Sunday, June 30, 2013

The post about feeling like an awesome runner again

Finally!  A good run!
At the half way point of my 10K this morning.

Full disclosure time.  During the past week, I have been struggling with my runs.  And by struggling, I mean that my pace had gone down significantly.  I could blame it a lot of different things, but if you know me at all, you know I hate excuses.  I was running the same pace last week that I was running last September.  Around 7:20 per kilometer.  For a runner, going backwards is a bit devastating.  The main thought going through my head?  How in the hell am I ever going to run a full marathon when I'm struggling with 6-9K runs?  For whatever reason, I sucked last week.  I have had bad runs before, but never a week of bad runs.

With my confidence diminishing, I headed out for a 9K run yesterday morning and I nailed it. Not only did I run a good pace (6:30 per kilometer), but I completely crushed every hill I came upon (4 in total).  I ran a 10K this morning and had another good run.  I ran up the escarpment this morning and can definitely feel it in my quads right now.  I'm really missing my massage therapist.  He's walking the Camino pilgrimage in Spain right now.  I need him and he's too far away to help me:( Never thought I'd actually want something stripped.  You definitely miss what you don't have...

I have officially started marathon training.  My toes cramped this morning, so that issue has not been worked out.  The lump in my orthotics needs to be bigger.  It's better than it was, but definitely not right yet.  I see the chiropodist on Thursday.  I am so fed up with my feet it's not even funny.  I just want to run pain free.  The pain won't keep me from running.  I'll just bare it.  If I was told tomorrow that I will never be a marathon runner, then I would just run half marathons or 10K's, but I wouldn't stop running.  I can't.  It's become a part of me.

I remember blogging a while back about how if I ran 50K per week, I'd be able to afford 8500 calories per week on what ever I wanted to eat.  I run 40 - 50 K always.  Once my marathon training gets into full swing, I'll be running 65K per week.  I am a fool if I think I can ever eat whatever I want.  All I follow right now is Paleo (no refined sugar, processed carbs, legumes, sweeteners).  Following Paleo the way I was means I was maintaining despite the mileage I was running.  Right now I've cut out all nuts and only have fruit a couple of times per week because I'm back into weight-loss mode.  I'm giving myself 4 months to drop about 15 pounds to improve my running performance.  That would bring me to about 150 pounds on a 5'7" frame.  Trust me I have fat to lose on my upper thighs and hips.

I have been enabled my entire morbidly obese life.  By those around me, but worst of all by myself. Something I hate worse than excuses is blame.  I'd never blame my loved ones and friends for enabling me because bottom line, I'm an adult in charge of my own destiny.  I made myself obese, I was responsible for my obesity.  If I'm going to lay blame on anyone, it would be myself.  If I ever start blogging about how I fell off the wagon and started eating shit, please give me the slap in the face that I need.  I don't need coddling.  I need a swift kick back to reality.  I won't coddle, and I don't need coddling.  I need truth and honesty. Make sure you're a true friend. Someone struggling needs your honesty not your complacency.  I'd ask for nothing less.

Had to include this shot of my new shoes from Old Navy.
$7.50 by the time you worked out all the discounts.
Not too shabby!

Friday, June 28, 2013

The post about a goose egg and new shorts

Yesterday SUCKED!  I got into work and they were changing over our email provider.  The IT guy was milling about in case we needed help accessing our email.  Mine wasn't even set up on my computer so he had to install the program.  I shifted my chair over, and stood up to give him room to access my computer and forgot that there is a shelf above my workstation.  I managed to hit my forehead right on the corner of the shelf and managed to do this to myself.

Doesn't that look awesome?

It swelled up in less than a minute and caused my co-workers to freak out just a little.  Believe it or not, it didn't hurt at all.  I got a little dizzy after I hit my head, but I think that had more to do with the fact that I ran 9.3K yesterday morning and did a fat burning workout (didn't eat before hand), then only ate 3 hard boiled eggs on my drive into work.  Not enough of a recovery meal.  I laid down in the sick room for a half hour with an ice pack on my forehead before I went out to get something to eat, then I resumed my regular work schedule.  I saw a client at 3pm and by then my forehead looked like this.

