Wednesday, August 29, 2012


photo I’m just over 2/3 of the way through my 5k training. For 12 weeks I’ve been slowly improving. When I began, I was alternating 1 minute of jogging and 1-1/2 minutes of walking. I thought for sure in those first few weeks that there was just no way I’d ever get to the place where I could jog an entire 5k.

Tomorrow morning when I wake up, I’m going to get dressed, lace up my sneakers, and jog for 25 minutes straight. To athletes out there and to people who have been fit at some point in their lives, this might not sound like much of an accomplishment, but as trite as it sounds, thinking about it almost brings me to tears. It feels very surreal when I get done with my run. Sometimes I just laugh out loud, into the quiet of the morning, with no one else around to hear, because it seems so unlikely that it could be possible! I jogged for 25 minutes! Unreal!

Please believe me when I commit to you that if I can do this, you can do this! Start small. Work your way through. Make sure someone is there to hold you accountable. But most of all, have at least one good reason to change your life, because in those moments when your quads are cramping, your ankle hurts, you’re out of breath, and you feel like you can’t take another step, you have got to have a reason to keep going, a reason to push through.

Honestly, before I started training, I didn’t put much thought into my reasons. But what I’ve noticed is, in those moments when I want to quit, my mind automatically wanders to those reasons. Here are a few of mine:

  1. To motivate others. If you know me personally, you know that being a good example to other people is important to me. I have always desired to be someone that people can look up to and can learn from. If I’m not taking care of myself, how can I expect others to take care of themselves?
  2. To build confidence. Visibly, my body hasn’t changed much. The most notable change so far is that my calves are really muscular now! But my shirts and pants don’t feel any looser. I don’t really look that different. But I feel so different. When I look in the mirror, I see a beautiful woman, a strong woman who is capable and powerful. When you respect yourself enough to take care of yourself, your eyes are opened to your strength, which is one of your most stunning attributes!
  3. To prevent health issues in the future. It is no secret that I have a blood clotting disorder. I have seen the damage this condition has done in my own immediate family, and I never want to repeat these problems in my own life. My future and the future of my family depends upon my health, so I mean to take control of it.
  4. To be the best I can be for my husband. A lot of people say that you “let yourself go” when you get into a serious relationship. To an extent, that is true—you become very comfortable around your mate, which can be a wonderful thing. But if I can’t take care of myself for my husband, my lifelong partner, for whom can I? It’s not just about looking my best, either, although I would be lying if I said that isn’t a bonus. It’s about being an inspiration to the person who inspires me. Part of our responsibility and privilege to each other is to push one another to live well.
  5. To prove to myself that I can do it! I was never in sports. I’m the kid who tripped on the kickball and got the wind knocked out of her. I’m the kid who hung helplessly on the rope, unable to move up, while the gym teacher yelled at her to climb. I’m the kid who gave up after one sprint across the basketball court, and probably faked an injury just to be done for the day. I have built this wall of impossibility around myself through all of these experiences over the course of my life, and I realize that I am the only person who can tear those walls down.

And tear them down I will!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

no turning back

Today begins Week 6/18—when this week is over I’ll be 1/3 of the way done with my training! It’s hard to believe that I’ve come from jogging 60-second intervals to 180-second intervals, and even harder to believe that next week I’ll be jogging up to 300 seconds at a time (don’t get ahead of yourself, Misty). A lot of factors have contributed to the fact that I’ve been able to stay motivated:

1. A strong desire for changeThe saying goes that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink; the same is true for any fitness goal. So many people admire healthful living and fitness in other people, but admiration and desire aren’t the same thing. If you truly, truly desire something, you will go after it, and you will get it. I’ve spent many years being wishy-washy about being healthier and living better, and the bottom line is, being fit enough to jog 3 miles at a time wasn’t enough of a priority for me. I have no other excuse. You can only succeed if you really, truly desire to! This is the most vital motivational factor.

2. Tangible results & a goalThis is something I’ve always been missing in my training, and I think this is a key reason I’ve been able to stay on track with this routine. By using the Couch to 5k training program, I can see my results week after week. I know that, so far, I’ve increased my jog intervals by 120 seconds since I started! And because I’ve been tracking it, I know I’ve improved my weight training routine time (same routine every week) by 06:14! Both of these things indicate that my body is improving in strength and endurance. Having a goal at the end, too, is vital here. I know I’m working toward jogging a full 5k, and I can push myself toward that goal when I feel tired or unmotivated.

