#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. 

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If you can’t say something nice…. 

Warning rant ahead. But bear with me…. It gets good. But first a little background. Friday I was hanging out with the boyfriend and he had to run an errand for an hour or so. My first thought was “do I have enough time for a run?!?” Pretty sure there was a sparkle of joy in my eye as I said it. My second thought was “yup… I’m a runner”  He said “go for it… But not too far cuz we are going to go for a walk when I get back” seemed like a deal to me. So first I had to define “short”… So I decided that anything less than 5 miles was short. Well…  

 4.75 is less than 5! Hehe. Anyways, this is what happened on my run. I was out… Minding my own business… Enjoying a lovely Minnesota summer night.I’m running across the bridge when some idiot yells out his window something about me being slow. For the next 4 miles I had all sorts of thought percolating in my brain. Before I get into my rant I just want to say I know I’m not the fastest runner… And I am 100% OKAY with it. Sometimes I just run to clear my mind. Sometimes I run for fun or to release stress. Sometimes I run Because I Really…. REALLY like food… (You get the idea)… 

Here is what at I took from this little “insult” 

First off. You don’t know me. Which means you don’t know how far I’ve come. You don’t know the battles that I fight on a daily or hourly basis. You don’t know what I struggle with.   

  

In other words. Shut your face. Why do you have to try and put others down? Keep that crap to yourself. But also…. Don’t let other  people’s negativity hold you back from doing your thing!!! Who cares what people think! You go out there and be amazing…. And pay no attention to their negativity. I also realized I had a choice to let his observation define and ruin me… Or help push me forward… I didn’t let him continue the outcome. I win!  

  
Don’t give into your own negativity. I am my own worst critic most of the time… And can get down on myself real quick. Don’t do that. It’s not helpful. And most of all Don’t quit. What Happens then?!?  We go back to where we started… Or worse? And how does that feel?!? Keep pressing on. It’s worth it. 

  
I get a lot of smiles, nods and waves from people when I’m out running. You have no idea how much that pushes me along. Why can’t we be that? People who encourage and build each other up?!?! 

Bottom line: you have no freaking idea how hard I worked to get to… And stay where I am. Still not exactly where I wanna be… But heck of a lot further than I once was. 

Also. This is just as true in running as it is in life. Can you imagine how different the world would be if we set aside our differences  and just encouraged each other to follow our dreams. Hmmm… Something to think about…. 

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?!?! 
  

Believe in Yourself

I am guessing I am not alone in this… but sometimes I have doubts. Crazy right?!?!? I think things are impossible so sometimes…. just sometimes…. it stops me from even trying. Do you know how strange that is? Let’s think about it… how do you know you can’t do something if you never tried? What do you have to lose. Sometimes my confidence waivers and I start believing the “you can’t do it” lie. And thoughts of quitting and doubt and fear try and creep in. This is where my Believe tattoo come in handy cuz I need  a constant reminder to believe.  Here is a story about a time where I didn’t quit…

This story takes place in Cold Spring MN at the iRock Run 5K that was on Saturday May 2nd. First I have to tell you that this run hold a special place in my heart. The run starts at the company that a lot of my uncles worked and my grandpa Mack worked as well. I just feel a sense of connection to them being there. The run brings you through the lot that houses all the granite and part of it even went through the warehouse. It was just so cool to be surrounded by the product (granite) that they used to work with for years and years.  I can only imagine how proud my grandpa would be of me. He passed away when I was a teenager. I was a VERY different person then! Just being there made me feel nostalgic and I wanted to do really well to make him proud.

Me with grandpa mack (2)

This is the last photo I have of me and my grandpa Mack (he made me sit on his lap). Love this photo.

I really had my heart set on doing well in this 5k. I knew from past experience that this was a small run with few participants so I figured I could end up in the top finishers. However… the week before the 5k I logged 23 miles in 7 days.(that is a lot for me in a week these days… so the doubt started creeping in) Needless to say my legs felt a little like Jello. Oh and I Rollerbladded 6 miles on Friday night also.

