You guys. I have been avoiding this entry for at least two months. But, exactly 5 years ago, I did something really scary.. I started a blog that would hold me accountable to my weightloss journey. So, today, I'm going to do something really scary. I've been carrying a bit of a secret with me for the past year, and it's time to call myself out in order to move forward. Today is a day to look back on everything we've accomplished in 2015. I'm really proud of laying the foundation for my life by design (coaching, voiceovers, teaching fitness classes, & a "survival" job that I LOVE). But, I would also say my biggest accomplishment this year would be what I've done as a runner. Running as much as I have this year should make me feel so proud, and yet, part of me feels so dishonest. Yes, I pounded the pavement. Yes, I put in the mileage, lived through knee and digestive issues, ran in 30 degree and 90 degree weather, ran 62 miles in races alone (plenty more in training sessions each week), obtained 6 medals & guaranteed entry into the 2016 Full Marathon. And yet... a big part of me feels like it was never mine to celebrate. Why would I say such a thing? Well. I'm holding my breath as I type this: This year, I ran over 62 miles.... to impress a guy. ... Yep. ... I guess I have to elaborate. I've always enjoyed running, but the most I'd ever accomplished was a 5K. It was always a daydream that I'd someday do a Half or maybe even a Full Marathon, but I was not putting that much stock into it. I was so dedicated to my home workouts that I didn't really care about it. And then, summer 2014, I met a man who I thought was kind of special. He seemed to favor me a lot, too. He was really big into running - like, REALLY into it doing ultratriathlons (Google it & have your mind blown) - and we had bonded over my own love of fitness. I was so inspired, so attracted... & so guileless. We saw each other a few times before he began to flake on me. But I really didn't want to lose a potential happiness that I haven't had before. And then I thought, "Well... I've always wanted to run a Half Marathon, & the NYC Half Marathon involves running through Times Square? That sounds amazing. Maybe if I do this, he'll support me or maybe even do it with me, & it'll bring us closer together. Maybe if I do this, he'll see that I'm worthy." So I signed up for the lottery, & he was the first person I told when my name was selected. He was excited for me. So I trained. I worked really hard, running about 4-5 times a week, mostly on the treadmills... and I did it alone. And, it turns out, he wasn't really THAT excited for me. I would send him updates & progress, but I wouldn't really stir up much response. It was around this time that I thought, "Well, you know what... I'm going to do this for ME." I also decided that I would turn my efforts into a fundraiser so some struggling family members could benefit from my journey that I was so actively sharing with my network. And so I did. I continued my training, even suffering a slight case of runner's knee, thinking of my self-improvement & how I was helping a family that meant so much to me. I didn't talk to the guy for weeks, but I honestly was no longer dwelling on it. I was too focused. And then, a week before the race, I get a text. He's wishing me good luck. I'm polite, say thanks, and I mention my fundraiser. "Any little bit helps!" To my absolute shock, he donates to the cause with a thoughtful donation. And then, like a 15-year-old, I'm swooning again. The NYC Half Marathon lit a fire inside of me. I was so proud of myself & the work that I had honestly done for ME... and now I knew that I had HIS support, too. So I decided, while still floating on my runner's & unrequited lover's high, that I would abide by NYRR's 9+1 program. That means that, I would run 9 races & volunteer at 1 in order to qualify for the 2016 NYC Marathon. If I ran the marathon, I would make both of us so proud. So, it was decided. Like a maniac, I registered for 8 more qualifying races almost immediately - a one mile speed test, a 4 mile race, one 5K, one 8K, two 10Ks, a 10 miler, & another half marathon. I also registered to volunteer for the Brooklyn Half Marathon, because "That would be a great training race for when I'm training for the full!" and volunteering at an event means you're guaranteed entry the following year. (I could run it in April '16 if I wish) So. I did all of that. Three of those races were amazing. One or two of them really sucked. All of them were mine to conquer. During the speed test of the 5th Avenue Mile, I ran my PR of an 8 minute mile. (I still can't believe that...) During the Bronx 10 mile, I smiled the entire time & felt so happy for no reason other than I enjoyed the run. During one of the 10Ks, it was the middle of June and it was so humid & there were so few water stations & I literally stopped running uphill to walk & cry in the middle of it. My pace was a 12 minute mile, the worst it's ever been, but I was just proud that I hadn't quit. After the 8K, I had ran so fast at the end that I literally had to sit down less than 10 feet from the finish line to prevent myself from projectile vomiting. Guess who wasn't a part of any of that, but was still somehow