Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 2Oth, a day I will always remember!!

Yesterday was simply perfect. I spent the day shopping with my sweet baby girl. As you all know I have been on this weight loss journey since 2006. There have been highs and lows and yesterday was without a doubt, a major HIGH! It ended with a fashion show I was able to give my husband with all my new things, he was in shock! He said he has never seen me look this way, and in his words,  I have made it! I did it, reached a goal I never knew I could and man, does it feel amazing. I want to say this before I write another word. If it was not for God, I never would have had the strength to make it on what has been a very long but rewarding journey. He is my everything, and I want nothing more than to glorify Him in every single way I choose to live this life.

A few of my new outfits I bought for our upcoming trip

It all started this weekend as we were shopping for clothes for our upcoming trip to Seattle and San Francisco. We went to the Gap and I tried on a pair of shorts in a size 4. I noticed that they fit really well but knowing how much I was losing, I tried on a size 2 to see if I could get away with a smaller size. MUCH to my surprise....THEY FIT!! They were a little tight around my belly button, which is still my problem area unfortunately.

 I went back to the Gap and bought another pair of shorts, in a different style in a size 4, along with an adorable pair of jeans in a size 4 as well. I was so very happy!!! After this I ventured off to White House  /Black Market, which is my favorite store on earth!!! I ended up finding the cutest top, size small and two pair of jeans. A black pair of capris in a size 4 and another pair in a size 2!!!! This is where I nearly lost it in the store.  I tried on the 4 and again, they fit really well but I could tell there was room in the hips, thighs and butt area....room enough to go down a size. So I held my breath and tried on the size 2....THEY FIT!! I have bought 2 other size 2 skirts from here before but jeans are different. You have to fit them in the thighs, calves and so on. So this was a BIG first for me!

Here was the moment captured......it is a terrible photo and I have Texas 102 degree frizzy hair but I do not care. It was a moment in time that I NEVER want to forget. I love Michaela's expression..."Mommy what on earth are you doing?"

Along with these items I bought 5 size small tops, and an extra small top as well all from different designers. It was a GOOD day to say the least. I also was able to get a super cute Lucky Jeans t-shirt and shorts in the juniors section at Macys. Juniors?? Who knew! For these shorts I ended up getting a size 7/8. They fit lower on the waist and with it being a juniors size, I am HAPPY! To be able to buy so many smaller clothes from so many different brands was a huge deal for me. I never imagined shopping would feel this way again. I feel as if I am a teenager, back in high school. Its so much fun now and all the tears are ones of joy not embarrassment, disappointment and hate for the way I look.

Now, I will tell you this. I am NOT a small person. I have a long way to go....at least another 10 lbs....maybe 12. So I do not know if there was a little fairy going in front of me changing the sizes for me or if the clothes were rejects and sized wrong...LOL...either way, it made my day and I will never forget the feeling of the button closing, and the zipper going up on something I thought I would never in my wildest dreams get to wear.

I feel as if I am dreaming, maybe I am? If so, what a dream this life of mine has become!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Texas Ironman 2011 Video...Amazing and for a brief second, you can see ME...well at least my sign!

At the finish line with the great Charlie Plaskon! Charlie is 68 years old and has been blind since birth and has completed over 6 Ironmans including Kona! I ran so hard over to the finish line after he came through to meet him. What an honor it was to talk with him! I told him that I would be forever changed seeing him compete and crossing that finish line. I will NEVER forget this! Check out his website for his full bio and be AMAZED and inspired!! CharliePlaskon.com 

Here is an incredible video of the Texas Ironman which was just recently held in my city, The Woodlands. TX. Watch the entire video and then tell me if you are not amazed at all these incredible athletes! Look closely 3:31 mins into the video and there I am with my BIG pink sign cheering everyone along! You cannot see me, just my sign!! : ) I am going to watch this video about a thousands times between now and when I complete my first IM. SO motivating!!

My sign to look for in the video! Some day soon it will be me actually competing in the video not just holding a sign :) 

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

I have posted this before but I love it so much, I am going to do it again. And again....

I remember when we were living in Siberia during the last summer Olympics, they were playing this commercial over and over and I LOVED IT!! It is one of my favorites, SO very motivating. I am moved every time I see it, especially the part where they show Lance Armstrong, seeing Carl Lewis crossing the finish line and the final imagine, well, it leaves me speechless.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Back from the doctor and I feel encouraged, excited and ready to move forward!!

