That one time I became a MARATHONER.

Ya’ll remember that one time last spring that I was training my heart out for a marathon? And for months after I alluded to a recap I was going to write? Well HERE IT IS. In honor of my almost 26.2 runiversary… maybe this will light a fire under my ass to love the {long} run again. (brace yourself: this is lengthy!)
If you had asked me five years ago if I even envisioned myself being a runner I would have laughed. If you had asked me if I would ever run 26.2 miles for FUN and willingly.. I would have said you’re are absolutely crazy. Once I quit swimming after nationals my junior year of high school I just did gym routines and workouts at my leisure.
Then after a good friend of mine got into half marathons, something clicked for me. Two half marathons later that I ran I finally bit the bullet and signed up for my debut (& possibly only..) FULL MARATHON. (& convinced said friend to run it with me & help me train up!)

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The marathon I would be running was the Country Music RnR on April 28, 2012. For all you Wisconsinities and midwestern folk, you know that training for a spring marathon can be tricky because of the weather. Well winter 2012 was really perfect for it… not too much snow nor BITTER cold.
I picked (and slightly modified) an 18 week training plan. I missed a couple mid-distance runs because of schoolwork and Army training, and one (maybe two?) long runs but I was actually incredibly prepared for this race.
I had put around 400 miles into the training, over 45 hours of running alone, 1 pair of Brooks, 1 pair of Asics, and many spaghetti dinners into this marathon. I loved about 95% of the long runs. I would almost always have company either with Sam or Tyler on these. I loved the training and the dedication… I finally believed I was a runner.

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Sadly, runners all can relate with me here: no matter how perfectly prepared and ready you are for a big race… things can and do go awray.

The drive from WI to Nashville wasn’t too bad.. the expo was so much fun. I even got to meet Ryan Hall and stocked up on some new compression sleeves that matched my shirt I had picked out for race day.

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ImageDespite some nerves I slept real well. Woke up more than ready to run and went through my morning run ritual: pb/banana sandwich, water/gatorade/BATHROOMx4/stretching. We had a cab lined up and met some amazing people at our hotel waiting for cabs too. The race hadn’t even started and I was having a blast.

ImageWhen the gun went off my legs were feeling real fresh, the weather was in the 60s, and I had such a smile on my face. My mom was somewhere at the halfway mark (around 12-13.5 miles) & until then I felt so great. I could keep Gu and gatorade/water down no problem. I was on track for my 4:30-4:45 marathon which helped push me even harder on the {beginning of the} second half.
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Well suddenly the 60 degree temperatures had crawled into the mid 70s. I was taking water cups at the water stops and pouring them over my head (which attributed to a blood blister the size of a half dollar on the bottom of my foot). I figured I would get over it. For a Wisconsin girl who just spent a WINTER training-the 70s is hot. Oh and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, nor any shade cover. As if the hot sun wasn’t enough, the course was hilly. This is where things got bad… ugly… painful & hideous.
Around mile 15 I couldn’t keep any foods down (spectators were handing out oranges/pretzels because of the heat). Then mile 16 came and I started dry heaving. I couldn’t even keep water or gatorade down anymore-the staples for my running fuel. I was a complete mess. The medics repeatedly told me that I could rest a couple minutes or take the DNF.
Luckily Sam was the most understanding training partner and stuck with me. I told her to go ahead but she knew without her I never would have crossed that finish line. Bless her soul, I still owe her. (I know you’re reading–THANK YOU LOVE!)
Miles 16-25.5 were the longest 9 miles of my life. Despite my amazing training, a lot of this was spent walking/crying/dry heaving. But you bet your ass I was going to finish this after the dedication I put into it (my last semester of college mind you).
Fast forward to mile 25.5-I saw my mom waiting under the bridge right before the finish line and I was somehow able to kick it into the finish when just a mile earlier I was bent over wrenching up nothing.
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I was overcome with emotion (happiness, anger, defeat, joy, frustration-you name it I felt it) when I finally crossed that finish line. Sure, I ran about 90-120 minutes slower than I trained for and DESERVED… but damn it, I was a marathoner.
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Tears flowed like crazy that night. It was the post-marathon blues and the disappointment in how the race went but no one could take the 26.2 mile run away from me. On April 28th, 2012 I became a MARATHONER. Time is irrelevant.

