April 29, 2015

Headed to Indy!

I am SO very excited to head to Indianapolis tomorrow! Jerry is going with me, which makes it even better. It's about a four-hour drive, so we're planning to get there in time to pick up a couple of my Sole Mates from the airport. I wish my entire team was going, but it didn't work out that way. Still, I'll see Thomas, Paige, Bonnie, Cat, and Martha. Also going are Jeanie (my sister), Becky (my sister-in-law), several of Jeanie's friends, and Bonnie's friend Nancy, who I met briefly in SoCal. Except for Thomas, I haven't seen the other Sole Mates since a year ago when we ran SoCal. None of them have met Jerry, either, and he's looking forward to meeting the friends I talk about so much.

I've been really up-in-the-air about what to do as far as counting Points while I'm there. I had an awesome weigh in at Weight Watchers today--down 6.8 pounds!--so I should stay on track and continue to lose. However, the last thing I want to do while I'm there is nitpick everything I eat and drink, estimate portion sizes, and journal my food. I did that in 2010, and looking back, I kind of regret it. I missed out on some good food and drinks, and I spent more time worrying about staying on track than I did enjoying myself.

I'm not saying that I have to pig out to enjoy myself, because I know that's not the case. But I'm thinking of going to Indy with the same attitude and plan I did in Portland--eat and drink what I want, just don't pig out. When I came home from Portland, I weighed the exact same as I did when I left; so, I'm hoping for the same outcome in Indy.

When I get home, I'll go right back to counting everything again, just like I did this past week. If my weight is up, I can handle that. I'm prepaid through July at Weight Watchers, so I will be weighing in next week no matter what happens in Indy. I just really want to go and have a great time with my Sole Mates.

I was also really undecided about whether I should run the half-marathon on Saturday. I'd talked to my doctor about it, and he gave me the go-ahead if I take it slow and easy; but considering I had so much trouble getting through just six miles on Sunday, I figured I should probably sit out the half this weekend.

I REALLY want to do it, and I probably could; but my stress fracture isn't totally healed yet (I feel twinges here and there ever since the run on Sunday). I'm registered for the Detroit Marathon in October, and I want to let my leg completely heal before I start training in June. I have been so undecided about what to do, but I finally made the decision yesterday that I am going to sit this one out. Healing in the long term is more important than hobbling through this race, so that's what I'll do.

This will be Jerry's first half-marathon, so I'll be able to be at the finish line to see him cross! I'm really excited about that. Also, I've always wanted to see the winners of that race cross the finish line. When I was there in 2008 (or maybe it was 2009?), there were actually TWO first place winners! They crossed the line so closely, that they had to look at photos to determine a winner; and even then, it was declared a tie.

The Indy Mini was actually my first race ever--in 2008, I walked the whole 13.1 miles with zero training. I knew nothing about what to expect, and I was in so much pain afterward! But I did it again the next year, and the next. In 2011, I ran the race, making it the first half-marathon I ever ran. It's a really fun race (they have over 80 bands along the course!) and I always thought it would be fun to watch the finish line as a spectator. So, even though I'm bummed to not be running it, I'm super excited to watch the finish!

I most likely will not be posting while I'm gone, but if I have some down time at the hotel, I might write. I'm really far behind on email, because I've been spring cleaning non-stop for three days, but I will get to that when I get home, also. Have a great weekend, everyone!

I don't have a picture for this post, so I'll just share this one... Estelle sat on my lap for the first time since we got Joey! She's been ignoring me for a few months now, and I was beginning to think she'd be that way for ever. But I'm glad that she just hopped on my lap for a nap :)

April 27, 2015

Motivational Monday #107

Indy week has arrived! I'm so very excited to go to Indianapolis on Thursday to reunite with (most of) my Sole Mates. I've been crazy busy today trying to get all the last minute details sorted out. I've also been trying to get my house clean, because Thomas is driving back to Michigan with Jerry and I on Sunday, and flying out of Detroit on Monday.

You know how you start one small project (cleaning the spare bedroom) and you find something that belongs somewhere else (say, the hall closet), and then you notice the hall closet needs organizing, and you find something there that belongs in the bathroom, and you notice that the bathroom is a mess...and so on? Yeah, that's what happened today. At least I'm getting my spring cleaning done!

Anyway, there is no doubt about what my Motivational Monday accomplishment is this week. I handled this weekend SO WELL when it comes to how I ate! Even though I was on a relay team called "Here for the Beer", I didn't even have a sip of beer all weekend (I knew one would lead to another, and another...).

I feel like I did when I was losing the weight in 2009-2010. I was completely confident in what I was doing, and I felt entirely in control. I love that feeling! Anyway, I'm very proud for handling the whole weekend the way I did.

Here are some MM stories for you today... enjoy!

Lisa lives near Boston, and this past Monday was Marathon Monday there. She always has that day off work, so she likes to use that day to challenge herself with something physical--running her first 10K, doing her longest run outside, etc. This year, she was 7 1/2 months pregnant, and she had slowed her pace and decreased her distance, but continued to run throughout her pregnancy. She lost 75 pounds several years ago, and works hard to keep it off, so she was worried about gaining it all back when she got pregnant (it would be easy to use the pregnancy as an excuse to stop exercising at eat much more than she should). She has been eating healthy and exercising while pregnant, and she has gained only the healthy amount of weight for a pregnancy, which she is very happy with. On Marathon Monday, she decided to challenge herself by running 5K without stopping--and she did it!

Renee ran a half-marathon last weekend! She did the Rock the Parkway Half in Kansas City, and even though it was her third half, it was her slowest time. It was a very tough race for her, because she's been fighting allergies and bronchitis, and she wanted to quit the race very badly--but she kept going! She's thankful to her family and friends to helped push her along. And this weekend, she had a great four-mile race! She even PR'ed by 3:30. (Renee's blog)

Last weekend, Dana and her husband ran their second 5K race! They did the Pittsburgh Pirates 5K Home Run, which finishes at home plate at PNC Park. Since walking her first Turkey Trot in November, Dana has spent a lot of time preparing to run this 5K. She is proud to have run about 60% of the distance in intervals, and she even shaved about five minutes off of her average practice time. She's also down an impressive 60 pounds out of her 100-pound weight loss goal!

