Friday, August 28, 2015

Learning to be Confident

I am always amazed when the things I have been thinking about come up in a completely unrelated conversation or situation.

Lately I have been thinking about my perception about how I look.  I have lost over 50 pounds and am down 3 to 4 sizes depending on the clothes.  :-)  This is pretty awesome.  Some days I feel like I look pretty awesome and other days I can't see any difference.

I've been trying to figure that out and haven't really been able to.  I think people have been trying to figure out why we do that to ourselves and no one has.  If someone had they would probably be very rich.

However, one there is something that I have noticed about women that I admire have in common.

They are self-confident.

If they are wearing lovely slacks and a gorgeous blouse with matching high heel shoes and earrings they are amazing.

If they are wearing running shorts and a tank top and their favorite running shoes with their hair in a pony tail or stuck under a hat, dripping with sweat, they are beautiful.

They just always look confident and amazing.

Because they are happy with who they are and what they are doing.  Maybe they aren't happy with where they are with their body but they are working on that and they are happy with that so hell with it.

Isn't that an thing to admire?  I want to be just like them when I grow up.  :-)

I have been thinking about that a lot.  I have been wearing what I like and instead of feeling self-conscious about my poochy stomach or my jiggly arms I have decided that I look awesome.  After all, I have lost 50 pounds and at least 3 sizes.  I must look amazing, right?

This has been an interesting experiment.  Because I think people see the difference even when they don't know what it is that is different.

Today I went hiking with my son.  I wanted to go hiking at Mary's Peak.  For some reason I have never gone hiking there and have always wanted to go.  I had a trail in mind from my trail book but we missed the parking lot for that trail head and ended up at the top parking lot.  That was okay because we were having an adventure.  We wandered around at to the top of the summit of Mary's Peak and then did the Meadow Ridge Trail.  Ended up with a little over three miles but with lots of elevation.

Mostly we just enjoyed the time together talking about life and some of his adventures he had this summer and how much fun we had on our family trip to Whistler in July.  We didn't hurry, stopped and took a ton of pictures and laughed at the dog.  Bailey loved the meadow at the top because she could run in big circles through the grass.  At one point she was running down the hill so fast that she ended up doing a somersault and rolling down the hill for quite a ways.  She slowed down quite a bit after that.
View from the top of Mary's Peak.  Highest peak in the Oregon Coastal Range.
On a clear day you can see the Pacific Ocean
Loved hiking with Taylor this summer! 
Taylor and Bailey playing.  
Meadow Ridge Trail.  
The sun through the trees was so pretty.
Oregon is a beautiful place to live and hike!
I can't wait to come back to explore more trails.
Rain is coming.  We need it!
We came out of the woods and headed back down the hill towards the parking lot and saw a group coming up the trail toward us.  I knew some of the group.  One was a friend of mine so we stopped and said hi and I introduced Taylor to her and her kids and she introduced me to the other two kids she had along.  We visited for a bit and then Taylor and I took off.

As we were walking down the hill I told Taylor that my friend had lost over a 100 pounds last year.  He said that didn't surprise him.  I asked why he said that and he said she carries herself like someone who has lost weight.  I was almost immediately sure I knew what he was talking about but I asked him what he meant.  He said that he has noticed that people who lose a lot of weight often still carry themselves like they did when they were heavy.

I said, "You mean not confident and trying to hide how they look?"

Taylor said,  "Yes, exactly!"  I asked if I do that and he said sometimes.  Not all the time but sometimes.  He said that when we were in Whistler I didn't do it at all.  I was totally confident and it was awesome.

That's funny because that's when I started really working on wearing my clothes with confidence and acting like I had every right to wear what I was wearing because I looked fabulous.  Evidently it worked.  :-)

Here I am really thinking about how my own attitude about my looks affects how I carry myself and how people perceive me and my son totally confirms that this is true.

If I feel beautiful than I will be beautiful.

This was my first week back to work with my colleagues.  I had decided to wear my smaller sized clothes and be confident and just feel beautiful.  And I did.  No one really noticed or at least no one commented on my weight loss.  I haven't lost 50 pounds this summer.  Just another 10 or so but I think it is starting to be noticeable.  :-)  However, I got lots of compliments on how good I looked which I think translates into the same thing.  I'm not fishing for compliments usually but it all ties into the confidence thing.