The day of the run was HOT. It was 75 degrees. Unseasonably warm for May in MN. I wasn’t ready for that. It seemed like my dreams of doing well were shot a few times. The legs, the heat and there was a HUGE issues with my music. This girl doesn’t run without music. Long story short I got to the starting line and my iPod has been wiped of ALL my music. So I had to run listening to my iPhone music that kept playing the same song on repeat!  Funny story the lyrics of the song go ” you’re not gonna die tonight” that was just what I needed to hear. (not necessarily over and over and over again) Needless to say I was fidgeting with my phone more than I should have been. I never stop and walk in a 5k. well I had to this time. I got a major side pain! However I pushed through. I had grandpa Mack to make proud and most of all I had Me to make proud too.  So I just kept putting on foot in front of the other. I had a little chat with… well me… and it went something like “you aren’t a quitter anymore.” I have decided that quitting is caterpillar behavior. I am working on making butterfly decisions.  The butterfly decision here was to give it my all. When I started running (in 2011) I would slow down when I came close to the finish because I think subconsciously I figured I was gonna finish so I would take a break or something dumb. Now I power through to the very end. As you might have guessed it I didn’t quit.   Not this time!

I came across the finish line like a champ.

11150367_845105288894442_9060773124381262383_n That is me finishing with flair. Yup. I am a dork. But I didn’t quit. I chose to believe in myself. I killed this 5k and I was so freaking proud of me. Had I let those doubts win… I would have never had that feeling. I would have never got a twenty five dollar gift certificate towards new SHOES (I like shoes) and I would have never got this cool little granite plaque thingy ….

0180cde43e043d864986570ec732886695aa2d8a96The reason behind the award… well I was the second female in my age group to cross the finish line. The reason behind the gift certificate was because I was the 3rd female to cross the finish line. Even better is my time was 24:22. My fastest 5k time yet! Nailed it! Here is the fitsnap I made of the run.

01388fd3b1d4e571da416a7a05f6c9794ebae6f7e6_00001So much orange= Awesome! The moral of the story is this: Believe in yourself. Whether it’s in business, in weight loss, in fitness or basically in life in general. You are worth believing in. You can do things you never thought were possible. Be the person you want to be. Only you can control that. The future is what you make it. I know all of those things are cliché but they are true. Think of the things you can accomplish if you acted like you believed in you. I know I have quoted it before and I am sure I will quote it again “You will always act like the person you believe yourself to be”. My Pastor Brian says it a lot. So my question to you is: Who do YOU believe YOURSELF to be?!?!?

Running changed my life.

Okay… So of you know me this next sentence is going to be a “duh Tonya” sentence, but it needs to be said: I am a runner. I used to say I am “kind of a runner” but when you run 100 miles in January 2015 you have to drop the *kind of.* I get into a lot of conversations about running. Why? Cuz it’s my passion and I will talk your ear off about it if you let me. I didn’t also have a desire to run. It was more like a hatred actually. I am pretty sure I once tried to convince a gym teacher that I couldn’t run cuz my legs died and gone to heaven. (Sixth grade, mr. rentz) anyways…

Things have changed. And running has changed my life. It has made me more confident in a lot of areas of my life. It has made me fall in love… With me. Running gives me time to think and ponder about the meaning of life.
I’ve seen parts of this city and other cities that I would have never seen without running. It challenges me. Through running I have also discovered that I am a bit competitive and this is a great outlet for that (even if my competition is usually myself.) I have more running clothes than regular clothes. I have done more 5ks than I can count. Also done a few 10ks and a few other ran runs. I’ve been called crazy more times then I can count… Ps crazy is my favorite compliment cuz I think I’m crazy too.

Well here is what happened tonight. It was a beautiful March day In Minnesota so I took the opportunity to run outside! After running in circles pretty much all winter at the gym (I don’t wanna know how many laps I’ve done on that track!) it felt amazing to run outside. The goal today was to run 5 miles (my favorite distance). As I started out I felt like I was kinda cruising along so I checked my pace. Uh it was showing me between a 7 and 7 1/2 minute mile. Wait what?!?! Back up.., my normal pace is about a 9:30 minute mile. So my goal quickly shifted to “I wonder how fast I can run a 5k…. Well… All I can say I wish someone was on the beaver island trail to snap a picture when I pushed stop on my Nike plus app…

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I was so shocked that I had to snap a photo… There is no way I just did that. The feeling I had was indescribable. I was so freaking proud of that time. The time I a putting in at the gym is really paying off. When I was first conned into training for a 5k (yes I was kicking and screaming) I would have never pictured me A) doing it and B) enjoying it and C) having it change my life.

My encouragement to you would be… Try something you thought you hated or something that kinda pushes you outside of your comfort zone… You might find it changes your life. You might surprise yourself. You might just inspire someone. It doesn’t have to be running. Make it yours. Find something your passionate about and do it. Be you. Be proud of things you thought you would never be able to do! You get one life…. run with it (okay… I had to be a little Punny)

Oh and just so you know I kinda had to get back home… So I figured i should do another 5k. Second one not as fast (actually felt like a nice easy pace… Still was way faster than I EVER thought I would be able to do).

