Better or Worse

9 09 2010

One of the great things about having Godfather as a trainer is just when you feel like giving in, he says something that just clicks. On Wednesday I walked into the gym thinking I was going to have a somewhat mellow hour. I was super exhausted and pretty sore after a Tuesday filled with an hour session with him and then returning that evening for my first ever Boot Camp with my friend Jessi (who by the way has her own blog HERE and you should totally go over and give her some love). Godfather pushes me to the limit each and every time. Add to that boot camp and Tara = TORE UP! I had planned on just doing something totally mindless for an hour and getting the hell out of there. Godfather had a different idea. He invited me to work out with another one of his clients. I love working out with this particular person and when he asks you to participate…

you don’t refuse

So here I am, exhausted and feeling physically like I’m at the end of my rope but I warm up and off we go. About 30 minutes into the session I begin to have a mental breakdown. There’s something about being in the gym super early in the morning, having so much sweat and snot on your face that you can’t tell what’s what and being told to move faster that makes you feel like sitting down on the floor and refusing to move until someone brings you a blanket and a teddy bear. That’s where I was. I needed that blanket. I needed that Teddy Bear. I needed for Godfather to give me a break. Since I wasn’t going to get any of the fore mentioned I just started crying. But I was moving. In fact I was running. Running in between two cones. I don’t know if he saw me crying. I don’t really care. I just want to keep moving. I want my body to get stronger. I want my body to get fitter. I want my body to get leaner. It’s not going to happen by giving up. It’s not going to happen by asking Godfather for a break. As I’m having an internal conversation with myself (more like begging my body to not give up) I hear the following words come out of his mouth:

“In any situation, you’re either getting worse or you’re getting better”

I’ve never heard a truer statement than what I heard at that exact moment. Yes, I was a sweaty snotty mess. My shirt didn’t have one dry place on it for me to wipe my face. My legs hurt from the TRX sequence, my arms hurt from weighted push-ups and my lungs were about to collapse from the one minute sprints (and still trying to recover from boot camp) but I was making myself better.

Everything we do we’re either making the situation worse or we’re making it better. Every decision, every choice and every conscious effort as we move forward and take control of a life we once thought was lost forever. This is how I need to look at my life. No, this is how WE need to look at OUR lives. No matter where you on this journey you can always asks yourself: does this help me to be better or does this hinder and lead me towards being worse? If you’re stuck in a binge, if you can’t muster up the energy to break a sweat or you just happen to pull up to your nearest Jack in the Box stop and ask yourself:

Will this make me better?

Will this make me worse?

I didn’t stop crying as soon as he bestowed this wisdom on me. In fact, I continued to cry pretty much right up to end of our time together. But what I did begin to do was say to myself, (and out loud I might add) I am getting better. All the exhaustion, all the struggle to keep moving and all effort I put into this journey is making me better. A better athlete. A better mentor. A better person.

It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be.

Isn’t it what we all want to be?

This week has been about as physically demanding as I’ve ever experienced. By the end of the week I’ll have seen Godfather five times, done boot camp twice and run about 12 miles.  I’ll have cried and prayed my way through multiple hours of movement despite being tired and my muscles will seize up after sitting for a even the shortest periods of time. But when I ask myself if these situations are making me better or worse…

I know the answer.

What’s your answer?


3.1 / Superman / emotional gunk…

12 04 2010

*Disclaimer – I am extremely emotional today. It’s a combination of TOM and my morning session with Superman. That being said, what I write at the moment is just how I’m feeling. If I could crawl back into bed and cry myself a river of waaaa waaaa waaaa’s I would. I can’t so I’m gonna write about here and see if I can get my shit together…


I started running at the end of January. I couldn’t run a block without wondering where the nearest hospital was so they could put my lung back or whether or not someone would get mad if I threw up on their manicured lawn.  Each time I ran I wondered if it would get easier or if I could go farther. I spent countless hours wondering how I was going to go 3 minutes without stopping.

Then it was 5 minutes…

Then 8 minutes…

20 minutes…

Until finally 10 weeks later I hit the 30 minute mark.

I had graduated the c25k program but I still hadn’t reached the 3.1 mile mark. I started with another running program that takes you from 5k to 8k not because I want to run a 8k (which I do) but because I wanted the longer music intervals to help me build up to 3.1 miles.

