Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Happy National Running Day!

I hope everyone was able to get out today and enjoy National Running Day!  I had a great post-work run with my friend, Brigitte, and it was just what I needed.  I've been in a bit of a self-imposed running reprieve following my three half marathons this spring, with the exception of a few smaller races in the past few weeks, but I felt like I couldn't let National Running Day go by without a run of some sort!

I had a bit of a headache and was well on my way to talking myself out of a run, but Brigitte mentioned that she was going to go for a run.  We work very closely to one another, so I asked if she was going to run at the park near us and when she said yes, I asked if she wanted a running buddy.  We met up at the park and had a great run.  It was just what I needed; a gorgeous night, quality time catching up with a friend, no set mileage, no watch, just a run for the sake of running. It was perfect!

#BAMRsRunTheWorld #StLouis

A gorgeous night for a run
Tonight was a great opportunity, too, to reflect on what running has meant to me over the past few years:
  • a beautiful reminder of all that I am capable of, not just physically but in all aspects of my life.  (Three years ago, I would have never thought that I would or could do a half marathon and last month I completed my fifth!  I am grateful for the much needed self-confidence that running provides.)
  • setting a positive example for my sons and other family and friends.  Seeing my oldest son participate in 5k races makes this Mama so proud and I know that his little brother won't be too far behind him in the future!  I also can't say enough how proud I am of my Mama for taking on a 5K each month this year!  She is an amazing woman (and a badass) and I love cheering her on as she works toward her goal!
  • a chance to re-group and balance myself.  I know that taking time for myself is so important and running makes me a better wife, mother, daughter, and friend.  
  • an opportunity to improve my health and lose weight (it's fair to say that I am a work in progress on that front at the moment, but I digress.)
  • strengthening existing friendships and creating amazing new ones.  Running has given me the opportunity to deepen existing friendships that I cherish and it has also opened an incredible door to new friendships that mean the world to me.  Whether it has been virtually through the blogging world or through social media or friends I've met through Another Mother Runner (my Napa girls!!) or at races and local running groups, I am forever changed by these friendships.  I am inspired by all of you and I can't thank you enough for the support you've given me! 
 What has running meant for you?  

That's the thing about running: your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing success. They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is." ~ Kara Goucher 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Proud Daughter Post

I have to brag for a minute on my Mama.  She's one pretty amazing woman for a multitude of reasons, but I am going to brag today about her goal for 2015.  She's committed to doing a 5K every month in 2015!  I am so proud of her for setting this goal and I love cheering her on at each race.

She actually got a head start on 2015 by participating in the St. Louis Hot Chocolate 15K/5K last December.  She and my oldest son did the 5K and I love the pictures of the two of them crossing the finish line together.

Oma and her oldest grandson crossing the finish line together
On New Year's Day, she, Nick, and I did the Commitment Day 5K, which was a great way to start the new year! My Mama even challenged herself to run a bit of the race and Nick was happy to run with her.

At the start of the Commitment Day 5K

Mid-race selfie; three generations of our family! 

Almost to the finish line!
In early February, Mom and I participated in the Missouri Lottery 5K Run for Your Beads and the best part?  The race ended with beer and Hurricanes!  Hurricanes and I are old friends so it was nice to be reunited at the end of the race.  There was also a Hurricane stop mid-way through the race, but Mom and I decided to forge past it to get a bit ahead of the pack.

Mom at the finish line; she would want to point out the people behind her.  She was very proud of the fact that she was not last! 

My sweet Mama and I
This past Sunday, we participated in her March race, the Boots and Badges 5K benefiting The BackStoppers, Inc. I think Mom would tell you that this was her hardest race, mainly due to the fact that she was under the weather that day, but it's the race that I am most proud of her doing.  Had it not been the end of March (therefore limiting the time she had left to complete her March race), I suspect she would have skipped this race, but she was a trooper and got up early on race day and came downtown with me.  Although she likened this race to her own personal Bataan Death March (absolutely no disrespect intended towards the brave POW's who perished on, or endured, the actual Bataan Death March), she continued to put one foot in front of the other and she finished the race like the trooper she is!