Yvonne started running a little over two years ago, and has since lost 35 pounds and completed a dozen 5Ks, several 10Ks, and three half marathons! When she started running, she would have family and friends say, "Hey, let me know when you go running again so I can join you!" but she was never really sure how to make that work with her running schedule. She decided to start a monthly run, and create an event on her Facebook page, inviting anyone and everyone who might like to get some exercise. At the first run, she only had one person show up; but she kept doing it, and this month, she had 12 people show up! She is feeling proud to have inspired others to start running. (Yvonne's Facebook page)

Congrats on some awesome accomplishments, ladies! Thanks for sharing :)

April 26, 2015

2015 Glass City Marathon Relay race report

Wow, what a day! I'll start by saying I'm totally exhausted. Yesterday, Jerry and I went down to Toledo to meet up with our relay teams and go to the expo. We picked up our packets, and then went to dinner at an Italian restaurant called Biaggi's (the same place we've gone for the past two years when doing this race). I had invited Dean and his wife, Mandy, to meet us there, so it was fun to get to see him!

It was ridiculously hard, but I didn't order any wine--just had water with dinner. I didn't touch the bread basket, and I ordered a half-order of pasta. I got spaghetti marinara, which ended up being about one cup of pasta with a half-cup of sauce. I added a little parmesan cheese, (along with all the basil leaves that nobody seemed to want on their food--blasphemy!) and that was that. It was delicious, but I still managed to stay on track. The desserts at Biaggi's are amazing, but thankfully, not many people ordered dessert, so it wasn't in my face to tempt me.

At the hotel, everyone was drinking beer; but again, I stuck with water. I even bought a little container of grape tomatoes to snack on, which was totally unlike me. Lately, I've really liked those little tomatoes for some reason! I was super tired, and I actually fell asleep while everyone was hanging out in our hotel room.

For breakfast, I brought a Special K oatmeal cup and an orange, which worked out well in a hotel room. We had to leave the hotel at 6:00 for the race, and there were 18 of us (three full relay teams of five people, plus three others who came to spectate). We squeezed into TWO vehicles--I was in my brother-in-law's truck with EIGHT other people. It was crazy, and so hilarious. We had six of us in the back seat, and we were all crammed in there. We tried so hard to get a picture, but you can't see just how cramped we were.

Because we had three relay teams (Here for the Beer: 1, 2, and 3), we all decided to run together. So runner #1 on each team stuck together as a trio. Then they passed the bib off to runners #2, who all stuck together; and so on. So we went to the first exchange to wait for the first three runners to come through.

I was runner #2. I was totally undecided whether I was going to do this race or not until the last minute. I eventually decided to go for it, because my doctor had given me the okay to try the half-marathon next weekend in Indy, so I figured that if I ran today and had a problem, then I certainly have no business running in Indy.

While we were at the first exchange, I saw Jessica and Renee, who were doing the relay as well. Stephanie was running the full, and she put together a relay team to run alongside her, just like my sister did last year. She'd asked me to join, but I had already committed to doing the relay with my family, so I wasn't able to. I saw Stephanie go by the first exchange, so I cheered for her. About 10 minutes later, our first three runners came through. Kendall, Nathan's girlfriend, handed the bib off to me.

I ran with my sister, Jeanie, and her friend, Jen. We had the longest leg, which was 6.1 miles. I hadn't run at all in about three weeks, so I had no idea what to expect. Thankfully, my leg seemed to be doing great. We took the pace very easy, and I was actually pretty discouraged at how difficult it felt to run at such an easy pace! Jeanie and Jen said, "It's so nice to run at such a relaxed pace--so much more enjoyable" and I wanted to kick them. I was barely able to talk at all, because it was such a struggle for me.

I never had any major problems with my leg, but by mile five, I started questioning whether I could finish. I was dying! Right at the perfect moment, I saw an older man with a jacket on that said "Larry" on the back. And I said to Jeanie, "Do you think that's 1000 Marathons Larry?" We met him at the Rockford Half-Marathon in Illinois, where he was running the full.

We asked him if that was him, and sure enough, it was (although now he goes by "Marathon Maniac Larry"). I was really excited to run into him! I asked him what number marathon it was today, and he said 1,486 (I think--I know it was 1,400-something). Crazy, right?! Even crazier, today's was his third marathon THIS WEEK. He ran Boston on Monday, another marathon yesterday (I can't remember which one he said), and then Glass City today. He's 70 years old, and running marathons every weekend!

I chatted with him for a few minutes, and Jen took a couple of pics of us. Larry is the nicest man! If you ever see him at a race, make sure you take a minute to chat with him. At that moment, I was glad that we were at the back of the pack at this race--otherwise, I wouldn't have run into him!

We moved past him, and continued on. That last quarter mile took every ounce of energy I had. When we got to the relay station, I passed off the bib, and then walked away from the exchange station to cry for a minute. I was just so frustrated that I've had to take so much time off of running, and that running right now feels so hard when it used to feel so easy. I figured that there is no way that I can do Indy if I just practically fell apart after six miles.

I only cried for a minute before rejoining the group. Today was supposed to be all about fun, so I didn't want to dwell on how I felt about my run. I was definitely grateful to have finished it, and that my stress fracture didn't give me troubles.

The rest of the race went well, and I had a blast cheering at the relay stations. That's my favorite part about this race! The relay stations are so much fun. Once we left the last relay station, we headed to the finish line. I knew Stephanie was hoping for a sub-5:00 finish time, and it was getting really close. I was watching for her, and looking at the clock. She came through the finisher's chute and finished in 4:58-something! I was really excited for her.

Just about 20 seconds later, our relay runners came through, so most of us joined them in the chute to run across the finish line. It was a fun finish! (Jen got some really great pictures of the finish but I don't have them yet).

Nathan, me, Brian, and Jeanie

I stopped at Subway on the way home for some lunch, because I knew that there was going to be a ton of junk food at the party at my parents' house. I brought some flavored water over there, so I could drink that instead of beer. And I managed to avoid so many temptations: my dad's fried fish, tacos, burgers, a brownie trifle, Better Than Sex cake, and a three layered cake with buttercream frosting. It was really difficult not to just say, "Oh, screw it, I'll just start over tomorrow"... but I've been saying that for a year, and I really am super determined to get back to goal sometime soon. I certainly could have chosen to use my weekly points on some of this stuff, but I want to get back to the point where I feel totally in control and okay saying no. I don't have to eat that crap every time it's in front of me!

Anyway, today was SUPER fun hanging out with my family. This was the first race that all three of my siblings and I were able to participate in together. Even better, our spouses did it, too! (And I'm putting Kendall in the "spouse" category, because she and Nathan are pretty serious). We're already planning to do it again next year!