I'm feeling confident.  I'm appearing confident.  People are noticing I'm confident and commenting on it.  It's kind of fun.

I had to renew my license so I went and took care of it this summer while I was still on vacation.  The gal had me laughing before she took the picture and the picture turned out great.  My last renewal was just as I was starting college full time, I was gaining weight and stressed and I looked it in the picture.  This license is eight years later and I look way younger and happier.  Could be I'm just acting more confident right now too.

Here's the very best example of this to date.

I went to Wal-Mart before work to pick up a few things for my class and some chargers for my husband's new phone.  I also picked up a couple of 2 Town Ciders for after work.  I unloaded the cart and was getting my card out to pay and suddenly the cashier just stops and is staring at me.  I look at her and she just keeps looking at me.  Finally I ask her if everything is okay and she says I think I'm going to need to see some ID.  I start to laugh and say, "Okay, right!" The cashier assures me that she does want to see it.  So I dig out my license, still laughing and tell her that she will understand why it's funny when she sees it.

She takes it from my hand and looks at it for a moment and then looks at me and says, "No way!"

She has just made my day!!  She wasn't kidding.  She said there was no way she would have had me more than 20 years over 21.  lol  I was teasing her that she was just trying to make a customer happy and she said she wasn't, she honestly felt she needed to check.

Either way I got a big charge out of it and it fed the confidence bubble I've been working on.

Here are the things I've been trying to think about.

  • Walking tall, shoulders back.  I'm a tall girl with a healthy rack in front.  Might as well quit trying to pretend I don't.  No more hunching or wearing clothes to try and hide this fact.  I don't need to be falling out of my shirts but I also don't need to be ashamed of my shape.  New bras that fit better and wearing my clothes with confidence.
  • Quit worrying about my tummy.  I gave carried three kids for nine months.  Then I carried a significant amount of extra fat there for years.  I'm pretty sure that no matter what I do there is going to be a pooch.  Oh well.  I'll keep working on it.  It is what it is.  I see WAY bigger girls than me wearing WAY tighter clothes than me all the time so I need to just get over it.
  • Wear clothes that fit!  I feel frumpy in clothes that are too big.  When I feel frumpy I feel fat.  It's hard to go spend money on new clothes.  I use the excuse that I'm not where I want to be yet so I want to wait and not waste the money but if I get discouraged while waiting because I feel frumpy and this makes me backslide.  That is just a stupid cycle to be on.  I am not going to be stupid.  New clothes it is.  I got some new slacks and a couple of tops and I didn't even buy bigger tops trying to hide my stomach.  That's a win for me.
  • Some of my shorts I bought this summer are short.  Not to my knees but actually short.  I had to teach myself to quite tugging at them to pull them down constantly.  (I do the same thing with shirts too).  I did not realize how often I did this.  So no more tugging at my clothes trying to hide my body.  Adjusting clothes is one thing, tugging to hide my body is another.  Tugging just sends out the signal to others that I am not comfortable with what I am wearing or how I look.
  • I realized that often I was more confident in my running clothes which were tighter and more revealing of my body shape than I was in my regular clothes.  My attitude there was that my comfort during exercise was more important than what others thought about my tummy pooch or arm jiggle.  I guess I have to translate that attitude of doing what is comfortable for me into the rest of my life.

Making progress.  But like all things that I do, it isn't easy and isn't quick.  There will still be days where I look in the mirror and see a fat girl and feel like I have been running in place and gotten nowhere fast.

But today is not that day.  :-)

Found this on Pinterest a while back and it pretty much sums it up.  Might have to make it my computer desktop picture just to remind me.  (Although the grammar drives me nuts.  lol)
Remembering that 'me' is pretty amazing.  
Hey you...Remember that you are pretty amazing too.  :-)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Last Week of Summer

It was my last full week of summer vacation.  Next Tuesday I officially go back to work.  I'm ready to get the school year started, see my students and my co-workers and get back into the work routine.  But it is a little hard to say goodbye to all the fun adventures that I have had this summer.