March race: done! 
She's got her April, May, and June races on the calendar and is looking forward to the rest of the year, too.  It's been fun doing some new (to us) races as we complete her goal! 

Mama, I hope you know how proud of you I am!  I know that it's hard for you when we are last in a race, but believe me when I say that being last is better than not starting!  You are doing a great thing and I can't wait to cheer you on at the rest of your races this year!

I'd love to shower my Mama with kudos, because she really is a rock star, so if you have any words of encouragement for her, feel free to comment below!

"Don't sweat the road ahead, smile at the road behind you."  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lights, Camera, Runching

Just a quick post tonight as I'm fighting some sort of cold/allergy/sinus "thing" and I think my bed is calling me!  I've also managed to lose my voice, which is not optimal, but I'm sure my hubby and the boys are slightly grateful.

I mentioned that last week that my friend, Stacy, and I got to talk to a local reporter for a story they were working on about women runners and the story aired yesterday on the morning news!

I wasn't expecting the story to air for a few weeks, so I was pleasantly surprised when a co-worker e-mailed me on Wednesday morning and asked if it was my picture that she saw on the KSDK website. I hopped on the website and sure enough, in advance of the story airing, there were some great pictures of Stacy and I from our interview.
We didn't intentionally color coordinate our outfits, but aren't we cute?
We got an e-mail from Nichole at the news station telling us that the story would run during the 6 a.m. hour on Thursday and I was thrilled with how it turned out.  I was nervous about being on camera and being awkward, but Nichole was really easy to talk to and I think I managed to keep the awkwardness to a minimum.  I loved the soundbites that they used in the story and the footage of us running was great, too.  

Check out our television debut here

As mentioned in the story, if you'd like to support Nichole and Sara as they train for the upcoming GO! St. Louis® Marathon and Family Fitness Weekend, please click here. The NBC station that gathers the most support will have their anchors flown to New York City to run the MORE/FITNESS/SHAPE Half Marathon with Natalie Morales and Erica Hill! Every pledge counts and I'm happy to support Nichole and Sara on this journey! 

Speaking of runching, I was able to get out for two runches this week, which felt great.  I'm glad I got those runches in, too, before I started feeling blah!  I've also been drinking a lot of water this week and I didn't eat out for lunch at all, both of which are huge accomplishments for me as of late.

Here's to baby steps to get back on track!

"Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step."

Monday, March 23, 2015

Re-evaluating Goals

I still feel really pumped from the excitement of last week and I've even started a bit of research about how to pursue my writing dreams!  I put some pretty big, scary goals out there, but I've also taken some time to re-evaluate an existing big, scary goal; my Declare It Day Goal.  My goal was to do a 2:30 half marathon by the end of 2015.  I knew when I put that goal out there that it would be a huge challenge for me, but over the past few weeks, I've realized it is almost an impossible goal and I feel as though I'm setting myself up for failure.  I'm generally a pretty optimistic person, but considering my time in Little Rock a few weeks ago was 3:26:53, I would need to take almost an hour off of my finish time and I'm just not sure that is feasible in the next 8 1/2 months.

Here is a bit of the current battle in my head.  On the one hand, I feel like I need to, and want to, commit to the goal I set out to do.  I mean, I put it out there on the Internet for goodness sake!  Is it going to be hard?  Hell yes, but I'm not one to back down from a challenge.  

On the other hand, is it really an attainable goal given the state of my running and my weight at the moment?  I plan to work on both this year, but I feel like I am starting from square one and I'm not sure this is the right goal for me right now.  

Or am I just shying away from this goal because it's going to be really hard?  Maybe, but I usually don't shy away from a challenge.  I'm also not exactly at my mental or physical, I can do anything peak.  

My friend, Stacy, asked me what led me to the 2:30 goal and I truly can't articulate why I chose that time goal.  It has always been the number that I think of when running a half and I realize, that isn't a good premise for a goal, but it's just stuck in my head as the holy running grail for me. 

