The Weight of Change

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Going from a size 18 to a size 12 is never easy. If anything, it takes a lot more time than what an impatient 26 year old has. Nothing come easy, but when the results come through then all the pain, sweat, and tears suddenly have a deeper meaning. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I may never be as fast as I once was. Not saying that isn’t my goal, but I know that as long as I am running and being healthy that I feel whole.

So much has changed since my last post. First, in July of this year I was diagnosed with an undiagnosable gastrointestinal problem, causing constant and nauseating pain. For about 2 months, during the bulk of my marathon training, I could barely run or eat. With that, an unhealthy relationship was coming to an end, I was finally on the mend. After 2 years I was liberated and the freedom I felt seemed to wash away the pain. By September, I decided that I needed to get some big miles in to make up for the time lost… So I decided to run a “training marathon” 3 weeks before the Chicago Marathon.

Air Force Marathon was black flagged due to heat 2 hours in. I knew my goal time was not going to happen – and watching marathoners collapse left and right (including my PACER) terrified me. The last 3 miles was like something out of a movie. I was walk/running through bodies and USAF medics on bikes. I knew I was running on E and my pain was creeping up with the dehydration but I kept pushing. Not finishing was not an option for me. So I stopped at each water stop, got water and Gatorade dumped on me like an NFL coach winning a Super Bowl, and pushed.

By the time I finished, over 200 marathoners were picked up along the course – including a few men I ran the majority of the race with. I finished in 5 hours and 45 minutes, my worst marathon, but it was by far my most rewarding. At the finish line I started ugly crying, and immediately officials surrounded me and each hugged me – telling me how proud they were of me. A couple cried along with me. Shit, even as I type this I get teary eyed, overwhelmed by the experience I had. The best part BY FAR was having my mom, dad, and brother at the finish line – mom had ran it and finished about an hour before me. Of course more tears were shed – but for another reason.

I tackled a marathon at over 200 pounds, 6 weeks of training, a little over a year after I broke my ankle, and on a 105 degree day. I accomplished something I never felt possible, and I felt so ready – emotionally and physically – to tackle Chicago.

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After Air Force Marathon, I had time in-between to get a couple more runs down, but I was really in CHICAGO MARATHON mode. This was a race I had to defer after my ankle break. I had 26.2 down, but I really wanted to make this marathon something special.

The Chicago Marathon is a unique experience. A World Marathon Major is electric. Everyone is in it for 26.2 miles and all of us had the same goal – to finish. I arrived in Chicago 4 days earlier than the race, and explored – which actually screwed me in the grand scheme of things because my legs were shot by the time I started. The best part of the race wasn’t the race itself – that part kind of sucked because it was cold and windy starting out and then was hot and humid by the end – but it was my mom being there to cheer me on.

If anyone knows anything about Terri you would know that she is the whole entire reason that I run. She’s my biggest cheerleader and the best running friend I could have. Seeing her with a little hastily made sign made me the happiest. Although this race was not as rewarding as Air Force, it made me feel like I was a runner again.

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Time is on my side again, and I can’t wait for my 9th marathon in April.

Until next time – Sam

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The Path to My Personal Chernobyl

You can take the necessary steps to better yourself, but there will always be days where you stop and ponder “why am I doing this?”

Sunday’s are typically a rough day for me. Monday is looming and I spend the majority of the day completely alone. I’m not sure how you think, but I’m one of those people who are hostage to my mind. When I’m not running or working out the anxiety sweeps over me, leading to a wide open door for the emotions I leave behind me to enter.

These thoughts and feelings never leave, but rather creep, always lurking around the corner. There comes a time where you have to sit down and do nothing, your body has a breaking point. You cannot simply “work off” the negative emotions when you’re low- you have to be able to identify and react to them in a healthy and mindful way.

Writing is becoming as therapeutic as the miles I run, but you can only say so much without coming off as a complete loon.

I quit drinking because I was damaging myself by numbing my mind and body. I quit smoking because it doesn’t really add anything other than a quick fix of relaxation. I’ve given up on creating friendships because I can’t do normal things people do and surround myself with alcohol or really afford to travel and pay for experiences. Running social groups are as clique-y as high school. Instagram and Facebook are there to make you feel wanted, when in all reality it’s easier to hit 👍🏻 or ❤️ than make true and meaningful relationships.

I only feel myself when my heart is racing and my body is moving. Running heals, but right now I need to learn about how to enjoy the calmness of nothingness and get my mind to be one with my heart. I guess meditation and yoga will need to become a staple in my life to make up for all the regulatory emotions and social interaction I’m missing out on.

