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Friday, June 17, 2011

How I Came to Running

So in my last post I announced that I'm going to be running in a 5K in September, which is a big deal to me because it's for an excellent cause, honoring the memory of my friend's daughter, helping families who are struggling with fatal diagnosis for their unborn babies, and helping fund adoptions. And because I'm over a hundred pounds overweight. I am SO excited.

So I told you I'd tell you more about how I came to this decision. 

Since I graduated I have flirted with fitness. I'd get on a good exercise regiment... and it'd go all to pot. Tabby and I were exercising at least twice a month and encouraging each other to work out on our own. We were work out buddies... until she got pregnant.

I really wanted to get on the Appalachian Trail and thru-hike, but it wasn't God's plan for me this year. I'd be out there for six months, hiking daily (with some zero days, of course) and it sounds wonderful. I'd love to do it at some point.  And not just for fitness, though that's totally a high up reason. But I love the cool people, the channeling of my wanderlust, the adventure, the nature... anyway. 

So after the AT went bust (money and timing) I did sit up straight when I saw commercials for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I love to walk. Like love it. Just going walking with friends is my idea of a great day.  I can walk all day.

But it didn't seem right. I mean, there wasn't one nearby, but also after praying for it... I can't relate to breast cancer. I just don't know anyone who has it.  If someone asked me 'why are you doing this?' unless I lied the answer would be something like 'Because I want to walk for fitness. And oh yeah, breast cancer should be cured.' I don't know. Like I said, I prayed and it didn't seem right. But I did pray to God that if he'd show me a charity walk or walk/run that he wanted me to be in, to let me know. Either to change my passion for like the breast cancer ones, or maybe show me one I could be passionate about.

I've loved and prayed and cried with Hannah all through her journey with Sadie Mae... and well before. And with my PCOS and being overweight, problems with pregnancy cut even closer to home. If I get the joy of pregnancy someday, I know I'd be higher risk for things to go wrong.

PCOS, a common hormone disorder that I and one in twenty women have, is the leading cause of infertility. Actually, when my doctor diagnosed me at 16 (though I'm positive I've had since I was 12) he told me I could very well become infertile. I got frightened and he and my mom asked why. I told them I wanted children someday. I hadn't even realized how much until he said it might not happen. He tried to soothe me and told me that I'd probably be fertile until I was at least 25.

I'm 25. And unmarried and never have done anything to become pregnant. This birthday hit me hard.  I really wanted to be married and have at least one child by 25.

God introduced me to Ryan when I was 24... but with less than 9 months to go, even if we were crazy and impulsive and not on opposite sides of the globe without the money to get together.  God's timing is purposeful, and my hope is He'll prove doctors wrong and wanted to make sure I didn't have a kid before twenty five so He show the world.  And I will definitely give Him all the credit! I know who open and closes wombs.

That said, I want to adopt. I have a huge passion for adoption and have told Ryan that I'd be more disappointed if I didn't have adopted kids than if I didn't have biological children. Now I'm in a more longing for a biological phase, I think because so many of my friends have had babies or are having them and I'm watching the pregnancy journey. But regardless, I want to do both. 

The best advice doctors give patients with PCOS to manage it is losing weight. But weight loss is actually made harder for women with PCOS than for the general public, and the PCOS usually causes the weight gain in the first place. It did for me.

March 15, I weighed myself and I won't tell you how much I weighed, but it was wayyy too much. I freaked out. Then I did the math. And I realized if I could lose a certain amount in a year, which was a doable amount, I'd be in a better place. Then if I did the same thing again the next year, I'd be smaller than I've ever been at my adult height. Then if I went one more year, I could lose ten pounds less than that number and be a normal weight! It didn't seem overwhelming. I could try...

But after a few weeks, my drive faded. I didn't have anyone doing it with me, or encouraging me, or caring.  And it was hard to find the time to exercise, and I have no control over my diet.

Well, not NO control. I can choose what to put in my mouth or plate, but I don't do the grocery shopping. I never have. I went from living with my parents to eating at a cafeteria to living with my parents. I cook my own breakfast and lunches, but we all eat the same dinner. And since I'm the only one who eats lunch in my family, they usually just get me the same thing for the whole week (like grilled cheese or eggs or whatnot).  If it's not healthy that week, there's often not another choice. And my will power is not great. If there's brownies on the counter, I might be able to resist for an hour... maybe a day. But I will give in.

The only way for me not to indulge is to only keep healthy food around me. And while Mom and Dad are willing to buy a few healthy options for me, they're not willing to not buy bags of M&Ms or potato chips if they want them just because I can't resist. Which I totally understand. My parents aren't horribly bad with food, it's just they're not the ones with the problem and it's not fair to make them change just for me. But when I looked up optimum diets for people PCOS... what we eat in this house is not it.

So while I can try to eat healthy, I'm limited in my efforts.

So a little before Tabitha's baby Jordan turned two months, she and I started exercising together again. I got my workout buddy back! And she is eager to lose the baby weight. Plus she wasn't that happy with her weight when she originally conceived. Jordan was born April 1st. She has a certain amount of weight she wants to lose by one year after he was born... so I just shifted my date from March 15 to April 1st, and we decided we'd support each other in our weight loss journey.We made a pact, to not only support each other, but to get together at least once a week to exercise (at least for now)... and we've stuck to it.

I was so excited after we made the pact! We've always encouraged each other, but we've never done that. I didn't feel alone, so I decided to go for it. I began looking up stuff about PCOS and how to manage it.  I wanted to get a good diet, or at least tips.  I did find stuff, though not a lot I can entirely apply right now as far as that goes, but once thing I read was that exercise is even more important than diet* because the muscles helps convert the hormones or something like that.

So I was trying to exercise by myself and just eat a little healthier. I did see two separate people online talking about the 'couch to 5K' program. I thought that sounded cool, remembered about the prayer I'd said about a walk and thought if maybe God showed me a 5K, I'd jump on it and do that program.

I was especially gung ho because I knew I was going to the doctor soon. I have to talk to him about some issues I've been having, but I also am thinking I can for sure tell him I am active. I am trying to be healthier. And maybe he can put me on a medicine to help me manage my PCOS better. 

Then Hannah announced her 5K, that same week this all happened.

I was SO EXCITED. I just knew it was obvious God had placed the desire for a charity walk/run in my life, and then put the couch to 5K in front of me in time for this. I love seeing God's hands in stuff!

If it was just for Sadie Mae's memory alone, that'd be enough reason to do it, and I'd be doing it anyway. But it's also helping families struggling with this horrible struggle, and funding adoptions, which is close to my heart. So that's how I came to deciding to run.

I've never run at all in my life. I was always the slowest in my class in PE (my most hated class in school) and I am SO uncoordinated. But that's the fun of it! God is strong when we are weak. So this is going to be AWESOME!!!

"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me. So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong." -2 Corinthians 12:9-10


*for any readers who might have PCOS or be knowledgeable about it, I do know that diet is very important as well. I just happened to read articles that said exercise is even more important.

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