Thursday, September 1, 2011

Crossing the Finish Line

Before we moved from Idaho I had the most fabulous amazing trainer EVER! She was completely amazing! She taught me how to get past the whole, "I HATE EXERCISE" thing! In fact, she taught me to CRAVE it! And even crazier than that....she made me an addict to that uncomfortable feeling, you know, when you are working crazy hard! I am a TOTAL addict! I have learned to love the feeling of getting to that point, because I know that when I push through it and keep going hard the feeling when I am done will be almost euphoric!

I have struggled with my weight for a lot of years. It has been SO frustrating! I exercise & eat good and NOTHING! Just before I had the twins I found out that my battle was uphill for a reason. I have Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I think for a long time I really felt defeated by this more than anything. Then I had the twins and obviously my efforts for weight loss were put on the back burner. My energy was needed by my kids and I couldn't afford (emotionally) to be frustrated and upset about my weight. So, I figured the time would come someday and put my focus elsewhere. After Dawson passed away I felt the drive to take better care of my health again. I also felt really strongly that Dawson wanted this for me, also. So I called Ali (my trainer) and started learning everything I could about PCOS. I wasn't defeated, I just needed to approach it differently. I learned it would in fact be harder for me to lose weight, but I felt like it was a battle worth, as success came I would prove to myself that I was MUCH stronger than I thought I was!

Ali gave me the most important key, when I started working out. She taught me not to exercise to lose weight. Womens bodies have a tendency to fluctuate in weight, depending on a lot of things. I could work so hard and get to the end of the week and be disappointed by the scale & risk giving up because of discouragement, which happens ALL of the time. What she taught me was to work out to feel good. The pay off is constant AND completely guaranteed! There have been days when it was harder to workout than others, but I have ALWAYS ended feeling good about pushing through it! SUCCESS! I started working out consistently. In turn, I wanted to get better and better at it, so the eating habits came easily. I wasn't a major junk food person and I wasn't an extreme over eater. My body just struggles to break things down the way it should and that is what causes the biggest problems. I realized that by eating some things I would feel sluggish and working out was harder. Working out was important to me because it made me feel so great. The foods that affected me negatively were easily gone. I realized that I could have whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it, but I was CHOOSING something different. That concept & realization alone was a powerful lesson!

When we moved to Utah I struggled with a lot of stress for a few months. I struggled to get back on some sort of work out schedule. I didn't have Ali or my friend Maryon to push me when I am wimpy! :) I knew something had to happen.

My sister in law invited me to try a spinning class with her. SHEESH! Spinning! Isn't that for people that are already totally in shape?! Isn't it crazy hard?! She assured me that everyone can take it at their own pace and I agreed to go.

H O O K E D!!

Totally addicted! I mean, don't get me wrong, my "undercarriage" felt like there was permanent damage done & I couldn't walk the next day! However, I LOVED it! It was hard....really hard, but I pushed through and I really started to realize that I am WAY stronger than I think I am! A few days later I went back to spinning, a little tender, but I was promised that would stop soon. It did. The third time, I was all good and completely sold! Then I discovered Kat, my fave instructor, and I was totally devoted to spinning! In fact, I am quite sure that sometime in the near future, I will be a certified instructor! YAY!

Soon after that my sister in law mentioned a road biking race. I looked into it and decided that this would be a great way for me to push myself through the Summer to continue working hard. I signed up! 65 Miles! As I started training I was totally in love. Ryan bought me a SWEET bike for my birthday and I rode that puppy about 75 miles per week.

At some point I realized that the bike race I was signed up for fell on Dawson's birthday. To me, this was totally meant to be! I felt Dawson with me all of the time when I was pushing hard! I could feel him cheering on! So, for his birthday I was going to complete this race for him!

The morning of the race Jana & I loaded our bikes on my car! I LOVE this car! I love it more when there are bikes on top! It is quite a sight! :)

We got to the race start line, at Thanksgiving Point, at about 6am. Hit registration and hung out, and in my case stocked up on spare tubes (my tires are having issues and keep going flat...annoying!). Our start time was at 7am. All of the teams and century riders got to go first.

My hubby is the BEST! He woke the kids up and hauled them out to cheer me on when we took off. They were the only sender-offers there! I mean, not many people wanted to get up that early on a Saturday, I am thinking and my poor Mally had to do it on her birthday!

Can I just say that doing this kind of stuff is SO good for the kids to be a part of! Jake wants to hit the gym with me a few times per week and run a race with me and Mallory keeps telling me we need to get her some good running shoes so she can run with me too! Plus, I think that it is good for them to watch me train. They see that I have set a goal and then they see how hard it is & cheer me on as I cross the finish line! It has been so good for all of us!

My sister in law, Jana, beat me back by about 30 min....thanks to my 2 flat tires! UGH!!!

After I crossed the line I was SO excited! One because it was hard! Especially the last 2 miles! There was a crazy head wind and it was kicking my trash! However, something happens to you when you turn a corner and see the finish line ahead. Some sort of reserve, that I thought I had already used, kicked in to gear! I pedaled hard and passed a couple pro guys that were in front of me. I crossed the line at over 20 mph! Pretty darn good, I would say!

