Celebration and Gratitude

My intention this morning was for some quick hill repeats after I dropped the kids off to school. I was feeling a bit tired, so I wanted to get my 35 min of fasted cardio in and call it a day for exercise. There is a peaceful regional park near the school with miles of meandering trails and one very robust hill leading down into the campground that offers a challenging workout for those brave enough to run up it.  My intention was to get in 4 or 5 hill repeats as a HIIT workout, but changed plans as my legs seemed to yearn for more mileage once they got moving. 

I ran to the bottom of the hill and veered left, past the campground, onto the dirt trails. I ran 5 miles yesterday then did a heavy leg workout, so my fatigue was palpable. With my music on, I ran about 1.5 miles out, then turned around to conquer the hill on my way back. My heart rate soared as I increased my pace up the hill and pushed through to the top.  Out of breath, I lumbered toward my car. As I approached my vehicle, something in me told me to pass it and just keep going. So, I continued on the trail paralleling the street for another mile, then looped back into the park. By this time, my breathing had regulated, and my body was warm despite the frosty 42 degrees outside. The last mile back was slight downhill, and I was gliding easily under the canopy of trees, rhythmically moving my feet to the cadence of my music, when the word celebrate popped into my mind. 

I turned this word over, curious as to why it came into my consciousness. 

Celebrate this moment, celebrate your achievements, celebrate your life, my inner voice said. 

When I shattered my ankle in 2019, this was the same trail I ran on my very first run, 5 months post-surgery. I remember limping through the adventure, both frightened of the pain and ecstatic that I was pushing through it. Every step was an uncomfortable, but joyful, effort. 

Today, two years past my surgery, two half marathons accomplished, and hundreds of miles walked and run, with two metal plates and 14 screws still holding me together, I am filled with gratitude, humility, and celebration. 

If I hadn’t broken my ankle, I wouldn’t have been determined to exceed the expectations of my doctor and physical therapist and run a half marathon within a year of injury. If I hadn’t run that half marathon, I would never have set the goal to run a 50-mile race before I turn 50. If I didn’t set that goal, I wouldn’t have my blog and I wouldn’t have pursued improving my fitness and health with such determination. 

 My injury changed my life. It changed my perspective on life. 

Setbacks are gifts. They are opportunities for change and adaptation. 

Through these setbacks, whether in or out of our control, we learn. We have the fortunate opportunity to adapt, change and move forward. Or we can see our impediments as roadblocks, resist the hidden lessons, and stay stagnant. 

This week has been SUPER frustrating on my weight loss journey. I really just want to grumble and growl and stamp my feet like a toddler. 

The scale has gone up a couple pounds since last week and despite my best efforts, I really haven’t dropped much in the last few weeks. 

I ask myself, what am I doing wrong? I enjoyed a “cheat meal”/date night with my husband last weekend, did that throw everything off? Aside from that, my diet has been consistent. Worried about the lack of downward movement in the scale, I have increased both my cardio and my weight training. But the numbers haven’t really budged. I am focused. I am diligent. I am determined. 

Intellectually, I know I am fine. My progress pics continue to show significant change, even if the scale doesn’t. Maybe I’ve hit a plateau. Maybe my body just needs to adapt at a weight it hasn’t been for 25 years. Maybe my muscle gain is increasing faster than my fat loss in this period of time. Maybe it’s hormones. Maybe it’s a million things. Rationally, I KNOW:  Don’t make any changes. Stay consistent. Be relentless. Be resilient. Be outcome independent. Just focus on the long-term goal and everything will eventually align. 

Yet, yet….

I am human. 

I want the instant gratification of the scale showing the evidence of all my efforts. 

I want to see measurable progress, spelled out for me in crisp, clear, digital LED numbers on the little white plate situated prominently in the middle of my closet. 

But alas, that is not to be right now. 

So, what do I do? How do I approach this setback? Give up? Rebel against myself and go off the program? Say screw it, it’s not worth all this effort with no measurable progress? Eat those chocolate chip muffins I made for the kids this morning? Trust me, that has gone through my mind many times. But that would be disappointing. I would be abandoning the lesson that I am supposed to be learning right now. That would be giving up on myself.

What should I do instead? 

There is that word again: celebrate. 

Celebrate my glorious date night with my husband. An evening for reconnection, laughter and deep discussion, while enjoying a delicious meal at one of our favorite restaurants. 

Celebrate the feeling of my clothes getting looser and looser on my body. 

Celebrate the strength in my arms and shoulders and back. (I can almost do a pull up!) 

Celebrate my health – that I am able to invest myself into this process wholeheartedly without physical limitations or pain. 

Celebrate my husband – that he is on this journey with me and a tremendous support system. I couldn’t do it without him.

Celebrate my kids – with their ever-ready smiles, words of encouragement and playful teasing that brighten even the gloomiest (and hungriest) of days. 

Celebrate my friends and family – amazing people who have followed my progress and encouraged me and motivated me on this journey. 

Celebrate my trainers and coaches – whose belief in me, has helped me to believe in myself. 

With all of this celebration comes tremendous amount of gratitude. 

I am so lucky. I am so incredibly blessed and fortunate. I am grateful to God for all of these gifts and ask Him to help me give back to this world more than I have received, and be a conduit of love and motivation to others. 

While celebrating all of these amazing gifts and feeling overwhelmed with gratitude, it is impossible to be weighted down by the output of the scale. I can almost laugh at my despondency over the frivolous numbers. 

My life, my body, my health, my journey – is all to be celebrated.  The ups and downs. The progress and setbacks. The peaks and valleys. Good days, bad days. Every single part of it. 

 And for that awareness, for the opportunity to experience all of this, I am humbly grateful. 

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