Today writing helped me avoid my Chernobyl meltdown. Today I had a great run. Today, despite how low I feel, was not all that terrible and that’s all I need for a push to get out of bed tomorrow.

XO, SG

The Fat Girl Who Got Skinny.. Then Fat Again – 2018 Update

I cannot find the words to really express how I feel anymore. Broken, sad, overwhelmed, grateful, afraid, dare I say, semi-optimistic? The girl who changed her whole life, was featured in Runners World, made a statement in both my mental and physical self… is finally admitting she hit a wall. Believe it or not, the wall was hit when I was hit by a car a year ago. With the weight gain comes many other emotional and physical challenges. Do I let the bitterness sting? Yes, because I have been bitter and angry for a good while. My life has spiraled and with that has come health problems, the loss of running, and the weight gain.

Who am I to make excuses? I let myself get fat and overworked my body when it was weak and fragile, and now I am repaying in nearly every aspect of my life. The skinny little runner is now the overweight, struggling post graduate who hates the path she’s on. Only I can make the change, but now the question of “What can I change?” comes into play. I want to quit (4 months sober 4/18) drinking, (hey this is changing)eating bad, (pass, i quit drinking) soda, people, but once something happens I spiral with the bad habits and break down all that I have worked towards. It seems like the spiral keeps happening, like the darkness that entrenches a cave.

Being trapped in this cave has its perks. As fast as I dart towards the stream of light I see I trip and break an ankle (both metaphorically and literally), leaving me to fall into the few comforts I have along with me on my journey. Occasionally there are others who come to my aide but leave to either to get help or to only help themselves. As I crawl, hands bloodied and weak, I tend to my wounds and then once again use the few tools I have for comfort.

I’m over 200 pounds, when a short while ago I was 140.

2018 – UPDATE

Well, I ended up getting fatter and the spiral kept getting worse until I had the nerve to pull a Shawshank Redemption and starve myself, make a little hole through the wall, and crawl out via a sewage system. I let the demons get the best of me, but if you couldn’t tell from the minor changes made above I’ve been making progress-ish.

Progress isn’t just about the pounds. It’s about changing oneself to live a better, healthier life. Mentally i am stronger and more out together than I’ve been in years, but i believe growing up has a lot to do with that.

I like to do my own thing, right now working out and running (when able) helps me get stronger and better motivated to continue to being the best version of me- a totally subjective self identifying term IMO.

I’ve let my head get ahead of my heart as of late, and when it comes down to it this is my journey. No one else can push me as I do myself and nor do I want them to. It’s my ride.

I want to write more, I want to explore what I can push myself to do. I want to feel comfortable in my own body and not dwell on everything that has broken me down.

I’m a fucking survivor. I’ve overcome more than most people ever experience in their lifetime and I deserve to live like there’s something more than the motions of being.

Overcoming my past is the key to a better future and I’ve decided that only I will dictate my happiness. All I need is me, my dog, and my grandparents.

Let’s hope I can keep up with this thing again.

XO, SG

Losing Weight and Losing Yourself – What Happens When the Pounds Come Back?

If you’re reading this, I am sure your interest has peaked. Maybe you’re this person who gained a bunch of weight after being healthy for so long. Maybe you saw my story and though “damn, that sucks she got fat again.” MAYBE, just maybe, you stumbled upon this blog and decided to give it a read.

130 pounds. That’s what the scale read when I was in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. To the outside world, I appeared happy, goal-oriented even, but I was engrossed in an unhealthy lifestyle that lead to fainting spiels, emotional breakdowns, a hospitalization, and a physical disability that affects me to this day. I was in the best/worst shape of my life, quick on my feet, and when everything crashed, I lost my footing, passion, and then entered a world of weight gain and injuries.

A 6 time marathoner, and, even if I am over 200 pounds, I will do it again after an ankle injury heals. I ride my bike, and am trying to teach myself to self-love again. I think for a lot of people, especially myself, depression and anxiety is a major reason as to why the weight gain occurs. I live for a run. Even if I am slow as hell, being out there enthralls me, but after being hit by a car last January, things have never been the same. I was lost, scared, and dealing with an untreated mental illness that scared my family so bad they moved me in with relatives who could “deal” with me. I had pain and chronic bleeding, but I pushed on.

