Yesterday I completed my fourth half marathon at the Chevron Houston and Aramco Half Marathon!!! Woohoo!
This experience? FAR DIFFERENT than the first time I completed this half back in 2012.
On the Left: Aramco Half in 2012 On the Right: Aramco Half yesterday 2014
I didn't realize the physical change on the outside until we arrived home and I looked back and compared photos...Wow. CANNOT believe that was me.Sad part? This was not the beginning of my weight loss journey. Oh no but I thought my journey had ended. Of course I wasn't a size 22 anymore and I worked out HARD, 5 days a week but I had allowed life to set me back. I was a size 14 in that picture but yes, I loved working out. As I've said a million times, the workouts come easy for me but the FOOD is a totally different story. The food loves to take control and my mind, at moments of weakness allows it to do so.
In that picture on the left I still had my degree, worked on keeping my blog truthful and talked about moments of weakness and strength, but I never understood the meaning of "lifestyle change" until last year. It is SO important to commit to this lifestyle FULLY. It takes BALANCE of all aspects of health.
Looking further back on my journey, in 2001 I was an overweight, out of shape smoker who allowed her life to revolve around FOOD. Yes a full time smoker, drinker...no foods left untouched. I wasn't picky either I enjoyed ALL unhealthy, fried food. I indulged all of the time but why? Did it taste fabulous? Did it make me feel great? No and NO. I felt awful afterward, EVERY SINGLE TIME.
My stomach always hurt, I was always bloated and without going into too much detail, I was never "regular". This feeling helped me lack energy so going to workout was NOT going to happen, EVER. And if I did workout then in my mind I figured I "deserved" that junk food even more. Ugh.
Fast forward to 2012 at that half marathon (picture on left) I felt better about myself. I had made many changes toward better health and I made exercise a priority in my life but NOT MY HEALTH. There's a big difference.
So why did I keep the weight on? I believe that my "healthy" foods lacked wholeness. Meaning I was eating a lot of packaged "healthy" foods and personally I have a weakness to those crunchy, salty snacks and I'm sure with intentions of single-size portions, I was overindulging quite a bit. Today I try to keep my diet full in whole foods-very little from a box! And it has improved my life SO much. I truly believe that I understand and practice BALANCE for the first time in my life and it makes sense. I love the feeling I get from being able to push my limits more and settle less. My body feels at its best when it's fueled properly which improves my workouts...it's like a pyramid and if all of the pieces of my health don't stack up, it falls down.
My husband was again, right by my side at the start of the race and he waits for me at the finish line. Of course he was there in 2012, running but my experience was so awful that I didn't cherish that moment with my wonderful husband. So sad. But luckily we had two, great half marathons in 2013 that changed the experience for me and yesterday was SO meaningful. The same race that defeated me in 2012 was conquered in a big way yesterday! I pushed hard, crushed my PR by 14 minutes...YES 14 minutes. I am not fast and never claim to be but 2:32 was HUGE for me!!! Woohoo! I was crying from excitement! Then I received a text from my husband at mile 12 telling me "you've got this, keep going and I love you"....I first started to cry and then started pushing harder until I crossed that finish line! Oh YES!!!!
There he was....waiting for me with a smile on his face!
He had qualified yet again! He's so determined and I focus on my journey quite a bit on this blog but its about him too. He is my best friend and what keeps me going. His weight loss story is incredible, losing over 100lbs and changing his life from an overweight, smoker that loved late night fast food to my running partner. We have late night discussions about the people that we "used" to be and it feels so good to reflect on how far we've come TOGETHER.
There's no stopping us and I can't wait to meet him at the finish line next month at our 5th half marathon!!!
My outlook has changed so much that it totally takes over on the course.
I was receiving text messages from family and wonderful friends and each time they'd write sweet words, I began to cry. Happy tears, of course! SO nice to have the support from the people that matter most :)
Yesterday there was a fork in the course where the half stayed to the left, marathoners went to the right...as I stayed to the left, I thought about SO many things. For a person that HATED running and avoided it at all costs in her life, I actually enjoyed every moment. The moments that were joyful-seeing my mom, dad and boys cheering me on and the hard moments-where my ankles were tight and hamstrings were aching. But as you look around, you see motivation, dedication and determination on all faces. You look around and see women and men of all age pushing themselves to the finish, it makes for some of the most inspiring moments of my life.
THOUSANDS AT THE START!!!
Pretty awesome :)
My cousin ran her first half marathon yesterday too! VERY cool that she was there with us before the race began. She claims that I was part of her inspiration to run the race in the first place, which means so much but she ran her heart out and it showed in her finish time...Congratulations to her.
My man and I before the start!
And these SOL REPUBLIC Everyday Active Relay ear buds were AWESOME!!! They had great sound, held up perfectly throughout the race and stayed in my ears effortlessly thanks to these different size covers! See all of them? Pretty neat that it's like a one size fits all and will help each runner find that great fit. These are compatible with the iPad, iPhone and iPod models and retail at $79.99 each.
The sound is incredible, in comparison to other models that I've tried.
I love the neon yellow color-bright and bold but they do come in black as well. If you look, you'll see a black pouch for carrying the headphones. That came in handy on the way to the race and that's where they will be stored to avoid losing them or getting them tangled in other wires or knotted together. There was a volume tab built in which made for easy volume control and the clip located near the top was a great way to keep the wires from crossing and bouncing while running. I clipped it toward the top of my shirt and it stayed out of my way. There wasn't a chance of these slipping out of my ears and that meant A LOT when my headphones are the last thing I should be worried about during my run.