Monday, September 30, 2013

Put me in coach....

Getting there.  I'm not in the game yet, but I'm standing on the sidelines, suited up, and ready to play.  I feel sane for the first time in a while.  The weekend was a rousing success.  After Saturday's hike, I got up on Sunday morning and was sore.  But I ran anyway.  I gave myself a bit of a break and only ran 10 miles.  That's a bit shorter then my typical Sunday run, but I figured it was okay after the mileage I put down last week.

From Sunday the 22nd - Sunday the 29th, I covered 72.2 miles!!!  That was 46.5 running, 9.2 walking and, of course, 16.6 hiking.  Phew!

I ate really well, too.  Usually that much exercise leaves me feeling justified in eating too much or the wrong stuff.  But not this weekend.  I was pretty vigilant, yet I didn't deprive myself, either.  After running yesterday I weighed myself and my weight was way down.  I knew that it was an artificial low - as I've mentioned, I always drop weight after a run, but it felt great to see numbers in the teens again.  I was 116.7.

We spent yesterday putting all the summer decorations away.  Geez - it feels like I just got them out!  I hate to see summer come to an end, but getting the yard cleaned up and ready for fall feels like an accomplishment.  

This morning, I shot back up to 120.2.  Some of that must be from DOMS and retaining water.  Geez, I'm pretty fit, but I have some achy spots from hiking.  I was carrying a backpack and feel it in my shoulders.  And my hamstrings are sore, too - I think climbing up and down rocks did that.  

I wasn't sure where I would be mentally this morning - it's one thing to feel good on the weekends, but getting back into the groove on a Monday morning is another!  But I'm happy to report that my feeling of calmness and being in control is still here.  I'm not having any urges to eat uncontrollably.  I still feel a little shaky - the last couple of weeks have done a number on me mentally.  But I **think** I'm getting back on track.

Thanks to everyone for supporting me and encouraging me when times were tough.  I mean that!  This is a good way to end the month.  If any of you have been struggling like I have, I hope you are getting back on track, too!  Tomorrow a new month starts - what a perfect time to get back in the game!!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A day spent with nature...

Yesterday, as planned, we decided to go for a long hike in the Adirondacks.  What a wonderful September day it was!  Sunny, calm, highs in the upper 60's.  You couldn't ask for a more beautiful fall day here in Northern NY.  It was my hope that spending the day hiking would help restore my sanity and serenity.  

I think that it worked.  I felt so at peace walking with Marc and the dogs.  I was able to put most everything out of my mind and just enjoy the sites and smells of fall.  The leaves are changing and were almost at peak.  The air was fresh.  It was a great day.

We hiked the High Falls Loop in Wanakena.  It is in the southern part of the Adirondack Park.  It was over 16 miles and took us well over 5 hours to hike the whole thing.  It was a challenging hike, but we took our time and stopped part way in to enjoy lunch.

The first few miles were relatively easy.

Chakotay and Archer were off leash the whole hike.

Stopping to check the trail maps.

 We paused trying to find out a way to navigate across a flooded beaver dam without getting soaked and ran into this guy!

 About 9 miles into the hike, I saw this.  I was afraid my boys wouldn't cross it, but I told them to go and they went across like champs.  I love them so much!  What great hiking partners!

 The leaves were about at peak.

Some of the terrain was a little challenging.

 We left the house at around 8:45 AM and got home at 7:30 PM.  It was a exhausting day, but in a really good way.  I feel much more settled and that was needed after my tumultuous last couple of weeks.  Hopefully I can hang on to this high!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pressing RESET!

What a month it has been!!!  Hard to believe I started off the month flying high!  Holy crap - I ran the 1/2 marathon and the Run for Recovery and then went on a fantastic vacation.  I was in a great place mentally and physically.  This feels like forever ago.

Since then I've been CRASHING and BURNING.  Yesterday marked a graduation celebration for clients in my program who have completed in the past six months.  It was a great day as far as seeing the rewards of my work.  But doing all the work to prepare for the ceremony and then having a full morning of meetings and then the graduation celebration and then back into meetings - it is always is exhausting.  Both mentally and physically.  And yesterday was no exception.  I was SHOT.

Combine this stress with the hard time I have been having personally, and I was sitting here yesterday (having not gotten a lunch break but having served OTHER people eat pizza and cake) at about 2:45 with work piled up on my desk and was just SHAKING from anxiety and stress.      

Anyway, so I just HAD to get out of work.  I took off early and came home, grabbed the dogs and went on a 5 mile walk with them and Marc joined me.  By the time I had gotten back I was calmer and felt more in control.

But did I mention the hits keep on coming?  One of my cats - the newest one, Spock - has a SEVERE eye infection and Marc has been running him to the vets every other day trying to get it under control, but it's just not healing...  

The scale is still way up and it breaks my heart every single day when I step on it.  And even though yesterday's stress is over, I am at work climbing through the mountains of paperwork that I couldn't get to yesterday and making my way through the 20 messages saved on my voice mail.  If I can conquer those today, I can head home into the weekend in a good space.  I need to get them done, because if not, my weekend will be ruined thinking about what awaits me on Monday. 

We have plans to go on a long and hopefully relaxing hike tomorrow.  I am not where I want to be, not by a long shot.  But I am starting to feel a glimmer of hope, like seeing the light at the end of a long tunnel.  Hope is a good thing and it's a thing that has been missing lately.  For sure, I will be thrilled to say goodbye to September.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fight the good fight.

