Sunday, March 1, 2015

Fight For Air Climb

Today I did something big. Something I have been wanting to accomplish for a few years now: The Fight For Air Climb. The climb is association with the American Lung Association, and the point is for the funds raised to benefit research on lung disease (including lung cancer, which my dad has). I read about this climb a few years ago and although my first reaction was that anyone would be crazy to walk/run 70 flights of steps, I also thought it would be so cool to do it one day.

So this year, I signed up. I trained. I started off small- when I first started training I could only do 5 minutes on the StairMaster. But I kept going, and eventually, I felt ready...or as ready as I could feel.

Both Friday and yesterday  I was suffering from extremely sore legs. I had a tough workout regime this week that included a lot of squats, jumping jacks, and mountain climbers. The result? I could barely walk yesterday. Several times during the day I began to cry, worrying that I wouldn't be able to do the climb. How could I walk up 70 flights of steps when I couldn't even stand up from the couch?

Luckily, Tom came to my rescue yesterday. He helped me do different stretches, reminded me to take my Ibuprofen and drink my water, and bought SalonPas patches for my legs. By this morning I felt light years better.

As I stood in line waiting for my turn I couldn't help but feel nervous. I also couldn't help but compare it to the Hunger Games. As we got closer to the door of the stairwell, they let us in one by one, scanning our bib numbers. When it was my turn, I took a deep breath and walked up the first flight. Success.

I challenged myself to walk faster and by flight 10 I almost quit. Yes, just 10 flights in. I was already tired and could feel my lungs burning. But I told myself to get to 20. When I got to 20, I told myself to get to 40. 40 was the 1/2 way point. Many of the climbers stopped at 40. The volunteers and paramedics who were there with water asked if I wanted to stop. I couldn't talk, but I just shook my head and kept going.

I stopped several times. I would stand against the wall for 10-30 seconds at a time, breathing heavily and trying to force my legs to keep walking. The volunteers and fellow climbers helped- we all motivated each other. By the time I reached 60, I knew I was going to finish. I started to run. I let go of the railing. A volunteer told me I was looking strong. And when I reached that 70th floor, I...

well. I wish I could tell you it was a glorious finish. Instead I collapsed into the arms of a paramedic and threw up. The paramedic half carried me into a room and made me sit for 15 minutes, putting ice on my head and neck. I finally felt stable enough to go to the elevator to meet Tom, and THAT'S when the excitement took over.

I was smiling so hard that it hurt. I found Tom and grabbed onto him. I got my medal and checked my time. I had no idea how long I had been in that stairwell. It had seemed like hours. But next to my name read "19 minutes, 2 seconds". Holy shit. I really did it! I did it! I climbed 70 flights of steps in 19 minutes! And if I had not stopped at every water stop, it would have been even faster.

That climb represented so many things in my life....

After the walk my body ached and my lungs burned. I suppose, though, that was the point. My lungs burning for just a few minutes was a reminder of WHY we were climbing- for those who struggle to breathe EVERY MOMENT of EVERY DAY. What I felt was nothing compared to lung cancer patient or asthma patients. We must have more empathy for their struggles, and we must do something about it!

My climb was also nothing compared to the hell my dad has been through. As I took each step I thought of him, and how proud he would be of me for finishing. His strength, perseverance and determination rang through to me, and I kept going.

Finally, it was a reminder of my weight loss journey. I never would have been able to do this climb at my previous weight. Each new staircase was a gentle reminder of the milestones I have hit throughout my weight loss journey. I felt proud and strong. I felt more free than I have felt in a very long time. I haven't gotten to where I am now by magic- it has been all hard, hard work. It's been a climb. And as Miley Cyrus says, it's not about how fast you get there.

It was one of the coolest things I have ever done, and I plan on climbing again next year.

Monday, February 16, 2015

We're Doing Our Best

We're doing the best we can.

And by we, I mean my family.

Please be patient with us. Please know that when we don't answer your email or phone call or text right away it's not because we don't care or don't want to talk. It's because we are tired, or we are with each other. And the moments we spend with one another are pretty special, so we try not to disturb them. 

When worry about test results consume us, it takes every fiber of our being to "stay positive". And we know the importance of positivity. We know it makes a difference. We know. But just because that's true doesn't make it easy. We also have to be realistic. 

