Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Reflections on my Fittest Year (so far!)

Sept 7th, 2013 marked what I consider to be my 1 year Fit-i-versary:
On Sept 7th, 2012, I had my first fitness assessment at my gym. I had just joined the previous week, and I had barely begun my journey towards health and fitness.

Looking back, 2012 me would have been shocked by many of the things 2013 me has accomplished: 

  • Picking up running & ENJOYING it
  • Completing 9 fitness events/races including a 5k in under 26 minutes
  • Finishing my first Whole30
  • Hiking 13 miles in one day on the Appalachian Trail
  • Loosing over 25 lbs (& maintaining!)
  • Squatting 125 lbs
Even the fact that I've fit in a workout 4-6 days a week EVERY SINGLE WEEK for a year just blew the socks off my 2012 self. I've achieved lots of the short and long term goals that I set, and even knocked some things off of my 2013 "Bucket List".

Ringing in a new 'year'

I celebrated my Fit-i-versary of Sept 7th in a way I feel was very appropriate- giving a bit of my time to some truly inspiration athletes trying to achieve some of their own amazing goals. I spent the wee-early hours of Saturday morning at Run Woodstock, a weekend-long series of running events here in S.E. Michigan. I wanted to be a part of this awesome weekend, and I decided to volunteer as a Aide Station "Roadie" on the 50 K/50 Mile/100 K/100 Mile course. To see these incredible folks giving 125% effort was SO inspiring. 

Let me paint a quick picture:

I woke up, got dressed, made some oatmeal, and headed out the door around 4:40am on Saturday. I drove 40 minutes to get to Hell Creek Ranch, near Pinckney, Michigan, where the Run Woodstock weekend was being held. It was still dark when I arrived around 5:20am, and I could see lots and lots of stars in the sky! I parked, checked in, and drove with a new volunteer buddy to Gracie's Aide Station, where we'd be spending the next 6 hours helping race participants. It was really neat to see the runners, most outfitted with headlamps, trucking down the trails. At this point (6am), the 100 Milers and 100 K'ers had been going since 4pm!!! the previous evening, and the 50 Mile/50 K folks were just starting. 

Over the next 6 hours, I saw runners in elite form, and others who looked like this task was quite a challenge for them. I saw runners who looked amazingly unfazed by an 100 mile distance, and others who stumbled to the aide station and could not take another step. I saw a pencil-thin woman with a knee-gash get bandaged up and continue on the trail. I saw a father encourage his son, despondent by the distance he had yet to run, that he could and would finish. Many of the runners seemed to be over 40, if not over 50, which was an awesome surprise. 

I was really thankful to have had this experience, and to support fellow athletes in this way as I myself celebrated quite a year. As I drove home around noon, I spent some time reflecting on the key fitness lessons I've learned over the past 12 months.

Lessons from a year of Fit Living

Get Moving, and Keep Moving

It really is true- If you can make it to the gym, or to the start of your workout for the day, whatever it is, you're 90% there! Getting out 4-6 days a week and being active has been key for me; not only has it helped me to move to a healthy weight, but it's also been a stress-reliever, and allowed me to compete in 9 fitness events so far this year, a huge source of pride and accomplishment. If I feel like shit tomorrow, I'll still go to the gym. If I only do 30 minutes of cardio, no problem. 9 times out of 10, once I start my workout I feel better and I'm able to knock out a kickass session, whether that's 30 minutes or 90 minutes!

Eat to Fuel movement, not Move to justify Eating!

When you're looking to loose weight, you do need to create a calorie deficit somehow. This usually involves eating less calories than your body needs. Now that I am where I want and need to be, weight-wise, I have realized that I need to switch my mentality from working out so I can burn "enough" calories to one of "eating enough to fuel the awesome things I want to do". True athletes eat LOTS- enough so they can power through their practices, games, and events. There's no reason why it should be different for us everyday athletes; we need enough fuel to power our bodies and recover for another hard workout tomorrow!

It's all about Feeling Good

The biggest thing I've learned this year is that health and fitness are all about feeling good. Eat what makes you feel good. Occasionally, this could mean taking time for a cookie or a special treat. Most often, this means eating whole foods, saying no to processed junk, and eating until you're full; not less, and definitely not more. 

I learned that the same thing goes with weight- the weight you feel physically good at is better than the one where you look like a supermodel and can't make it through the day because you have no energy. In February, once I hit my goal weight, I just kept loosing weight. If I'm feeling and looking great at 110lbs, wouldn't 105 be AMAZING? I got down to 105 and found out that the answer is No; for me 105 or even 108lbs was not a sustainable weight. When I hit 106lbs and 17.5% bodyfat, I felt a little leaf, about to be knocked over by the wind. I was cold all.the.time, and I didn't really have enough energy to fuel myself. By all accounts, women can get down to 12% bodyfat and still be in a healthy range, but for me, this is not the case. I looked fit, I looked skinny, and I did not feel good. It wasn't worth it, and it took me some time to recognize those feelings.

I'm now at about 110-112 lbs, which is just fine with me. Not sure what my bodyfat % is, and I'm not sure that I care to know right now. I am learning to trust myself and my body. I have the knowledge and skills to make good food choices, to move and exercise in a way that will keep me at a healthy weight for me.

In Conclusion..

Lots of good things achieved, but I'm not done yet! This weekend, I'm headed to the Kensington Challenge for my first 15k, October 5th I have a "practice" Half Marathon at the Heroes on Hines race, all to prep for a MAJOR challenge- the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon on October 20th! I'd still like to take the Spin Instructor Certification this year- there's a class coming up in November so stay tuned for that! Thanks for your support and encouragement through my journey so far!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on your Fit-a-versary! This is a great recap of your year. You SHOULD be proud of your accomplishments. 4-6 Workouts a week for a whole year? That is awesome and inspiring. Good luck in your upcoming races!