This is where I am mentally this morning.  I have been fighting all week and am beginning to see some success.  The scale has dropped to a number that doesn't send me mentally off the deep end - still not where I'd love to see it, but manageable.  My eating has been in check - maybe too in check.  

In the P90X series, Tony Horton says "get your mind right" all the time.  That's where I am struggling.  Mentally I'm still not in the game.  It's like everything I have learned and accomplished has gone out the window.  

I am exercising like normal but restricting my calories probably too much and it has resulted in a couple of non-positive things.  I noticed a considerable dip in performance when doing weight lifting last night.  I feel tired and irritable.  Not smart and and not good.  I KNOW BETTER!!

And I - inexplicably - just feel fat.  I had a dream the other night that I was fat again and when I got up to pee, I was rubbing my stomach and expected to feel the large fat stomach I used to have and was actually surprised that it was not there.

So why now?  Not sure.  I'm under a lot of stress right now at work which will culminate tomorrow and then I should be clear for a while starting next week.  Hopefully if my weight is back to my normal and the stress level is back to my normal my head will get back to my normal....  

I had to stop into Cici's Pizza for work related reasons today and the smell literally made me weak-kneed and light-headed.  Am I the most fucked up person ever??!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Recipe: Cheeseburger in Paradise Pie...

This may not be the MOST healthy recipe that I've ever posted, but DAYUM - it is tasty and you can use ingrdients that make it more healthy.  I calculated 1340 for the whole recipe, so eating 1/4 would be only 335 calories and eating 1/2 of the pie would be 670.  Depending on how you "spend" your calories during the day, this is a very reasonable dinner, especially paired with a low cal side salad!


1 lb lean ground beef (I used 94% lean)
1 large onion (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon of seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
a dash or worchester sauce
1 cup of shredded cheese (I used fat free Mozzarella)
1 cup of skim milk
1/2 cup of Original Bisquick mix
2 eggs


Heat oven to 400°F.

Spray a 9 inch pie plate with non-stick cooking spray

Cook beef and chopped onion in a skillet over medium about 10 minutes or until beef is brown.

After the meat is browned, drain off all the excess liquid and fat - you don't want it in the pie and draining it will lose some calories!

Stir in salt, garlic powder and worchester sauce and then spread in pie plate.

Next, sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of the beef

Using fat-free cheese will save you over 300 calories for the whole recipe!!!  

In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and Bisquick. Make sure you try to get as many lumps out as you can.

Pour this over meat mixture.

Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Hope you enjoy!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Appreciating the good things...

So I am trying very hard to get back on track.  And part of that is appreciating the good things.  I had a pretty good weekend.  I ate well - not perfect, but well.  And hey, who is perfect?  There was no bingey type behavior like the end of last week.  

Feeling back under control - that's a good thing.  The scale?  Well that's another thing.  My weight is still way up from where I'd like it.  It's discouraging despite my repeated and exhausting vow to not let the number on the scale determine my moods.  

Fall arrived "officially" yesterday.  I HATE fall.  Ok, no, I really don't hate fall, but I hate what it represents.  Which is the deep, depressing descent into a Northern New York winter.  

Ok, so where's the good stuff?  Yesterday I ran 15 miles!  It's the longest I've run in a long while.   I felt GREAT!  My motivation was there, my body felt good.  That includes my Achilles!!  I used Kenesio Tape for the first time.  I'm going to discuss this more in a later post - not sure if I can attribute my success to this being on me or not.  

What is it about fall that makes you want to clean and get organized?  I know I'm not the only one!  I HATE housecleaning - it is a bane of my existence.  But yesterday after running I cleaned - a lot.  (Well, a lot for me.)  And seeing a clean kitchen is enough to lift my spirits some.

AND - in a tight and last minute touchdown throw, the MIAMI DOLPHINS scored a VICTORY, putting us 3-0.  

So that's where I stand.  Fair to middlin' as they say!


Sunday, September 22, 2013

A belated Birthday Wish...

All caught up in my own drama I neglected to wish one of my absolutely FAVORITE people in the whole wide world a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Ironic that he is one of my favorite people, because he has no idea who I am!!

Yup, yesterday was the wonderful Stephen King's birthday!

Steve and I have spent many hours together.  I first discovered him in middle school.  The first book I read by him was "Christine".  That was quickly followed by "Cujo".  I was hooked - sold - my reading life would never be the same.  No more teenage girl books - I had discovered a whole new and amazing world and had no intention of ever leaving it behind!

The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there... and still on your feet.”

I remember in high school laying in bed at night devouring page after page of whatever book of his I was reading at the time with the hunger and desire of a crack addict.  Like a long marriage, the passion has cooled a little - I still love to read his books, but can put them down for a while now when real life calls.  

I have read a few of his books to the point that they are falling apart - like my absolutely favorite book of all time "IT".  And then there are those - like "Insomnia" that I finished more out of a sense of obligation and loyalty then any enjoyment.      

My dog-eared copy of IT.  I've probably read this book at LEAST 30 times.

I followed Stephen King's personal journey to the hell of addiction and back and cried for him when he almost lost his life when he was run down while out walking.  I've watched the film adaptations of his movies and short stories - some good, and some horrible.  And his audiobooks have kept me entertained on long runs.

And in real life endings aren't always neat, whether they're happy endings, or whether they're sad endings.”

