The Baby Tea Leaves' Quest for Greatness

"Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted-One moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?" - Eminem.

So how bout it?

Wanna be a superhero? Wanna take over the world with me? Wanna create your own Quest for Greatness?

Try and try as I may to think about a world without a fitness goal, I just can't. I have tried. I really have. Through the challenges I've had here at Baby Tea Leaves, I've lost 31 pounds. Because there is safety in numbers. Because there is strength in numbers. I would not have done it without you and I shudder to think about my lone self struggling, stuck in that endless cycle that is motivation, lackofmotivation, motivation, lackofmotivation letting one more year go by without being the person I want to be.

2008-2009 is my year. And it's yours too, I can feel it.

If you've been around here, you'd know that I am a pretend runner. I'm not really a runner. I feel like a wanna-be runner. A fake runner. Kind of like being a blonde. Sure, I run. And sure, I'd like to be a natural blonde. But let's face it, I'm not either one of those. But guess what? I'm both anyway.

After accomplishing a couple of goals of mine, like running a 5k and a 10k, some of you inspired me to keep running. A lot of you are already making goals far beyond our little ol' Hot for the Holdiays, and darn it, I just know I have to too. Yes, I sound a little resistant, but the resistance, I realize, is me thinking to myself, If I set a goal for myself that is longer than a 10k, what crazy distance does that mean? And furthermore, will I be able to do it?

I will if you help me. Because the next step after a 10k for me is what one might call "The Half Marathon". Could a non-runner-turned-fake-wannabe-runner do one of these? Honestly????

Just writing that scared the crap out of me. But you know what? I'm gonna give it a whirl. What the hey. I'm gonna see if I can run 2 hours straight. Because I already know I can run for an hour. What's another hour? It's like running for the duration of a movie. Right? Help me out here. I gotta be the "Parallel Goal Girl".

So then it got me to thinking and another contest was born. But it's not really a contest. It's more of a group thang. This is a little more hardcore. A little more self-reliant. A little less flashy. A little more "animal". A little less foo-foo.

And we're calling it: "The Quest for Greatness". Muwahahhahhhahhhaaaa!

I am asking you to join me in my little made-up world of "Parallel Goals", where I set a goal for something, anything, other than -fingerquote-"losing weight" -end fingerquote-, so that in the end, I can lose weight. It doesn't sound like it makes sense but it does. It's a world where I trick myself into becoming fit by training for something. And then guess what? It's like magic! The weight comes off as an added bonus!

Isn't it interesting how that works? Since, you know, I'm "parallel goal girl".

So here it is. We're gonna lose more weight, this time by sometime in March. For me it's March 1st. But it's not about the "losing weight" this time either. It's about running The Gasparilla Half-Marathon on March 1. Isn't that ridiculous???

So these are the rules if you want to live in the World of Parallel Goals with me and join "Parallel Goal Girl" on her Quest for Greatness. Come on! We'll be superheroes together.

Rule #1: there are no rules. Or at least, you make your own. So the rest of the non-rules are as follows:

Rule #2: Pick an athletic event somewhere around the end of February, beginning of March to train for. It would be better if it were an actual organized event, something you have to sign up and pay for because that is how you will be the most accountable. (Most 5ks are about 15 bucks, the half-marathon I'm running is $50). But you can, if you want, pick an athletic goal that you have always wanted to achieve on your own. Like, walking for two hours straight or running a mile or 5, or doing 100 pushups, anything, and set a date for it. But it is a little more helpful to join an organized event because there is no backing out. Like I always say, "I can be the fat girl running the race or the fit girl running the race -- it's up to me."

Rule #3: So, if it's an event that you find, go online and pay for it. No turning back. There you go. Now, you're in. You're official. Do it right now. I'll wait. Seriously. I'm not joking. Go on...

