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Monday, December 22, 2014


Me:  Nervous as hell
Mark:  Chill as can be
Back in 2012 at a family reunion my cousin Mark and I were talking about the upcoming Las Vegas Half Marathon.  Shortly after that I got a message from him that he'd entered and was going to run it as well.  So, we bonded over that and hung out together at the start line.  I was a mess of emotions.  Mark was as cool as they come.  Anyway, a few days after the race we traded messages again and I admitted I was disappointed in my performance and he gave me a pep talk that I will never forget.  I had the pleasure/honor of having another one of those memorable conversations with him on Saturday.

We were talking about weight loss and I recalled a story that my friend Diane has told me a few times.  After Diane reached Lifetime status she asked our leader, Karen, if the journey ever got easier.  Karen replied that it didn't.  This is one of the few times that Karen and I disagree.  As I was telling this story I said that I think if we focus on the things that we shouldn't have (or the portion sizes that we shouldn't have) then of course it remains difficult because that's all we want.

Mark replied that whatever you focus on will grow.  I couldn't get this thought out of my head and
knew that I wanted to write a blog post about this.  I truly believe that if we focus on the good things -- like being able to run a half marathon then the journey becomes easier.  I'm not saying that it won't be difficult to stare down a pan of brownies or cookies but I'm also not saying that you have to avoid the brownies or cookies completely either.  In fact, I say have them.  Just not as much as you would have before and then focus on something else to get your mind off the temptation.

What will you focus on to get you closer to your goal?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pre-Thanksgiving Thoughts

I know that with Thanksgiving rapidly approaching that it is time to start thinking about what is going on our holiday table.  Obviously I love to plan it out because I know that it helps me stay in control and on track.  However, I have other people to take into account for a holiday meal rather than just a regular week night meal.  My holiday meal will be shared with my husband, brother, nephew and dad.  I'm pretty excited about it and even more so after asking my brother what he wanted to eat.  He responded by saying that he didn't really care as long as it was healthy.  I've also checked out a new cranberry recipe that I'm definitely going to try.  

So, our menu will look like...
Roasted Turkey and Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Baked Squash
Cranberry Chutney
Blueberry Pie
Pumpkin Spice Muffins

I'm hoping the day will also involve a short run but that is really going to depend on the weather and this cold/sinus infection that has decided to invade my head.  I will definitely be trying to move more prior to and following the turkey!

What's your Thanksgiving plan?  Have you planned your menu and how you'll fill your plate?

Monday, November 17, 2014

A new comfort zone?

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that as part of my new identity I am trying to embrace stepping outside my comfort zone.  I truly believe that when we do that amazing things happen and we suddenly find ourselves doing things that we didn't think possible.  This week was no exception.  When I was little I took swimming lessons.  Or at least I remember going to the pool when I was little.  It was an outdoor pool.  It always seemed cold, at least to me.  The problem is that I don't actually remember learning how to swim.  I can doggy paddle with the best of them but actual swimming is something I never really mastered.
Post Swimming Lessons photo... 

When I was originally diagnosed with a stress fracture the doctor told me that I could swim.  I spoke to Diane to find out about the gym she went to and she told me about this wonderful swim instructor, Ann.  While I was rehabbing my foot I was running in the pool and would trade "hi, how ya doing?" greetings with this very friendly woman who I'd see swimming laps and teaching kids to swim.  One day while I was running she was in the lap next to me.  As we both approached the wall I told her that she made swimming look easy!  She asked me if I knew how to swim and I said no, not really.  She told me she'd teach me.  This was Ann!

So, we set a date and a time.  I paid for lessons and then got nervous.  I wasn't really nervous about the swimming, like I said I could always doggy paddle my way back to my comfort zone which was now about 50 feet behind me.  I was afraid that I'd make a fool of myself.  Or she'd notice how I couldn't swim the length of the pool without being completely out of breath.  Or that my legs are not toned.

Turns out, none of that mattered.  I put my goggles on.  She would show me something.  I'd copy it.  I absolutely loved it.  I felt amazing.  Apparently that comfort zone will move with you.

How have you stepped out of your comfort zone?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sharing Tips for Success

Success isn't always blingy, but it should be!
Last week during our meetings we talked about sharing our tips for success and members at Weight Watchers were encouraged to share your tip.  I think we have to step back and determine what success means?  One thing I said last week is that through Weight Watchers I have learned that you don't have to follow the program 100% perfectly.  In fact, the program is able to be personalized so that it can fit YOUR life.  This is so important because no one program can work for everyone.  Ultimately, we have to change the way we interact with food forever.

So, if the program is able to be personalized so much then how do you define success?  Well, here's how I define it... at least today.  Ask me tomorrow and the list might change!
  • Eat/drink what I want in moderation
  • Feel better
  • Be more active 
  • Getting through a candy fueled holiday with limited temptation
  • Going to one of my favorite bars and not ordering off the fantastic craft beer menu (sorry Alan, next time!)
Have you thought about how you define success?  If so, shout it out ...

