Sunday, June 6, 2010

Then... and now.

Wow. Has it really been four months since I posted anything? Life has been so hectic lately that blogging has seemed to take the back burner.. But never fear, I have not forgotten about blogging... just been on blogcation, you could say.

The subject of this blog is a very personal one.. something I think a lot of people can relate to and deal with on a daily basis. For those that don't know, I have struggled with weight issues since childhood. I had very low self confidence and that followed me into adulthood.
Here is the story of how I went from doing all the wrong things to changing my life and finally being happy with - and accepting - how I look.
After getting married at the young age of 19, it seemed to get worse and I ballooned to my heaviest weight ever - a whopping 225 pounds. I was miserable and not happy about how I looked. I made excuses for not exercising enough or eating the wrong things. I was "busy" and couldn't make the time. At least, that's what I told myself.
Finally, in 2005 I had grown tired of constantly packing on the pounds and knew something had to be done. I had a friend who had been successful in losing weight by taking the appetite suppressant phentermine. After months of working out at the gym (primarily elliptical and lifting weights), I decided to give it a try. I noticed quickly that it was not only working, but the weight loss motivated me to become more stringent with my diet and exercise. I was seeing results and couldn't be happier. I managed to lose about 60 pounds in a year and was thrilled. Then we decided it was time to think about kids and low-and-behold, I got pregnant. That 60 pounds came back all too easily.
After my son was born, I was nursing and obviously could not go back to taking the phentermine. I started out doing the same things I had done before - elliptical at the gym, sometimes 4 or 5 times a week and a circuit training program offered through my work. I was able to shed about 30 pounds but soon plateaued and could not lose any more weight.
I started looking for that "quick fix" drug again that would help me drop the pounds but after trying and failing with a few, I decided to quit throwing my money away on these short-term solutions and try something new entirely: running. Keep in mind, I am one of those people who loathed running. I always made excuses to avoid it but when it came right down to it, I simply was out of shape and it was HARD. I started out doing a route in the area where I lived that was a small circle amounting to about 2 miles. Mostly walking, with occasional bits of running. Gradually I was able to work up to stints where I was doing more running than I was walking. A funny thing also started to happen... the weight was melting off of my body. It was thrilling and addicting, all at once. I had finally found something that not only challenged me, but provided results as well. Running for me went from being a loathsome activity to a new love and obsession. I was always looking for ways to improve my time, push my limits and challenge myself.
Never one to set small goals, I signed myself up for the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon in February 2010. After doing so, I decided to start out my "Race career" by testing my limits with a 10-miler up Emigration Canyon, ending at This Is The Place State Park on April 3. The day of the race there was 3 inches of snow and ice on the ground, the air temperature a bitter 28 degrees. I think windchill was about 18. Determined to not back out, I made my friend Pattie run that race with me and have not looked back since. Each race I have completed has resulted in a faster time, moving up in the list of finishers. My most proud accomplishment thus far is completing the RAGNAR / Wasatch Back Relay this past June with only about 24 hours notice before the race. Although my portion of the relay was a mere 13 miles of the total 188 miles my team ran, I was just happy to be able to say I am one of the elite few who can say they have
My journey continues and so does the weight loss project. 75 pounds later and I am working hard to keep my fitness level at the maximum. It truly is a lifestyle change and I am living proof that it CAN be done. NO EXCUSES.
With my high school friends back in 2004.
With my niece Kacee in 2004 at my heaviest weight.
With my friends Betsy and Sira, along with a man I credit for much of my success. Tom is a boxer and certified trainer who has helped motivate and push me since 2007. You can find out more about the work he does at his website, Running a 10k in May.
A very happy me on a beach in Cancun. For the first time in my life, not embarrassed to wear a swimming suit in public!
The group I ran with in the RAGNAR/Wasatch Back Relay in June 2010.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Power of the Dog

About two weeks ago I lost my dear friend Tasha. She was a special girl with a bright smile and a loving heart. She lived a good, long life of 16 years. She loved to camp and swim and was so excited when I got home that she would run to the nearest room and pick up a stray sock and carry it around in her mouth with a gigantic grin on her adorable face. I think the reason I loved her so much was because in spite of all the stress surrounding the divorce of my parents at age 14, she was always there for me and never wavered in her love. She was a wonderful companion for my Mom during these times, especially when I left home. I feel blessed to have had her part of my life for so many years.
Always a silly girl, she loved throwing herself on the ground and wriggling to-and-fro for a good back scratch.As a teenager I loved it when she would come lay with me in bed.

