October 31, 2015

A new comparison photo

As much as I really wanted to have a very lazy morning today, I knew that I would probably be eating some candy later, so I'd better get in a run. My mom took the kids to my brother's house to help him work (Brian and Becky bought a foreclosed house in Michigan, and they are renovating it in order to move in!). He "hired" the kids to pull staples out of boards ;)

After the kids left this morning, I decided to dress for Halloween for my run. I have orange and black striped socks and a couple of Halloween shirts that only get used once a year, so I figured I might as well get a little use out of them. I used the timer on my camera to try to get a picture, and Joey was just dying to get in the photo ;)

Anyway, I ran the three mile route I used to do all the time when I first started to run. I wasn't aiming for a particular pace, and didn't look at my Garmin at all. I hardly EVER come across people when I'm running, but I saw several people out for a walk this morning. I actually came up behind a couple of women who were walking, and they were dressed for Halloween as well. One woman had the same socks I did (only they were tights as opposed to my knee highs), and the other woman was wearing a Halloween shirt from a local race. We exchanged a few words about dressing for Halloween, and then I kept on my way.

Today was a great morning for a run--kind of cold, but no wind. Maybe I should have pushed the pace, but I really didn't want to.

Later, when I was looking at pictures on my phone, I came across one from May that took me by surprise. I didn't realize just how noticeable the extra weight I'd put on was until I did a side-by-side comparison with one of today's pictures!

May 2015 vs. October 2015
On the left was from Memorial Day, when I volunteered at the Wins for Warriors 9K race; and on the right was from this morning. What a big difference!

Something I've noticed the past couple of days is that I have to sleep with a pillow between my knees again, because my knee bones are pressing together. I remember when this happened for the first time a few years ago, and I actually had bruises on the inside of each knee. I discovered it was from sleeping on my side, allowing my knees to press together. It's just one of the odd things that happens when I get close to my goal weight, I guess!

I'm looking forward to passing out candy tonight. I think if we were going to my parents' house to continue our usual routine (but without Mark), I would be sad and not able to really enjoy it. But since we've changed up our Halloween routine, I'm excited about it. The kids are going trick-or-treating with Jerry's mom, and Jerry and I are going to pass out candy at home. Since we have a garage now, we're going to sit on the couch in there and have a glass of wine while we wait for trick-or-treaters. As long as it doesn't rain, it should be a nice night!

October 30, 2015

Halloween plans

Since cross country ended, I feel like I have so much extra time on my hands! It's been an odd feeling for the last few days. The cross country recognition night on Wednesday went really well. The kids were excited and proud of their accomplishments, which was the whole point, so it was successful. When we got home that night, and the kids were getting ready for bed, Eli said to me, "I'm so proud of myself." When I asked why, he said, "Because I earned the M.I.R. Award" (M.I.R. was for "Most Improved Runner). It was cute :)

Yesterday, it was ridiculously cold and windy in the morning. It was 36 degrees outside, which wouldn't have been too bad, if not for the wind. I walked Noah to the bus stop, and we waited for 25 minutes! Finally, we walked back home and I drove him to school. There were eight other kids (at three stops) who were also waiting, so I know we didn't miss the bus. The bussing system has been really screwed up this year, and it's frustrating. Anyway, we were freezing at the bus stop, so after I got both kids to school, I really had no desire to run outside.

I dusted off the treadmill (it's been a long time since I used it) and decided to run three miles on the 'mill. Instead of watching a show (I'm not currently watching any series right now, so I didn't want to spend forever trying to pick something to watch), I listened to a podcast while I ran. I decided to see if I could set the treadmill at 7.0 mph and run the entire 3 miles at that speed. I can't even remember the last time I used that speed setting on the treadmill, haha.

It was tough, but it didn't kill me, and I actually did it! I was really tempted to lower the speed, especially after the second mile, but I knew I was physically capable of sticking it out to the end. It felt good to do a hard run like that!

It's hard to believe that tomorrow will be the second Halloween without Mark. I used to love Halloween, and I looked forward to it every year, mainly because we celebrated Mark's birthday. For thirty years, Mark always told us his birthday was on Halloween--and it wasn't until he was in the hospital, and we saw his hospital bracelet, that we discovered it wasn't until November 1st ;)

Last year, none of us felt like doing "the usual" for Halloween, because it felt wrong without Mark. Instead, my parents went to the movies; I handed out candy at my house; and Jerry and his mom took the kids trick-or-treating. Earlier in the day, we brought the stuff for ice cream sundaes to Mark's group home for the guys to enjoy on Mark's birthday.

Today, I decided to get cupcakes to bring to the group home. I'd like to continue to bring something each year, in Mark's memory (he would be 60 years old this year!). When I dropped the cupcakes off today, the woman who was working said that if Mark were still here, he would have driven them all crazy by this time of the month. He looked forward to celebrating his birthday at my parents' house every October, and according to her, talked about it non-stop all month long ;)

In addition to the cupcakes, I decided to get some $5 gift cards to McDonald's to pass out to parents tomorrow during trick-or-treat, in memory of Mark.

I made eight of them. I don't get a lot of trick-or-treaters where I live, so I bought full size candy bars to hand out to the kids (I always used to get so excited if someone was giving out full size candy bars when I went trick-or-treating! haha); and I'll give the gift cards randomly to some parents. I think Mark would have liked the idea of the McD's gift cards!

October 29, 2015

Week 11 Weigh-in

I just realized this morning that this post never went live last night. Oops!