Monday, November 3, 2014

Identity changes

When I see ideas that I want to blog about I put the idea in an email because I always have access to email.  Last December I made a note that said "Do not give your past the power to define your future".  During the month of October in our Weight Watchers meetings we've been talking about the five levels of change.  We change our environment, our behaviors, our capabilities, our identities and our beliefs.  The one thing we cannot change is our past.  The thing we HAVE to change is our future.  

Used to be:  May 2011
Now I'm:  July 2014
One of the questions I hear often and one that I asked often during my weight loss journey was when does our brain catch up with the changes our body has made?  I think that the note I made back in December really plays into that.  Once we stop letting our past define who we are we can realize that our identity has changed.  

This past week in our meetings we asked the question:
I used to be _______________________________Now I'm _________________________________
I had a bunch of thoughts this week about how my identity has changed.  I used to be a couch potato, now I'm active.  I used to think that I had to follow the program perfectly, now I realize that it's about progress.  I used to be shy and embarrassed and now I try to embrace what makes me feel uncomfortable.  I used to avoid activity as much as possible so I could hide the fact that I was winded, sweating and exhausted. Now I've run 7 half marathons.

How have you changed your identity?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Woah - this has been awhile!

Remember when I used to post every week?  My mom would call if I didn't to make sure I was ok if I didn't post.  I want to get back to it but struggle to find a balance between leading my Weight Watchers meetings and working out, taking care of the dogs and having some fun with Dan.  But... let me try to catch you up on what's been happening since I last posted.

Diane crossing the
LITH tri finish line
One morning in June I got up early to go watch the most amazing woman.  Her name is Diane and I met her at Weight Watchers.  We literally joined Weight Watchers on the same day and we celebrated milestones at nearly the same pace.  She was (and continues to be) an inspiration to me.  Diane took on her biggest challenge by completing her first triathlon.  I went out to cheer her on and I ran the final leg with her.  It was a beautiful thing watching her cross the finish line.
At the starting winery

I was still training, throughout the summer because I'd signed on to mentor for the Chicago and Napa/Sonoma half marathon training seasons with Team Challenge, again!  By the way, THANK YOU to everyone who donated to make a dream half marathon in California happen for me!  This was my first race without having Dan along for support.  Luckily, I had Barbara and Naomi close by.  I knew that the Napa to Sonoma race wasn't going to be a stellar race for me and I wasn't planning on setting a PR by any stretch of the imagination.  However, I was still disappointed when foot and ankle pain were too much to handle and I started walking near the 6 mile mark (just under half way).  I met some amazing people and definitely enjoyed the view of the spectacular course I was on though!  Then I got to hang out for a few days with Barbara and Naomi as we biked around Sonoma sampling some good and some great wines!

I gave myself some time off to recover from running since January but when I started to run again the pain that I'd had in my foot/ankle in Sonoma came back, with a vengeance.  I went to see a podiatrist, fearing that I'd really injured something, and he told me he thought that I had the beginnings of a stress fracture.  He told me I needed 2-3 weeks of rest.  Except, I was still training for my fall half marathon/goal race for the year.  I asked what I could do and he suggested swimming...

Diane came to my rescue.  She told me about a gym that had indoor pools and had a program for people who needed to join for medical reasons.  So, I joined.  After my first visit I knew I wanted to join for the winter!  I've been working some aquatic fitness classes into my schedule and on the days that I can't get to a class I run in the lap pool.

My weight has fluctuated but has been within reason.  I struggled after the half in July because I was still eating like I was running 4 days a week!  It took me awhile to get that under control but I suppose that's just a new lesson to learn.

So, what's been happening with you?  Catch me up on everything!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Race Recap: Journey's Half Marathon

I'll freely admit this, my heart wasn't really in this race.  I knew I'd be running in Eagle River but until about two weeks before the race I thought I was going to run the 5K rather than the half marathon.  My decision to run the half marathon came because on the way home from the Oshkosh Half Marathon I realized that I'd been a little under two minutes off a personal best.  Given how hard the winter was that was impressive but I really thought I could do better.  Hence the decision to enter another half marathon so soon after running in Oshkosh.

See?  On the bus to the start
No stress.  Hell I was even smiling!
I felt uncharacteristically stress free the morning of the race.  I got up, had my usual breakfast before a long run (peanut butter on a sandwich thin with a banana) and some coffee.  I'd laid out all my gear the night before so I was ready to roll.  We got to the high school to pick up our bibs and swag, use the bathrooms and board the buses to the start.  This race is a point to point race so they bus you out to the middle of nowhere.  Seriously, it was an intersection.  With port-a-potties.  It was a gorgeous day for a race though and I had good friends with me.  Alex (my brother-in-law) and Kristi were both running the half marathon!