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I could keep going on… And if you ever wanna talk about running.. I’m your girl! But I will stop for now…. And to those of you that know me… I probably won’t shut up about this particular run for quite sometime. Consider yourself warned. 😉

Seeds

SO.. I have a lot to say…. and be warned I am highly caffeinated. So read on with caution. But please read on because I think this is going to be good. I wish you could have seen the light bulb moment when this hit me. Let me set the scene for ya. I was running last night on the track at my gym when all of a sudden my jaw just dropped and I was would almost see the light bulb appear. So funny. And it’s really not that deep. But I think it is helpful for us to think about. Another important background piece is that the current series at Church is about seeds. Planting, growing, harvesting. These thoughts are planted in those messages. I am including the link if you want to watch the services online if you are interested in the biblical principles about seeds. www.greatjoy.org It has been REALLY good.  okay. But my little blog is not about a biblical principle. It, like most things in my life, refers back to my weight loss journey. One of my passions in life has become living a healthy journey and helping others to do the same.

SO, here is my current light bulb moment thoughts.You don’t just wake up one day and decide you want to lose weight and the next day it’s gone. DUH, right?!? well. We sometimes approach it that way. I have heard/ said things like “swimsuit season is coming, better start losing weight” “Pants are getting tight, time to change something” you know. Class reunions, weddings the such. We want the quick fix. We want a short cut. Let me tell ya something. there isn’t a short cut. Like Pastor Brian has said a few times during this series that he doesn’t plan a tomato plant today and expect to be eating a BLT for dinner tomorrow.

So let’s think about seeds for a second. First thing is they are small right?!? I have found one of the main things that has really helped in my journey is the itty bitty little things. Small changes lead to big results. Also, as with seeds, Weight Loss takes time.  Not only that, the journey of all seeds are not the same. You can not compare the fruit of an apple seed to that of a tomato seed. Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. This one might be a little stretch but the way I see it in my imagination is that attitudes is the soil for the weight loss journey seed. The right attitude will help that weight loss seed flourish. OOOH. and… storms! They will come. Trials, temptations, people trying to sabotage you. The seed uses those storms to provide as substance for growth. And one horrible bad day doesn’t kill the seeds… The other thing about time is that it is going to pass whether or not we are taking control of our health. Some days are going to be sunny and lovely and life seems easy and hunky dory… Others not so much. Hang I’m there. If you are going to enjoy the harvest (or flourish if you are a flower seed) you are gonna have to put in the time. Feed, water and treat yourself well. See how much it relates?!?! All I can hope is the next time you see a flower or a seed or a plant you see… You! Flourishing. And new. See the harvest inside the seed. You might not be able to see it… But it’s there. Just like I could never envision the butterfly I was about to become when I started. I also find as a leader at weight watchers it is easier for me to see the potential in someone than they can see in themselves. I have written about that before. Trust me. Trust the process and most importantly trust yourself.

Grow little seed of healthyness. Flourish. Be happy. And make good choices. It happens one little tiny itty bitty good choice at a time.

I hope you appreciated my caffeinated rambling… To the gym I go to run off a little of this energy 😉

You just never know who you are inspiring…..

SO…. Just the other day my friend Bonnie posted on FB this status:

This is the post that did it. This is the one that turned my head in the right direction. I have lost a lot of weight, but, you know, while the number of pounds I have lost over the years is impressive; there’s another number that I find even better: 12…. This is the number of inches I have lost around my waist since I read this post almost 3 years ago. How can you ever repay the person that has ultimately saved your life? I’ll tell you…12 more inches. Tonya Schwartz I love you!

So many thoughts. First of all… Bonnie Z (as I call her) is amazing. She has no idea how much of an inspiration she really is. I am sharing this story with her permission. I just can’t believe how much she has taken back control of her life…. from the inside out. I mean really! I told her that status just about made me cry and made me wanna give her a hug.. BTW I still owe you a hug my friend! I share her to story to inspire you. You really never know how much of an impact what you say and do has. For example just today I was told I was “tiny” by a person I do not even know. Me? really? huh… interesting 😉 but it made my day. What can you do with your life that will inspire someone? I had NO CLUE that one little note posted on Facebook would have such and impact….but man am I glad I took the time to share my thoughts (or ramblings for that matter). Sooo. Do what you do, keep being who you are… you just never know whose life you might change!  Below I have posted a comparison photo of where Bonnie started and where she is today. 198 lbs lighter. yes you read that right 198! She is a rock star in my book! I also am sharing the FB note that she says started it all

Who inspires you? One who inspires me is Bonnie Z!