Not only did I get a kickass medal, but I also got the worst sunburn of my life as a great memory… errr…

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 This post was emotional for me to get out. Ever since this race my drive and passion for the LONG run has been gone. I don’t want this to be my only marathon experience and end on a sour note. I must get out there again…. time will tell which race (if any) will be my second crack at 26.2

Fitness Friday 1

Since I spend a lot of my free-time at the gym (not because I feel like I need to but because I am truly passionate about fitness and ENJOY it) I decided why not start doing this series. It helps keep a good record of my workouts and might inspire some of you to give them a whirl :)

Monday

a day without rain so laced up and went on a GREAT run on the trails: 3.57 miles in 32 minutes. (9:01 pace to include a huge hill!)

5 RFT
15 reps barbell bicep curl 

20 assisted pull-ups
12 reps/arm hammer curl (15#)
12 reps underhand lat pull down (72#)
7 reps reverse pushups (KILL ME)
12 reps seated db bicep curl (15#)

Tuesday

30min AMRAP:
10 burpees
10 box jumps
20 pushups
30 air squats
20 dips
15 seated rows (72#)
{{completed 5 rounds… I think}}

Wednesday

crappy 2.5 mile treadmill

upper body weights with Tyler.. can’t remember exaclty but am SO SORE today.

Thursday

Brooke’s Beach Body TM & abs workouts! And the following leg weights:

4×15 leg press (140, 140, 150, 150#)
3x (15 bosu ball squats, 60s wall sit, 15 calf raises @ 50#)

Today {Friday}

45min AMRAP:

sprint 1 lap on track
10 lunges/leg
sprint 1 lap on track
60s jump rope
sprint 1 lap on track
15 squat reach jumps
I have some good workouts in mind for this weekend–HOPEFULLY the weather cooperates and I get in a ‘long’ run before that half in May.

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All you professional & blog savvy people–how can I make pretty images for my workouts to make it not appear so boring? The black and white of this post is unappealing to even my eyes. 

With a Heavy Heart.

Disclaimer: I tend to keep religion out of the blog, but this instance is different. You will see why. I apologize for the wordiness.
Last week I had many posts ready to go up (April goals, workouts, etc.) but then on the 4th, I got hit with some bigger news.
I recently opened up about some issues with my depression and how I have had a hard time finding the ‘good stuff’ in life lately. The past few days I have been feeling incredibly grateful, fortunate and being happy even in less than stellar situations.

Unfortunately all this eye-opening came at a larger cost. On April 4th, I went about my normal morning: workout, wished my mom a happy birthday, ate breakfast & checked facebook. That’s when things really changed for me. I found out that an old family friend of mine died unexpectedly. While I haven’t seen him in 10 years, we grew up together. Playing in their garage, swimming when his road flooded, and lots of family time spent together. And just like that, he had to leave this life and went to live the next Eternal life.

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I’ll never forget Drew Swan. One week short of his 25th birthday, this wonderful guy suffered a heart attack. While I didn’t keep in touch after middle school I remember the Drew I knew. He was so passionate for life, caring, faithful, driven, and a true inspiration to everyone who knew him. He praised his younger brother, Jack (who I keep in touch with) for getting into medical school. Drew always said he couldn’t wait to experience the journey Jack was on to become a doctor. And just like that… he is gone.

Jack seems to be handling it well but I cannot imagine the pain his family is going through. Jack and Drew were the best friends and brothers you could imagine. They had that amazing brother relationship that many people wish they had. I pray so much for Jack and his family in this troubled time.

