Saturday, December 31, 2016

Top 16 of 2016

This year has been kind of odd for me. I've had no motivation to write on my blog this month, for some reason, but I've done a post on New Year's Eve every year; and I'd hate to skip one. It started with the "Top 11 of 2011", and then the "Top 12 of 2012"... and so on. Usually, I start each post wondering if I'll be able to come up with that many noteworthy events, but by the end of the post, I feel good about all the things I accomplished or experienced and had forgotten about.

This year feels the same. I haven't even started going through the pictures of the year to begin this post, so I'm not sure how I'll feel by the end of it! This year has just been so odd (for lack of a better word). So, here we go... my Top 16 of 2016.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Yikes! (a nine-day catch-up)

Wow, I thought maybe it had been three or four days since my last post... I just signed into see that it's actually been NINE days! I didn't intend to take such a long break; time just seems to fly by this time of year. I haven't been extraordinarily busy or anything, but it seemed that the longer I didn't write, the easier it was to wait one more day.

Anyway, I think a bullet-style post will be best for playing catch-up!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Instant Pot

I never go shopping on Black Friday, but this year, I was curious to see if Amazon had any good sales that day. I was browsing the website when I came across something called an Instant Pot, and it was on sale for $60. I thought it seemed like a good deal, and the reviews were great, so I impulsively bought one.

I don't know what I was thinking! When it arrived, I actually printed a label to return it, because I regretted the impulsive buy. However, Jerry convinced me to give it a try. I'm SO glad that I did--I love it!

An Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker that can also be used as a rice cooker and slow cooker (which is awesome, because my slow cooker ceramic base cracked recently) as well as a few other appliances.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

MAF running on the treadmill

After having the weekend to think about it, I still don't have any regrets about quitting the vegan challenge. I am disappointed that I wasn't able to stick it out for the whole five weeks, but I did what felt best for me. And to be honest, that 14 days FELT like five weeks, haha!

I don't know if it was just a coincidence or not, but I felt very energetic after I ate some meat and dairy on Thursday night. Instead of feeling very tired on my run Friday, I actually felt better than I have in weeks. I had set out to run about three miles, but once I started running, I felt so good that I decided to turn it into my long run for the week.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

14 Days

Well, Friends... I lasted 14 days on the vegan challenge.

Going into this challenge, I really didn't think it was going to be very difficult for me--I'm not a huge meat person, and certainly I could go five weeks without dairy or eggs, right? All I can really say is that the experience has been very humbling!

I had good days and bad days over the past couple of weeks. Sometimes, I felt like the challenge was going to be easy; but more often than not, I really struggled.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

One month MAF update

Now that I'm finally settled in to doing this vegan challenge, I can concentrate more on running and the MAF experiment. I had initially said that I was going to do 12 weeks at ONLY my MAF (maximum aerobic function) heart rate--no speed work at all, just the easy running--and follow my base building plan. Well, I've done the MAF heart rate part, but I haven't been running nearly as much as I should be to experiment with MAF training.

I had friends here for five days a couple of weeks ago, and then I was pretty sick, so I didn't run much the last few weeks. I'm feeling better now, so I'm going to try and run 4-5 times per week (at my MAF heart rate). Here is my running calendar from November:

The green shows the days that I went for a run. It was probably the least running I've done in six years, aside from when I was injured!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Settling in

We're heading to an ugly Christmas sweater party in a little while, so I'm going to try and squeeze in a quick post...

Things are going much more smoothly with the vegan challenge now that I bought some food from Trader Joe's. I'm actually kind of enjoying it! I tried one of the veggie burgers from Trader Joe's yesterday, and I was VERY skeptical that I would like it. The frozen patty was green from the veggies that are in it, and it just looked gross. But, I'd already bought them, so I figured I might as well give them a try.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Trader Joe's haul

Well, I'm still physically sick with a cold, but I feel a lot better about the vegan challenge, so I'm in a more positive place mentally (and not as crabby!).

Jerry was off work yesterday, and after we took the kids to school, we decided to go to Trader Joe's. I really wanted to get some of their black bean and corn enchiladas. I bought some the last time I went, and loved them! They also happen to be vegan. I had been feeling so frustrated about not having anything quick and easy to eat, so I just wanted to get some convenience items. I know that prepared foods aren't exactly the healthiest choices, but if I'm going to stick to this challenge through the end of December, I need the convenient option once in a while.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

First few days of the vegan challenge

Today marks day three of the vegan challenge. Let's just say it's not going how I'd wished! ;)

If you missed it, I decided to try challenging myself to eat vegan from November 25th through December 31st. (In addition to not eating any animal products, I also chose to give up alcohol--that was an impulsive decision I'm kind of regretting, haha, but still sticking to it).

I'm hoping after a few more days, I'll find it easier to do; but right now, I'm basically just struggling through it in frustration.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A cozy Thanksgiving

Today felt like such a nice, cozy day for Thanksgiving. The weather was perfect for fall--about 40 degrees and overcast. I got up early, at around 5:00, and went out in the living room to curl under my blanket and play solitaire on my iPad.

Recently, Jerry and I were looking for a new entertainment center (the one we had wasn't even an entertainment center--just cheap shelves). I looked at thrift stores for a long time, but just couldn't find what I had in mind. I would have loved to get one of the entertainment centers with an LED fireplace, but they were expensive, so I hadn't even been considering them.

When I mentioned it to my mom, she offered to give Jerry and me Christmas gift money early so that we could use it toward one of the fireplace entertainment centers. With her gift, we decided to go ahead and get one.

RECIPE: Homemade Taco Seasoning

Ever since I discovered how easy it is to make my own taco seasoning, I no long buy stuff in packets. I've tried several different recipes for it, and it's all very similar; but my favorite is from Emily Bites' Spicy Taco Gnocchi Skillet recipe. I just use the seasonings from that recipe to make my own taco seasoning for other uses as well (with a couple of modifications to my family's taste). I've posted the seasoning recipe here for convenience.

Taco Seasoning

1 Tbsp. chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients together in a little bowl or a ziplock baggie. One recipe is the perfect amount for one pound of meat.

RECIPE: Spicy Taco Gnocchi

This has become one of my very favorite recipes! I thought the gnocchi sounded so odd with taco seasoning, but I'm glad I tried it. This is a modified version of a recipe by Emily Bites. The portion size on this looks tiny (a scant cup!) but it is surprisingly very filling. I'm always satisfied after eating it. I have also made this with pasta instead of the gnocchi, and it tastes just as good. Just cook the pasta separately, and add it to the rest of the dish afterward.

Spicy Taco Gnocchi Skillet

One recipe of taco seasoning:
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. butter
1 package (16 oz) of gnocchi
1 pound of lean ground turkey (93/7)
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
10 oz can of Rotel tomatoes (or salsa)
1 cup beef broth
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup full-fat sour cream
4 oz. full-fat cheddar cheese

Prepare taco seasoning by mixing all ingredients in a small dish. Set aside.

Heat skillet over medium high heat and melt butter in skillet. Add the gnocchi, and cook for a couple of minutes until gnocchi starts to brown a little. Set gnocchi aside in a bowl.

Add the onions to the skillet, and cook for a couple of minutes until they soften. Add the ground turkey to the skillet, and break it up as it browns. Add the seasoning mix, salsa, broth, and corn, as well as the reserved gnocchi. Bring just to a boil, and then reduce the heat. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for a few minutes.

Add the sour cream and cheese, and stir. Portion into six bowls (about 1 cup each).

RECIPE: Lentil and Black Bean Chili

This is a Weight Watchers recipe, and my whole family actually really loved it. I cut back on the spices a little because of my kids. We topped it with a little cheese and sour cream.