Well, it seems that the extra calories over the last couple of weeks did catch up to me. When I weighed in today, I had my first gain in 11 weeks.

This week's weight was 139.5, so I was up by a pound from last week. My waist measurement was the same, and my body fat was only up by 0.1%, so I'm not too concerned. I had a lot of sodium yesterday, which could be why my weight is up; but it also could be because I ate more calories this week.

My average calorie intake was 1854 per day (last week, it was 1721, and prior to that, it was usually just over 1500). This week, I'm going to try and get it back down to around 1500 a day, so that I can get moving on these last 6 pounds! I would love to be back at goal (133) by December 12. I chose that day because I originally reached goal on 12/12/12. It would be nice to be back there three years later.

Even though my weight was up a little, I wouldn't change anything from this week. I felt I made good choices based on the situation, and if I hadn't been counting calories, I would have eaten MUCH worse. One thing I've been slacking on is drinking water, though. I'm used to drinking 2-3 quarts a day, but when I was at my sister's house, I hardly drank any at all. So, I'm going to focus on that this week.

On Monday, I'm going to NYC for Purina's Better With Pets summit. I attended the summit last year, and it was probably my favorite blogging event I've ever been to. They have experts do presentations about how our lives are better with pets, and it's really interesting! It was at that conference that I was inspired to get a dog, and I started researching dogs as soon as I got home. We adopted Joey in February, thanks to that summit, and he has truly made my family's life "better".

I arrive in NYC on Monday, and then the summit is on Tuesday, and I leave Tuesday night--a super short trip. Since I've been to Purina events before, I know what to expect as far as food goes, so I'm just going to plan my best for it. I had originally thought about going on the 31st, so that I could spectate the NYC Marathon on the 1st, but after having so much going on in October, I opted against it. I'm glad now that I decided not to go early--I want to get back into a nice routine. Someday, however, I would like to spectate that marathon!

Tonight is our recognition night for cross country. Renee and I made certificates for each of the kids--things like the "Cheetah Award" for the fastest boy/girl in each grade, the "M.I.R. Award" (most improved runner), the "Awesome Attitude Award", etc. It took some creativity, but we came up with an award for each and every kid on the team ;)

The school said we could use the cafeteria for our recognition night, so we're providing pizzas, and several of the families are bringing side dishes to share. Since we have 29 kids on the team, and many of them are bringing families, there are going to be upwards of 60 people there! I'm a little nervous, because speaking to a room full of people is outside my comfort zone, but I think the kids will be thrilled to be recognized for their running achievements. Should be a fun night!

October 27, 2015

Home again

This month has been SO busy. Normally, we don't have so much stuff going on, but October just happened to be packed full. We drove to my sister's house on Friday (in Illinois) and stayed there until yesterday morning.

I won't recap the entire weekend, but basically we went bowling a couple of times, and went into Madison, Wisconsin for an evening. Jeanie was running a half-marathon on Sunday in Madison, so we drove there on Saturday for packet pick-up and to have dinner. I went with her to pick up her packet, and I was so jealous when I saw the race shirts! I wished I had signed up, just because of those shirts ;)

Jeanie said she never wears her race shirts, and gave hers to me. I wore it today for a run:

It has a spiderweb on the front shoulder, and a big spider on the bottom. And it glows in the dark! When you put it in the dark, the name of the race (Haunted Hustle) is the only thing you can see. Normally, I don't like to wear race shirts of events I haven't participated in, but I really liked this shirt. (Jeanie said this was a very well-put-together race, if you're looking for a fun Halloween race next year. They have a 5K the night before, then a half-marathon, and full marathon.)

I did really well with my eating while I was at Jeanie's. We ate out a few times, but I only really "splurged" on one meal, which was at a Mexican restaurant called Mexico Clásico. They make fresh guacamole right at the table, and it's amazing. I also had a margarita.

My calorie count ended up being over 3,000 that day, so I just counted it as my high-calorie day and moved on. Other than that, I managed to stay under about 1700 per day, which isn't bad while being out of my usual routine. Not sure what my weigh-in will have in store tomorrow, but again, I wouldn't change anything and I feel good about my choices.

This morning, I had a meeting with Eli's speech teacher at school, so I only had time to squeeze in two miles. For some reason, I felt a little guilty for not doing three, but I only promised myself that I would do 2-3 miles for each run, so I have no reason to feel bad for doing two.

Running felt hard today. My last run (not counting the run I did with Jeanie at her house), I felt great and did a sub-9:00 average pace. Today, I thought it would be a piece of cake to run two sub-9:00's. Halfway down the street, I saw I was doing a 9:15 pace, and it felt hard! But I still pushed myself to try and hit that pace.

I ended up doing the first mile in 8:55, and then the second I pushed a little harder toward the end and managed an 8:44 mile.

That's a screen shot from the new Garmin Connect app. They updated it, and I love it!

I met Andrea for lunch at Panera, and I was thrilled to see that they had black bean soup today. That's my favorite (after broccoli cheddar, which is higher in calories) but they never have it anymore. I assumed they just stopped serving the black bean soup there, but when I saw it on the menu today I got a little too excited ;)

Not the prettiest soup in the world, but it's very filling and tastes delicious. I had a bowl of that with a baguette portion, which was 410 calories total. Not bad!

