Tag Archives: 2016

My First 5k Saints Kick-Off Run

Yesterday I briefly mentioned how uncomfortable it is to weigh as much as I do right now, and I mentioned how much easier certain things would be if I were smaller. I’m really looking forward to proving myself right about that over the next 12 months. My journey to a healthy weight will be much longer than that, but my goal is to participate in the same race I did over the weekend again next year.

Saturday morning I woke up at 5:30 am, and I did a little cleaning, showered and prepared for the 5k that my boyfriend, his brother and I were doing later that morning.

When Michael arrived at my place we walked to the Superdome, and I kept a pretty good pace getting there. We had walked about a mile in total before the race began, and we started in wave 19. (There were people who had finished he 5k before we even started.)

When we crossed the starting line we walked down the same street we had just walked to get to the race, then we continued into the French Quarter. I live two blocks from the Quarter, and I love to walk through it early in the morning. It was beautiful, but it was already sweltering too.

french-quarter-5kAs I made it to the halfway mark I was sweating my guts out, but my heart rate was fine. I felt good, but I soon realized that I would be the last person to finish the race.

Michael refused to run ahead of me even though he could have completed the race a few times in the amount of time it took me to finish, and at that point I was glad he was there. I knew I was going to be last, but I also knew I had to finish.

I didn’t talk, and I didn’t stop to take in the scenery. I just walked. At that moment I had to face the reality that the weight I’m carrying was weighing me down. Most of the time I don’t notice. I mean, I’m always aware of my weight, but I don’t think about it often. I walk slower and make stops more frequently, and for years I’ve oscillated between trying to lose it and just dealing with it.

It was important for me to get the medal at the end of this race. It looked cool, but the closer I got to the Superdome the more I wanted to be on the 50-yard line. I wanted the medal at the end too because it would become a daily reminder that I can do hard things, and I figured as long as the police escort was behind me I’d make it to the finish line (and get the medal.)

The second half of the race was quiet, but as I approached the Superdome I got discouraged. My body felt fine, but I had blisters. I wanted to cry as I saw droves of people walking out wearing their medals, but I never once considered not finishing.

In the last mile I told myself that we could just take an Uber home even though it wasn’t far at all. I told Michael too, and he said we could do whatever I wanted to do. He also encouraged me, of course, which made my want to cry tears of joy too.

Seriously, God gave me exactly the kind of man I dreamed of being with, and He placed him in my life at precisely the right time. These are the things that got me through the last mile of my short, yet blister-inducing race.

As we walked around the Superdome the last few hundred yards felt nearly impossible, but people cheered me along as they walked out. I stopped a few times for a few seconds, and Michael lovingly reminded me that I could do it and that I wasn’t quitting.

superdomeWhen I finally entered the Superdome the air conditioner made me feel like I had just reached
heaven. At that point I said, “Go run the last 40 yards. I need to do this by myself,” and after some convincing he ran. The jerk wasn’t even sweating. Ha

I tried to make myself rally, but I didn’t run at all. I simply walked the last 40 yards, just as I had walked the rest of the race, and when I crossed the finish line Michael was waiting there to place my medal around my neck.

That was an amazing moment for me. I felt tired, my feet hurt from the blisters, but I felt proud too. As I saw myself on the Jumbotron I heard that announcers talking about me as I finished, and there were people cheering for me as I crossed. It was a good moment, but all I could think about was how thankful I was that Jesus gave me strength to finish and that Michael never left my side except when he ran ahead to get water for me. He even held it, so I could just drink it as I needed it.

saints-kick-off-2016After I downed the Gatorade that Michael got for me I realized that he and his brother weren’t wearing medals. Apparently, there were people going up and getting multiple medals when they  finished, so his brother got one for me because he knew how much it would mean to me to receive it. Michael is awesome, and his entire family is just as wonderful. They could have gotten in line and had medals mailed to them later, but it didn’t matter to them. They just wanted me to have mine, and I got it thanks to his big bro.

If I had known how challenging this race would be for me I would have made excuses to not do it, so I’m glad I didn’t know. Michael and I walk around the same path often, but we stop to look at pretty things and often walk through the Riverwalk Outlet Mall so I can cool off.

I wore my new sneakers too, which were largely responsible for the blisters. (Rookie mistake, I guess,) but I felt tired after the 4.75 miles of walking I did, including the race. I can definitely walk that far without feeling achy or needing to stop, which makes me feel good about my body. It was also much harder than it needed to be because of the extra weight I’m carrying.

img_3808It feels so good to know that I completed the race and that I’m loved by a man who understands exactly where I am. (He used to weigh 140 pounds more than he does now.) It also felt good to know that his brother grabbed the medal because he knew how much it would mean to me.

I wouldn’t have done this race if Michael hadn’t asked me to and signed us up for it before I had a chance to say no. I’m so glad he signed me up for it, and I’m already looking forward to doing the same race next year.