Lentil & Black Bean Chili

1-1/2 cups dry lentils (preferably French variety, but regular green lentils will work too)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. dried oregano
1-1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne
1/2 tsp. salt
29 oz. can of diced tomatoes (fire roasted with chiles)
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed

Cook lentils by placing in a pot and cover with water (a couple of inches above the level of the lentils). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat at simmer until lentils are tender, but not too soft (about 12 minutes).

While lentils are cooking, heat a skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Cook the onions, bell pepper, and garlic in the oil until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and cover the skillet. Let simmer 5-10 minutes, and then add the lentils. Stir and divide into 6 portions to serve.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A holiday challenge

I've been thinking about this and thinking about this, having been totally unsure if I wanted to move forward with it. I know that if I make it public, then I'll be committed to finishing it, which is probably why I haven't mentioned it. I just wanted to be 100% sure I want to do it.

I used to do monthly challenges for myself, and somewhere along the way, I got out of the habit of doing them. Right now, I haven't really been focused on anything. Last year, I was hardcore into getting down to my racing weight and then training for my 10K; this year, I'm loosely counting calories, trying to lose the summer weight, but not really putting much effort into it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The scariest moment of my life

This is going to be a rather odd intro, but I promise I'm going somewhere with this little story...

When I was in the hospital after my jaw surgeries, I was moved to a private room where I finally got some sleep. Jerry was there next to the bed, watching TV, and I fell into a deep sleep. About an hour later, I woke up, and I knew NOTHING about what was going on. I didn't know where I was, why I was there, who Jerry was, or even who I was.

Pre-surgery. This was me trying to smile.

It was the scariest moment of my life, and that is not an exaggeration. I have many fears, but the fear of losing my memory again is at the top of the list.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Girls weekend!

I just got home from dropping Bonnie and Andrea off at the airport, and I am so sad that the weekend is over. We had such an amazing time!

On Thursday, Caitlin (my Ragnar SoCal teammate) arrived from Boston; Bonnie (another Ragnar SoCal teammate) came in from Virginia; and Andrea (my Ragnar Florida Keys teammate) arrived from Kansas City. Bonnie and Caitlin obviously knew each other already, but Andrea met them for the first time. We all have quite a bit in common, and it was fun chatting. Between the four of us, we've lost a collective 630-ish pounds!! So crazy.

Caitlin, Andrea, Bonnie, and me
I won't detail the entire five days they were here (they came in Thursday and left Monday), but here are some highlights of their visit.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Running Games for Kids (Part 2 of 2)

(...continued...) In my previous post, I shared tips for coaching a kids' running club or cross country team. In this post, I'll share the games that my cross country kids loved playing after getting in their mileage for the day. The games still involve running, but the kids don't even really realize it!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tips for Coaching Kids to Run (Part 1 of 2)

Someone recently emailed me to ask if I had all of the games I play with my cross country kids written down into one post, and I thought I did--but apparently, I do not! When I first volunteered to coach cross country for kids in second through fourth grade, I was clueless. I read as much as I could about it, but I just couldn't find the info I was looking for. My goal was to make running FUN, so that the kids would want to continue to run through middle and high school.

I had a hard time finding games for the age group that I was coaching, so I put my brain to use and came up with some games of my own, inspired by others that I read about. Some games were a hit with my team, and some were a bust. In this post, I'll write all about coaching kids and I'll share all the popular games I came up with.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

RIP Peanut Butter

I can't get over this amazing weather we have right now! Today, it was 65 and sunny... in November... in MICHIGAN. All summer long, we heard about how cold and snowy this winter will be, and I was expecting the worst. Of course, it's not even winter yet, so we could still be in for really harsh weather. But this November weather is amazing. I hope it holds out for the weekend when my friends are here.

Speaking of which, I have been non-stop busy getting ready for the weekend. Having a houseguest is one thing, but having three from three different states is a bit more complicated (although, it's three times the fun!). Also, I'm hosting my Wine Club meeting at my house on Friday, so I have that to prepare for as well. Lots of work, but the weekend will be totally worth it. I'm super excited!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Bathroom makeover!

So, the first week of MAF training is done. Today, I ran 45 minutes, and it ended up being a terrible run! There was actually frost on the ground when I woke up. This unusually warm weather has been so odd, it was kind of nice to see that it's getting colder. My weather app said the temp was 34 degrees when I headed out for my run, so I wore a fleece top, gloves, and a headband to cover my ears.

I felt fine when I started running, and I decided to do an out-and-back route, turning around when I hit the midway point (22:30). Usually, I run at least a mile before I get a beep telling me that my heart rate is high and I need to slow down; today, it took only a quarter mile. After that, it was beeping so much that I just ran as slow as I felt my legs would allow. Even then, my heart rate was right on the border of 146 the whole time.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Military pet charities

(This post is sponsored by Purina. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Not only is today my favorite date (11/11--my favorite number is 11), it is also Veterans Day--a day to honor those who served in the military. As you may know if you've been reading my blog for a while, Veterans Day means a great deal to me. It wasn't until I experienced my brother's deployment that the sacrifices veterans make really sunk in for me. I'm always in awe of the veterans in this country and how much they've sacrificed for us. I can't begin to express how much I appreciate them!

My boys at the airport waiting for Nathan to come home from Iraq in 2007

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A message from a little bird

I'm so glad the presidential election is finally over. It's sad seeing all of the hateful social media comments people make to others based on their vote. Especially this year.

Anyway, I have a nice story to share, and today is the perfect day to do it.

A few days ago, I was sitting in the living room with the kids when I saw a bird crash into our window. Instead of dropping to the ground, the bird fell and caught its toenails on the window screen. My heart sank, and I felt so bad for him. He wasn't moving, just hanging by his toenails, so I assumed he was dead or injured.

Monday, November 7, 2016

A different kind of goal

Today, I woke up before my alarm went off because the phone was ringing. I was totally confused for a minute, until I saw that it was from the kids' school. Whenever they delay or cancel school, the calls come very early (5:15 ish). I couldn't imagine that it had snowed all night long (it's been in the 60's and 70's here!!) so I guessed fog.

The recording said that school would be delayed for two hours due to heavy fog. I wish I was able to go back to sleep, but I am always wide awake after the school calls. After breakfast, I figured I would have enough time to go for a run and shower before I had to take the boys to school.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Starting and/or growing a blog

I was just looking through some drafts of posts that I never shared, and came across this one. I don't know why I never posted it! But here goes...

The topic of blogging itself has never been very interesting to me, which is why I don't write about it much (if ever). When I started my blog, it was literally just a place for me to keep a daily journal--even though it was public on the internet, haha. I liked the idea of having some people read my thoughts because it also helped me stay accountable in my weight loss (otherwise, I would have just written a private journal instead of a blog).

As my readership grew, I learned about all of the potential that comes from writing a blog, and I was given some amazing opportunities because of Runs for Cookies. In that way, it turned from less of a journal to more of a blog--but I've always tried to maintain my original writing style.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Plans and photo dump

Thanks for all of the feedback on my last post! Like I said, I have no concrete plans of quitting blogging--I'm just trying to figure out what direction I want to go with the blog. I had an idea today to start a "Flashback Friday" post once a week, where I share my old journal entries (word for word) while I was losing weight. I had a blog before Runs for Cookies, and I wrote in it almost daily while I was losing the weight in 2009-2010. It's no longer online, but people ask me all the time if they can read it.

I went back and read a few of the posts today, and it's embarrassing! My writing was terrible, I sounded SO whiny, and I just want to smack myself while reading it for some of the things I wrote about ;) I'll give it some more thought, but I think I'd be too embarrassed to post those entries.

Monday, October 31, 2016

To blog or not to blog

What a gorgeous Halloween morning!

We usually get rain every year for Halloween; but today happens to be great weather for trick-or-treating. I'm looking forward to passing out candy while I watch scary movies in the garage. Halloween still feels weird without Mark--this will be the third one without him! I can't believe it's been that long.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Cross country banquet and race pace run

Boy, was I sore this morning!