Tonight, I decided to go through all my running clothes and get rid of a lot of them. I have way too many, and I don't wear even half of them. Since I've cut back on running, also, there is no reason to have so many options. The first things to go were the clothes that were too big on me. I bought some shirts when I gained weight last year, and they were baggy in the stomach area (which I was happy about then, because it hid my belly that had gotten bigger). Looking at those shirt now, though, gives me a bad feeling. I realized that I don't ever want to wear them again. Here is one, for example:

June 2014
I hate that shirt with a passion! I liked it when I bought it, but looking at it now just makes me feel bad about myself. Do any of you have clothes that you just associate with bad feelings? It's kind of like music, or a particular scent--they can make you feel good or feel bad. Anyway, I am glad to be rid of this shirt, as well as several others. I was also happy to try on a bunch of shirts that I stopped wearing because they were too small, and see that they now fit me. And I got rid of a bunch of race shirts that I know I'll never wear. I love my race shirt quilt, but I don't know what to do with the race shirts that I continue to acquire. Anyway, it felt good to clean out that stuff!

October 26, 2015

Motivational Monday #126

Happy Motivational Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I was at my sister's house in Illinois all weekend, and it was fun to visit. I hadn't been there since I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2013 (which actually feels like it was very recently, and not over two whole years ago).

I managed to count all of my calories while I was there, and I didn't go overboard. I ate more calories than usual, because we ate out a few times, but I still kept it under 2,000 each day. I went for a run with my sister, and we stayed fairly active all weekend. She bought bowling balls for the kids recently, and we ended up bowling eight games during the weekend. That's probably more than I've bowled in the last three years combined! Haha

I'm used to weighing myself daily at home, so it felt weird not being able to check in while at Jeanie's house. I was just hoping that my weight wasn't climbing up! I feel like I made good choices, though, so hopefully the scale will be kind for my "official" weigh in on Thursday.

Here are a few motivational stories to kick off your Monday... enjoy!

Renee ran her sixth half-marathon last weekend, and set a personal record by over 10 minutes! It was her best half-marathon to date, and during the race, she even decided that she is ready to tackle a full marathon next year at the same race. (You know you're having a great race when you're already planning future races while you're running!) Renee blogs at With Brave Wings She Runs.

Mia flew out from Connecticut to run the Detroit International Half-Marathon! She finished with a personal best of 3:14, shaving 4 minutes off of her previous best time. She said it was the best race she's ever run, and she loved the vibe in Detroit. She's already thinking about doing the full marathon there next year! Mia has actually lost 112 pounds over the last three years, and started running a year and a half ago. In February, she's going to be running the Florida Keys Ragnar Relay with a couple of my From Fat to Finish Line teammates, Rik and Carly!

Do you all remember Jared? I wrote about him in Motivational Monday #117. He's been continuing to send me updates on his progress--he's been losing weight and walking a LOT of miles inside of his house. He has never once used being blind as an excuse not to exercise, and I find that incredibly inspiring. Anyway, he mentioned that his shoes were completely worn out (having walked 1,000 miles on them), so I decided to reach out to Altra and ask about getting him a new pair of shoes for all his hard work. (He has very wide feet, so I thought Altras would probably be comfortable for him). Altra was so kind to send him a pair of shoes! He's continuing his weight loss, and has now lost a total of 88 pounds. He's also still walking inside of his house, and has walked over 1,000 miles since June! The thought of walking that many miles doing laps inside of the house is mind-blowing to me--the very definition of "no excuses"! ;)  (Special thanks to Altra for their generosity! Jared was thrilled with the shoes.)

Congratulations to Renee, Mia, and Jared! Hope everyone has a fantastic week :)

October 23, 2015

A visit with my sister

Thank you so much for the kind comments on my previous post! I love the way my photos turned out, and I am really glad I did it.

The kids missed school today, and we left at 7:00 this morning to head to my sister's house. She lives in Illinois, about an hour west of Chicago. We used to visit pretty much once a year, but we didn't come out here last year for some reason. The last time I was here, I ran the Chicago Marathon! The kids always love to visit Aunt Jeanie, so they were really excited about it.

Originally, Jeanie was going to be running a marathon on Sunday, which is why we decided to come out here this weekend (to cheer her on at the race). About a month ago, she injured her hip, and ultimately decided to switch over to the half marathon instead. I'm still going to watch the race, though--I love spectating races. Hoping for good weather Sunday!

We brought Joey with us, which makes me a little nervous. I just hope he behaves himself. He'll be thrilled to have another dog to play with (Jeanie has a basset hound named Remy). He did really well on the whole car ride here. He sat in the back seat between the kids, and took a nap on their laps. That was his longest car ride by far.

The colors in Michigan are really pretty right now! I love all the reds, oranges, and yellows. Not a great photo, because I was in the car, but you get the idea.

Right when we got to Jeanie's house, I was curious to see what Joey would do with the doggy door. Jeanie has a doggy door for Remy, and Joey had never used one before (as far as we know, anyway). It took some enticing him with treats several times, but eventually, he got the hang of it. And now, he's loving the fact that he can go in and out as he pleases--it's like he just can't make up his mind. He wants to keep going in and out, just to use the door ;)

Jeanie gave Noah a bowling ball (drilled to his fingers) for his birthday. So, she made plans for a private bowling lesson for Noah to do today right when we got here. Tonight, we're all going bowling so Noah can practice and show off his new skills.

Tomorrow, we're going into Wisconsin, where the race will take place (on Sunday). Jeanie is going to pick up her packet, and we'll spend the afternoon there. I think we're going to be near Madison. The last time Jerry and I went to Madison, we had so much fun! It was a fun little college city, and we enjoyed walking around and checking out little shops. We had an amazing pasty from a place called Teddywedgers that a reader suggested we try. Jerry has been talking about it ever since! ;)

I'm a little worried about making food decision while I'm here, but I'm just going to treat it like I did last week--eat the stuff I want, but keep the portions small and log everything. Tonight, I am going to go for a three-mile run with Jeanie. I don't have plans to do more running while I'm here, but I imagine we'll stay active and walk the dogs and stuff like that. Again, I'll be happy if I can just maintain my weight this week!