Nothing like packing a few more into the last week.  :-)

Last Saturday morning we got up early and volunteered at the Albany Half Marathon.  We manned the water station at Mile 11.  I had to get up early to go check in at the volunteer booth.  It was kind of strange showing up at a race that early in the morning and not be racing.  The race is a fund raiser for the South Albany High School Cross Country team.  The fun part about volunteering at a local event that is for the school is that you see a ton of people you know.  I had Bailey with me and we had a great time saying hi to a bunch of friends and Bailey even helped us make some new ones.  Nothing like a sweet puppy to get people talking together.  She was so well behaved!

I headed out to Mile 11 and got my chairs out and got some waters ready.  Joe was going to get off work and come straight there to meet me.  It wasn't too long before the other family that was helping at that station and Joe showed up.  We had a great time talking and teasing the kids.  It was a pretty relaxing morning.

The walkers started at 7:00 a.m. and the runners at 8:00 a.m.  We started seeing the fast ones not long after 9:00 a.m.  They were hauling ass!!!  There was a steady trickle of the super fast people then we got the main part of the crowd.  I love cheering people on at races.  It's so much fun and even more fun when we got to cheer on friends that were participating in the race.  David came by looking great and with his big, sweet smile on his face.  Melissa and Marcus also came through, they are training for Ironman Arizona this fall, they were doing awesome as well.  Although Melissa tried to convince us to do the last couple of miles for her.  Funny, no one took her up on the offer.  :-)
Volunteering with my favorite guy.  
 Then we got back down to a trickle of people.  People that were walkers, others that were struggling and some that just didn't care how fast they went but were having a fantastic day.  Since I am often at the back of the pack in that trickle of people when I race I know the struggle that some of them were dealing with.  An encouraging word and a "You got this!" really do help.  So we made sure that they had all the water they needed and a big dose of encouragement to get through the last two miles.

The coaches came by later and let us know that there was one more walker coming and they described him so we would know he was the last when we saw him and could clean up after that.  They said he was a big guy wearing a blue shirt and black shorts.  Sounds great.  I looked at my husband and said, "I wonder if it's my big guy that I see walking every day?"

All summer long, when I have left to run errands or we are leaving on one of our adventures I have seen this man walking near my neighborhood.  He's a big guy and some days he looks like he is not having a lot of fun.  But he is consistently out there.  I send him positive thoughts as I drive by all the time because I just love that he's out there working at being a healthier person.  I have thought all summer that I should get one of my runs to coincide with when he is walking just so I can run by him and tell him that but it never seem to work out.

I love seeing people working at being a healthier person.  It's not always easy.  It's hard to be out where people can drive by or run by.  I know that I felt self-conscious when I first started trying to run.  Everyone was faster, skinnier and I felt ridiculous.  But I kept working at it.  There are jerks out there who will make negative comments and are rude when they go by.  Not many but those seem to stick in the memory easier than all the smiles, waves and "You got this!" comments that you also hear.  So I think we just need to make sure there is such an avalanche of the positive comments to people out their making great choices and sweating and working hard to be healthy that they rude comments get buried.

So here we are, at a local half marathon and there is one big guy left and I am wondering if it's my big guy.  lol  Random thought, right?  Then we see him coming down the road.  I look at my husband and I tell him that I think it is the guy I see all the time, it looks like his walk.  He gets even closer and sure enough, it's him!  WAY COOL!!!  Joe walks down the road so that he doesn't have to wait for the water and is talking with him as he works his way towards the water station.  He tells Joe that his brother gave him a Fitbit last fall and he makes sure he gets that 5 miles every day, no matter what.  He has lost 100 pounds since last fall!!!!  That is so freaking awesome!  I bet if you had told him last summer that we would be doing a half marathon next summer he wouldn't have believed you!

We made sure he got more water at the water station.  Told him that he had two miles to go.  He was hurting and when you have gone 11 and are hurting 2 more seems almost impossible.  But he kept on moving.

We packed up the station and headed for home.  Joe and I had to go pick up Meighan from camp so we couldn't go to the finish line.  I would have loved to see him finish!  As I drove by him I rolled down my window and told him that I had seen him walking all summer and that he was awesome just for doing that every day.  And that in a few miles he would get to be able to tell people he had done a half marathon.  He smiled and said thank you.  I loved that I got to see him and cheer him on when he was someone I had been cheering on from a distance all summer!!

