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.

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 :)

Runner #1: Katie

Since I blog several times a week, it's no surprise what I've been up to; but, I'll post a brief update here in case you're new to my blog. After the Ragnar Relay with From Fat to Finish Line, I trained for the Chicago Marathon and ran a PR of 4:16. A family friend was diagnosed that month with terminal lung cancer, and I spent the next five months making his last days the best that I could help with (my blog readers helped a ton with that!). After he passed away, I started gaining weight like crazy, and I eventually reached 160 pounds (I was 133 in the film). 

I became injured with a stress fracture in late 2014, and it caused me problems for 10 months! I had to cancel several races, and my weight and race times suffered. When it healed, I started training super hard for a 10K PR using a heart rate training method. I dropped to my all-time lowest weight of 121 during training, and ran a 49:03 10K race in April 2016. I was thrilled! After the race, I stopped "training" and started running just for fitness. I had a deep episode of depression over the summer, and gained back a lot of the weight I'd lost last year. I'm now at 150 pounds, which is 103 pounds down from my highest, but still more than I'm comfortable with. I am working on getting back down to my comfortable weight of 130-135, but I'm not in a huge hurry--just taking it one day at a time! I used to think that I had to maintain a very stable weight to be considered "successful", but I've realized that my body fluctuates by up to 30 pounds a year (I gain weight every summer), and I've accepted that. Next May, I'll run my first half-marathon since 2014, and I'm looking forward to it :)

April 2016, when I PR'ed my 10K!

Runner #2: Meredith

Well here it is almost 4 years since I became part of the Fat to Finish Line Ragnar Team. I have maintained a 85-100 lb weight loss over the last 4 years. It is and always will be an everyday fight to keep my weight off, but it is a fight that I will never stop fighting. When I first joined the team, I had run some 5ks and 10ks and had just completed my third half marathon… Since then I have continued to do many races every year. My husband and I do around 25-30 races a year which include anywhere from 5ks to half marathons and everything in between. I have now completed over 25 half marathons with another 10 scheduled in the next 5 months.  I have also completed 2 full marathons. I have my second Ragnar coming up in March of 2017. 

Runner #5: Andrea

It's been over three years since we all met and ran the Ragnar in Florida. Since then, I have ran our local 39.3 race series (where you run three half marathons in less than four weeks), a handful of 5k's, and I've had two attempts at running a marathon (I had to drop out both times due to an old back injury). 

My biggest challenge hasn't been running, but in maintaining my weight. Weight loss has no finish line. Whatever you did to lose the weight, you will have to continue to do if you want to maintain your loss. I've managed to maintain a 20-pound gain. I've learned that I still struggle with emotional eating and when life throws me curve balls, I usually end up eating my feelings of stress, anxiety, happiness, sadness, (name any feeling). Although I know food doesn't cure any of those feelings or make you any happier, it's familiar and it's where I turn for comfort. 

I've also learned not to dwell on my "failures" with maintenance, because it's not actually failing, but rather learning what works and what doesn't. I remind myself often that I've kept off over 100 pounds, so gaining 20 pounds doesn't mean I've failed. 

Just recently, I've realized that I do really well when I have some accountability in my fitness and weight goals. So, I've signed up to work with a personal trainer three times a week and we will take measurements and weight every six weeks. It's a great way to measure my progress and set goals.  I've also been going to my Weight Watchers meetings every week which keeps me accountable with my weekly weigh in. 

I'm currently training for the Indy Mini Marathon in May and I'm looking forward to meeting many of Katie's readers there!

Runner #6: Rik

Since filming completed in January of 2013, so much has happened!

Building on the success of our Ragnar Relay in Florida, and the shape I got into to be camera-ready, I spent 2013 working with a professional running coach, looking to qualify for Boston. I trained very hard for most of a year, then ran the Indianapolis Monumental marathon in November and put up a PR of 3:29:37. It wasn’t good enough for Boston, but I was so close (needing a 3:25), I decided to keep trying.