Yesterday, after I dropped the kids off at school, I went to Jessica's to meet her for a long walk. From her house, a lollipop route around the state park is exactly seven miles, so we chose to do that route. It took us about an hour and forty-five minutes, and my legs felt fatigued but good at the end. Then I woke up this morning, and I was SO sore! 

I never get sore from running (unless I do a crazy tough workout, then I might have a little soreness the next day); but switching things up yesterday by doing a long walk used some different muscles and I definitely feel it. It's a good thing! We already made plans to do it again next week.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The season is closing

I had a fun weekend with Jerry! He worked SO much the last few months, I never really saw him. They were doing a special project at work, and other than our vacation in early September, he only had 4 days off out of 70. He had this whole weekend (Friday through Sunday) off, and it almost felt strange to have him around ;)

On Saturday, my cross country team had our last meet of the season, and it was awesome. It was so exciting during the second- and third-graders' race, when some of the older kids from our team started screaming, "Austin's in the lead! Austin's in the lead!" Sure enough, I saw the golf cart zoom by, followed by Austin. (There were 80 kids in the race, so this was impressive)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Update on my From Fat to Finish Line teammates

Where are they now?

After the documentary From Fat to Finish Line came out on Netflix, I've gotten several emails/comments asking about updates on my teammates. If you haven't yet seen the film, you can watch it on iTunes, Amazon, or Netflix. (I also wrote about the whole process on my blog, from when it was just an idea, to the filming, to the race, and aftermath.) 

The documentary was filmed in 2012 and 2013, so there is a lot to catch up on! I asked my teammates if they'd be interested in sharing a brief update for my blog readers. This is going to be a long post, because there are so many things to share! (I did not get updates from Lealah, Ada, or Carly). Enjoy :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

2016 Purina Better With Pets Summit recap

(This post is sponsored by Purina, who invited me to the Better With Pets Summit. As always, all opinions are honest.)

I had a jam-packed couple of days! I only had one night in NYC, so I wanted to make the most of it. I bought a plane ticket for Jerry to come with me, and we arrived in the city at 8:00 on Monday morning. We took the subway to Brooklyn, which is where our hotel was.

The hotel that Purina chose for this event was stunning. It's called The William Vale, and it just opened about six weeks ago. Maybe it's just because I'm from a little country town, but I couldn't stop exclaiming how amazing everything was. We went up to our room, and the view from the balcony couldn't have been more perfect. Here is a nighttime photo, because the lights made it even prettier:

I wanted to just sit on the balcony all day, but of course we decided to go explore the city.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Spectating at the Detroit Marathon

I was SO excited today to go to Detroit and cheer on the runners for the marathon (and half marathon). My sister-in-law, Becky, came over at 6:00 this morning to head to Detroit with me. We really didn't have an agenda, other than to go to mile eight (just outside of the tunnel that comes back into the U.S.) and cheer on the runners.

We were going to park at the casino, which is where I always park because it's free--but they were charging $40 for parking!! That is crazy. We ended up finding a nearby lot for $20--still crazy, but I guess only half-crazy.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Getting back to speed work

What a crazy week! Cross country is coming to an end soon, so things will calm down a bit then. Right now, it keeps me pretty busy, though. Thankfully, it's super fun and I love coaching!

I had a really great run yesterday, too. It's been SO hard for me to get back in the habit of having a running schedule. It's kind of odd--for six years, since I started running, I NEVER had a problem with getting in my runs. But the past couple of months have been so difficult getting back in the groove. I've been lacking in discipline and motivation.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Motivational Monday #137

Even though I stopped doing Motivational Mondays, I received an email a few days ago that made me very excited. After getting permission from the woman who wrote it, I decided to post it here, because I'm sure you will find it motivating as well. 

This email came from Amanda, who had written me before this to ask a couple of running questions. She had decided to follow my "Your Best 5K" plan for a series of 5K's this fall. I was thrilled when she wrote to let me know how the plan was going...

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Jeans and sweatshirts

Well, Eli doesn't seem to be giving any more thought to the Quiz Bowl stuff now, so I'm glad about that! A few people commented that sometimes when things like that happen, something better may be in store for him--so I hope that's the case with this. Eli's a sensitive kid (in a good way--he has a lot of empathy for others), and I just want him to be happy and feel good about himself.

He was nervous to go to church today because his Sunday school class was going to be standing in front of the congregation to sing and recite some Bible verses. I went to church so that I could watch, and he did great! I think he felt good about himself for doing it, even though he was embarrassed to go in front of all those people.

It's been pretty cold here the past couple of days! Michigan weather is so odd.

Saturday, October 8, 2016


Yesterday was the toughest parenting moment I've had since I had my first child over 12 years ago.

Eli doesn't have very high self-esteem, so I'm always trying to encourage him to do things that he's good at. He's super creative, and very good at fishing and art, which don't get recognized very often. A few weeks ago, he asked if I thought he should try out for the Quiz Bowl team, and I said sure.

He went to tryouts for a couple of hours each week, and then on Thursday, he and three other kids were called to do a "practice". I asked him if that meant he made the team, and he wasn't sure. Yesterday, all the kids who tried out were given letters of acceptance or rejection. The letter was in an envelope, and there was a pack of Smarties taped to it. It said, "You're a smartie!"

Thursday, October 6, 2016

What happened to my fitness?!

As I mentioned, I'm following my "Your Best 10K" plan to pace my friend Stephanie to a sub-60 race in November. When I told Steph that I'd like to pace her, I was thinking that training would be pretty easy for me, considering I ran a sub-50 10K in April. Well, today's training run was followed by a big slice of humble pie ;)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Musical hula hoops

I think I am finally over my cold! My voice is pretty much back to normal, and I haven't had to blow my nose at all today, so that's good. My hearing is about 95% back to normal, too. Hopefully I'll go another three years or so before getting sick again!

On Monday at cross country practice, I wanted to play a new game with the kids. For our practices, we do a warm-up, then about 30 minutes of running laps around a park, and then we play a game for about 20 minutes. The games are fun ways of getting them to run more without really realizing it, or to sneak in hill work (the park that we practice at has a hill).

Monday, October 3, 2016

My running buddy

This head cold is so frustrating. I've been getting a little better each day, but I still can't hear very well out of my right ear, and I'm still having to blow my nose frequently. I debated going to the doctor for an antibiotic, because I'm pretty sure I developed a sinus infection, but hopefully it'll go away on its own soon. Like I said, it's been getting better, but just so slowly!

It's finally feeling like fall here, and I'm loving it. I took Joey for a run today. I was feeling bad because I neglected our walks last week when my cold was at its worst, and Joey LOVES running with me.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Hello, October!

I'm finally starting to feel better! I rarely get sick, but when I do, it's always so rough. I spent the last couple of days with a horrible sinus headache, and it was gone when I woke up this morning, so I hope that is probably the last of it. I'm still a little congested, but it's definitely better than it was.

My eating has been thrown so off track since getting sick about 10 days ago. My head has been really congested, and I haven't been able to taste anything. Normally, you'd think that would mean that I wouldn't have an appetite, right? Well, because I can't taste anything, I never feel satisfied with my food! So, I just kept looking for satisfaction by eating more. I feel like I undid the progress I spent all month making.

Last night, I was starting to get my sense of taste back a little, so I wrote up a food plan for today and I am determined to stick with it!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Huge news!

You know how when someone tells you a secret, and then they say not to tell anyone, and it nearly kills you because you're dying to spill the beans? Yeah, that's how I've been feeling for two months now.