I looked on the results page and he did finish!!  First Half Marathon in the books so that means it's a PR!  I hope it is the first of many more races and adventures for him and that we see him at other events.

We headed out to pick up Miss Meighan from her first week as a T.I.M. (Teen in Ministry) which is basically a Jr. Counselor role.  She had an amazing time and learned a lot.  There were some difficult campers and so there was a lot of keeping a happy face on and helping the campers work through bad attitudes and problems.  She did great and was jazzed about going back for the next weeks camp.

We drove straight from camp to my mom and step-dad's house to celebrate my step-dad's 80th birthday. We had a great afternoon hanging out outside, eating pizza and celebrating the life of a fantastic man who I got the privilege to have in my life when he decided that he would marry my mom in spite of the two grungy kiddos she brought with the package.  lol  So glad he did!  :-)  My brother was there with his family and my bestest friend was there with her entourage.  She has been my friend so long and been so special to me that my parents pretty much adopted her too and consider one of the family.  She is the sister of my heart so that works well for me.  :-)  The only one missing was my son Taylor because he was coming home from his own adventure and ended up on a later flight than he had originally been scheduled on so he couldn't make it.  Such is the way with adventures sometimes.  We missed him but I am so glad he was out adventuring.  :-)
Opa & Oma celebrating Opa's 80th birthday!!  
Getting ready for the picture.  
Adventures in taking a family picture is always fun.  Figuring out the timer and getting in the picture made it even more hilarious. :-)
I love my family!!  
On Sunday my brother and his family joined me for a hike.  They live in Redmond which is about a three hour drive from here.  Not terribly far but also not super convenient either.  My sister-in-law has been working super at becoming a healthier person and is looking fantastic!  She has been doing races and like me, enjoys having something to work towards to keep her motivated.  She asked if we could do a run/hike together and of course I said yes!  Then it morphed into the whole family.  We had that last May when I was in their area.  We were going to run and then it became a whole family adventure.  We have fun but one of these times I'm going to make sure her and I get one run with just the two of us.  :-)

I wanted Teresa to be able to see Dimple Hill because that is where a lot of my hikes end up from one direction or another.  We took the easy route up on the main road.  Not terribly steep and it's only abut 2.5 miles to the top.  Jenna and Henry got a bit tired but they were troopers and kept moving.  I think Henry was totally in love with Bailey and would have snuck her home if he could have gotten away with it. :-)  Bailey is pretty sure that kids are invented for her to love on so she was very happy to have two of them with us on a hike which is her favorite thing to do in the world.  Kids and a hike together?  This was a very happy puppy!!

I had a great time visiting with my brother during the hike and with Teresa and the kids.  Hiking is one of those things were people get kind of spread out and you can easily walk with one person for awhile and then switch it up and walk with someone else.  Even though you are in a group you still can have one on one time with someone.  Or even be by yourself for a bit if you want, with the group but not having to participate in the group chatter.  That's actually nice sometimes.  :-)

We got to the top and the kids had to try out the bench and get some well earned rest.  Teresa and I had to take a bunch of pictures of course.
Henry, Jenna and Auntie Lisa
Me and Teresa!  Love this lady!!  Glad I get to call her family!  
 I wanted a selfie with my brother.  He humored me by agreeing to do it even though he doesn't like selfies.  lol  Of course, being Matt he had to do it in his own unique way.  Goober.
Is this where I look?
Oh, I know, I look this way!
Yay, a selfie!  Me and my "little" brother.  :-)  
Bailey was sure Henry needed kisses!
She didn't want Jenna to feel left out.  :-)
We got to see our friends Josh, Tony and Kristy while we were hiking up the trail while they were out doing a training run.  It was fun to introduce them to my family.  I felt like I was introducing my blood family to some of my heart family.  :-)  We saw Tony and Josh again at the top of Dimple Hill.  Joe had ridden his bike to Corvallis and met us at the Saddle when we parked.  Then he ran the longer way to Dimple Hill via Dan's Trail and met us near the top.  He joined us for the walk back down the hill.  It worked out very well.

