Fitness Cruise 2017 Life Lessons

A month ago I was on a cruise ship sailing around the Caribbean. I wrote a blog about it on the plane ride home, but something happened and that particular blog has disappeared. I was disappointed when that happened because I put a lot of work into that thing…but then what happened was now, I have had a month to reflect on that week and have an even deeper appreciation for the experience. The lessons that I learned are ones that I feel a need to share.

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First A little background. We signed up for this cruise over a year before it was scheduled to set sail. The Tonya that signed up for the cruise had just come off of running 681 miles in 2015 (or what I liked to call 20FITteen). I was feeling pretty good about my self and even my pants size (mostly). I was pumped for this cruise and I was hoping that it would keep me motivated through the year of 2017. Well… life kind of happened. I ate too much, I didn’t push myself hard enough in the gym, I didn’t run enough. . . I bought bigger pants. I have no reasons, no excuse, no justification. But let’s just say that by the time the cruise came around I felt like I was not worthy of going on a cruise that was about fitness or healthy living. AT ALL. Don’t get me wrong, I was way excited to be on a cruise… just didn’t feel like I would fit in. I wasn’t happy with what I had done. I was ashamed and spend A LOT of time beating myself up and not putting anything into action. But then something magical happened:

I embarked on a journey with these two lovely ladies:

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We left from Miami and sailed to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and then on to Grand Cayman Island (my favorite!) and then a final stop was in Cozumel, Mexico.

The reason I even found out about this cruise was because I have been a long time fan of the show the biggest loser. NEVER, until Season 11 did I really care or feel any sort of connection with anyone from that show. However there was this one particular contestant in Season 11 that I admired. Her story, her attitude and her outlook on life was simply inspirational. Before she got onto the biggest loser she, herself, lost 100 pounds. Her smile light up the room and I thought, I could be friends with this girl. And Holy crap, if she can push herself at the gym… why can’t I! Her, and her super cool mom were my favorite. Well, I started following Courtney on Facebook and her posts keep me positive on a regular basis. When I found out she was going to be on this cruise I started to round up someone to go with. Luckily I have cool people in my life who want to spend a week on a boat with me :). So, had it not been for Courtney I wouldn’t have found out about this trip to begin with. Anyways… this is getting long already. I would probably write a short novel about all the things that I learned but from here on how I am going to go Listy. So in short.. these are some of my fitness cruise takeaways:

  1. From the moment I stepped into this group of people I felt worthy and I felt like I belonged. NO ONE cared that I had gained some weight and that was AWESOME. They were there to support me and encourage me. I will never forget!

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  1. Be yourself. This goes back to Courtney. You know, you can be ANYTHING you want to be on social media. Courtney is exactly the same as she is online, in person. She is Genuine. It reminded ME to be genuine as well. Love ya Courtney!DSCN1957
  2. you just never know whose life you are going to influence. I am sure I have said this before, but it’s worth saying again! This women right here is just as inspirational as her daughter. I won’t ever forget your encouragement and your attitude Marci! And of course Kevin too. You guys are so much fun and I wish we lived closer!

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3. Fitness and healthy living takes a team. A tribe. A support system! I am  GRATEFUL for mine little circle, but sometimes I don’t let them in on the struggle or know how they can be supportive, but I know they are ALWAYS there. These two are a great example of how you can keep each other going. The winners of season 11. Well the winner and the runner up…but they are ALL winners in my book. Sisters. Such a bond and make me appreciate even more so the bond that I have with my sisters. I am so glad I got to know these girls. They truly are an inspiration. Even years after the show, staying the course and being so dedicated to being the person that they know they are. PS. I now want to go on another trip to NYC and take a Soul Cycle class with Olivia. Love you ladies!

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4. I wish i had a picture to go with this one… but i don’t. I met this girl named “Murn” who taught me a few things.

