I am Emmy, a writer, a reader, a teacher, a runner, and a lover of fitness and good food.
For as long as I can remember, I have been athletic. I started playing soccer in first grade, made a select team shortly thereafter, and started traveling across the Midwest to various tournaments throughout middle and high school.
To condition for my club team, I participated in the Olympic Development Program (sounds a lot more impressive than it actually was), ran cross country (for a summer and decided I hated running), and joined the swim team (until I realized that I was getting schooled by eight-year-olds).
Needless to say, I was athletic, I was muscular. I most definitely was not a chubby child or teenager, but I was never the thinnest of my friends either -- which of course made me feel über fat. In addition, there were two boys (who just happened to be in nearly all of my classes) who fed into the low self-esteem that was beginning to develop regarding my weight. I would eat my breakfast (generally a granola bar) in second period statistics, and they would make oinking sounds, tell me that they could just "see me getting fatter," etc. While I laughed it off in order to protect my dignity, it really hurt me and has stuck with me still today.
During my junior year of high school, I had horrible IT-band tendonitis, and that, coupled with my dislike for the school coaches and their politics, made my decision to quit soccer much easier.
After I quit soccer, I didn't do much in regards to working out, other than whatever we did in PE (weight-lifting, kickboxing, swimming, etc.). In college, I went to the gym every now and again, and for about a year, I went to water aerobics and Pilates fairly religiously.
I gained a lot of weight. And, I started Weight Watchers because I thought that 159 pounds was absolutely ridiculous. It didn't help that my roommate, my best friend, was a constant dieter, claiming that she was way too fat, even though she was much thinner than I.
After college, I continued gaining weight and did not necessarily exercise a whole lot. In fact, my mom says that she was shocked when she realized that "the chubby girl in the Drake sweatshirt" approaching her at my brother's soccer game was actually me. (Note: my mom would have never told me that at the time; she mentioned that to me after had lost weight a few years later.) Clearly something needed to change.
But it didn't.
Throughout my early days as a young professional, I ate what was cheap and easy and didn't really cook a whole lot. I played sand volleyball or soccer here and there, but I was not working out like I should've been. Nor was I watching my nutritional intake. At all.
In January of 2009, I started Farrell's Extreme Body Shaping (round one). It was an amazingly hardcore workout, and because I never skipped exercising and followed the meal plan to a T, I lost 13 inches and gained a whole lot of muscle.
I signed up for a year of Farrell's -- but did not go as often as I should've. I then quit Farrell's and joined the YMCA. And then I gained back all of what I lost -- and more.
Throughout this time, I was also playing soccer in an adult coed league. In October 2010, I severely sprained my ankle and was out of exercise for far too long. (It was so bad that the doctor said he wished I would've broken it instead, and it still acts up from time to time. Like now, for example.)
In March of 2011, I decided I was going to run a marathon. (Yes, this is coming from the girl who hated running.) I decided that I needed to get my butt in gear and that participating in a mentoring program for students would help. Likely because I was so out of shape, I was quite prone to injury and was unable to run the full marathon due to horrible tendonitis. Instead, I foolishly completed my first half marathon in October 2011.
|Yep: I was in tears because I was so badly hurting.|
In May, I ran my second half marathon -- in Lincoln, Nebraska. I signed up and trained for this marathon by myself, which was really tough; for my prior 13.1, I trained with a group, but for this one, I was on my own. But I did it:
|Memorial Stadium -- GBR.|
|Me and Mags.|
Two weeks later, I ran the country's largest 20k -- Dam to Dam. This was the first race where I ran the entirety, without walking. That is, I ran the entire thing up to the last 200 meters, where I would've vomited had I not been in the middle of thousands of people.
It sucked, but I finished. And, the fact that I ran nearly the whole thing felt like quite a huge accomplishment. Maybe I was in better shape than I thought.
I ran a series of smaller races over the summer and ran in a variety of places: on the beach in Key West, along a river in northern Illinois and alongside Lake Michigan in Chicago, in downtown Denver, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean aboard a cruise ship, along the Pacific in Long Beach, through the woods in Des Moines, and more.
In August, my students and I ran yet another half marathon in the Twin Cities:
It was rainy -- and much hillier than we thought. But we had a blast taking photos at each mile.
And then came the big one: in October 2012, I ran my first full marathon.
|My mama ran the half -- so proud of her!|
And after the hours upon hours upon hours and miles upon miles upon miles of training for that race, I was both physically and mentally exhausted. So, I took a break. And that break lasted five months.
In that five-month period, I ate like crap, I worked out hardly at all (maybe a run/walk or a trip to the YMCA here or there), and I did nothing but sit on my couch, sleep, watch TV, etc. In that five-month period, I gained close to 20 pounds. My pants started getting too tight, my shirts started showing fat that I didn't know existed, my bras started cutting off circulation, and I did not look good.
Most of all, though, I did not feel good.
My mental health was deteriorating at a rapid pace, and it was entirely due to the fact that I was not working out or eating well. Interestingly (and quite obviously), healthy living is a key component to solid emotional well-being.
I knew something needed to change. On March 23, 2013, I started Farrell's Extreme Body Shaping (round two). I started eating better, I started working out and strength training again, and I immediately started feeling better.
I kicked butt during round two of Farrell's and lost 14.25 inches and 13 pounds in ten weeks.
|Holy baby oil.|
As the school year started (and as my relationship became more strained than it already was), I became extremely stressed, extremely anxious, extremely exhausted, and as much as I hate to admit it, extremely depressed. I literally had no extra energy to devote to working out or to eating well, which in turn caused a vicious cycle (as I know I feel better if I eat well and work out).
While I have not weighed myself recently and have not taken measurements, I know that I have slid even further downhill than I was prior to starting the second round of Farrell's. Obviously, this is extremely discouraging. Therefore, I have taken on new goals, including starting (and finishing) the Whole30 program and running three huge races in May (the Lincoln Half Marathon, the Market to Market Relay, and Dam to Dam).
Please follow me on this journey -- support me, encourage me, and keep me accountable.