I think it might be better for me to revise my Declare It Day goal to run a 2:45 half marathon.  It feels like a cop out to back down from my original goal, considering that the point of a goal is to push your boundaries and challenge yourself, but I also think that your goal should be somewhat attainable and I just don't foresee a 2:30 marathon in my future this year.  I think a 2:45 half is certainly still quite a challenge and will involve a lot of hard work, commitment, and focus on my part and it is at least in the realm of possibility for me. 

What do you think?  Is a 2:30 half marathon a reasonable goal considering that would involve a nearly 60 minute improvement over my current time?  Or is it reasonable to re-evaluate and set a revised goal?  

Along these same lines, I saw the below quote at a local high school this weekend and I adore it!  However, it does make me wonder if all of the above thoughts are just obstacles because I've taken my eyes off my 2:30 goal.  The internal dilemma continues!

"Obstacles are things a person sees when they take their eyes off their goals." ~ E. Joseph Crossman

Friday, March 20, 2015

Feeling inspired

Friends, I think I have turned a corner!  For so long, I have felt uninspired and unmotivated and I had no clue how to pick myself up by the bootstraps and get back in my zone.  I think I can honestly say, though, that the past few days have given me my mojo back!  A series of events and experiences has brought me to this point and I feel inspired, motivated, empowered, excited, and like I have a renewed sense of purpose.  I have been buzzing all day and have likely scared a few of my friends and co-workers in the process, but I can't contain my excitement.

So what has led me to this point?  Last night, I attended a panel discussion at a local university about women in leadership and it was phenomenal.  In addition to being moderated by the (female) president of said university, the panelists also included Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear, and Kathy Mazzarella, President and CEO of Graybar.  It was an eye-opening and inspiring event and I think the most important points that I came away with were:

  • "If you don't have your dream job, find it or make it."  Maxine Clark (I thought this was beautiful and while easier said than done, it has inspired me to follow one of my dreams, but more on that below.)
  • Don't let other people put you in a box.  Other people's biases are just that.  Their biases are their problems, not yours.  You belong at the table, you belong as a participant in important conversations.  Make your presence known.  Speak loudly and confidently.  Words of wisdom from Kathy Mazzarella. 

I walked away from the event feeling like I could do anything and I can.  Maxine's comments helped push a thought/dream/goal to the forefront of my mind when I, myself, have been pushing it further back in my mind.  I love to write and over the past few years, I've found that writing this blog has been just as cathartic for me as running.  In the back of my mind, the far corners of my brain, really, I've thought that maybe I'd like to pursue writing even further and write articles or maybe even a book someday.  I'm not sure if fear or insecurity has kept that thought in the background, but it's time to push that goal to the forefront and start to make it a reality.  I want to write a book someday about running and weight loss and hopefully inspire others to reach their goals, both health/fitness goals and general life goals.  With that being said, first and foremost, I want to resume regular blogging! 

This morning, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to Nichole, a morning anchor for our local NBC affiliate along with my "runching" buddy, Stacy, about the importance that running has played in our lives.  It was an honor and pleasure to talk to her as part of a story they are doing about women and running.  Talking about running and the impact it has had on my life was reinvigorating and the perfect reminder to challenge myself and get back to my running roots.

Stacy, the wonderful Nichole Berlie from KSDK, and me this morning in the park
As if the morning wasn't exciting enough, Stacy and I decided to get breakfast after talking to Nichole and we went to the cafe at the visitors center at the park near our office.  As we sat and talked, I noticed a woman go by with a friend and I thought she looked familiar.  I told Stacy that I thought she was Amy Marxkors, who writes columns for our local Fleet Feet newsletter. I adore Amy's columns and I've shared some of her posts on my blog, because they are so timely, motivational, and inspiring.  So often, I feel like Amy is speaking directly to me because her blog posts are so apropos.  She headed on her way, but then returned awhile later and I told Stacy again that I thought it was Amy.  Stacy encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone and go ask if she was, in fact, Amy.  So, in true fangirl fashion, I went up to her and asked if her name was Amy and when she confirmed that was her name, I double checked and asked if she was Amy Marxkors who writes the Fleet Feet newsletters.  It was her and we had a lovely conversation with her!  She is just as delightful in person as she is in her posts and it was so nice to meet her and talk for a bit!