The second reason why I was excited is because as hard as we trained and tried to raise our average speed, we just couldn't get it any lower. I estimated that it would take about 4 hrs 45 min to 5 hours at our usual pace. My goal when I crossed the starting line was 4 hrs. 30 min. However, I crossed the line with 3 hours 57 min (not including the time I was changing my 2 flat tires)! Our average speed jumped! We were SO excited! Over all my on the bike time put me at 12th place among the 72 women entered and 27th among the 150 men & women entered! Not bad for my first race EVER! :)

I crossed the line completely exhausted...and dirty! Changing rear tires is dirty business! Ry & our kids, Jared, Jana & their kids were there to cheer me on when I finished. And then the magnitude of what I had accomplished totally hit me!

First, it was Dawsons birthday. I did this for him. My little guy was with me the ENTIRE race! I remember one stretch. It was a steady slight up hill. I had been pedaling hard for a couple of hours. My body was tired. I was alone. The group I was with had gone ahead, because of my flat and I was ahead of all the other people. Knowing this stretch was ahead of me, with a little hill at the end was a bit overwhelming. Then I heard my D. We had a good little talk for that stretch! It was healing and SO SO good! Before I knew it, I had climbed that hill at the end and I was turning for the downhill. Not only did I make it, but I pedaled at 23 mph hour the entire time! THAT is something I had NEVER been able to do! My little man totally wanted me to know he was with me!

Second, I grew up being very thin. I could do anything. I could accomplish anything and didn't feel any limits, as far as my physical abilities were concerned. For the last several years, that has definitely not been the case. I think I have been surprised by the limits I feel like I have because of extra weight, but I have also been surprised by how much other people don't think you can do. I've been profiled by instructors of classes, etc. Thinking that I must be new because I am heavier than everyone in the class, not knowing that I have been spinning for 8 months, probably in better shape than many other people in the class, and that I have lost over 50 lbs so far! While I was on my race a VERY sad sort of man, all by himself in his car, saw me, all by myself, rolled down his window and yelled a VERY rude comment to me. Oh man! At first it totally hurt....then I was suddenly empowered by the idea that I know that I could beat that man, hands down, in any race! Then I felt bad for him. Who does that?! Poor guy! He must not be a very happy individual. I refused to let him get me down. What he said was easily turned, in my mind, into a term that instead would mean that I was RIDICULOUSLY strong! Which I decided I was! Then I picked up my pace. Silly man! You messed with a woman that can find the positive side of anything! Little did you know, your little comment fueled my fire and you should rue the day you ever compete against me brother!

I think the feeling that I had as I crossed the finish line was all of these feelings coming together to remind me that I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for! It was as if a lifetime of going through hard experiences flashed in my mind and I realized that I had a choice. I could have let those experiences weigh me down and I could carry them with me for the rest of my life....OR I could do what I have tried to do and face them. Learn from them. And then be grateful for them. They have molded me into the woman that I am now. Each experience preparing me for the strength I would need in the next. All of them combining to give me the strength I needed to be a good Mom to Dawson & to be everything he needed me to be, as his mom. I couldn't be more grateful for every experience, no matter how hard....well, that and hindsight! Cause seriously, it is nice to look back and know it is behind me! :)

All of these things are the sort of things that crossed my mind in those minutes after the race. I always wondered what it was like to cross a finish line. I have seen others experience a lot of emotion when they have. I don't know what it was for them, but for me, it was just what I needed! THAT is a feeling that will keep me competing! That is what will make me want to encourage others to do the same! Don't think you can't do it! Seriously....YOU CAN! If I can, YOU can! Try it!

It's in my blood now! Biking & Racing! I ran my first 5K last weekend. I'm glad to have that done. Running hurts a bit more. My poor joints! :) However, I am not done! There are a few other races I have my eyes on! One that includes a whole lot of MUD and for sure a spring triathlon next year! These things will keep me training and help me stay focused through the Winter. I love being outside, but getting ready for a May triathlon will teach me to love being inside too, I guess!

Now, I am SO excited for tomorrow! One of my friends owns a business and we are doing a giveaway here starting tomorrow and it is HUGE!! There will be 3 BIG winners....I mean BIG! Then, because she is so fantastic, everyone that enters will get a little something too!

Oh it is going to be a good one! You are going to love it!

See you tomorrow!


Just Us said...

I love it Amy! I am so proud of you. You are AMAZING!

Unknown said...

so inspiring..I'm recommitting to new goals!! You girl are looking Amazing!!

MyR said...

I am totally crying. I am so proud of you!!! I am so impressed with your dedication and determination. You are truly an inspiration in so many ways...and this is yet another one. I love you more than you will ever know. You make me a better person!

Courtney Price said...


Kim said...

You are awesome Amy!! Thank you for posting this. Your words are an inspiration to me!

Rachelle said...

Love this! I need to know what your trainer taught you to love it past the pain of I want to stop now...I so appreciate what you shared.

Lombardo Family said...

Oh Amy...Why?whY?WhY?didn't I connect that this race was right by my house so I could have come cheer you on as well? I'm so amazed by you and your family and feel so disconnected with you guys. Boo!


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