Sunday, July 29, 2012

John's story..the first week..He's going to kill me haha

I never thought I'd see the day where my husband is asking me if I'm ready to go run....telling me, "Hunny, let's go do this!" or "How many burpees should I do to complete my work-out?" REALLY??

It's been 1 week...a whole week that John's gone without a cigarette. 1 week that we started running together. John downloaded the C25K program on his phone and is beyond motivated to push forward with it. It tells you to do the runs 3 times per week...he's going every other day.

Let me tell you a little about John. I know he won't like this, but I need to explain some things about him, so everyone can appreciate this as much as I have. John is a type 1 diabetic, which means he was diagnosed as a child, 10 years old to be exact. As a juvenile diabetic you automatically are placed on insulin- your body doesn't have any natural insulin stores to counteract sugar. That means at least 4 shots per day. John's always been a brittle diabetic, meaning his sugars have a tendency to run very high and drop very low without much warning. He's been to a dietitian and we've worked together in the past to bring his sugars under better control. I've been able to see first hand how incredibly stressful this process is. Counting carbs- meaning keeping track of EVERY carb you put in your body and then using a calculated process to figure out how much insulin to take. Sometimes he would take the correct insulin, we'd think it was down to a science, and then his sugars would drop and he'd go into a hypoglycemic episode, meaning that his body over-reacted to the insulin. These are scary to go through with someone. They can get slurred speech, extreme fatigue, pass out, convulsions and say and do things they don't remember later. I've been through a few of these with John.

John's other health concern is his breathing...which stems from his nicotine dependence. He realized that he has smoked for more than half his life! He started smoking at 16 and just turned 40. At one point he was almost up to 3 packs per day. Recently he was able to cut back to 1-1 1/2 packs per day. Mornings are rough. He wakes up hacking and coughing feeling like he can't catch his breath...but NEEDING a cigarette. He had a scare about 2 years ago now where he was diagnosed with emphysema in the ER. Later he saw a pulmonary Dr. who told him it wasn't emphysema, but he was just under the COPD "umbrella" of diagnoses.  Anyone that has dealt with addiction of any kind can relate. Addiction is defined as, "Addiction is the continued use of a mood altering substance or behaviour despite adverse dependency consequences." He knows it's bad for his health, he knows that it was costing us a couple hundred dollars a month, but when you're addicted...those things don't tend to matter.

 John has been coming to my races for almost a year now and after every race, has said, "wow I would love to start running and do that with you". 2-3 days later and the feeling has faded and he's back to being ok with his sedentary lifestyle. Something with Spartan was different. Maybe it was seeing me reach a goal that I've worked so incredibly hard for. Maybe it was seeing everyone else also reach that goal, and watching them cross the finish line. Maybe it was the undeniable camaraderie that is seen within the Spartan community. Maybe it just looked like a kick ass good time!! WHATEVER it was....John has decided he wants to run a Spartan race with me next year! I think the race itself will be the hardest thing he's ever done? NOPE!! The hardest thing that John will do, is GET himself to the race. The hardest thing he's had to do...he's doing right now.

John put down the cigarettes a week ago...a week and a day now to be exact! He started running and doing the Couch to 5K program. Yesterday was especially bad. This past week he's been sleeping in late and going to bed early. He figures if he's sleeping he won't be craving. Yesterday we got up early to go do something we enjoy together, yard saleing. Normally when we go yard saleing he smokes like crazy. He was GOING crazy yesterday. It was yesterday morning that he told me about another new app he downloaded on his phone called Quitrunchill. It's an app specifically for smokers trying to quit who are also starting to run. I went to the website and the numbers are pretty incredible.
"Running is a great way to get healthier; and if you decide to quit smoking, running can help you succeed at that. For example research shows:
  • about 4% of smokers who quit without help of any kind become long-term ex-smokers 1
  • about 15% of smokers who use nicotine meds (like patch or gum) become ex-smokers 1
  • about 18% of smokers who use the Smoke|Quit booklets quit smoking 2
  • about 25% of smokers who take up running in order to quit become ex-smokers 3, 4
  • about 30% of smokers using stop-smoking prescription drugs quit smoking 1"
Here's a link to the website

I have to say, I never thought I'd see the day where John would actually quit. I don't feel bad in saying that, because I don't think he did either. He's tried many times in the past and failed. The reason he thinks he failed before is that he wasn't doing it for HIMSELF! I understand that. I've been down the same road with my weight loss. I've tried before and failed. It was always for dumb reasons. This time it's not to fit in a little black dress, or look good in my bathing's to get healthy. It was waking up and realizing that I couldn't go on living the way I was. This time for John, it's not about saving money, or because the doctor told him to. It's to get healthy. It's to reach a goal...a physical goal, and revel in all the other things that go along with it!

