Thursday, October 10, 2013

at first glance

I've always been a "long-hair" girl. At this point, it's just kind of a part of me. An identifier.

Bethany = long, brown hair.

My sophomore year of college, I chopped off my hair.
Not boy-short, but above the shoulders.
I was happy with it for a while, but then I realized something...
When I met someone new, they didn't know I was a "long-hair" girl. Suddenly this identifier was taken away. The Bethany they knew was short, brown hair Bethany. I found myself wanting to tell them that I used to have really long hair. That I had always had long hair. That I wasn't a short-hair girl.

It was like…word vomit. Without even thinking it through, I found myself explaining. Because if we're truly getting to know each other, you need to know that I am a "long hair" girl.

"I haven't always been this size." "I used to weigh more." "I've lost a lot of weight." "I used to be bigger."

word vomit

Every person I meet from this point on will only know me as fit Bethany. That's great, but it's just a snapshot. I find myself at different points with people—feeling like I have to explain how I got to where I am now so they better understand me.

For the most part I try not to throw it on people right away; but rather, as the relationship/friendship grows and they find out more about me, it will come up and be explained. But then there are times like when I'm at the gym and someone approaches me and asks if I used to be some kind of athlete or if I am training for something... and I'm like... ugh… well, ya see...

And then there are those that I know that at first glance, I'm just a pretty face.
The sweet life is assumed.
"You must have guys coming up to you all the time." "You must have been so popular." "You must have had so many boyfriends". "You must have always gotten your way." "You must have…"

uhh... you must be wrong.

I know more about being invisiblethan I know about being seen.
I know more about being forgotten…than I know about being remembered.

It's not just a size thing but rather my personality. I love to be boisterous and entertain and have fun with those I know, but my comfort zone is pulled back. The observer.
I'd rather say nothing than say too much.

I'm more than a pretty face.

I'm intelligent. Not a genius, true, but not an idiot.
I have a sense of humor... a few may even say I'm funny (not my sister, but some do. lol)
I am one that does things on purpose. I value my time and don't do things casually.
I am competitive... ugh, sometimes to a fault (some of you know some funny stories to go with that)
I love being active, but I have also ALWAYS been a cuddler.
I value myself while caring deeply for others—like deep down to the soul type of caring.
I have an itch for adventure and I want to travel the world. Unending curiosity.
(thanks dad for helping me with that list. ^)

I have a hard time with others assuming things about me that are not true. I am learning to let go of that need to explain. I am too delicate to throw my "pearls before swine," and I remind myself that other people's opinions of me are none of my business. For my identity is in Christ alone.

At first glance we may appear to be

but take another look

you may like what you see

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dear Trey,

I've started this letter at least a dozen times over the last year, but every time I get overwhelmed with all I want to say so that I never finish it. With your recent promotion and, therefore, transfer of gyms from our beloved home spot of Gladstone 24 to Independence 24, and with you no longer teaching kick boxing, I felt this a good time to finally get it out. So, excuse me as I try to find my words to ultimately say, thank you. 

You're the first person to ever call me "athletic." And regardless of it being true or not and regardless of whether or not you meant it... I believed it. You released the best in me. You found the fighter inside of me that I always felt was there. And you empowered me to be strong and fight. Working out was no longer a means to an end or something I had to do, but rather it became a way of life and what I have to do... what I get to do.

You wanna know how I know I'll never be fat again? Because I don't workout to lose weight. I workout and eat healthy because I'm an athlete, and I want my body to perform the best it can. If this was only about losing weight,  it would be torture because, as you have learned in working with me, I don't lose weight easily. While that can and has been difficult, I'm okay because I love living an active lifestyle. And you were key to giving me that. You made working out fun. You connected me with a community of people that I could be active with. You took interest in my life outside the gym. For goodness sakes... you gave me "boy homework" to push me out of my shell and "trained" me on how to flirt! ha! You made that stinky old Gladstone 24 hour gym home. You bragged on me and made me feel like I belonged. You believed in me and you made me believe in myself. 