Siblings & Spouses: Me, Jerry, Kendall, Nathan, Brian, Becky, Shawn, and Jeanie 

April 25, 2015

Quick Bullets

I have a super busy couple of days this weekend, so I just have time for a quick bullet post...

*I am doing awesome being back on Weight Watchers, and it feels really good.

*For the past three days, since I started back on Weight Watchers, I've slept through the night. For the past year or so, I haven't done that! I usually wake up at least 5-7 times during the night. I'm not sure if it's because I feel so much better mentally, or if it's because I've been eating well, but either way, I'm so excited that I can sleep!

*I started crocheting a new afghan to keep my hands busy when I watch TV at night.

*My favorite snack for the past four days has been frozen sweet cherries (not "sweetened"--just the sweet variety). I used to love frozen grapes, and I had a bag of sweet cherries in the freezer for smoothies, so I decided to try them as a snack. Right out of the freezer, they don't have much flavor, but if you let them sit in a bowl for about 5 minutes, they're perfect! And as long as they're just plain old cherries (no other ingredients), they are 0 PointsPlus, which is a bonus.

*I had "Runs for Cookies" put on a sweatshirt today to wear at the Glass City race. It gets cold standing around at all the relay stations, so I was going to wear an orange sweatshirt (our team color), and at the last minute I thought I'd get the lettering. I like it! If you happen to be at the Glass City race tomorrow, and you see me, make sure you say hello :)

*Both of my brothers, my sister, and I are going to the Glass City race. This will be the first time all four of us have been doing a race together!

*I'm SUPER excited to go to Indianapolis on Thursday and see my Sole Mates. A few weeks ago, I asked Caitlin if she'd bring me a piece of the best carrot cake I've ever had from Boston, and she said sure. Yesterday, I asked her to please not bring it, after all. I am doing so well that I don't want to screw up getting back to my goal weight.

*I brought Joey to my parents' house to meet my sister's dogs. She has each a male and female basset hound, and after Joey's temperament test, I was a little worried about him meeting Remy (the male). Jeanie wasn't at all worried. When they met, Joey did bare his teeth like he did during the temperament test, but Jeanie insisted that it was fine. She said dogs do stuff like that all the time at the dog park, and 99.5% of the time, the dogs work things out on their own. And sure enough, Joey and Remy were fine. Joey certainly likes to be the dominant dog, but he never got aggressive or mean. So that was a relief. 

*The decomposed remains of an adult female were found in a wooded area next to some railroad tracks about 10 miles away. It hasn't been confirmed that the remains are of Chelsea Bruck, but we should know in the next day or two. Chelsea is the woman who went missing a couple of miles from my house when she was at a Halloween party. My entire community has been obsessed with this case, because this sort of thing just doesn't happen around here. Everyone has purple ribbons (Chelsea's favorite color) on doors, cars, telephone poles, road signs, windows, etc., to show their support in finding her. 

Well, I've got to head down to Toledo for the expo and dinner. I've already planned out my dinner at the Italian restaurant, so I'm keeping on plan!

April 23, 2015

Joey's temperament test

Wow! I am speechless at all of the comments on my last post. I almost always get nervous to press "publish" on my blog posts, but I get a little extra nervous when I write something pretty personal, like yesterday's post about the weight gain. I actually wrote that post kind of hastily, and now I wish I'd put more thought into it! But I am so glad to see that I'm not the only one who has those thoughts about weight gain and seeing the scale inch upward.

I did really well staying on plan yesterday. Going to the meeting made a big difference in my attitude toward counting my points, which made staying on plan a little easier. Today, Jessica asked me if I'd like to get together for coffee or lunch, and I said sure. I really wanted to say lunch, but I figured I'd better be safe and just do coffee (tea for me) and eat lunch at home.

We went to Panera, and I got an Earl Grey tea. We sat and chatted for about an hour and a half, and it was really nice to talk about what's been going on lately. Jessica is maintaining a large weight loss as well, and she's struggling a bit right now, too. I like having someone to talk to who knows the struggles I deal with daily. She has a big sweet tooth just like me ;)

In the afternoon, Joey had an appointment at a doggy daycare for a temperament test. I need to find a place to board him while Jerry and I are in Indy, and I've been waiting a month for him to get this test and (hopefully) be accepted into their care. It was pretty far away (about 40 minutes), and when we got there, Joey was SO excited when saw that there were other dogs there. We had to wait in the car until our appointment time, and he was dying to go play.

First, Joey walked around inside the house while I filled out paperwork. She wanted to make sure that Joey wasn't going to pee in the house or anything (when dogs board there, they don't go in kennels--they stay in the house like a pet). After that, we went outside to a fenced-in area where they would slowly introduce other dogs to watch Joey's behavior.

Let me tell you... today was a HUGE milestone for me. I've been really terrified of dogs for several years now, and that was one of the reasons I wanted to get a dog--to get over that fear. I was inside this fenced in area while the owner kept adding more (large) dogs, until there were about a dozen of them (I lost count). I was a little nervous, but NOTHING like I would have been a few months ago, before we got Joey. So, my fear is subsiding!

Anyway, Joey was doing great. They started with the submissive female dogs, then the more dominant females, and there weren't any problems. When they brought in a dominant male, I thought everything was going okay, until the other dog did something to upset Joey, and Joey bared his teeth in a way that the person who was evaluating him was very concerned about. She said when they show both sides of their teeth like that, it's just one step away from a bite.

She watched the two very closely after that, and it happened again. After that, she called it quits, and Joey had failed. I immediately wanted to cry. I thought that meant he was an aggressive dog, and I was instantly worried about the kids, and my cats, and all that. We went in the house, and she explained to me that Joey was doing awesome until the dominant dog came in the picture; and apparently Joey, himself, is very dominant (I never would have guessed that, based on how he acts with us).

She said she's sure that Joey would probably pass a temperament test somewhere else, but that she is extremely selective about who she allows in her daycare. She told me that I had no reason whatsoever to worry about the cats or the kids, and that he's not an "aggressive dog"; she said I'd just have to be very careful about introducing him to other dominant male dogs.

It never even occurred to me that he might not pass the test! Joey has never shown any signs of aggression to any people, or dogs we've encountered on walks, or to Nathan's dog, Bailey. So the fact that he bared his teeth at this other dog was was really surprising to me. So now I'm back to square one as far as finding a place to board him next week.

