Thursday, December 31, 2009

Au Revoir 2009

As 2009 draws to a close, I have to say, this year rates as one of my best years ever! Among other good times, this was the year that kick started my journey to health and fitness. Here are the highlights:

These were low months...I'd been working out consistently for the past year without losing any weight. I felt defeated and was at my heaviest point ever. In February I went to the doctor and discovered that my cholesterol and blood pressure were both high. She advised me to start watching my diet in addition to exercising.

I had begun paying attention to my diet in addition to going to the gym 3 or 4 days a week to ride the bike or elliptical machine. I used an iPhone application called Lose It! to track my calories. I also bought my first pair of running shoes and decided to take part in the 20/20 Challenge hosted by Ash Is Fit as a way to be accountable. I also discovered the Couch to 5K program and started trying to incorporate running into my workouts. Boy, was it tough. The first time the program called for me to run 8 minutes without stopping, I thought I was going to die!

By the middle of April, I'd lost almost 10 pounds. I'd taken my running outside and was doing short run/walks in the park.

In May I was down 16 lbs. overall and was back into a size 10 jeans. The day that I had to go get new jeans because my old ones wouldn't stay up was a great day. All the "sacrifices" I thought I was making to live a healthy life were really really paying off. I'd also decided to sign up for a 5k race since I'd completed the C25k program and could now get that far running almost all of the time.

This month I'd lost over 20 lbs. and completed my first ever 5k in just over 34 minutes. I was elated after the race, and all i could think about was finding another and improving my time. This month, I started upping my mileage as well. I found I could run about 4-4.5 miles at a time and I was gradually getting faster!

In July, I continued to improve on my the point that I signed up for a 5k in September and a 10k in October! Most evenings, I went with B. to the park where he biked after work and would do my own run while he was working out. Even though it was hot, I found I had more strength than I'd ever imagined.

When August rolled around, I'd lost over 26 lbs. My size 10s were starting to get too big! I went to the doctor for a 6 month checkup--She was shocked at how much my weight was down. My blood pressure and cholesterol were also back down to normal.

This month, I ran a 5k in under 30 minutes, something that had been my goal going into the race. I felt invincible! Before the race, B. took this picture of me, and while I wasn't entirely happy with how I looked, I realized my body had drastically changed for the better.

The month began with purchasing my first pair of size 8 jeans in ages! Then came the 10k. I was incredibly nervous going in. I wanted to be able to run the whole time, but as I'd never fun a full 6.2 miles before, I didn't know if I had it in me. Plus, the morning of the race was a cold one, and I didn't really know how my body would function in such cold temps. Turned out, I love running in the cold! I ran the whole race and finished in just over an hour. By the end of the month, I'd set my next goal, a half marathon in April 2010!

In November, I ran the Girls on the Run 5k and improved my time by a few seconds from my race in September. I also began running much, much farther...By the end of November, my new "farthest I've ever run" was 8.5 miles! Pretty good for a girl who could barely run for 8 minutes straight a few months earlier! On the weight front, I was 35 lbs down with only 15 more to go. When my birthday rolled around this year, I recalled my 30th b-day the year before and how I cried getting ready to go out b/c I hated the way I looked. This year, I felt AMAZING! Not just thinner but strong and healthy.

This month has been rough...My weight has seemed to stagnate around 163 lbs., 13 away from my goal of 150 lbs. It also got blistering cold, and I've had to move my runs inside for the time being. I'm trying to make peace with the treadmill and still get mileage in. I don't want to lose endurance between now and when it gets warm enough to get back outside and start focusing on 13.1 miles before April. This month, I've also started speculating on whether I can be prepared to run the Chicago marathon in October 2010 and if that's something I really want to commit to. Registration starts on Feb 1, so that decision will need to be made before I've even completed my half marathon...more news soon!

So, as you can see, it's been quite a year. If I had one word of encouragement to any of you who want to get fit but feel stuck or overwhelmed by the prospect: If I can come this far, you can absolutely do it. Commit and make 2010 your year. It's life-changing and worth it!

I'm super excited for all the challenges 2010 holds. I've joined a v-ball league, I'll be running, running, and running some more. And I WILL get rid of those last pesky pounds! Speaking's time to get in my last workout of 2009--Jillian's calling!

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