Adventures, Armored Combat, bariathlete, bariatric surgery, Battle of the Nations, BotN, Dragon Con, Extreme Athlete, Full Contact Medieval Combat, gastric bypass, HMB, HMBIA, IMCF, Medieval Fighting, Mixed Medieval Martial Arts, SCA Fighting, Sword Fighter, Travel, Uncategorized, weightloss success, WMFC

Throwback Thursday…10 years in the making!!!

Yesterday, April 12, 2017 was my 10 year post-op anniversary of my Roux-en-y Gastric Bypass surgery.

Had that surgery not occurred, I would not be here today.  I was told within minutes after coming out of anesthesia that I was lucky I had my surgery when I did.  In two years max, I would have needed a liver transplant and at that time, I was so fat, I could not have even been considered for the wait list.  I would have died before I could have lost enough weight on my own to even qualify to be put on a list…much less get a donor liver.

Yesterday, after going back over ALL my previous year’s blogs, looking at old photos, and remembering each year I took my comparison pictures, I felt thankful.  I felt alive.  I felt grateful.

But for the first time, in almost my entire life, I also felt “normal”.

I know I have expressed hate for this word, because I always felt like it put me into a category where I couldn’t be myself.  I couldn’t stand out or feel like what I did mattered. Being “normal” always felt off to me.  Hell I can barely type the damn word without using “quotation” marks to make it stand out lol.

Last night while Greg and I were celebrating, we discussed the past 10 years and the changes we have made.  Interestingly enough it was funny we were celebrating at our favorite BBQ place, having wings for dinner.  I told him how odd it was to think back at the days after my surgery and knowing deep down in my heart I would never be able to enjoy a meal again, yet here we were, eating a “normal” meal like everyone else around us.  We both got an order of 12 wings and we went home with half of them left.  So technically, we couldn’t even eat a “normal” (see I can’t stop) portion between us!

I never have to worry about not fitting into a booth any more.  Or if a chair will support me, or if I am too big to fit through a doorway, or to be able to pee in a regular bathroom stall.  Trips that involve flying don’t terrify me any longer because I don’t have to ask for a seat belt extender and pray that it fits.

Most of all I don’t have to worry about what people think about the food sitting in front of me, or if I order a dessert, because I look “normal”.

To many of you, any or all of these worries probably seem insane, or at the very least silly, why would someone worry about going to the bathroom and fitting into a stall?!?  Yet fat people worry about it ALL THE FUCKING TIME!  If we don’t do it consciously, it happens subconsciously, trust me.  You would be surprised the things I never thought I had to think about…until it stopped.

I can remember suddenly realizing I didn’t have to think about where to sit, or what to sit on, or be bothered with how far away I parked, or if someone would see me sitting in my car eating a hamburger.  Because now I could pass for “normal”.

Pass for Normal…

Think about that for a moment.

Even when I have lost over half my body weight, even after I have spent the last 4 years of my life working my ASS off training, putting my body through hell to train for a sport that I love, I STILL worried that I had to ‘pass for normal’.

Last night was the first time I actually admitted to feeling normal out loud.  That I could enjoy my meal, eat what I wanted and feel good about it.  Thinking back to how I felt that first year, I wasn’t sure I would ever get to last night.  But I am there.  I still have panic that some day I will wake up and be 450 pounds again, literally overnight, but those moments are few and far between.

Have I lost/gained pounds over the past 10 years?  Sure.  You can see it even looking back the last 6 months.  My face always shows when I am gaining or losing.  Right now, I am more muscle than I have been in the past but I also have additional weight too.  I am the heaviest I have been since my surgery.  I am at 230 pounds.  A lot of that IS muscle, but I am also 50 years old.  I have some work to do to get back down to my 200-210 range but I am no longer willing to put my body through the adrenal fatigue, the excessive training and the obsessive worrying about my weight that I have done over the past 10 years.

