The Incredible Shrinking Krista

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Self Reflection

You know, I think some things in our lives almost demand that we take a look at our lives, our surroundings, our situations, and evaluate where we are.  I've been doing this a lot over the last year or so, and this morning I had a HUGE revelation, one that I have needed for a VERY long time....but I'll get back to that in a just a bit.

One of the things I have come to realize over time, is that the only thing I can control is myself, my reactions to situations, and my behaviors.  There is no amount of wishing and wanting things to be different that will make it happen.  I can't change how people treat me, no matter how badly I may want to.  I know that there are some people in my life that are toxic, at best.  our personalities don't click, we have different perspectives, etc.  While I know this about these people, I don't need to be aggressive or abusive with these people, I simply need to give them their space, and refuse to invest my emotions in their actions or responses to situations.

So, my huge revelation....

I have long said that I have low self-esteem, and the reality is, I do, especially when it comes to my physical appearance, however, I don't lack confidence in who I am as a person, or my intellectual abilities.  I have no question about my integrity as a person, or my professionalism.  I have figured out that there are some people that are very intimidated by my quiet confidence.  I don't go around bragging about my abilities at all, but I also won't allow someone to disrespect or bully me at any time.  This has been a concern in my current job, and one of the things that led me to resign.  There is a woman in my office that is a horrible bully, and she has been given permission to behave this way by the lack of response by the management when she does it.  I am by no means the first or only person to face her wrath, but I think I may well be the only person to "dismiss" her and walk away and refuse to engage her further.

What I find  the most interesting about the behavior of people like this is that it is very similar to the "big talkers" we all knew in high school.  You know the ones I'm talking about, the ones that we all knew the more they talked about their sexual escapades, the more made-up they were. This lady reminds me of those people.  She feels the need to tell everyone how passionate, intelligent and confident she is, but her behavior seems to display the polar opposite.  Her behavior seems to indicate that she is horribly insecure, and feels the need to bully, verbally abuse and scream at people because she is afraid that they may be right about something, or may offer a point of view that she disagrees with.  In order to avoid the possibility of having to admit a flaw in her thinking, she just continues to scream and yell at people until they shut-up and go away.

So going forward, I will just be embracing the philosophy of "not my circus, not my monkeys" as it pertains to other people and their drama.  I can only control myself and my own reactions to situations, and that is all I will spend my energy concerning myself with.  The reality is, the majority of the people that fall into the "toxic" category I'm speaking of, don't give 2 craps about my opinion, how they make me feel, or any other thing, so why should I waste my energy on them?

Until next time....


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness

I'm taking some time today, out of my normal topics to post something that is VERY important to me, and many others who I call my nearest friends. 

October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, and if you know me, you know that in 2007, at just 18 weeks pregnant, I went through the most horrific experience of my life. I was in labor for 24 hours to deliver my precious Henry James who I knew was gone.  There are no words that can accurately describe the pain and devastation of such a life-changing event. 

I wrote about that experience here.  I found many things that offered Solace and comfort in the coming days, including this poem:

Since heaven has become your home
I sometimes feel that I'm alone;
And though we now are far apart
You hold a big piece of my heart
I never knew how much I'd grieve
When it was time for you to leave
Or just how much my heart would ache
From that one fragment you would take
God let this tiny hole remain,
Reminding me we'd meet again
And one day all the pain will cease
When He restores this missing piece
For Jesus heals each tiny part
That holds your memory in my heart

Which inspired my tattoo in Henry's memory.

I found out in the aftermath of our loss that there were numerous women in my life that had experienced a similar loss, and it was so sad to me that so many women are dealing with or have dealt with this, and we just never talk about it.  If you know someone who has dealt with the loss of a child, at any stage of pregnancy, or after birth, please lift them up today and their child.

We are forced, as mothers of angel babies to move on through life, almost as if our child never existed because it makes people uncomfortable for us to talk about them.  Our babies are just as real as the ones you hug on their way off to school in the morning, they just didn't get to stay on this Earth as long as other babies.

I was blessed enough to find a group of women, all of whom had also been due for May, 2008 babies, and lost them at varying times in their pregnancies.  These women are now a group of women that I talk to about parenting issues.  We have been "together" as a support group for each other for the last 7 years, and I love each of them dearly.  These women helped me through the most difficult time in my life.

I will be lifting in prayer every family I know, and those that I don't, that have faced this horrible loss. I never forget about my Henry James, I just remember him quietly to myself.  We do celebrate his birthday every year, at the same time we celebrate my husband's (he was delivered on Barney's Birthday).   Tonight, I will light a candle in remembrance of our son, and all the others who left this Earth far too soon! 


Sunday, October 12, 2014

One Year a few weeks

A little over a year ago (August, 2013) I made the decision to pursue weight loss surgery.  I originally began the process looking into lap band because it was reversible and the least invasive.  I knew all along that I actually qualified for Gastric Bypass, and that most doctors would recommend that procedure due to how overweight I was.  Then, in my research between scheduling the appointment and actually going, I found that there were a LOT of complications with the Lap Band.  The stomach swelling closed, slipping, causing issues where they end up having to be removed, or revised to the Gastric Sleeve or Bypass.