Last week I got all the way up to 2.81 miles. I thought I was going to throw up (and I almost did). I could feel that 3.1 mile mark just out of my reach. I needed to get there just so I can stop thinking about it. My first 5k isn’t slated until June 12th but I need to get past that distance now so it wouldn’t weigh so heavily on the back of my mind.

Sunday I woke up with a goal and that goal was reach 3.1 miles and run for most of it. I’m alright with running a certain amount of minutes and walking for one. This will probably be my usual practice once I find a comfortable pace and for now the podrunner program has me running for 8 minutes and walking for one.

I start…

It felt good to be outside running. It was early enough on a Sunday morning that my little city hadn’t even started to stir yet. I think I’m running faster this week than I was last week. I know I’m zoning off a lot more than I was before. There was nothing to think about until I came to the cool down portion of podrunner. The whole podcast lasts about 46 minutes and minus the warm up I had 41 minutes to run a 5k. I knew it wasn’t going to happen so I would have to really push myself to run during the cool down and if necessary keep going after the podcast was finished.

Cool down came and went and I was still running.

I was so close. I wanted to stop. I wanted to tell myself that maybe next week would be better. I could see the end ahead of me. Less than half a mile.  It wasn’t as close as I wanted it to be but at least I could see it. I’m frustrated. I walk for 30 seconds just to get my thoughts together and reconfirm why I’m doing this. I’m changing my life. I’m trying to be a healthier person. I don’t want to be fat any more. I don’t want to be 100 pounds over weight. I don’t want to sit in front of the computer for hours thinking about what could have been…I want to find out for myself.

I push through that last couple of blocks and before I know it I’m running past the point where I started 50 minutes earlier and know to be 3.1 miles. I run an extra block and then like usual break down and cry.

I had just run my first 5k. I don’t need to obsess about whether or not I’ll ever be able to run 3.1 miles before June 12th.

I did.

I can.

I will.

June 12th is a long time from now. There is plenty of time for improvement. 50 minutes is a long time (with 4 one minute walking intervals) to do a 5k. It’s a vast improvement over what I was doing 3 months ago (NOTHING!) and if I can do this now…


Today was date #2 with Superman. He took me through the weight machines this morning and all I can say is I’m going to be sore tomorrow. There are few times in my life when I encounter something that I can’t take head on and be victorious. Even in my weight loss journey thus far I’ve been very successful and in that gotten sort of cocky about what I have done in the past 3 months.

Today he brought me down a notch and didn’t even realize it.

I got there early to warm up before our appointment. Do you remember the star pupil in your classroom? The one who always had the best looking papers or who always went the extra mile just to please the teacher? Yhea that’s me…so warm up is done before we get started just so I can have the extra 5 minutes of training. I know how to get on the elliptical for 5 minutes by myself. I don’t know how to lose 100 pounds alone and that’s what I need him for.

He starts me off with leg presses. 45 pounds on each side…10 reps. Break. Add another 45 pound weight just to one side, repeat 10 reps. Break. Add additional 45 pound weight to other side, 10 reps.

I am already on the verge tears.

In the face of fear or something emotional I tend to use humor as a cover. So you can pretty much assume this session was a barrel of monkeys the way I was joking with him.  At one point he gives me a weight bar for bicep curls and I ask him how much they weigh:

Superman: “20 pounds

Me: “Okay next time tell me they weight 300 pounds so I can feel like a super hero”

He grabs the 30 pound weight bar:

Superman: “That 20 pound bar was too light, here take this 300 pound bar and show me what you got”

– you can see why I like this guy right?

Throughout the hour I am afraid I won’t be able to do what he asks me to do. I keep getting to the breaking point and I don’t hear him say “one more”. He must know what he’s doing because every time I feel like I’m going to drop whatever I’m holding he then gives me the “one more” and of course I can’t resist pushing back.

There were numerous times I was grateful that when he said “take a break” he walked away from me.  I needed that time to cover my face with my sweaty baseball cap and contemplate what the hell I was thinking.

And cry.

It hurt like hell today.

The last thing we did was this weird contraption:

It was this that put me over the edge.  I could do the sit ups, leg presses, calf presses, bicep curls, behind the head thingamajiggies…It hurt like hell. I wanted to throw up but I went until I heard him say “one more” and that’s just what I gave him.

