I've been busy and I am proud to say, my journey hasn't stopped. Perhaps it's not quite a journey anymore, but I have continued living this new life.
So far in 2016 I have done one race every month.
The #bestiesrunning hashtag was in full force!
January we did the Securian Winter Run in downtown St. Paul, MN. It was actually a beautiful winter day and was our best run to date. We felt great and were really proud of ourselves!
The next day, I was still experiencing the symptoms and called my nurse line. They urged me to get into the doctor right away. I made an appointment with a doctor and left to go see him. It was someone I had never seen before; he didn't know my history but I tried to explain how important fitness was to me. He did some tests with poking each leg to see my sensation. He said it could be my low back and we should order an MRI. He also said there was a chance it could be something more serious, like MS. Cue the panic again!
I went to the chiropractor and the acupuncturist that week too. They had different opinions, but neither thought it was something so serious like MS. I was starting to get some relief from the treatments at those providers so I decided to wait on the MRI of my low back.
I didn't do much running, I tried other things. I cried and worried, but tried to reassure myself that life would go on even if I couldn't really run.
On March 19, I ran the Hot Dash with Krista and our Husbands.It had already been on the calendar prior to the leg issue, so... I went for it.
With more rest, switching up my workouts a bit, my leg has been pretty good. I firmly believe chiropractic care and acupuncture made a huge difference.
In April, Krista and I did Goldy's Run at the U of M campus. Chuck joined us too! It was a great race and we loved finishing on the field! No leg issues this time!
We thought April was our last cold run... turns out, we got fooled by the weather when we signed up for our May 14th run - just a small town one in Elk River. The Officer Besser's Sunshine 5k. It was cold and windy that morning and we stood outside way too long. Our muscles cramped up and we were generally miserable. We still finished under 29 minutes!
Fitness has been the easy part. Working out has become part of my life now. I don't feel right if I skip more than a day. I'm learning to incorporate more strength training into my routine and I can totally tell a difference.
Food... that's another story. I realized along the way that I will always need to make "better choices". I will never be the person that can eat whatever I want and not see any impact. When I was trying to lose, I could be pretty strict with my diet and feel ok about it. But with maintaining (hitting 130 pounds down - I'm good. lol), I needed to allow myself to eat more, be a little less strict, etc. I had people telling me that I needed to allow myself more of the food I had cut out. Here is the problem, if I'm being honest... let's say there is a box of my favorite chocolates on the table at an event. Many people can have one, feel fulfilled, and walk away. I have a very hard time doing that. I will take one, walk away... then I'll come back and tell myself "oh just one more". If allowed, I could likely eat the whole box of chocolates. That's why there are still some foods I won't eat. Ice cream is a huge one. I cannot go down that path again. I will take one bite of my son's, but never order one for myself.
Admitting these things is scary - it is a reminder that at any time, I could gain everything back if I stop being so aware of my choices.
When people meet me for the first time, they see who I am now. They don't realize where I have been. Sometimes I feel this need to share the reality: "I was once 280 pounds - size 20/22. This person you see here, is new. She's still learning, still figuring out what it means to be smaller, to maintain fitness and good eating habits. And her body... it shows that she wasn't always nice to it."
This summer I will wear a bikini for the first time. Not because I have the perfect body (because believe me, I don't), but because any woman can. I have seen women of all sizes in bikinis and I always think they are brave and beautiful. Why shouldn't I be brave?