The Professor Helps!Professor Jennifer Haston- Author, Speaker, Activist- Accomplice to the Oppressed- helping people live their best lives. Inspiring one person daily!
On Sunday, I ran a 10 mile race. It was harder than I thought and easier than I thought. It should be noted that like so many other things in life this is a baby step of many to get me to that marathon status which is down the road for me.
First of all, I should clarify something, up till Sunday, I had only done 5K’s but after Sunday, I have now done a 15K!!!!!!
a brief recap
Vern’s No Frills- January 18, 2014
Biggest Loser- March 29, 2014
Color Run- May 24, 2014
Casa 5K-September 21, 2014
Holiday 5K Zilker- December 6, 2014
Austin 1020- 10 Mile Run Walk– March 29, 2015
That is 6 different events spanned over several months.. but its worth mentioning that each time I ran (this weekend being no exception) it was different– Vern’s No Frills was crazy cold and and we walked more than we ran but, baby steps. The Biggest Loser was great weather and the run went really well, my partner Susie said she had NEVER seen me run that fast. The Color Run was a LOT of walking.. I just wasn’t in shape for that one.. It was tagged as a FUN run and that was more about me getting out of my comfort zone (see I hate being messy) than a run… CASA was crazy hot and the worst race conditions.. but it was my husband’s first run and super fun to have him there along with Jessica and Adam, Susie, Keely, Michael and CJ.. our team also raised a lot of money for CASA so it was lucrative in other ways. Holiday 5K was actually a 3K but I kept going to make it a full 5K, wasn’t ready for that one either and it was a pretty rough “trail run” and at night.. won’t be doing that again.
So, 10 miles — what can I say about that.. First, I found myself thinking pretty nasty thoughts about the runners ahead of me when I was on mile 4 and they were on mile 8…. ( I think its pretty natural to hate the runner ahead of you sorry but its true… ) Second, the people behind me, I felt pretty good I was ahead of them but was working on keeping myself motiviated. Flashback to before the race, you know how when a big event is looming and you go back and forth between looking forward to it and dreading it/ getting nervous about it? What do you do about that?
I employed several devices. I asked for support from all my “fans” on facebook and twitter and asked some people for some support and motivational messages. It is HARD for me to ask for help but I really needed it. The response was overwhelming. I had people post to support me that I don’t even know that well and tell me how much what I was doing was inspiring them. It really helped drive home the fact that one person really does make a difference. I also drank water and made the decision that while it would be slow (turtle trudging through mud) I would do it and finish. It wasn’t an option to stop and it wasn’t an option to quit.I also had Susie and Jessica who kept encouraging me through the weeks before the race that I could and would in fact do it.
As I say so often, because it is so true, It is allllllll about the baby steps-
I compare it to our debt-free journey. We have been doing lots of things to get debt-free but there are no short-cuts and slow, plodding, step by baby step, dollar by dollar, mile by mile we WILL get there. At one point during the race, I thought to myself it is funny, when you are in it, it doesn’t seem that hard, but before it you build up all this anticipation about how hard it is GOING to be. Mental note to self- Think less, do more. The person who got me through it when the going got hardest was Jessica, she had a running commentary about how I was getting my money’s worth by taking it slowly and not “racing” to the finish. She joined me at mile 4.2 to keep me going, support me and NOT LET ME QUIT. She told me she was proud of me throughout and it really helped to move me through it. At the last mile, (she went above and beyond by pretending to be a cheetah coming to “get” gazelle me (with sound effects) which helped me put some extra bounce in my final steps. As they say, you want to run to the finish, not walk.
I told her I wanted to finish by myself and I did. It FELT INCREDIBLE to take that last stride and finish. I feel extremely accomplished but its important to note, I did not do this alone. I had support and that made all the difference.
Think about it……… and go support someone’s goal today. And if you are pursuing a goal, ASK for help! Sometimes that one encouraging word, phone call, or note can make the difference.
Dear Readers, Today is the day of my week I look forward to the most. Today is cheat day on my diet. Most days I am (along with my husband) eating a paleo diet and I experience the joy of weight loss, energy and overall good health forsaking all those foods that my former fat girl self loved and adored. How did I get here?
I gave up soda. It sounds harder and yet was easier than I thought.
I work in a wonderful place that offers free sodas as one its many, many perks but they don’t have my favourite soda so I justified it like that. I said, okay well they don’t have what I want so I will decide to do without it. After a week without it, I no longer thought about it.
The next thing I gave up was chocolate and the same thing happened. I no longer thought about it after not having it all the time and so on. After we had adapted to the paleo lifestyle for a month, we had a glorious meal full of all the foods we loved and had temporarily given up. It was delectable and oh so very choice. I remember that meal and it was one night over a year ago.
Today, though it is cheat day, I am actually planning to only cheat with one meal instead of three, baby steps, people!
Expand your imagination, and find one thing that you have been talking about doing something about it, today!
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness, concerning all acts of initiative (and creation). There is one elementary truth in ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Do it, and watch what happens.
(insert ABBA here) Dancing Queen in particular.
When I hear the song, “Dancing Queen” it reminds me of 3 things.