So a belated and very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to a man who got me through some very bad times in my life, but also just entertains the hell out of me!

And don't forget that "Doctor Sleep" will be released soon!

Talent in cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A lot to process!

Today is a new day and I'm feeling a little bit better.  A good night's sleep, a hard morning workout and a satisfying and healthy lunch so far has helped.  The support that you guys have given me over the last couple of days has been unexpected, appreciated and much needed.

An loyal anonymous reader from Canada wrote a long reply to me yesterday.  I first want to thank her for that and I encourage everyone to read the comment because it is chock full of wonderful information.  I want to address some of what she said in this post as I have been processing and re-processing some of the stuff she talked about.

Ms. Canada wrote that the American Heart Association has certain guidelines of what a woman should eat to maintain their weight.

"Women of the same age group who exercise vigorously for one hour or more per day can consume up to 2,400 daily calories. As you age, these calorie counts decrease. Women ages 31 through 50 should consume about 200 fewer calories per day."

So that means that I could theoretically eat somewhere in the neighborhood of 2200 calories a day and maintain.  I typically eat 1700-1800.  

She also said this:

"Little miss, you are an ATHLETE. You train like a crazy mofo- your body NEEDS the fuel. You know what to eat and how to eat. You're not an average woman who works a desk job and walks the dog for 30 minutes once a day. You're CRAZY FAST and HULK STRONG!! FEED YOURSELF. SO what if you gain 2 or 3 pounds in the process of rebalancing your metabolism, regaining your sanity and stopping your hunger? ....It ain't gonna get easier if you don't."

I've talked at length about the DENIAL I had when I was fat.  Well, there continues to be a denial.  When Ms. Canada called me an athlete?  I was like "What is she, crazy?"  I would NEVER think to define myself as an athlete.  And then there's the 2-3 pound issue.  Ms. Canada, of course, is 100% right!  I know that intellectuallyHell, NO ONE is going to notice me weighing 2-3 pounds more.  BUT then there's the irrational, emotional and insecure side of me.  

I fight ALL THE TIME to keep my weight at 119 or below.  Yet my body seems really happy to hang out at 122-ish.  I think I can maintain at that weight fairly easily.  BUT I set this goal of being no more then 119.  So whenever I think about letting myself stay at 120-125, the voice inside my head SCREAMS:


And I worry about it being a slippery slope.  So I give myself permission to be 122.  Then I find that "too hard" and decide I can allow myself to be 127.  Before I know it I'm back to 200+!!  I have been fortunate enough not to experience this, but I've seen many many "re-gainers" and I don't want to ever be that!!

I did realize something when thinking back on my recent vacation.  One of the reasons it was so enjoyable is that I WASN'T HUNGRY.  Ms. Canada let me know that she is maintaining at a weight where she is happy and healthy and she's not hungry!  I guess I never thought that this was possible.  

So, I have a lot to think about and process.  I won't attempt any major changes at least until I'm confident I have myself back under control.  Thanks for sticking by me everyone!

   Yeah, this....

Friday, September 20, 2013

Hanging on by my fingertips....

I wish I could get on here today and say - "Hey, yesterday was just a bad day and I'm totally back on track!"  But that would be a lie.  I'm not.  

My "Panera Partner" stopped in at work today and I told her that I don't know WHAT is going on, but the body is just CRAVING and DEMANDING to be fed.  Which wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't the unhealthy, sugary carbs that it was demanding.  And I've been giving in IN SPADES.

So this morning was another disaster.  I won't go into details, but I'm sure you guys can guess.  I did run at lunch and ate a very low cal and healthy lunch and I am feeling a TINY bit more in control.  But again, this is COMPLETELY new territory to me.

When I decided on a lifestyle change in 2010, I just DID it.  And of course, I have had days where I ate more then intended or ate the wrong things.  But I have always been able to get myself back on track.  This out of control, unable to rein myself in feeling?  That is completely new to me. 

September is Recovery Month and I was at a get together this morning.  And, as often happens when I see people I know but I don't see them frequently, they comment on my appearance.  So this one guy today was commenting that he didn't recognize me and how FABULOUS I look, and in my head I was SCREAMING "I'm a FRAUD!  If you only knew!  I'm a joke - I'm going to be fat again!!!"  

I now have the weekend to catch my breath.  I want to say that I've got this, but Thin Jen is being sat on by Fat Jen and she is a heavy weight.  My confidence is SHOT.

I do want to say that your comments and e-mails mean the WORLD to me.  I hesitated posting anything  here because I also don't want to let anyone down.  But I have always tried to be as honest as possible, and so I think I need to put myself out there - even if it means some of you are disappointed in me, or think less of me.  

As I always tell you guys, it is NEVER too late.  Every single minute brings a chance to make the right choices.  I'm trying my best here....

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Ok, guys, it's confession time.  I am a train wreck.  I am having a HORRIBLE time getting back on track since vacation.

I am exercising, but have been eating TERRIBLE, especially the last 2 days.  My weight is way up, and I feel like I am mentally and physically spiraling out of control.

It's a little scary.  I literally have not felt like this since I started this journey and I'm upset, angry and frustrated with myself.

I need to get back on track, but motivation and self-control have taken an extended vacation.