I’ve wanted to do it every year since I lived here, and now I can say I did it! The medal and my blisters are both reminders that I can accomplish things even when they’re not easy, and I need that reminder right now more than ever.

saints-kick-off-run-medal

 

 

 

 

A Few Minutes with Senator Bernie Sanders

I have a lot of respect for the office of the presidency, so when I had an opportunity to chat with a man who could be the next leader of the free world I did it.

Bernie Sanders Presidential Election

Bernie Sanders is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting US Senators who has served in my lifetime, and we don’t agree on many fundamental issues. I’m not a part of his team, but I gained a lot of respect for him today.

I met with him at a small, private gathering in the suburbs before he headed to a campaign rally in a neighboring town. I think it’s important to hear what each candidate has to say because it’s the only way we can hold them accountable.

He listened intently and answered respectfully

He listened intently and answered respectfully

We discussed gun control candidly, and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on the topic because it hit close to home recently.

I live in a pretty nice neighborhood. It’s home to a variety of professionals, but that didn’t stop me from finding a gun in my face last month. I was headed to rehearsal for church at around 8:15 on Sunday morning when a man pointed a gun at me and demanded that I get out of my car.

I shared my thoughts on gun control, instant background checks, gun usage among criminals and the government’s role (and its perceived role) in all of it. We didn’t come to any grand conclusions, but it was interesting to hear his perspective and the perspective from others in the room.

I rarely discuss politics online, but today was an important day in my little world. I’m grateful for the opportunity that I had to communicate with the senator, and I’m looking forward to hearing from other candidates in the coming months.

 

 

 

Governor Chris Christie is the Target of Size-Profiling (Again)

I rarely discuss politics my blog, even though it’s important to me, because it’s such a polarizing topic, but if you’re a regular reader, you know that I have a lot of respect for Gov. Chris Christie.  I spoke to ABC News about him yesterday, and I’m talking about him here today because so many of us understand what he’s going through right now. I certainly do.

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Governor Christie was on Late Night with David Letterman Monday night, and he did what many of us have done in our own lives.  He made jokes about himself because he knew that Letterman would if he didn’t do it first.  He attempted to show the world that he is aware and that he takes responsibility.  He was preemptive, and I don’t blame him for that.  I can’t speak for the governor, but in my experience, it hurts less to seem indifferent when people use me as the punch line for their jokes.

Though the show was filled with laughs, Gov. Christie spoke in a serious tone about his weight issues the following day.  He has faced judgment from people who know nothing about his personal life and habits.  He even faced criticism from a former White House doctor who asserted that looking at him (without examining him in any capacity) was enough to judge his health.  She suggested that by his looks, alone, that he could die in office.  She pissed the governor off, and she pissed me off too.

In our society, we often judge others by what we see.  And though the doctor should have acted more responsibly, she speaks for countless people who relentlessly and ignorantly judge the obese without knowledge or empathy.  Judging the governor, myself  and the 30% of Americans who struggle with obesity is wrong, but it happens everyday.

Yesterday I was asked whether or not I thought he was fit to be president, and my answer was categorically yes.  Regardless of your political views, it’s easy to see that he has what it takes.  If you have any doubt about it, take a look at the way he handled himself during Hurricane Sandy.  He worked tirelessly around the clock, and he showed incredible strength and stamina.  He did what he was elected to do, and he did it well.  He’s still doing it well.

He was judged for his size when he ran for office in New Jersey, and he will be judged when he runs for president (if he decides to do it, and I believe he will.)

Governor Christie is strong, tenacious and determined, and he is a phenomenal leader.  Losing weight is hard, but I believe he can do that too.  I believe he would feel great if he did, but I absolutely believe that he will make a fantastic president regardless of his size.

No respectable citizen or news organization would blast President Obama because he looked a little different than former presidents, nor would we openly criticize Hillary because she looks different.  I’m not making excuses for him, but I’d like to point out that he is doing his job.  He’s obese, but he also works hard for the people of his state.

Losing weight is overwhelming, and it takes an incredible amount of dedication, time and patience.  In order to be successful, we have to make ourselves our top priority, and the governor has other things at the top of his agenda right now.  He is New Jersey’s leader, and he is doing precisely what he was elected to do.

 

If weight-loss was as simple as most in the multi-billion dollar industry would have us believe, then we’d all be thin already.   This journey is different for all of us, and while Governor Christie certainly doesn’t need me to defend him, I’d like to remind everyone that we are all human.  We are all flawed, and we all deserve to be treated as equals.

A few weeks ago, I spoke to ABC about the stigma surrounding obesity.  This nation lacks empathy, compassion and respect for the obese, and the America that I know and believe in is better than that.  We don’t judge those who struggle with addiction – unless the addiction is food, and that needs to change NOW.  Many of us need to rethink our positions, and many of us need to recognize that this journey is incredibly hard and incredibly personal.

Politics aside, Governor Christie deserves your respect as a human being.I deserve your respect as a human being, and common sense tells us that it is ridiculous to choose our government leaders based on their looks as opposed to their merit.