Portland Century

Going the Distance

The other day I went to visit my friend Star, who used to be my neighbor before I moved in with Michael (about 4 years ago). On the way home I stopped by the nearby library to return some books and I had a very distinct memory about when I used to live in that neighborhood and I went to the library all the time. My apartment was about a mile away from the library and when I was 250 pounds I always drove. I could have walked but never did. It seemed so far away.

I remember when I started losing weight and getting more active, I decided I was going to ride my bike to the library. It was my old childhood mountain bike (that was all I had) and I remember the feeling of nervousness and anxiety I had about biking all the way to the library to return my books. It was only a mile but it still seemed far away. Once I got on the bike and did it, it wasn’t that far and I realized how perspective changes.

Once I got more active, distance didn’t seem so overwhelming. Running my first 5k seemed really hard and I wasn’t sure I could make it. Then I did. And then I ran an 8k. Once I got into cycling with Michael and started doing longer distances, I biked the Reach the Beach ride (55 miles) and then there was a dramatic shift. Instead of being intimidated and overwhelmed by big numbers, I flipped to the complete opposite and had a feeling of being INVINCIBLE! I could do anything!!!

yay

So I signed up to run Hood to Coast (just a little 197 mile race) and to bike the Portland Century (100 miles). It was crazy! I thought I could totally do humongous distances like that. And in a way I could. I trained really hard all summer long and once the Century came to be, I successfully biked 72 miles (wasn’t quite ready for the 100) and recovered beautifully. Isn’t it funny how that changes?

hoodtocoastrun

Doing those two long distance events changed my mindset. I started looking at other events with disdain–why would I go back and run a 5k when I did Hood to Coast? Why would I sign up to bike a 40 mile event when I already did 72 miles? It felt like a step backwards and I kept setting my sights on bigger and better things. Despite an injury that set me back (IT Band), I never felt discouraged or like I wouldn’t be back to doing long distance events. Well, long distance for me.

Last summer I was biking to work a lot and my weekly mileage was up to 60-80 miles depending on whether or not my stupid bike tires got a flat (I was cursed last year). Whenever coworkers found out my roundtrip bike ride to work was 25 miles their eyes always widened in shock and dismay. “WOW! That’s so far!” It didn’t feel far. It seemed small to me.

Now? Now that I’ve been dealing with my stupid knee issues since October, I am back to feeling like distances are really far away. The first few months of the bad knee flare-ups, I was wary about whether I could walk two blocks without being in pain and not being able to get back. Whenever I have good weeks with my injury, I try and bike or run. The other day at the gym I ran almost 3/4 of a mile and I was so happy! It was a short distance but it was SOMETHING. When I was able to do that 12 mile bike ride, I was ecstatic! It was better than nothing!

It’s crazy how perspective changes and evolves. I hope that someday soon I can get back to striving for bigger and better things and not feel as restricted as I do now.

100 Pound Anniversary – 4 Years

On September 22, 2006 I started a life changing journey. I stepped on the scale at 250 pounds and decided I’d had enough. I was tired of being fat. I was tired of being unhealthy. I had high blood pressure, I was dizzy all the time, my body ached from carrying around the extra weight and I was developing diabetes. That meant I would have to inject myself with insulin–something horrifying to me.  I wanted a change.

I had set backs. I had struggles. I experienced many plateaus in my journey. I gained about 15 pounds and had to re-lose it.  I clocked in many hours at the gym, but I never regretted a single moment of it.

Less than two years later, on August 10, 2008 I stepped on the scale at 150 pounds.

I had reached my goal of losing 100 pounds! It was one of the happiest days of my life. I’d been determined to lose the weight and I did it. Then I kept going! I lost about 10 more pounds.

I am happy with my journey. I did not have surgery. I did not do fad diets.  I did it all on my own. I counted calories religiously every day. I wrote them down by hand in a small notepad. Eventually I upgraded to an iPhone App that tracks my calories and exercise.

When I was 250 pounds, I NEVER thought I’d become an athlete.

Hood to Coast Relay
  • I ran my first 5K race (Run Like Hell) and the Shamrock Run (8K).
  • Michael and I participated in the Reach the Beach bike ride. It was a joy to train for it. It was an exciting adventure the day of the race. And I completed 55 miles on my bike–even though my bike broke the last 10 miles!
  • I wanted to challenge myself further. I ran Hood To Coast (a 200 mile relay race). I was excited that I was able to participate and complete Hood to Coast without walking!
  • I swam 2 miles!

Plus I’m training for a Century bike ride that is approaching very quickly. The training is going well and I love commuting to work on my bike.

Not only did I become an athlete that loves fitness (hiking, biking and running) but my story was published in a magazine.

I was even on the cover of the magazine. I was shocked when the magazine told me that they loved my story so much they wanted me on the cover.

Now, four years later, I weigh about 145 pounds, over 100 pounds less than I used to weigh. I’ve had some ups and downs in those three years, but I feel like I can confidently say, “I lost the weight and kept it off.”

My hope is that this blog and this post inspires other people to lose weight and get healthy. Here’s to another year of weight loss! Thanks for reading!

QUESTION: How are you going to change your life for the better?