I struggled this year, with learning how to train my body the correct way and not put myself through the trauma I have in the past.  Its difficult when you are competing with 25 year old’s, and knowing that their bodies react so much differently than yours.  But with age comes knowledge and I have to learn how my body needs to be trained and not over train because I feel the need to beat every 25 year old into submission.

Trust me.  Its a daily struggle.

I also had a lot of stress this past 6 months.  I’ve had to deal with an office reorganization on top of learning how to go from being the only woman on the team to leading 9 women on our own team.

Its been a rough ride.  Its been well worth it, but believe me, my ulcer and hormones have needed a break for awhile now.  And my weight shows it.

But when yesterday came and went, there wasn’t any guilt.  There wasn’t any shame.  There wasn’t any regret.  There was just happy, joyful, “NORMAL” me.

I kept waiting for it all to sink in and throw me into the pit of despair I had always fought when I would gain or lose weight or when my numbers weren’t as good as I thought they would be…

but it never happened.

I’m alive.  That’s pretty fucking amazing.

I’m an athlete.  We go through plateaus and barriers and we figure it out.

All of this is…

NORMAL.

For the lack of a better word…I am normal.

And while it still rubs me the wrong way when I say it…its ok.

Just this once 😛

 

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Adventures, Armored Combat, bariathlete, bariatric surgery, Battle of the Nations, BotN, Dragon Con, Full Contact Medieval Combat, gastric bypass, HMB, HMBIA, IMCF, Medieval Fighting, Mixed Medieval Martial Arts, Sword Fighter, Travel, Uncategorized, weightloss success, WMFC

Chaos Reigns…

I realize its been awhile since my last update here.  I will try to update you with everything I can but just know that basically my life is Chaotic at best right now and life can sometimes hand you a curve ball…

In February, my office went through a big change.  We hired a new Executive Director and while he is great, he has changed a lot about the way our office works.  We also had a couple of key folks leave, thus creating a shortage in workforce, so a complete restructure had to happen.  In that, I actually came out very well, my job as Events Manager stayed pretty much the same, just a much more intensified schedule.  Where I would have had some downtime, I now have other duties, so work is pretty packed.

On top of that, I am also the Captain of the USA Womens Team for Battle of the Nations 2017 and that, combined with my personal training schedule and work is consuming most of my day.  What little free time I have I spend trying to clean my house, get my gear ready, spend time with my husband & fur kids and yes even play a little World of Warcraft.

While I do tend to thrive on Chaos…I do prefer to have ups and downs in that craziness.  It keeps me a bit more grounded and usually its only the last month before Worlds that I get a bit lost…this year, it happened a few months early.  So I do apologize for not getting an update out there sooner.  Just know everything is running much smoother than I could have imagined at first and after a minor breakdown or two, I am back on track.  Mostly.  I still have 6 weeks before Worlds, so who knows what will happen lol.

I did manage to add a few things to my “50 Firsts before my 51st” list and I did an updated video on my drive home from the Sonora Celtic Faire Tournament this past weekend.  So I can at least update you with that!

My 50 Firsts before my 51st Updated List!

  1. Climbed the Teotihuacan Pyramids, Mexico City
  2. Ate Crickets & Ant Larva, Mexico City
  3. Fought professional MMA Fighter, Josh Tyler
  4. Did my first Facebook Live Feed, in conjunction with Readyman.com
  5. Started Crossfit @Brickwall Crossfit
  6. Did my first official Crossfit WoD Competiton
  7. Drove thru Donner Pass
  8. Camped out in my new car
  9. A 17 Year promise finally fulfilled

So the list is growing and I am sure over the next 9 months it will grow exponentially and I am looking forward to sharing those moments with you when I can.  As I said, there will be some firsts that are a little too personal to share but I will at least denote them in some way 😛

Otherwise, I am currently deep into my training for the World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.  The competition runs from April 29 to May 1, but I will be doing some traveling before that and many of my firsts will come into play then.