If you could, spend a moment and send me some good vibes, please!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Anyone feeling like that today?  It's seems that the fall slump has hit and a lot of people are thinking of throwing in the towel.  I am seeing a lot of people complaining that they are hungry, and depressed, and just wanting to surrender.  

Remember my friends - this is NOT easy.  You know your body DOES NOT want to lose weight in general and this time of year is the worst.  You are fighting it.  Your body is encouraging - DEMANDING really - to EAT!  It wants to fill you with high carb, fatty foods.  That was HEALTHY and NECESSARY years ago when we didn't have a thermostat to crank up in the winter.  We, as a species, needed a fat layer to keep us warm and to ensure survival through the winter.  Survival is pretty much the prime directive.

So, yeah - it's a hard time of year.  I'm feeling it too.  There have been many times in this journey when I have wanted to give up.  In addiction recovery they call it the "Fuck its".  I had the Fuck its last night.  I was so cold, and hungry, and feeling sorry for myself because my weight is still up from last week's multiple pig out fests.

That carried over into today.  I was sitting at my desk this morning doing paperwork and just feeling really sorry for myself and unmotivated and Fat Jen was trying desperately to convince me that I should just stop trying to be thin and let my body do what it will.

And so what did I do?  I went out and ran a few miles.  It was cool, but it was sunny.  And I felt good and my Achilles even cooperated!  And then I came back and ate the healthy lunch I had brought.  

As I tell my clients all the time - no one has ever gotten in trouble for their THOUGHTS, only their BEHAVIOR.  So it's totally OKAY to get the fuck its, but you don't have to ACT on those thoughts.  Feel sorry for yourself, cry, scream, and then carry on.  BUT DON'T GIVE UP!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Things I love: Bondi Band

If you guys have looked at my running pics, you see that I wear a headband when I run.  I am not much of a "sweater" but on hot days when the sweat starts to flow and you find yourself running with sweat in your eyes?  That's bad. 

So I got on Runner's World and asked for recommendations.  Several people recommended Bondi Bands so I decided to give them a shot.  They have a variety of products to choose from, but I went right to the headbands.  They have a HUGE selection of headbands, from playful designs, to plain colors, to what is my favorite - sayings!

They have sayings for a variety of sports: biking, running, soccer, triathletes, etc., as well as ones for general fitness.  I placed my first order last year.

When I first received my Bondi Bands I was a bit skeptical - they seemed REALLY thin.  So I wasn't sure that it would actually soak up the sweat as promised.

This shows how thin the band is.  It also shows how NOSEY Archer is!

 So I set off on my run.  Much to my happy surprise, not a drop of sweat ran down my face.  After my run I took it off and was SHOCKED at how WET the band was.  It was literally SOAKED.  And yet not a drop escaped.  It baffles me how these bands can hold so much wetness - it's like magic, LOL!

So after wearing my bands over a year and washing them after every run, they continue to hold up well.  There is no loss whatsoever in their sweat wicking ability, although the color of the bands themselves have faded from being repeatedly washed.

I just got some new bands a month or so ago.  Another thing I LOVE is that each "sayings" band you can choose from a HUGE variety of colors.  Here I am today, right after a 13 mile run wearing one of my new bands:


 When I ran the half 2 weeks ago, I wore the band that says "13.1 - Only half crazy", and that got a lot of comments, but last week, when I ran the 10K and wore my Bondi Band that says "I Run So I can Eat" - well, that got a LOT of laughs.

On my last order, I bought a band for Marc that has to do with biking.  He actually wears it more for weight lifting as he gets really sweaty doing that.  Previously he kept an old towel in our workout room so he could continuously wipe off his head.  But now he wears the band and that works like a charm!  He was also surprised at how much sweat these suckers can soak up!!

I always wear my hair in a ponytail, so I'm not sure how well these bands would work to hold back short hair.  But whenever my ponytail holder has "slipped" the Bondi Band has kept the stray hairs that have escaped firmly out of my face.

So, I would check them out for your fitness accessory needs.  They have a variety of other products such as compression socks, armbands, stickers, and even neck bands for your dog!  

Chakotay and Archer on a hike last fall sporting their Bondi Bands.

I also want to assure you that their delivery is fast and in my first order there was an error that they got back to be IMMEDIATELY and rectified the error just as fast.  Your biggest problem is going to be deciding which ones to order!!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Life's purpose...

Last night Marc and I were watching a couple of TV shows that we recorded while on vacation.  One of those shows was American Ninja Warrior.  You guys familiar with this show?  It's basically an UBER hard obstacle course.  Every year there is a competition and people go through stages in order to get to the end.  NO ONE in the American version has ever completed the last stage.  But people train like crazy believing that they can be the first to conquer the course and in turn win $500,000.

So they show contestant profiles before they compete.  And they showed this one guy who has been training for this for a YEAR.  He built a similar course in his house and he and his wife talked about how it has been a lot of sacrifice of time and space (they also had a couple of kids) and that he practices 4 TO 5 HOURS A DAY!!!  

So this guy gets up, makes it through the first relatively easy obstacle and then stands there about to take the next obstacle and - about 12 seconds into his run - slips and falls into the water.  He is disqualified.  

OH. MY. GAWD.  I mean can you imagine?  Training for HOURS a day.  Taking time from your wife and kids.  And then falling 12 seconds in.  They interviewed him and he looked upset, but said "I'll be back next year."