Me, Amy, and Stacy.  #fangirlmoment
The combination of talking to Nichole and Amy reignited my goal to run a full marathon someday.  Yes, a full marathon.  I told myself during my first half that I would never, ever do a full and I reiterated the same sentiment at mile 12.5 of my most recent half marathon a few weeks ago (recap to come soon!).  I could not fathom doing another 13.5 miles at that point. However, my wise Napa teammate, Erin, reminded me that of course I couldn't fathom a full at that point, because I hadn't trained for it.  Light bulb moment for me, for sure.  Mentally and physically at that moment, I was not prepared for a full, but when the time comes, I will train properly for it and will be ready for it.  The full marathon is still a ways off; I'm thinking late 2016 or early 2017, but I'm putting it out there in the universe.  It's big and scary, but most good things are, right? 

So there are two big, scary, exciting dreams that I am putting out there for all to see: pursue writing (continue writing, write articles, write a book) and do a full marathon!

What are some of your big, exciting, scary goals and dreams, both short-term and long-term?  

"Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you." Marsha Norman

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Declare It Day 2015

I was introduced to Fellow Flowers last year by my Napa teammate, Jodi, and I love their mission and their flowers!  I ordered the Turquoise (Believe) flower last summer because I loved the statement behind that flower:

To look within, to overcome. Loving myself enough. I have the will, the determination and the courage to defy the odds...and inspire. My challenges have made me a fighter - a survivor. They will not define me or confine me. I will run my own race. Different, beautiful and all my own. I believe in me and my potential. And I'm going to succeed because I'm brave enough to think I can.

I brought my flower to Napa with me and I loved wearing it.  It reminded me to believe in myself and I loved the extra pizazz it added to my hair!  

In 2012, Mel and Tori (the founders of Fellow Flowers) launched Declare It Day "to create an inviting space for women to not just declare goals but also feel supported in the process."  This year, I decided to participate because I really want to push myself to run a 2:30 half marathon by the end of the year and I know it is going to be a challenge for me.  I appreciate all of the resources that Mel and Tori provide to help with accountability, as well as support, and I hope that by putting my goal on paper and out into the virtual world that I can crush my goal by the end of the year!

My 2:30 half marathon goal was included in my AMR goals as well, but I wanted to take it a step further, so here is my 2015 Declare It Day goal:

I Got This!
It's not too late to declare your goal for this year.  Visit the Fellow Flowers Declare It Day website or the Declare It Day Virtual Party Facebook page  for more information, including the Declare It Day declaration and a free Fellow Flowers Girls Guide to Goal Setting.  I downloaded the guide the other day and I can't wait to dive into it; it's filled with inspiration and tools to help anyone reach their goals.

I know that my goal is challenging, but it isn't impossible and I'm excited to push my boundaries and crush my goal by the end of the year. 

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." ~ Zig Ziglar 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Setting some goals

I've had some time to reflect on my post last week about where I am today, as well as absorb the kind words and great advice from many people, which was much appreciated. I feel like I am in a good place and am looking forward to a great 2015!

A few weeks ago, before the New Year, my favorite Mother Runners, Sarah and Dimity, had a contest in which we were asked to share our 2015 goals.  It was fun to think about the upcoming year and what my goals would be.  Without further ado, here are the goals I shared on the AMR Facebook page:

Interestingly enough, the second item above was also one of my resolutions for 2014 (as I discovered while sifting through some blog posts from last year a few weeks ago), so clearly I still need to work on it, but I figure it is a good thing to keep in mind all the time.  

