Auld Lang Syne: A Year in Review and the Year Ahead

hipster, heavy hipster.

happy new year, everyone! what a year it has been and what a year it is shaping up to be! there have been so many wonderful milestones in my life, devastating setbacks, and much goal setting this past year; 2011 was a huge year for me in regards to diet, exercise, and physical accomplishments. i have been on this journey for a year now and while i have had some days where i did not feel like moving forward, i am still here, still going strong, and still pushing toward my goals. i have fallen many times, i have succeeded many times, and i am a better person for all of it. this year contained many memories for me and many of them have been incredibly influential as far as my success goes.

in January of 2011, i decided that my weight was an issue for the last time. i had reached 255 pounds and was 9 pounds shy of my highest weight ever, which was 264 in high school. i was fat, miserable, drinking all the time, and totally lacked any sort of momentum. i had tried to lose weight in October of 2010, but had failed, once again, just like i had always seemed to do. my health was in shambles, my cholesterol was high, and regardless of my vegetarian diet, i was struggling to get the nutrients my body needed to function efficiently. i was a victim of IBS, i was out of breath going up stairs, and the concept of running was completely foreign to me. so, in January, i started the C25k program to start running. while i knew it would be hard, i had no idea just how hard it would be. running 60 seconds killed me and the idea that someday, i could run more than 60 seconds, seemed impossible.

december, 2010

i was uncomfortable in my own skin and that made me uncomfortable with running. i struggled through the first few weeks of the program, my body surprising me every time with how much easier it seemed to get. at the same time, i was also starting to cook more for myself, investing in kitchen equipment and cookable food, including making my own hummus, bread, and vegan delights.

vegan lunch

slowly, i began to get into a routine with cooking and running; i eventually went from 255 to 240– a loss of 15 pounds over a four month span of time. i was happy with my progress. i registered for my first race– the Shamrock Shuffle 3k, and completed it with relative ease.

i ran!

i had almost quit smoking by March– i was down to once a week, if that, and i was only drinking once a week. but, then, St. Patrick’s Day rolled around and then… the NCAA tournament. obviously, my drinking and smoking picked up drastically

three goggles

after this three week bender, it was hard for me to get back on track. i was dedicated, though, to making it happen until…

celebrating UK

i was celebrating UK’s victory over Ohio State when i landed the wrong way on my foot and hurt myself very, very badly.

the pain

i sprained my left ankle and it took almost a month to get back into training. during this time, i began to think about what mattered to me and what i needed to do to be successful. i thought i had a handle on it, but the summertime proved to be a bit of a challenge as far as keeping inside my self-created boundaries. may rolled around and all i could think about was having fun with my friends, day drinking in the summer, and being free of my obligations for three whole months.

cornhole in the summer

there is a beer on the ground, but the real achievement was wearing these shorts, which i eventually got more and more comfortable with. if i had been a few pounds heavier, i would have never, ever won these shorts. i actually miss them now. summer trekked on with little to no progress. i went to Bonnaroo, spent time with a bunch of friends, and essentially did whatever i wanted to do.

drinking in July

i was trying to get myself back on track, but i could not get myself out of this drinking rut. i was not exercising as much as i could, i was not cooking as much as i could, and i stayed around 235 all summer long. i was desperate to lose weight, but i was not willing to put the work in that was needed to make that happen. i was distracted by weddings, happiness, and my friends, and i could not be bothered to do anything more.

raychell & andy's wedding

eventually, the summer ended and i was forced to confront the restructuring of my time, energy, and the lack of effort i had put into my body over the summertime. around the beginning of school, i started to feel the urge to get back into the game– i wanted to succeed and i wanted to keep myself from going crazy during the semester. i started going regularly to the yoga studio in downtown richmond, finding solace and comfort in the tuesday night hot yoga class. it became my refuge and my strength, but, i also needed to get back into running, so, i started registering for 5ks like craaaazy and vowed to not fuck up so horribly in the future. the first 5k i ever ran was the Spoonbread Festival

thanking god for it being over

after the spoonbread 5k, i was on fire. i wanted to be healthy, active, and moving. i wanted the outdoors and i wanted it desperately. i craved physical activity and so, on fall break, myself and a few friends went to red river gorge for some camping and hiking.