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I haven’t been questioning my faith these past few days but I have been having a lot of conversations and prayers wondering WHY… why must God take the young and GOOD people? It’s not to say that I wish death upon anyone, but there are BAD people in this world. Why do the bad and ill-hearted individuals get to continue on with their lives yet amazing young men like Drew are taken too soon?
Everyone says that ‘it happens for a reason’ but I have a hard time finding a reason behind taking Drew from this world. He had so much life left to live, so much good left to do. I realized that in all the funerals I’ve gone to, only ONE was for someone dying from old age. Otherwise it has been suicide, car accidents, cancer, and now a heart attack. Drew was TWENTY-FIVE years young. There is nothing fair about it. God now has a new angel who is singing to all the angels and watching over all of us left here.
This weekend I cherished every second I got to spend with Tyler and my friends. I made sure to not ‘sweat the small stuff’ and didn’t get angry over petty issues. This life is a gift granted to all of us, but it is a gift that we do not control the expiration date of. In Drew’s memory I am making it a point to really be optimistic and not dwell on the negative. Because Lord only knows when my time is.

I will not dread going to work every day.

I will not get into petty arguments with Tyler over trivial issues.

I will wake up each morning and thank God that I have the privilege of being alive for another day.

Life is short, but sweet for certain.

 

In loving memory of Drew Swan.

A Very Blessed Easter

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend! A lot of people forget the religious aspect of Easter but it really was humbling for me this year. As I further develop my faith I found myself tearing up in church on Sunday morning.

Spring weather finally decided to show up for a couple days this weekend and it was glorious. It brought some much needed smiles around to these parts. With warmer weather I finally felt like I could get a much awaited for ICED coffee. 

Image Friday night I went to the YMCA with one of my best friends and her 8mo old daughter for some swimming. It was so cute and fun. It’s amazing how easily amused babies are… and the fact that she loves the water is awesome! Then her husby decided to stay home with the little one and we went out for a martini and just chatted! I forget how nice girl talk is sometimes.

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Saturday was everything I’ve needed the past few weeks. I did skip my long run {{again…}} and felt guilty about that for a couple hours. But then Tyler came over and since it was in the 50s we went on a 2mile walk and just talked. Sat on a bench overlooking the lake and addressed some issues that really needed to be addressed regarding me and how it’s affecting our relationship. There were tears, but it was necessary. It really opened my eyes to how this process has affected him. It was just what we needed to clear the air and I have been smiling non-stop ever since!
Since we wanted to spend time with both our families this holiday we did Easter on Saturday with my family. My grandma cooked up a divine pork tenderloin. I was having some mental issues with food and how I see my body unfortunately so I didn’t eat much but what I did try was fantastic. Just being with my family and Tyler was more than enough. 
Sunday we went to church with his family. His family is Catholic and I am non-denominational. While I have my reservations about Catholicism I still found the mass to be beautiful and encompass all the important aspects of Easter.

The rest of the Sunday was full of BASKETBALL. Kevin Ware’s fracture had me mesmerized…in a gross way. Did you see it? If not and you don’t get the heebie-jeebies—check THIS out. It’s probably the worst sports injury I’ve ever seen. And the raw emotion the players showed for his teammate shows what sports is really about. 

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{quite possibly my favorite picture of us}

 

On a lighter note: with Lousiville winning—I beat Ty in our bracket. He now has to eat veggies twice a week and cook me dinner of my choosing. Eating veggies will be a huge undertaking for him because he hates all veggies.. but it’ll benefit him :)

So all in all it was a fabulous weekend. I have a busy April coming up and it’s going to cruise by. Stick around for my next post where I’ll be talking about some of my goals to help myself with the depression. :) 

 

Monday Mantra:

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Wordy Wednesday

This post is incredibly difficult for me to write-I touched on it before but after all your amazing support I figured I would further elaborate. If you don’t like sad and serious blog posts, divert your attention elsewhere. If you ever have found yourself struggling with depression and overcoming severe life changes, then read on. I hope opening up about my experience will help you in any way. Caveat: I am leaving out some details as they are just too personal for me to discuss. If you want to discuss it further or have questions you can contact me via e-mail (kcriemer AT yahoo DOT com)
 
For months I thought I could ‘hide’ the depression or that it would magically disappear on its own… My thoughts were ‘well maybe if I exercise more the endorphins will make me HAPPY’. If I spend time doing things that make me happy I would be happy… only to realize that I don’t even know what makes me happy or ‘tick’ anymore. By having these thoughts rather than just accepting the truth I was more wrong than ever with thinking that I could fix it and only causing more harm.
 