  • follow your dreams.
  • it’s NEVER to late to become what you might have been in life.
  • you Do you. Don’t care about what other people are doing. You do… YOU
  • Every day is CHOOSE day. It doesn’t matter what day it is. it’s ALWAYS choose day. you get to choose your attitude and create the outcome of your day.
  • Yoga: you can’t do it wrong and you can’t do it right.
  • If you aren’t checking yourself out, how do you expect anyone else too
  • it’s important to breathe
  • yoga isn’t as boring as i thought it would be

5. Do something you might be scared to do. I wanted to Swim out to this infateable playground in Cozumel, but it was a hard swim and then there was this REALLY tall slide that I wasn’t sure I Could get to the top and if I did i would be terrified up there. Well I did it and it was totally worth it.

 

6. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN. Wait, did I yell that one? Full disclosure I am still working on this one. But here is what I learned from an entire week of not having my cell phone. I use it TOO MUCH. It wastes a lot of my time. I am missing out on a ton of my life by staring at my dumb phone. I am missing opportunities to connect with people. I use it to prevent myself to have to deal with the real world. It’s killing my relationships. And why?!?! Seriously. There was question whether I would be able to go a week without Facebook but it was SO FREEING! I am not kidding you! I still haven’t figured out how to totally incorporate this into my regular life, but I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I have tried to be more conscience about actually being in the moment when I am with people. It’s such a habit… baby steps.

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7. speaking of that. Be in the Moment was another. Just enjoy what you are doing now. Don’t worry about what’s next or what you should be doing or what ever. Be in the moment.

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8. Don’t judge people. Someone who looks unhealthy quite possibly works really hard and is really  very much healthy. We all don’t have the same standard. People come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. And all these people INSPIRE me! A community, A family… that I will not soon forget! Don’t forget to encourage those around you!

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9. Don’t let other people define you. Don’t let your past define you.

10. You are stronger than you think you are. Do something that you don’t think is possible. and Be freakin’ Proud of yourself!

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Sometimes is’s fun to get a little fancy

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Also I would like to report that since I got back that I have been on track and my pants are looser. Truth be told, I have increased my workouts (kinda) and sorta started making better choices… but I am inspired and I haven’t totally given up on the whole healthy eating thing and that progress. I can’t tell you the last time I had onion rings OR a cupcake… soooooo. eventually the pants will fit again. But for now I am proud. I am worthy. I am ME and I am happy. I will keep running and making good choices, and someday I will be in smaller pants.

Thanks for letting me share this incredible journey on the Carnival Vista with you all.

and now… it’s time for my run!

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2017 Thankful List

SO. Once again I was reminded to write my “what is Tonya thankful for this year”  list. Reminder. This is TOTALLY RANDOM and IN NO PARTICULAR order…. This is purely a reminder of just how many things I am thankful for. The challenge is to come up with 100 things. SOOOO here it goes.

  1. My health (had a bunch of reminders this year to be thankful for my health)
  2. Sunsets
  3. sunrises. (however I am RARELY up early enough to see them, unless I am at work and then I don’t see them either)
  4. THE MOON.
  5. Bridges
  6. Words
  7. the couch of Awesome
  8. my TV remote
  9. my work friends
  10. my Mother.
  11. my crazy, energetic, busy Nephews (the tornado trio) and my entertaining Niece and nephew. and my newest nephew too! (this should really count as 6)
  12. people who know how to do things that I don’t
  13. running shoes
  14. people who save lives. IE. doctors, firefighters, EMT’s, nurses etc.
  15. babies
  16. photos
  17. vaccumm cleaners
  18. indoor plumbing
  19. music. today specifically Christmas music.
  20. pillows
  21. movies
  22. my cell phones
  23. pizza
  24. my apartment
  25. my foam roller
  26. my coworkers
  27. people who inspire me
  28. relationships
  29. rain
  30. people who annoy me
  31. vacations
  32. dreams
  33. ice cream
  34. my fitbit
  35. my high maintenance cat
  36. craft supplies. I don’t use them. but I am thankful for them
  37. blankets
  38. lakes
  39. rainbows
  40. oceans
  41. the color orange
  42. the internet
  43. my job
  44. facebook
  45. adoption
  46. love
  47. journals
  48. my siblings (all of them)
  49. my Aunts, Uncles and cousins (that’s more than 100 reasons to be thankful for right there.
  50. my high school years
  51. my college education
  52. my eyelashes
  53. humor
  54. positivity
  55. Christmas lights
  56. my car
  57. Jesus
  58. rollerblades
  59. running pants
  60. Christmas lights
  61. Cruise ships
  62. the ocean
  63. changing leaves
  64. mountains
  65. family traditions
  66. dancing
  67. joy
  68. bubbles
  69. Pumpkin spice…ummmm… everything
  70. Puns
  71. my friends
  72. inside jokes
  73. chocolate
  74. my journey
  75. my wonderful boyfriend
  76. Gilmore Girls
  77. smiles
  78. gum
  79. Cupcakes. Duh
  80. generosity
  81. my church family
  82. sunglasses
  83. headphones
  84. compassion
  85. giraffes
  86. people who are good at technology stuff
  87. hot hair balloons
  88. storage containers
  89. people who use their story to inspire others
  90. trains
  91. stars
  92. adventures
  93. running
  94. pillows
  95. HGTV
  96. fireplaces
  97. water
  98. Duluth MN
  99. my senses
  100. my memory