I am so incredibly proud of all that he's accomplished in just this past week. For him to not have a cigarette in more than a week is a miracle in itself, let alone the fact that he's been running every other day on top of that...and each run/walk is approximately 1.65 miles. The other night we got home from our run and he actually asked me, "How many burpees should I do to complete my work-out?" REALLY?? Who ASKS to do burpees?? haha. Yesterday we went hiking and there was a flat rock and he starts doing box jumps!

I keep telling him that his story will inspire a LOT of people! What he doesn't realize is that even though I may have inspired him, right now he's inspiring me. I've been in a funk ever since my Spartan race and knew that I would be. Hard times financially are preventing me from making any big plans for future races (they're NOT cheap), but since he's made a goal I'm getting off my butt and helping him train. I honestly don't know that I'd be out there doing much of anything at the moment if it wasn't for him. I love going running with him!! Right now I'm not so focused on me, but I'm starting to be focused on getting others to reach their goals and to see how awesome the feeling is!

It's been rough...even though it's been over a week now he still has REALLY intense cravings for a cigarette. He talked about making his goal race the Yes I Can 5K at Gring's Mill to benefit the Special Olympics. This is the same day that the Super Spartan is scheduled for in NJ and also the same day as the half marathon that I wanted to do. I've given up on both of those and put them to the side for the moment. Right now I want to make his goals happen! We just looked at his training schedule and he would be more than ready to do that race...maybe not run the entire thing, but more than ready to do 3.1 miles!!! He joked about doing that race because of the title...but I fully believe in him to make this happen. Yes HE Can is more like it!!

Now I have to publicly apologize to John for this, because I'm sure he's not going to be real happy with me for sharing all this. I'm just so proud of you for taking this first step to better health, and I've really enjoyed our runs together and look really forward to so many more. I really look forward to running across the finish line with you....or after you, I know that competitive Warren side of you!! Love you with all my heart and just so excited to share your story, because I KNOW without a doubt it will inspire others!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I now Love Spartan for more than 1 reason...

The day has come and gone...a week now to be exact and I can't believe it went so fast! The day is still kind of a blur to me. Just like a graduation, a wedding, or anything else you spend days, weeks, months, preparing for, anticipating and then in a blink of an's done! Lot's of people swirling about, your mind fixated on just getting through the day, but going in a million different directions all at once, and yet feeling you have no idea what you're doing. Lack of sleep from the night before, a few hour car ride,and feeling scared to death are what proceeded the big day. My niece and I were literally screaming with excitement as we topped the mountain and saw the official Spartan signs. Pulling into the parking lot we about pooped our pants seeing the gigantic hills we KNEW we'd be climbing that day. We found our way around, to the bathrooms, got something to eat and linked up with our crew.

I had my trusty camera man with me, aka hubby, as he tags along with me to every race, never complaining and always there to support me emotionally and physically with whatever I need him to do. At the starting line I was ready to jump out of my skin with fear and excitement. As we started off up the hill....sorry I mean ski suddenly became apparent to me that I was FREAKING out. I felt like I couldn't breathe, I started wondering what the HECK I was getting myself into! My adrenaline was going and all I felt like it was doing was making my heart pound heavier and faster in my chest and wasn't helping me up this massive hill! I had ran into Aja, my friend from Vermont who I've been talking to FOREVER on Facebook and was so incredibly excited to be running the race with. I told her that I wasn't sure, but if I didn't know better I was in the beginning of having a full on panic attack. I trudged up the hill little by little realizing that this isn't going to be a running will be a HIKE and I'm ok with that. Slow down my breathing and just concentrate on what's in front of me, not what might lie ahead. I have problems in real life with that same concept. I always want to be a "what if" kinda person and worry about different scenarios and things that lie way ahead. What I need to learn to focus more on is the here and now...what is lying directly in front of me. Pay attention to that, and don't worry about anything else, it will all work out in the end.