By the time I got to my initial consultation, I had decided that Lap Band was NOT a good option for me, but I was terrified of the Bypass.  I went in and talked to my surgeon, Dr. Jon Michael Bruce, and we came to the agreement that Gastric Sleeve would be as effective, though a bit slower, in helping me get to my goal weight and see the changes I wanted to see in my health.

I then found out that my insurance company was going to be changing the pre-authorization requirements effective September 1, 2013, and an additional 6 months would be required, so we decided to see if everything could be done and submitted for approval by August 30, under the current requirements.  We completed everything in time, got it submitted, and on September 2nd (I think) I got the call that my surgery had been approved by the insurance company.

I have to say that while I knew this was the best option for me, I didn't have overwhelming support from everyone in my life.  My husband was nervous, and my kids were super excited about all the things I would be able to do with them once I lost the weight and got healthy.  My Nana cried and said that while she was scared, she wanted me to be healthy, and if I really felt like this was my best option, she would support me in whatever decision I made.  Some of my friends and family members were not nearly as supportive and enthusiastic.  I have had my fair share of people tell me that I cheated, that I took the easy way out, etc.  All those things considered, I chose to move forward and take control of my life and my future.

On September 16, I started a pre-op diet at 265.8 (my highest weight I ever saw on a scale was 270).  After 2 weeks on the pre-op liver-shrinking diet, I was wheeled into the OR weighing 255.8.  last Friday at my 1 year post-op visit, I weighed 171.  I am VERY close to losing 100#.

I have a few things coming up that I need to get ready for, and some serious goals for physical endurance coming up.

First thing is the Wine and Dine half marathon at Walt Disney World on November 8th, 2014.  Then, I start working out and training.  My long-term goal is to finish the Raleigh Half Ironman, 2016.  That means I have to start training now for the 1.2 mile open water swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run.  I've reached out to a swim coach at my gym, and will be working with her to get better hopefully.  I also have a new road bike, which is awesomely amazing and fun to ride.  I have a lot of work to do with cardio endurance, and physical endurance to build toward this goal.

In the meantime, 2015 will be my year of redemption.  I am hoping to complete the 4 races that I have DNF'd in the past.  That means that I will be doing:

Princess Weekend, Glass Slipper Challenge on February 21-22, 2015
Diva Half Marathon North Myrtle Beach, April 12, 2015
Rock 'N Roll Chicago Half Marathon, July 19, 2015
Battleship Half Marathon, November (1st or 8th) 2015

In January of 2016, I'll be completing the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge (half marathon on Saturday, Full marathon on Sunday).

In June of 2016 I will be doing the Raleigh Half Ironman

The training for all of this is starting now.  I still have an additional 20-36 pounds to lose.  I want to end up anywhere between 135 and 150.

I've shifted my goals now to being related to my physical fitness and not a number on the scale.  If I never lose another pound, but I am able to build my endurance and fitness to be a marathon runner, a triathlete, and do whatever my kids want me to do with them, I will consider myself a huge success.

I want to thank everyone who has checked on me, supported me, sent me loving messages, cheered me on, etc.  You are all such amazing people, and I couldn't do this without you.   I know that some of you will be there to cheer me on at races, or virtually, and that all means the world to me.  Thank you for your continued support...I'll post again once I finish the Wine and Dine Half Marathon next month!!!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

I am a Triathlete!

Wow, what an AMAZING year it has been!

On September 30, 2013 I underwent Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy.  I did so without the full support of my family, because they were very concerned about the long-term impact of the surgery, and obviously, afraid of possible complications.  

Just over a year out, I no longer recognize myself physically, OR mentally!  I love my new body, I am super proud of how I have handled the judgement and disapproval that I get every now and then.  I am proud of where I am physically.  

My sister has been doing triathlons for some time now and has tried for quite a while to get me to throw my hat in the Triathlon ring.  I have absolutely refused before this year.  I volunteered at the Ramblin' Rose Triathlon in Raleigh, and I saw what a supportive environment it was, and I saw every body type imaginable out there.  I then knew, that it would genuinely be OK if I did the Ramblin' Rose.  It is an all women Triathlon, so that made it a bit more comfortable too.  

Now, to put this all in a bit more perspective, I did an indoor triathlon last December at my gym.  It was brutal for me.  It was a last minute decision and I had told the organizer that I was only 3 months out of weight loss surgery, I was still VERY obese, and hadn't trained, so I knew it would be tough.  The resulting times are below

200 meter swim time: 12:33
15k (9 mile) bike time: 39:20
2 mile run time: 35:58
I want to think my total time, including transitions was like 1:27 something.  