I can't even conceive of this.  And it made me think of something I've been thinking a lot about lately.  What are my goals and what do I see as the purpose of my life?  Am I wasting time and sacrificing anything for this journey I have taken and still take every day?  I'm lucky that I don't have kids, and that Marc and I have made this commitment together.  So any potential guilt from that is a non-issue. 

I stopped over at my brother's house today.  And my extremely thin sister-in-law was in her pajamas at 3:30 PM and was making and eating this apple dessert with my nieces.  I envied the freedom that she has to make these choices.  They are choices that I feel are forbidden for me.  To just be sitting around in the middle of the afternoon?  (Incidentally we were near their house because we had just taken the dogs on a 4 mile trail hike).  And to just make and eat a dessert in the middle of the afternoon????  

I enjoyed the freedom of last week.  But I guess it comes down to this.  My sister in law has good genes.  But she also clearly has much better self control then I do, because if I allowed myself this liberty all the time?  I'd be back to 300+ pounds in no time. 

But sometimes I wonder what I'm working for.  What is my purpose?  What is the meaning of my life?  Why do I HAVE to weigh under 120 pounds or I feel worthless and ashamed?  Why must I come in first in all my races or I failed?  Sometimes I think that I worked so hard to get where I am and - 12 seconds in - I could fall and it would all be for nothing...

Do you guys feel like you know your life's purpose?


Friday, September 13, 2013

Vacation in review...

So, I did it - I knew I would.  I got on the scale and was HORRIFIED at the number it shot back at me.  I have managed to keep the sense of panic down, relatively speaking.  We'll see what the next couple of days bring.  It's 3PM - I used the elliptical for an hour this morning and have eaten rigorously well so far today.  Back on track immediately - that's what needs to happen!

At any rate, so we were on vacation in Pymatuning State Park in Pennsylvania.  We again stayed at one of their cabins that allows dogs - thanks Pennsylvania for allowing them in some of your cabins!  The area was much nicer then a different part of PA where we stayed last year.

The back of the cabin.

 A view from the porch - overlooking Pymatuning Lake.

We spent a day hiking the Western Reserve Greenway trail in Ohio.  It was a wonderful trail.  I have to say that I was surprised at how INCREDIBLY nice the people are in Ohio!  It was my first trip to this state, and I was impressed to say the least.  

 All decked out in our backpacks heading for the hike.

This area had an tremendous heat wave - high's in the 90's!  I was in heaven, but it was too hot for the dogs to hike too far the next day.  So we headed up to Ashtabula, Ohio and found Lake Shore Park.  Both my boys were thrilled to have some time to cool off and play in Lake Erie - is was refreshing!

After a while we headed out.  Again, we set off not really knowing where we were going - letting the wind - or fate - direct us.  We ended up in Rock Creek where we stopped at a local park and had a late lunch.  Again, the boys found the water and had to play!  Marc spotted a Blue Heron.  He was the most tame I had ever seen.  

I got pretty close, but he got nervous and took off into a tree where he began "yelling" at me!

 We took September 11th as a time to visit the Avenue of 444 Flags in Hermitage PA. 

And did some shopping at a local outlet mall.  Back at the cabin, we sat outside on the porch enjoying the peace and quiet and the beautiful views.

 Sunset over Pymatuning Lake.

Our last evening we spent relaxing.

Our last day, we headed north to the Pymatuning Spillway.  Unfortunately it was raining hard, but I did get to see what they meant by "the place where ducks walk on the fish"!

 A tremendous variety of ducks gather here.
The fish fill up the spillway - it was a little creepy.

So, I know for some of you, this non-exotic vacation would be pretty boring.  But for us, it was a wonderful time.  It gave Marc and I a chance to reconnect.  It was peaceful and relaxing, and I think we made the most of it.  It shook me out of my routine, which, as I reflect more, is a good thing.  If that means I have to spend the next few weeks back in "diet" rather then "maintenance" mode - I think it was worth it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Headed home...

As I type this, we are headed home.  it has been an interesting and fun vacation.  I have not "let loose" this much in over 3 years.  I didn't do any "formal" exercise, although we hiked and swam and were active.  I also did what I promised everyone, including myself, and did not run trying to give my Achilles a break.

 I also ate pretty freely - without stressing calories.  Part of me feels pretty good about letting my mind and body have a break from my usual ultra rigid routine.  But I can predict exactly what's going to happen. I have vowed not to weigh myself for a few days.  But I know damn well that I'm going to anyway.  And then I'm going to freak the hell out.

 I am trying to do a lot of positive self talk - there is nothing that I did or did not do that is going to make me unfit and fat in 1 week.  So there is no reason for me to melt down....right?

 More to follow....

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Yet another race - time to rest!!

Whew - it has been a big build up but I finished my last scheduled race today!  This was the Run for Recovery.  I guess it's not the ideal to run another race just a few days after running a half, but this race is near and dear to my heart as it supports recovery from addictions.  It also is organized by one of my good friends, Sal, and benefits a great cause.  

Marc was also running the 10K and that was fantastic.  Even though we didn't plan to actually run the race together as I am a bit faster then him, it is so much more fun for me when he is running and we get to the event, sign-in, hang out and line up together and everything. 

 Marc and I before leaving for the race.

I am thrilled to report that I kicked ass and took names in this race.  Because it is a cause that close to my heart AND I won it last year so there was pressure AND 2 years ago I ran the 5K and it was my first race ever, I really wanted to win.  So I was smart this time and lined up near the front.  