stringing my pathetic little heart along? I'll give him credit that he did come to the 8K, but he didn't notice me at all. Remember when I said I ran so fast at the end? To the point of almost vomiting? You don't think it was to impress him, do you? Well, how 'bout that... it didn't even matter. I believe it was this same day that it finally hit me. This isn't right. I decided to do my absolute best to get over the situation. I would continue running these races that I signed up for, though, because I was financially obligated & I had a little support group following that I just couldn't let down. So, it's the 9th race of my season, the Staten Island Half. I know absolutely nothing about Staten Island, so I rented an airbnb from a nice, quirky lady. I stayed there alone. I remember thinking, "I shouldn't be alone right now." But I was. The race continued to be challenging, both physically and emotionally. First of all, the course was kind of hard. The steepest hill at Mile 10? REALLY?? I really had to dig deep for the entire race to stay running. What did it matter that I was putting myself through this? I didn't have the glory of "my very first half marathon." I didn't have anyone come to spectate me. I wasn't doing this for a cause. It was truly just me, spending about 2 1/2 hours reflecting on why the hell I was doing this in the first place. The cool thing about this race, though, was that the finish line was the home plate of the Staten Island Yankee's stadium. So, I excitedly crossed the finish line, I got my medal & my "victory carbs" (complimentary bagels at the end of the race) & I stood in a stadium full of people. I remember thinking, "I shouldn't be alone right now." But, I was. It was in that moment that I felt like my guaranteed entry was not mine to celebrate. I felt like a sham, like I was undeserving, like even though I had this great thing, was it even worth it? *** It has taken me a lot of healing & a lot of personal reflection to get out of that negative mindset. So maybe my original motivation was for someone else, but the rewards I have gained are beneficial to someone who's pretty deserving: me. I learned so much about mental strength. I learned so much about the physical mechanics of my own body. I learned so much about proper race training & how to be prepared for any situation. I have met some truly amazing human beings - plenty who I'm still in contact with & see occasionally - who constantly teach me new things & motivate the sh*t out of me. I learned that, when push comes to shove, I can do absolutely anything. Truly, I can. Will I run the 2016 Full Marathon? I'm honestly still not sure, and my deadline to decide is fast approaching. I'm incredibly excited to see my voiceover & health coaching projects finally making progress & to start teaching CIZE LIVE twice a week. Put marathon training on top of all of that? My poor body just might collapse. But, as stubborn as I am, I have that little fighter inside of me saying, "WHY WOULD YOU QUIT WHEN YOU'VE ALREADY DONE SO MUCH?!" I'm still weighing my options & my pros and cons. However, if I decide not to do the marathon this year, it doesn't mean I'm lacing up my Nike Zoom Structures forever. I'm strongly considering my BK Half offer, & I would love to get involved with charity and fun runs. I've also put it on my bucketlist to do at LEAST a half marathon in Disney World, because how awesome will that be?! I do believe that I have what it takes to conquer a full marathon, but sometimes it's all about timing & how badly the heart really wants it. I'm not sure if either of those are currently aligned right now. On December 31, 2010, I started my weightloss blog proclaiming that I was serious about changing my life; hoping that the few who read it would support me whole-heartedly. On December 31, 2015, I dusted off my weightloss blog, hoping that by being my authentic, honest self, those readers would still support me whole-heartedly. No matter what I decide to do in 2016, I'm setting goals with the hope of challenging myself, continuing to connect with others, helping as many people as I can, & doing everything for my own approval. And, even though I'm still recovering from the rejection's sting, I'm an optimist. I'm choosing to believe that somewhere in this big city, there is a man who will run along side of me or who will at least be at the finish line every single time. I'm going to end this by being my super-overly-emotional self. I'm currently staring at my very first entry, written by my 205lb self back on my, and I'm about to cry while reading this: "I want this to be an experience that I take with me for the rest of my life. So instead of calling it a “new diet”, I instead hope that I will be making a “life alteration.” But, then again, that’s what this whole ride is about. :] " Let the life alterations proceed. Happy 2016, my friends. May you be safe, happy, healthy, goal-oriented... and make YOUR dreams come true. QUOTE OF THE DAY "I think that the power is the principle. The principle of moving forward, as though you have the confidence to move forward, eventually gives you confidence when you look back and see what you've done." - Robert Downey, Jr.

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