On a side note, I did manage to read (listen) to Neil Gaiman’s new book “Norse Mythology” and I must say, it is extremely well done.  If you have ever had interest in the Sagas or the Poetic Eddas you should give this great book a chance.  I have gone through it twice now and I love it.  It’s very well written, it follows the most logical paths to the stories that I have heard and he bases his versions partially on Snorri Sturluson’s writings, which I have enjoyed.

Hopefully sometime within this year I can break away from my chaotic schedule and get to Iceland, it is on my list of places to see and right now tickets to Reykjavik have never been cheaper.  So, here’s hoping.

The USA Broad Swords are doing great, the USA Team as a whole will be announced soon and we are all preparing for our jaunt overseas.  After that I have DragonCon and ITOC to look forward to as well as a few other tournaments, in country and out.  So while the World Championships are first and foremost on my mind right now, there’s a lot of things coming up after that as well.

Hopefully you enjoy my little video as I am driving through the beautiful Donner Pass on my way home yesterday.  It was a glorious day and I couldn’t help but be filled with happiness and joy simply for being alive.

I think the full moon the night before set everything right again…

Here’s hoping…

The Bad Ass Valkyrie

 

 

 

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Dragon Con 2016

I got back from Dragon Con 2016 last night.  I fell asleep surrounded by my furbabies and my loving husband.  When I woke up this morning I was rejuvenated in ways I can’t describe.  I am an extrovert that thrives on energy others give off and Dragon Con is one of the best places to ‘feed’ on energy.

I arrived Thursday afternoon and immediately spent time with friends I usually only see once a year. That seems like a theme for me, since when I compete overseas, I only get to see those fighters from other countries once a year as well.  All in all its much better than not seeing them within the span of a year, that is for certain.

This year I drank deadly mai tais, danced with dragons, fought with 15 other fighters in the ‘Octagon of Doom’ and still ended up with plenty of sleep and feeling refreshed at the end of it all.  Some would say I was doing it wrong…but I can tell you, I am doing it right.

My husband only goes every other year, and this was his year to attend.  Sadly, he wasn’t able to join me and I really missed him, as did our friends. Sometimes I wonder who they’d miss more lol…not really.  He is perfectly amazing in his introverted ‘extrovert’ shell and more loveable than anyone could ever imagine.  He is committed now to next year as I have already secured the hotel AND his pass.  Gregman Cometh…or there will be hell to pay!

This year I was also saddened that one particular entourage was no where to be found.  Alas, he and his companions were kept away by a crazy shooting schedule, thus I was left to my own devices.  Those included a lot of coffee, some banana bread and sleep.

I did however get to be a part of a particularly wonderful panel of women, show off my armor in an armor fashion show panel and fight my ass off on Sunday.  All in all, a damn fine showing for Dragon Con. We didn’t walk or fight in the Parade this year and I missed the Geek Girl Fun Run thanks to previously mentioned deadly Mai Tai’s but still, it was a great event.  I even have highly inappropriate video to prove it…maybe if I get the ability to edit it, I will post what I can.

Aside from my family of friends and fighters, the thing that stuck out most about this year was the love and affection I felt everywhere I went.  Whether it was a longtime fan or someone that had just met me, they made me feel great. I went into this con a little down but coming out the other side of it refreshed, empowered and filled with love and kinship is amazing.

Having people walk up to you and tell you that you’ve changed their lives…that pretty much takes the cake on winning anything…ever.  I just love knowing that some how, at some point I made people think about things differently and that makes any kind of pain or discomfort I have in sharing (or oversharing) worth it.  I truly love my life and I wouldn’t change anything about it, even if I could.  Its way too much fun!

So for all those folks that stopped me at the panels, in the halls, on the Marta or even in the airport to tell me how much they enjoyed my talk and my fighting…thank you.  You are the reason I continue to do this and I hope that I never let you down.

And for those folks that told me I remind them of Lynda Carter…I still love you to the Moon…or maybe even all the way to Themyscira  🙂

I also want to take a moment and thank David Skirmont for the amazing portrait of me this year.  He always does such wonderful things for us at Dragon Con, and he is an amazing photographer.