This list really could go ON and On and ON. But I am really thankful for this list itself. It makes me stop and think about what I am thankful for atleast once a year. I challenge you to do it to.

Just Breathe

Okay… So this week/ month has been a WEE bit crazy. I’ll spare you the details because it doesn’t matter. But today I went out for a run. I decided to run until I wasn’t “crabby” anymore. I don’t know if crabby really is even the word. Just feeling off.  Everyone and everything has just been rubbing me the wrong way (even myself) and no one can say or do anything that sits right. I don’t know why. But is was really starting to get to me. My whole “choose Joy” thing was way more difficult than it should have been. SO.. I do what I do and I ran.  Here are the stats of that run…

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I needed this run more than I even knew. And of course I got to thinking. That’s what happens when I run. I started thinking about breathing. Cuz, well it gets really hard to breathe sometimes when you are running. You know what else? Sometimes it gets hard to breathe in Life. I think that is what was happening. I was starting to feel a lot of pressure and a lot of anxiety. So many things happen that you can’t control. So many things in your brain that you can’t process and you can’t express and start to feel the pressure of life. In my line of work I deal with people daily, who the pressure of life got to be too much. Something happened and their world came crashing down and they crumbed.  Really life boils down to how you handle the pressure. Not only that but it’s a matter of perspective. How are you seeing this situation and what CAN you control!?! A wise person told me that life is really made up of 85% things you can’t control and 15% of things you can. Focus on the 15%. Sometimes that’s REALLY hard for me. It’s way easy for me to focus and dwell on the 85. What I need to do is control what I CAN control. The 15%.

So, what I did in the middle of my run was sat on a bench, turned off my music and took some deep breaths. I let everything that was bothering me, go. I Let everything that I couldn’t control, go. I thought about just how lucky I am for everything good in my life. I told my self to not be so freaking hard on myself (yes, it’s a conversation I have with myself a lot)… and I reminded myself that everything will be okay. And that even the stuff that I can NOT control, God can. He’s got this!!  I sat there for what seemed like a long time, It probably wasn’t that long because I really wanted to be running, and just breathed. Here was were I was sitting. So peaceful, so relaxing.

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I think sometimes we just get so caught up in the busyness of life that it’s hard to just breathe in and breathe out. And then we get to a point where we are feeling suffocated and don’t know why. Maybe it’s because we aren’t breathing. So I encourage you to JUST BREATHE.

After my moment at the fountain, I continued my run. I had like 2 more miles until I got home. I spend some of that time thinking about the pressure of life. I don’t really know how to explain it but there is just this pressure. Being an adult is hard sometimes.. that’s all I can say. However, here it was came to be about pressure. I stole these things from Pintrest because I certainly couldn’t have said it better:

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There is a song that I absolutely love by Hawk Nelson called Diamonds. The message is simply that God is making Diamonds out of us… but we don’t get to be diamonds without the pressure associated with it.