 It was really cool (extremely overcast and low 60's) today and the pre-race announcements and national anthem and a couple of speeches seemed to take FOREVER as I stood there shivering.  I had been bouncing around trying to keep warm, but at the buzzer we took off and my legs felt stiff and like lead.  But it didn't take long for me to warm up.  

My Achilles was a little achy but generally good today, so I decided to just go for it.  I made no effort whatsoever to pace myself.  I wasn't running as fast as I could, but I was cruising.  The 1.5 mile turnaround for the walkers and 5K racers seemed to pop up FAST.  I ran by it and could still see the guys running in the front of the pack of the 10K. 

Then - guess what?  I saw PONYTAIL GIRL!  You know - the bitch - I mean great racer who kicked my ass in my first 1/2 marathon in May!!!  She was right ahead of me keeping pace with another girl.  I said in my head "Well, looks like I'll be taking 2nd or 3rd this year."  Then I thought "FUCK THAT!  I'm going to try to catch her!!"  So, I turned it up a notch and, sure enough, right before the 3.1 mile turnaround I passed her.

I ran around that sign and headed back.  I was soon gassed though and was sure we had passed 4 miles.  I looked at my Garmin and it said 3.66 - oh shit.  I was sure that Ponytail Girl was right behind me just ready to pounce, but I was afraid if I looked back I would trip and fall.  So I told myself to "Run, Bitch, Run!"

I looked at my pace and was running about a 7:23 minute mile - that's WAY faster then I normally run, but fortunately mile 4-5 was an easy, slightly downhill run.  At just over mile 5, I saw one of my favorite clients who just graduated the program - he is an AWESOME guy now that he is clean and sober.  He was standing there with a shit-eating grin on his face and holding up his forefinger for #1. 

I was still scared that Ponytail Girl or the girl she was running with was right behind me, but I was also too scared to look back.  At this point I ran into a HUGE pack of walkers and had to weave and dodge my way around them.  A couple of turns and then the finish line was in sight.  As I made that last turn and my heart surged with relief as I threw a look back and saw no one close behind me.  I was going to take first!!

I then saw the red numbers and it was 44 minutes and counting!  I put on a last burst of speed and took a leap over the pods that record your time.  

So I took first and scored a PR (personal record).
  • 86 10K racers 
  • 15th overall
  • First place female
  • Finish time 44:59
Ponytail Girl finished just behind me (by 9 seconds!!) and the other girl right behind her.  We spent some time chatting and she confessed that she was desperately trying to catch me but could not.  I confessed that I had called her a bitch on my blog.  She took that with amazing humor.  

Marc finished in 50:30 and took 31st place.  I think that's pretty awesome for someone who doesn't run much.  He also wore his new kicks - Brooks PureConnect 2 -and said that they felt great the whole race which I was thrilled about, because his feet have been really bothering him on long races.  I never thought that Marc would wear minimalist shoes - maybe I'll post about that more in another post.  But anyway, it was great!

We then went in the nearby building to eat and to wait for the awards.  I got a lot of congrats from various people.  I am now starting to recognize and be recognized by runners who regularly run these races.  Because this was an addiction recovery race, there were also lots of active and ex-clients who came over to talk with me.  It was pretty awesome.

I was announced as being in first place, and as an added bonus, the Judge that I work with was handing out the awards, so I got a big hug and a trophy.  I have to admit - I'm pretty proud of this one...

Judge Martusewicz handing me my trophy, with my buddy Sal - the race organizer - standing to the right in this pic.

So there you have it.  There may be other races this fall, but I'm not currently signed up for any.  I am on vacation next week.  I need to rest my Achilles and it will be a mental break for me as well.  

I'm not sure that I will be able to make any posts where we're going because internet might be spotty at best, so you readers get a break from my ramblings as well!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

In the spirit of a new season....

I have made a few cosmetic changes to the blog.  What do you think?  I thought it was time to freshen up a bit.

You will notice I also changed the title of the blog - it is no longer "My Weight Loss Journey" because I'm not actively losing weight.  

But nothing has really changed - the content will remain the same, I just thought some revisions and advancements were in order!

One other piece of business - please remember that ANY TIME you order ANYTHING from Amazon and go through this blog, I get a tiny affiliate credit.  So I would so appreciate when you go to order, go to this blog, and in the upper right you will see an AMAZON banner.  Click on it and it will take you to Amazon.  Then browse and place your order as normal - that's it!  That's all you have to do.

So if you have found any value whatsoever in this blog, please consider helping me out!  Much love to all you loyal readers.  You truly will never know how much it means for me to know that there are people out there who read my ramblings and appreciate what I have to say!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Being happy for others...

When I was working on getting my Master's Degree, I worked at a small clinic that treated the chronically and severely  mentally ill.  There were only 5 counselors and 2 case managers.  So needless to say we worked pretty closely with one another.

I worked with a guy named Mark.  Mark had worked at this clinic for about a year longer then I.  Mark and I were what I consider pretty good friends.  We had hung out on weekends and worked well together at work and were - I thought - pretty supportive of one another.

I can remember this day CLEARLY.  We were all on our lunch break and were eating in the cafeteria.  One of the case managers was asking me about how my classes were coming and asked how close I was to getting my degree.  I responded that I actually was taking my last class and that, come October, I would finish and would have my Master's in Psychology!  The case manager expressed how happy she was for me and Mark looked up from eating and said "You better not get a raise for getting that!!  That would be really unfair!"  