This weekend is going to be pretty busy. My sister arrives tomorrow, so I'm sure I'll get together with her. I'm also babysitting my friend's kids tomorrow after school. Saturday, our Glass City Marathon Relay teams are going to the expo in Toledo to pick up our packets. We have three teams of five people each, so it's a big group! We'll check into the hotel, and then go have dinner at an Italian restaurant we've gone to for the past couple of years.

Sunday morning is the race. I need to get working on some signs! I feel totally unprepared going into this race. After the race, we're having a party at my parents' house, just like we did last year. It's going to be tough not to eat and drink all kinds of crap there, but I am going to stick with my plan and count my points!

April 22, 2015

How the weight creeps up

When I told my sister about how much I've been struggling lately, she suggested that I go back to my Weight Watchers meetings. She said it would make me feel so much better and in control. I've always gone to Wednesday meetings, and I hadn't planned on going today, but Jeanie sent me a text to remind me this morning.

So, after I got the kids on the bus and ate breakfast, I headed to Weight Watchers. I love my leader, and I knew there wouldn't be any judgement about my weight gain, but I still wasn't sure if I wanted to weigh in. I don't *have* to weigh in unless I'm at goal, and I'm certainly not at goal.

I sat in the car for a minute when I got to my WW center, thinking about what to do. I feel like I've hit rock bottom right now, and I really want to feel better. So I decided that I was going to weigh in today, and accept the gain. I also decided to make a big commitment--I would buy a 12-week pre-pay plan, so that way I would be losing out on a lot of money if I don't go to the meetings.

Glenda, my leader, was happy to see me. I started to tell her about what was going on, but I could feel myself getting choked up, so I just told her to weigh me and get it over with. It turns out there was a special on the 12-week pass... for $136, it would include 12 weeks of meetings, 12 weeks of eTools (the online tracker that I normally pay $18/month for), and a "Starter Kit", which included a cookbook, a bento box, and some portion control plates.

Paying $136 in one chunk is a LOT, but because I did it that way, I think I am much more likely to go to the meetings and follow the program. I hate to throw money away, so I am determined to put this to good use. When I did Weight Watchers in 2012 and finally reached goal, I only stuck with it because I was paying for it--and it's not cheap!

I weigh myself almost daily at home, so seeing my weight wasn't a shock. But in the box below, it shows +/- and lists how much you've lost or gained since you joined. Seeing +27.0 today was what shocked me. I know how to do math, so you would think I wouldn't be surprised; but seeing that number printed out on my little book took my breath away. I'm 27 pounds over my goal weight?!

This is how weight creeps up on me:

-I reach my goal weight of 133, and I'm very happy. I maintain 130-136 for a year by counting my Points and tracking my food.
-I decide to eat "intuitively" instead of tracking, and "live a little".
-Soon, I see 139, and I think, "Yikes, I'd better reel it in a little. At least I'm still in the 130's, though."
-Then one day, I see 141, and I think, "Woah! The 140's. Well, it's in the low 140's, so I'll just cut back for a day or two and be back in the 130's. I'm retaining water from eating badly."
-One day, I see 146, and I think, "Yeesh! I'd really better get back on track. But thankfully, I'm still in the 140's. I never want to see the 150's again."
-Shortly after, I see 152, and I think, "Holy cow! I swore I'd never see the 150's again. Thankfully, it's in the low 150's, though. A couple of days on track, and I'll be back in the 140's..."

...and so on. You can go through each "decade" of weight with that train of thought, and I could picture myself continuing on until I'm back at my starting weight! It's scary how quickly it can happen, and how hard it is to reverse. So, from now on, if I find myself thinking, "Well, at least my weight isn't in the _____'s", I know that I'm going to have a problem.

I felt relieved after weighing in and buying the 12-week pass. I feel like I'm finally taking control of something, and making a real plan to get there.

The meeting was pretty crowded, and there were a lot of people I'd never seen before (plus the regulars that I remembered from when I used to go weekly). It was a good meeting, and I was glad to be back. And now that I am prepaid through July 21, I am going to make it a habit to go once a week!

The next couple of weekends are going to be pretty tough to stay on plan, but if I can get through the next two weeks, then I don't have anything else going on anytime soon, so I'll really be able to stay focused. I'm going to come up with a plan for these two weekends, just like I used to when I was faced with challenges during my weight loss. And I'm going to attend my meetings and weigh in, even if I don't end up sticking with my plan, or if I fall off track.

I'm glad my sister convinced me to go back to my meeting! I feel like I can start fresh from here, and hopefully get out of this funk I'm in :)

April 21, 2015

Afternoon at the B.O.B.

Spending the day in Grand Rapids with Jerry, Nathan, and Kendall yesterday ended up being a lot of fun (not that I expected anything less). I had a hard time relaxing, though, because I knew my mom was home with not only my kids, but both Joey and Nathan's dog, Bailey. That's a lot to take on at once!

Right when we got to GR, we went to Hop Cat for lunch. I'd never been there, but it's a very hyped up place, so I was excited to try it. Unfortunately, I was not very impressed. Actually, all four of us gave it a thumbs-down and agreed we wouldn't go back there. We spent several hours at the B.O.B. (Big Old Building), however, which is where Jerry and I spent most of our time on our January trip to Grand Rapids. It's such a cool building, and there are lots of cozy seating options. The happy hour is from 2-6, which makes a very cheap afternoon of drinks and appetizers.

Kendall took this pic of Jerry and me, and I love it!

We were sitting next to a shuffleboard table, and we decided to give the game a try. My only experience with shuffleboard is from when I was a kid, and my dad was a volunteer firefighter. The firehall had a shuffleboard table, and Nathan and I would mess around with it, seeing who could send the pucks down the table the fastest. Well, who knew that's not actually how you play?! ;)

We had been playing for a good 30 minutes when a server, who was picking up some glasses from a nearby table, looked at us for a second and said, "Oh, you're playing upside down. That's one way to do it!" We were all confused, and he showed us that we had the pucks upside down. We all busted up laughing over that! The smooth silver side goes down, and the color side points upward.

This was my best throw. Another millimeter, and it would have gone over the edge. (The object is to get it as close to the edge as possible without it going over). Actually, Nathan and Jerry blew on it after it had stopped, and it did go over! Cheaters.

Our hotel was within a half-mile of everywhere wanted to go, which was awesome. We had a really nice walk on the way back to the hotel. I had to stop to take a picture, because the river and all the lights looked so pretty!