So, today I decided to embrace the pressure. Change my perspective and view it as a refining process. Continue to remind myself to not be so freaking hard on myself. And on top of it all I need to quit taking the “Funk” I’m in out on my poor boyfriend. I’m so lucky that he “gets” some of this and is super forgiving. However, he certainly does NOT deserve to take the brunt of my crankiness. Maybe one day I’ll learn how to communicate what I’m thinking and feeling….but until then… I run! Okay, who am I kidding… Even if by some miracle I ever figured it out (and I’d probably be rich if I did) I would still run!

Shine bright like a diamond.

Be YOU.

Choose Joy

BREATHE

 

 

 

Are we too comfortable?!? 

 

This was actually written 3 months ago. it’s still relevant and it just never published for some odd reason. so here it is now!

I haven’t written a blog in quite a while. But the thing is now that I’m back to running outside I have more space to think. So be prepared. I don’t know what exactly I’m supposed to exactly right about tonight… But sometimes it’s just therapy for me to sit and write.

So… This run inspired thought is about your comfort zone. I’m pretty sure I’ve touched on this before but here is what happened. I had a memory pop up on Facebook that was my fastest 5k time ever. That was two years ago. I don’t come near running that fast anymore. Why?!? I got comfortable. I stopped pushing myself and did what was easy. Boo. I hate that. I don’t want to be the girl that just settles for easy. And, per usual in my life… This running experience was illustrated at work as well. I got approached by someone who sees potential in me… Called me out about not pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. Had me imagining the possibility of what just might be on the other side. What if I tried something I have never tried before? What if I did something a little bit different?!? We talked about What it could potentially mean for me and my life. Exciting stuff. Scary stuff…. But what if I don’t try?!

Also… I did something totally outside of my comfort zone just recently. I agreed to start a running small group through my church. I don’t know what I was thinking. Oh, yes I do… It was God… Tapping me on the shoulder for oh, a few years. Thinking though…. What do I have to lose. Something beautiful could come of it. Someone could be inspired. Relationships could be formed… Who knows. But who am I do stop it? Not going to lie… I’m getting a little excited about this now. I’ll keep you posted!

So.. I hit up PINTREST for some thoughts on this… I’ll leave you with these:

Redefining success

So…I’ve struggled with writing this blog for months. MONTHS! And I think I’ve got a good idea why. Success is something I don’t feel qualified to talk about. And I’ll tell you why in just a second, but first I just have to say it’s because if those very things I just might be perfectly qualified to write this blog. Here’s the thing. I fail. A lot. 

I fail at maintaining a positive attitude (choosing joy if you will). 

I fail at being the kind of friend/ daughter/ sister/ auntie/ cousin/ coworker/ employee  (You get the idea) that I would like to be. 

I fail at being a good girlfriend (I take out a lot of my attitude and issues on my wonderful, loving, and very understanding boyfriend). 

I fail at returning phone calls (sorry grandma!) 

I fail at doing stuff. I have a lot of great ideas and fail at following through. 

I fail at making good choices… I try… But that dang sweet tooth!!! And that emotion eating thing. And onion rings. 

I fail at my job… More than I would care to admit. 

I fail at keeping track of my checkbook (thank God for my mother) 

I fail at reading my Bible regularly. 

I fail at being in the moment sometimes. 

I can’t even manage to take a ONE a day vitamin for crying out loud. 

When I was growing up I always figured that by 35 I would be married. Have a houseful (more like 2 kids) a house and a dog. I would be working as a kindergarten teacher and loving life. Well… Life had other plans. There is NO freaking way that 17 years as a bill collector (well… Some of those were customer service years) was something I thought of. Ever! But does that mean I’m not successful? I don’t hit my “goal” at work every month. But does that make me a failure? Am I trying new things? Am I going outside my comfort zone?  Am I changing lives? How’s my attitude? I think these are the things that should be defining my work succes. It’s hard…..VERY hard to see that in the moment, but sometimes I need to step back and realize it. 