I have been SO SO SO excited to share this on my blog ever since I found out about it in July (on Noah's birthday, actually). I had to wait until I had permission to share it on my blog, and it's been killing me ;)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

One year without injury

Being sick is so frustrating! What started as a sore throat for a few days turned into some serious sinus congestion. Now, instead of a very hoarse voice, I just sound like I'm talking while plugging my nose. I've also been coughing quite a bit.

Poor Noah is still having symptoms from his virus, and stayed home from school today because he was coughing so much. When my kids were little, there was one year that they were both constantly sick with bronchitis. If it wasn't one of them, it was the other. Noah's even turned into walking pneumonia. I had to give them breathing treatments several times a day, and stock up on Mucinex.

I never realized how awful bronchitis was until I got it that same year (all three of us were sick at the same time). I would have coughing fits that were so violent I thought I would literally cough up a lung.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Feeling sick

I honestly can't even remember the last time I was sick. It's been such a long time! However, when I woke up a couple of days ago, my throat was SO sore. When I tried to talk, my voice was really hoarse, and I was clearing my throat all day. My kids had the same symptoms a few days ago, starting with the sore throat and then progressing to major nasal congestion. I just hope whatever I have doesn't progress to that!

I had already planned on this weekend being a rest day weekend, because I had such a crazy busy week. It felt good to stay so busy, but at the same time, I really wanted just an hour to relax! I decided to start working on a project that I've been avoiding for a few years now... organizing my photos on my computer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Busy busy busy

I have been so, so busy lately! I've been looking for a chance to sit down a write a post, but things have been crazy around here. I have about an hour right now to write a quick post. (Not complaining--being busy feels good!)

I've been doing really well with the calorie counting. It still just astonishes me that it's so much easier  (for me, anyway) to eat well and exercise in September versus July. Since I started logging my food again (a couple of weeks ago, after we got home from vacation), I have felt much better, too. More energy, more awake in the mornings, sleeping better, etc.

All I've been doing is following the same things I did last year, when I started calorie counting. It worked so well then, that there was no reason to change it.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Some current favorite things

I used to do periodic posts about thing things that I'm into lately, and it's been a long time since I've done one. I always like reading those posts by other bloggers, because I may think of something I haven't thought of before, or discover products I didn't know about. There's nothing super exciting on this list, but through the fall, I'm going to try and remember to take pictures of things that I enjoy so I can make a list of current favorites at the end of the season. Anyway, here are some current things I'm enjoying...

#1. Cold Oats! I've written about these a few times lately. It's been too hot for cooking breakfast, and I (finally) started to get tired of having Larabars. I hadn't eaten much oatmeal over the last year, and bringing back the cold oats has been handy!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Back to school?

This morning, instead of going for a run, I dropped off the kids at school and went right to the rec center to get in the pool. I had to be done and ready to leave the house for my therapy appointment by 9:15, so I didn't have time to meet Andrea (she can't meet until 8:45). It was pretty boring without her! I swam back and forth for a while (it felt like an hour). Every time I was swimming one direction, I could see a clock, and it seemed like the minute had wasn't even moving.

I was too embarrassed to get out of the pool after just five minutes, so I kept going. Finally, at 15 minutes in, I couldn't take it anymore. I got out and showered, then headed home to eat breakfast before going to my appointment.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Netflix! (And steak fajita bowls)

Holy smokes. Big news, Friends... the documentary is now on Netflix!

I've already written several posts about the film itself, so I won't be redundant. But, I know that a lot of you were hoping to see the film on Netflix, so now is your chance! This is just SO CRAZY to me--me, on Netflix? What?!

I asked the other members of my From Fat to Finish Line Ragnar team if they would be interested in sharing an update about themselves, since the documentary was actually filmed a few years ago. Hopefully, I'll get something to post about them soon!

A lot of my friends have been curious if I was paid for doing the film, so I imagine some of you may be curious, too.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Branching out the exercise

I could have sworn I wrote about Dog Day at the Pool, but I guess I didn't yet. It was so fun! As I said, the local wave pool closes for the season, and before they do, they have a "Dog Day". It's $5 to bring your dog to play in the pool for a few hours. We took Joey last year, and he loved it. I was excited to take him again.

Once again, he had a blast! He was never sure what to do, but he was so excited to be there. He kept running all over the place in the pool, grabbing toys and then promptly dropping them. Every time someone would throw a toy for their own dog, Joey saw it and ran after it, too. I wish he'd try out the deeper water, because I'm curious if he can swim, but he likes to stay where he can touch. (The owner of Lucky Puppy, his doggy daycare, said that he prefers the shallow end of the pool there as well).

Like a torpedo, right into the water

Sunday, September 11, 2016


I can't believe what a big difference there has been in my mood and motivation levels this week. I love having my kids home from school during the summer, but being off of a good routine makes me feel so unproductive and unmotivated. I talked to my therapist ("C") about it at my session on Friday, and she pointed out that I'm much busier during the school year, so the summertime is a big change.

I didn't realize it until this week, but it's true--I stay very busy on school days, trying to get as much done as possible while the kids are at school. In the summer, I seem to lose all motivation. That makes me feel unproductive and "useless", which leads to a depressive episode. Anyway, C gave me some ideas for how to prevent that from happening, which will be easier now that I've identified the problem.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Adopt, don't shop

This post is sponsored by Purina. As always, all my thoughts and opinions are honest.

This is a post I should have written a long time ago, but it never really occurred to me. I write about my pets often on my blog, and if I haven't made it clear, they are a huge part of my life. We currently have three cats and a dog, and I truly can't imagine my life without them!

All of our pets were strays or in a shelter before we took them in. I just don't see the point in buying a pet from a store or breeder when there are millions of pets that need homes. I also choose to adopt adult pets, because you get a good sense of their personalities; but, there are still kittens and puppies at shelters and rescues that need homes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Back to school

Yesterday was the first day of school for my boys. Noah is now in 7th grade, and Eli is now in 5th grade. They are both at the same school this year, which makes things so convenient. They start and end school at the same time (last year, it was an hour apart), so I can drop them both off and pick them both up together.

As I establish a routine for this fall, I decided to establish a bedtime for myself in order to get more sleep. Since I get up at 6:00 with the kids, I'm going to go to bed at 10:00. And instead of watching TV before bed, I'm going to read for 30 minutes. Last night, I did just that--and this morning, I woke up without an alarm at 5:45.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig

When I titled this, I chose the title because it's something my mom always used to say when we got back from vacation. I just looked it up on Google, to see if there was some sort of origin for the phrase, and apparently, it's from a nursery rhyme!

To market, to market, to buy a fat pig,
Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.

Anyway, we are home from vacation. Absolutely nothing went as planned, but we actually ended up having a really great time. We left home Thursday, so here is a brief rundown of our trip:

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Family vacation in a tropical storm

Hello from Virginia Beach!

I will take the time to write a better post when I can, but I just wanted to share a couple of pics from the sunny beach ;)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

It's Okay to Laugh

You may have noticed that I haven't been writing much lately. I promise it's not because I've been sitting in bed all day, bingeing on ice cream and Netflix (as lovely as that sounds!), haha. I've just really been enjoying the last little bits of summer, and I've been trying to make some fun memories with my kids.

I feel like with my recent epiphany about my summer weight gain, I also had a change of attitude with everything else. I want to really, truly, enjoy moments in my life that seem to be flying by. My kids, for example--can you believe they are 12 and 10 years old now?! For some reason, I've been very aware lately that they are just growing into little adults right before my eyes. And I'm not ready for that.