I continued working with my coach through 2014, targeting a September race to qualify. Six days and 40+ miles a week – we turned running into a second job. That July, I ran a 20:36 at my company’s annual 5k, another huge PR. But by August, I started having some odd fatigue issues. I’d have plenty of energy to get through my work day, but I’d put on my running shoes and feel out of gas before going half a mile. My doctor couldn’t find a thing wrong with me. At my qualifying marathon attempt in September, I felt terrible from the starting gun, and dropped out halfway through, hugely behind pace and completely exhausted – I felt as if I would pass out. I discovered (eventually) that I had overtraining syndrome. And the only thing to do for it – stop running. Which was heartbreaking. And also a relief – I had been training so hard for so long that running wasn’t fun anymore. My Boston dream went on the back burner.

Since that time, I changed my fitness focus to having fun and helping others get started. I got certified by Road Runners’ Club of America as a Distance Running Coach (the same certification that Katie has!), and started a small side business coaching new runners. That has been really satisfying, spreading the joy of running to others, and seeing them discover just how much more they can do than they ever thought they could.

As a result of my fitness journey, my confidence and my willingness to take on new challenges have both grown, and I have seen that spill over into other areas of my life, including my career. About a year ago, I took a new position with my company that had me relocate from my lifetime home in Milwaukee, WI to Sacramento, CA. While a great career move and an exciting adventure, it definitely threw me for a loop with my health and fitness. I have been working a lot more hours, and it requires a lot more of my energy. At the same time, I left behind my regular running partners behind in Milwaukee. I struggled for months to find time, energy, and motivation to do more than 10 miles a week. I put on 10 pounds I didn’t need or want.

Thankfully, over the last few months, I’ve finally gotten my work/life balance back, begun to build a new social and fitness circle, and have spent the summer training with my local Fleet Feet training group for the California International Marathon here in Sacramento on December 4. That will be my thirteenth marathon, and my tenth state – I am on my lifetime quest to do a marathon in all 50 states. And that includes going to Boston, someday!

At my all-time heaviest, I was 275 (approximately). When we shot the movie, I weighed in at 180, which was my lightest - I was really concerned about looking good on camera but my wife felt I looked too thin, especially in my face. So, I found a comfortable weight of 190 and maintained it, until we relocated. I topped out at 200 a couple months ago, and as I write this today, I am at 197 and dropping, targeting 190 again. I know I will always need to keep an eye on my weight, but that’s okay. I am so much happier, healthier, and more able than I was before the journey started – it’s a small price to pay.

Runner #7: Jen Roe

The film was a life-changing and eye-opening experience. Having a difficult and emotional moment on film was super scary, humbling and hard. At the time I felt super uncomfortable and embarrassed that it happened at all and especially on camera but since the movie has come out I’ve found myself grateful. I appreciate that moment now because so many people have said they can relate to it. It makes me feel better to know that not only am I not alone in having hard times when running but that others can feel comforted that they aren’t the only ones to have felt that way either. I also have the benefit of looking back and really being able to analyze how I let those "voices in my head” really get to me. Because of that I’ve been able to do a lot of self-reflection and work in that area. 

Since the movie, I’ve gone on to do a few triathlons, a bunch of half marathons and my dream race - the NYC Marathon. In fact, I’ll be doing the NYC marathon again in November. I’m probably about 10 pounds heavier than I was in the movie but at peace with that as my doctor is very happy with all of my numbers. Running has helped me keep most of the weight off and my health exactly where it needs to be. I still consider many from the team very good friends and it truly was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Runner #8: Linda

So much has transpired in my life since January 2013 and From Fat to Finish Line’s epic Ragnar Relay run from Miami to Key West. I am now balancing working a couple different part-time jobs outside the home with caring for my family and household. My kids you see standing with me in my before picture on the Brooklyn Bridge in the documentary are now 20 and 18 years old and attending college!