If you have a Motivational Monday submission, please send that to me as soon as you can. I'm going to try to get it done on Sunday, because we're driving home on Monday. I have a Prudential post going up on Sunday night, so I won't be able to post a reminder then. Here is the info to submit a MM post! Hope everyone has a great weekend :)

October 21, 2015

Week 10 Weigh-in

Whew! I am so glad that I made it through this whole week without letting it phase me (or make me stop calorie counting or get back into old habits). Thomas was in town from Thursday until Monday, so Jerry and I wanted him to try some of our favorite foods. Unfortunately, my favorite foods are not things like grilled fish and vegetables ;)

My main focus was on portion control. I knew I could eat whatever I wanted, but I would have to be careful of my portions and make my best estimate as to the calories I was eating. I wasn't too concerned about going over my typical number of calories--one week of going over wasn't going to cause TOO much damage--but I didn't want to turn the whole week into a big food fest, either.

I did end up going over on most days, and my average calorie intake was 1721 (rather than the 1500-ish that it usually is). I was really hoping not to gain weight, but I wouldn't have minded just maintaining this week, either. Anyway, I was very happy to see a loss on the scale this morning!

I was 138.5, so that means I lost a pound from last week. My body fat percentage was 24.3, so it was down by 0.7% from last week. Waist measurement was 26, which was down by 0.25 inches. Woot!

I'm thrilled with that. I was able to indulge in food and drinks while a friend was visiting, but not go completely overboard and gain 10 pounds. It wasn't easy, because there were several times where I just wanted to eat more than necessary, but I knew that eating half of a huge sandwich was just as satisfying to my tastebuds as eating the whole thing ;)

Yesterday, Jerry and I went to Catherine Kellie Studios to look at my boudoir photos. I was actually more nervous about viewing the photos than I was for the photo shoot itself! I think it was kind of like walking into your own surprise party--everyone is waiting for your reaction, and you don't want to give the wrong one. Does that make sense? I had no idea what to expect, so I just hoped that I liked the pictures.

Catherine set up a slideshow of all 70 photos, and then told us we could go through and rate them. I was stunned when I saw the slideshow! The pictures looked absolutely amazing. Catherine said she didn't do much editing (as far as my "imperfections" go) because she didn't think I needed much. It made me a little nervous when she said that, because I was expecting to see glaring stretch marks and loose skin; but she did a lot with positioning my body and angling the camera in a way to hide the areas that make me self-conscious.

In looking through the photos, I could see a hint of my stretch marks on some, and while Catherine would have edited them out had I asked her to, I decided to leave them as they were. The stretch marks are a part of ME, and without them, it wouldn't really feel like me in the photos. I'm glad they aren't glaringly obvious, but I'm also glad that I chose not to eliminate them completely.

I would love to be able to share all my photos here, but I don't feel comfortable with them being online for the world to see, so I'll just share a couple of the modest ones. Jerry LOVES Star Wars, and I found this R2D2 corset at a Halloween store, so I thought it would be fun to do a couple of pictures with it as a surprise for Jerry. Dressing as R2D2 isn't exactly "sexy", but somehow, it looks very cute ;)

Here is another "cute" picture that isn't too revealing (this was actually one of my very favorite pictures):

And finally, here is a picture that I thought was just gorgeous:

Those are the only ones I feel comfortable sharing online--hope you understand! Jerry was THRILLED with the pictures, of course; but more than anything, I am so glad that I did this photo shoot because it made me feel really good about myself. I'd never actually felt "sexy" in my life (Jerry always says I am, but I feel silly when I try to be sexy).

When I was obese, I never felt feminine, either. I wanted to be girly, but being heavier than my husband, I just didn't feel it. When I lost the weight, I vowed to be more girly by painting my toenails, wearing form-fitting clothes instead of boxy ones, and things like that. This boudoir photo shoot, however, made me feel beautiful, sexy, girly, and powerful. Looking at my photos, I am very proud of my body, and I'm so glad that I have pictures to remind me of that feeling, should I ever forget it!

October 20, 2015

Surgery and sub-9:00

Yesterday ended up being rather eventful in the morning, and completely unexpected. On Sunday night, when we had our bonfire, Joey was outside playing with the kids. He had fetched a stick, and was chewing on it when Eli said he dropped it suddenly and "blood was gushing from his mouth". I went over to him to see what was wrong, and when I opened his mouth, I saw just a little bit of blood (Eli tends to exaggerate), but I couldn't tell where it was coming from. I figured he probably cut his tongue or his gums on the stick, but he looked okay as far as I could tell.

Later that evening, I noticed Joey was acting odd. He was being kind of antisocial with people, which is very unlike him (he loves people!) and he was just wandering around nibbling at grass. He seemed really submissive, too--when I would reach out to pet him, he just laid down on the ground and didn't seem very excited. Someone suggested maybe he was just acting strange because of all the people that were around.

Yesterday morning, he had no interest in eating his breakfast. Then, I noticed that his entire chest was wet from drool. I decided to look inside his mouth again, to see if maybe there was a piece of the stick stuck in there or something. That was when I noticed the problem--he had completely broken his top canine tooth in half! I could see the raw part inside his tooth, and it looked very painful. I called the vet, and they said to bring him in right away. After the vet checked him out, he said it would have to be extracted. 