So today, I showed up in Chapel Hill around 6:15 to get my transition area ready and be prepared to do my first official USAT triathlon.  I knew this would likely be a lot harder than my indoor triathlon for a few reasons:
1--The swim was 50 meters longer than the indoor swim (and I SUCKED at the swim)
2--I rode a spin bike at what was "easy" tension for me
3--I was on a treadmill
4--indoors means no wind, no hills, no cold temps
5--I really haven't trained since doing the one in December

So, I got my transition area set up, and went to get marked.  Now, I expected to be embarrassed for any number of reasons, including the fact that I was swimming in bike shorts and a sports bra, what I didn't expect was that when I went to get my body marked, my loose skin would create such a big problem.  You see, when your skin is loose, and someone tries to use a marker to write on you, the skin goes WITH the marker....yeah, humiliation with the fact that I had to hold my skin taut to be able be marked was a bit much to realize.  

Anyway, I had on my shorts and sports bra, and my dad's Carolina Hurricanes fleece and my crocheted hat to keep me as warm as possible.  All that considered, by the time race time actually got there, my toes were complete numb due to the cold.  At Ramblin' Rose they ask you to rate your swim ability, and I put myself at a 2 (1's are the weakest swimmers).  My goal was NOT to slow down everyone behind me and cause a bottleneck in the pool.  This had happened earlier with a swimmer who identified herself as a 5, but clearly wasn't, and had the lanes so backed up that there were women walking and talking in the pool.  Sadly, everyone cheered when this woman got out of the pool, and I DID NOT want to be that girl.  I wasn't certain I would be able to freestyle, because I didn't want to swallow half the pool again like I did last December.  I did freestyle for the first 125 meters, then switched to a a plan of breast stroke for 25, back stroke for 25.  

My swim time was 9:33

A full 3 minutes better than the 200 meters in December.  This means that I shaved off 3 minutes, AND, the swim was 50 meters longer, so the difference would have been MUCH bigger at just 200 meters.  

Now, all that warming up I did waiting to get into the pool with and in the nice warm water, so my feet thawed out, yeah, that didn't last long.  I got out of the pool, walked about 15 feet and headed back outside, into the 50-55 degree weather, soaking wet, dripping and barefoot running across the parking lot.  I did get to see my husband on the way into transition and he high-fived me so I got into transition and had to get ready for the bike ride.  Let's just say that Transition is almost disorienting.  I couldn't decide what to do first, so I just decided to sit down, dry my feet, put on my socks and shoes, then dry off what I could, put on my tank top, my Nathan Hydration Vest, my bike helmet, and hit the road.  I had brought a jacket to wear over everything, but am so very glad I didn't put it on.  

Transition Time: 3:54

Hit the bike, and was immediately in the wrong gear.  Very first hill and I had to get off the bike and finish walking it up the hill.  There was a short downhill, too short to get my gears sorted out, and so I had to use the curb to get up the next very small hill.  I did see a girl down after my 2nd turn, I don't know if she wrecked or what, but the ambulance got there right after I went by, and there were already multiple participants and volunteers with her.  I kept cruising along and doing my best.  At one point on the ride I heard an old riding buddy, Tomas, telling me to get into a comfortable cadence and to use the gear to make it possible to maintain that cadence.  I finally got it all figured out and started to do it right around mile 6.  the last mile and a half or so was a long slow grade, and I got about 2/3 of the way up, and had to dismount and walk it the rest of the way up.  My legs were like Jello, but I made it.  Got to the top of the hill, got back on the bike, and decided I WOULD not dismount again until I had to at the end of the bike ride.  I had are really tough hill right before dismount, but it was short, and there were 2 volunteers at the top of the hill SCREAMING at/for me, so I couldn't let myself get off the bike.  I made it and it was gravy from there.  I got to the transition, dismounted, and got into the transition area.  

Bike Time: 54:55 
Yes, that is 15:30 slower than I did on the spin bike in December, but those hills were pretty brutal.  

Back into Transition, Hung my bike up, took off my helmet, grabbed my visor and headed out again, Transition time 1:30

This was the only part that annoyed me a bit.  Yes, I know I'm slower than crap and a back-of-the-packer, but it would seem that the other athletes, even those already finished would have enough respect to stay out of the way of the folks still on the course.  Unfortunately, that's just not the case.  There were a couple of small groups of women just sauntering through the transition area, with their bikes, having already finished, and I had to weave between them to get out of transition.  I know that for the early finishers, they just want to go get warm, but even us slow folks want to have uninterrupted access to the course.  We pay the same registration fee, and we would LOVE the same respect that you got.....

Ok, so enough of that...out of transition and onto the run.  There was a little path that cut through from the parking lot to the running path, which going from sunny, to shady, and immediately out of transition with jelly legs, meant that I almost bit the dust and fell into the bushes, rather ungracefully.  Thankfully, I pulled it together and got out onto the running path.  I really couldn't run a lot, because my feet didn't like to pick up and put down like they should, and a few times, I caught my toe and almost went down.  I resigned myself to walking the majority of the 2 miles, and did a few intervals here and there.  There was a bit of an uphill right before the turn to the finish line, so I walked it up that hill with the plan of finishing strong, and jogging across the line.  

My plan worked, and I jogged across the finish line pretty strong.  Total time was 1:43:22.  I added about 15-20 minutes, depending on the actual time including transitions, but the hills made that necessary.  I really enjoyed the race, and I WILL do it again...probably sooner rather than later.  Can't wait for the next one.