When I first started my blog, I loved writing every day. I loved taking and posting photos, too.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Summer running

Things have been getting very busy around here! Noah started cross country this week, so we've been getting up on the early side for his morning practices. It's a nice way to ease into the 6:00 wake-up times for the school year :)

His team meets at a local park for an hour, so rather than drop him off and pick him up after, I just stay and get in a run myself. I've kind of gotten away from heart rate training lately--not intentionally, but it's just been inconvenient. Renee asked me if I wanted to do a long run with her last Sunday, but she doesn't like to go slower than a 9:45 pace... I wasn't even sure if I could do that pace for six miles right now, in this humidity, so I did a little "trial" run a couple of days before.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Winding down summer

Summer is winding down so quickly, and it seems like there is still so much to do before school starts! I've been trying to pack in some fun times with the kids before we head to Virginia Beach. They start school the day after we return home, so I've also been trying to get everything ready for that.

I can't even tell you how many times I've been fishing in the last month or two. Eli has been kind of obsessed with fishing lately, and even though I'm not a fan, I'm glad that he has such a big interest in an outdoor activity that doesn't involve modern technology ;)

He's actually been getting super creative by making his own lures! He keeps asking for odds and ends around the house (an aluminum can, staples, a wine cork, etc.).

Friday, August 19, 2016

Seven year weight loss anniversary

August 19th. To most people, it's just another date. This date is actually just as meaningful to me as my birthday, or wedding anniversary. On August 19, 2009, I got on the scale and saw 253 pounds on the display. I would like to say that I felt completely motivated to change my life, but, in fact, I was feeling drained and like, "Here we go again."

I can't even put a number on how many times I'd tried to lose weight before. I started "dieting" in fourth grade, and was pretty much either dieting or binge eating for the next 18 years or so. I really never even knew what it was like to eat "normally"--it was always one extreme or the other. Sometimes I was successful at losing weight before gaining it back, and sometimes not.

Still, I never ONCE lost weight and kept it off for more than a couple of weeks.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Accepting the summer weight gain

A few weeks ago, I said that I would post a weigh in on August 19th--the anniversary of when I first started losing weight back in 2009. I'd hoped that I'd use those few weeks to lose some of the summer weight I gained, and I'd feel really good about getting on the scale.

Well, tomorrow is August 19th, and I haven't lost a single pound since then.

In fact, I've actually gained a few more pounds. Recently, my weight has been hovering between 139 and 141. Yes, Friends--that's over my goal weight (133), and nearly 20 pounds over my lowest weight from March! That's roughly a pound a week that I've picked up since March.

Jerry and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary on Tuesday. When he got home from work, we decided to walk to the bar near our house with the kids, and on the way, I asked Noah to take a picture of us.

Monday, August 15, 2016

A week's catch-up

I didn't realize it had been so long since I wrote! I actually started this post on Friday... and then Saturday... and then Sunday... finally, I'm getting it posted on Monday. Jerry's been working a crazy schedule (crazier than usual, I mean) lately because of a special project at work, and it's been hard to adjust. I've also been stressing to the kids how important it is to limit their screen time (video games, iPads, etc)--so I'm trying not to be a hypocrite by being on the computer for several hours a day ;)

They go back to school just after Labor Day, which is coming up so quickly! We will be heading to Virginia Beach in just over two weeks, and Eli is so excited he can't stand it. In the spring, I remember feeling like it was going to be so easy to maintain my weight over the summer this year, before heading to Virginia Beach.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Future running plans

I can't tell you how different my mood is from just a couple of weeks ago. I feel like I'm back to the "normal me with mild depression" instead of the "me with a bad depressive episode". I don't think I've cried in several days--unless you count yesterday, when I cried from laughing so hard! (There was a post on Facebook that contained several pictures of kids and the funny things they did--I was wheezing from laughing so hard.)

Looking back at July, it almost feels like I was a totally different person for the entire month. I felt terrible (I even toned it down for the blog just how bad I felt, because nobody wants to read that kind of negativity). I felt like I would never get back to the normal me, and now here I am. I feel so relieved.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

National Sister Day

Well, yesterday I woke up feeling pretty good about myself, so I decided to step on the scale for the first time in about a couple of weeks... and it wasn't good. When my depression was really bad last month, control over my eating just went on the back burner. Since I had already broken my binge-free streak, I didn't care that much about staying on track. Then, when Caitlin was here, we did a lot of eating out--lots of my favorite foods that I usually reserve for a high calorie day.

My clothes have gotten tight, and based on the fit, I guessed that my weight was probably approaching the high 130's--but I didn't want to get on the scale to confirm it. I've had a really good week, however, so I hoped that when I got on the scale yesterday, I would be back at my goal weight. Unfortunately, we all know that weight loss doesn't work that way! ;) We spend weeks or even months losing a few pounds, and then when we so much as smell junk food, we gain it all right back in just a couple of days.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Success Story Saturday: Lucy's Story

I am so excited to share this first post (hopefully of many to come) of Success Story Saturday! Over the past several years, I've gotten so many emails from readers who share their own success stories with me, and these stories are just so inspiring. I've read about people who have overcome injuries and tragedies, bounced back from pregnancies, defied medical odds, lost half their body weight, went from couch potatoes to marathon runners, and so many more.

I had the idea to start sharing these stories periodically in a series called Success Story Saturday. While Motivational Monday focused on the small goals and accomplishments on a week to week basis, Success Story Saturday is for those big accomplishments that we put lots of blood, sweat, and tears into. The culmination of all those smaller goals leads to one big success story!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Air quality alert

As you can see, I did not do my Wednesday Weigh-in yesterday. I actually haven't gotten on the scale in over a week! I've been doing really well the last few days as far as my eating goes, so I'm afraid if I get on the scale and see that my weight is up from eating out all last weekend, I'll just have that "screw it" mentality. Usually, I'm pretty good about not letting the scale get to me (mentally), but right now I feel kind of vulnerable, considering everything that's been going on lately. So I'm going to give it a little more time, and then I'll do my regular weigh-ins again. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It's FINALLY here!

It's been over four years in the making, and I am relieved to say that the documentary, From Fat to Finish Line, is FINALLY available! I had nothing to do with the making of the film, other than the fact that I was one of the subjects--but this is a big day indeed. It was so crazy to see the documentary on the iTunes movies page today!

I've been writing about it on my blog for, well, YEARS now; but, if you aren't familiar with the documentary, here is a brief explanation: In 2011, a reader of mine named Rik contacted me about my lower body lift surgery. One thing led to another, and, in short, we put together a Ragnar Relay team of 12 people who had all lost a lot of weight and become runners (our team lost about 1200 pounds total).

Monday, August 1, 2016

A weekend with Caitlin

Thank you so much for your kind words on my post about Chandler. I'm still sort of in disbelief that he's actually gone. He's usually the first cat to come running into the kitchen when I feed them, and it's been so strange not to have him there. This morning, Monica jumped up onto my bed, and for a second I thought it was Chandler, and then remembered that it couldn't be. Having  my friend Caitlin here for the weekend helped my mood a lot, though!

Aside from the heartbreak of losing Chandler over the weekend, I did have a lot of fun with Caitlin. I met Caitlin because she was a reader of my blog, and she emailed me back in 2012 to thank me for my posts about my skin removal surgery. She said she had lost well over 100 pounds (I later learned it was actually 240 pounds!! She's very modest, haha) and she had skin removal surgery as well.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The One Where Chandler Crossed the Rainbow Bridge

What started out to be a super fun weekend with my friend Caitlin ended up taking a very sad turn on Friday. Caitlin flew in from Boston on Thursday for a long weekend visit, and I was so excited to see her--it had been two years since the last time I saw her! I'll write all about her visit tomorrow, though, because I want to keep this post about Chandler.

On Friday morning, Chandler was showing signs of a urinary tract obstruction. An obstruction is an emergency situation, because if the urethra is blocked, the bladder could burst. Thankfully, the vet opened at 8:00 in the morning, so I asked Jerry to take him in right away (since Caitlin was visiting, I didn't want to have to change our plans). From what I'd read online, I was thinking they'd probably give Chandler antibiotics, and depending on how bad the blockage was, possibly keep him a day or two until he was better. It never occurred to me that it would be the last time I'd see him.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

News stories

There has been some huge news around here lately. Remember a couple of years ago (well, those of you that have been reading my blog that long, anyway), when I posted about a girl named Chelsea Bruck who went missing from a Halloween party a few miles from my house? It was a big story, and even made national news. As time went on, there was less and less hope of ever finding out what happened to her, but my hometown community made sure she wasn't forgotten about.