Teresa asked me where I would have taken her if she had come without the rest of the family.  I smiled at her and said I would have done the route Joe did that was longer and steeper.  She laughed and said "Oh, great!" :-)

When we loaded back up in the car I had to have one of the kids sit in the very back row of seats because Joe was with us for the ride home.  Henry volunteered to do it and I sent Bailey back with him.  As I'm driving home all I see in my rear view mirror is Henry with huge smile on his face and Bailey sitting as close as she can next to him.  Henry has his arm around Bailey and she is leaning into him.  A little boy/dog bonding going on.  Pretty cute.

Matt, Teresa, Jenna and Henry took off for home (after the all important stop for lunch at Burgerville).  Later that evening I took Miss Meighan back out to camp for her second week as a T.I.M.

Tuesday was supposed to be HOT at home so Joe and I decided to go on a wander and make our way to the beach.  When we wander we just take a drive off the beaten path, no hurry to get somewhere and enjoy the view and the drive.  Joe wanted to drive through the Alsea Falls area to see if it would be a good route for a long bike ride.  It was beautiful!  I see why a lot of people we know go there for camping trips.  We just might have to add that to our summer adventures next year.  We ended up at the beach in Waldport and then started making our way up the coast.  While we were in Albany we had stopped and got a State Park parking pass.  Often when we go to the beach we will want to stop and explore different parks and we end up leaving because they have the $5 fee and we don't have $5 or we don't plan to stay long and don't want to have to pay it.  We figure we go to State Parks often enough it was worth getting the pass and then we could go to all the parks we wanted with no worries.  :-)  Winner!

So we stopped in at a small park and it had a great view of the ocean right from the parking lot.  Joe backed the truck in and we sat on the tailgate and had a little snack of cheese, crackers and cider.  Then I took Bailey down to play on the beach.  She loves to play in the sand and the water.  I have this frisbee toy she loves and she ran after that thing for the longest time.  Joe came down after a bit and played with her too.  I love the beach and I love that we live close enough to have day trips whenever we want.  The weather was lovely, warm but not terribly hot.  It was nice to escape the super hot at home for a bit.
Wind in her face and interesting smells.
Our view from the back of the truck.  
Wednesday I had a swim lesson with my fabulous coach.  (Also known as my daughter Bri).  She really is good and explains things very well.  I feel like I have improved so much in my technique this summer.  She says once my technique is really solid we will start working on the stamina part to get me stronger and faster too.  :-)  But right now I am having times where I feel like I'm gliding through the water.  It feels fantastic when it all lines up right.  Unfortunately, I will start thinking about all the things I'm supposed to be doing and then I end up snorting water. lol  But not as often as I used to.  :-)

Thursday I had my last summer activity with my friend Wendie.  She works in Albany on Thursdays and always does something on her lunch break.  This year we have been meeting at the pool which has been fun because I usually can try and put into practice what I learned from my coach the day before.  But this week Wendie wanted to run.  So we ran and it was great because it's easier to chit chat when you are running than when you are swimming.  :-)  When we started it was cooler and there was cloud cover but about half way through the run the clouds burned off and it got hot in a hurry.

I got tired and was having a hard time breathing.  Partly because I was running faster than normal keeping up with Wendie.  I did good with that for about 2.5 miles then it got harder. lol  But I just slowed down or walked when I needed and kept her in sight.  She would slow down or wait for me, whatever she wanted to do.  I was very proud of myself because I didn't say "I'm sorry" to her one time for being slow.  It is what it is and I'm where I am at.  She has taught me that is nothing to apologize for.  If she didn't want me along because I would slow her down she wouldn't invite me.  :-)  I've come a long way in this area.  Seems like a silly thing but for me it was huge.  I had a great time. I love my sweet friend who gives great heart lessons just by being Wendie!

To end the last week of vacation we are doing the Wicked Wine Run on Saturday with Josh and Wendie.  We registered as part of a team and the team theme is purple.  So I decided that we needed to have purple tutus.  All four of us.  I watched a couple of videos online on how to make them and then headed to Joann's Fabrics.
Getting ready. 
The strips are cut.
Taking a selfie of a tutu isn't easy. 
I think they turned out pretty well.  Nice and floofy.