What I realized when thinking about this whole thing is that sometimes your definition changes over time. When I started my weight loss journey I viewed success as me fitting in a size 10 jeans. No lie. However…. Today if I had to buy a size 10 I would be disappointed in myself. Not because there is ANYTHING wrong with being a size 10, but because I am currently like a size 3-4. And me going back to a 10 at this point would really show I had given Up.   This isn’t about pants size… It’s about how perspective changes as time passes and goals are hit or things change.  On a related topic when I started thinking about wanting to run, I wanted to 30 seconds, yes SECONDS!  Without feeling like I was going to die. Now, I run 5 miles for fun. Things change, the definition has to change at some point.  

I guess I say all this to pose a question. What does success look like to you? How do you define success? I asked this question on my Facebook and had several conversations with people about it. I got lot of interesting answers. Some very specific summed up as results define success. A lot of people said they define success by how happy they are. Some people responded that it’s the seeds you plant and the legacy that you leave behind that really defines success. 

I guess what I’m learning is that it’s the daily things that add up to success. I’m still trying to figure this all out. I’m not perfect. And you know what?!?! . I’m going to keep failing. Maybe success is not letting that failure define me. Maybe it’s not letting failure keep me from keeping on trying. Maybe it’s getting back up once I’ve been knocked down. Idiot really know the answer…. 

What are your thoughts? 

#11forJacob 

I thought about going so many directions with this blog. On one hand I am at a loss for words. And on another hand I have so much to say. 

This is a story that…. As a kid growing up in central Minnesota in the 80’s…drastically rocked our world and changed our childhood. It’s a story about a young, outgoing, friendly 11 year old kid…. Whose smile apparently lit up a room. This is a story about a horrific tragedy of him being taken. Kidnapped. One night in October almost 27 years ago. In a little bitty town in central Minnesota (far to close to home). This is the story about a legacy and a mothers love. And actually it’s not just a story.  

You see this happened. Jacob Wetterling (who I never knew) was kidnapped. For 27 years it was a mystery what happened to Jacob. 27 years we looked for answers. 27 years we searched and searched. We finally have answers. And however horrific those answers are… They are answers. But I don’t want to talk about that. 

This past Saturday I was supposed to run a 10k. I decided instead to run an 11k and dedicate it to Jacob. (11 was his favorite number).  

 To be honest this run sucked. And when I got to thinking about it. I think it sucked for a reason. You see… When Jacob disappeared a lot of things changed. One of those things was the life of his mother. And every time I wanted to quit on Saturday my thoughts went to Patty Wetterling. His mom. Having an abducted son was something I think she never dreamed would happen. Who would?!? Here is what I find so freaking amazing. She has taken what could have been the demise of her, what she could have easily gotten angry at the world for and turned it into good. Within months of the abductionshe created a foundation for missing and exploited children. Has even beenan advocate for sexual abuse. And continued to look for her son. I read somewhere that there was over 50,000 tips coming in on his whereabouts and turning up nothing!! 

It made me stop and think. What would have I done? How long would have I searched? Where does that strength come from?

On this run, I wanted to stop. A.Lot! More than usual. Every time I wanted  I thought “Patty Wetterling never quit, I can’t either.” That’s true in running and in life. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it is freaking hard. But we don’t quit. We don’t stop. We can’t. What happens if we stop? We’re do we go? What gets accomplished? 

These are some of the things I’ve learned by watching Patty’s life the last almost 27  years:

HOPE. From the beginning it was always all about keeping Jacobs Hope alive. Jacob would have graduated from the high school I attended, the year I was a freshman.   

 

This was in the page where his senior picture should have been. HOPE. We had all signed a giant poster that hung in the high school that said Jacobs Hope. You have to have HOPE. 

Faith. She believed that Jacob was alive. She was living as if Jacob was out there somewhere just waiting to be found. And lived life as he was. Continung to remember each birthday. FAITH.

Preserverence. Her continued fight. Even she the path was long and dark and lonely….she persevered. She didn’t quit. PERSERVERANCE. 