Also, Aaron Cherrington who took great photos of us all and filmed all my fights.  As well as Thomas Riley at youtube/MedievalReview who filmed many of our panels and fights.

All of you gentlemen contributed time and efforts to us that can never be repaid.  Thank you so very, very much.  It means a great deal to us all!

To the Palmetto Knights and all the fighters and support that came and helped out in the panels, in the fights and in The Armory…y’all Rock!  Much love to each and every one of you…<3

I had a wonderful time and I am already counting down to next year.

See you in 2017 Dragon Con!!!

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Armored Combat, bariathlete, bariatric surgery, BotN, gastric bypass, Medieval Fighting, Mixed Medieval Martial Arts, Running Streak, SCA Fighting, Sword Fighter, Uncategorized, weightloss success

You can’t please everyone…

I had a long talk with my husband Greg yesterday, I simply asked him if I was enough.  His answers were pretty amazing, just like he is.  But one thing he said really stuck with me, “Baby, you are the Queen of Trying.  You try to please everybody, all the time.”

I realize he is right.  I do try to please people.  I can’t help it.  It’s simply part of my nature. But I also realize when I do that, it opens me up to accept a lot of stress and pressure (and sometimes abuse) that I probably don’t need when I can’t please everyone.

Whether I am trying to be the perfect wife, the perfect friend or the perfect lover, I will never win.  I can’t.  The game is rigged against me, because all I can do is try.  Yet, at times you feel like you can almost reach perfection…but you can also fall flat on your face.

At 49, you would think I would have already realized I am enough.  But evidently it takes a lot to let that sentiment sink into my not so thick skin.  People say things that hurt me, criticize me, accuse me, whatever, and I let that sink in just fine, but people praise me or tell me I am good enough and it takes forever to scratch the surface.

Well…I am enough.  I am perfect just the way I am, flaws and all.  I can’t be the perfect wife, I can’t be the perfect friend, fighter or lover either.  All I can do is be me…and whether I measure up to anyone else’s vision of me is something I need to quit worrying about.

The only person I need to be better than is the me I was yesterday, and even then I doubt I will always be better.  Some days are great and they can’t be topped…and that’s ok.

I did some longsword work last night and it suddenly occurred to me that no matter what I do, what I accomplish in my life, I will never please everyone.  Some people will be inspired by me, some people will feel the need to compete with me, some people will fall in love with me and there are even people who will want to do me harm, simply because of what I have in my life, and I can’t control any of that.

I love and adore my husband more than anything else on this planet, and his opinion of me matters more than anyone’s, so even if I don’t measure up to that…its still nothing I can control.

That’s the key…its nothing I can control.

I am enough for me.  Whether I am enough for you is beside the point.

Love me

Hate me

Kiss me

Fight me

It’s all up to you. Because I am enough.

I’m just a girl, figuring out her place in this world, one step at a time.

I will accept you just the way you are…hopefully you do the same.

 

 

 

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Armored Combat, bariathlete, bariatric surgery, BotN, gastric bypass, IMCF, Medieval Fighting, Mixed Medieval Martial Arts, Running Streak, SCA Fighting, Sword Fighter, Uncategorized, weightloss success

No Fear…and strange men

I often find myself perusing the Facebook feature that allows you to look back through the years at your timeline for that day in history.  Today I was struck by several things.

The first was 8 years ago I had just gotten my dragonfly tattoo that was designed for me by Derek, a wonderful tattoo artist out of Sacramento.  He designed it just for me and I have loved it from the moment I saw it.  It was ink to celebrate my 200 pound loss milestone. Derek has done 90% of my ink and I trust him like no other, and we met in a game called Everquest in 1999.  It’s crazy to think that I have known and loved this man for 17 years now and how strange just how much of an effect he has had in my life.

Derek was the first man I fell in love with due to words on a screen.