This year I turned 45 and it all hasn’t been frickin’ fabulous. After a fantastic year of running in 2013, I managed to injure myself. I tried to ignore it, but the pain wasn’t allowing it. I went to an orthopedist in April 2014 and discovered I had a torn meniscus in my right knee. I had surgery that July and went through 8 weeks of physical therapy. In that year, I wallowed in self pity and instead of meticulously watching what I ate, I reverted to old habits of comforting myself with food. I gained 25 pounds.

That didn’t stop me from gaining entry into my dream race, the NYC Marathon. If I was going to do one marathon, NYC was it. On November 1, 2015, my husband Charlie and I finished the NYC Marathon, hand-in-hand, content and honestly happy it was over. My time was less than stellar. I hit “the wall” very early in the race when us back of the packers were told we would have to move to the sidewalks in order to finish, even though we were still well within the projected time limit. (NYCM is a very back of the pack friendly event with an 8 hour time limit!). Even with that accomplishment, my mind still is the weakest part of my body and I fight the Negative Nelly in me constantly.

There may be a day when I need to tackle that distance again, but it’s nearly a year commitment and I’m not ready to give that kind of time to it right now. This year has been filled with New York Road Runner races, running the five borough races and gaining guaranteed entry for Charlie and I into the NYC Half Marathon, another iconic NYC race. I am still battling to re-lose the 25 pounds, and it is getting harder the older I get, but I’m not giving up. I know the weight is literally slowing me down, and my race times reflect that. I am trying to focus on the joy of racing and crossing the finish line with my husband and not the finish time. I am so very fortunate to have a husband who loves me no matter what the scale or time clock says. That means more to me than any medal or PR.

Runner #9: Jen Small

In 2012, I obtained my Personal Trainer Certifications (ACE and AFAA) as well as my USA Triathlon certification. I have been training and coaching on a one-on-one basis and as well as remotely. I continue to teach bootcamp-style fitness classes as well as cycling classes in both Southern and Western Maine.  I am still with Team Rev3 and love triathlon and endurance sports. I recently started mountain biking and trail running; I just love being outside at the beach and in the mountains.

My daughter is now 8 years old and is very active; she plays field hockey, and is on the swim team. She has also been involved in cheering, tumbling, and lacrosse.

The biggest change has been my personal life. The film highlights the struggles my marriage encountered once I lost weight and gained self-confidence. While we tried to save the troubled relationship, things were just too far gone and we separated 2 years ago. Honestly, leaving a toxic relationship was harder than losing weight but it was just one more part of my journey that shaped me into the person I am today.

I am so much happier now and have found a partner that shares my energy, adventurous spirit and passion for life. I am excited for the future and to help others find their own personal joy! I am returning to school again to expand my coaching and training education as well as study nutrition.

Runner #10: Allison

Running Ragnar with Team From Fat to Finish Line in January 2013 was an amazing experience! I came home and immediately jumped into training for my first marathon in October. In July, with training in full swing and feeling great, I found out I was pregnant with my first child! While I tried to keep training, I ended up withdrawing from the race and volunteering instead. I gave birth to my son in March 2014 and love being a mom; I could write pages on the phenomenal little man my now two-year old has become! In my last trimester, I gained 30 pounds (darn pregnancy cravings!) and picked up a nice case of sciatica, so I started walking, trying to work back to running. I also went back to school, working towards a nursing degree, in the fall of 2014, so I had a pretty full plate and taking care of myself fell by the wayside.

In June 2015, I started working out with a personal trainer and got my butt kicked 3 days a week before work. I was still having a hard time running because of hip/pelvic issues, but I found I love weight lifting! We focused on strength building and interval/Tabata training for cardio while I went to physical therapy for Achilles tendinosis. I was cleared from PT in August and decided, with only 4 long training runs under my belt, to run my second half marathon in October 2015; it went great! The hip/leg pain persisted though, so I had an MRI in April 2016 and learned I had two bulging discs. I stopped working with the trainer, got depressed, started eating, and gained back the 30 pounds I’d just lost. 

