete and utter failure on so many levels.

I was such a failure and hated it so much that three days after that first race I signed up for another one.

It's hard to explain if you've never done OCR. Or, if you've done it and truly hated it.

That first race did something to me. I didn't do well. My buddy had to spend half the race helping me over things-I'm pretty sure I kicked him in the face at least once. I failed so many things. I couldn't run most of the course and kept losing my breath so the point where I had to stop on the side of the trail and catch it. I lost my footing and tripped constantly. Every hill I fell. I was terrible. Awful.

But I finished. I finished the race and got my medal and signed up for another one because I wanted to prove that I could get better. That I could DO better.

The second race was 3 weeks later and I still failed. A lot. But I went over the walls. I had that improvement. I was able to do a few small things I couldn't before.

And then I signed up for a third race, in Pittsburgh, 4 weeks after the second race. I wanted to see how well I could do. I wanted to run the entire race. I wanted to be able to complete the burpee penalty. I wanted to not fail so badly. So I trained even more. I ran more, I lifted more, I did lots of burpees. I knew I'd still fail the rope climb and the monkey bars, but I wanted to fail LESS badly.

And then I did Pittsburgh. It was FUN. It was so much fucking fun. I ran the uphills and sprinted the downhills and didn't lose my footing or trip once. I made it over walls. I passed people. I had so much fun. SO MUCH FUN. I still failed a bunch of stuff but I did my burpees and I didn't die.

I was hooked. Hardcore hooked. I don't know what it was. I can't really explain, except to say that apparently I had a tiny seed of crazy inside me that's been there my entire life waiting. I love it. I love the people (they're all insane-it's awesome), I love the energy, I love the training. I'm obsessed. Utterly, and completely obsessed.

In the last four months I've lost weight. But...I don't care. I don't really care about my weight, which has never happened before. I care about the fact that I still can't do pull-ups (that legit pisses me off all the time), and I care about the fact that I'm a slow runner (11-minute miles on my long runs, dammit), and I care about the fact that I still need help over the 6+ foot walls. I don't care about the scale though, even though it's at a weight I haven't seen since I got married.

The only reason I even know that number is because the doctor makes me stand on a scale when I go for my bloodwork.

Two weeks ago I was in New Jersey for a race. It was a Super, which is 10 miles. It was on a mountain, at a ski resort, and it was my first solo race. I've always had a friend with me, but this race was my own.

It took me 5 hours and 20 minutes to complete. Right smack in the middle of my age group. I still can't do a rope climb, and I still can't do the monkey bars or the multirig, but I can move my body at a decent pace up and down a mountain in 40 degree weather after wading through a lake. I can crawl under barbed wire through mud and I can sling myself over some walls and I can carry super heavy logs and buckets.

I'm not the same person I was six months ago. I'm not sure where the change occurred, or why. I'm not sure I can timeline it in a way that makes sense to anyone. I do know I'm happy. Like, actually soul-content in a way I've never been before. I'm centered. I'm not lonely. I'm not depressed. I have energy. So much energy, in fact, that I annoy myself if I have a day where I don't work out. I eat things because I'm hungry or need energy for a run, rather than eating things to fill an empty hole inside. I work out because it makes me better and stronger and more capable.

I've signed up for so many races next season I can't stand it. I can't wait. CANNOT WAIT. I've got one more race in December, in Atlanta, and then the season is over until March. I'll be doing Crossfit between now and then to try to gain the upper body strength needed.

Because I just want to do some fucking pull ups. Pull ups would make me happy.

My March race is in upstate NY. Upstate in March means snow and cold and OMG it's gonna be awful. And amazing. So amazing. I'm running that race with two friends and they're both lunatics like me, to the point where they're contemplating running it in Speedos. Pink speedos. If they do I'll wear a tutu or something equally ridiculous.

I'm happy. I can't remember ever being this happy.

The husband is happy too. He's always wanted me to be this person, but I've always shit on his efforts to pursue his own fitness. He's so happy he's signed himself up to do the Bigfoot 120 next fall. He's always been a bit nutty that way but I didn't support it. Now I'm all "OOH YES" because I have my own insane goals I'm pursuing. Legitimately insane goals. Like, the kind that nobody understands. Except my two crazy Speedo friends. They're as nutty as I am.


I don't recognize myself most days.

I'm okay with that. I like this person better. This version of me isn't seeking contentment anymore.

This person is going for badass. I'm not there, but I'll be damned if I ever stop trying.


Elizabeth said...

SOOOO happy to see a post from you this morning and SOOO happy to read about your experience. What a crazy, amazing adventure. Congrats to YOU! You are definitely a badass!!

"B" said...

I love this, so much! Good for you. Keep at it and you can move mountains!

Joan King said...

Wow! Happy and a badass!! You go girl!

Joan King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I am so glad to hear this. I have missed your posts, but am really happy that the reason you are not posting is because you are happy! It is hard to get yourself out of a rut and to start exercising for fun, not as a chore, but I am proud of you for doing it.

My saving grace was running. When I was traveling around the country working in different places where I didn't know anyone and the only way to make friends was to eat a lot of heavy greasy food, I would run. Being able to do it anywhere, at any time, with very little gear really saved my sanity (and still does!)Now I have found a great network of running friends and it's so nice to have a social life that does not revolve around food or booze or other unhealthy pursuits. I can't wait to hear more about your adventures! (PS you look great!)

Jess said...

I LOVE THIS!!!!!! I am so happy for you!!!! I think you might a little insane with all this Spartan stuff, but I am still so happy for you, lol.

I just love it when something clicks and it starts working and you can tell changes are happening and you are just so damned proud of yourself.

Charbelle4 said...

I have you saved on my favorites but I hadn't checked back in a while. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!!!! I know you're happy!!!! I know you're in an amazing place!!!! I love that you and Chris are nutty about this together!!! I'm looking forward to all the posts about the 2017 races!!!!!