I pushed on… until the pushing lead to injury, a deeper rooted depression emerged, and the will to move forward withered away. While not being able to work out for months, losing any and all drive for the days I could. I used unhealthy vices to fulfill a void that grew for a year and a half. I cannot do what I love and am forced to move on. It almost feels like a break up, because despite losing the passion, the longing for that feeling is still there. I beat my body down so bad that I physically cannot walk some days due to a broken ankle from running 2 marathons in 5 days. I did what I loved, twice, and am still paying for it- leaving 2 marathons unattended this year, hundreds of miles lost, and heartbreak from the

I would like to train for a 100 mile bike ride, but I am totally unaware of how to even start riding on roads, and a part of me is terrified because of all the work I have undone over months of rest, over eating, and depression. I’m sure some of you can relate. Whether its being 25 years old with bad knees, a debilitating disease, thyroid issues- the list goes on and I want you all to know – struggling or not – that you have support. I realize that a workout group on Facebook may not be the accountability you need, but there are tons of people in the position that I – and maybe you – are in.

I wish I had some major secret to share- like how to get started again but the only way I know is just to start. Be smart and healthy about the choices you make and get into something that is maintainable. Not everyone is a marathon runner, or even a runner. You have lifting, cycling (the only thing apart from abs I can do without a boot), rowing, swimming- the options are endless, but only you have the power to get yourself motivated and start.

We all have issues and working through those and focusing on self-love is most important if you are struggling. Working out should never be replaced when actual psychiatric or medical help is needed. I know I am guilty of trying to replace fitness with medicine, and even though my medication causes weight gain, I know the rest and food I give myself will be a strong aid in starting a healthy habit. Start small, whether its therapy or changing dietary habits. Focus on yourself, and getting yourself situated. You and only you know that the options are endless, it’s all about starting on the right path and understanding that health and wellness takes time.

There are no overnight remedies to change yourself, it takes work- just like weight loss. Only you can decide when you are ready to face the challenge.

XO, SG

Diary of a Crazy Runner: Lemons 🍋 

You know that saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”
Okay, let’s get one thing straight. Lemons, unless mixed with a drink, or followed by a shot, are not necessarily the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’ve had plenty of lemons hit me the past 2 months. Student loans kicking in, work picking up, weight coming on because of a foot/ankle break on top of a declining running career have hit me. My endorphin hoarding passion cannot keep me going, and it sucks. This lifestyle I fight for is sustainable, but right now I am in a place where I need to get myself healthy an stable environment to keep myself going.

I am NOT quitting marathon running. The post I made following my terrible race was obsolete after my Chicago Marathon (holla atcha 1 hour difference in finish times). I’ve gained a lot of weight- like a stupid amount of weight that could have been avoided. This is something I am trying to address. I lack discipline and I need to find it again.


The one thing I’m proudest of today? I replaced a meal with all greens and protein… the Arnie Palmer, however, is my treat.

I have my vices, good and bad, and I think my biggest challenge is undoing all the wrong I’ve done to myself. I am now eating with the “If God didn’t make it, don’t eat it” sense of self. It’s scary, even though I’ve done it before but it’s necessary. I’ve gotten too comfortable and after the year I have had, I need to make sure my health and wellness are a priority.

Right now, I am taking these lemons, and making a gelato or something way more complex than lemonade. I want to grow and challenge myself. I want to get strong and lose weight. This “in between” training is my reset.

From this chubby runner, to you all- Run happy and strong!

Mediocrity and Simplicity: Finding Myself Through A New Lifestyle

As a runner, I am mediocre. I’m chubby, not super quick, and always struggling to find the time to get my run in between work, dog sitting, being with my family, and maintaining a normal functioning relationship with an even busier person. This year has been utter chaos, and through the mess, pain, and loss I mismanaged myself and allowed for me to lose track of my passion: marathon training. I live for the long run, and training days make me feel strong and motivated. I’ve done so well this past round of training by remotivating myself, that I allowed myself to forget the most important element of any athletes training regiment- self care.

I stopped taking myself seriously because I had very little self worth for almost a year. I would go on little benders, allow myself to take “numbing” to an extreme whether it be with the pain medication or alcohol. I contributed to my downfall, completely recognizing how the behavior I was partaking in was detrimental to my lifestyle. It was not until Bear, my dog, died that I finally took a step back and actively began to run and create some type of healthy lifestyle for myself. I left the bar industry, limited drinking to one day a week, discovered a business industry that allows me to learn and grow, but that wasn’t enough. The weight gain halted, and I have even had a few “skinny” days where I felt good but I realized that is not what I want for myself. I did not come as far as I did only to cause myself to turn around in the wrong direction and allow for bad habits to alternate my lifestyle. I came to “motherfucking” slay.