By covering it up, not only was I lying to myself, but I was lying to all those close family and friends around me that love me and support me through the good, the bad, the happy & the sad. While deep down I knew and have known for months that I do indeed have depression, to possibly even a severe extent, I refused to grasp or accept it. I didn’t want to be the girl who needs medicine to be ‘happy’. I didn’t want to be the girl who is unstable—one week being so happy and the next being in complete misery.
 
Then this past weekend I had a moment of clarity. Unfortunately it took a night of darkness, sadness, and being alone to realize I HAD to get help. It wasn’t an option anymore. As mentioned before I will spare some of the details but the jist of it is I had that breaking point that I needed that lonely night.
 
I spent the weekend with my family back at home and got back to my apartment early evening on Sunday. I had a rough weekend to begin with and Tyler is vacationing with his family in St. Thomas—the guy who I can tell everything to and know that he will still love me the next day and be supportive wasn’t here. I didn’t know what to do. My friends are few and far between these days and I was too embarrassed to talk to my mom about how deep these issues truly resonate.
 
My parents know I have had depression since this past summer, but only Tyler knows how bad it really has been these past few months. With him being gone I didn’t want to ruin his vacation anymore than I already had by telling him how bad of a place I was in. So I turned to a bottle of hot apple pie (read: heavy on the everclear, heavy on the vodka, medium on the apple juice) and drank glass after glass after glass. Alone. On the living room floor. With an empty stomach. Listening to the saddest music possible. When I knew I had more than enough to drink I said ‘what’s one more?’. That happened numerous times. I tore my apartment apart. I cried for hours on end until I finally drank enough and passed out in bed.
 
I may have felt better for a little bit before the drinking got excessive that night but like all “remedies” I was doing myself-it was temporary. And now I was putting myself in danger too.Monday morning, hungover at work, I decided it was time. I couldn’t do this anymore.
 
Tyler has been urging (but not forcing) me to call to actually see a psychiatrist and a therapist to discuss my depression and body dysmorphia with someone qualified to help me. Making that phone call was quite honestly one of the hardest things in my life. As if I didn’t feel embarrassed before-now I felt weak for asking for HELP. Today I still sit here and don’t see how getting the help makes me a strong person. Tyler, my friends and family all remind me that I am being strong by getting help, I truly hope that I can see the strength in it. I can tell you that finally realizing and accepting the fact that depression is not something that will just go away and get the appropriate help has lifted a weight off of my shoulders.
 
This will not be forever. I WILL be happy again even if it is by taking the right medication indefinitely. I can’t bear the thought of putting my amazing relationship with Tyler in jeopardy because I refuse to get help, I don’t want to scare my friends and family anymore. I want to wake up every day and ENJOY this life that I am so privileged to have.
 
I may have a job I don’t fully enjoy…but I have a job.
 
I may not have the dream body I want…but I’m working hard towards my goals and am physically healthy.
 
I may not have a ton of friends…but the ones I do still have are the best people I could have in my life at a time like this.
 
I may not know what the future entails…but that means I have a lot of options and so much time to figure it out.
 
Until I see the doctor and therapists I am doing a lot of self-reflecting and journaling to record this process. Some days are good, some are bad and I want to get to the bottom of it. I will get to the bottom of it.
 
If you’ve made it this far-you really rock. I hope that this wasn’t too dreary for you but as I mentioned-I want to help anyone I can by sharing my experiences.
 
Happy Hump Day—half way to the weekend!