We were in bed at an embarrassingly early 10:30 last night, but it had been a long day. Jerry worked nights on Sunday, so he only slept for three hours before we left to go to Grand Rapids. He was understandably exhausted.

The evening was super fun, though, and Grand Rapids remains on the list for a fun, overnight trip!

I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has donated to Wins for Warriors on behalf of Nathan and me. We hit our personal goal of $2,000 today!! I can't even describe how grateful I am for each and every donation. I'm really excited for the Wins for Warriors Detroit 9K, and to see how much is raised in total for the cause.

If you haven't donated, and would like to, we would very much appreciate it! Here is a link to a guest post that my brother wrote about his experience with PTSD and how running changed his life. There is a link at the bottom to make a donation to Wins for Warriors if you can. Thank you again to everyone who donated and helped us reach our fundraising goal!

April 20, 2015

Motivational Monday #106

Happy Motivational Monday, Friends! I am heading to Grand Rapids very shortly, but I have a few great MM stories for you today. Enjoy!

Nicole recently celebrated the five-year anniversary of the start of her incredible weight loss journey! She's lost close to 100 pounds, and has written a detailed blog post about the past five years of weight loss and maintenance.

After losing 64 pounds, Camilla recently traveled three hours to her hometown in Sweden to run her first half-marathon! She had always dreamed of being a part of an event like that, but lacked the confidence. When she saw that several people on Extreme Weight Loss were able to run a half-marathon in the first year of losing weight, she decided she could, too. She was very nervous about being too slow and that everyone would pack up and leave while she was still on the course. On race morning, everyone took off running around her at the start, which left her feeling a little panicked. Looking around, she realized she was last. The course was two laps, and when she completed her first lap, some people were already done with both, which was a little discouraging. Even the safety biker at the end of the course was far ahead of her. Her husband jumped in to finish the second lap with her. When she saw the finish line, she sprinted in, and was greeted with volunteers who gave her a grand finale of cheering, hand clapping, her medal, and even a basket of fruit, a rose, and a flower arrangement for her head. She did it! She swore during the race and after that she'd never do it again; but now that she's had a couple of days to think about it, she's already thinking about doing another ;) (Camilla's blog)

After a three year hiatus from running, Amy started training again in mid-January. This past Saturday, she ran her first 10K of the year and finished with a new PR! The race was the "Dorothy Dash 10K" in the Land of Oz in Olathe, Kansas. She said it was the most fun she's had in a race. Amy has also lost 18 pounds since starting Weight Watchers in December!

Margaret, along with her daughter, Kate, and one of her fourth grade students, Ella, are proud to have run the Fuel Up to Play 60 5K over the weekend! The weather was great for a run, but the route was a bit difficult, with some large hills. Kate was hoping to finish under 50 minutes, and Ella under 40 minutes, and they encouraged each other the entire way. They crossed the finish line in 41:36! (Margaret's blog)

Renee has been walk/jogging for a couple of years--always starting in the spring when the weather breaks, working up to 5K distance during the summer, and then continuing on through the fall. Come winter, though, she loses her running mojo, stops being active, and gains back the weight she'd worked so hard to lose. She is determined to make this year the year where she continues her training for four full seasons! She recruited her nieces to start running with her, and they have been great motivation. Last weekend, they ran their first mile together (no walking) and felt very proud!

Thanks for sharing, ladies! Congrats on your accomplishments!

April 19, 2015


I'm struggling really badly right now with everything. My stress fracture was devastating enough when it happened in December, and then I subsequently took seven weeks off of running. That was really difficult, but I knew the end was in sight and I just focused on letting it heal.

I felt so good when I was able to run again, and I was happily building my mileage up (slowly, so that I didn't get injured again). And then out of nowhere, my fracture was back. I can't really describe my thoughts other than it felt like a switch was just turned off inside of me. I felt like my whole spirit just deflated and disappeared.

A part of me was hopeful that I just misread a little twinge in my ankle, and that the bone scan would show that my ankle was healed. But, alas, it did not. I'm grateful that the fracture isn't worse, or in my tibia; but the fact that I can't run has completely thrown off my whole routine. I know there are other exercises I could do (and I have been, occasionally); but I ran for the mental benefits as much as the physical. I don't enjoy other sports/exercises like I did running.

Running was the one thing that really kept me grounded in weight management. I had good days and bad days as far as my diet goes, but the one constant was that I would run 3+ times per week, every week. My weight has gone up and down with about 20 pounds over the last few years, but I believe that running is the reason it never continued to climb. Knowing I had a long run the next day would be enough to keep me from eating greasy food, or drinking too much wine, or whatever the case was at the time.

My weight was already up in December, when I got injured, so I couldn't afford to gain any more. But still, I struggled to get and stay on track for more than a week or so. Not being able to run + not being on track with my eating makes me feel like I did at 253 pounds. I feel out of control and unhappy.

I know all of the things I need to do to get back on track. I know how to eat well, and I know that I can do other exercises. These are so obvious to me! But I feel so defeated that I am having the hardest time actually doing it.

A friend of mine told me about how he felt depressed when he was injured for a while and couldn't run, and I completely understand that now. I've dealt with depression my whole life, but I didn't realize just how much running helped me until now. Even when I had a bad day of eating, I could go for a run and feel like a million bucks. Now, I just have to find other ways to deal with it; and unfortunately, I've been doing more emotional eating than I've done in a long time, causing my weight to start creeping up again.

I know, without a doubt, that if I can get my eating back under control, I will feel a hundred times better. Even if I don't run, I still feel good about myself when I eat well. I started a list, which I've drafted into a blog post (hopefully to post soon), about all the things I did when I was losing weight that helped me to be successful--everything from knitting at night in order to keep my hands busy to drinking a quart of water first thing in the morning. I am going to work on getting back to all those basic things that became habits for me, and helped me to stick with the weight loss for so long.

The past couple of days have been really rough for me (mentally), so today I decided that I needed to do something to feel proud of. While the kids were at church, I took my bike out for a long bike ride. I rode from my house to the State Park, around the park, and back home (a lollipop route), which totaled 15.4 miles. Even though I really didn't want to do it, I was so glad once I was in the State Park. I felt good that I'd at least made it halfway, so by the time I got home, I'd have biked over 15 miles!

I had a tailwind the first five miles, which I didn't realize until I changed direction ;) I had to slow down through the park, because there are a ton of tree roots coming up through the pavement and it's really bumpy. And the I had a STRONG headwind on the way home, which is why my speed dropped.

