Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Today, I found my inner strength once again.

I am sitting here looking out at a totally dark sky filled with fog and rain and I cannot believe that it is today of all days that I found a strength within that I have not seen in a very long time. When I was heavier working out was a challenge, a struggle. Once you lose weight, it almost becomes natural, a part of your daily routine. You burn less calories for the same activity so you must press on harder to achieve results. In Russia when I was losing all of my weight and during my triathlon training prior to having Kayla it seemed as if all my workouts left me completely zonked and practically immobile afterward. Some may say that is a bad thing but I love pressing hard....very hard in my workouts. Something changed though this past year.  I focused more on diet rather than 3 hour long workouts. I lost a great deal of weight this past year so whatever  I was doing worked but I longed to get back to the sweaty, dead tired workouts from my past.

As stated in my blog yesterday I think we can get comfortable when we reach a goal and there is not a pressing need to really REACH as we did before. I realized that I became the girl who lost the weight as opposed to the girl who was trying to lose. I did it, I reached my dream but I still wanted more. Not more in terms of the scale but more in terms of that feeling you are reaching towards something. Moving to Norway sparked something inside of me that I feel was dormant if you will.....lost somehow, but today I found it again.

It all started this past week when for the first time during a run I made it up the monster hill......the long one that takes us to our home. In the past I would have to take a break to walk but this time I made it! I of course ran to the soundtrack from Rocky in honor of past victorious runs! Remember my Rocky River Run from back in Russia??? I was thinking of this as I was running up and realized just how far I have come, not only in weight loss but in fitness.

Here is a link to my Rock blog from several years ago......Rocky River Run

Today I took things to a whole different level. Yesterday's nearly 2 hr workout left me sore and not too motivated to get out there today. It was dark, cold and rainy. My husband was fearful I would get sick running in the rain but I felt the need to really push myself today and so I did. You know, sometimes it takes a bulldozer to slow me down ;)

I layered up.....3 layers of pants, fleeces, thermals, and every waterproof thing I could find in the house. I started off and I realized this was going to be a slow run. I could feel my legs aching before the first mile. But I pressed on. What it wise? Not sure but it is me and it is what I do.......

After running 2 miles I headed to the hill, you know that glorious small but steep hill I found yesterday. I charged up that hill like a warrior.......it did not last long. Ok, now for the totally honesty part......IT KILLED ME! I felt terribly out of shape and so slow. I looked down and I was running a 12:27 mm........seriously, I was going SLOW! My heels never touched the ground as the angle is so steep but I just kept going and going.  When I reached the top, I stopped, bent over and I mean this with all my heart......I nearly threw up. Not to be funny here.....totally serious. I forgot to stop my watch which makes me mad as my overall pace was then messed up but I was not thinking straight. I used up every last bit of glycogen I had in my body --- it was gone. I had no GU, no sports beans, gatorade.......nothing and yet I was running 6 more miles of hills.

I stood up and kept running and within 2 mins I was headed up again another hill. MERCY ME....I was thinking this is seriously going to kill me. FACT  -- I am NOT ready for this. It is just something I am going to have to own up to and deal with it. What I do know is by the end of these 3 years living here, I am going to have some serious strength in my gluts and legs......I can already see a HUGE difference just within this past month of running.

Back to the run.....

I kept going and going, mile after mile and it was a struggle. I was so tired, soaking wet and wondering if I was crazy, dedicated, completely nuts or all of the above. My two gloves were totally soaked and when I was running there was water spraying off of them. A side result was they got very heavy weighted down with the water....it felt as if I was carrying hand weights and after the hard weight workout from yesterday my biceps were burning. I was just thinking this is the craziest run EVER! Here I was pressing as hard as I could, running VERY slow and feeling totally fatigued. This was not me? I am in better shape than this. What is wrong with me? I truly feel my body was just tried today but despite this I keep pressing on......

Finally around mile 6.5 I headed back home. I thought the worst was over but I was wrong. This is the point where my mind took over and I literally became a machine charging up hill. The final climb was also the longest.....1.15 miles in a steady climb up....up....up!! There was only a short period when turning further uphill that you get a small break, other than this the entire distance is a climb...and a hard one. Not as steep as the small, deadly hill where I nearly threw up.......we need to find a name for that one ( NATF....I will need your help on this one ;) thanks! ).......the last hill nearly finished me off. I just kept going and going and going. I was yelling out loud to myself and kept thinking the Norwegians here are going to think I was mad.  Towards the final turn of the hill all I could say was GO! GO! GO! In a tearful voice, I just knew I had to keep going.  It did not matter if cars passed me and noticed I was crying.......I did not care. I know we have all been there. The point where you are working so hard that you are in this zone, a crazy zone where you just HAVE TO keep going and you pull from within this strength you did not know you had.  I was pulling with my arms as my legs had nothing left, I was crying out......GO GO.....and somehow through God's strength I made it!! 8 miles of hills DONE and a feeling I can only describe as a rewarding spirit in my heart that I will never forget.