Weekend Recap

 Before I start off–I just want to thank each and every one of you who commented on my last post. It means more than you will ever know to hear your kind, sweet & heartfelt words on something that is very difficult for me to discuss. As I make improvements in my lifestyle I will be re-visiting that post and keeping ya’ll updated. Just know that things are changing and improvements are starting to happen :) 

What an amazing weekend I just had. I wish I could rewind and just press pause. A lot of time was spent with Tyler since my weekends here before I leave for training this summer are really winding down. Bittersweet-I want to go to training to get qualified but I don’t want to leave Tyler and my friends/family. Good thing it’s only 4 months.

Now for the weekend highlights! 

Friday: I FINALLY convinced drug Tyler to the theatre to se Safe Haven! Turns out he actually liked it. I thought it was really good-but the book was better {isn’t it always?}

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After the movie we did a lot of relaxing and cracked open a bottle of Cherry Wine from Door County–swoon. 

Because my body has an internal alarm clock I woke up real early on Saturday while I let sleepyhead Tyler sleep in a bit longer. Filled my time reading the new Fitness with my favorite inspiration Jillian Michaels on the cover & some of my favorite coffee.Image

Once he finally got up we went for a nice workout. Followed by being bums. Eventually it was time to get ready for a dinner and some BADGER HOCKEY! 

We opted for ‘real people’ seats instead of the student section and it was a good call. We were in the third tier but center ice and it was so nice to sit and enjoy the game and each others company without a bunch of {drunk} college students. 

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Badgers ended up winning 4-1 and advancing. ON WISCONSIN! 

Sunday morning I woke up and did the Shamrock Shuffle 10k. Tyler didn’t do it because he didn’t want to spend $40 on it. But he did surprise me at mile 5 right before I scaled Mt Everest Observatory Hill.. it definitely helped me out. 

I finished in 57:24. Which I’ll take being that my previous PR was 1:00.01 {yes my goal that day was to beat 1hr..just my luck!} But disappointed a little because I was on course for a sub 55min except the hills killed me on the way back. 

Tyler and I got lunch at Cosi with his brother and just spent the rest of the day relaxing and doing some meal prep for the week. It was truly a GREAT weekend :) 

Time to fold some laundry and watch the Biggest Loser finale! <3 

Weight {To Be} Lifted

This post is full of raw emotion.. and took a lot for me to put out there. Even though there’s only about 4-5 faithful readers of my intermittent blog posts-it’s very personal stuff.  And long—so bare with me.
 

This past fall I struggled a LOT mentally. I  alluded to it on the blog but was debating whether I ever wanted to delve into it any further. One word:

DEPRESSION. I fought with myself for months as to whether I actually was depressed… or if it was just a phase. Life after college was so anti-climatic and un-fulfilling. I guess I expected to be happy immediately with life as an ‘adult’. Suddenly (apart from Tyler), I felt completely alone. All my friends went off to their duty stations around the world (all went Active Duty), started jobs as teachers and nurses… and here I was. Confused to what I want to do job-wise, friendless, and lost.

It was the first time ever that I wasn’t being challenged in a classroom environment, being surrounded by people, etc. I wasn’t just a little lost-I had absolutely no idea where to go. My evenings after work were spent working out then wallowing at home-often over a glass of wine and tissues while I cried. It took a lot of discussing things with Ty and my mom but eventually  I agreed to get help. I have been on anti-depressants for a while now. They were working but I think it may be time to up the dosage or change which one I’m on because I feel myself reverting to how I was a few months ago. I just am unhappy with where my life is right now job-wise (despite starting a new job) and what I want to do as a career. But now  there’s an additional element with my depression-lack of self-esteem and severe body dysmorphia disorder.

Like most HLB’s-I do not have a healthy relationship with food/weight/body image. While I know I am not ‘fat’ (that word makes me cringe) per se, I also know that I am not thin/toned/etc. I have always struggled with my appearance. Growing up I was a swimmer so I had broad shoulders and a bigger build than all the twigs that I walked the halls with. Looking back I had a killer body, but even then I was never good enough.