We waited only a few minutes before the starting horn blared.  There was no muss, no fuss, just running.  I did well maintaining my pace the first few miles so I was really pleased.  There is such beauty when running in the middle of nowhere -- just before I got to mile 3 I had 3 deer run across the road right in front me.  That was a first on a race day!!  I really wish I had gotten a photo but it happened so fast that there was no time to get my phone out.

The course was about as hilly as I thought it would be.  Lots of rollers but nothing that made me want to cry.  I did wish that I had done more hill training but that's normal for how I feel when I see a hill.  (I'm definitely going to run some hills before I head to Napa though!)  Overall the course was nice.  I was able to find shade in most parts of the course which was really nice.

My knee started bothering me around the 10K mark.  And I walked.  And it sucked.  I cried about that fact a little bit.  Then I saw Dan.  He stayed at the start to see my sister off at the 5K start but he'd brought his bike so he could come and find me on the course after he left her and I was really glad to see him.  He brought me half of a banana and a fresh Bondi Band.  I told him that I was hurting and he told me that it was going to be ok.  I told him to meet me around mile 9-10 and he biked off.  I needed to be alone to figure out if I could start running again.  I ran when I felt I could.  I walked when my knee hurt too much.  I may have also cried a little in there, too.

I'd just gotten knucks ... gotta run after knucks.
I think that is a running rule.
As I rounded the corner around mile 9 I saw a police officer.  Apparently this is my new tradition because I ran up to him and asked him how he felt about "knucks" and he responded by holding his up and we smacked knucks and I thanked him for being here and then ran away.  I continued to run when I could.  I met up with a couple of girls who were doing their first half marathon.  They are college students going to school for teaching.  God Bless 'em!  They were doing a run/walk routine so I walked with them during the walk but then they were off.

I saw Dan again and he asked me what I wanted him to do.  I asked him if he'd stay with me and he said yes and began to bike along side me.  I wasn't running so much at this point so it was great to have a distraction.  He made me laugh and forget that my legs hurt or that I had over a 5K to go!  He also stopped at the water stop and filled my two empty water bottles for me (I'd drank ever single gulp of them!) so I could just keep moving.  After we passed the airport I finally realized where I was I told him that I was ok and he rode off for the final time.  I think I had about 3/4 of a mile to go - and I started to run.  Slowly.

I saw Brenda, Alex, Kristi and Dan cheering for me as I rounded the final turn and headed for the finish line.  It wasn't my best race but they can't all be PR's, right?  I did get to have an AMAZING weekend in the Northwoods with some fantastic people.  I consider that a good reason to run (or walk) a half marathon!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bondi Band Winner!

One of my favorite designs!
Have I shared my love of Bondi Band with you?  If not, let me tell you - I love this company!  You see, when I run or bike I sweat.  A lot.  I tried a few different kinds of headbands but apparently my head and/or hair is slippery (which sounds kinda gross but it's not) because they'd always end up moving during my workout.  Until I found Bondi Band.  I love the heavy wicking headbands.  They stay put and collect the sweat so I can focus on the activity at hand.

I also love them because the band is wide enough that on the cool mornings I can pull the headband down over my ears for a little warmth as well as sweat collection.  Dual purpose in my book is awesome!

When Bondi Band introduced compression to their product line I practically squealed with delight.  In fact, I think I did!  The patterns they offer were fun and practical so I ordered up a pair of these argyle sleeves.  I've worn them after my long runs and races this year with great results.  After 8-13.1 miles there is no better feeling than pulling on some compression sleeves for a few hours!!  Plus, I've gotten quite a few compliments about them!

Last week I celebrated reaching my goal weight by kicking off a contest to give away some of my favorite work out gear from Bondi Band!  The fabulous folks over there offered to give away three headbands and a pair of compression socks!  I'm thrilled to announce that Erika L. is the winner!!  Congratulations Erika!  I'll be in touch shortly!

Thank you to everyone else for celebrating my anniversary by entering this contest!  If you haven't ordered up some Bondi Band products yet, do it now!!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Let's Celebrate!

Taken about two weeks after I joined Weight Watchers
July 2010
It has been a year since I reached my goal weight and I am so proud and excited to have maintained a 215 pound weight loss.  This is not something that I ever thought possible - in fact I never thought I'd be a Weight Watchers member more than six months.  You see, I had done Weight Watchers before.  In 2001 while a bunch of my co-workers were attending "At Work" meetings I joined as an online member.  I sort of wanted to join the meetings too but it was too far to walk!  When I followed the on-line program I lost a bunch of weight but I figured I could continue doing this on my own and I quit.  I was wrong. I gained back all that I had lost and more.
Eleven months and 104 pounds later
June 2011

I had been thinking for awhile that something needed to change but I had no idea what that change needed to be.  Every week I kept saying (to myself because I was afraid of admitting it to anyone else) that I was going to start a diet but I never committed to it.  When my friend, Sheri, called me and asked me to join with her I was reluctant.  I am tremendously thankful that she was so persistent!  When I joined I found out that I could still eat and drink my favorite things.  This was extremely important to me because I needed to learn how to cook, portion control and even eat out all while staying on plan.