The past three weeks I have had to decrease my mileage in order to battle a cough, nausea with increased heart rate, dizzy spells, and fatigue. It wasn’t until my boyfriend told me to “take care of myself” when I realized that “kinda” changing my lifestyle isn’t enough. I need to drastically make changes and void myself of toxicity to help regain the foundation of my health. I am sick, and unable to run, because I have exhausted myself between everything I try to take on. What needs to change is not going to be easy, and will be an uphill battle for the near future, especially with The Chicago Marathon and my too-early taper problem brewing. I am taking control.

I am simplifying my life. Below is a list of what I am changing, and how I plan on tackling these changes to become an all around better version of myself. I want to be in shape, I want to run fast, I want to have high energy levels, and I don’t want to have a crutch anymore. I want to live easier and simpler in order to provide myself a foundation on which I can build on.

1. No more soda.

I adore and live for soda. The bubbles are essentially carbonated crack and I ache for it daily. I decided that this is a major element that I initially changed when I first lost weight and it’s instrumental in helping my make my life easier. It will be one less thing I “need”.

2. Eliminate technology from certain aspects of my day.

When I run outside I need to connect more with my environment. I sit on a computer all day at work, and always have my phone. It’s time to allow myself to disconnect and redirect my energy into something that benefits me and will allow me to grow. I want to read more, enjoy the outdoors, and not miss experiences all because I want to share every little thing with people. Step goals are just an idea and iot won’t make me any skinnier meeting a 12K goal daily. I want to live without restrictions.

3. Visit more with family.

I want to have stories to share rather than memories. You never know how long people are here on this earth so making time to connect and learn about them makes your days a little more meaningful.

4. I want to read and write more.

Writing is a passion of mine, and I want to share my stories, love, losses, and passions with others, even if no one else really sees. I think we all have stories to tell and no matter the positive or negative impact they have on your life you deserve to share the words you have written.

5. I want to take running and health serious.

I have a goal of cutting back all processed foods from my diet. Ultimately I want to allow myself to be healthy with what I put in and what I do with my energy. The alcohol, nicotine, and any other fried food have now all been eliminated. I don’t want to live off of drive thrus because I’m always going. I want to take time and prep my meals. I need to use my gym membership and cross train to get myself stronger. I need to live as an athlete to become one.

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I am resetting my life cold turkey. No more booze, cigarettes (with the booze), fried food, or soda. I want to live simpler and enjoy doing what I love again. I want to get stronger, faster, thinner, and I know I can do it. It’s going to be a long road but I know what I am capable of. In the next few weeks I will be writing more, and sharing progress. I will also be running the Chicago Marathon… at least, hopefully running as long as I can get myself healthy.

Here’s to the simpler life.

 

 

The Bear Necessities: Loss and Reigniting Passion

Over the past month of my life, I’ve faced a lot of hardship. Much of it was caused by brash decisions on my end, but over the past 2 weeks the rest of the bad has felt like some cruel game where all the good went tumbling out from beneath me. I made choices to eat and drink myself into gaining almost 40 pounds since November of last year.

My whole life revolved around being “healthy” and working towards a better me. Recently it’s been hard to get out of bed, let alone run. I was letting myself keep me down, and at 23 that’s just not a plausible way of life. I can stay out late, drink, and eat every now and then but the regularity I pursued since the end of my marathon has brought on so much more negative and repressed feelings than the numbing I sought after. I looked in a mirror and thought “enough”. Enough of damaging myself, because what’s done is done and there is no way that I can let all my hard work go to waste.

On June 27, I lost my best friend. He was my favorite part about St. Louis and running. He loved walks and tried to run but could never really click with it. His name was Bear. I lost him sudden and quick to cancer and every day without him has felt like I was missing my arm. I had no idea how to handle losing him on top of leaving a job and having to move out of my parents house, with the onset of student loans and trouble finding a career job. 

Not even four days later, I lost my childhood dog, Chewy. Both came suddenly, but Bear was so unexpected and seeing him so miserable breaks me down because I know he wouldn’t want to see me this way. He was by my side when I was sick a year ago, but when if get low he sensed it and wouldn’t ever try to be overbearing. He loved energy, positive energy, and with his loss I just wanted to stop feeling anything. 

I never thought I could love something more than what I had lost a year ago, but everyday without him brings a sting that both breaks my heart and fuels it. 


It’s been difficult to maintain any running schedule, but I know I have it in me. I will not start a run without thinking of how much this pup impacted my life, and I will not be taking another drink until I lose 25 pounds. 

I have it in me to become stronger and find the will to succeed. It just takes one step at a time, but I know I’ll have a guardian angel by my side each step of the way.