Both the case manager and I looked at each other and she made some comment to him about what a dick he was and stormed off.  She was really pissed on my behalf.  I was more hurt then anything.  I mean this guy was supposed to be my friend and instead of being happy for me, he was concerned I was going to make more money then him.  And, of course, I had started my Master's well before I worked there, and was getting my degree as a personal goal - not because I thought I would get a raise.

But I guess looking back on it I can't judge him, because I have been guilty of thinking things along the same line in my life.  I really admire people who can be unconditionally happy for people when they have successes and not be jealous.

I have encountered both supportive and negative people during and after my weight loss.  Some people are really genuinely happy for me.  And then there are others who are NOT.  I have been surprised at some of the women especially who have turned snarky and snotty - some of whom I even considered friends.  Usually the animosity does not happen to my face, but you know how it goes - a small town, word gets back.  

I have been surprised on both sides of the coin - people who I didn't know or barely knew going out of their way to sincerely congratulate me or tell me how great I look.  I don't handle compliments well, so this makes me uncomfortable, but it is flattering.

And then there are those who seem to resent my weight loss.  I don't feel as though I flaunt myself and I try to be really supportive to others, especially ones that are struggling.  But they seems to resent me nonetheless.

But, as they say, no matter what, there is someone who appears to have more or be more fortunate that you are.  So I admit that I get jealous at times of other people's successes or when they - at least appearance wise - seem to have it better then me.   There is a woman on the weight loss site that I am on.  She is 4 inches taller then me and weighs the same as me.  And, she posts all the time about how she ate CRAP and her weight will spike for like 2 days and then she's right back down to the same weight that I fight like hell to be at.  And she doesn't exercise as much as I do which makes me even more jealous.

The last thing we need is more people being unsupportive of one another - this journey is hard enough as it is.  So I am making an effort to be more caring and supportive of people and to try to put any jealousy and any urge to be nasty aside.  Will you do the same?


Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I don't know about you guys, but I am feeling in need of a reboot!  Although the calendar tells us that summer isn't over yet, we all know that Labor Day marks the end of the summer season and it is back to reality for many people.

I am feeling a little like I need this fresh start.  I envision myself like a boxer when he gets into the ring - you know how they start shaking their arms out and rolling their head back and forth to get things loosened up?  That's what I am doing psychologically.

I spent the last week carb loading and then enjoyed the spread at the end of the race and the scale is reflective us this.  I was tempted to say "the hell with it" yesterday and spend one more day indulging, but I resisted that urge, and behaved very well.  I'm going on vacation soon and that's going to mean challenges, so I want to have some cushion - and I DON'T mean on my ASS!

So we now begin a push that will take us to the end of the year.  Christmas will be here in 16 weeks.  What do you want to accomplish before then?  How many pounds can you lose in the next 16 weeks?  That, my friends, is up to you!

If you start this week, you can complete the Couch to 5K Program and run a 5K race this fall!  If you create your TO DO list and  work on one small thing per week, you can have a bunch of fall projects crossed off by Thanksgiving!  

Imagine how much you can accomplish if you put your mind to it!

Remember - organization is the KEY!  Things are going to get crazy so set yourself up right!  Plan your meals for the week - take out what you are going to have for dinner the night before!  Lay out your clothes for the next day before you go to bed.  Pack your workout bag so that all you have to do is grab it before heading out.  

How badly do you want your life to change?  Today is THE day.  No excuses.  No whining.  DO IT!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Another half marathon in the books!

Are you dreading reading about another race?  Feel free to skip if so!  
Although this was technically my second half-marathon race, since my first one was - per my watch - about 1/2 mile short, this certified course felt like my "real" first one!  It was the 1812 Challenge.    Several battles in the war of 1812 were fought locally [incidentally, we know that our stone house was used to bake bread for the soldiers during this war], and this race ended on the battlefield in historic Sackets Harbor.
Unlike most races that begin and end in the same place, this race started in Watertown and ended in Sackets, so Marc had agreed to drive me in and drop me off for the race and then meet me at the end.  He packed his bike in the Edge so he could ride around the area while I was running.  So here we were, both up at 5:30 AM. 
The night before I had posted on Fitocracy about my preparations, and someone had replied to "have fun!".  You would think that this would be a "No DUH!" type of thing, but I get so caught up in competitiveness and self doubt that I sometimes forget that it SHOULD be about having fun!  That echoed in my head and maybe for the first time I was excited and pumped about a race rather then thinking of it as a chore.  
The race organizers were brilliant.  They had arranged for everyone to pick up their timing chips and race swag the day before the race.  So all we had to do was get there, line up and RUN.  No laborious race day confusion and registration!!  So we arrived just after 6:30 AM.  
As we walked around Marc and I noted two things - first, that although runners come in all shapes and sizes, overall this was a large group of very fit and healthy looking people!  It is unfortunately unusual to see a crowd this fit!  Secondly, I noted all the knee straps, knee braces, kt tape, compression socks and various other ailment relievers that told me that I was not the only one dealing with an injury!
Speaking of this, my Achilles was achy but not too bad this morning.  I felt confident that while I might have some pain, it was not going to play much of a role in today's race.     
I felt prepared and excited heading into today's race!
My headband says "13.1 - Only half crazy!"
Race announcements started, we lined up and were ready to go!  There were 323 racers in the half and 318 ran the 18.12.  I still am in total denial about my speed compared to other runners and lined up about halfway back.  I would soon find out that this was way too far back!  The countdown began and BANG, we were off.  Or...not.  There were so many people and it was so crowded that we all were walking when we hit the start line!  
This shows the crowded start line!