So, Joey had to have surgery yesterday to extract what was left of his tooth. Poor dog! When we picked him up from the vet, he seemed much happier. He was a little loopy from the anesthesia, but by evening, he was back to his old self. And today, you would never know that he just had surgery yesterday! I'm really surprised that his tooth broke from a stick (Eli said it was a really hard stick, but still). He chews on antlers pretty often, and he's never had a problem. Anyway, he's doing great now, so I'm happy about that.

Today, I went for a run after getting the kids off to school. On Friday, I ran three miles, and finished the third mile in 8:51... which was very exciting! I hadn't run a sub-9:00 mile since probably November of last year when I did the Turkey Trot. 

Today, I decided that I was going to aim for three miles in 9:30 or better. Lately, I've been doing between 9:15 and 9:45, but I hadn't gotten three under 9:30 yet, so it sounded like a good goal. It was SO NICE outside today! All weekend, it felt like winter (it even snowed at the starting line of the race on Sunday), and I was layering my warmest running clothes for that. 

Trying to stay warm after the race Sunday
Today, however, I ran in capris and a tank, and was very comfortable. My first mile felt pretty easy, and I finished it in 9:22. Since I was feeling good, I changed my goal a little--I decided to try and run a sub-9:00 mile in the middle, and then finish with another sub-9:30 mile. That second mile felt a lot harder, but I finished it in 8:41! When I looked at my Garmin after that second mile, I saw that my average pace was 9:02, so I thought, "I wonder if I can make my average pace be sub-9:00?" 

It was really tough, and that last mile felt like FOREVER, but I did it. I finished the last mile in 8:41, and my average pace ended up being 8:56!

It feels so good to be making progress again--with the weight loss AND the running. I've missed that feeling of hitting my goals. I tried to get a picture with Joey after my run (he always comes outside with me to sit on the porch for a few minutes) and this is the best I could do:

He's not really a licker, but when he puts his nose right up to my lips, I'm always afraid he's going to lick me. So my face ends up looking like that in most of our selfies ;)

Tonight is our last cross country practice. We have a meet tomorrow, and we're going to do a little banquet to celebrate with the kids next week, but other than that, cross country is over until next fall. I'm not sure that I'll be coaching again, because Eli won't be at the elementary school anymore. I'd like to volunteer to coach the 5/6 grades, so maybe I'll end up doing that! It's been such a great experience, and I never knew how much I'd enjoy coaching little kids to run ;)

October 19, 2015

Motivational Monday #125

Happy Motivational Monday, Friends! After a crazy-busy weekend, I feel like I need a weekend just to recover ;) I had a lot of fun showing Thomas around Detroit, run/walking the half-marathon with Jerry, and catching up with friends at our bonfire last night.

My main goal as far as my eating/exercising goes for the weekend was to count my calories (even if I ate way too many) and to complete the half-marathon. I completed both of those! We wanted Thomas to try some of our favorite foods, so it was difficult not to just throw my calorie goals out the window, but I was careful not to overdo it. I kept my portions small, and estimated the calories the best that I could. My calories for the day ended up being higher than normal, but I was okay with that.

Jerry and I had a lot of fun at the race yesterday, and for some reason, it felt so much shorter than a half-marathon typically feels. It went by really quickly! I was a little sore today (mostly just my hips), but I feel really good for completing it. Thomas went home today, so things should be back to normal (at least until Friday, when we are going to drive to my sister's house for the weekend!). Overall, I'm very happy with the way I handled the food situation all weekend. I don't know what the scale will show on Wednesday, but I wouldn't change anything.

Anyway, I forgot to post a reminder about Motivational Monday yesterday, so I just have two stories to share today. But they are good ones! Enjoy :)

Shelley shared this story about her daughter:
"My daughter Hollie started working out almost a year ago. She walked her first 5k in December and then ran/walked (we call it wogging) a Color Run in May. She decided her next milestone would be running a Tough Mudder---10 miles with 13 obstacles through mud. This past Sunday she accomplished her goal, crossing the finish line at Tough Mudder Missouri. I couldn't be more proud of her for setting scary goals and smashing them!!"

Jessica shared her proud moment as well:
"Having been a dancer my whole life, running was never in my vocabulary. After a foot and hip injury, dancing fell to the wayside and I gained nearly 50 lbs. I started taking running seriously in about June, and lost 12 pounds in that first month. After that, I let excuses get in my way, and went back to my lazy ways. 
 About three weeks ago, my mom told me her band would be playing in the Denver Rock n Roll marathon, and asked if I'd like to help. I decided, what the heck, I'll run the 5k instead. I'll admit that I didn't go very far, or very fast compared to the work I began this summer. However, I did beat my goal of 45 minutes, and ran it in 43:50. My sweet (runner) boyfriend ran the whole thing slow and steady with me. Can't wait to start working toward a better time, and maybe a 10k!"

A huge congratulations to Hollie and Jessica! Very inspiring :)

October 18, 2015

Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon race report

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days--we've been super busy!

Today was the day I was supposed to run the Detroit Marathon for the second time. A little over a year ago, Thomas and I made plans to run it together in 2015. Well, as you know, training didn't go so well for me. I got injured, and every time I started to pick up mileage again, my injury would flare up. On the day I was supposed to run 15 miles, my leg hurt so badly that I decided not to continue training, and to drop out of the full. I was super bummed about it, but I know it was the right decision. I stopped running for six weeks, and then started again with just 2-3 miles at a time.