It would be years before I met him in person, but I knew I loved him.  Greg, my husband knew I loved him.  In fact, Derek was the person that led us into an open marriage, not by his guidance really, but by his willingness to be open with me, understand the fact that I was married and happy, and still be willing to love the person I was, no strings attached.  It wasn’t really a sexual bond, not in a traditional sense really, because simply put there’s only so far you can go with words, texts and phone conversations, but there was a bond between us…and our characters online.  Selor and Sorcha belonged to one another, and that bond carried us through many games and many characters through the years.  The last time we spent any time together in a game was World of Warcraft.  Hellfyre and Hellfury were the same as we had always been, devoted to one another, we were the hellions!

Through those 17 years we’ve seen each other off and on, I’ve gotten a lot more ink on my body because of him and he has even inked Greg now.  He gave us beautiful works of art for our 18th wedding anniversary when we stopped in to see him on our way up the coast.  He has gotten married, has a beautiful wife, adorable children and we have all ended up perfectly happy.  He is someone who will always be in my world, one way or another and 17 years ago I am not sure how I would have described the us that would exist today…but no matter what, I am sure the reality is much better now than anything I could have come up with at that point.

I love him dearly and he is one of the boxes in my heart, and always will be.

Second, I was also reminded of that same trip to California that I got my dragonfly.  After I saw Derek for ink, I traveled down the coast to visit other friends I had gamed with in WoW.  Caught and Hawkke, two men I had gamed with for several years and never met in person, yet there I was, going to spend an entire weekend with them, in their home.  Alone.

I can vividly remember the moment I pulled up to their house they shared as roommates, and I knock on the door but there was no answer.  All of a sudden all those stories you hear (especially back in 2008) about never going to someone’s house you’ve only met on the internet.  How so many women end up murdered or tied up in the basement for years.  But there I was knocking…only to find out they had misjudged the timing of my arrival and were only minutes away.  I meet them, and was immediately put at ease.  I had talked online with them for hours on end for years, my husband (also a gamer) had met them on vent as well and we were ALL comfortable with my trip, albeit some of Greg’s friends thought we were all crazy, and we probably were.  But that’s not a negative in my book lol…

I look back at the photos of us (see below) and at that point in time I would have thought those two would be in my life forever, but now, 8 years later, I couldn’t even tell you their real names.  Hell I don’t even know which city I drove to from Derek’s tattoo shop to meet them!  Its so interesting the path that life takes us sometimes.  I honestly would have told you I was in love with those two as well.  In fact part of that weekend there was some true awkwardness because I really wanted to sleep with them both, and to be truthful, I couldn’t make up my mind, so NOTHING happened at all lol.

One of the TRUEST things in my life is this…

Rare people come into my life for a reason.

Whether its for me to help them or for them to help me is often unknown, but when I meet these people, I know.  I do find it interesting that most of the time those people are men, but I really have a hard time getting along with “normal” women.  They make me crazy and I simply prefer the company of men, which lends itself to that skewed ratio, but the women that are close to me in my life are truly phenomenal and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Today was an interesting day for introspection on my life with men who start out as complete strangers and who end up lovers.  But the converse can be just as true. Because I have no fear of men, or falling in love or even lust with them, it tends to open me up to some that can do more harm than good.  Like I said, people come into my life for a reason and sometimes that reason is to teach me a lesson, which isn’t necessarily a good one.

There have been people in my past that I’ve loved, cared about, treated with way more respect that they deserved and gave more chances to than I would have given to almost anyone else in my life.  I grew up in an abusive home and spent my childhood in fear and being psychologically manipulated, but I also had prime examples of what a great man can be like, so I realized early on how to shield myself.  My weight always allowed me some blatant honesty and in the end, I learned to defend myself against just about everything, but sometimes you still have to learn the hard way.

And I have.  Many times over.

