I've been involved in little slivers of the preparation for the Eat, Sleep, Run, Grow event all along. I didn't know the back story on why this event was extremely important until the work was in place to gain the first speaker. Read the website to understand why.
This weekend, it all came together. Brenda (and several others) put her heart, soul, countless hours and endless energy into this event and all along the way, it seemed to keep getting bigger and more involved.
I spent a good chunk of Friday afternoon and evening at the venue with a crew of people stuffing event bags, putting up signs and even chopping up some kiwi for the fruit salsa. I headed home that evening and knew it was going to be a fantastic event. Although attendance numbers were lower than we ultimately wanted, everything else was pulled together even with a few last minute hitches.
I was in charge of registration so I was there early for setup and spent some time back and forth with my table for Miles and Mutts to spread the word to some new people.
After the speakers, demos and vendors, there was a Chi running workshop. I skipped out on the workshop (thought I'm sure it was wonderful) to help tear down and clean up. Also, I was pretty tired! It had been a long two days. Brenda and I had a quick chat about the day and what we thought went well and what our favorite parts were. Judging on the feedback we received from others, it seems what I personally took away from the day and found the most meaningful was quite different from the majority.
When I finally had a chance to process my thoughts on the way home, it all fell into place on why.
Everything in the event was great but the presentation I found the least impressive and didn't leave me with thoughts swirling in my head, was the Empowered Eating presentation. However, Diane Carbonell, author of 150 Pounds Gone Forever and blogger at Fit To The Finish seemed to come across to many others as the highlight of the day and the best of the three main, featured speakers.
Her story is certainly inspiring and impressive. A woman who gained a large amount of weight, had the turning point (hers was a moment on the scale at a doctor's office), committed to a lifestyle change for life to eat healthy, in moderation and incorporate exercise in a completely realistic, effective way.
I suppose the reason this presentation left me underwhelmed was it's a story I've heard so many times before. It's also my story, I've been there, I've done that to some extent. While I never had a huge amount of weight to lose, I was overweight by 50+ pounds. 2002/2003 was my highest weight and I was puffy to say the least. Holding this kitten, I looked more like I was eyeing him up as a snack.
In the winter of 2003, I had my turning point. It happened while shopping in a department store and I decided that day, I would get rid of the weight for real, for good and make the change - not the half-ass 'change' I'd tried before, the real change. It was also time to be happy. While I won't say it was easy, I can't say it was that hard either.
I tracked what I ate loosely but really just learned about portion sizes, calories, fat content and basic overall nutrition. I started exercising moderately, though always in the privacy of my own home, it would be far too embarrassing to be in the presence of others. It worked because I actually committed to it, changing my mindset and slowly the weight came off over the course of a year to where I've maintained what I am today.
While that process has led me to where I am today, the process was still about losing the weight. I exercised to burn calories for several years. Exercise was OK but I can't say it really did anything for my mind other than giving me the peace to know it helped in my prevention of becoming fat again. I had a more confidence but I was still the shy girl I always was.
Where I am today is someone who is running herself a little ragged because I have too many ideas in my head and too much I want to do, personally and professionally. Sometimes I have difficulty accepting that I cannot do absolutely everything I want at this exact moment. I'm constantly thinking the grass is always greener on the other side and want to do more, go bigger, and test my limits. Over the past few years where I found my love for running, I have gained a confidence in knowing that basically anything is possible and at times, I think this has created a monster. Running a 50 miler sounds like a good idea, I know I can do it if I put in the work so I'll sign up for a 50 mile race. With the things I want, I go full force yet with other things I may not want, I fight with pretty strong resistance. This is where I struggle in my professional life currently. I am basically fighting with it constantly because there is so much outside of work that I want.
Therefore, the presentation from Eat, Sleep, Run, Grow where I felt I took the most away was Mina Samuels' discussion on balance.
I fell in love with the sport of running for 2 reasons.
First, I was reeled in by the concept of goal and accomplishment. Running my first 5 mile race that felt so incredibly difficult is what really, really hooked me. That was the furthest I'd ever run and I survived and actually felt I achieved something greater than burning calories. I pushed myself in a different way and I liked it. Exercise finally had a purpose beyond a calorie burn and cloud nine felt pretty freaking fantastic.
|First 5 miler - overdressed for winter running and lots of cotton, the horror!|
Along the way, I discovered something else and the second reason I love running. It's the euphoric state I find when hitting the road or a trail, getting lost in my own thoughts, dreaming and feeling calm and at peace, something I often struggle with when not in motion. I suppose that's why I also greatly enjoyed Robyn Humphrey's presentation of Moving Meditation.
I walked a way from the event with a sense that I can find a way to balance my current pursuits better than I have been. After being majorly burnt out at the end of 2012, I am happy to say running and I are getting along again in 2013 and running can help keep me balanced if I do not let it take over. While I'm loosely tracking the miles I'm running in 2013, I haven't updated a spreadsheet and I can't tell you how many miles I ran last week. I can't tell you the last time I turned on my Garmin either. I can say that Cinnamon (one of the M&M dogs) and I had a wonderful run yesterday and I was smiling the entire time. The idea of Eat, Sleep, Run, Grow means something to me yet something entirely different to someone else but I believe we can all learn the most from the topic of 'Grow'.
What would Eat, Sleep, Run, Grow mean to you?