whale's tail!

we hiked around, i climbed things, and soaked in the wonderful autumn sunlight. around the same time, i was experiencing some great milestones as far as yoga. i achieved the lotus pose

lotus!

and it was in this moment that i realized that my weight cannot keep me from doing anything. while i may be overweight, i can still get into lotus, i could still run 5 miles, and anything i wanted to do was at my fingertips.

i ran another 5k, albeit, i was drunk. the homecoming 5k tested my endurance, my ability to push myself to be active, and my commitment to being healthy

homecoming 5k!

and the weekend after that, i ran the Black Cat Chase 5k, which was honestly one of the coolest 5ks i have ever run as it was in downtown frankfort and led the runners around the capitol building. it was also at night, which was a very new experience for me. after that 5k, though, i hit a very rough patch in my life and it became harder for me to focus on exercise. school began to get in the way, i was struggling with my own internal needs, and i couldn’t get my head on straight. i was spending way too much time at the bar and not enough time in the gym. on Thanksgiving, i ran a 5k at Keeneland, which was also a really cool race course

thoroughbred classic!

i woke up the morning of this race and almost did not go. but, after prodding from friends and family, i went and ran it. it was a hard run– i hadn’t been running regularly in almost a month. but, this race reminded me how important running is to me and how necessary it is for me to be healthy in my life.

christmas break has been another beast to battle. with all of the good foods, desserts, and laziness i’ve encountered, it’s no wonder i’ve put some weight back on. but, this christmas break has also allowed me time to reevaluate what i need, what i desire, and what i hold dear in my life. my exercise, my physical health, is something i greatly need to stay sane and motivated. the longer i go without exercising, the harder it is for me to focus and stay positive. my positivity comes from exercising, eating healthily, and taking care of myself. so, i’ve been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and while they can be cliche, ultimately, they serve to lay a basic foundation for the year 2012.

  1. Lose 50 Pounds in 2012: this means i need to lose 4 pounds a month every month all year. i can do this. this also gives me an opportunity to lose more.
  2. Move Out of Kentucky: this goal will happen regardless of my future school plans. i need to experience life outside of my small Kentucky towns. i want to live in a different culture, experience a different life, and ultimately, find myself in this solitude.
  3. Complete the Run the Bluegrass Half-Marathon: this goal is terrifying, but i have already registered and have looked ahead. i can do this. i will do this. and i will finish and be proud of myself for coming so far.
  4. Graduate with my MA in English: this may or may not happen. i kind of suck nuts at school. seriously.
  5. Set Achievable Goals for Myself Each Month: i need structure and if i give myself something to aim for, i am more likely to run after it.
  6. Adopt Veganism: don’t look at me like i’m crazy. this is going to be a challenge of every single skill i have acquired and my willpower. this may or may not be permanent. right now, i just want to feel better.

2012 is going to be a great year for me. i started NYE off right with four of the coolest people on the face of the planet, had some adventures with them, and enjoyed myself. we were ridiculous all night– i even got on a little child’s bike that was not mine

look at my hot outfit, though

you can see just how hot my outfit is, though. haha.

i am awake, i am ready, and my goals are set. i have a path and i just need to follow it. today, i got up and ran 4.5 miles– if i can do that after not running consistently for a couple of months, i can do absolutely anything. in a year, i started running, yoga-ing, and i lost almost 35 pounds (give or take a few because of christmas break fucking oops). this year will be no different– i can do whatever i want. i hope every single one of you had a great Christmas and an even better New Year. stay healthy, y’all.

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Published by

Kara

trying to get by in this wonderfully difficult world

3 thoughts on “Auld Lang Syne: A Year in Review and the Year Ahead”

  1. I love your goals. But more than that? I love that you honestly share your struggles with us.

    I hope you come run with us sometime! I’m scheduling long runs every Saturday. There are probably half a dozen of us training for Run the Bluegrass. And lots of people are meeting to run parts of the course on Saturday. Check out LexRunLadies dot com. We’d love to have you!

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