I don’t draw a line in the sand on when my heart has to stop loving someone.  Or even whether or not I can or even should love someone.  It just simply happens.  Sometimes before I even know it.  At times that love is so bright I fear it overshadows everything else in its path…and I am the first to admit that sometimes that newness is what I needed, what I craved and so I forgive a lot of hurt because that rush I feel is worth it.  Then, its not nearly as bright and you start to see the hurt and pain that’s being heaped on you when you don’t even know it.  That’s when I have to walk away, even when I don’t really want to.

Sometimes I can put all those feelings and memories away in their own little box in my heart.

Its like I have a shelf, with all these various beautiful boxes.  Each box is different, and they hold the memories and thoughts about one person I love and care about but they are someone I can’t have in the forefront of my life any more.  Either they have moved on or I have, it doesn’t really matter,  but when I hear a song or see something that reminds me of them, I can move their box to the front, go through the memories and feelings and still feel good about them, about me loving them and I usually enjoy the moment, even if it tugs on my heartstrings.

Those boxes are precious and very few…but they will always be with me.  Derek is one of those boxes…his art is a part of my body, his love is a part of my soul.  Whether or not we ever see each other again, in game or out, doesn’t matter.  He will always be a happy place for me.

For a long time I held on to other boxes, filled with hate, anger and pain.  I thought it would help me remember to not let it happen again, but in truth, all it did was radiate self loathing and hurt.  It took me a long time to realize I could throw all those memories and pain away and not have them stuck in the back of my mind, growing strong in the darkness.  There was a certain comfort in them, because I could always feel right in my decision to be rid of whomever hurt me.

But in the end I realized I just had to clean house and get rid of all that pain.  No matter who caused it, or why.  Letting it sit inside me was no good for myself or anyone else that was around me.  Every so often I have to remember to clear those boxes out and get rid of all the lingering bad juju that can cloud my judgement and cause fear, even when there isn’t anything bad going on.

Past history does count, and while I will never forget the pain someone has caused me, I can at least let it go and not carry it around with me any longer.  I don’t usually care about revenge (I can’t say never because truly there are some people on a list that will some day pay for their mistakes) but generally, its just easier to let go of it all and toss those big crappy boxes away.

So while I love the “looking back” feature of Facebook, sometimes those little reminders can be a little painful.  All you can do is look to the future and be happy.  I have so many people I love and adore in my life.  Many of them are people I can only interact with as “words on a screen” due to the distance between us, but that never stops me from loving them or enjoying them for who they are.  If we are lucky, we see one another once a year and if I am VERY lucky…we get to hit one another with swords too.

I am not really sure why all this came out of me today, but I knew when I saw the pictures that it needed to be said.  And maybe it was as simple as I had to clear out some old boxes that I’d let sit for too long…or maybe I had to start making some new boxes for good memories.

Either way, it feels good to have it all out…and I know that whatever comes my way I will be ready…to love, to feel, and to enjoy…the strangers that cross my path.

No Fear…and strange men

It’s just simply how I roll…

 

 

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Throwback Thursday & a little Dorian Gray…

Throwback Thursday to July 28, 2008

The 2008 me on the left versus Me today sitting at my desk trying to do the same looks.

Its funny the things you forget, like how happy yet unhappy I was with both of the photos back in 2008, which would have been just over a year post-op for me. Greg and I had gone out to brunch with Johnny Hunter and sent him on his way in the top photo. The lower photo I was sitting on Vent listening to my guild bitch about Black Temple in WoW.

I hadn’t hit my lowest weight yet, that wouldn’t come for a few months, and my boobs hadn’t really started shrinking yet. But I’d dropped my first 150 pounds at least, probably close to 175 by these photos and while I was putting together this comparison it just struck me the differences in the way I feel, the way I look and the way I enjoy my life now.

The girl in the 2008 photos never thought of herself as an athlete. I never thought I would be good at anything really. I’d given up my dreams of becoming a musician, I’d been sucked into the world of online gaming and was still struggling to break free of that monkey on my back. I looked at my pictures back then and while I was happy with the weight loss, I hated how old I looked. I was torn by being happy to get skinnier but despised the way my face sagged and I wasn’t seeing any resilience in my skin, and up til then I had hoped it would bounce back a little bit. It didn’t.