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Here is what I posted on Facebook Jan 3 2012: (edited for some horrible spelling/ grammar errors I couldn’t leave in there)

So, it’s that time of year again… Time to reflect on the year that 2011 was and the year that you want 2012 to be… Also a time that people make New Years Resolutions. I just figured I would take a minute to throw out a word of encouragement to my Facebook people who may be making weight loss goals this year. I, myself, have been on a weight loss journey for over 10 years now… So I have a little knowledge on the subject 🙂 I am not where I want to be, but am far (75 lbs or so) from where I once was.  So here is some of what I learned…

First of all. Diets don’t work.  Actually I didn’t diet. Diets don’t make sense to me… If you go on a diet… it is something you can come off of… I needed to make permanent changes in my eating habits. I chose a program I could follow that taught me what to eat. It’s about healthy eating choices, and not depriving yourself. I can still eat pizza, ice cream… French fries… whatever I want! It’s about portions and choices. I also learned (the hard way) that I needed to be tracking what I was eating.  I hate… really hate… writing down what I eat. Know why?!? Cuz then I have to see it! And that makes me accountable for what I put in my mouth. Know why its such a big part of the Weight Watchers program.. cuz it works!! Also Its about making small changes. What I first had my “Wow, I really need to do something about my weight” moment, I didn’t go change every one of my bad behaviors overnight. I changed one thing at a time.  Also realize that the weight did not come one overnight.. and will not just fall off overnight (I hate to tell ya that…)

In all honestly when I first started my journey the whole eating right thing was a bit overwhelming, so i started working out.  At that point i was intimidated by a gym and I didn’t know how to workout, so I joined Curves.  (I have since gained the knowledge and confidence to go to a “real” gym)…. but it was a starting place. It was about doing something. Moving my body. Its kinda funny to look back and see how things have changed… I used to hate running!  HATE it!! there is a reason that I put that all in caps. I’m not joking. All through elementary and high school I would come up with reasons…okay excuses.. that i couldn’t run.  Now, I can say that I am a runner. I compete in 5ks.. I crave it when i haven’t done it in a while. I just really like how it makes me feel.  Ps. I NEVER thought i would say those words… but its true.  Also, when I started running I could barely make it 30 seconds at a 4.0 on the treadmill. (not an exaggeration)  Compared to now when I do between 5.5-6.0 for about a half hour to 45 minutes! It’s so great to see how things have changed. And I haven’t been running very long.. 2 years maybe?! BTW the program I followed was the couch to 5k program. I highly recommend you google it if your interested 🙂 But honestly, it doesn’t have to be running. Find something you like to do and do it. Sports, swimming, walking, lifting weights (which i also hate), dance, play a sport…whatever. Just find something and Do it!!

My next lesson… set goals. Realistic…attainable goals.  Had I started my journey and said I need to lose 75 lbs..and I need to do it in one year…I would have quit.  Now I Probably could have worked harder and done it a littler faster…but I am a slow learner 🙂  I am actually very proud of how long I have been able to maintain and stabilize my weight. Also, Don’t focus too much on the scale. I used to be obsessive about weighing myself and drove myself (and my sister) crazy.  Measure success in other ways. . . How your jeans fit… How you feel… you know other things..  Reward yourself for hitting goals and try not to get frustrated if its taking longer than you would like. Keep trying! Btw, when I say reward yourself I’m not talking about hitting up Cold Stone every time you lose 5lb…but do something to recognize your accomplishments.

Also, Tell someone what you’re trying to do. Set up a support system. Mine Rocks!! It honestly helps to have a support system in place… You guys know who you are… thanks for keeping me accountable and in line…People want to help you. I am always here if anyone needs help, tips, motivation…whatever. I actually could talk about diet and exercise all day (ask the people who sit by me at work…think they get annoyed some days… but they still love me) You need to realize that you are worth it! You deserve to be healthy and happy!! Don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day.. Tomorrow is a new day.. realize that and move on! Okay, I could seriously keep on going… but I will quit for now 🙂

So, let me just leave you with this thought… How cool would it be to look back at this time next year and say… I did it!?!?  I am healthier, stronger.. thinner (whatever the case may be…) We can this guys… We can!!! Trust me on this one.. I know 🙂

Happy New year Friends!

Thanks for reading my blog…and Go inspire someone!