My first mile was painfully slow as I ran in the large crowd.  I was frustrated in trying to weave my way around others.  Mile 2 wasn't quite as bad, but was still crowded and people were jockeying for positions.  At mile 2 we encountered the first water station and a guy in front of me made a beeline for the woods.  Been there done that!  I felt sorry for him.  Luckily - or thanks to Immodium - I had no issues with that today!!

Soon we were on mile 3 and I ended up running almost side my side with a young blond guy who ran with his head cocked to the side.  I ran with him from about then to about mile 9!  His head was cocked that way the entire time - like a dog when they hear a loud pitched noise - I can't imagine how painful that would be!

I was really hitting my groove - this was a beautiful course - well marked and the roads were all blocked up so the racers could spread out over the whole road.  The day was sunny and about 70 degrees with little wind - a runner's dream.  By then I had a little more space to move and run my own stride.  At mile 4.5, the 18.12 racers had to take a detour to get in their miles, so the field cleared even more.  

From mile 4 on, each mile had a water station.  They had challenged groups to sponsor and volunteer at each station, and to compete with the other stations for who could cheer on and entertain the racers the most.  This was awesome!  Because each mile you knew you would not only get a chance to drink if you wanted but it definitely broke up the run as I looked forward to seeing what each station would do!

Mile 5 was a cruise uphill and a little difficult.  At mile 6, the course came together again and I was surprised to see an extremely tall and well built guy running the 18.12 join up with us - he cruised by me like I was standing still!  (He ended up winning the 18.12 with a blistering time of 1:44:48!!)  It was at the mile 6 marker that I picked up some PowerGel.  I have never used this before and usually don't like anything in my stomach, but thought I might give this a try later in the race.
Soon after, I told myself that I was halfway done with the race.  Mile 6-8 was very rural and somewhat boring and about mile 8 I began to BONK - or hit the wall as they say.  I thought for the first time that I might not make it the full half.  I was running a pace of under 8 minutes - pretty fast for a long course and wondered if I should slow down.  I grabbed some Gatorade at the mile 8 station which was cold and refreshing and pushed on.  
This reprieve didn't last and I had to fight to keep my mind right.  I watched as some very fast 18.12'ers passed me and I envied their speed.  I distracted myself by trying to get into the groove of the music and focused on others running in front of and around me and tried to get a second wind.
At mile 10, one of the volunteers had a sign that said "You've come this far - you might as well finish".  This struck me as incredibly funny for some reason.  And I realized I had 3 miles to go - that was nothing!  I could do this!
Mile 11 came at a local Nice N' Easy store, so there were a ton of employees and spectators cheering, holding signs, and taking pictures.  Since we had to cross a major road there, and I was sort of running several seconds both behind and in front of others, a very hot State Trooper stepped out and held traffic while I ran through.  Hmmm... I could get used to this!!  I think I should have a personal cop to stop traffic for me every time that I run!
It was then that I decided to try the PowerGel - OH SWEET NECTAR OF THE GODS!  It was sweet and seemed to absorb almost instantly.  I'm not sure if it was real or psychological, but DAYUM.  I ran those last 2 miles like I had wings attached to my shoes!  
A sign told me that we were entering the Village of Sackets, and I felt great.  At mile 12 I spotted a girl in front of me and decided I had enough energy to chase her down.  I put on some speed and flew by her.  I then took a turn by a large crowd who told me I was on the home stretch.  I ran down between 2 buildings and then saw a fence leading us into the large FINISH sign.  There were dozens of people clapping and cheering and, like the DORK I am, I raised my arms up and yelled "WOO HOO!!" as I cruised towards the finish line.  I was rewarded by the crowd echoing my cry and screaming loudly!!
I felt great crossing that line and paused in the chute to get the medal put around my neck and posed for a quick pic from the official photographer.  I sucked down some water and then grabbed a banana and met Marc who had taken the pics of me as I came in.
 I had absolutely no idea where I placed - my Garmin told me I had finished in 1:44:44.  I entered the "recovery tent" where there was a vast array of goodies for us to eat.  Then we waited as other racers came in and for the awards ceremony to start.

Other runners and I chatted - one told me I was a "beautiful" runner.  I saw one of my Drug Court clients who had run the 18.12 and finished in an excellent time.  He is a recovering heroin addict who is doing FANTASTIC and will be graduating soon.  His mother also came over and thanked me for helping her son.  It was a special moment to share with them.
Then they put the results up.  In something that was new to me there was listed "gun time" and then "chip time".  "Gun time" is apparently the "official" time - which seems wrong to me, as it took me some time to get to the start line after the gun went off.  So my official time is 1:45:38 (chip time listed as 1:44:55).
For the half-marathon only:  
  • 41st place
  • 10th place for females
  • 1st in my age group
 Getting my medal for 1st place age group.
I am a little disappointed - that's the competitive side of me!  Marc tells me statistically I was in the top 12.69% overall and 4.83% of women - and that this is a good performance.  And the most important thing is that I felt good, my Achilles held out AND - best of all - I enjoyed myself!