The group that I joined was also a huge part of my success.  There was one member, Diane, in particular that really kept me motivated.  We joined Weight Watchers on the same day and we both had over 100 pounds to lose.  I used Diane hitting milestones as motivation -- if she could do it then there was no reason I couldn't.  As much as I always wanted my weight loss to be a downward trend I realize that my weight gain never was and that I needed to learn my weight loss lessons.  Those lessons included learning what triggered unhealthy eating and drinking and finding ways to manage that.

Half Marathon #5 - April 2014
In addition to those lessons I also needed to learn about activity.  I always shied away from activity because of my weight.  When I was in 7th/8th grade I played basketball and hated that I was always the slowest one on the team.  I hated P.E. (Physical Education) class because I'd almost instantly start sweating and my face would turn red.  Except I knew that now was the time to get active.  An encouraging call from my sister to start training for my first 5K was exactly what I needed when I needed it to get the ball rolling.  That seems like ancient history because in the nearly four years that I've been a Weight Watchers member I've completed numerous short distance races (5K, 9K, 10K, 15K) and SIX FREAKING HALF MARATHONS!  I'm finally comfortable working out in front of other people (most of the time) regardless of whether my face is beet red or I'm sweating profusely.  I've learned that with activity I can just go out and have fun.
Seriously - this medal is ENORMOUS.
And Heavy.
I (obviously) love it so much!

Now, if you think that reaching your goal weight means you get to relax a little bit you might be slightly delusional.  Early on in my journey that's exactly what I thought but as I got closer and finally got to maintenance I realized that it is just as hard as losing the weight.  However, I realized that one thing that made weight loss (and maintenance) hard was focusing on the things that I used to eat rather than all the things that I've developed a serious passion for over the last four years.  This is another one of the reasons that I think gradual weight loss is so beneficial because it gives you the time to figure out what you like so you can truly enjoy it.  I also think that as we reach our goal weight and maintenance that we celebrate less.  There are no more milestones to reach or goals to hit so we have to celebrate other things.  Like getting giant medals!  Being able to celebrate our accomplishments certainly keeps me going and gives me something to look forward to!

What about you?  How do you celebrate?

In the name of celebrating, one of my most favorite companies in the whole world is letting me give away some fantastic products!  Have you seen/tried the wonderful products from Bondi Band?  The prize pack that we're giving away includes 3 headbands and a pair of compression socks.  Go, register now!  And tell all your friends!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Journey's Half Marathon Race Goals

Leaving the starting line in May of 2011
I can't believe that my next half marathon is coming up THIS WEEKEND!!  This race has such a special place in my heart and I am so excited to be heading back up there.  It was this event back in 2011 when I started getting active.  I'd lost about 75 pounds by the time race day came around and while I'd been training to walk my first 5K and I really just hoped that I'd be able to finish the race.  Oh, how things have changed since that day!

Coming in to the finish,
May 2012
Last year when I ran the 5K I finished 7th in my age group and I was really looking forward to tackling the course again and seeing if I'd improved my 5K time.  Then, after the Oshkosh Half Marathon last month my brother-in-law, Alex, asked if I was going to run Eagle River?  I immediately responded no.  Then as Dan and I were driving home I started to think about it and had commented that I thought I was 5 minutes off my PR time and Dan reminded me that I was actually under 2 minutes off my PR time and then the decision was made... I wanted another crack at running 13.1 miles.

Not only is this half marathon course brand new to me but it is also a point to point.  I'm obviously hoping for a brand new PR since I was so close last month, however, I think this course is going to be a bit hillier than Oshkosh.  The other goals I have in mind:

After the race
May 2013
  1. Start slow and maintain a good pace.  Negative splits, meaning the last half of the miles are faster than the first half, are always my goal but they've never happened.  Maybe this is the race!
  2. Fuel regularly.  In Oshkosh I fueled every 3 miles and that seemed to work well so I am going to try that again.
  3. Relax.  Drop my shoulders and breathe.  I tend to run with my shoulders all hunched up and then I hurt later so I'll spend some time every mile to evaluate my posture.
  4. Stretch post-race.  My IT band has been super cranky lately so I know I need to stretch and foam roll.
  5. Have fun.  All of the hard work is done so I just need to enjoy the scenery, my fellow runners and my time on the course.
If you'd like to show me some love perhaps you'd consider making a tax deductible donation to support my NEXT half marathon in July.  The money donated goes to support the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and is 100% tax deductible.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Oshkosh Half Marathon Race Recap