3. Living healthfully in other areas of lifeI believe my training would be a lot harder if I didn’t have other healthy habits besides jogging/walking and weight training. It’s important that you eat a balanced diet. I wouldn’t call myself a health nut by any means. I have canned vegetables and boxed snacks in my pantry just like most Americans. But portion control is important; eating veggies with every meal is important; indulging only every once in a while (I limit myself to no more than one indulgence per day) is important; drinking lots of water is important; avoiding all kinds of substance abuse (smoking, alcoholism, drugs, caffeine) is important! I know a lot of people who change one area of their lives and don’t change others and they never feel results. Living healthfully takes effort in all areas of life.

4. AccountabilityThis is so, so, so, SO important! I’ve been telling everyone—family, friends, the entire Facebook community—that I’m on this program. A lot of times, being accountable only to yourself isn’t enough to keep you going. In my case, when I don’t want to get up in the morning and go for my jog, I remind myself that everyone is counting on me to succeed in the way I’ve been telling them I will! I’m not just doing it for myself anymore! And you don’t have to tell everyone—you can have one accountability partner, someone who’ll check up on you and who expects you to check up on them, too.

Those four factors have been keeping me going over the last 5+ weeks of training. Yesterday, I added a 5th factor:

5. A pair of real running shoes!Welldang. Now that I’ve spent a pretty penny on a pair of actual running shoes, I have no excuse! I’m going to get my money’s worth out of these!


I should get them in a few days (the store didn’t have my size in the right color so they had to order them). What a massive difference when I put those babies on my feet in the store yesterday! I can’t wait to switch out my current shoes (they’re actually walking shoes—yikes!) for these in a couple days.

If nothing else, an excuse to buy another pair of shoes should motivate you, right? ;)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

the nectar of the gods

Today’s “feels like” temperature high was 104 degrees Fahrenheitwatah; that’s pretty typical for Nashville lately. There’s one thing sustaining me during my workouts in this heat—water, water, water, the nectar of the gods.

Usually I do a fairly good job drinking enough water. I almost always get 64 ounces (that’s eight 8-ounce glasses of water for all my fellow mathdicapped people out there) in a day. But lately my goal has been 96 ounces since I’m spending more time outside and plenty of time sweating bullets.

I found a great iPhone app called Waterlogged to help me stay on track—of course the best part is that it’s free. It’s really simple to use; it has a no-frills, basic interface. You put in your goal amount of water you’d like to drink each day and input water as you drink it. It’s been a vital tool this past week as the temperatures have been brutal!

In other news, I’ve finished Week 4/18. I improved my weight training time by another 01:04 (for a total improvement so far of 01:29). And today I made it through the first jog of Week 5 which took me from my usual 1-1/2-minute intervals to 3-minute intervals! I struggled through the last interval but kept telling myself to go, go, go! I got through it!

It’s amazing to me that in four weeks I’ve gone from struggling to jog for 1 minute at a time to jogging 3 minutes at a time today! It may seem like a small accomplishment, but I daresay I’m proud of myself. :) I’ve got my eyes on the prize—the endurance to jog 3.1 miles without stopping!

That’s a prize worth sweating (and rehydrating) for!

Friday, June 22, 2012

the club

Apparently runners are like smokers. Of course there are some obvious lifestyle differences, but I’ve discovered one thing that makes them similar. Being a smoker automatically puts you in the smoker club—you’re friends with any smoker you might find standing outside on a smoke break. And being a runner automatically puts you in the runner club—you’re friends with anybody you jog past on your morning run. I’ve gone jogging/walking nine times now since I started training, and every time during those runs I’ve come across someone, I’ve felt an instant kinship. It doesn’t matter if you can jog 60 seconds at a time or 20 miles at a time—you’re in the club.