Commitment. Her endless commitment to not only Jacob, but protecting children and raising awareness. Her commitment to the community and her family. COMMITMENT.

Strength. All along she has been a source of strength. Most surprising is the way she handled the news of “that night” after nearly 27 years of searching for answers. This was her statement to the news media following the court appearance:  

 All I have to say is wow. This women wow’s me. And that’s a list I can get behind. Eat ice cream, giggle, pray, create joy… I’m in!  STRENGTH.

Love. I am not a mother. I have experienced a mothers love, cuz my mom is pretty freakin awesome… But wow. The love. Not only for her child, but other children. It’s inspiring. That’s all I have to say. LOVE.

And as far as Jacob goes. I can imagine how proud he would be of his mother. And he, himself left quite a legacy. Made quite an impact! This one is for them: 

  
One more way they choose to do good in the face of pain and tragedy is a list of 11 things we should do. Let’s make the world a better place.  I mean, how much better would this world be if we did these simple things?!? 

 
I have never met Patty and I really don’t know how someone you have never met can touch you so deeply…but Patty Wetterling has really inspired me. 

I did what?!?! 

So… I have been meaning to write this little blog for a few months now. However.. A few things have stood in my way. Mostly myself. I wanted to take a moment to brag on myself a little.. But haven’t been feeling worthy of the bragging. However… Just recently I have been told that I am too hard on myself… So I’m taking a moment to reflect.. And yes maybe brag a little. Just know what your getting into. But first I’ll start with the reason I haven’t been feeling worthy. I have been feeling really squishy (like a busted can of biscuits maybe) since the holidays. I blame cupcakes, my onion ring addiction and well.. All around not good choices sometimes. I feel like I preach “make good choices” and while I really do pretty well overall… I could be doing better. But you know what… I am a human. Not perfect. At all…and guess what. That’s okay. (That part was for me… And I’m going to type it again cuz I don’t believe it sometimes) IT IS OKAY TO NOT BE PERFECT. it’s okay to have some frosting… And maybe a little bit more… Sometimes. It’s okay to skip a workout or two. Your body, soul, spirit needs a break. Rest is okay. Rest…. Something I honestly need to work on. I have a hard time sitting still sometimes. It’s true. But I can’t be so hard on myself. My pants still fit and I’m happy= I win!! 

So…. Here is where I brag a little. Last year I set out to run 672 miles. Yes, the girl who refused to run the mile in high school…. Set out to run 672 miles in 2015. Just in case you are wondering that was about 56 miles per month. I am not going to lie… I was nervous that I bit of more than I could chew. I started off strong in January (I ran 100 miles in that month alone)… Truth be told i think I broke myself that month. And then I had to step it up… Was quite a roller coaster of a year. I can’t lie. Not all of the runs were enjoyable. Sometimes I ran because I “had to get my miles in” here is how my year looked she. It came to miles: 

  Now.. I bet your saying to yourself. Umm. Tonya, that’s more than 672 miles. Yup! I pushed it a little. 681 made more sense because 81 is kind of my number. 81 is my “ultimate weight lose goal” and.. Well I was born in 1981. So.. I pushed a little harder and made it happen. Therefore, I have to be proud of me. I made a goal and I crushed it!! I ran further than I’d ever ran before… I ran faster than I had ever done before. I pushed myself further than I thought possible. So.. Bottom line. I’m freaking pumped that I actually did it. 

Okay… Moving on. Here is why I continue this healthy living journey. It’s because of random messages I occasionally get like this: (I hope she doesn’t mind… I tried to take out any personally identifying info) but I’m really proud of her and it inspires me to continue doing what I do. Here’s the message:  
      

The word pregnant is missing. I can’t tell you how much this means to me. This is from someone that I admire dearly. And I can’t explain how proud I am of her courage and strength!  Bottom line… I have to keep on keeping on! And when I beat myself up.. That’s not helpful to me or people who are looking to me to be an example. It’s really not helpful. So.. Instead.. Let’s celebrate our successes. Live a little and be kind. Be kind … Even to ourselves. K?!?!