What is that saying from Star Wars? Something like, "strong in you the force is." Something like that. Well, the force in you is strong. Trey, I just know that God has a calling on your life. You're something special, like really special. And I don't say this about a lot of people; in fact, it's very rare. But it's just crazy how I feel this mantel on your life. Of course you have to accept it, and it doesn't mean life will be easy, but it does mean it will be powerful beyond your hopes. I pray you find the truth. 

It was fate that I got matched up with your crazy butt as my trainer all that time ago. And now you're family. Even if ya don't like it. The deal is you mean the world to me. I value your opinion and I respect you. No matter where life takes us, you hold a special place in my heart (I just can't help it) and I'll always have your back. I want the very best that God has for your life. Nothing short of that. No settling. No second best. 

There are certain places that I go where I feel safe because either my dad or brother are there or because the people there know my dad and brother and watch out for me the same way. That's the way I feel about the gym. Even though I haven't been able to consistently train with you, there is a certain comfort that I have knowing you are there. That you have my back and would look out for me. So, this is going to be weird with you leaving. I'll have to find a new normal but don't think I won't be bugging you out there in Independence. 

You're a part of my journey, you're a key player in my story, and I'm better for knowing you. Thank you. 

Your friend,

All those Saturday morning bootcamps at the beginning.

That one time you left 24 Hour... and then came back.

That one time in Kickboxing when I knocked the bag off the hook.

Last kickboxing class at Bill Brown's Karate.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

We Laugh

Mi Familia... we're not normal... but then, that's kind of what makes us normal... right?
If I've learned anything about family it's that there is no "normal" family. There is no "perfect" family. And family isn't always the one you are born to. 

For most of us, growing up is all about fitting in. Then when we get older and realize that fitting in sucks, it's all about finding and embracing the things that made us so special to begin with.

It's kind of like that for me and my family. Growing up I just wanted us to be "normal," to fit in and now it is all the crazy weird stuff about us that I love so much.

And while we fight and bicker and sometimes absolutely despise each other... we also love. We love deep. We love strong.

... and WE LAUGH!

The Sextons:
We're funny... I mean, most of us are, but we all have a good sense of humor. It's that sarcastic, dry sense of humor.

We're jacks of all trades and have a vast knowledge of random unimportant things.

We're not miniature people... ha. To say the least. We're big people, yep I said it. Now, my dad and brother are over six foot. In fact growing up I thought all guys ended up being over six foot when full grown... imagine my disappointment... lol. We're built for hard labor, lifting heavy things, and we don't mind getting dirty. Neanderthals.

We're loud. Whispering just is not our gifting. So, sometimes when we fought/when we fight... you bet our neighbors heard us... oh yeah, we be those classy neighbors.

We're like super passionate people who have strong convictions and will stand up for them. 

We're loyal. Maybe to a fault... but that's okay. Friends and family... we've got your back. Through thick and thin when everyone else deserts you... turn around cuz you've got a Sexton behind you. I can't tell you how many times I have seen my family stand by a friend or family member in the darkest of hours even when the favor isn't generally returned. 

We're a little red neck. Growing up in small town America I fought this label a lot because most people relate small town with small mind... so wrong! Now I... we, embrace the fact that we're a little red neck. The Sextons have gone country. 

Here's how Henna broke down some of our specific little random quirks: Mom laughs at everything, Dad has gas, Caleb has fairy dust (that makes it impossible to be upset with him), Bey (that's me) can't do accents, and Henna can't spell.

(Kind of)

An example of our craziness.
A snapshot of the immediate response I got to requesting some help on this blog.

So, you can see we are also all extremely mature and would never find flatulance comical. ...haha. Flatulance, now that's a funny word.