What are your goals for 2015?

"Your goals are the road maps that guide you and show you what is possible for your life."  ~ Les Brown 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

For Runner

Today, I ran for Runner.  Runner Aitken, a sweet boy who passed away last night at the age of 9 from a rare form of pediatric liver cancer.   I learned about Runner a few weeks ago after receiving our local Fleet Feet newsletter.  The St. Louis Track Club has an annual Winter race series, called the Frostbite Series, and the next race in the series was set to take place the next day, Saturday, January 10th.  What made this particular race so special was that it was an opportunity to grant Runner's wish to run in a race with his dad, Mike.

Runner was born with a rare genetic seizure disorder and from the time he was born, his dad would push him in a jogging stroller and take him on runs.  It was an opportunity for father and son to bond, but it was also very therapeutic for Runner when he become immobile.  In late 2014,  Runner was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric liver cancer and his wish was to go to Disneyworld to run a race with his Dad.  Unfortunately, Runner's declining health made it impossible for him to travel to Disney, so Make-a-Wish Missouri and the St. Louis Track Club decided to bring the race to him!

Mike and Runner were going to participate in the 20K race that Saturday and runners and spectators alike were encouraged to wear green in support of liver cancer.  Make-a-Wish was also organizing cheering sections for Runner and I felt compelled to go cheer on this sweet boy who had been given so much to handle, especially considering that my Dad had fought liver cancer, too.

I made a few posters that night for Runner (note to self: use stronger paper and/or poster board when making signs.  On windy winter days, regular paper is fickle and bendy) and Nick and I set out the next morning to cheer Runner on.  It was bitterly cold, but we bundled up, accessorized with some green items, and made our way to the park.

Wearing green and ready to cheer on Runner!

Nick was a bit cold, but super excited to get a cowbell from a sweet stranger to help cheer Runner on!
Snuggling to stay warm
Mike and Runner #inspiring
We were able to get to the starting line at the perfect time, right before Mike said a few words thanking everyone for their support.  We cheered them at the starting line and since the course was actually several loops around the park we saw them two more times.  There was quite a good crowd of spectators for Runner, which was really awesome.

Nick and I started to feel the effects of the cold and since Nick had a Scouting field trip that morning, we needed to head out, so unfortunately we didn't get to see Mike and Runner cross the finish line.  
Here is a great story about Runner and Mike's race, though, which was featured on one of our local news stations.  We had a really great time cheering them on, though, and Runner really left an impression on Nick and I.  

I began following Runner's journey on his Facebook page and Nick would often ask me about Runner.  I kept him updated although as Runner's health deteriorated over the past week or so, it was a bit difficult figuring out the best way to explain it to him.  Nick, of course, was aware of my Dad's illness and passing, but it's hard to explain to a 7 year old that someone just a bit older than he is also facing the same difficult illness.  I told him a few days ago that Runner wasn't doing well and was beginning his journey to Heaven and he told me that he would keep Runner and his family in his prayers.  I've said it before, but I'll say it again, Nick always amazes me with his compassion and empathy and it is one of my favorite things about him.  Tonight, after I told him Runner passed away, he gave me a hug and said "I bet Bebaw [my dad] is showing Runner around Heaven."  Yes, sweet boy, I'm sure he is!

I can't even begin to imagine the pain and heartache that Mike, Julie (Runner's mom), and Dash (his little brother who is about Jack's age) are feeling right now.  On the one hand, Runner isn't in pain anymore and is at peace, but speaking from experience, I know how little that can help when you are grieving.  It is truly amazing, though, to see the impact that Runner had in his short life.  He donated a small portion of his skin a few days ago to help scientists research his genetic disorder, his corneas were donated upon his passing, and he inspired so many people with his strength in the face of such difficult circumstances.

I planned to go for a run at lunch today, but I really didn't want to go.  The howling wind woke me up several times this morning and it was cold.  I just didn't want to go and was thinking of just about any excuse to not go.  Then I thought of Runner and how much he loved to run with his Dad.  I thought of how sad his Dad might be on his next run, but also about how now Runner was surely running free. I thought of Runner's determination and strength and so I put on my running clothes and laced up my shoes.