Her favorite color was purple, so people hung purple ribbons in their yards, on their houses, on telephone poles, etc., to show their support.

I was kind of obsessed for a while with the story, because it was so unusual for something like that to happen around here.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Getting back to the norm

Well, I was hoping that this week was going to be so much better as far as my depression goes--not really the case. Last week, I decided to give myself permission (for a week) to just ride it out and not force myself to pretend that I wasn't feeling bad (usually, I try to pretend everything is fine until it actually is--"fake it 'til you make it"). I wasn't sure how this different strategy would work, but I figured it was worth a try.

Jerry went up north with friends for the weekend, and I was really glad he was able to do that--he felt bad going, but I told him I'd stay busy working on the bathroom. Through my week "off", I had no motivation to run, so I didn't; I wish I could say that I ate well, but it wasn't great; and the only real project I did around the house was working on the bathroom, which is turning into a much bigger job than I anticipated (taping, mudding, and sanding the drywall).

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Cat-Lovers Giveaway!

Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Muse cat food, a Purina brand.

Last month, on Father's Day, Jerry and I took the kids out for the day and attended an event in the parking lot of a pet store. The event was sponsored by Purina's Muse cat food--it was a "cat inspired spa tour", with offerings like "caticures", "meowssages", and temporary "cattoos". Meanwhile, there were some adoptable cats there who were looking for homes.

My family had a lot of fun! Even the kids got their nails done, and Noah got a massage.

They were mostly interested in playing with the cats, though. All four of us instantly became attached to a long-haired tortoiseshell kitty named Olivia. My kids begged to adopt her, but with three other cats (and a dog) at home, I had to think practically.

Friday, July 22, 2016

All about fueling during runs

I've been asked several times about fueling for running, but it's not a topic that I'm super interested in, so I've never written much about it. You would think that considering fuel = food, I would LOVE this topic ;) But unfortunately, I've always had a bit of a negative viewpoint on "fuel" during runs, because I like to save my calories for post-run food!

Regardless, fueling for running is a rather important topic. There are no hard and fast "rules" to follow when it comes to eating before/during/after your run--if you read 20 different articles on the topic, you will likely get 20 different strategies. The best way to fuel, in my opinion, is however works for you ;)

Yes, that's a cop-out answer, so I'll write some of the common fuel types and methods here, just in case you really have no idea where to start.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

New therapist and new running goals

Today was my first appointment with my new therapist. It took a while to get in to see her, but she was highly recommended by a friend of mine, so I waited almost two weeks for the appointment. I was a little nervous to go, but nothing like I was for my first appointment with my previous therapist. Having already been through it, I knew what to expect.

I immediately liked her. (We'll call her "C" on my blog; I'll refer to my previous therapist as "N"). When I was seeing N, I always felt pretty awkward--she was VERY stoic, never showing any emotion at all--and I assumed this was just how all therapists were. It felt awkward if I would joke about something, and she didn't laugh or smile.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Week 49 Weigh-in

Week 49? When did that happen?!

I can't believe it's almost been a whole year since I started calorie counting. A year ago, I was around 160 pounds and dealing with a frustrating stress fracture of my fibula. Since then, I dropped down to my lowest weight ever (my lowest recorded weight is 121.5 on March 1st of this year); trained the hardest I've ever trained and crushed my 10K goal; felt the happiest I'd been in a long time this spring; then crashed and dealt with post-race, post-goal-weight emotions that I wasn't expecting. It's been a whirlwind of a year (well, 49 weeks, anyway).

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Running and family stuff

I really haven't felt much like writing lately. You can only say the same thing over and over so many times, before it gets mundane. However, I've been thinking about some new goals to work on, so hopefully I'll find a focus soon and I can write about progress with that.

On Saturday, I did the "Zoo Run" for my Cookies Summer Running Checklist--the "Zoo Run" was where I needed to spot five different animal species during my run. I managed to do it in three miles--I saw a deer, rabbits, squirrels, a cat, and, of course, birds.

Sunday was National Ice Cream Day, and I was looking forward to my "Ice Cream Run"--mapping out a route that finished at an ice cream shop, and then literally run for ice cream.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Tips for running in the summer heat

Unless someone has actually been to Michigan in July or August, they usually tend to think of my home state as being cold--crazy frigid winters and tepid summers. Temperature-wise, Michigan doesn't have many days over 100 degrees during the summer; but the humidity here makes it feel much hotter.

There is a reason that humidity sucks so much for exercise. Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air; and sweating during exercise is meant to keep you cool by evaporating off of your skin. Well, when the air is full of moisture already (humidity), the sweat doesn't evaporate from your skin. This results in a drenched-in-sweat body that can't cool off because there is nowhere for that moisture to go.

Even more important than humidity, however, is the dew point. The dew point is the temperature at which the air is saturated with water vapor. The higher the dew point temperature, the more uncomfortably sticky and humid it feels; and the closer the dew point is to actual air temperature, the more uncomfortable it will be.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Starting a new binge-free streak

Thanks for all the support on my last post! I'm still not feeling back to normal, but I'm doing better than I was last weekend. This past week, I've spent pretty much equal time between relaxing and staying very busy. It was the last week of baseball for the kids, as well as Noah's birthday, which kept us busy; other than that, though, we didn't have much going on.

I've been doing really well with my eating habits the last few days, which is good. Early this week, when my depression was the worst it's been in a long time, I did something I hadn't done in almost a full YEAR--I binged.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Getting real with depression

Sorry I haven't written in a few days. I've been going through a tough time (not necessarily with food, but just in general with depression) and I don't really have much to write about here. I think I still need some more time, so I'm going to give it a few more days after this post. But here is a quick recap of the last few days:
  • I quit my run streak yesterday. I never intended for it to turn into an actual run streak, but I really felt like running a lot lately, so I just went with it. Yesterday, though, I felt some twinges in my knee, so I decided not to push it. It just confirms that my body needs rest days! The streak lasted 15 days, which was the longest I've ever done. 
  • I really liked having that routine, though, where I would wake up, eat breakfast, go for a run, shower, and get ready for the day. So, I think I may continue doing that same routine, only I won't run every day--I'll go for a walk or a bike ride 2-3 days a week instead of a run. That way, I can keep the routine, but not get injured from daily running. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Indoor track (and another trailer for the documentary)

After my last post, I took the boys to their baseball games which lasted all evening. We didn't get home until 8:30, and Joey had been cooped up in the house while we were gone, so I was going to take him for a quick walk around the neighborhood. I started thinking about the unintentional run streak I had going on, and at the last minute, decided to run a mile with Joey instead of walk (to keep the streak alive).

In the six years I've been running, that was the longest run streak I'd ever had (like I said, I'm not a big believer in running every single day). It was hard not to continue it, though! I made sure to go nice and easy, and it was only a mile.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Week 47 Weigh-in

I'm not going to reflect much on my weigh in today, because I wrote it all last week. My "moving average" is up a little more... again. I wish I could say that after last week's confessional about my struggles right now, I pulled myself together and kicked ass this week. But, that's not the case. I am pulling myself along to the best of my ability right now, and that's all I can really do.

Yesterday, I read an email from a reader regarding last week's post, and it really made me stop and think.

Monday, July 4, 2016

How to start running

I've written a couple of posts about this before, but I thought it was time for an updated post on the subject... How to Become a Runner.

In theory, becoming a runner is simple--you just run, and you're a runner! But anyone who tries it for the first time knows that it's not that easy. Running is tough! And at first, it's not enjoyable, because you get so out of breath and exhausted.