When I got home, my legs felt really rubbery, which was actually nice! Pedaling into the wind the last five miles was really tough, and I felt like I got a good workout. I forgot to wear my heart rate monitor, so I don't know how many calories I burned, but I mostly just wanted to feel a sense of accomplishment. And I did!

Tomorrow, Jerry and I are going to Grand Rapids with Nathan and Kendall. I'm going to do my best not to overindulge in food or drinks, and when I get home on Tuesday, I'm going to get back to my old habits (by "old", I mean when I was eating well and losing weight). It's going to be hard for the next couple of weeks, because I have two race weekends in a row; but I managed to stay completely on track for a year--including going to Indy for the Mini Marathon--so I know I can do it again. I think I just need to work on shifting my mindset onto what I can do to feel better about myself--and since I can't run, I might as well eat better!

Don't forget, tomorrow is Motivational Monday! Because I'm going to Grand Rapids, I am going to have to prepare the post early in the morning. So if you have a submission, please get it to me tonight!

Tomorrow is also the Boston Marathon--good luck to any of you who are running! My friend and Sole Mate Caitlin is running it, and I'm super excited for her, so I'll be following along on her progress.

April 17, 2015

Bone scan results

Well, I got the results of my bone scan yesterday. It is, indeed, a stress fracture in my fibula. The doctor said that it's very small, though, which is good; and the fact that it can't even be seen on a regular x-ray is also good. I haven't been having any pain, so it's been really hard not to run; but I'm going to listen to the doctor. Oddly, the scan also showed that I have shin splints...! I definitely felt the shin splints a few weeks ago, when I was feeling really sore ("normal sore"). I thought it was weird then, because I hadn't gotten shin splints since I started running in 2010. I had no idea that shin splints could be seen on a bone scan.

The doctor said I could continue to do low-impact exercises (bike, elliptical, deep water running), and then when I go to Indy, I can try to run the half-marathon if I want--I just have to take it easy. I'm registered for the Glass City Marathon Relay a week from this Sunday, and my leg is 6.1 miles. I've pretty much decided that I'm not going to run it, because I don't want to risk anything with my leg. I'm super bummed about it, because it's SO much fun to run as a relay team, and this year, we have three full teams who are running together.

This is a picture from last year at the same race. I have zero pictures
for this post, so this will have to do.

I'm still planning to go to the race, whether I am going to run or not, and I'll hang out at each of the relay stations to cheer on our teams. We're having a party at my parents' house afterward, just like we did last year. It'll just be lonely being the only one of our group at the race who isn't running!

I'm a little concerned about the Mini Marathon in Indy, also. I'm sure I could pull it off--even if it hurts, I know I could finish the race. But the problem is that I am registered for the Detroit Marathon in October, and training starts in June. So if I really screw up my leg in Indy, then I'll have to take eight weeks off to heal before I start training, and then I'd be pretty much starting completely over as a runner (it's already been four months since I initially got the stress fracture... so basically forever).

Because I haven't felt any pain over the last several days, I'm leaning toward going ahead and running Indy, and just hoping for the best. My doctor thinks it'll be okay, which is reassuring. I called today to schedule the gait analysis, so I'm waiting to hear back from them. Hopefully they'll be able to get me in soon (before Indy), and I can make a more informed decision.

Anyway, these are all just a bunch of jumbled thoughts--I'm basically just thinking out loud on paper on computer screen!

Today was absolutely GORGEOUS outside! My mom asked me this morning if I wanted to go for a bike ride. I had some errands to run, but it was so nice out that I just had to say yes. We rode around the neighborhoods, just about four miles, and at a nice leisurely pace. My mom signed up for that Tour de Troit bike ride in September, after I mentioned it on my blog, and going for a ride today was the push I needed to register. So, it's official--on September 19, I'll ride 30 miles around Detroit! I'm super excited for it. It's a leisurely ride, so it's not a race or anything. Just a fun way to see Detroit.

There is another bike ride in Detroit called Cycle Into Spring on May 9th, and I think I may do that one as well. Nathan is supposed to be off work that day, so I asked him to do it with me. I'll need to take my bike for a tune-up next week, for sure. When I bought it in 2011, they told me to bring it in after I got 10 hours of riding on it; well, sadly, I probably just hit 10 hours this past fall! Hahaha. At least I know how to wear my helmet now--it only took a few years ;)

Sorry I haven't been writing much lately. I feel like a broken record in saying that there just isn't much to write about!

April 15, 2015

Bone scan

Wow. I am so beyond touched that so many of you generously donated to the Wins for Warriors on behalf of Nathan and me! When I started getting emails letting me know each time someone made a donation, I got choked up and just felt so BLESSED that so many wonderful people read my blog. I set $2000 as my personal goal (even though we were only required to get $100 in donations), thinking that I was shooting for the moon; but in just 24 hours, I'm more than halfway there!

Thank you, thank you, thank you... whether it's $10 or $100, your money is going to help some veterans who really need it. Donations will be accepted until Memorial Day when we run the 9K in Detroit, so if you want to donate and haven't, please know that it is very appreciated!

This morning, I was scheduled for a bone scan to check out my leg and see if there was still a stress fracture (or a new one) causing the pain just above my ankle. I was a little freaked out when they called to schedule my appointment yesterday, because I was told that they would inject a "radioactive dye" into my arm, and then three hours later, take a series of photographs of my bones. Radioactive dye?! That sounds terrible.

I researched it a little last night and apparently there is no more radiation than an x-ray, so I felt more comfortable with it. The hardest part was going to be killing time between 9:15 and 12:00, because the office was so far from my house that I wouldn't have time to go home and wait for the dye to kick in.

When I got there, the radiologist had me lie down on a table under a big machine, and then she injected the dye with a syringe. She took photos for about 20 minutes as it hit my soft tissues, and then she said that I had to wait three hours for it to get into my bones. I happened to be about a block away from a mall, so I went there to walk around and (hopefully) get some frozen yogurt. I always get excited to go to malls that aren't near my house, because they usually have frozen yogurt shops in them--and we don't have frozen yogurt shops anywhere near where I live.

When I got to the mall, it was around 9:30, and none of the stores opened until 10:00. The were a ton of mall walkers in there, though. I found a little lounge area, and sat there until the stores opened. First, I went to Teavana. We don't have a Teavana near my house, either, so I wanted to get a cup of tea. The guy working there talked me into buying a couple of ounces of a tea that he swears tastes just like a tootsie roll--so he didn't exactly have to twist my arm to buy into that. I had him brew me a cup of a peach white tea to carry around while I browsed the mall.