Nearing the finish line
It's not a pose this year
I stalked the weather, as usual, for the 10 days leading up to the Oshkosh Half Marathon.  The changes were frequent and my emotions about running in the "current" weather swung as drastically as the forecast.  I rarely sleep well the night before a race, though I have to admit that is getting better, so it was no surprise that I listened to it thunderstorm most of Saturday night.  I'd already had a conversation with Dan about whether or not I'd run the half marathon on Sunday if it was raining.  When we went out for dinner on Saturday night it was POURING.  I had on the "rain coat" I'd planned to wear the next day and when we got back to the hotel I said "if it's raining like this in the morning I'm running the 5K" because we were in the rain for about 5 minutes and I was already FREEZING.  I knew that I wouldn't last 2+ hours trying to run a half marathon in the rain.  That thought continued running through my head all night/morning until about 6:35 am.  The race started at 7 am so it was time to decide what I was going to do - I decided to put on my big girl running tights and get ready to run.

Consistency.  For most of the miles!
My plan, as I noted last week, was to hang with the 2:15 pacer.  Apparently, there was no 2:15 pacer.  Ooops!  So, I paced myself.  The races (there is a half marathon and 5K) start at the same time since there are only 1200 participants.  The beginning of the course gets crowded with runners and walkers trying to get a good start.  I tried to remind myself to just be patient because the crowd would thin as the 5Kers turned left about a mile into the course.  I wanted to really use that first mile as a warm-up and just kept reminding myself how bad I feel later on when I go out too fast!

I'd planned to fuel about every 3 miles.  So, that's why mile 4 looks a little slower because I stopped to walk while I ate a couple of dates and drank some water.  Around mile 6.15 I picked up a half of a banana from the Fruitti Tutti station and carried it until I hit mile 7 when I stopped to walk and eat/drink, again.  I had a slight slow down through the park because there were a few spots that were totally under water so I was trying to get around them without getting cold feet, again.  I wasn't able to avoid some of the water on the Wiowash trail so my feet were already wet and I wanted to avoid any additional cold footedness.  Apparently footedness isn't a word but since it's my blog I'm using it.

I really wanted to hang onto my pace through the park.  I knew that last year when I ran this race I lost my pace group sometime before I made it back to the Wisconsin Street bridge (before the park) so I knew if I could hang on to the pace through the park this year that I'd be better off but as I crossed through the park I knew I was fading.  I reminded myself that Dan was going to be somewhere between miles 11-12 and that I'd probably walk a little bit when I saw him so I tried to keep going.  I started to run with two women wearing neon green jackets.  It was fantastic to have someone to run with for a little bit because we started chatting so I stopped thinking about my hamstrings that were hurting and my fingertips that were cold.

I wore a blue ribbon to promote Colon Cancer Awareness
As if on cue when he knew I needed him -- there he was.  I swapped water bottles with Dan and walked with him for about a quarter mile.  I could feel my legs starting to get a little antsy so I knew it was time to run.  I told Dan I had to go, he gave me some knucks, I shouted that I loved him and started "running".  I could feel my legs getting heavy and felt slow but knew I needed to keep moving.  I got to about mile 12 and my calves started cramping.  So I walked a little so I could drink some more.  I knew it wouldn't help me right then but I knew that I needed to get some fluids in me.

Around mile 12.5 I saw my sister, Brenda, and her friend, Jes.  They cheered for me and I wanted to run again.  I tried, made it about a quarter mile and felt my calf muscles start to protest so I walked a little ways.  When I got to the Main Street bridge I knew I had about a quarter of a mile to go and I knew that the faster I got this over with that the sooner I could stop and stretch!  So, I mustered all the strength I had left and started running.  As I got to the top of the bridge I saw my brother-in-law, Alex, and friend, Kristi, waiting and cheering.  I smiled and rounded the last corner to the finish chute.  My legs hurt.  I wanted to stop.  Then I looked down at my shirt and saw the blue ribbon that I'd pinned to my bib and thought of Judy, a friend who was recovering from surgery.  I realized that I had nothing to complain about and pushed through the pain.  I crossed the finish line with an official time of 2:20:12.

Race bling!
I was pretty proud of my time since that's EIGHT FREAKING MINUTES faster than last year.  I was all proud of that until Dan reminded me that I was off of my half PR by less than two minutes.  I still consider it a major victory considering how difficult training through the Polar Vortexes (Vortexi?) was and finding safe places to run was much more challenging.  All in all this race was amazing.  I felt good through most of it and really enjoyed myself.  Apparently I enjoyed myself so much that I already registered for another half marathon.  In less than a month.

When I told Coach Barbara that I was going to run another half in less than a month she told me I was a bit of a loon.  Well... I did feel like I was flying through the half marathon.  HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

What'd you do this weekend?
What's your next race?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Oshkosh Half Marathon Goals

My "I'm going to pose like I'm running"
photo from last year
This year, I'm just going to run and not pose
It occurred to me a few days ago that I haven't really mentioned that I'm currently training for a half marathon.  I am!  It's in less than a week!  EEKS!  I'm running the Oshkosh Half Marathon on Sunday morning.  This training cycle has been ... well ... difficult.  Last year when I trained I was happily running my long runs on the Fox River Trail by mid-February.  This year, however, with the Polar Vortex that enveloped the region kept the trail frozen up until a couple of weeks ago.  I also spent more of my training season on the treadmill than ever before.  In short, I'll be happy when this half marathon is behind me!