When I tried to start a running program (the popular Couch to 5K plan), I could never get through week 4. And more than anything, I hated doing run/walk intervals. I found myself dreading each run interval, which made the entire workout kind of miserable. Since I couldn't get past week 4, I finally decided to do my own plan--something that got the running portion out of the way at the beginning of the workout, and then I wouldn't have to dread the intervals.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Short trailer for From Fat to Finish Line

I almost didn't write a post today, but I wanted to share this video, so this will be a super quick post.

As I mentioned, the From Fat to Finish Line documentary is going to be released on August 2nd--it's coming up so fast! I'm a nervous wreck, especially when I saw this on Amazon:

"Starring Katie Foster"... what?! This is just so crazy to me. I'm actually more nervous than excited at this point. When I agreed to this whole thing, I never dreamed it would actually get this far. On Amazon? And Netflix? It blows my mind!

Friday, July 1, 2016

High Intensity Intervals

I recently spent some time looking at my 10K training, to see if maybe there was something I was doing then that helped the weight drop off so easily (like I said, I wasn't trying to get below my goal weight; but shortly after I started the 80/20 training, my weight started dropping again pretty easily for some reason). I had tried a new training plan that involved a lot of short intervals--something I wasn't used to. I had never done 45-second or 60-second intervals before.

It made me wonder if maybe the high-intensity intervals, coupled with the very slow, easy runs, helped me drop the weight. I have no idea, but I training that way made me realize that I really enjoy doing short intervals like that. It's a very tough workout overall, but you only have to focus on short little bursts of effort at a time, before you get a break.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Week 46 Weigh in (maintenance struggles)

I've been really conflicted about whether to write this post or not. I really don't want to write a post that sounds negative and whiny; but, readers always tell me how much they appreciate my honesty with the struggles in regards to weight loss/maintenance, instead of only writing about the successes. I've never tried to paint a picture that implies I have maintenance all figured out--I think it's something I'll struggle with forever--but writing about the struggles is hard. It's embarrassing. It's shameful. 

I'm struggling right now--a lot. I've never been one to make excuses for my weight struggles, and I won't do that now. I know exactly where I'm going wrong, and I own that. I just hope that by writing it out, I can come to some sort of solution.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Running and an update on Monica

Well, I knocked two more runs off of my Cookies Summer Running Checklist. The first was a run with the kids yesterday. The kids have been doing a GREAT job at following their training plans. They've really surprised me! They haven't skipped any runs, and they haven't even complained about them.

Last week, I decided to order Eli a Garmin on Amazon. Jerry and I each have one, and Noah got one for Christmas in 2014. Eli was always borrowing one of ours for his runs. I thought since he's doing so well at sticking with his training, I'd get him a Garmin of his own.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Cadillac weekend

Well, the weekend went much differently than planned. Jerry and I had a hotel booked in Cadillac for Friday and Saturday nights, and we were really looking forward to running the 10K on Saturday. I hadn't yet registered for it, because we kept holding out hope that we could get a couple of friends to come with us and run the relay; so, we planned to just register the morning of the race.

On Thursday, I wanted to see what time the race started, and when I looked at the site, I noticed that there actually wasn't a 10K this year! There was a 5K, half-marathon, marathon, and marathon relay for teams of four people. Neither of us was prepared to run a half, so that was out of the question; and we really didn't like the idea of doing an out-and-back 5K when the 6.9-mile loop around the lake was exactly what we'd been looking forward to. I posted on my Runs for Cookies Facebook page asking if anyone would be interested in joining Jerry and I as a relay team, but that was a no-go.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cookies Summer Running: Rover Run

Yesterday morning, I hadn't been planning to go for a run, but I was feeling kind of energetic, so I just decided on a whim to go run a few miles. I wanted to knock one of the Cookies Summer Running items off the checklist, so I skimmed it quickly and was planning to do the "Generous Run"--where you leave a few quarters in random spots on the run for other people to find.

Then I remembered the stupid birds from Monday, and I really didn't want to go. I know it sounds ridiculous to be scared of birds, but they are terrifying when they're squawking and dive-bombing your head. They don't just do it once, either; they will follow me up to a quarter mile down the road sometimes. Running faster doesn't do anything, because they're faster than I am of course, but my heart RACES and it feels impossible to catch my breath. Then, for the rest of the run, I'm extra paranoid every time I see a bird.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Week 45 Weigh-in (and healthy summer indulgence ideas)

Ugh, it's days like this when I'm glad that I'm doing the "moving average" weight instead of my actual weight on Wednesdays. This past weekend was full of food: hamburgers on grill Friday, catered food at the zoo and a barbecue at our friends' house Saturday, another cookout on Sunday for Father's Day... so much food!

This is exactly why summer is so hard for me. I have no problem with the holiday season in November and December, but when it comes to food and drinks all summer, I have this summer attitude that gets me in trouble. It's not even that the summer foods are irresistible (well, except ice cream--I could live off of that!) but more of the idea of summer foods.

August 2015 at a beer festival with Brian and Becky in Portland

Fruity drinks, cooking on the grill, going out for ice cream on a hot day, getting fried foods at the fair (Lord, help me, come August!)... it all has this sort of romantic ideation around it for summer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Solstice Runs

It is officially summer!

Yesterday, I was a little torn. I wanted to get my Smashrun badge for doing TWO solstice runs--one at sunrise, and one at sunset--but when I created the Summer Running Checklist, I specified the solstice run to be at 6:34 pm EST. That meant in order to meet the requirements for Smashrun AND the Summer Running Checklist, I'd have to run at sunrise (5:57 am), at summer solstice (6:34 pm); and sunset (9:12 pm). My kids had baseball games at 5:30, so I chose to skip the 6:34 run and just do the sunrise and sunset runs.

I had my alarm set for 5:30, and I really didn't want to get up that early after having such a busy weekend! If the summer solstice wasn't just once a year, I definitely would have chosen to sleep in. But I forced myself out of bed and got dressed to run.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Father's Day Weekend, part 2

...continued from Father's Day Weekend, part 1...

Yesterday morning, the kids gave Jerry their gifts, and he loved the books! It's fun to see what kids think about and what they remember. The kids went to church with my parents, and when they got home, we headed up to White Lake, Michigan for an event at Pet Supplies Plus. This sounds like a totally odd thing to do, especially on Father's Day, but Jerry was really excited about it. Purina has a new line of cat food called Muse, and Muse was hosting an event in the store parking lot called Natural Nirvana that was all about cats. As you know, we are huge cat-people, so this sounded like fun for us ;)

They had a trailer set up with "cat space" (little cubbies and scratch posts, etc) and there were three adoptable cats in there. We got to go inside and play with the kitties.

We all fell in love with a female tortoiseshell named Olivia. My kids were begging to adopt her (I knew that would happen!).

Father's Day Weekend, part 1

(This ended up being a really long post, so I turned it into two posts.)

What a busy weekend we've had! It's funny--most of our weekends are pretty uneventful, but when we do actually have plans, it seems like we have things going on all weekend long. Jerry happened to be off work this weekend, so it was nice to be able to spend time with him!

Throughout the last week or two, I'd been having the kids work on a gift for Jerry. I bought these books called The Story and Me and My Dad, which are fill-in-the-blanks books about their relationship with their dad--things like his best jokes, things he taught them how to do, phrases he says often, and embarrassing moments. It was the perfect age-appropriate book for my boys to fill out for Jerry (they also have these books for moms, grandmothers, and grandfathers).