I was 41 years old. I was on the verge of being the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. Yet I had put my body through hell and it was starting to show. My hair, my bones, my boobs, even my teeth were paying the price for the war I had waged on my body with so much weight for my entire life.

It was shortly after these pictures that I started figuring out I couldn’t sit back and let life pass me by. That I couldn’t sit in the basement and hope the weight stayed off. I had to get out and keep moving, and get active. Constantly and consistently. There was no ‘magic potion’ that was going to do it for me, other than getting off my ass and working for what I wanted.

Its funny, I look back at the ‘transition’ photos and think yea, actually there was some magic happening…because I compare then to now and I look younger, I feel younger and my entire perception of life has changed. So some where in that mix, my world magically changed for the better and I have never stopped pushing forward.

But its hard some days, looking backwards.

Its not the 450+ pound Amy photos that bother me the most, its the ones where I look my age, I can see how hard this whole thing was on my body and I know at some point that all will come back again and I don’t want it to. I know I’ve cheated Death, and I am so thankful for the second chance at living, that I can never regret a second of what I have now.

But when I get glimpses of what that transition period was like, I begin to feel like Dorian Gray and I wonder when it will all come back to haunt me again. My 50th birthday is December 13th. A mere 137 days away. I feel amazing, I am happier than I have ever been in my life, and I my body & health are more balanced than they’ve ever been, so why worry right? But I do…and I will get through it.

The things I constantly forget about are those bits of wisdom I gained through the struggles I hated, that push me through to the next level, the next wall, the next obstacle life gives me.

I weighed over 450 pounds and I got through it. I lost half my body weight and I got through it. I lost most of my hair and I got through it. I lost friends, lovers and family and I got through it. And yes, I’ve looked old…and some how I got through it.

Who knows, 8 years from today I may look back and think damn I looked old and wrinkled at 49, who the fuck cared…because honestly, 8 years ago from today I looked old and wrinkled at 41 and no one cared. But me.

Back then I was the happiest & skinniest I’d ever been in my life. In those pictures and even with time marching right across my face, I was fine. 8 years from now, I can only hope to be even better and who knows what the hell I will be doing with my life then. I can only hope I am as thankful as I am today.

I always need to remember to be happy with the NOW (and the then), live every day with as much verve and gusto as I can muster and be the best me possible. There are no guarantees in this life, we get whatever we can make of it. If you’re unhappy with something, change it.

Time is not on our side…so get off your ass

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Armored Combat, bariathlete, bariatric surgery, BotN, gastric bypass, IMCF, Medieval Fighting, Mixed Medieval Martial Arts, Running Streak, SCA Fighting, Sword Fighter, Uncategorized, weightloss success

So Long 2015, you were a GREAT year!

As I sit at my desk, having just finished my last workout of 2015, topping off my miles to 336 for the year and feeling both my IT Band tear and my wrist surgery with every beat of my heart, I still can’t help but feel like 2015 was an amazing year.

I got to travel to Poland and Prague to compete in TWO World Championships against some of the best fighters in the world and I came home with 4th Place in Pole Axe.  I also got to Montreal for the first time and fought Officially as part of a Men’s 5 vs. 5 team and we won the Gold.  I found a love for traveling that I never knew existed and it will hopefully continue the rest of my days on this big blue marble =)

I trained my ass off, pushed myself hard and did everything I wanted to.  I ran my first Half Marathon, and while I was injured in mile 4, I finished it in 3 hours and 4 minutes.  Not a great time but again, I did it and I am proud of myself.

Got to compete in various tournaments across the United States, and got to be a guest panelist at Dragon*Con for the first time this year.  Finding myself at a new level in Fandom was an eye opener.  From becoming closer to people I had only idolized in the past to having my very own ‘fan boy’ fan club were some of the most priceless memories of 2015.