I’m feeling really good at the end of Week 3. This new level of intensity isn’t as hard as I feared. I think a lot of it is mental. I went into this weak with the motto: “You are so much stronger than you think.” I do believe that acknowledging that helped me along. I’ve noticed, too, that I’m not getting as fatigued as before doing things I do almost every day, such as going up the stairs at work. On top of feeling good about the week, I’m also happy to report I improved my weight training time by 00:25 from last week. I know that doesn’t seem like much, but any progress is good progress, no matter how small…

…and I am making progress!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

realistic inspiration

First things first, an update on my progress: I’ve finished 2 weeks of my 18-week training plan. Every two weeks, the walk/jog workout increases in intensity. The last workout of the first two weeks felt really great—I eased right through it and didn’t feel too fatigued at all, so I think the plan is just the right pace. We’ll see when I start the next intensity next week. Honestly I’m a little nervous that it’s going to be too hard, but I have to remind myself that on Day 1 that’s how I felt, and two weeks later that same workout was easy for me! One day at a time!

Now I want to talk about expectations.

The other day I went to Pinterest to find some inspiring quotes and images to help keep me motivated as I go through this 18-week process. I searched for “fitness inspiration.” Here are a couple of the many not inspiring images that came up:

 <— Girl 1.

Problems: This girl is a model—therefore she is undoubtedly airbrushed. (Trust me on this—I’ve done many a paper on the subject of the portrayal of women in media. Those legs have been painted!) Also, most of us will never be that skinny. Her frame is just small. Also, her legs look stronger than they really are because she’s standing on her tiptoes.


girl2<—Girl 2.

Problems: Again, genetics play a big part here. I could never look like this as my ribcage is much larger than this lady’s. Also airbrushed. This woman is a celebrity—it is her job to look her best. Do you have a full time job? Is it to work out all day? Do you have a personal chef and a personal trainer and spend your entire day working on how you look? No? Then you cannot look like this woman.


There are so, so many images like this floating around as “inspiration,” on Pinterest and other places. I’m not really sure why we women (sorry, guys!) feel like we have to look like these people to be fit! It’s ridiculous, but even more so, it’s sad. We have to have realistic expectations about ourselves and about the potential of our own bodies.

I don’t mean to make this sound like, no matter what level of health you’re at right now, you’re not capable of being fit—every body has the potential to be lean and strong. But your “fit” will look different than my “fit,” and most of our “fits” will never look like the ones in the above images.

While you may not be an airbrushed model who works out eight hours a day, you are beautiful. You have the ability to be healthy and feel better.

And if you need some motivation, maybe these images will work a little better:



Now get out there and find out what your body can do! :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

1 down, 17 to go

Hello, blogosphere! It’s been quite some time since I posted here on The Antivanity. I’ve been wanting to get back into posting for some time, and I feel sufficiently inspired now to start again!

A lot of things have converged in recent months to motivate me to start working out again on a regular basis. 1) My recent discovery that I have a blood clotting disorder has made working out essential, but until the start of this year I hadn’t quite figured out a routine that I could really stick to. 2) I tried last year to do Couch to 5k training and I let it beat me—I’m ready to defeat it this time! 3) I’ve wanted to do the Walk to End Alzheimer’s for a couple years now, so I’ve finally committed!

I’ve decided that, in order to keep myself accountable, I’ll post some (hopefully weekly) updates to the blog about my progress. I’m a creature of habit and I love lists, so I made this handy spreadsheet to track my progress:

Week 1

As you can see, today I officially finished Week 1! Couch to 5k training is normally 9 weeks long; but since I’ve never had any conditioning at all, I found that training was too hard for me last time, and I gave up. This time, I’m spreading the training out over 18 weeks, doing each week twice. This will coincide with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s almost perfectly, which happens 18 weeks from today! The WEA is only 2 miles, but I’m pretending it’s the 5k I’m training for to keep myself motivated!

The C25K training includes 3 days of cardio training a week, so I’ve added two extra days to that: one yoga day and one weight training day. The yoga is more of a rest day, and the weight training is wicked hard, so it’ll balance itself out.

While I’m tracking my progress by distance jogged, number of workouts a week, and even weekly photos of myself, I’m not tracking my weight. I almost included it, but I will stand by my conviction that if I work out and eat well for the next 18 weeks, I’ll look and feel better, no matter what my weight is!

I’ve never felt more able and determined to stick to a training program—this is it! I think having the WEA at the end of training is the charm that makes me feel so resolute. Alzheimer’s took my grandfather’s life and devastated my family, so I feel very passionately about both fundraising and taking care of myself for the cause! If you want, check out my personal WEA page for some details and ways you can help.

Look for more updates in the coming weeks!