Camping was her favorite past time and she always staked her claim on the good camp chair.

In her senior years, she couldn't see or hear very well. It worked out that Tyson loved walking her because they kept each other from wandering too far!

I can't help but think of my own two dogs now that I am grown and how they will impact not only me in the future but Tyson's feelings as well. They adore him like any dog should adore his/her boy and he does them as well. In fact just tonight I walked into the living room and found Tyson hugging Dakota and he said to me, "Mom, this is my best friend, 'Kota." I smiled to myself and thought of the Rudyard Kipling poem, The Power of the Dog. If you have not read it, see below. It is a moving poem about the love of a dog.

Eden is ever-patient with Tyson and would get very antsy if I let him cry too long as an infant. She is still very protective of him.
Dakota is the "fun" one and loves to wrestle and play with Tyson. They are truly the perfect duo of a boy and his dog.

THE POWER OF THE DOG - Rudyard Kipling
There is sorrow enough in the natural way

From men and women to fill our day;

And when we are certain of sorrow in store,

Why do we always arrange for more?

Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware

Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
Buy a pup and your money will buy

Love unflinching that cannot lie

Perfect passion and worship fed

By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.

Nevertheless it is hardly fair

To risk your heart for a dog to tear.
When the fourteen years which Nature permits

Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,

And the vet's unspoken prescription runs

To lethal chambers or loaded guns,

Then you will find - it's your own affair, -

But ... you've given your heart to a dog to tear.
When the body that lived at your single will,

With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!),

When the spirit that answered your every mood

Is gone - wherever it goes - for good,

You will discover how much you care,

And will give your heart to a dog to tear!
We've sorrow enough in the natural way,

When it comes to burying Christian clay.

Our loves are not given, but only lent,

At compound interest of cent per cent,

Though it is not always the case, I believe,

That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve;

For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,

A short-time loan is as bad as a long - So why in - Heaven (before we are there)

Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

"I do it MYSELF!"

This would be the most frequently uttered phrase around my house these days. If I had a nickel for every time I heard it... well, let's just say I could go snowboarding a LOT more than I currently do! It's been a while since I put anything on here about my favorite guy Tyson and I figured what better update than to announce we are in the throes of potty training! Woohoo! I rejoice at the idea of no more changing diapers. Sparing all the lovely details, Tyson is doing very well at the babysitter's house and getting better every day at home as well.

There have been a few funny moments that have come along with the whole experience as well. The other day he walked into the living room and informed me he needed his bum changed. In Tyson lingo, this means he has performed a #2. Exasperated, I asked him "Where are you supposed to do that?" "In the toilet" he replies. "So why did you poop your pants?" "I didn't" he insists. I persist. "Did you go poopoo?" "Yeah," he states matter of factly, "But I poop in my DIAPER, Mom, not in my PANTS." I stare at him in amazement. The wheels start churning in my head. I realize I could have it made later in life, as this kid is clearly on the road to becoming a lawyer. Not to be bested by a two year old, I inform him "Look buddy, I'm not about to argue semantics with a toddler. You pooped your pants, plain and simple." Jeez. What in the hell am I in for??

Honestly, what kind of mom would I be if I didn't capture him on the toilet? At least I know he's my kid, he's got a good book with him after all!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hi. My name is Michelle and I am an addict.