I'm not a big shopper, so I got bored pretty quickly. At 11:00, I ate lunch in the food court, and then headed back to the medical center to wait until noon. Finally, I went back in the room and laid under the machine again, where she told me it would take 45-60 minutes to get all the pictures. She did photos from my waist down, and it was kind of interesting to see the shapes taking place on the screen over my head.



lower leg/foot
I asked if I could have my phone with me while I laid there, and she said sure--thank goodness, because it would have been a super long hour just staring at that screen!

I won't have the results until my doctor calls me (hopefully tomorrow). The results might actually be in my online chart today--I hope so. My leg hasn't bothered me at all for the past few days, so I'm starting to wonder if I just overreacted to a "normal" twinge or something; but it was really painful for a couple of days.

The movie poster is finished for the documentary I took part in! From Fat to Finish Line premieres in Nashville on Saturday.

I love the look of the poster! You can see me standing at the starting line right at the neck/chest area of the silhouette on the poster.

Anyway, this film has been in the making for well over two years now (actually, they started the interviews three years ago), so it's very exciting that things are happening now. I wish I was able to go to Nashville this weekend to see it, but plane tickets are $800! That was way more than I could spend, so I planned to use a buddy pass from my brother and fly stand-by.

Well, the flights are full, so that won't be happening. It would have been tough to get away this weekend anyways, because Jerry is working and my mom has plans, leaving no one to watch the kids; so when Brian told me the flights were oversold, I just figured it wasn't meant to happen. The producer, Angela, submitted the film to Phoenix Film Festival and Chicago Film Festival also, so if it is accepted to either of those, I can always go then.

I've been asked about when the film will be on DVD or available on Netflix, and things like that. I honestly don't know--I think Angela will know more after the film festival. I don't know anything about how the film industry works! ;) But, it will be available to the public sooner or later, I do know that. (If you're in the Nashville area, you could always go watch it on Saturday night--most of my team will be there, so make sure you say hello to them!)

On Monday, Jerry and I have plans to go to Grand Rapids for a night with Nathan and his girlfriend, Kendall. Jerry and I went there in January, when I wasn't able to make the flight to Phoenix, and we had so much fun! We've been wanting to go back, and I'm glad that Nathan and Kendall can go, too.

I've got a busy few weeks coming up--Grand Rapids, and then the Glass City Marathon Relay (my sister will be here for a week), and then Indianapolis the following weekend with my Strangers to Sole Mates Ragnar team. I'm SUPER excited for Indy... just praying that I can actually run the race!

April 14, 2015

How Running Changed My Brother's Life

I'm really excited about today's post! As I've mentioned before, my younger brother, Nathan, was in the Army for four years. He spent three years in Iraq, and when he came home, he had completely changed. He was very distant, and even though we live just 15 minutes apart, I hardly ever saw him-- maybe about twice a year.

I was very worried about him when he came home and seemed so different. I wanted him to get to know Noah and Eli, but he just didn't seem interested in spending time with us. I felt almost like we were strangers. And I didn't know how to fix that.

A few years ago, he adopted Bailey, a black lab. Once he took her in, I felt like I at least had a conversation starter--I could ask him how Bailey was doing, and if he needed someone to watch Bailey while he was away, my mom or I could do it. I was looking for any reason I could think of to make things "normal" between us, so we could have a closer relationship.

I eventually wrote him a letter, telling him I was worried and that I wished that we could see him more. I told him all my thoughts. After that, I could tell he really started to make an effort to come around more, which was nice.

Last spring, things really started to change for the better. Nathan asked me if I'd like to go for a run with him, because he wanted to train for a 5K. I jumped at the chance to spend some time with him, and I was so excited that he asked me. After that, about once a week, we would go for a run together. It was awesome to be able to chat without any awkwardness. He seemed happier than I'd seen him since before he left for Iraq!

He slowly started dropping weight, and getting faster at running. I ran his first 5K with him, where he left me in the dust before the finish line ;) We've since done a few more races together, too.

He continued to train, and ran his first marathon in October. I was so excited to be able to support his running throughout training and during the race. Running is something I know--so I felt good at supporting him (before he started running, I wasn't sure what to talk to him about; I don't know anything about the Army or war, which had been a huge part of his life).

The change I've seen in Nathan since he started running a little over a year ago is very dramatic. He is healthier and happier than I've ever seen him! I asked him to share a little, in his words, about how running helped his PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)...

"I decided to join the Army when the war in Iraq started. Joining the Army was something I always considered, but the war was the final push I needed. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little scared to go to war, but at the same time, I was excited to be a part of it.

There were a few times when I had second thoughts about joining the military, but I always tried to make the best out of each situation. There are times when you’re doing something that’s tougher than anything you’ve done in your life, but you get a great sense of accomplishment afterward. The worst part about being in Iraq was the 110+ degree temperatures—but of course, it was a “dry heat” ;) Over all, though, I actually really enjoyed being deployed. You get to see and do things that most people will never experience.

Nathan in Iraq

I was a little nervous to be discharged and come home, but I was more excited than anything. Life in the military is pretty simple and structured, and I didn’t know what to expect when I got home. The adjustment to being a civilian was somewhat challenging—the military, especially being deployed, will desensitize you to normal, everyday problems. I don’t know if it’s just part of being male, but I still find it tough to express my feelings. I tend to just keep things bottled up inside.

I had symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) when I got home, and I don’t feel very comfortable sharing much about that, but once I got into running (seven years after discharge), I discovered that running alleviated most of the PTSD symptoms. I still have trouble with insomnia (it’s hard to shut my mind off and go to sleep), and I have trouble expressing my feelings, even with my girlfriend; but I find it easy to connect with other veterans. There is a sort of “brotherhood” between veterans that is difficult to find in civilian life.

Running, and training for races, is similar to experiences in the military. I enjoy continually challenging myself—whether it’s longer distance races or faster, short races. With each of those, you have to have a great deal of mental toughness. Even though it sucks at times (like sprinting that last hundred meters of a 5K!), you know that it will eventually end and you will get that feeling of accomplishment.

Nathan's first marathon

I'd started running when I saw how much it changed Katie’s life; and I quickly realized that there is a camaraderie among runners, which really drew me into the sport. It doesn’t matter how “fast” or “slow” you are; everyone seems to offer encouragement. When I started running, I figured that I should start eating better. And in turn, I realized that running and eating better made me feel better in general. Running also helped me reconnect with my family, particularly my brother and sisters, because they had all gotten into running; and now we share a common interest. 