In August, I finally screwed my head on straight and started back at the gym, along with pool physical therapy. I’m down 10 pounds and taking it slow and easy. I was recently able to deadlift for the first time in months, and just ran my first 5K since the spring. One day at a time, staying focused, making good choices, and constantly being inspired by the FFtFL community!

Runner #12: John

Since filming the documentary, I have continued to run, finishing eight marathons and twenty-four long-distance relay races in total. I left my Mon-Fri, 9-5 life and now work as a consultant. The flexible time allows me to continue to travel and race in as many destination events as I can handle. I am also very active in the From Fat To Finish Line online community.

Personally, my life took another very public turn for the better when I began to devote as much attention to my mental health as I had to my physical health. Despite the ongoing stigma of mental health treatment, I’ve begun to share my story in hopes that it helps other people in need. You can read more about that at my Writer Blog and my post, Life Medicated.

Life is good, folks. And I’m looking forward to 2017, when I will celebrate my 50th birthday and my 20th wedding anniversary.

And there you have it! We are 12 ordinary people who lost weight, ran a fun race, still struggle with weight maintenance, and are determined enough to never give up. 

You can also read blogs for Leahlah, Jen Roe, Linda, Jen Small, and John.


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.

The answer is no--I signed a release waiving any claim to any money the film may make. That said, though, I didn't invest any of my own money, either. Jen and Angela used a LOT of money from their own pockets to produce the film, and I wasn't willing to do that. I had no idea how far this whole thing would actually go!

Also, making a documentary is very expensive, and it doesn't usually result in a big payoff. Most documentaries don't make much (if any) money. So, I have no real ties to this film other than the fact that I was in it. The team was actually made up of several of my blog readers who had written me to share their stories!

I have met some amazing people and gotten some fantastic opportunities because of this film, and I'm so, so grateful for that. The fact that it is now available on NETFLIX is terrifying, exciting, thrilling... I'm not even sure how to describe it. But anyway, if you haven't seen the film yet, and you'd like to, you have the Netflix option now ;)

And if you're a new visitor to my blog because of seeing the film... welcome! I wish I had a more exciting post up today, but much of my blog is just about my ordinary, everyday life in maintaining a large weight loss. Here is my About Me page, where you can get the gist of who I am and what my blog is all about. I would suggest starting there!

Yesterday was Jerry's birthday. He's now 36 years old. When did that happen?! We've been together for half of our lives, which just blows my mind. I was planning to make him a German chocolate cake from scratch (his favorite), but he asked me not to. He's been doing really well with his eating lately, too, and he was afraid that the cake would throw him off. After confirming that he truly did not want cake (I didn't want to not make it, if he was secretly hoping that I was going to anyway), I decided to put the effort into making a yummy birthday dinner instead.

Jerry loves Chipotle, and we don't have one around here, so I decided to make a "Chipotle bar" where we could create our own. I marinated skirt steak all day, and I made cilantro-lime rice (I just added True Lime to the cooking water, and then added cilantro after the rice was done cooking). I sliced a bunch of peppers and onions, and cooked them with a homemade fajita seasoning.

I made a spread on the counter of the steak, rice, fajita veggies, fiesta corn, seasoned black beans, lettuce, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and cheese, and we each made our own "steak fajita bowl" for dinner.

Everything turned out so good! I dare say that it tasted even better than Chipotle. The rice was my favorite part, which is interesting, because I'm not a fan of cilantro; but, I could eat a giant bowl of that rice all by itself. Jerry was thrilled with his birthday dinner, and said he was glad there was no cake, because he was stuffed. (Also, he'd had a "birthday doughnut" for breakfast at work.)

For my close friends' birthdays, I like to share a photo collage on their Facebook walls, usually photos of the two of us together. When I was looking through pictures on my computer for Jerry's birthday, I found so many silly ones of him that I thought would make a funner collage:

These pictures span about 17 years!

Haha! He's goofy and fun-loving, and that's what I love most about him :)


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 (and I put together the team of runners)--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).