And this is where I may be losing you because you're thinking, umm, I'm not really a runner/biker/hiker-type-a-gal. And to that I say just do me this one little eensy favor. Go out to right now. Just click that link real quick. Then google things like your town and the word "5k February 2009" or your town and "March 2009 events" or something like this, and just indulge me and see what comes up. For instance, I just googled "St. Louis 5k March 2009" and got a handful of results right off the bat. And since these events are usually fundraisers for good causes, you're doing some good too. But after you see what's going on in your town, don't think about it. Pretend you're drunk and you're about to get a tattoo. Just do it. Get your credit card and sign up for it. Then, come back here to this very post and comment with your EVENT DATE. And it will go up on the little calendar on my sidebar for all to see!

And by the way, I'd also like to mention: YOU CAN PULL OFF ONE OF THESE EVENTS AT ANY FITNESS LEVEL!!!! I have seen women and men, kids, (even dogs!) of all shapes, sizes and ages (I was running alongside an 80-something-year-old man for a while during the 10k and yep! He beat me to the finish...) I saw women doing this in pairs with team-shirts on, I saw breast-cancer survivors, an overweight father and son team, literally, every single person had their own personal quest and/or cause. They walked, they ran, they walk-ran, I am not kidding, every single fitness level was running the 10k. I hope that inspires you to know that you can achieve any goal you set in your mind. You can make your own quest.

Rule #4: Once that is done, we will weigh in on Fridays. We talk about our workouts and our downfalls and victories. But we will focus on getting in our runs and workouts for our event, NOT because we want to lose weight, but because we want to be in shape for whatever our event is. It's like studying for a test. We want to be prepared. You study for a test, you pass the test, you pass the whole class. Here, you work at the event, you conquer the event, you conquer weightloss. TRUST ME ON THIS: THE WEIGHT WILL JUST COME OFF!

Rule #5: See that little calendar on my sidebar? Your event will go in there. So that we will all know and we will all root you on. Anytime someone adds themselves to the Quest for Greatness, I will add their event to the calendar. They will also be added to my sidebar. And I will post about your upcoming race as it gets close so that everyone can root you on! It takes a village, people! No, not the Village People! The village, comma, people.

Rule #6: You post about your event either the day of or the day after, with pictures. Yes, we need pictures!

And you know there will probably be some creative little thingamajigs throughout this challenge, but the point is, again, you jump, I jump.

So repeat after me: "I am in "training." What this is about is a group of women, in training. As in, if you're faced with a food "situation", don't think the usual, "No, I'm trying to lose weight, I'm on a diet, blah blah blah." Think this: "No, I'm in training. I'm an athlete and I'm training for a _____. I will eat my Wheaties, like Tiger Woods, because my performance is important to me."

In fact, from this point forward, for whatever you are doing, you are "in training." Right now, I'm in training for a half-marathon. (That sounds hilarious in my own head, the head of the fake runner).

It's as if you are training for your own personal 2009 Spring Olympics. That's your story. Stick to it.

Why does this work? Let me tell you. Because you will begin exercising a lot. It will help if you have a plan to eat healthy as well. Once you get rolling with those training workouts, your eating will naturally follow because your body will not want crap food. Especially because as you will begin working hard on this other goal, you will not want to ruin your progress by eating crap food. Food as fuel. Your mindset will begin to change with each workout. And you'll get into a groove. Once your focus is off weightloss and onto the final goal, the weight will come off as a little added benefit on the side. Yep, it sounds like one big giant mindgame. And it kind of is. But who cares? Getting healthy is getting healthy no matter which way you wanna look at it. If you look at it the "losing weight" way, and when you don't lose weight, well, then you're back to square one and beating yourself up and stuck in that awful endless cycle which inevitably lands you in the dressing room, crying, all hot and sweaty trying to stuff yourself into a pair of size huge jeans. Oh, wait, that's me. Sorry.

As of this writing, there are no prizes. Only because I haven't started trolling for them. But that could change. And if you want to sponsor one, let me know (christieo_7 at msn dot com). But, I will say that on race day or event day, you will get your tee-shirt and you will get the most amazing prize of all which is crossing a finish line.

