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Endings & Beginnings.

My first “Blog Day” fell on Wednesday, November 7th, 2012. I sat at my desk at work, manically refreshing my web browser until suddenly, there it was. I held my breath, cringing at my name, at that god awful picture of myself in a coral sundress resembling a muumuu. I started to imagine all the ex-boyfriends, ex-best friends, family friends, co-workers who could be reading what suddenly felt far too personal to be sharing out loud. Too late.

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And before I could fire off the text saying that I changed my mind about this whole ordeal, people responded. Old friends.(Soon to be) new friends. Family members. High school classmates. Saying they were proud of me, they were inspired by me, that they too felt these things. And although it was sometimes downright embarrassing to lay it all out there, it was these encouraging words that helped me continue to share my story.

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Once my Rockstar journey wrapped up I moved my musings to this little site. My space to write, vent, share goals, fears, accomplishments. I’ve always felt like I was just talking to you, my friend, instead of posting off into the wide open interwebs. And because I love routine, I continued to write my weekly post for the next 119 Wednesdays (give or take a few schedule changes).

Last week was the first week there was no Blog Day.

I had been thinking about it for a while, going back and forth on how long I would continue this. The decision didn’t come easily. Running is my outlet. Writing is too. Together they have helped me on this long, hard, absolutely incredible journey of self discovery. I never started blogging to become famous, or because I wanted it to become my career (Sponsored posts and giveaways just aren’t my cup of tea). I wrote with two purposes.

In a world where thigh gaps are given more praise than powerful quads and wedding dresses are sized to make us feel like bridal hippopotamuses, I wanted to put it all out there. I wanted to tell the girls who are sausaged into their size 14 jeans that I’ve been there, that I know what it’s like to feel trapped in a body you don’t want. That some days you tell yourself you’re going to start skipping lunch to lose weight, only to end up eating everything in sight at 9pm. That I’ve cried in front of a mirror and a pile of clothes that just don’t fit. I wanted to tell anyone who’s ever felt these feelings that it’s okay to ask for help. To want to live a healthier life, even if it currently seems impossible. That teaching yourself to run is hands down the shittiest and most empowering experience of your life. That finding people who love, encourage, and support you can open you up to a world you never thought possible. That learning to love your body for what it can do instead of how it compares to others is a breath of fresh air you’ve just never felt before.

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Ever since I dove into this adventure (come on now- I’m a swimmer and we all know I love a good analogy) I’ve had so many supports to keep me afloat. Nutrition, personal training sessions, triathlon swim classes… my version of Swimmies and Noodles. And while I’ll never stop appreciating the support they’ve provided- I’ve known when it was time to try and swim a few strokes on my own. In a way, this blog has been another form of support. In the beginning I needed it to keep me on track, to keep me from chickening out on these big scary goals. I don’t know that I need that anymore. This little slice of the internet has become my very own virtual scrapbook. Anytime I’m in doubt, anytime I feel like I can’t do something, I have all of these experiences to go back to. I can go back to what it was like the day I lost 50 pounds. What running 3 miles without stopping felt like. The unbelievable experience of my first triathlon. The mental struggle of my first half marathon. The fact that I ran the BOSTON F’ING MARATHON. All of those accomplishments live here, along with the feelings, bad days, and hard work that went into them. And just like all the other supports I’ve had along the way, I know that in the off chance I start to panic and sink on my own, I can reach right back out for help.

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So maybe this isn’t a goodbye, maybe it’s just a see you later. Maybe after a few weeks without Wednesday morning posts I will realize that I miss my little piece of the world. And because I don’t want to say goodbye and I love a good quote- I want to end today’s post with one of my favorites.  I found it on a card at the end of my Rockstar sessions and it so appropriately fit that time in my life. It does again now.

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That is the beginning” – Louis L’Amour

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A balancing act.

If you don’t have anything nice to say…don’t say anything at all.

We’ve heard this saying over and over again our entire lives. As much as I try to practice it let’s be honest- I’m a girl, and sometimes I can be a total bitch. So what happens when you write a weekly personal blog and quite frankly, don’t have anything nice to say? What happens when things get personal, and you realize you’re writing to an unknown audience (Or even worse, people you know!)? Do you just skip a blog day? Post an empty page? Or do you make up some sunshine-and-happiness-bs, post an inspirational quote, and pretend like you’re fine?

Ever since my first post I’ve tried to write in the confines of “keeping it nice”. I never want this to be a space of doom and gloom, whining, and looking for sympathy. But at the same time- I made a promise to myself that I’d always keep it real. I’m not going to tell you how glorious I feel if in reality I just want to crawl in bed and eat my weight in mac ‘n cheese. Trust me- you’ll know.

So I’m getting personal here. Spilling my deep dark thoughts. I’ve been feeling pretty half ass lately. Definitely not working to my full potential. My workouts have been off, but with reason: I’ve been sick (yes, the same god damn cold that I’ve had since Christmas Eve), my shins had been really inflamed, and the Polar Vortex struck earth. All logical reasons as to why I haven’t been able to do what I normally do. But in my head, they sound like a bunch of excuses. And excuses landed me where I was two years ago. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve heard that I’m never going to get better unless I slow down, or that I need to let my shins recover, or that I just need to take a rest day. But in my twisted head, rest days are a sign of weakness. In my mind a day off is going to spiral into the Kathleen who used to go to the gym on Monday, take Tuesday off, and by Wednesday was back at square one. I can’t stop, won’t stop, because quite simply I’m terrified of what will happen when I do.

So while I pushed through the sickness, and the shin pain, and the freezing cold, I could see the spiral happening. When I quit my swim workout in frustration that I couldn’t even make it a half mile without a break, I knew something was wrong. And when what was supposed to be a 4 mile tempo run put me into crying hysterics, the red flag came up. This isn’t okay, this isn’t normal. But what do you do when the thing that you love and is your de-stresser in life.. is stressing you out?

I headed to yoga Sunday morning hoping to quiet my mind and soothe my tired body. But I found myself fumbling through warrior pose, and that quiet time at the end when you’re supposed to lie all still and relaxed? I am surprised the entire room couldn’t hear my thoughts.

For the past year and a half I’ve been on a whirlwind of a journey, there’s no denying it. My body is different, my mindset is different, even my soul feels different. Before I even finish one goal I’m thinking about the next. It’s no wonder I’m exhausted. I’m sure the trained professionals and those who read my blog but can’t stand me (I know you’re out there…I’m a bitch too remember?) have been waiting for the inevitable crash.

I have to keep reminding myself that I’m still new to this world. Still testing my little runner legs. There’s so much out there I want to learn, and do, and prove to myself and I’ll get there eventually. But I need to find my way, find my balance.

So here’s to a new week. Clear(er) lungs. Shins that are frozen not from the Polar Vortex, but from the ice massages I’ve been faithfully giving myself. Here’s to taking it one step at a time. To listening to my body when it needs a break. To trusting those who know best. Here’s to finding my balance so that this world I’ve discovered lasts me a lifetime.

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