The race took us through lots of trails, LOTS of hills, rocky terrain and of course lots of obstacles. I was able to do all of the obstacles minus the ones that I KNEW I wasn't going to complete. Even things I thought I would do ok with seemed like a breeze. The hardest obstacle was the sand bag carry. We carried a Spartan pancake, which is a 20lb sand bag a 1/4 mile down and back up a double black diamond ski slope! My friend Eric, who I met through my accountability group, ended up being my other partner in crime throughout the race. Aja was our ultimate motivator as she blasted through most obstacles (especially the sandbag carry) with ease.

Through more obstacles we went; through mud, water, barbed wire, pulling a cement block, flipping tires, traverse wall, spear through and the infamous fire jump! I ended up doing 120 burpees total, penalties for not being able to do some obstacles. The things I need to work on for next time are the things I knew I wasn't prepared for, the rope climb, monkey bars, traverse wall, and spear throw.

I made it to the finish line feeling extremely accomplished and dumbfounded knowing that I actually just finished my first Spartan race, something I had been dreaming about for the past year! I gave my husband, John, a kiss and he kept telling me over and over again how proud he was of me.

They say there is a HUGE percentage of people that return the next year to run in a race after being a spectator. John often talks about starting to run after coming to my races. I've now run six 5k's, was on a marathon relay team, one 10k, and a 5 mile trail race. After each race I hear him talking about how cool it would be to start running with me and to get in better shape. This is coming from a now 40 year old who has smoked 1-3 packs of cigarette's per day for the past 20 years!! OH yeah, and he's a type 1 juvenile diabetic! His excitement usually fades over the next 2-3 days and he never starts anything. On the way home after the Spartan John said he'd like to do the race with me the next year. We joked about how he says that after all my races and give it a few days and we'll see how serious he is! Even John wasn't sure the feeling was going to last and we decided I better not hold my breathe. The next day John started talking about his "plan" and how he was going to accomplish this massive feat. He told me he was obviously going to have to quit smoking. I've also heard this a million times over the last few months and have yet to see it happen. I love my husband dearly, but I also know that addictions can consume someone, after all, my addiction to food still likes to rear it's ugly head on a daily basis!

A few days went by and John starts talking to me about an app he downloaded on his phone, Couch to 5k. Excuse me?? I don't think I heard you properly!! REALLY?? Wow, I'm really starting to think he's serious! THEN he tells me that he wants to go yard saling to find some exercise shorts! OK, now I'm starting to think, who are you and what'd you do with my husband?! He had a few packs of cigarettes left and decided that when he was done with them, which should take him to Friday he was DONE! Holy crap I think he's really serious! Yesterday came and he still had his ambition. About 8:30pm last evening he smoked his last cigarette!! It has been over 24 hours since he has smoked!! For anyone that knows John this is huge, I mean HUGE!! Today has been rough. He's going through some serious withdrawal symptoms. He's getting fits of energy where he feels like he just needs to shake. He's gone through almost 3 packs of gum and is eating like a teenage boy that just came home from football practice. But he's doing it!! It gets better...  We went today and found 2 pairs of exercise shorts and spent money we didn't have (but he needed new shoes anyhow) and got him a pair of running shoes. We got home from the store and within 20 minutes he was all geared up and ready to go for his first run!! We went to the trail that I started on, it's nice and flat on macadam and lots of shade, and John completed his first day of Couch to 5k!! He's already been looking at race calenders to try and find his goal race! I am SO incredibly proud of him and realize that this is his first step in the right direction to change his life, to get healthy, and to experience the same joy that I had crossing the finish line of my first Spartan race!!  Here's to the next year of accomplishments and now getting to do it with my husband not only cheering me on...but at my side!

After John's first run/walk using Couch to 5k. Total distance about 1.75 miles! (he even added a little extra running at the end because he felt so good!)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tears, fears and hard work

HOLY CRAP! In 16 hours I will be standing among a couple hundred other warriors, ready to take on the Spartan sprint. I can't believe it! I really can't believe it. Here are the latest notes from the race director, "This course is going to be awesome (assuming awesome means steep and treacherous).
The course is around 5.0 miles of hills. This is our hardest sprint race because of how steep and treacherous the terrain is. It’s harder and longer than last year. Race smart and watch your foot placement!"