This I couldn’t do.

I did the first three knee lifts and just about lost it. I had to beg myself to take my feet off the foot rest when he said “again”.

I did two more and had to put my feet up on the rest again. I know Superman knew I was trying my best. It was me I was fighting. He wasn’t disappointed. I was. He knows what lies ahead for me. I don’t. I just wanted the session to end because I hurt, I was embarrassed for being fat and I felt like all the hard work I’ve put into myself the last three months had just come to a screeching halt.

I had just hit a brick wall and I was not prepared.

He did say “one more” and I gave it to him. I even high fived him after we were done and said “Thank you Sir, see you on Thursday”. I went to the locker room and cried.

Mostly out of frustration.

I have come a long way. I’m doing things now that I haven’t done since high school. I’m doing things that I couldn’t even do in high school. Today’s lesson was that while I’ve come a long way, the road ahead is still very long.

It’s almost like that feeling of cresting a hill and thinking you’re at the top only to discover the mountain range in front of you. You’re too afraid to move forward but can’t go back down the hill because there is absolutely nothing there. That is where I am today and that’s why I’m writing about emotional gunk..

I seriously thought I had started ascending the mountain 3 months ago.

I had just crested a hill.

I’m not contemplating quitting or running out to my favorite Chinese restaurant and consuming a 3000 calorie meal. I’m not thinking about skipping a workout or only doing a half-assed job of it tomorrow. I’m going to swim tomorrow and swim like a damn dolphin. I’m not thinking “what’s the point” of all this. I know the point. I have a life to live and it does not include anything but moving in the right direction.

Superman humbled me today.

I am thankful.

Weigh in #8, where I didn’t eat yesterday and 5 minutes of pure (insert word here)!

21 02 2010

Weigh in #8

December 29th, 2009 = 263.5lbs

February 20th, 2010 = 244.4lbs

I lost 1.8lbs in the last week and a total of 19.1lbs.

Here is an interesting tidbit (and probably TMI), but this is the first time I didn’t gain any weight during my “girl time”. I am actually continuing to lose (as I saw the scale say 243 yesterday).

So here’s what the weekly breakdown has looked like

  • Week 1 = 257.4 (-6.1)
  • Week 2 = 255.0 (-2.4)
  • Week 3 = 254.6 (-.4)
  • Week 4 = 253.8 (-.8) *I started c25k
  • Week 5 = 248.2 (-5.6)
  • Week 6 = 247.2 (-1.0)
  • Week 7 = 246.2 (-1.0)
  • Week 8 = 244.4 (-1.8)

The numbers are slow moving but dammit if they aren’t still moving!

Where I didn’t eat yesterday

Yesterday I had to take my car in to have a tire looked at. They told me it was going to take 90 minutes. I needed to get to the UPS store and do my food shopping for my new experiment (Moroccan chickpea chili – which is the next post). It was getting late and instead of waiting around for my car to be finished and then go to the store I decided to walk the 1.5 miles, do my food shopping and then walk back to pick up car.

It was an impromptu workout that I enjoyed to it’s fullest. The walk was nice, the sun was out and it was a nice way to pass 90 minutes. I also took note of all the food places between my starting point and my ending point. Here they are for your pleasure (or nightmare):

Playplace? More like “get fat and sit around” place. It was so busy there. So many other places to be and for most people this was going to be the high light of their day.

If there is a Shari’s around you know there is a Denny’s close by. After you eat your eggs, potatoes, ham and pancakes you can pick up a whole pie to enjoy!

Or you can go here and get a “Gotta Have It” size ice cream that is sure to cause you to go comatose.

So wrong on so many levels.

Hamburgers or Chicken? Hell why not both!

If having these 5 options wasn’t enough in less than a mile there was a Dairy Queen on the other side of the street, but I hit the UPS store at this point so had to deter from my mobile phone photography session and get back to what I was doing.

What was I doing? Oh right, I was going to the store to get the makins for my first “Clean Eating” recipe attempt. I made Moroccan chickpea chili. Instead of eating at the places above I ate this:

I’ll take two cups of this delicious masterpiece (397 calories, Fat 9g, Carbs 51g, Fiber 11g, Sugars 12g, Protein 29g, Sodium 267 mg, Cholesterol 43mg) over a Big Mac (540 calories, Fat 29g, Carbs 45g, Fiber 3g, Sugar 9g, Protein 25g, Sodium 1040mg, Cholesterol 75mg)

5 minutes of pure (insert word here)

Let’s start off with a picture:

That’s not a high five I’m giving you (though if I could I would). That’s me saying “I JUST RAN FOR 5 MINUTES”

Today was week #4 of c25k.