It wasn't my fastest run, nor was it the most euphoric run, but it was a therapeutic run.  I saw a cardinal on a grassy field about a mile into my run and it reminded me of Runner spreading his wings and soaring in Heaven.  I took a different route through the park and ran by the Korean War Memorial that my Dad and I visited almost 8 years ago.  A place that I hadn't been to since that visit and frankly, I forgot existed.  I went over to visit the memorial again and sat on a bench for a few minutes just thinking about my Dad.  I honestly felt his presence for just a minute, as if he was sitting on the bench with me.  It was a gloomy, chilly afternoon, so I didn't stay too long at the memorial, but it was a nice moment.

The cardinal that reminded me of Runner

Having a moment at the Korean War Memorial

I'm really glad I went out for a run; it was really good to reflect a bit and remember two special people who left large footprints on the hearts of so many.

Rest in peace, sweet Runner.

"God saw you getting tired and a cure was not to be. So He put His arms around you and whispered 'Come to Me.'"

Monday, January 26, 2015

Looking forward, not back

This post has been a long time in the making and I wish I could say it was because I have been busy or otherwise occupied.  While those things are true, in reality, I have put off writing this post out of embarrassment and it has taken me awhile to get to a place where I feel comfortable posting it and have accepted where I am and where I'm going.

I have obviously been seriously neglecting my blog over the past month and even going as far back as the past 6 months or so, I was sporadic with my postings.  I wasn't in a good place with my weight or my running and I felt like the blog was becoming monotonous with frequent refrains of "I didn't run today" or "I need to get back on track and get in the zone with exercise and eating."  It seemed easier to avoid blogging and the reality that my weight loss and my running had become virtually nonexistent in my life.  That is the exact opposite, though, of what my intentions with this blog were.

When I started blogging in June 2013, I set out to document this journey; all of it.  The good, the bad, and the ugly, because let's face it, it isn't easy.  There will be good days and bad days, just like in life.  I wanted to give an honest, raw look at my own personal journey to hold myself accountable and to perhaps inspire someone like me, who never thought they could run or lose weight and keep it off to do just that.  

When I started this journey on January 5th, 2013, I weighed 286.2 lbs, which I hate seeing in print (still makes me cringe), but I finally published the number on the blog because it was important for me to be transparent and as much as it mortifies me, it's part of me and my story.  For a time, weight fell off of me and it was exhilarating.  My clothes were fitting better and eventually began to hang off of me, resulting in some new clothes and donating my bigger clothes.

I was in my zone with an indestructible willpower.  Yes, I let myself have occasional treats, but generally speaking, I was eating well, tracking my food, and working out (running and cross-training) on a very regular basis.  My running, which started out at a snail's pace, consistently improved both in pace and endurance.  I felt invincible, probably never more so than the day I crossed the finish line of my first 10K in October of 2013.  That day nothing could bring me down.  I was on top of the world and euphoric because I knew that day that I could do anything I set my mind to.  It was also that autumn that I reached my lowest weight in well over a decade.  I weighed in at 221.7 lbs in November 2013, a 64.5 weight loss from just 10 months before.  I was in striking distance of my short-term weight loss goal of 200 lbs and my long-term goal weight of 180 lbs.

I wish I could pinpoint what changed and where I lost my willpower.  I think it is a combination of things; this month marks the 1 year anniversary of my Dad getting sick leading to his death last March.  Dealing with his illness, his passing, and subsequent post-funeral necessities (some of which I still haven't fully resolved, like thank you notes to everyone whose kindness I can't repay.  I figure I have a year window, right??) affected more than I could have imagined.  I knew it wouldn't be easy, but nothing prepares you for the loss of a parent, especially so quickly and unexpectedly.