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Yes even in those pictures I thought I was fat.. never was happy with my body.

Insert years of yo-yo dieting (Atkins, SlimFast, etc.) and my weight was forever fluctuating. Then came college-also a time where it was up and down. When I started running I lost a lot of weight over a summer and everyone thought I looked great. Then junior & senior year happened and I gained it all back.

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Fast forward to now, when I’m almost a year out of college-and I’ve not only held onto the College weight I gained-but I’ve put on additional weight. I guess sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day with minimal activity will do that for ya. Like before, I know I’m not ‘fat’ but I am very unhappy and disappointed in how I look. I know with how much I work out that I should be much more lean. Unfortunately it’s not just a thought when I look in the mirror thinking ‘Karla, you should clean up your diet and workout even harder’… instead of this brief thought I have a full-on and dehabilitating OBSESSION with my weight and appearance.
 

I know you’re probably thinking ‘everyone has some self esteem and body image issues’. This is true; to some extent everyone does. But mine has been blown so far out of proportion. I stand in the mirror for a good ten minutes everyday critiquing my body. Both Monday & today after I left the gym, I sat in my car and bawled for at least five minutes because I saw myself in a mirror at the gym and was overwhelmed with pure disappointment–feeling like I will never be good enough.

Tyler and I don’t argue much but 90% of the arguments we do have revolve around my self-esteem/confidence issues and always being negative about how I look. “Why can’t I eat what I want to eat? Why do I have to work so damn hard to lose a half pound? Will I always be the girl that feels guilty after eating pizza?’ The negativity surrounding myself then pours into our relationship. It’s a constant downward spiral. If he loves me and thinks I’m beautiful..why can’t I?

This is not healthy. I know this-but I haven’t been able to fix it…. Yet. I’m sure the anti-depressants do help a little bit, but it’s not enough. I’m not sure if I need to see a psychiatrist about these problems I face every single day or what I should do. I do know that I cannot keep letting them consume me-it’s stealing the normal ME and I want to be back. I want to look in the mirror and feel proud and happy.

I want to be proud of my big legs because they let me run. I want to admire my broad shoulders because it’s a reminder of how good of a swimmer I was {they carried me to state records and Nationals twice!} I want to be okay with my ‘love handles’ because it’s a part of who I am.

For now I do know one thing. I have decided to re-start my journey with Tone It Up. If you haven’t heard about TIU yet-go check it out! These two women are beautiful and incredibly talented trainers who really seem to know what they’re doing.. the transformation stories always are so inspiring! While it is a ‘diet’ it is more about a lifestyle change—which is exactly what I need. I’m hoping that through this journey and process I can learn to not always crave {& often give in} to pizza when I’m with Ty, regardless of how much I love it because then I just feel guilty and even worse after eating it. I hope to learn to LOVE healthy eating, and realize it is not as restrictive as people say. I hope to learn to experiment in the kitchen more and really restrict, if not abolish, my ‘cheat meals’. But most importantly, I hope to learn to love myself regardless the results.
 
Should I still seek a psychiatrist or a dietician? Probably… yes. I will be making phone calls soon I think.
 
I started the 7 Day Slim Down Monday.. I took “before” pictures (which be glad I’ll spare from scaring you with) and took my measurements. I’m really hoping this week, while challenging, will be the kickstart that I need to move towards the body that I want and deserve to get for myself. It will be tough eating exactly what I’m prescribed to this week but success will taste sweeter than any food I’m not allowed to eat 
 

The real challenge will be when I’m at home with Ty this weekend for a family birthday party—they have cake and some of the BEST food around scattered on the table. It will be a true test but I think I’ve finally hit my lowest. Which means all I can do is go up right? 

So… that is where my mind has been the past few months. If you made it this far-bless your soul. 

Tell Me: If you have had any issues with body dysmorphia and depression…. let me know so I don’t feel alone! <3