However, no race would be complete without some goals, right?  So... in no particular order:

1)  I've started stalking the weather and it's changed from rain to sleet and snow.  So, my first goal is just going to be to finish.  Running in sleet or freezing rain for two hours is just not my idea of fun so finishing might be miraculous.

2)  Start with the 2:15 pace group.  This is who I started with last year but couldn't maintain the pace so I'd like to hang with them this year.  If I can't hang with them the entire race I want to at least hang with them through the park - around mile 9-10, I think.

3)  Relax.  I tend to get all worked up the night before and morning of the race so I'd like to just run and have fun.  That have fun part is going to be more difficult if there is sleet/freezing rain.

4)  Fuel appropriately.  My plan is to eat dates at the 3's (miles 3, 6, 9, 12) and drink some Nuun at this points, at least.

5)  Stretch after the race.  I usually don't feel like stretching after a half but my IT Band has been a little grumpy lately so I know that this will help me in the long run.

I know that all the hard work is done.  So, now I just have to run 13.1 miles.

If you want to show me some love how about a tax deductible donation to my NEXT half marathon?  Every single dollar helps! Donations can be made by visiting:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Team Challenge - take 3

Meds via syringe
And Scooby Doo band-aids.  They help, too.
For those that have been reading (or know me in person) you probably know that I've been training with Team Challenge (the fundraising arm of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America) since 2012 when I ran my first half marathon.  I am, again, training with Team Challenge and I thought I'd take a minute to remind you why.  For one reason, I have Crohn's disease.  I was diagnosed in 2005 and have spent my fair share of time battling this disease.  What may seem like tummy troubles to some can present as crippling abdominal pain, diarrhea that would make you blush, fevers/chills that force you to change clothes frequently not to mention fatigue that makes you want to sleep for weeks -- if only you weren't changing your clothes so frequently from the fevers/chills!  

After I was diagnosed I was put on so many different kinds of medications trying to find the right combination to put the disease into remission.  Taking pills by the handful multiple times a day wasn't working.  I was put on high doses of steroids.  That would work for awhile but the side effects of the steroids were almost worse than the disease.  Many times I would still end up in the hospital unable to manage the symptoms.  

And so I run.  And I beg you to help me because as part of my training I am raising money for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.  I am running not one but TWO half marathons with Team Challenge this year.  In June I am going to attack the Chicago 13.1 course that kicked my butt last year and in July I'm going to party from Napa to Sonoma while running another half marathon.  That's 26.2 miles!!  I hope you'll help and support me by making a donation.  Every dollar counts and is 100% tax deductible since CCFA is a 501(c)3 charity.

Donations can be made here:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Success Events

Diane, Terry & me
In total we've lost 430 pounds!
photo courtesy of Martha
Last Friday I weighed in and sat in on my "meeting as a member" (vs. working a meeting) and was thrilled to be back in my goal weight range.  I'd gained some weight after I stopped training last fall and it has taken me awhile to lose those 10 pounds.  I'm barely back in the +/- range but I'm hopeful that I'll now be able to maintain.  I thought the timing was particularly appropriate because Saturday was our Success Stories event at Weight Watchers.  I was thrilled and honored to be a part of this fantastic day.  We had four members speak to the group about weight loss, their a-ha moments and maintenance.  It was inspiring and motivating to listen to their stories and see the similarities in our respective journeys.

Helene, a friend from our Tuesday night group, who recently hit her goal weight asked Diane (who lost over 100 pounds and is definitely a constant inspiration to me) and I whether maintenance gets easier.  Diane said that she asked Karen, our leader, that question awhile ago and Karen said no.  Which makes me think of one of the quotes that Karen said to us a long time ago.
Losing Weight is Hard.
Maintenance is Hard.
Staying the Same is Hard.
Choose Your Hard.
While I have struggled with maintenance I think that when I accept how I have to eat and how active I know that I have to be that this part of the journey just feels a little easier.  I think if you find new things that you love and focus on them rather than focusing on the things that you don't have anymore it feels easier.

What new loves make your journey easier?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Trader Joe's Tour

I had an amazing opportunity last week.  Julie, a Weight Watchers Leader arranged for a tour of the Trader Joe's store in Batavia.  I joined about 10 other Weight Watchers members to listen to Christine, a Trader Joe's Crew Member show us around the store and tell us all about the PointsPlus (PPV) bargains that were spread throughout the store.  In addition to telling us where we could find these gems they also provided us a list of these foods and their associated Points Plus values.  I thought of myself as pretty savvy when it comes to finding a good PPV value but some of these things were a surprise to me.  I thought I'd share the list with you guys because if you haven't found any/all of these items, please go in search of them if you have a Trader Joe's store near you.