No one has it harder than my mom. She has no escape. She comes home from work and immediately dives into caregiver mode. She has to make sure dad has his pills, that his appointments and rides for the week are set, that he's feeling okay, that they have something for dinner. 

Our number one priority right now is one another. To give each other love and support and strength. 

So if we forget to text you back or what time we were supposed to meet you for lunch, we're sorry. We are doing the best we can.

The reason for this post does not stem from a certain event, rather just something I've been feeling. Maybe it's me projecting feelings onto myself but I do feel, at times, more flakey and forgetful than I've ever been before. And I guess I worry that friends may think that I am ignoring them. I'm not. I'm just very focused on the most important people in my life.

I feel like a broken record, but I can't thank you enough for the prayers, warm wishes, patience and for understanding. This isn't easy. But we are doing our best.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Weight Loss Wednesday


This is my 2nd gym skip day in a row.

I don't advise having two skip days in a row- it makes the next workout that much harder. And personally, for me, skipping two days in a row.

I wasn't planning on today being a skip day. Yesterday- yes. When I planned my workouts out for the week I marked SKIP in big bold letters for Tuesday.

But today, I simply felt exhausted and run down. My body was aching, my head was pounding, and since this week has already been a long and emotional one, I knew that what I really needed tonight was rest.

It's hard for me to not feel guilty or to worry that I will hit a plateau or gain- but at the same time, I have to know my body and my limits, and I have to know when a rest is necessary.

I'm at 101 lbs now and still plugging away- this week has been a challenge because I have had evening commitments every night, and another tomorrow night. But I've done fairly well, and both my lunch and dinner are already packed for tomorrow. I'll workout in the morning and go into work a little late since it will be a late night again.

The 100 lbs celebrations have come and gone and now it is back to planning and kicking butt. On the days where I am feeling down, I remind myself "Dude, You lost 100 lbs".

I also have to remind myself that I am not perfect. There will be days where I let myself have a treat or I skip a workout. So long as that does not become routine, I know that I can keep this up. I'll admit, I'm terrified of the maintenance phase. My biggest fear is that when I start to loosen up a little bit, that I will go back to my old ways. I think that with my determination and my LOVE for this new body and energy of mine, I will be able to maintain and control, but it is still a fear. As I get closer and closer to my goal weight I will be reaching out to friends of mine who also lost 100 + lbs and get their insight on the maintenance phase.

One thing that has been extremely important in my journey is a simple rule: I don't keep "crap" in the house. That way, I am far less likely to indulge, or to overeat. I try to measure out my portions for EVERYTHING, so that I am not eating more than I should. I also try to turn down sweets at work and to choose the healthiest foods at a work event or a work potluck.

Wish me luck as I continue on this journey to my goal weight. And no more skip days for me this week. Tomorrow and Friday will be StairMaster and run days, Saturday is boot camp and Sunday Yoga. I've got this.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


It's been a while. And by a while I mean a little over a week, which for me is eternity. So hello, friends.

I am officially- as of last weekend- moved in to my new place. And it's so perfect. Aside from some minor anxieties the first day, I have never felt more "home" upon moving into a new place. Don't get me wrong- I miss my old house. The location was perfect and the house itself was so cute. And I will miss living with Sam terribly. But this place feels more like home.

I was able to happily entertain my family last night. We had a taco night, paired with laughs, music, hockey and Mario Kart. We have our own private basement area, which is perfect for Ryan to run around in. For my first time hosting my family over for dinner, I was pretty pleased. And happy.

That's pretty much how I would describe myself these days: happy. And not in the "yeah, I guess I'm happy" sort of way. In the "I really am so happy" way. I'm not sure if I've ever smiled as much as  I do these days.

And the thing is, I'm not following a certain game plan. I don't wake up each morning with a list of things I need to do in order to achieve happiness. I simply choose to be happy. I admit, I often have no idea what I'm doing. I just do it anyways. Life does not always need a blueprint or a step by step guide. Sometimes you can just be, and do, and that's enough. You can't sit back and let everyone else get in on this action, but you also can't spend every moment planning for the next.

Also, a secret: no one else knows what they are doing, either. Sure, some people are really smart in certain subjects. But for the most part, we've all gotten where we are now because we took risks.

What risk will you take?