Anyway, on Friday, Jerry had to work half a day. I went for a long run while the kids were at baseball practice, and then we went to get the pictures for the gift books developed. (Choosing pictures with the boys was fun!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Baseball drama and longest run in two months

Things did not go well at Eli's baseball game on Wednesday, so I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to take care of the issue. It's a long story, but basically, Eli's coach is ALL about winning. He threw a tantrum like a two-year at the second game, and then this week, he was being kind of ridiculous in his coaching methods. My priorities for Eli's summer baseball are: 1) Have fun; 2) Play ball; and 3) Be a good sport, no matter what. This isn't a competitive league--it's just for kids to have some fun during the summer! But Eli's coach's priorities are: 1) Win; 2) Win; 3) Win.

I'd been biting my tongue about his attitude... until Wednesday's game.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Week 44 Weigh-in

I don't have a whole lot to say, so I'll just do a quick weigh-in and overview of this week.

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a MUCH better week as far as my eating goes. I kept my calories at a decent maintenance level (although, I still haven't figured out just what the right amount is for me to maintain--I'm going to continue to experiment). I ate around 2,100 per day, with two days being higher than that (around 3,000). My weight is down just slightly from last week.

There have been a few things this week that have been helpful in stopping the overeating.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Journaling and speed work

I don't want to jinx anything, but ever since I stopped the no-grocery-shopping challenge last Monday, I've been doing really well with my eating. I've been eating what I really want, feeling satisfied with normal-sized portions, and my calories have been at a good maintenance level. (And interestingly enough, I've been craving fruits and vegetables more than ever this week.)

At my last therapy session, my therapist wanted me to start writing down the times where I feel urges to overeat or binge (or just eat when not hungry), and what I was doing before I got the urge. I've been doing it all week, and it's been very interesting, if nothing else!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Summer Running Checklist

I've been working on a project for the last couple of days, and I'm excited to share it with you! I was out for a run last week when I started thinking about how miserable running in the summertime can be. When it's 85 degrees and humid, the last thing I want to do is go for a run.

I tried to come up with ideas about how I could make running in the summer a little more fun. After I hit my big 10K goal in April, I didn't set another running goal. I worked so hard all winter to reach that goal, and right now, I'd rather just run to stay in shape and feel good about myself. So, rather than trying to stick with a training plan when I'm not really training for anything, I came up with an alternative: a checklist of fun runs.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Success Story Saturday (a possible new series)

I'll get to the Success Story Saturday idea below, but I wanted to share this first. I stopped doing the Motivational Monday series months ago, because I just wasn't receiving many submissions anymore, and I think the series kind of ran its course. I really enjoyed reading about people's accomplishments, though, and I still love getting emails from readers who tell me about running their first 5K or hitting a big weight loss milestone, etc.

I received this email from Allison recently, and since she mentioned that she had always hoped she'd be able to submit a MM post one day, I really wanted to share her accomplishment!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Week 43 Weigh-in

I almost completely forgot to post a weigh-in today! My Wednesday Weigh-in ritual has changed a lot since I started doing the moving average weight instead of my actual Wednesday weight, so it's actually pretty easy to forget.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I have not had a good week as far as my eating goes. I was having such a hard time feeling satisfied without eating what I truly wanted (due to the no-grocery-shopping challenge). I hadn't realized how important eating what I was craving was in staying binge-free and maintaining my weight--by eating what I really want, I feel more satisfied with smaller portions, and I don't go looking for snacks between meals. When I don't eat what I'm really craving, I could probably eat everything in the house and not feel satisfied. Hopefully that makes sense.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A 5K plan and update on grocery challenge

Noah and Eli had great games yesterday! I was pretty much obsessed with this little basset puppy at Eli's games...

He was so cute! He kept grabbing a blanket and playing tug of war with himself.

I'm glad to see that there is so much interest in the 5K plan that I wrote! There are a ton of 5K plans around the internet for beginner runners, as well as experienced (fast) runners; but I realized there really aren't many that are geared toward experienced runners who are at the middle or back of the pack and want to improve their times. Just because some people may be slower doesn't mean they are inexperienced or aren't trying to improve their times!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Quick Monday Bullets

Eli has a double-header game tonight, and Noah has a single game, so I am just going to write a quick post of bullets about the weekend. Nothing much was happening this weekend anyway!
  • On Saturday morning, I went to some city wide garage sales with the kids and my mom. I haven't been to garage sales in a long time! I didn't have much luck on Saturday, other than a couple of pairs of jeans. I got a bunch of nice Under Armour sweatshirts for Noah to wear in the fall for $1 each, which was a great score. Eli found a Lego set (a 184-piece Batman set) for 50 cents (and it wound up having all the pieces included!) For 50 cents, it was definitely a risk worth taking. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Our own little field trip

Noah's last track meet was yesterday, so things should be calming down a bit for the summer. It was kind of crazy for a few weeks, with both track and baseball going on. I managed to get an awesome picture of Noah at his meet yesterday. If he would just wear running shorts, he'd look like an elite in this photo! ;)

He was running the 70-meter dash here, and he finished in 11 seconds--which means he was running about 14 miles per hour. I honestly don't think I could do that, even if it was for just 70 meters!

RECIPE: Ham and Swiss Bubble Up Casserole

I've been kind of obsessed with the "bubble up" casserole variations that are floating around food blogs. Basically, the only constant ingredient is biscuit dough--all the other ingredients are varied to make all sorts of different casseroles. Anyway, I had a bag of shredded swiss cheese in my fridge that I needed to use up before it went bad, and so I decided to make my own variation of a bubble up casserole... Ham & Swiss!  It turned out to be absolutely delicious (probably my favorite bubble up I've made so far).

Ham & Swiss Bubble Up Casserole

2 small (8 oz) cans of buttermilk biscuits (the kind that are 3 biscuits per serving)
8 oz. diced ham
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 cups milk (I used whole fat milk)
6 oz. shredded swiss cheese
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese

Cut each biscuit in half, and then in half again (so you get four pieces from each biscuit) and put them in a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Toss the ham into the dish as well. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the flour and stir until smooth. Add the Italian seasoning, and very gradually stir in the milk. Stir constantly while you add the milk, so that it stays smooth and you keep the roux from being clumpy. Once all the milk has been added, heat until it just comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the cheeses. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.

Pour the cheese sauce into the casserole dish, and stir to combine the biscuits, ham, and cheese sauce. (It will look like there is way too much sauce, but the biscuits will "bubble up" while baking.) Bake uncovered for about 20-30 minutes (take it out when the biscuits just start to brown on the edges of the dish).

Serves 6. Nutrition info is using whole milk and full fat cheese.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Global Running Day

Apparently, yesterday was "Global Running Day". I have no idea what that means, except that people were posting about running all over social media--I loved it! ;)

Bart Yasso, from Runner's World magazine, posted about making yesterday the "World's Biggest RUNch"--meaning, everybody running at lunchtime, globally. I did run at lunch time, but my reasons were more for procrastination than the camaraderie of a group virtual run, haha. I didn't have anything going on yesterday until the afternoon, so I really enjoyed a quiet morning.

Finally, at around 11:30, I headed out for a "RUNch". I did a running workout I haven't done in a very long time--if ever? I think maybe I've done it once or twice. Anyway, I'm talking about a Fartlek run. Fartlek means "speed play", and a Fartlek run is basically where you vary your speed during the run without rhyme or reason.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Week 42 Weigh-in

I'm glad today starts a new week of maintenance! This past week has been a bit of a struggle for me.

I was excited about doing the no-grocery-shopping challenge, but I wasn't thinking about what it would do for my eating habits. Over the past 10 months, I'd gotten used to eating whatever I wanted, which helped me to feel satisfied with smaller portions. Since we're not grocery shopping for a month, my options are limited to what we have at home (plus fresh produce).

I still eat things that sound good to me, but if given the option of ANYTHING that I want, I would probably make different choices. Anyway, due to not feeling entirely satisfied, I've been eating more of other stuff to make up for it, and my "moving average weight" is creeping upward.