I get asked often where this drive and determination comes from. Remember the man in Russia with no legs? That blog....that experience changed my life and I think of him often. There I was running around him in Russia as he sat there not able to even walk. What would he give to just walk for a single moment. I wish I would have talked to him. He will never know the impact He has left on my heart. Thinking of this man and many others who will never be able to run.....it motivates me. We are blessed to have this beautiful ability and no matter how slow we go........JUST GET OUT THERE and use what God gave you!!! Just move, be active. Take advantage of the gift that is health.......please, make the most of this life while you can. You will NEVER regret giving something your all.

And so now, I am even more sore and my spirit is filled with a sense of achievement. No awards were given but the reward lies in my heart forever.  I am VERY proud that I got out there and practiced the mantra I live by which is each and every morning to RESET, REFOCUS then REACH!!!!!

Just as I look back and read the Rocky River Run blog and smile, I know the same will be for this day. Always remember, the climb is worth it. No matter how hard it seems to be, no matter the struggle, it will be worth it and the view from the top......well, it is beyond words!

KEEP CLIMBING! Do not focus on the size hill....or problem in front of you, stop looking to your left and to your right at all the distractions around you......just keep your head down, your eyes focused on the road....or challenge before you and CLIMB!! You will reach the top before you know it! :)

Now for the stats of my run......warning......I was crazy slow :)

8 miles - 1:28:26....a bit off as I did not stop my watch during the near hurl incident :)
AP : 11:03
Calories burned - 771
AHR - 162....I was working hard!
MHR - 184

Splits.....to be honest I feel so out of shape seeing this but it is what it is......

M1 - 10:51
M2 - 9:37
M3 - 11:38
M4 - 9:44
M5 - 10:30
M6 - 11:11
M7 - 12:10
M8 - 12:44.....insane I know. This was the hard hill.

Cannot wait for my next run to BLAST past these numbers!

8 comments:

The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh said...

I am unbelievably proud of you! You are such an inspiration and a role model for us all to not get complacent when we reach goal.

As for that hill, my immediate thought was "Yak Mountain!" LOL

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Celeste50 said...

Jen, I am so proud of you, you brought tears to my eyes this morning, as I listened to you relive your running journey. You truly hit the soul in my heart today as you have before. I am blessed to call you my friend, my motivation, as I am blessed to be able to walk, and one day I will run as well. You have inspired me to keep going, keep walking, keep moving and enjoying the beautiful surroundings that nature has given us. The fresh outdoors, whether that's long stretches in the road, hilly curves around the corner, strategically placed steep hills, rain, snow, sunshine or other natural mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, and all of us in between. Keep sharing your gorgeous self with the world, your family and us. Love, hugs and blessings always from Canada to you on your journey.

Lindsay said...

Well done, Jen! I feel so incredibly inspired by your determination. You did it. You DID it!

When you said the hill was 'small but deadly', immediatly, I thought of the Irukandji jellyfish. It's only a few centimeters, but it is extraordinarily deadly (I may or may not watch the Discovery channel too much).

And to leave you with a few quotes that came to mind whilst reading this:

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
- Mahatma Gandhi

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”
- Muhammad Ali

“Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance towards the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vintage point.”
- Harold B Melchart

Amanda said...

Awesome post! I've been following you for a bit, and this post was EXACTLY what I needed today. I was feeling blah about getting my workout in today (I'm doing Tough Mudder Twin Cities in May), but you have just inspired me. Thanks much! Keep pressing on!

Tiffanie said...

Jen, this was amazing. I am going to share it on my facebook. I hope that's okay? There was a link to do that at the top, so I'm assuming it's okay...

Please let me know if it's not. You. Are. Awesome.

Czesia said...

Wow! You're determination is so admirable! You took that hilly route's ticket, and stamped with your signature for sure!!!

Ash said...

Though I have never met you, I find you so inspirational. Reading your blog helps me to continue to focus on my goals and push forward when I don't think I have it in me. Thank you for writing about your experiences and keep up the great work!