Oh, and a shout out to BakerBaker Photography who took these lovely family photos for us back in June. We were WAY overdue!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Run

There was a guy holding a sign that said, "Jesus Loves You." I started to tear up. I'm not one to cry over "Jesus Loves You" signs, but this one was on the first mile of my first half marathon as I was running beside one of my dearest friends, next to the Pacific Ocean, with the Golden Gate Bridge in my site and two years of changing my entire life behind me. Let's just say... emotions were high. It was Jesus' love for me that had gotten me to take that first step and it would be His love for me that would guide my next.

Now, there were some funny signs too.
"You can't quit, you're not the pope."
"Shoe Sale Ahead"
"I like your stamina. Call me."

I'm not what one would call a "natural" runner. Let's just say I'm built more like a Clydesdale than a Mustang. But who cares?! Clydesdales can still run! So, there I was in San Francisco running the Rock n' Roll Half Marathon with four fantastic friends and a great view. With our training behind us, our custom matching shirts on and pre-race photos taken we were ready to rock n' roll.

Miles 1-3 were definitely the most enjoyable for me. This is probably because the rest of the journey would literally be an "up hill" battle. Ha! I was totally taking in the views and just trying to soak the whole experience up. Also, Lauren and I ran side-by-side through miles 1-3 so it was nice having her there and we'd point out different sites to each other.

This was about where mile 3 ended... I think. In good spirits and thinking sticking out my tongue would be a good look for me... ugh? :)

Then as we literally turned the corner to mile 4 and the San Francisco hills began. 4-5 were up, up, up. Moments like that I was thankful for every hill I trained on and all the time spent on the stair-master. Buns of steel! I did find that I passed more people on the hills than anywhere else but with that said there is no doubt those hills slowed my final pace.

5-6 brought us up and over the Golden Gate Bridge. Now, that's a view for your morning run! At this point I'm feeling pretty good and ready to kick it in as I approached that halfway mark. I knew my pace was coming in slower than I had wanted given the hills and the fact that I may have been enjoying the views a bit too much in those first miles. After crossing the bridge one way they then had us go off road to a dirt path that went down and under the bridge and then to start off mile 7 it was a LONG... STEEP hill back up to cross the bridge back. Yikes! Lordy, Lordy, I felt that.

Coming up on mile 6 (ish)

I hit mile 8 almost exactly halfway across the bridge on the return over. I knew I had a little downhill coming to me and I was ready to stick it to the last 5. And that's when the side cramp from Hades set in. Yeah, awesome!

I prayed for it to go away. I could have cried. In another circumstance I would have stopped, but that wasn't even an option. After a little while I started to feel the pain fade a bit and as I fostered some hope the pain jumped to the other side. It hurt most going down any hill. (I know!) Somewhere between miles 8-10 I just accepted it and found a pace to work with it. It was also on mile 10 that I distinctly remember answering a question I had asked myself during training... "Do I want to run a full marathon?" My reply at mile 10 of my half, "Hell no!"

Just out for a stroll. 

Mile 10: 3 more left. 3 miles... That number seemed so small and yet so big in that moment. 3 miles, I run that ALL the time. Just knock it out, day in and day out. 3 miles, that's home base. 3 miles after 10... Ugh.... To be honest, I was done soaking in the view. Screw the view. I wanted the fast forward button to the finish line where I could soak in being done. Yay, celebrate. Nope. Not yet.

The last two miles were right next to the water, practically on the beach. It really was beautiful and here I had that mix of trying to make sure I took it all in and at the same time... I was ready to be done.

Clearly a very attractive runner. ;)
By looking at these pics I realized how much I stare at the ground in front of me when I run... don't know if that's a bad thing or not?

Man, when that last mile came, it was like... here we go... let's do the dang thang. Two things. One I ran with my Nike+ app which is synced to a chip in my shoe to track my distance and pace throughout the run. And as with every run, what you run is always actually a bit different than the official race length. My chip is pretty accurate and it had my distance at 13.55 compared to the official 13.1. Not bad... but trust me... that additional .45 mile... it was felt. No doubt. Second, there was a nice little hill right there at the end that if I were to run up it any other day it may seem like nothing, but on that day, at that time... I kind of hated it. 