My advice for veterans returning home would be to get involved in some sort of veterans group. It’s much easier to relate to other vets, and most have been through similar experiences. I would highly recommend Team RWB* (Red, White, & Blue)—I wish I would have known about them when I was discharged. 

I’ve been consistently running for about a year and a half now, and it really has changed my life in a positive way. It helped to alleviate symptoms of PTSD, brought me closer with my family and gives me a sense of purpose. I also enjoy the health benefits: my blood pressure is back to normal; I lost 50 pounds, bringing me back to a healthy weight; and I just feel more energized throughout the day!"

*Team RWB is a fantastic organization that helps veterans connect with their community by physical and social activity. As Nathan mentioned, he felt a "brotherhood" with other veterans; Team RWB's mission is to integrate veterans and civilians by doing physical and social activities together. You don't have to be a veteran to join--it's for anyone! I actually recently joined, myself :) 

Needless to say, I am so happy that Nathan found a healthy outlet in running. When he told me about a race coming up on Memorial Day, the Wins for Warriors 9K in Detroit, it completely clicked with me, and I knew I wanted to do it. The Wins for Warriors provides mental health support for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families. These statistics are quite shocking:
  • According to a study by RAND, approximately one-third of those who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan will experience Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury and/or Depression. This is attributed to more-frequent deployments, of greater lengths, with shorter rest periods in between. Their research shows that an individual with any of those conditions is more likely to have other psychiatric problems and to attempt suicide.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs released figures showing that every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That's a suicide every 65 minutes.
  • While it is important to understand what the numbers show, it is also necessary to focus on the strengths of all veterans. There has been a shift nationwide to focus away from negative messaging centered around wounds and scars, instead highlighting skills and resiliency.
  • Wins for Warriors partners with organizations to provide mental health support for veterans and their families, while also using its platform to be part of the national movement to change the conversation and shift focus to the fact that all veterans can be game changers!

I LOVE what this cause is doing, so Nathan and I signed up together to raise donations and run the race. We are required to raise $100, but I would love to raise so much more than that (I set a lofty personal goal of $2000)! This is the first race I've done with a fundraiser, and I really want to give it my all. I think it's so important for veterans and their families to have support after the vets get home from deployment.

I'm linking to our fundraising page, and I hope that if you can, you'll considering donating to this cause. It would mean so much to Nathan and me! Thank you so much in advance.

(Update: I've removed the links, now that the fundraiser is over. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who donated!)

April 13, 2015

Motivational Monday #105: Dean the Machine

I have a different sort of Motivational Monday today. It was a slow week for MM submissions, but a HUGE week for one person, so I'm making this a "special edition" of MM... ;)

One of the things I've been very fortunate to witness since starting my blog is the transformation of some of my readers. I get a lot of email from people who are getting started on a health journey, but I really love to get follow-up emails months or even years later--after they've accomplished some awesome milestones. It's exciting (and super motivating) to see their progress!

It's one thing to see someone's before and after photos, but it's quite different (and so exciting) to see their continual progress as it's happening.

One of these stories is Dean's. I know I've bragged about him several times here, but he just hit some major milestones which are totally worth sharing. I normally just share one photo with each submission, but I'd love to recap Dean's progression here with all of his Motivational Monday stories. If you've been reading Motivational Monday since the beginning, you may remember Dean from his first submission, when he ran his first 5K in April 2013...

He had recently lost 34 pounds, and completed his first 5K in 33:27. Just a couple of weeks later, he ran the Glass City 5K, shaving 25 seconds off of his previous time.

Just six weeks after that, Dean ran his first 10K race. He'd set a goal to reach a weight of 225 and run a 10K, and he did it!

Ten weeks after that 10K, Dean had a 10-mile run on his training schedule. He had such a great run that he decided just to add another 5K on there, and run a spontaneous half-marathon in his training! He had lost 60 pounds at this point:

In seeing Dean's progress, and how hard he was working on the weight loss and running, I was so inspired by him that I asked him to join a Ragnar Relay team that I was putting together, and he did. When I learned that he was going to be running the Detroit Free Press Half-Marathon in October for his first "official" half, I asked if he'd like to meet for dinner the day before the race. Jerry and I drove to Detroit to meet up with Dean and his wife, Mandy.

The following day, he ran the Detroit Free Press International Half, and I was thrilled to be there to see him running it after watching his progress on Motivational Mondays!

Just a couple of months later, in December 2013, Dean reached a huge weight loss milestone--100 pounds down!

Around this time, Dean mentioned to me that he decided to shoot for a sub-2:00 half-marathon, and he wanted to know my thoughts as a running coach. He had just finished a half in about 2:15, so I told him that I didn't want to be discouraging, but I thought he should aim for more like 2:10. He thought about it, and then told me that he was going to shoot for sub-2:00 anyway--which would require shaving 15 minutes off of his time in just 4 months!

And you know what? Come April, at his goal race, he ran 1:57! I was shocked, but very excited for him. That was a huge improvement! Next, he told me that he was going to sign up for his first marathon to take place that fall... and that he was going to aim for sub-4:00. Again, I didn't want to discourage him, but I never recommend having a time goal for one's first marathon--it's challenging enough just to finish, let alone worrying about pace. But Dean is honestly the most determined person I've ever met...

And in October 2014, Dean ran his first full marathon in 3:52:43!

That day, I learned that when Dean says he's going to do something... he does it. He could tell me that he'll be the first person to run a sub-2:00 MARATHON one day, and I would bet my life savings that he would.

Since then, Dean has been working hard to reach his goal weight, which has been just a few pounds away for several months now. His goal weight is 173 pounds, which was his wrestling weight in high school. Well, last week, Dean hit it! He weighed in a 173, for a total of 144 pounds lost.

As if that wasn't awesome enough, he celebrated his three-year "runniversary" yesterday by running the same 5K that he ran for his first race. And this time? HE WON THE RACE. Not just his age group... but he was literally the first person to cross the finish line!

He even ate cookies afterward, which you know I totally approve of ;)

Dean has truly transformed right in front of our computer screens, which has been so fun to watch. I feel blessed to have met him, because Dean is, without a doubt, one of the nicest people I've ever met. He has worked harder than I can even imagine, and has more determination than Joey when he chases after Estelle!

(Dean blogs at The Tatted Runner, if you'd like to follow his progress... although I'm not sure if there is any room for improvement from here!)

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