The visit went very well. The short of it in basic terms....

I have a small meniscus tear, arthritis all throughout my knee, I have my ITB problems, a bone spur and a bakers cyst. There you have it! We will start with the good news.  I can still run, YEA!! The bad news, lay off the multiple marathons. Maybe one a year or if I want to do more than I will need to walk more. He was very honest with me about the arthritis in my knee. He said if I want to be a "Marathoner" my knee will not make it. The short distance races and ideally triathlons would be best. That was music to my ears!!!! He said that I can by all means continue doing my HM's but I need to watch the amount of distance I am putting on my knee right now. In other words - still run but less and focus more of cycling, weight training, swimming and other means of non-weight bearing, pounding activity like running, plyo which would include P90X, insanity...things like that....you know the FUN stuff! :)

We talked about my ultimate dream of an IM and he understood, but it would need to be a one shot thing, not something I would do every year. Basically, if I want to run for the rest of my life I need to tapper and not overdo things now. Can the arthritis be fixed? Yes and no. The yes is that there are options for me but I will never be 100% cured without a total knee replacement. The good news is that there are so many dietary things I can do to help with my arthritis.

So the plan as of now is as follows. Today I received a cortisone injection to help with my ITBS. This along with my physical therapy exercises and foam rolling should help so that will deal with the ITB part of the problem. The meniscus tear he said will heal over time and as it is small, there is no need for surgery, which was wonderful. I just need to be smart and do not do something stupid to make the tear worse.  As far as the bakers cyst, he said it will be helped by the treatment which he is giving me for my arthritis. I am going to go in for a series of 3 injections to start of Hyaluronic Acid. I will have one injection each week for 3 weeks. After this we will see how it helps. I may need more and if so I can get them as frequent as 6 months, though he said that may not be needed.  He told me that at some point I am going to need to "clean up" my knee through surgery but now is not the time. I was VERY happy about this. I need to be up and active not recovering from any form of surgery no matter how small. I will need to take a small break from running during the injections but  it will not be too long. He wants to start the first injection after my next race, which is in 2 weeks ( oy!) Once I allow a week or so to heal from the race and allow any swelling to go down, he will do the first injection.

I am really hoping this will provide relief in some way. I have NEVER seen results like I have with running both on the scale and in my measurements. I need to run, my body reacts very well to it, well at least in weight loss, not my joints! Ha! I felt like I wanted to cry when we told me I could still run, just to scale things back a bit. When I was telling him about the goals and dreams I have someday, I got very emotional. I am so passionate about this journey I am on, it is hard for me to explain sometimes. Yes, as vocal as I am, sometimes I cannot put into words how important this is to me, but I think he understands. He was VERY willing to do whatever is necessary to help me in any way. I also think the fact that he works with athletes helps. He was one of the team doctors for Texas A&M for 9 years, that makes me feel good knowing his background.

So there you have it! My right knee is just a mess but we are going to do what needs to be done to take care of it and I WILL reach my goals, it may take me a bit longer than I would like but I will get there!!!!

Happy Days are here again, Jen will be back to running SOON! : ) And yes, there is still that big announcement I never made after my knee issues came up but after discussing everything with my doctor, I am ready to proceed with my previous plans.  Do not worry, I will be writing a big, big blog soon! Here is a hint..........


I have dreams to fulfill, its time to end this crazy knee pain!

Ironman Texas May 2011. 

First things first, an update. This morning I did really well on the bike today. I did 23 miles in just over 61 mins and really worked it hard on the hills. My cadence was strong and I ended up with an avg mph of 22.4 which is a bit higher than my fastest avg when I was1 doing my tris ( 21.2 mph ). I was VERY happy with how well I did.  After the ride I took a soak in the jacuzzi and did a bit of stretching. My ITB started hurting again and I started to feel frustrated once again. I really do hope the cortisone injection will help with my ITBS, I want it to go away!!!

For those of you who have followed my journey on sparkpeople for several years now, you know that challenges motivate me like nothing else. It seems I am always working on something each month and I remain proud of this.  Proud that I never settle and that I am always reaching towards something, no matter how big or small the task may be. I am currently on day 6 of my juicing challenge and doing great! Each day we consume a variety of fresh juice either made here at the house or when we are out thanks to Hubbell and Hudson, Whole Foods Market, Field of Greens and Pure Eatery. I wish more places would provide fresh juice, it is so nice to have when away from home.