So right after that little hill we came over a bend and started to enter the official race gates. So, I'm thinking the finish is just after this bend in the path because my app is telling me I am almost to 13.1 and now I'm in these gate things... so I click on the turbo boosters with just a tad bit of juice saved for the finish... and when I come around that bend I see that I still have about... .45 of a mile to go... eek. Didn't have that much turbo juice in the pack. But, I tell ya what, you get 400 meters out from that glorious finish line and excuse my french... "it's balls to the wall" (what does that even mean?) And so I sprinted to that dang finish line.
The Finish

Get medal.

Take official picture.

Grab food.

Grab drink.

It's a crowded hot mess.

Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.

Find friends.

Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.

And then your body is like, "Oh hey, you suck."

Exhausted and sore and yet, amped up all at the same time.

It's time for everyone to share their story of the half.

My results via my Nike+ app: Distance- 13.55 miles, Time- 1:56:53, Pace- 8'37" per mile.

Official Run Results: Time- 1:56:51, Overall: 945 out of 5803, Division: 88 out of 702, Gender: 334 out of 3604, Pace- 8'55" per mile


Can I be honest with you? 
Right after the run... I was pissed. I was so upset with my time. It just ate at me. 
It's not that it was a bad time, it just was not the time I had wanted. 
I had an expectation of myself, while I may not have verbalized it with the world, I had an inner expectation of myself to have a faster pace. I was frustrated that I had gotten the stomach cramp. I was angry with myself for not pushing harder at the beginning. etc....

And that is just crazy!!! Now that I am training for my second half marathon I have even more appreciation for what I accomplished in training and completing my first half. Here's the thing, train all you want, but come race day you have to know that every run is different. I have run three miles and it felt like human torture and I have run nine miles and it felt beautiful. You just never know and the fact that my pace was like... 20sec slower than I wanted... I'll survive. 

No, I did not run in those fabulous earrings. Ha! But yes, we did rock some crazy makeup/face paint. After the run we went and changed out of our soaking wet clothes and then went back to walk around and I bought these earrings from a street vendor that was set up and then along the way one of the race photographers got a pic of us together.

The other day I was talking with a friend who has done a half before and I hadn't shared with her yet my experience. She said, "It sucked didn't it?" and I was like... "Yup." I mean there were parts of it that were good but 13.1 miles is not to be underestimated and I think I had. In my training I had started to devalue just how far 13.1 miles was, mainly to make it an obtainable goal, but what it also did was make me underestimate the fuel I needed to complete the task. This next time around I plan on having more fuel in me for the run and possibly running with something to eat part way through.

While there were some rough parts of the run, it was a great experience that I am happy to have. I mean, I ran a half marathon in San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge and I got to do it with some really cool people. It's just exciting living a life of adventure. Say yes. Challenge yourself. Be okay with failing. Keep going. But most importantly, put your trust in God and just see where He will take you.

I'll have to post more pics later... cuz I have A LOT!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Transformation Tuesday: More Than a Number

In the "Instagram" world today is "Transformation Tuesday." So, in light of recently hitting the 100lbs lost mark I thought I would jump on this bandwagon and share. The thing is, though, that what I have to share is so much more than a silly number. I mean really you probably couldn't see a big difference between 95 and 100 pounds. And if I were to hop on a scale right now I can't guarantee it would hit the 100 lbs lost mark exactly because I'm always dancing around in a 5lb range. In fact, the day I officially hit that mark I didn't even realize it until later on in the day when I did the math and it hit me I had officially lost 100. That number just is not important to me. But the journey to reach that number has been everything.

You don't have to be a fitness nut to lose weight and be healthy, I just fell in love with being active. I love seeing just how far I can push it... and then testing that limit again and again to see growth. Along the way I found my inner athlete and my competitive nature was unleashed. But, this journey goes beyond "fitness."