I really don't know what got into me to make me take the step to do this race. When I decided to do the race I had already lost about 30-40 lbs and was already planning on doing a 5k which I did last September. I had started running about 2-3 months before I came across info for the race on facebook. Something struck me. If you know me, you know that I don't just jump into anything, so I started researching, I mean RESEARCHING! You can't imagine how many mud obstacle races there are out there! Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, Rugged Maniac, Dirty Girl, and allll kinds of local runs to just mention a few. Nothing compared in all my research to the Spartan race. THEN, I came across a group on facebook, Spartan Chicked, a group of women that run the Spartan races.

When I joined the group there were only about 200 of us. I just checked....there are now 6,089 members!! Being involved in such a HUGE movement of women in obstacle racing has been amazing! I have befriended women from all over the world. I have become friends with women who have lost massive amounts of weight, women who have overcome domestic abuse, women who have risen above injuries and setbacks, women who have set out on the same journey that I have scared to death and thinking, "what the hell did I get myself into.". We share our fears, training tips, joys, accomplishments, and everything from what kind of sports bra to wear, to how to build an 8 ft wall, complete with directions and pricing! We encourage one another, post progress pictures, have different challenges and even had a gift exchange at Christmas.  I give HUGE props to ALL of the women I have "met" along the way and can't WAIT to meet a LOT of them tomorrow!

Someone asked me on a post yesterday, "Where do I get my motivation?". It was an interesting question that I never really thought too much about. After thinking about it, I guess it comes from many, MANY different things. First and comes from my former "me". It comes from that woman who was so overweight that even going for a small hike was hard work. I hurt all the time. I had become extremely disgusted with myself and felt like what other's were seeing wasn't really who I was. I felt that I was cheating myself out of knowing who I really was. I wasn't doing anything to my full potential..I had nothing to reach for, nothing to obtain, nothing to make me feel worth while. I was just a big, fat, lump on a log...I was just here. My motivation in the beginning came from knowing that I HAD to do something or I would just keep gaining, just keep getting more pain, and just keep on being here....or there, so to speak. Realizing that exercising made me feel better physically AND emotionally kept me going. I started seeing the weight come off which also helped. The release of endorphins after exercise gave me more energy, gave me that, "wow I feel really accomplished and good about myself" feeling. I decided to set a physical goal for myself, which I had NEVER done before...EVER. I played team sports in high school, field hockey and soccer, but had NEVER put myself out there by myself to meet a goal, and especially not in the shape that I was in! THAT kept me going. I have lost weight in the past but always put it back on. I never had set a physical goal before. THAT is what I needed to do. Knowing that I had a race, was signed up, and there was no looking back pushed me to keep going. After I started meeting more and more people involved in running/racing/fitness they also became a help in my motivation. There were times where I didn't feel like working out, but I'd get online and see all kinds of motivational quotes and see what everyone else had done that day and realized I didn't have a valid excuse! I eventually joined an accountability group online and again....they keep me going!! You NEED...I mean NEEEEED to surround yourself with like minded people. You NEED to find people that will push you in the right direction and keep you motivated. The accountability group that I joined has become like a small close knit family. There are single mom's, retired military personel, personal trainers, people with regular everyday jobs like you and me that struggle with the same everyday crap that you and I face....and that's why I LOVE it! We are REAL. We are real with each other and real with ourselves. If we have a bad day we post it. If we had an awesome work-out we post it. If we made something good to eat we post it with maybe even a picture...if we ate like crap for the past week eating cakes and cookies we post it. We encourage, we motivate and we connect. We don't let each other fall down without lending a hand to help pick them back up. I've learned that sometimes you need to fall...but you NEED someone there with an out stretched hand's ok...get your ass up and try again! 