We set out on Saturday to pick up Josh and Wendie and head for the Wicked Wine Run in Dayton, Oregon at the Stoller Vineyard.  The winds had shifted in Oregon and smoke from all the wildfires in Eastern Oregon and in Washington came into the valley making it a really hazy afternoon.

The gates opened at 3:00 p.m. and the run started at 5:00 p.m.  We got there a little after 3:00 and went to pick up our race bibs and t-shirts.  Then we went and checked out the food carts and got a snack.  We had quite a bit of time before things got started but we had a great time hanging out by the car, people watching and having a little pre-race fun.
The hydroflasks started out with water in them....
Soon enough it was time to get ready for the race.  Time for the tutus!!
Love this lady!!!  
Not every man can pull off a purple tutu.  Both these men did, exceptionally well.  :-)

Love this guy!!
Ready to run!
No blue sky, just brown smokey haze.  But the vineyard was still beautiful!
 The vineyard that we ran through was so beautiful.  The grapes are huge and there were so many of them!  Harvest time will be coming soon I'm sure.

We got lined up to start the race and there were a ton of people.  Lots of fun outfits and costumes and a lot of tutus. :-)  One lady told us she was glad our guys were wearing the tutus.  Her husband had been complaining about wearing the peach colored race shirts because they were too girly.  She pointed out that at least he didn't have to wear a tutu.  lol  Josh and Joe were such good sports about it.
A fun time with the Purple team.  :-)

Lots of people ready to run.
We took off and the first thing we had to do was go up this big ass hill.  It wasn't fun.  It was steep and long and it was hard to breath.  I had forgotten to take along my inhaler, which was stupid considering the smoke.  Josh let me borrow his, which helped a lot.  Thank you Josh!!  The course took us on the gravel/dirt roads that wind through the vineyard.  It was very pretty and I bet on a day without the smoke the view would be spectacular.  We had to watch our feet because of rocks, sticks and potholes.  A woman behind me coming down one hill stepped in a pothole and took a hard fall.  She had some major road rash!  Such a bummer.

I was so slow and got frustrated.  I have been running for five years and I still can have my ass kicked on a 5k.  Ugh.  I know, I know.  It was smokey and there was a lot of hills and I haven't been running much the last few weeks.  That all contributes and I understand that but sometimes it feels like it is always super hard.  Once in awhile it would be nice to be able to keep up.

But I managed to work through the frustration and fix my attitude before the end of the race.  Hey, I was out there.  I did a 5k in the smoke and on the hills.  I wasn't even last.  lol  All good things.  Plus I was with my husband and really great friends and we did a LOT of laughing all afternoon and evening.  That is a fabulous way to spend time!!!
This sign made me laugh during the run.  
Great view in spite of the smoke. 
When we finished we got a wine glass to keep with wine in it.  That's a pretty fun way to end a race.
Tumbler wine glass for the finish.  :-)  It had wine in it when I got it.  :-)
The Fab Four!
Yay!  We did it!
Can I take this off yet?  
Always smiles when we hang out with Josh and Wendie!
Always goofiness happening too!
After the race we cleaned up and headed back to Corvallis.  We were able to meet up with our friends Tony and Kristy for dinner at Skyhigh.  It was nice to have a chance to hang out with them since we haven't been able to do that since JUNE!!  We have all had so many adventures going on it's been hard to get us all together to just hang out.  We laughed all through dinner.

On the way home we got this text:
Showing off blisters, it's what we do.  :-)
I head back to work this next week.  Setting up my classroom, lots of meetings and getting to see all my teaching friends.  The week after that the students will be in the building and the school year will be rolling.  I'm looking forward to getting back into the regular routine.  I'm really looking forward to some cooler weather.

But I am so grateful for this awesome summer spent having epic adventures with friends and family.  It was so nice to be able to enjoy the quiet moments and to embrace the chaotic moments without the worry of homework.  I enjoyed every adventure.  :-)

Joe and I are already thinking about what adventures we want to have next summer.  If you know of some really great place we should go or event we should participate in, let us know and we will check it out.  :-)