A few of my favorite items from Trader Joe's:

  • Horseradish Hummus - you get a ton of flavor for only 1 PPV per serving
  • Champagne Pear Dressing - there is cheese in the dressing!  Need I say more?
  • Queso Cheese Dip - It is SOOO delicious
  • Chili Lime Chicken Burgers - they are HUGE and so flavorful!
  • Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins - they are only 2 PPV per thin!!

If you've found any other Points Plus bargains that I haven't included, please let me know so I can update the list.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Brain Dump

It's been a couple of weeks since I've posted anything because... well... I got lazy I guess.  Dan was out of town so I was trying to keep everything running smoothly while he was away.  I'd sort of forgotten how much easier things are when we're both here to tackle the day to day tasks, not to mention handling the emergency situations.  Anyway...

I've been struggling with the scale as of late.  I'll lose one week and gain it right back the next week.  It's very frustrating and I know it has more to do with emotional eating than I care to admit.  I've had to adjust my meeting schedule so I'm still getting used to my meeting on Friday morning.  My new leader, Sally, after being asked about evening/night time snacking exclaimed "if you're not hungry why are you eating" and I find myself playing that out in my head fairly frequently.  The answer is always the same.  Because I want to eat.  I just need to stop I guess but let's face it, that's easier said than done.  I will continue to try though...

On a completely unrelated topic, or maybe not really, we were talking about the Yonanas machine in one of my meetings.  My friend, Jen, had one so I asked if I could borrow hers and holy wow.  We have made some very yummy treats.  This may also have something to do with the weight gain/loss.  The basic premise is that you peel a banana and freeze it.  You put the frozen banana and/or any other frozen fruit you want into the machine and it makes it into a soft serve consistency.  Some of the delicious combinations I've made include cherries and bananas, blueberries and bananas or bananas with Better 'n Peanut Butter.

I'm still training for my first half marathon of 2014, the Oshkosh Half Marathon.  My long run for this week was a total bust as I was having some pretty serious knee pain.  Rather than finishing all eight miles I decided to call it quits after 3.57 miles and walked a half mile home.  I was disappointed in myself but I was afraid that continuing to run would only lead to more stress and injury.  I know that the training plan/season is long and measured for a reason so I just have to trust that my future training runs will go well.  And maybe help me lose the last few stubborn pounds that I need to get rid of, again.

So what's going on with you guys?  Have you tried Yonanas?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


The meeting topic this week is about celebrating a choice you made last week.  I tend to think I make pretty good choices most weeks but there is definitely one that I want to celebrate.  The choice I'm choosing to celebrate this week is my Tuesday meeting-as-a-member.  Even though I'm a leader I still take the time to sit in a meeting and be a member.  I celebrate with my fellow members, I participate when questions are asked and sometimes I even write on my weekly when there is a writing activity.  For nearly four years I have gone to the same meeting with very few exceptions.  Finding a meeting group that I clicked with was tremendously important to the success of my weight loss.

On Tuesday I wrote an email that I sort of dreaded having to write.  I wrote an email to Karen, my leader, to explain that I wouldn't be able to come to the meeting anymore because I was going to be leading a meeting at the same time in a different city.  She replied and told me she knew the day would come.  So, I want to celebrate Karen.  I know that without her constant encouragement and guidance I'd have given up within months of joining.  It's what I always did.  She is the leader I want to become...

To the ladies and gents of the Tuesday 4:30 group... know that you have inspired me in ways I never thought possible.  You encouraged me to get active - I'm looking at you Kim C and Jen BF.  Your success kept me going because I wanted it too, Diane F.  You made me laugh (and want to eat Reese's Peanut Butter shapes), Kari B.  You made me really think about my goal weight, Melany S.  You helped me understand how to be a location coordinator, Martha.  You laughed with me... or at me... either way you always laughed, Patti A.  You became my friends and I wish I knew how to thank you, Sue W, Faith B, Kathy J, Colleen R and so many more that I know I'm forgetting.

You guys helped me change my life.  I only hope to do the same for someone else in the future.  I'll miss you all and hope that our paths cross again, soon.  Until then, take care of yourselves and each other.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Oh look, then and now!!
Yesterday in my Weight Watchers meeting my leader closed the meeting by saying:
We will continue to do the things we celebrate.  The small things make a big difference in the long run.
She's absolutely right.  When I was losing weight it was easy to celebrate the small things - the five pound increments, the milestones, the increase in activity.  However, now that I've lost the weight there are less things to celebrate.  A friend of mine, Carrie (she lost 150 pounds on Weight Watchers), and I were discussing this a few weeks ago and agreed that this is probably one of the things that makes maintenance hard.

