Each step of a journey has it’s high and low points, the places that feel overwhelming and victorious. I have had a lot of these in the last year. Upward Bound ended a few days ago, which was a difficult transition, mentally and emotionally. A lot is going to change in this next year for me, both professionally and personally. I have been thinking a lot lately about my past, where I have come from, and where I am going. Upward Bound was integral into changing my life in a variety of ways. It helped me academically and it helped me prepare for college. I gained social skills and cultural knowledge as well as gained lifelong friends. I owe so very much to this program, that words cannot even begin to describe where it has brought me from and what it has given me. I think with any journey, we need to pay homage to the starts of our journey and where we came from. It becomes increasingly important to remind ourselves of where we began, so we can appreciate where we are now, and where we are going. Upward Bound helped me exile myself from a life of poverty. I am studying higher education in order to receive my second masters degree (although have thought about switching over to the PhD program), something I would not be doing without the program. Poverty changes an entire life, and having grown in that way, I truly do appreciate where I am now (a bit less poor college student!). Regardless, it is not about monetary value, it is about a lifestyle change that gives opportunity.

The reason I speak about this at all is because of where I have come in the last year, with my health. Although Upward Bound did not play a direct role in my decisions, a vast amount of the people in my life who support me, I only know because of Upward Bound.

In the honor of reminding ourselves where we came from, I took a photo the last night of Upward Bound, as I did last summer with my friend Jamie. This was the photo I blogged about before, but there is something to be said about “retaking” a photo in a way to compare. I titled this post “Mirror Images”, as a type of irony, to depict how incorrectly we can view ourselves. I was just thinking yesterday, how often in my life I was almost complacent about my health, I accepted being “fat”. I didn’t look in the mirror and say, “wow, I really need to get on the ball and make some changes in my life.” I did feel negatively about my image, but it was never enough to make that leap. Anyways — perception is partially what this blog is about. Living in poverty is only partially about money, if you look at it that way, much of it is the culture. Losing weight is as much about your mental state and how you view yourself moreso than the number that displays on the scale. When I look at myself in the mirror now, I no longer feel a complacency for my life. I want to be active, I want to reach new goals, and above all else, I want to improve the quality of my life. Mirrors can be one of the most deceptive objects we own, and we should not let them own us, and when we do look into them, think about our journey, reflect on who we are. They can give us motivation to keep going, or drive us deeper into the ground.

</philiosopical thoughts on mirrors>

I have not updated in awhile, partially because Upward Bound was closing and life was hectic. The last two weeks have been rather low key. I ran a race 2 weekends ago, and since then haven’t done much active until yesterday. Jamie and I ran a race in Carmel, which was about as blazing hot as summer day could be. I wish it had been a bit cooler, as I may have been able to make a PR. My time was 26:24 though, which is not my worse. It was very odd because for the THIRD race, I had the number 137, must be my lucky number! I have to keep up the running for the next couple of weeks. Jamie and I are doing a duo duel run in Portland, which means we do a 5k each as a relay. I’m excited for it because I have been very much running in competition with myself, but it will be fun to have a different motivation.

I have a few races lined up, and want to do the Black Bear Adventure Attack in September. The big race is the YMCA half-marathon. It’s even scary to write that out, that I am going to run a half! 5 months ago, I couldn’t even run a mile, let alone 13 of them (well, I still haven’t done 13, but I will get there). That’s one of those things that a mirror cannot show you. Anyways, at the end of the race yesterday, Jamie and I took a picture, so below I have posted 3 photos, the 2 from UB and then the raceday photo. The first shows my life prior to change, the second shows where I have come physically, and I think the sweat dripping photo at the end shows the mental changes I have made in my life, which are the hardest ones to make.

August is all about toning. I need to get back into the gym and start with weights! Tomorrow is white water rafting, Tuesday is fitness skate, then Wednesday is running, and Thursday is strength. I have a bit of time off in August, and I need to make it count.

On the final front of goals, I am almost at a healthy BMI, something that I don’t know I have ever been at in my life (aside from when I was a child). I hit my August 3rd goal of below 179.9 (179.2) and hit 178.4 today. A couple more pounds and I will be “Healthy” – and to everyone rolling their eyes about BMI, I don’t use it as a hard and fast know-all system. I agree that it is flawed, but it’s just a benchmark to monitor weight. August 8th is my measurements day! I haven’t posted my progress on measurements, which I will do a complete rundown on the 8th or 9th!

Here’s to breaking a mirror.

July 2011

July 2012

August 2012 – Running races, August 2011, I would have some “[Expletives], Yeah Right!”