You want to know what the absolute coolest part of this whole sha-bang has been? Connecting with other people! Inspiring other people to work to be their best selves. Seeing the ripple affect of my life change boggles my mind. Every time I have someone tell me how I have inspired them it just blesses me to pieces! When I started my journey it was for very selfish reasons in wanting to achieve and reach goals for myself. I wanted to get healthy for me. However, the process of getting healthy has created an amazing platform to touch and reach others.

All I, really, want in life is to help others chase after their dreams and be the very best version of themselves. Too many people settle for second best because for whatever reason they think that's all they deserve. WRONG! You are a child of God and He has a will and a plan for your life that far exceeds anything you could ever imagine for yourself. So, don't settle! Fight! Don't give up. Be relentless. It doesn't mean it will be an easy path, but it will be SOOOO worth it. You are worth it!

That message goes beyond fitness. If you're in a bad relationship... you deserve better. Maybe you're in an "okay" relationship... guess what... you deserve better! Do you hate your job? Whatever it is, don't settle for second best. Set goals and work hard to accomplish them. Nothing is going to be handed to you but anything worth having is worth working hard for.

The exciting thing is that for every goal I hit I have many more ahead of me. My life is going to be an adventure. If someone were to write about it... you'd want to read the book!

I don't want to be the girl that just lost a bunch of weight... and now she's pretty... and now she's acceptable to the world. NO, I want people to say, "Woa! That's a woman of God." And if the description ends at that, I am over joyed. Who cares what other silly worldly things I accomplish if I don't Love God and Love people!

When I look at old photos you know what I see?... a lot of smiling. I was never a sad fat girl. (I really want people who didn't know me from before to know that!) I was just stuck. I think anyone that knew me before can attest to me being a joyful person. I've always been beautiful because my beauty was defined by something deep inside me, but being overweight caused me to hold back and miss out on certain things out of fear and insecurities. I held back because of my weight, but now I am all in. Ready for the adventure called life.

Sidenote: All my "before" photos are from me at my biggest which happened around the Spring Semester of my Junior year of college (spring '09) to about when I started to get healthy which was January 2011. I was overweight for most of my life but really got large during that time period. I can remember weighing 180 in 6th grade and I think I was at 200 by high school and graduated high school at about 215-220 and then that gradually went up and then really jumped spring '09.

Friday, April 5, 2013


I WILL run a half marathon.
There is a great multitude of things we all CAN do, but what really matters and where greatness is found within us, is what we WILL do. I could run a half marathon a while ago, but this weekend... I WILL.

I am hopping on a plane in just a couple hours with some friends and we are headed out to San Francisco for the SanFran Rock 'N Roll half marathon. After months of amping up my running and focusing my training the real hard work is done and now it's time to go have some fun!

To train for my first Half Marathon I roughly followed the Higdon Novice2 Half Marathon Training plan. I still kept a lot of my normal workouts in throughout the week and just added in more running. Did the three shorter to midrange runs during the week where I could push my pace a bit and then did my long runs on Saturday where I grew my endurance.

Here are some snap shots of my Saturday Runs.

With the low temperatures I had the pleasure to train in A LOT of my runs were done in this here sweatshirt.

I remember this run because it was during my 7 day challenge to go NO SUGAR to break some bad habits I was starting to pick up. That means carbs too. I did allow myself a Granny Smith Apple and an occasional sweet potato. That run I was definitely running on empty. It almost hurt.

Another one of my favorite outdoor running tops for the winter weather. Around Christmas time I picked up this great Nike turtleneck, the Nike orange sweatshirt above, a Nike Green long sleeved top below and the UA long pants to run in outside since I knew I'd have to rough it in some cold weather. So glad I did!!! I ran in some crazy weather through all this!
I remember I was really happy at the end of this run because I hit exactly 7 miles right at an hour which was my goal. Hoping to be able to keep an 8'30" per mile pace or lower for the race. We'll see how that goes with the terrain and adrenaline and nerves all combined.

Nike Running top... yes I have an obsession with Nike.

Fun Under Armor Pants!