So, with that in mind here are some of the small things that I've celebrated in the past... and things I want to continue celebrating going forward.  Things I previously celebrated:

  1. Able to sit in an airplane seat with no seat belt extender
  2. Able to put the airplane tray table down without being uncomfortable
  3. Able to shop in any store (not just plus size stores)
  4. Able to walk different distances:  first around the block, then 5K, then 9K, then 10K
  5. Able to complete a basic running program and then half marathon training
  6. Able to eat a meal and not be sick within twenty minutes (seriously, it has happened dozens of times.  Ask Dan or Sheri!)
Here are things that I will continue to celebrate:
  1. Squash trigger food cravings, one day at a time
  2. Finish a half marathon in less than 2 hours
  3. Honestly measure/track what I eat/drink to stay focused
The lists are not all inclusive but are definitely a good starting place.  What little things do you celebrate?  How do you celebrate them?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bread vs. Activity

Look!  More activity!  Also, more weight.
If you're friends with me on Facebook you've likely seen me comment about how my half marathon training has begun, again.  I'm not sure why I didn't mention this on other social media channels.  Ooops.  Anyway, I went to my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday and stepped on the scale and my heart sank.  After last week's loss I was excited to be back on track.  However, the scale had other ideas and registered a gain this week.  At first I attributed it to the two amazing oatmeal raisin date cookies that I ate on Sunday.  Or the chips and hummus.  Or the pizza that I ate on Saturday.  And it may very well have been related to these things but I also realized that it could be related to the increase in activity.  Or *gasp* the fact that I, practically single handedly, ate an entire loaf of bread in less than week.

One of the reason that I really like Weight Watchers is that no food is off limits.  So while I dislike saying that I'm going to avoid any particular item, I do perhaps need to scale back the amount that I am eating.  I don't know that I'm removing bread from my diet forever but for now while I'm dealing with these stubborn pounds I will.  I think I also need to go back to tracking how much protein I'm getting in per day.  As I was nearing my goal weight that was one of the things I was tracking consistently but I've really gotten away from it.  The final change that I know I need to make is to reign in the amount of fruit that I'm eating.  I've been using fruit as both a snack and treat but I know that the quantity that I'm eating is WAY over the recommended daily allowance.  That's my plan and while it seems like a lot, I am going to try to implement all of these as smaller changes so that I can make them my healthy routines, again.

Have you made any realizations lately?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Convenience Eating

In the meeting this week we talked about whether convenience helped or hurt our weight loss efforts.  As the meeting begins the start question asks
Have you ever eaten something just because it was there? 
The scene from where I rode today
Exercise endorphin's > food
Ugh.... duh?  Yes, of course I have!  That's one of the reasons that I needed Weight Watchers to begin with!  Like me I'm sure you've walked into your office and someone had a candy jar on their desk or there were donuts in the break room/kitchen area that became a free for all, right?  Well, as I sat in my meeting on Tuesday I thought to myself that I was glad I didn't have those temptations any longer.  Until this morning when I realized that I do still have those temptations.  Except that I don't work in an office and the only person I can blame for those temptations is me!

I was working through some paperwork and trying to get some stuff ready for my upcoming meetings and couldn't stop snacking.  Granted, it was healthier than a box of donuts but it was still snacking.  I finally decided that I had to get out of the house!  I rode my fat bike for about an hour before getting cleaned up and running some errands.  I was glad to be in the car for most of the afternoon so that I was actually away from food.

Are you eating food just because it's there?  If not, how do you deal with it?

Friday, January 10, 2014

So ... it's been awhile

When I first started on my weight loss lifestyle makeover I'd read blogs and then suddenly... nothing.  Sometimes the author would pop in and post and it usually said something with an apology and maybe an admission to having stopped some of the healthy routines they had been building and following.  I thought to myself that would never happen with my blog but as I realized today.  It has.  And I'm sorry.
I was so happy before this race...
Not sure where I lost that happiness?
I choose to get it back.  NOW.

Especially considering my last post was all... woe is me and maintenance is hard.  I'm not saying I was wrong, because maintenance is hard but my leader, Karen, told me a long time ago that I had to choose your hard.  She's right.  So, really, I just need to get over it and do the work.  I've been over my goal weight and not happy with my weight for over a month.  I knew it had a lot to do with the fact that I stopped running for awhile.  I told myself that I was taking time off between half marathons to really rest before I started training again.  Well, training had officially started.

In fact, I read the calendar wrong and so I'm a little late to the training game but I'm hoping it'll be fine.  I've gotten in two training runs in the past week and while the first one felt good (I credit the sunny and above 0 degree weather after the Polar Vortex) the other did not feel good (I blame the cloudy/foggy weather).  Having taken so much time off I know that some of these first few runs are going to feel harder than they would have but I know that the time off was beneficial to my legs, my body and my mental health.  So... I've made my choice.  I choose to push through the bad runs and keep going.  I choose to get back to my goal weight.  Those are both things that would make me happy and I choose to be happy.

Make any choices like this lately?