Life as an expatriot living and running in the beautiful town of Zwolle, the Netherlands.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Running Is Better Than A Diet

OK... Want to see the old Debbie and the new? I dug around in the ole photo albums, online and off, and have a few good ones.

The top photo is my first race ever. It was a 10K in July of 2003 (I think), in Las Vegas, called Fun In The Sun. Let's just say I nearly died in the sun. My weight was 165 pounds/75 kilograms.

The middle photo is selected as a comparison. It was at the Lauwersoog Half Marathon, 2 weeks after I moved to the Netherlands, September 2005. My weight then and now: 129 pounds/58 kilograms.

The last picture is around 1999. You can see just how happy I am... My weight was 185 pounds/85 kilograms. I don't have any pictures from my highest weight of 200 pounds/91 kilograms. Hmmm... wonder why?

Some people asked how I did it. Well, something happened in my life that was very difficult. After trying to have another child, I had a miscarriage and found out that it ws very unlikely I could have more children. It completely changed my dreams and my future. After wallowing in self pity for awhile, I decided to get off my ass and live. I wanted to be strong, healthy, and happy. I wanted to have courage and determination. I wanted to set goals and achieve them. I wanted to be a role model for my daughter. I wanted to be an athlete. So in one moment, without running, I became a runner. Once my mind was changed, and with the support of my husband, the rest took care of itself.

That is not to say there were no difficult times. Let me tell you, it takes a lot of courage to wear running clothes at that weight and waddle out in public. I was sore in places I didn't even know I had muscles. And at first, even though I was exercising, the fat just seemed to stay, which was discouraging. Then it started to happen. I set a goal to finish a marathon, which compelled me to get out and run when I didn't feel like it. And I wouldn't eat bad food because I didn't want to have to carry it with me for 26 miles/42 kilometers. I hit my goal in October 2003, finishing the Nike San Francisco Marathon in 5:30 hours. I wasn't going to the Olympics but I felt pretty damn good.

After that, I became interested in weight lifting, and began to do that more than running. I was my thinnest then and very muscular. But I missed the feeling of ability one gets with running distances. So again my focus is running... with the help and companionship of the best running group in the world, the Zwolle Railrunners.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

This picture is from my 1st race with the Railrunners: Sintloop 2005

Sintloop 2006

Well, let's see. As I write this, I'm a little down actually. Is it alright to admit that? I just went to the website for this race and saw my race time from last year: 59 minutes 11 seconds. Today I ran 1 hour 45 seconds. I had actually forgot my time from last year. Somehow remembered it as 1 hour 5 minutes. Today I didn't feel great, but had consoled myself thinking that at least I had improved. By 4 minutes! Oh well. I am officially taking the next 2 minutes for a little self pity. Then I'm gonna get over it.

2 Minutes Later

Ok, I'm back. Look... I had a great time today with my team. I was tired and it was windy as hell, but I still felt happy and did the best I could. I wanted to go faster, but had some fear that my left leg would cramp again... so I held back.

Also, there is another difference between this year and last year. Last year, I felt I had something to prove. It was my first run with the team. I wanted to show them I could run. My race was fast and slow... the pace uncontrolled. Over the course of the year, I've learned something different. I've learned to have more control, have a steady pace, and run within myself. Is it better? To be honest, I don't know. Maybe it's a little like learning music. It's great to just play notes, but you become better when you really learn the basics and practice your scales. But I'm wondering... have I become too controlled... too safe?