Now back to the knee. Yes, the same right knee I have been blogging about for years now.........

We have now 14 days left until we leave for San Francisco and Seattle for my next HM and I am nervous!  Knowing how my knee is doing I fear  I will not be running most of the race but it will still be a wonderful experience. I go back to see the doctor today at 4 so we will see what he says. I keep replaying his words in my head over and over. " I do not want you to have a total knee replacement by the time you are 40!" This was his way of telling me to SLOW IT DOWN when it comes to the running. My right knee is afflicted with a good dose of arthritis and there is a bone spur, and he feels if I continue running as I have been I will hurt myself in the long run. I told him I did not want to have a cane at the age of 80 and his response was about the knee replacement, so obviously it is more serious than I thought.

There have been tears when thinking about the possibility of letting go of my dreams. I want to see myself racing across the line of an IM someday, can this still happen with my knee, I do not know. I am looking for other races to do to cure my need for competition. There are so many short sprint triathlons I can do and if you remember from before I was pregnant, those were a favorite thing for me to do! I have done 6 of them to date and my best leg was always the bike. Knowing this brings me hope that maybe I can find road races to ride in such as the BP MS 150 which is in April every year here in Texas. I feel if I can do a few half marathons, along with some road races, I will not only have the activity I need to tone up and lose the rest of my weight but I can fulfill that NEED to race. I know so many of you understand what I am talking about.  That burning desire to compete, even if you are not going all out, just to get out there and be around others who are striving for more! I LOVE it so much!!!!!

I am having a flashback to a blog I wrote in Russia when my knee pain really started to flare up. I remember sitting there feeling SO defeated. Here I was in the middle of losing my weight, doing SO well and BAM - my knee was killing me and I had to scale back. I longed to do plyo exercises and more high impact stuff but every time I did, I was in such pain.  I came across that blog I wrote several years back and it helped me today. I want to remember my words when I go into the doctors office this afternoon...This is NOT the end of the world. I will find new ways to create wonderful goals for my journey even if all of them do not contain running races. I want to read this blog I wrote back in 2008 over and over so that I do not forget my own inspiring words. When I see how far I have come since writing this, I am amazed and I know that someday, years from now I will look back at this very blog with an Ironman medal around my neck and I will know that all the hard work, diligence, patience and smart training was worth it.

Remembering back. Here is my blog entry from November 2008 titled, I am NOT giving up. I wrote this  while living in Siberia and suffering with the same knee issues I am at this time....

I am sitting here once again with ice on my knee thinking about all the great possibilities that are going to be soon before me and I cannot help but feel a bit frustrated. I feel as if I am trying so hard to make all of my dreams come true and yet I cannot start anything and take action as I am here in Siberia. I want to run and race, I want to train and see where it leads me. I can do all of these things soon but in the here and now I have to be patient and know that what I do today will prepare me for my someday! I want to train hard as I have in the past, but I have this never ending knee that is driving me mad. Today it is doing ok, but last night it swelled up quite a bit.

I feel as if my journals are becoming an injury report or the bummed knee chronicles instead of what they used to be, a celebration of my weight loss. If I really stop and think about it, a part of me gets frustrated and depressed, feeling as if I will never conquer this problem once and for all. It would be so much easier if I was in the US and I could just make an appointment with a doctor, then I could move on, but that is not the case and so I must deal with it and move on.

So now I have two choices, I can sit and sulk in the fact that I am not able to run as long as I used to, I cannot go as fast and I will most likely need to adjust my goals for the first half of 09 as a result, or I can adjust my plan and go with the flow. Ok, so I may have to run slower or heaven forbid even walk some. Is this the end of the world? Goodness no!

Life and its unpredictable journey is going to be filled with all kinds of twist and turns, ups and downs, and so I choose to make the most of where I am in my own journey, injuries and all. I cannot help but think once again of the man outside of my building who has no legs. I remember running past him so many times and wondering how he feels when he sees me. What would he give to be able to run or walk just one more time and here I am complaining because I may have to slow my pace down for my upcoming half marathon. Does it make me any less of a champion if I cross that finish line 10 or 15 mins behind what I had planned for? Or am I still a champion because I made the most of out the days I was blessed with and reached for all that I could. I am having to come to grips with the fact that where I want to be someday and where I am now are worlds apart. That does not mean that I cannot get there, it will just take some time and with this will come great success and I am sure many defeats. I need to always remember the old Chinese proverb –

“Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”

Now, I have to decide what it is that I can control and what I cannot. Every victory first starts with a plan. And so I am reviewing my whole entire workout schedule and looking at where I can improve to make the most of this time. My abs are not strained, my biceps are perfectly fine and my shoulders are as strong as ever. So let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons, the good and the bad, the right and the wrong, and try to figure out a solution that will be lasting and will help get me back in shape for my races soon to come.

