Summer of 2015 I was at my lowest weight and the smallest I have been in forever (before having my oldest son). I’m in the best shape I have ever been and completing triathlons and running farther, faster and was excited to see where my adventures went next. I was signed up for my next half marathon and had an ambitious goal.
I wanted to run the Solider’s Half Marathon in 2 hours and 30 mins. Taking off over 15 mins from my downhill half time of the Teardrop half and over an hour from my first half marathon when I ran the Diva Half in Peachtree City. I trained hard and did speed work. I was getting my speed as I continued to get stronger. Now I ended up getting sick 2 weeks before the race and combined with that and the crazy warm weather, my goal didn’t happen. But I ran hard, did the best I could in the circumstances and felt strong when I finished.
I had no desire to run for a little while in November, I probably took a longer break than I should have, and then I got sick again in December. This was the start (as I look back) of how the high amounts of stress I was under at work was starting to affect my health, fitness and just overall well being. Once I got my want to run again, I started training for New Orleans Half Marathon in February.
For Solider’s half my goal fell apart after about 3 miles. This time I made to the half way point with trying to stay with a pace group and pushing myself. I stopped for a bathroom break (which made me mad that I had to wait so long to pee) and then started back running. I felt off and I wasn’t happy. By 8 miles I was hating this even though it was a beautiful course, flat and the bands and people were great. I stopped at mile 10 to get some Vaseline for a blister I got on my foot. I was annoyed that same socks, same shoes, and same foot creme that I always use resulted in a blister. That doesn’t normally happen. I texted with friends for the last 2 miles and that helped me to finish. It wasn’t any faster than the Solider’s half and that bugged me but I felt stronger for the first 6 miles compared to the first 3 at Solider’s. I wanted to compare data but my wonderful garmin ate my race. The data is gone.
So over Christmas is one of the times that people are more likely to gain weight. I have successfully lost weight the last 2 holiday seasons by joining up with friends in a “competition”, or challenge that you were to not go up in weight or follow a food plan. This past Christmas I went up and I was so mad. I now creeped above a threshold I didn’t want to ever cross again.
I know that my slight increase in weight wasn’t helping me in my running. I wasn’t able to keep the paces I was prior to the holidays and I wasn’t able to run for as long without walking. That was frustrating me. So I pushed onward and ran my two next half marathons – Teardrop Half and HotLanta Half.
So as I moved forward towards my next half, I saw my weight either inching higher or not moving at all despite my knowing how I need to eat and my exercising. I tried changing things up by taking a boot camp, starting strength training (at least trying to be more consistent).
To say that I was frustrated was an under statement.
I see the not good differences in my waist. I finished both of these races with a good time for me. Teardrop I got a 2 min PR, so I finished 2 minutes faster than the previous year time and the Holtlanta I finished only 5 mins slower than my Soldier’s time. The conditions were hotter, humid, hillier than Solider’s so I was very pleased with my time but not pleased with my body.
Through these half’s work did not get better, stress continued to be very high. I would have stress headaches, neck and back soreness and it was affecting my sleep.
So in June of 2016 I joined up with my friend Jessica and started Precision Nutrition program. Over the next several months, I slowly saw positive changes in my body – by loosing inches. I’m way better at loosing inches than I am pounds. That means I am much better at converting the weight from fat to muscle than just loosing fat. I’m gaining muscle which then helps to increase my metabolism.
In October of 2016, a lot of things changed. I vaguely mentioned that I reduced my stress a lot and that I am able to do more things including getting back to blogging. I’m not ready to tell that whole story but I will say one thing. I quit my job.
In a week after this, I lost 3 lbs and 4 inches. This tells you tons on the way that stress and the hormones – cortisol how they affect your body. Ever since this date, I have been slowly loosing inches and a few pounds. I’m seeing improvements in my running, my strength, my biking speed, and my overall health.
I want to show you something – here is me at the Teardrop Half in April 2016 then compared to me this February at the Run the Reagan 10k. In this time I have lost 17 inches. I can see the changes in my face, waist, shoulders and hips. I’ve lost inches from head to toe. This is from following the PN program, massively reducing my stress, consistent strength training and swim/bike/run on a program. I feel healthier, stronger and just overall better. It’s not all peaches and roses but it’s a good change.
Some people do well under high stress (the bad kind) but I do not. I do not thrive in it and it has a negative affect on my health. So in a few weeks I will be running the Teardrop half Marathon again for the 3rd time and I’m excited to see what I can do. I feel stronger, fitter and overall just better. I know you can not control the stress in your world, but if you can make a change, then do it.