It's not easy for me to admit. I hate the idea of being addicted to anything. It's getting a little out of hand though. It's all I think about all the time and I can't get it out of my head. Short of giving in to this addiction every time I need a fix, I don't know how to rid myself of it. The only hope for me is the inevitable thaw that comes every spring. Surely by now you must be thinking, what vice could possibly have made her so insane??
It all started about 5 years ago when I first tried it out. I have to admit, I didn't love it. In fact, I dare say I hated the sport. I sucked. Royally. But I was able to go for no cost and even got paid to do it, which made it hard to pass up. Especially since Doug was already hard-core into it. Alas, I was only able to try it 4-5 times before the opportunity had passed and before I knew it, I was pregnant and then had a kid with little time or money to spare to pick it back up again.

Until this year.

For some reason, I had this primal urge to try again. I'm not sure what brought me back to it, but for some reason I decided to try again. Our first venture up was after Thanksgiving. For my first time in 5 years, not too shabby. I'm not entirely proud of my performance and I was horrifically sore the next day but altogether, I liked it enough to try again.
Despite the lack of snow (the runs were pure ice - UGH), it was so nice to get out and try snowboarding again!
Doug is my ever-patient partner on the mountain.
My friend and co-worker, Jen has taken up the sport and is learning along with me. Todd, Doug's brother is a fantastic boarder and loves to ride with Doug while Jen and I slowly make our way down the runs.
Second outing occurred on a trip to visit my sister up at Mt. Hood. There are a few pics of our adventure here. This time I took an actual lesson from an actual instructor (prior experiences had been Doug patiently trying to tell me what to do and me cursing and lashing out in frustration). I was surprised to find I did a little bit better than the last attempt and not quite as sore afterwards. Bonus.

Our third experience this season was only last weekend and resulted in me being unequivocally in love with the sport of snowboarding. Perhaps it was the fresh powder. Or maybe it was the beginnings of my practice, determination and bull-headedness combining to make for an awesome experience. Whatever it was, I experienced a rush like no other and now I am a junkie. All I think about is when I will have a chance to go again. The best part? No soreness the next day. I think I'll attribute that to my regimented workout schedule. Whatever it is, I'll take it!

Awww isn't he sweet??

My favorite group of people!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Family Fun!

In December we hopped on a plane to visit my sister and her family in Washington. For two nights of our visit, my sister had rented a cabin Mt. Hood so we could play in the snow and go snowboarding. We were VERY excited to get up there and on the mountain! Not so exciting was hauling all of our winter gear and snowboards through the airport but we somehow managed and it worked out great. We had a blast while we were up there and here are a few of the many photographs we took!
Tyson was SO excited to ride on an airplane. He almost couldn't contain the excitement. Mental note: Next time, put more kid friendly movies on the ipod for entertainment.
Much to the dismay of his father, Tyson found these princess heels in my niece Kailee's room and came prancing out in them. What kind of mother would I be if I didn't capture this moment?!
On the day we went boarding, we spent a couple of hours tubing at Skibowl's tubing resort. It was a great time and although he wasn't too sure about it at first, Tyson eventually decided he might like it after all.
Not such a fan of the tube here.
Kailee being her usual silly self!
Love these kiddos!
Don't be fooled by the smile on my face. I was clinging to the pole of the ski chair for dear life. The seat was tiny and the chairs swayed so much I thought at any moment I would catapult off!
The lift operator was so cool and laid back! After my sister and Kacee both consecutively crashed off the lift, he came out to make sure they were ok. Then (while the lift's still running) he offers to take a bunch of photos of us. You don't find these guys in Utah!
My absolute favorite waterfall - Multnomah Falls just outside of Portland, OR. We had been to the falls before in the summer when it is green but never in the winter when the water freezes. It's so beautiful here! Cold, but awesome.
Black and white shot of the Falls.
My sister's family: Stephanie, Kacee, Kailee and Tracy
Waiting at the airport for our delayed flight. We were sad to go because we had such a fun trip. I think it will have to become an annual event!