I went through a lot of things mentally that I wasn’t really prepared for.  Broke up with a long time lover, dealt with losing faith in people I trusted, and lost my furbaby Macho after 17 years.  But through all the worst parts of this year, there were upsides too.

That break up led to me finding new lovers I have enjoyed very much, losing faith & trust, has helped me find strength within myself I didn’t know I had.  And while losing Macho was by far the hardest thing I had to endure this year, it led me to Heimdall and while he is not a replacement for our old man, he certainly has the curmudgeon part down pat.

All in all there will always be things we endure throughout our lives, but how you look at them, how you deal with them and how you remember them play a big part in your own happiness.  I am happier than I have ever been and I love my world: every up, every down, every setback and every stride gained.  I love it, truly.

The biggest lesson I will take from 2015 is that I realized I am not invincible.  I have limits and my body can only do so much at 49.  I pushed myself very hard this past year and right now, at this very moment, on this last day of 2015, I am paying that price.  I have 2 major injuries because of my lack of knowledge in my own limits.  Granted my tendon release has been preemptive to make sure I can continue fighting but the IT Band tear was preventable.  Limits…is a lesson I have learned the hard way.

Going into 2016 I have plans to help me train, to help me work my body smarter, not harder.  I have so much more knowledge about what my body CAN do, and should not do than ever before.

So for the New Year, it’s time to learn that patience, persistence and perfect form are much better for me than going ‘Balls to the Wall’ at 90 miles an hour.   My body does not bounce back from youthful exuberance as it once did.  There is a HUGE difference in my training recovery now than even 3 years ago when I started this crazy adventure.

I made a huge leap and actually told my husband that while I know I am fighting at Worlds this year, I honestly have no idea about 2017.  3 years ago I would have told you that I was going to fight til I died…now, we will see.

This sport is much harder on your body than one would think, and at 49, I am currently the oldest out there actively competing on an International level, and I want it to stay that way for as long as I have.  But when its time to stop, its time to stop.  That time is NOT today, or this coming year, but after that…we will take it one competition at a time and see how well I hold up.

So far in 2016 I have a few things planned that I am excited about!

I have CES in Las Vegas and the Ukolov Training Seminar in California in January.  Along with seeing Kevin Smith Live with my husband & friends.  I want to head back to Montreal in February, but I have to wait and see how my tendon release has healed.

I have ACL Spring Nationals & BoTN Nationals the first two weeks in March, again in California.  Then FanX the last weekend in March, where I hope to try out my She-Hulk cosplay for the first time.

I have the Cotopaxi Questival, which is a 24 Hour Adventure Scavenger Hunt and the Salt Lake City Half Marathon both in April.

Then in May I travel back to Prague for the Battle of the Nations World Championship where I will compete in Women’s Pole Axe and Women’s 3 vs. 3 Melee.

In June I hope to travel to Indiana for SCA 50 Year Celebration and in September, over Labor Day Weekend I will be fighting, training and participating as a Guest Panelist once again at Dragon Con in Atlanta, GA. A few new cosplays will be in the works for the ‘big’ show I promise you =)

So there you have about as much as I have planned for the new year.  I know there will be a few 5k’s and hopefully my first 10k at the very least intermixed with possibly my first Adventure Race, but I haven’t been able to find one that works with my schedule…yet!  I will keep looking though.

All in all, I am very excited about 2016 and the opportunities it presents, as well as the new training programs I have planned.  I think its going to be a great year and while I am sad to say goodbye to such a wonderful 2015, I am happy to reset, and start with a clean slate for the New Year.  I will be hopefully be doing my first outdoor run of the year tomorrow, just to get the ball rolling but will have to see how the weather looks.  But whatever the weather, I will be focused and ready to start 2016 with renewed energy, and a bright outlook.  I hope you start yours the same way!

Thank you for following my adventure this year and I hope you all have a glorious New Year!!!

Sláinte

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