A reader suggested that I switch my marathon registration to the half, and walk it. I loved that idea! When I told Jerry that's what I was going to do, he said he'd walk it with me--even better. So, we registered for the half, with plans of a scenic, fun walk together.

Thomas got into Michigan on Thursday evening, because he was still planning to run the full (solo). We spent the entire day in Detroit on Friday (Redsmoke Barbecue for lunch, Greektown Casino, a walk along the Detroit River, the marathon expo for packet pick-up, a taste test of the competitive American vs. Lafayette Coney Island coney dogs, a dive bar for a beer, and then the Red Wings game, where the Wings got crushed). It was a fun day!

Can you tell we were going to a Wings game? ;)

This morning, we headed up to Detroit at 5:30 for the 7:00 start time. The starting line is always EXTREMELY packed with people, so we had a hard time getting into the corrals. About five minutes after the race started, we were able to squeeze in (Thomas was in a faster corral, so it was just Jerry and me). It was super cold this morning--33 degrees and SNOWING. I was excited to get started, if only to get warm.

We had decided to just do run/walk intervals--nothing consistent, just running and walking when we felt like it. For the first mile, we ran slowly to get warm. Then we ran/walked until we got to the Ambassador Bridge.

View from the ramp that leads to the bridge

We wanted to walk up the bridge, so we could check out the sights. It was a really great view (which we saw last week on our bikes!), then we went into Canada. There, we ran along the river for a few miles. I saw a man holding a sign that said, "Just one country to go!" which made me laugh.

The bridge from the Canadian side

View of Detroit from the Canadian side
To get back into the United States, you go under the Detroit River through a tunnel for about a mile. Last time I did this race (I did the full marathon in 2012), I remember really disliking the tunnel. It was humid and people were yelling to make it echo through the tunnel. I just wanted to get out, so I didn't take any time to enjoy it. This time, I noticed the border on the wall--the Canadian side and the U.S. side. It was pretty neat!

We came up out of the tunnel just after mile 8, and I was actually feeling really good. We continued to run/walk the course, and it was a fun way to do the race. We stopped for a picture if we saw something cool, and we weren't at all worried about our time or pace. I was hoping to finish the half before Thomas finished the full, but that was only because I didn't want him to have to wait for us to finish. I saw another funny sign when we were back in the U.S. It said, "You smell like Canada!" Haha ;)

At around mile 11, I saw that I had gotten a text from Thomas that said his legs just crashed at mile 14.5 (no doubt because he ran the Portland Marathon just two weeks ago!) and he would be run/walking the rest, which was a bummer for him.

A little after mile 12, there were some spectators handing out shots of bourbon! I've never had a shot of bourbon in my life (neither had Jerry), so naturally, we took one. I was surprised at how much (and how quickly) that warmed me up! ;)

We ran the last mile into the finish, crossing the finish line in 2:50:55. Not bad for an enjoyable run/walk! We went to the finish line party to sit for a little bit before going back to the finish line for Thomas. I was hoping to get an update from him, but I kept checking the live tracker to see how far along he was. At the finish line party, I met up with Colleen, a long-time reader of my blog. She and her husband flew in from Iowa to surprise their friend, who was running her first half-marathon!

Thomas finished in 4:21, which is not even close to his previous marathon times (he always finishes just over 3:30). He said his legs kept cramping up, so he had to keep stopping to stretch the whole second half of the race. It's kind of amazing that 4:21 is a "bad" time for him--I would be thrilled to get 4:21 on a good day! He really enjoyed the course, though (he even said he liked the course better than Portland's, which is a big compliment coming from him!).

Overall thoughts on the half-marathon run/walk today: I had fun doing it with Jerry; I love the course; I wish the weather was better but I can't do anything about that; and I am happy that I was able to complete it, after having taken so much time off of running. I've now done the Detroit 5K, the International Half, and the Marathon. If I ever have the desire to do another half-marathon, I will probably do the Domestic Half.

Tonight, we have friends coming over for a bonfire. It's super cold, which is unfortunate, but I'm sure we'll have fun!

October 14, 2015

Week 9 Weigh-in

I just have time for a quick weigh-in/recap of the week. As I mentioned yesterday, I saw a very nice surprise on the scale:

Hello 130's!! It has been WAY too long since I've seen the 130's (I think it was right around the time Mark was sick, so, going on two years). I was 139.5 this morning, so I am down 2 pounds this week. That surprised me, considering I just lost one pound last week; I really thought it was going to slow down, now that I'm so close to goal. But whatever happened, I'll take it! ;)

My body fat was 25.0%, so that was down by 0.7% from last week. And my waist was 26.25 inches, so that was down by 1/4-inch from last week.

I didn't do anything different this week--just the same calorie counting routine I've done for the last nine weeks. One thing I noticed is that I didn't feel the need to "drop a quick few pounds" before my boudoir shoot. I ate the same as always the day before and the day of my shoot, and it was relaxing not to have to stress over it. If I hadn't dropped weight over the past couple of months, I'm sure I would have had much more anxiety going into the photo shoot.

I tried on all of my "too small" jeans again yesterday, and was able to fit into a couple more. Now, I think I just have about five pairs that I need to be at goal to wear. I also tried on several pairs that I'd been avoiding wearing because they'd gotten too big. That's such a great feeling! I was able to get rid of eight pairs that were too big to wear. I really need to go through all the shirts in my closet, too, but I'll save that for another day!