This 5K was a blast and a good break to the long runs. It worked out perfectly because the same weekend I was scheduled to do a 5K race I also had to be in Houston for a friend's wedding. I stayed with Lauren who is doing the Half Marathon with me and following the same running plan so she found us a 5K to run in together. That weekend also happened to be the beginning weekend of the month long Rodeo in Houston so we signed up for Rodeo Run which kicked off the whole thing. Costumes were encouraged and when we found these purple lycra pants the day before we knew it was destiny! They were pretty fabulous, but I have to say I was super nervous to run in them (SO TIGHT!). It all worked out great though. There was a huge crowd there cheering on the runners which was a big energy boost and they all loved our pants... of course, so it was fun to hear all the "Go Purple Pants" shout outs. We ended up completing the run with a pretty good pace, had a blast doing it, and rocked our crazy pants!

This may have been one of my favorite (or at least one of my favorite) long runs. I just remember it feeling so good and when I finished I felt like I could have just kept on going and going. That's always a great feeling. 

My first run in the new shoes that will take me across the finish line. These poor guys got broken in quick. 

Without a doubt my least favorite run on them all! I felt every mile and I didn't enjoy a single one of them. It was rainy and gross, but hey I had been running in single digit temperatures and snow, so what was a little rain? I decided to switch up my location to mix things up and make sure I wasn't getting too comfortable with my route, so I went to the KC Downtown Airport. I hated it. Don't know if it was the weather, the location... don't know. I just didn't like it... but I did it and I did not stop. So, with that I think it was good for me to know that I could push through a rough run like that.

This week I was supposed to do a 10K race but I could not find one!! So, I signed up for the Big12 5K that was going on that weekend downtown by the Sprint Center. Thought it would be fun to rep my TCU Horned Frogs and I planned on doing the route twice to get my 10K in. It didn't work out for me to go through twice and the race was okay, but I did get to see an old friend from high school. I'm pretty sure everyone that saw me in purple just thought I was a KState fan... boo. Go Frogs! 

Now this one was a fun route because I ran from my house in Smithville to my best friend's house in Kansas City. The night before the run I was talking to my dad about wanting to do a different route and throwing around some ideas with him. He then said, "Why don't you run to Kinsey's?" It normally take me about 15min or so to drive to her house so I thought she was farther away, but when I googled it... 10.8 miles. Perfect. In fact from my door step to hers on the route I took it's more like 10.5 so I had to run past her house and then back, but it worked out. It was really cool to put a visual to the distance I was covering. Had some good hills to go over coming out of Smithville and had a couple good encouraging drivers that passed by that gave me a good energy boost. At mile 8 was feeling great.. and then some precipitation started coming down... of course.. but it wasn't too bad at that point. Then when I was about a mile and a half away I was running in a blizzard! Not just running in it but actually running against it. I had to put my head down as the snow was collecting on my face and in my eyes. The last mile was literally up the steepest hill, in snow, against the wind... With all that though it was a good run and aside from the final moments I had fun doing it.

The last big run and I had to test out a few new items. New fun pants for the run and a water bottle with a pouch for my phone. Wanted to make sure they both could go the distance and not drive me crazy! Love the pants they were great. These are my first pick for the run but I have two backups... just in case. Then for the water bottle I was nervous about a couple things: that my arm/back would hurt from the weight, complications with having my phone in the pouch since I play my music from my phone and use my Nike+ app on it, that I wouldn't really even need the water. I filled the water bottle just over half way if that so the weight didn't end up being an issue. I put my phone in the pouch and take it out one handed which is good in case I need to do that during the run. Otherwise it fit in the pouch great with my headphones coming out the top and I can press the home button from outside to hear my app tell me how I'm doing. So, those items checked out. Again, I really enjoyed the run and totally had San Francisco on my mind the whole time!!!

And away we go.

SanFran Rock 'n Roll... I'm ready for you!

Run in some crazy weather looking crazy right along with it.
End it there because I literally have to leave for the airport... like now! AHHHH! Here we go!

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