Things that I cannot control at this time -

1. My knee is hurt.
2. I do not have access to the doctors in the states.

Things that I can control at this time -

1. The pace and duration of my runs
2. My strength training and core workouts
3. Increasing my yoga and Pilates workouts
4. Taking time to ice my knee more
5. Anti-inflammatory meds and joint fuel, omega’s etc…
6. Taking time to do specific stretching for ITB etc…
7. Continuing to watch my diet and log all of my meals
8. Water, water and more water
9. Getting back to the basics – long slow cardio, watch my intervals
10. Stay clear of all plyo and lower body work such as lunges

So I can see that there are far more things that I CAN control than that I can not. So it is now up to me to take control, stop the sad pity party and get to work. Things happen, deal with it and move on and some day when I do cross that finish line it will be worth it!!

My goal for the next 4 weeks is to follow the 10 points I listed. I am reshaping my program to fix each one into my daily routine. There was a time when I first started out and I could not run. So I increased the length of time on the treadmill and I walked. Something must have been working because I lost so much weight and I have kept it off. Now my fitness level is far different that it was before so I am going to need to be creative but I know it will work.

So that is the plan. Will it help? Only time will tell. All I can do is continue to be consistent in my efforts and give each and every workout 110% of all that is in me. If there is one thing that I know for sure, it is…. 

“In the course of achieving anything, nothing is more important than persistence”.

And so now, I press on

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Update!! It has been awhile....

Sorry for the long delay in blogs but it seems I cannot find the time to sit and blog as I once did. I am trying to blog a few times a week, we will see how that holds.

So many wonderful things have happened. In May, I did quite well. My weight loss is slowing, there is no doubt about that but I am still losing inches and I will take all I can get right now! My goal is to lose another 10 this year, maybe more. After seeing some of the elite girls at this most recent Ironman Texas, it is obvious I have FAR to go...not that I am trying to go pro or anything, lets be clear about that. Just wanting to tone up which will help me in increase my speed and overall performance.

May results -  2.2 pounds lost AND 4 inches lost!!!

Measurements from the beginning of May -

Chest - 38
Waist - 28.5
Hips - 36
Thigh - 18
Calves - 14
Bicep - 10.75

Measurements as of today -

Chest - 37
Waist - 27.5
Hips - 35
Thigh - 17.5
Calves - 13.75
Bicep - 10.5

I think I am most surprised with my legs and hips. I am seriously melting down in those areas and yet my waist, or pooch area remains the hardest place for me to lose. I am going to keep pressing on though and I KNOW that soon, my hard work will pay off.

In terms of my training, everything is OFF BIG TIME!! Ever since my doctors apt for my knee, I have not ran or done much of anything. I have however been VERY strict with my diet, which is why I am still seeing good results....NUTRITION MATTERS! I go back to see the doctor on Monday to talk abou t the results from my MRI, and we will see what the next step will be. As of now he is saying the same thing.....arthritis and bone spur. But this time, he was pretty serious about my running. Telling me to cycle more and run less.

Taking his advice to heart, I have signed back up for our old gym. I love this place SO much and now that Michaela is older, I feel it will be a great and much needed addition to my fitness routine. They have so many classes there I can take, pools so I can swim or maybe just get in some weights when I want to.

Micah did such a sweet thing recently. The morning of my birthday, before my doctors appointment, he surprised me with a new Garmin 610!! I love this watch SO MUCH! He is going to take my old Garmin and use it for his training this fall.

After my doctors visit, he took me to a home fitness store and bought me a new spinning bike! We ended up deciding on the LeMond Revmaster Pro with the bike computer. This bike is no joke, what an incredible experience it is riding it. I cannot wait to rack up some serious miles on this very soon!

We have now converted one of the rooms upstairs to a gym! With the TRX, bike and treadmill, I think it is safe to say that we are good to go with everything we need for a killer workout here at home! We are VERY excited about this new phase of our journey together.