Of course you want to set yourself up for success, so here are some tips:
-Formulate a proper plan!!!! Do a little research and find your best training route to meeting that goal. Some web sites I've found helpful if you choose the running/walking route:
-The Couch to 5k Running Plan -- 9 week plan. This is AMAZING. Literally anyone can do this. I did!
-Hal Higdon's 5k Running Plan for the novice
-Hal Higdon's 5k Walking Program
-Hal Higdon's 10k Novice program - 12 week plan. I just did this one!
-Hal Higdon's 10k Walking program
-Hal Higdon's Half-Marathon training Novice - 12 week plan. I'm doing this one!

You really won't have to look that far to find something up your alley. Find a website that gives you a weekly routine, and be reasonable about your goal. Don't try to move an entire mountain if you haven't yet moved an anthill. You can set yourself up for extreme disappointment and we don't want that. We want something doable, something reachable. I have worked on this in babysteps. First I found the Couch to 5k Program and ran a 5k (this I highly recommend). Then I did the Hal Higdon 10k for Novice program. And thankfully, he also has a half-marathon program for Novices that I am doing too. There is something out there for everyone and you can find it with that one magic word, "Google." Hal Higdon also has a 10k WALKING program by the way. Yes, you can walk the whole 10k!

-Or you can join a gym, meet with a trainer, and set a goal for yourself that way. Most gyms offer a free trainer workup. These are unbiased, sometimes very blunt, but necessary for finding and achieving your fittest you.

-Then, figure out your eating program. Your trainer could help with this or if you've been through this challenge before, you are probably doing something already like Weight Watchers, but if you're not, find the best eating plan for you. Mine happens to be a version of Body for Life. Basically, it's six small meals a day of grilled and/or lowfat meat proteins, pairing them with whole grain carbohydrates and vegetables, and I even get a day off to have something not on my plan. Basically, I do everything in moderation. I don't have to get rid of anything. That works for me. Once I ban foods from my diet, I'm in trouble and I actually do the opposite and binge on exactly what I have banned. I don't work well when someone tells me I can and can't do something. I am a rebel that way. I like to set my own rules. And this plan lets me do that.

That's it.

Think you can handle it?

So we'll continue on course, weigh in on Fridays with workout info and everything, the whole shabang. Want in? Repeat Rule #1 immediately!

Remember, come back to this very post and post your event and date, and when you weigh in on Friday, comment about what your course of action is (which training plan you're using, etc). Let's start this week!

We're gonna take over the world! Seriously.


  1. Christie, this is FANTASTIC!!! I *love* this challenge. I found this approach effective when I was getting started with turning around my food & fitness habits. I started last June to train for our town's 5k "Pumpkin Run" in October, and I ran the whole race. I couldn't believe how effective it was to have a particular event to focus upon. Yeah, I was still the (much less) "fat girl running the race," but being a "runner" sure takes some of the sting out of still being "the fat girl."

    And Christie, I beg to differ: you ARE a runner! You ran a 10k, for goodness' sake!!!

  2. i am NOT a runner, but the whole idea of having some fitness goal to work towards could be the motivation i need. we'll see how it goes. :)

  3. This is great! I am actually supposed to run a half marathon in May with some friends depending on the knee situation. Once I make a doctor's appointment and see how long I'll be down and out or even if I will be down and out, I will come back to this post and let you know what athletic event I will be joining... unless I can use the one in May?? Good stuff girlie as usual!!!!
    Oh and I have my connection back!!! YAY!!!!

  4. I typically do a 50K bike ride in June. This year I have to do it in May and the location is different and choke full of HILLS (Lord help me!) so I need to actually TRAIN hard for this ride this year. Can I use this??? I live in Maine. It's cold & this means I'll be having to do SOMETHING to get ready for this or it ain't going to be pretty! :-)

  5. Okay - so sign me up! ;-)
    Event: Tour de Cure fund raising bike ride (for diabetes research)
    When: May 17th
    What: 50K Bike Ride at Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor - LOTS of hills!

    I'm going to be registering as soon as my MIL sets up our team. I'm also putting all of my birthday money on a trainer for my bike so I can ride all winter.

    My goal: 20 pounds GONE before May 17th!!!

    Thanks again for hosting the challenge. I will be blogging about this....


Talk to me, Goose!

I love comments. Who doesn't love a good comment?