1. When I first moved to Austin, I was staying with a friend who came home to hear me playing it on his cd player and said, “my cd player is confused about its identity”
2. When I was driving from Austin to St Louis and my car died and white smoke came out of the hood.
3. The movie Mama Mia and how much fun I had watching that movie with my good friend Sharon and then the joy I had in getting it as a gift from some dear friends of mine so I could enjoy it over and over again.
and then #4. This morning I heard it while listening to the soundtrack on my ipod nano and working out for the 10th time since the year has begun. It’s starting to get a little easier, and I hope eventually when I work out, I can wear this face you see above as I work out and truly enjoy it like some other people I know. I keep taking it one step at a time and hoping it will get easier and so far it has. Maybe it will also become fun. Who knows!!!
Dear Readers, I am taking a class right now that implores that you “be curious and be patient with yourself and others”
It occurred to me this is excellent life advice. Think about it. If you are curious, you are always learning. If you are patient, you lower your heart rate and your level of stress.
For instance, if you have a bad day or are stressed out about how you did at work, you can take the stance of being curious to figure out what you need to do to improve things. Instead of judging yourself for the difficulty, you can be patient with yourself as you learn about what needs to change.
On a personal note, in the last two weeks, I have gained almost 10 pounds due to an excess of eating foods not on our paleo diet. As my nurse friend pointed out, its easy to pack on the pounds when you go off such a strict diet. In the past, I would have shamed myself and tried to hide it or make excuses or feel guilty but now, with the advent of this advice, I am finding myself to be more patient with myself and forgiving the cheating and have a renewed vigor to resume the lifestyle choice of paleo, and give myself some grace for the past. To be clear, this is not license to continue the cheating, this is an acknowledgment that this is something I am still working on, just like the rest of life, we are all evolving and moving to whatever our next level is going to be. So I implore you, be curious and be patient. The results will surprise you. Think about it!
It was a great day, my best friend got married to a wonderful woman, my husband twirled me on the floor and we had a great time visiting New York. I have been to the city twice before, but this time I got to see it through his eyes and you know what, it was even better than I remembered. It’s probably one of my favourite things about being married is seeing things through his eyes.
I am SO excited to be wearing the shirt my husband had made for me with my slogan
“Nobody has a voice like Kermit, just like nobody has a voice like you”
as created in my 10th speech (detailed here)
Jeremy originally bought it from CafePress in a Large thinking it would fit me but realized after it arrived it was too small, but due to CafePress being super amazing , they let him keep it and then sent him the 2X which I happily tore into on Christmas morning and have been wearing for months with the duplicate in the back of my drawer waiting, waiting, I tried it on this morning and OH MY GOD, ladies and germs it fits!
Thanks to Paleo and all the wonderful changes my husband and I have been implementing I have never looked or felt better. I am still working towards my ideal weight but more important than the weight loss is the increased confidence and overall happiness!
This Saturday I am walking in a 5K. I will pause for your reaction.
This former fat kid, who was told many times, “you have such a pretty face, you just need to get rid of the baby fat” is walking in a 5K. I never thought that was possible. I use the phrase “shattering expectations” very purposefully. I have a picture of myself as fat which started in middle school and pervades daily. My only choice is to shatter that image with everything that I do that defies that image.
So when I look in the mirror I do not see the slimming figure I am becoming. I see the overweight teenager who was mercilessly teased. In other words, someone who would NEVER walk a 5K let alone run in one. (my next goal)
Funny thing about memories, they aren’t always accurate. In this case, they aren’t even close. I was recently going through some pictures of me in sixth grade (see below) and I am not fat, was not fat and this was my figure going through high school but somewhere along the way someone told me I was fat and I believed it over and over and over again and it is only now in looking back and considering the things I told myself and the relationship I have with food that I realize I am a healthy weight for my size and losing the weight is within my grasp and I have already lost 45 pounds of the weight I have carried along with a lot of negative thoughts about myself.
At any stage and any age, support is a good thing. I said that to someone last week when they said, I shouldn’t need help at my age and I got to thinking about how needless that is.
Thought I know that intellectually, emotionally this remains a difficulty for me. I have a very hard time asking for help, I am working on this and my husband has made it much easier for me to ask and receive help graciously.
Case in point, we are working on gaining better health by eating better and exercising and he has been and continues to be an amazing resource for help, encouragement and love. This week is the first week I have lost weight in three weeks, he also decided that it was a good idea to measure the inches and I am proud to say I have lost an inch from my waist and my stomach which is extremely good progress and has reinvigorated my enthusiasm for the process.
Putting yourself out there is very scary but I have been posting photographs on Facebook and getting the encouragement of friends because I couldn’t see I was making progress but the outpouring of support, and just loving remarks could not have been better timed to help move me forward so I wanted to say thank you and hope that my post will encourage you to ask for help if you need it, even if its difficult.
I have always held the belief that making or breaking a habit followed one simple formula:
Have idea to change or start activity+ 21 days of doing or not doing that activity =Habit Formed
However, when opening my email today and reading an excerpt from a new book, by Jeremy Dean, “Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick
seems to indicate the harder the change, the longer the timeframe to move it from “idea” to “habit”. The range has been found to be anywhere from 21 to 96 and sometimes more depending on the complexity of the change. I have to say as someone trying to change eating habits, reading habits and spending habits all in one year, this comes as something of a relief.