It went something like this…

* 5 minute warm up – Got that down like a pro.

*3 minute run –  I had done this 6 times last week so I was confident this was going to go fine. This came and went faster than I had anticipated the first time around.

*90 second walk – again pro like!

*5 minute run – So here we go…I kept it real slow. 3 minutes I knew I could do. 5 minutes I just don’t know. I did the same thing as I did during my first 3 minute attempt and picked a spot way in the distant and focused. I kept the music down low so that I could hear the water, the seagulls and the trains and still hear when Robert (podcast man) so mercifully tells me it’s over.  I try and keep my mind clear of any thoughts about what is happening to my body (cause it has a way of trying to cheat me out of doing something) and keep my breathing slow and monitored. 5 minutes later, Robert’s voice tells me it’s time to walk and for the first time in my life I have just run for 5 minutes. I cry (as I seen to be doing this a lot during this program) but don’t feel bad about it. The first time I cried (during week 1) it was because I hated being fat. This morning I cried because I didn’t give up.

*2.5 minutes walk – someone should give me a medal for my pro like walking!

*3 minute run – Now this is starting to feel easy. I just ran 5 minutes!!

*90 second walk – no need to explain.

*5 minute run – Slow and steady. Breathing in, breathing out. Tired = yes. Giving up = no. I’m not running very fast but I’m still running. The sun is rising. The mountains look beautiful. This 5 minutes is about making good choices. It’s about leaving behind the old Tara and finding the girl I’m supposed to be. It’s about moving more and eating less. The last minute is tough. I feel myself slowing way down. I give myself a little pep talk (“Run like you know what your doing or at least fake it for the last minute”) and keep going.

It’s over.

To celebrate, I walked my dogs for an hour!

As a reward for my hard work, the scale decided to say 242 for the first time in FOREVER! But I’m not counting that number just yet…

Fri 1st Jan, 10 263.2 lbs 38.9 YES MEDIUM
Tue 5th Jan, 10 257.4 lbs 38 YES HIGH
Tue 12th Jan, 10 255 lbs 37.7 YES MEDIUM
Sun 17th Jan, 10 254.6 lbs 37.6 YES MEDIUM
Mon 25th Jan, 10 253.8 lbs 37.5 YES MEDIUM
Mon 1st Feb, 10 248.2 lbs 36.6 YES MEDIUM
Sat 6th Feb, 10 247.2 lbs 36.5 YES MEDIUM
Sat 13th Feb, 10 246.2 lbs 36.4 YES MEDIUM
Sat 20th Feb, 10 244.4 lbs 36.1 YES MEDIUM

The picture says it all…

3 02 2010

This is what I looked like  during my couch to 5k run / walk this morning. I’m not sure what happen but it went down something like this:

I got up this morning at 7am ( a little cranky from watching the season premier of  LOST) and promptly got on the computer. The excuse I used this morning was that my sweats and favorite hoodie needed to go through the dryer before I could do any sort of workout.  That gave me at least 40 minutes of facebook time. The second I got on the computer I could feel the wheels turning on how to talk myself out of doing the day’s c25k.

The dryer went off 40 minutes later and there I am still in the chair.

An hour after I get up (and 20 minutes after the dryer let me know it was time) I’ve finally gotten dressed and decided to do my run/walk on the treadmill because of the rain. 5 minute warm up goes well. First 60 / 90 interval goes well. Second interval goes fine but then I started to get hella emotional. My legs hurt, I’m sweating, and I just want to be back in bed. I’m mad at myself for weighing 249 lbs and finding it hard to accept that a 60 second jog is difficult task for me.

Interval 3 and 4 I cry like a baby ( trying to be quiet because my husband is still sleeping ). Interval 5 I get back to business. I’m still emotional but now I just want to prove to myself I can do this. I may be 249 pounds today but today is just 24 hours.

Dinner tonight is a foot long black forest ham from subway. I love subway and will enjoy every bite.