Sunday, April 29, 2012

Believe in Yourself

Hi Friends!

I know, I's been a REALLY long time since I've blogged.  I wanted to share a little about my experience training and running the Illinois Half Marathon yesterday - but before jumping into that, I feel a little overview of what has been happening in my world was necessary.  

The last 5-6 months of my life have been a bit of a roller coaster.  It's amazing how far one can come physically on the road to a healthier lifestyle, and yet, still suffer and struggle.  So many things in life are driven by the brain...and less by what our physical selves can accomplish.  I can tell you this - it never gets easy.  I have come a long way "physically" in the last 3 years.  In the first year, I lost 90 pounds.  In the second year, I started teaching fitness classes and ran my first half marathon and maintained my weight loss.  This past year started like the last...maintaining my physical self through diet and exercise.  But then, I got thrown some curve balls.  Four days after Thanksgiving 2011, I had a hysterectomy.  I felt like I was physically in the best shape of my life, so I was not worried about struggling with recovery.  I took December off from "scheduled" physical exercise (the unscheduled being that I was still caring for 3 kids).  In January, I started back to teaching my Turbo Kick classes and told myself that in February I would start training for the Illinois Half Marathon at the end of April.  

Surgery went fairly well....I recovered with decent pain on day one and two - and only a little pain in the first week.  I started to feel "somewhat" normal.  This is kind of a curse, because it makes you feel like you haven't just had a major surgery, and therefore you do too much too soon!  What I didn't count on was how incredibly TIRED I would feel...and how long that feeling would last (months).  Emotionally.....I became a mess.  I have never in my life struggled with depression, sadness, panic, anxiety, or any of those feelings.  Those of you who know me know that I am a pretty positive and cheerful person.  Suddenly, I felt like an alien was living in my body.  I was sad from the moment I woke up to the moment I feel asleep.  I was sleeping in spurts of 20-30 minutes at a time at night.  My "sleep" was filled with nightmares.  I was never fully rested.  This only fed into the depression.  When you can't sleep, you can't function.  I wasn't functioning.  I couldn't cope with things that I never would have thought twice about before.  Luckily, I have some incredible women in my mom, my mother-in-law, my sisters-in-law, and my best friend.  All of them encouraged me to get help.  Off to the doctor I went and discovered that the hysterectomy had thrown my ovaries (which I kept) into a bit of confusion and they weren't functioning properly.  The doc put me on a hormone replacement...and within a couple weeks, my "old" self started to reappear.  

Unfortunately - all this "emotional" stuff was happening during the months of February and March - when I was supposed to be training for my half marathon.  On top of the emotional stuff, my immune system was not very strong after the surgery.  I was literally sick for about 5 weeks in a row.  I was healthy for a week, and then sick again for 2 weeks.  It was a lovely upper respiratory virus.  No drugs - because it was "viral".  As you can imagine, running with an upper respiratory illness is not fun.  Throw emotional depression and extreme exhaustion on top of it, and you pretty much have the perfect storm of excuses to lay on the couch.  

Here is what is 240 pound ghost was sitting on one shoulder feeding me all of the comforting lines I thought I wanted to hear.  "It's okay, Traci!  You just had surgery a few months ago!  You've been sick for WEEKS!  Even if you managed to train a LITTLE bit for this race, you'll NEVER beat your time from last year!!  Don't do it!!  Your body needs to rest!  This is obviously too soon!  Don't be so hard on yourself!"

But somewhere - deep down inside my heart - my "new" self that has been successful over the last 3 years started cheering me on.  She told me I was STRONG.  She told me a "cold" wasn't going to STOP ME.  She told me that this was a CHALLENGE to see how bad I was willing to FIGHT for something.  She told me that if I could go through surgery, hormonal imbalances, physical illness, complete exhaustion, and the stress in my life AND STILL TRAIN and compete in this race than it would just PROVE how strong I have become.  It would PROVE that you can be parent, a spouse, work hard, go through what life throws at you and NOT TAKE IT sitting down.  YOU CAN STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU WANT.  

Guess which "me" won that battle?  No doubt - it was the new me.  It was exactly five weeks ago today that I DECIDED to do it.  I knew that no matter what happened with the race, I would feel much better about doing it and falling short of my goal than not doing it at all.  Five weeks ago, I laced up my shoes and GOT SERIOUS.  I went out for a 9 mile run that day.  I hadn't run more than 5 miles in my training to that point, and had missed several training runs and long runs due to illness.  I fought EVERY STEP of that 9 miles.  I wanted to quit on mile 6, 7, 8, and 9.  But my new self BELIEVED.  I knew I could do it.  My new self cheered me on. (My old self would've told me it was okay to quit).  Guess what?  I did that nine miles!  At the end - I broke down and cried.  I proved something to myself that day......that I was STRONG.  I officially signed up for the race and committed that night.  The next week, I ran 10 miles on my long day.  But guess what?  I got sick again.  It lasted a week - but I didn't care.  NOTHING WAS STOPPING ME!  I continued training and believing that I could do it.  Despite everything, I was DETERMINED to make my goal. 

Yesterday (04/28/12), I ran the Illinois Half Marathon in Champaign, Illinois.  I finished 13.1 miles in 1:56:51.  I EXCEEDED MY GOAL!  I BEAT my old time by OVER 7 minutes!!


I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

Just believe.

Curt and I after the race!!

Mom and I after the race!


  1. Traci,

    I continue to admire your courage, openness, and thoughtfulness. It's good to see you posting again. I don't always have the time to respond but I always make the time to read.

    -- Adam

  2. Thank you Adam - I truly appreciate that! You are right, sometimes it is difficult to share things that are so personal, but if I can help one person - or inspire someone - it is worth it.