Anyway, like I mentioned yesterday, I'm not sure how much I'll be writing between now and Monday. Is anyone going to the Detroit Marathon/Half-Marathon on Sunday? Jerry and I will be there, walking the International Half. Good luck if you're racing this weekend!

October 13, 2015

Running improvements

A few weeks ago, I felt SO sure I was getting sick. My throat was sore, I had a headache, and just felt kind of "off". I never did get sick, which is awesome. But yesterday, I started feeling those symptoms again. I really don't want to be sick this weekend! I hope it's just another false alarm.

For a while yesterday, I kept thinking I was feeling bad because of my run. I ran three miles in the morning, and I pushed the pace a bit for the last mile. I ran the first mile in 9:36, and my throat was a little dry and sore--I just assumed it was from the running. I was hoping to do negative splits, so I tried to hold that pace, and finished the second mile in 9:35. Then, the last mile, I was aiming for 9:20 or faster. With about 0.15 mile left, I saw that my pace was 9:10/mi, so I decided to push it and try to hit a sub-9:00.

When the Garmin beeped, I looked down, feeling hopeful--it said 9:02.5. So close! I'm sure if I went out with the intention of running a sub-9:00, I could do it right now. I never would have said that three months ago!

At yesterday's cross country practice, I wanted to try a new game. It's been hard to keep thinking up new ways to keep the kids interested in running! I ended up dividing them into relay teams of 5 or 6. Then I ran about 100 meters away from the teams, and held a deck of memory cards. (I bought the cards at the dollar store--they each have an animal on them, and there is a match for each card.)

The idea was for the kids to run (relay style) to me, and take a card, then run the card back to their team. Then the next runner would run and grab a card, and bring it back to the team. And so on, until all the cards were gone. The object was to see which team could get the most matches (and obviously, the faster you run, the more cards your team can collect). Some of it was luck (not knowing which card they were going to get), but the kids really loved playing!

I still have a couple of puzzles that I was planning to do something similar with. Maybe have them run up the hill to get a puzzle piece, then run it back down to their team, relay style. Whichever team gets their puzzle together first, wins. It's been really windy, though, so that may not work well ;)

Today at practice, we did a time trial identical to the one we did on the first day of practice. On that first day, I told them to run one loop of the park (0.38 miles) as fast as they could; and then I marked down their times. Today, they did the same thing. I marked their times again, and calculated the improvement. All but two kids improved their time! Our fastest runner (Renee's son, Ben) shaved off four seconds, which doesn't sound like much, but considering he's so fast, that is a great improvement for just four weeks. One of the girls shaved off over two whole minutes!

I've been thinking about how much I love coaching, and I decided I want to continue to coach some of the kids through the winter. I think I'll invite about ten of the kids (the ones who take it a little more seriously and actually enjoy the running part, haha) to continue to meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings to practice. Renee said she'd definitely be interested in continuing as well. I think it would be a good way for me to get out and be active during the winter, too--I can do my runs at the same time as the kids.

Anyway, I've got a super busy week ahead of me. Tomorrow, I'll definitely post my weigh-in, but I'm not sure how much I'll be posting between Thursday and Monday. I'm excited about my weigh-in tomorrow, because I had a nice surprise on the scale today ;)

October 12, 2015

Motivational Monday #124

Happy Motivational Monday! It has been a fantastic (although very busy) week for me. I had an amazing boudoir photo shoot, and rode the Bike the Bridge in Detroit. I'm still doing well with calorie counting, but the weight loss is definitely slowing as I get so close to goal. This week is going to be tough for me, because Thomas will be in town, so we want to take him to some of our favorite restaurants. I'm just going to have to pick and choose what to splurge on and what I'm okay without. I'll be happy if I can just maintain my weight all next weekend.

Anyway, here are some inspiring stories for Motivational Monday!

In 2012, at age 27, Hannah was told by her doctors that she had just SIX WEEKS to live. She was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, and felt like the entire world just stopped spinning. She went through intensive chemotherapy, and endured nine weeks of it before her surgeon performed a major operation--removing most of her stomach and her esophagus. She then went through another nine weeks of chemotherapy. She started working out again when her doctors gave her the okay, and even started training with a local triathlon club. Three years later, she has done things that she thought were impossible: she's completed a duathlon, a triathlon, turned 30 years old, and last weekend, she completed her first half-marathon! She finished in 2:31, well under her goal of 2:45, and raised money for the cancer hospital she went to for chemo, The Beatson in Glasgow, U.K.

In January of this year, Taryn sustained a life-altering injury when she dislocated her knee, tearing the main artery supplying blood to her lower leg. It took almost 12 hours to get the blood flowing back to her leg--she had lost half her blood volume, her kidneys shut down, she nearly lost her leg, and even worse, was close to dying. She spent over two months in the hospital (four days in the ICU, four weeks of complete bed rest, and six weeks total with the metal rod (in photo) in place. She took her first post-injury steps on March 3, which happened to be her birthday. This week, she is proud to say that she has returned to the gym, and is now working with a trainer to get her strength back up. She's counting calories, and the weight is starting to go down. Her doctors predicted she'd be out of work for a minimum of a year, but she's going back at the end of this month, less than 10 months after her accident. She's worked very hard to get to the place she's at now, and she is proud that she hasn't given up on herself!

Phyllis is a runner, and in 2006, completed a half-marathon (which would be her last for several years). She was side-lined from running due to sciatica, but she took a couple of years to get well. In November 2014, she ran another half-marathon, which sparked a new goal. She decided that she wanted to run a half-marathon each month for a year. Yesterday, Phyllis completed her 12th half-marathon in 12 months! Most of the races were in Florida, but she even traveled to Chicago and Atlanta to race. She turned 50 in May, so she is proudly celebrating these accomplishments!