The documentary shares a little of each team member's history, and shows how we all came together as a team to run the 2013 Ragnar Relay Florida Keys. This was filmed over a period of a year, and then hundreds of hours of footage was condensed down to a single film. If you'd like to watch the film, on Amazon (digital or DVD). I think it may be available on some other VOD platforms, but I'm not sure. It will be on Netflix later this year (we don't have an exact date). (If you pledged money toward the film, you will get your DVD shortly as well).

I hope you enjoy the film if you choose to watch it!   I learned that producing a film is an actual art form, and the producer is the artist. Angela (the producer) has been fantastic through all of this--I can't even begin to imagine how much work it was to make this film!

The best thing to have come out of this film is that I have met some of the most amazing people that I never would have met otherwise. I've also had some crazy opportunities that never would have come my way--being on the Today Show and in Runner's World magazine, for starters! This whole experience has been so surreal. Sometimes, I feel like I'm not deserving of all these opportunities, but I have to remind myself that I earned this. I worked SO hard to lose the weight, to become a runner, and to keep the weight off. I've had so many successes and struggles over the years, I've lost count of each ;)

Speaking of struggles, I've been feeling a little better the past week or so as far as this depressive episode goes. It's interesting, because you would have thought that Chandler's passing would make me feel even worse. Before Caitlin came for the weekend, I was worried that I would be a terrible host considering my mood lately; but almost as soon as she arrived, I busied myself to make sure that she was having fun, and I almost forgot about my depression. I had so much fun over the weekend--it was just what I needed!

I don't feel 100% back to normal yet, but I do feel like that dark depression cloud is lifting, and I'm hopeful that I'll feel back to normal soon (a few weeks ago, I felt like it would never end). It's interesting--I've cried over Chandler several times over the past few days, but it felt like "normal" crying, from grieving a beloved pet; but, when crying from depression (for no reason at all), it doesn't feel "normal". I hope that makes sense--it's hard to explain!

I wasn't eating well at all while I was feeling so bad, and I've actually been afraid to get on the scale--I think it's been over a week since I weighed myself. Over the weekend, I took Caitlin to a lot of my favorite restaurants, so I was eating junk then, too. I don't feel bad about what I ate on the weekend, because it wasn't emotional eating; where before, I was eating to make myself feel better.

Interestingly, after Caitlin left, I was craving some healthy foods (probably because of the junk I ate over the weekend)--I made a giant fruit salad (just cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and grapes), so I've been eating tons of fruit. I've also eaten more salad in the past few days that I have in the last six months, haha. For dinner last night, I made a recipe I found on Pinterest for Southwestern Chopped Salad. It was SO good!

Anyway, Jerry started a super crazy project at work yesterday that will continue over the next few months; and since he's going to be working so hard, I promised myself that I would work just as hard at being my best self. I'm back to counting calories how I was doing before, and I'm following a running schedule again. I'm going to finish our bathroom project, which will take a while. And I'm going to do my best to ensure that the kids have a great last month before school starts!

I am beyond thrilled with my new therapist--I've seen her twice now, and I actually really look forward to going again. She validates my feelings, and I love that I can tell her anything without feeling judged. She gives me "homework" to do, which has been helpful in keeping me focused.

I haven't really decided on a running goal for fall, but I'm following a half-marathon training plan for now. If I decide that I don't want to do that distance, then I'll switch to a 5K plan in the fall. Right now, I just want to get back into a running routine. Also, my therapist suggested that I replace one of my runs with swimming each week (I have chronic back pain due to arthritis and a couple of bone spurs). I think I may take an adult swimming class this fall. I've always hated swimming, but maybe if I learn how to swim properly, I'll actually enjoy it. If nothing else, it will be good cross training!

I am so glad to report that I am feeling better, and I hope that those of you who could relate to what I was going through are feeling better as well--if not now, then soon! Thanks for being patient with my not-so-happy posts lately. I tried to keep them positive, but it's hard when I'm not feeling very positive. I can't even tell you how much I appreciate the support from so many readers!


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