I HAVE sacrificed, I HAVE fought against the odds!  Right now.....I am NOT letting fear, insecurity or doubt shackle me....I AM drinking them in and swallowing them down to somewhere deep within former me....that former unmotivated, insecure, unhealthy, ME. I realize that I might fall...I am not motivated by a sense of pride...I push forward for accomplishment, to KNOW at the finish say, "I DID IT!" To look the former "me" in the face...up close and personal...nose to nose, eye to eye...and say..."I did it....I did it...."  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

June 4, 2012

Dear Adriane,

I am writing this to you 6 weeks before your Spartan Race and 14 weeks before your first half marathon. Life sucks right now, DON’T LET IT BRING YOU DOWN!! Remember this quote, one of your favorites from Rocky…


You’re getting hit hard right now. What you need to do is prove that you can keep moving forward!! Go out and get what you’re worth!! You are NOT a coward!! Look how far you’ve come in the past 16 months. Just think about how much further you would be ahead right now if you didn’t slack off once in a while. Eating is hard right now…being poor sucks for healthy food, but don’t use it as an excuse!! There ARE healthy options that are cheap. You need to force yourself to make better choices when you are able.

One of the reasons you feel so crappy right now is because you’ve been having a pity party for yourself for the past few weeks. GET OVER IT!! It’s time to put on your big girl panties and straighten the heck up!! Exercise WILL make you feel better physically and emotionally. YOU KNOW THIS!! I want you to stop giving up on yourself, get the bad, unmotivated thoughts out of your head and just “shut-up and do it!” Isn’t that your motto? And “no pain, no gain”. You got this!! Look at all the people who have been inspired by you…look at all the people who have told you they made their first steps because of watching your transformation. Don’t let them down! Don’t let them see you fail! Tomorrow you WILL get out and run and when you’re done running, you WILL do your P90X. NO EXCUSES!!

This is not to fit in a bathing suit and look good. This is not to fit in to some new fancy dress. This is for your HEALTH and for your LIFE!! Look at your family history; heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, depression, morbid obesity, sleep apnea, CHF, COPD..seriously?!! SERIOUSLY!! ??

You do NOT want heart problems EVER, but especially not before you are even 40-50 years old!!! Diabetes, hypertension…completely preventable based on diet and high cholesterol can be kept down as much as possible. You’re already getting depressed…and for what?? Things that are out of your hands right now.
You need to keep on keeping on and forget about the rest!! You know this is all for a reason and God might bend you realllllly, realllllly far, but he won’t let you break. Things WILL get better. Things WILL be ok.

Use that faith that you learned a couple years ago and put it to work. Let God handle all this other garbage around you and don’t let it bring you down. Stop getting all worried and anxious. That’s what puts you in a bad mood and that’s what makes you want to close up, become unmotivated, and sleep it all away. When that happens..go exercise!! God has given you such wonderful opportunities to be an inspiration to people and to probably someday use your story to help others. Don’t you think he’s gonna give you a really good one to share??!! The better the story, the more powerful the message. People will relate to you better if you’ve been in their shoes. This might mean physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially…he’s covering all bases why can’t you see that!! This struggle you are going through right now is only to make you stronger…this mess of a battle..emotionally, spiritually and financially. All this junk here doesn’t matter in the end. I know you’re not materialistic, but there are people out there much worse off than you. Be thankful for the things you do have!!

God loves you and he won’t let anything drastic happen to you. It’s all sifted through his hands. He gave you such a wonderful gift of perseverance and determination. You need to start using that to get through this. Use the analogy part of your exercise….running the race is extremely hard but crossing the finish line makes it all worth it in the end. You train long and hard for a race….what else do you think you’re training for? Imagine the feeling when you cross the real finish line…. Everything will fall together and make perfect sense to you in the end. You never know what life will bring….our time here is unknown. You could die tomorrow. Do you want everyone coming to your funeral saying, “oh she was such a grump the last couple weeks, she was so depressed and upset about things.”? Or do you want them saying, “wow she really was amazing. Even after all she was going through she really handled it well and walked through life with a smile on her face, even in the worst of times.”?

All of this “stuff” isn’t coming along with you. All of this “stuff” isn’t what got you to come around to find God. It was your experiences and the challenges that God placed before you that brought you to where you are. He isn’t going anywhere, He’s just helping you become a better you, and that’s not always easy. Just like becoming a better healthier you isn’t easy.

Signed,     Adriane

So this is how I left this letter...kinda open ended. Those six weeks are gone now...and my race is in 3 days!! I plan on taking some time tomorrow and Friday to reflect over the past year...and will write another blog..maybe even another letter. I can't wait for race day..and of COURSE there will be a race re-cap!