Andréa just completed her first 5K race! She is on a journey to lose over 100 pounds, and has already lost 58. She started walking four months ago, and could barely finish a mile in 30 minutes. On Saturday, she finished her 5K in 51 minutes, including a speedy 16:03 mile (a personal best for her)! That sort of improvement is impressive alone, but she was also pushing her three-year old in a stroller during the race. (Andréa blogs at The Girl Behind the Mask)

As always, I am super inspired by your stories, ladies! Congratulations on your accomplishments!

October 11, 2015

Bike the Bridge ride report

Last month, after I wasn't able to finish the Tour de Troit due to flat tires, I really wanted to find another group bike ride. I loved the Tour de Troit until I got the flat tires. I saw that the Tour de Troit was actually hosting another ride called Bike the Bridge, where you get to ride over the Ambassador Bridge into Canada, then back across to the States, and then go for a 20-mile bike ride in Detroit. Jerry and I signed up for it, and then I taught myself how to change out bike tire tubes so I would be prepared in case I got a flat.

A few days ago, Jerry found out that he had to work today--mandatory overtime, unless someone would pick up his shift. He asked everyone, and nobody wanted to pick it up. Yesterday, I wasn't even sure that I was going to go to the ride today--I really didn't want to go alone. I would have had to drive all the way up to Detroit at 6:30 a.m. by myself, and then ride the 25-ish miles alone, and that just didn't sound fun to me.

Last night, in the eleventh hour, Jerry's friend Steve told him he'd pick up Jerry's shift. I was so glad! I really wanted to do this ride, and I just kept debating whether I should go alone or not. The email we got from the ride organizers said to be there at 7:00 a.m. sharp for packet pick-up, so we left at 6:20 just to be safe. We dropped the kids off at my parents' house, and then made it to packet pick-up at 7:00 sharp.

Packet pick-up was in the parking lot of a restaurant in Mexicantown, and even at 7:00 in the morning, the air smelled like delicious Mexican food. We picked up our packets (a t-shirt and bib), and then we had TWO HOURS to kill before the ride would start. I have no idea why they said to be there at "7:00 sharp". We went back to the car to hang out for a while, because it was cold outside. The t-shirts we got are really simple, but I love them!

At around 7:45, we walked to a little coffee shop to sit and wait. They are normally closed on Sundays, but they were open today because of the ride, and there were a lot of cyclists in there. At 8:30, we unloaded the bikes from the back of the Jeep, and then made our way to the starting line. The ride started at 9:00, and a police car escorted the pack of cyclists to the bridge, which wasn't very far away (maybe a mile).

I climbed the bridge on foot in 2012 when I ran the Detroit Marathon, but I was actually pretty nervous to do it on a bike. I've never practiced hills on a bike before, because we just don't have any around here. Thankfully, it wasn't that hard!

I was huffing and puffing a little by the time we got to the top, but I didn't have to stop, or walk my bike, or anything like that. We stopped for a quick picture on the bridge (we picked a bad spot to stop, because there was a big pole in the way of the view):

Once we got onto the Canadian side, we had to stop and wait for everyone to cross the bridge. We stood there for about 15 minutes, waiting for everyone to get across, and then the police escorted us back across the bridge to the United States side. Riding the bridge ended up being my favorite part of the ride. It was an awesome view from the top and coasting on the way down was nice! I didn't even pedal at all on the downhill, and my bike hit 24 mph on the way back into the U.S.

After we were back into the U.S., we had to stop and wait again for everyone to catch up. This is where things got a little odd. During the Tour de Troit, everyone could go at whatever pace they wanted; for Bike the Bridge, though, the police escort was driving really slowly to try to keep the entire group together (all 750 cyclists). That caused a LOT of stop and go movement on the bikes, which was irritating.

There were a few times along the ride where we had to stop completely for 10 minutes or so and let the entire group get packed together like sardines again. Because of all the stop-and-go movement on the bikes, the ride was taking much longer than anticipated, so they decided to shorten the route. It was supposed to be 20 miles (in addition to the bridge loop, which added a little over 5 miles); in the end, the entire ride, including the bridge, only ended up being 16.2 miles. A lot of people were disappointed.

When we got back to the starting area, Jerry and I went and put our bikes in the Jeep, and then went to pick up our lunch. The registration fee we paid included a catered boxed lunch. Mine had a chicken caesar salad sandwich, a bag of chips, and a cookie. I ate the sandwich, which was delicious, but I skipped the chips and cookie, because I'd been smelling something delicious from the Mexicantown Bakery all morning. My plan was to get churros, but once we went inside, I saw slices of carrot cake, and it was all over. I bought a piece of carrot cake and it was heavenly!

I ate about 3/4 of it before I realized that I just didn't want any more, because it was so rich. That NEVER happens! I wish I could say that I'd burned all those calories on the ride, but I only burned 405 calories during the entire ride. I estimate the cake to be 600. Oh, well, good enough! ;) And the cake was worth it.

Overall, we're glad we did the ride, but we both agreed we wouldn't do it again. Riding over the bridge was awesome, but the constant stop-and-go of the bikes took away a lot of the enjoyment of the experience. It was nice to do something different together, though!

Don't forget, tomorrow is Motivational Monday! Please send me your submissions tonight, so that I can get the post together tomorrow morning.

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