I am still grieving and trying to process his death, which I guess is to be expected given that it hasn't quite been a year yet, but even after the initial, immediate shock of his death passed, I still felt in a slump.  I knew in my heart and mind that I could get back on track, but did I really want to?  The rational answer is "Yes! Of course you do, you want to be healthy and be a good role model for your boys, you want to feel good, you want to get to your goal weight!"  However, the grieving Laura (and not the invincible Lovely Laura) who is dealing with her own mortality in light of her Dad's passing is saying "It was such hard work losing all that weight in the first place.  Life is short; enjoy your boys when they are little, eat ice cream when you want, live life to the fullest."  

Living life to the fullest for me the past few months has been not focusing on my physical health.  I do feel like I have been focusing on my mental though, which has meant spending more time with the boys and taking a little (long?) break from blogging and the internet in general.  Most nights lately, I haven't even turned my computer on after getting home from work, which isn't necessarily a bag thing, but it does not bode well for blogging!

Now onto the part of this post that is the hardest for me to type.  As of yesterday, my weight is 259.7 lbs.  My thoughts on this are as follows:

  1. Complete and utter frustrations.  That is entirely too close to my starting weight and I'll be damned if I am ever going to weigh 286 lbs again.  
  2. This means I have gained back almost 40 lbs from when I was at my lowest weight.  (There is a string of expletives exploding in my head right now, but I will spare you from reading said thoughts).
  3. Looking at this from a glass half full point of view, I still have managed to lose (and keep) 26.5 lbs over the past two years.  Silver lining?  I'm trying to look at it that way.  It's hard.  Really hard. 
While we are at the hard stuff, I'll throw this out there:  my running has suffered from my weight gain and from lack of consistent training.  I have reverted back to run/walk intervals and believe me, there is absolutely nothing (nothing!) wrong with run/walk intervals, but my mind is having a hell of a time reconciling that I ran a 10K in its entirety and I feel like I am back where I started when I first started running.  I feel that way, because I am essentially back where I started and I am starting to see that maybe that isn't a bad thing.  
I received a newsletter from our local Fleet Feet stores in early January and I always enjoy Amy Marxkors articles, because I feel like she gets in my head and she knows exactly what to tell me when I need to hear it.  Her article from January 5th ("The Thing About Looking Back") was no different as she spoke about looking back, both in the context of being a race (looking back to see where other runners are in relation to you can cause you to miss what is in front of you, such as dangerous conditions or obstacles) and in life.  This paragraph jumped out at me and I felt like Amy was saying to me "Laura, are you reading this?"

"But looking back can be a tricky thing, because there are two kinds of looking back.  One centers on remembering.  The other, on regret.  The former is healthy.  The latter is crippling.  With the former, you can move on, wiser and stronger.  With the latter, you can't move on at all."  

Wow!  I still get goosebumps reading that quote and believe me, I've read it over and over.  Remembering vs. regretting.  Healthy vs. crippling.  You can move on, wiser and stronger vs. not moving on at all.  

Not only does this speak to me in regards to my running and weight loss but also to my grief about my Dad.  I need to remember the time I had with my Dad and the time he had with my boys instead of drowning in regret about the things he will miss and the things we didn't get to do together.  I need to remember that life is short and to enjoy every moment instead of being terrified and living in fear that everything I know can change in a blink of an eye.  I need to look back on the past two years and remember that I can do anything I put my mind to in regards to weight loss and running instead of constantly beating myself up about where I am now.  I know what works for me and I know how to be successful.  It's time to learn from past successes and focus on today, where I am right now.  

I think this is probably the most difficult post I've written and it brought me to tears.  Not sad tears necessarily, just tears of acceptance and resolve.  So thank you for reading if you've made it this far!

I feel like there is much to update you on, but I think this is enough for tonight!  I hope that your 2015 has started off full of promise and much happiness! 

I think another one of Amy's quotes from the article above is a fitting sign-off for tonight's post.

"Life is too exciting and wonderful to waste looking over your shoulder. Look in the direction you’re moving. All the best stuff is in front of you."