A little lumpy, but almost unnoticeable.  

I woke up this morning, so all was well.  I promised our health and safety rep at work that I would go and get checked out at the urgent care center, but I didn't.  I felt fine all day.  I didn't black out or throw up. I just had a wicked goose egg for a couple of hours.  No biggie.  I'm not gonna lie.  The first thing that popped into my  head was "Is his going to affect my running schedule".  If I felt off at all, I would have gone to urgent care, but I was fine.  She wanted me to go right away and have someone either drive me home or come and pick me up.  She was lovely, but a little over cautious.

I finally got my income tax return back and was pleasantly surprised that it was slightly more than what I expected.  I was in desperate need of shorts so I headed to Old Navy to take advantage of their "buy one get the second for a loonie ($1)" sale.  It was on yesterday and today and was on all merchandise store wide.  Being the cheap frugal shopper that I am, I naturally headed to the clearance section.  There I scored five pairs of shorts and a top for $25.  The shorts were $6.99 each and since the second pair was only a buck, two pairs came to $4 a piece.  Now that is a deal!  And I'm ready to enjoy the summer!

Look at me buying stuff in color and patterns.
And in size 8!!!!!!!
I will tell you what I don't like about the summer.  Running in hot and humid weather.  I am so motivated to run as many early mornings as I can that it's not even funny.  I will take the cold over the humidity anytime.  Nothing messes with my breathing more that the humidity.  Those minus 18 Celsius runs this past winter are not looking so bad right now.  I say this now, but trust me, come winter I'll be bitching and moaning about the cold again.  Marathon training starts Sunday!!!!!!!

I notice things in the blogiverse are somewhat quiet right now.  I hope it solely has to do with people being busy and having lives (unlike me), and not too much struggling is going on.  I know that summer can be a hard time to stick to a diet, but it's also the time that you may want to look your best (bathing suit season).  This is my second summer of health.  I'm looking forward to the BBQ's because meat is my main staple.  Less of a chance that I'll have to explain my eating habits to a host because there's usually always meat and salad at BBQ's.

Relationships change when you lose weight.  I hope that people I used to be close to don't think that I'm unapproachable.  The only thing that has changed about me is my appearance.  I am still the same person I was, just smaller.  I have never, nor would I ever tell someone how to live their life.  I know that weight-loss is hard and it's something you have to be mentally ready for before it will work for you.  The only one who can make you mentally ready is you.  Some may never get there, and others will.  All though I'd like to think I have obesity licked, I'm not naive enough to think I'm cured just yet.  I still struggle with a lot of thoughts.  Dangerous thoughts.  But my saving grace is that I haven't acted on them.  Everyday that I avoid the demons in my head, I am one step closer to ultimate freedom.  Everyday it gets easier and easier.  Ultimate freedom to me is when those thoughts will be gone forever.  I get closer and closer to freedom everyday.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The post about what I did in physio today

Since the Meredith Hagan run on Saturday, my right ankle has been feeling out of sorts.  I did not run again on Monday because there was a sharp pain in my ankle every time I rotated it.  I woke up early yesterday morning and did go for a run.  The air was really thick and I had a bad run. Even though I was out the door by 5:45 am, the humidity was already quite high.  I ran the same pace I was running last summer.  I was not happy.

This morning's run was a bit of an improvement.  My ankle is still a little sketchy, but it's better than it was Sunday and Monday.  My pace was better, but still not great.  I had my regular physio appointment today.  Graham took one look at my ankle and confirmed that it was quite swollen. My right ankle is the ankle that I have had trouble with my entire life.  I sprained it FOUR times. Once in primary school, once in middle school, once in high school and once as an adult when I was in my 20's.  And my sprains were bad.  I was rolling over on it as a morbidly obese person.

Needless to say, my right ankle is pretty week.  So now on top of working on strengthening my hamstrings, glutes and lower back, I have to start working on strengthening my ankle.  So Graham gave me more new exercises to do.  I tried them out at physio and discovered that I have horrible balance.  I already knew I had pretty poor balance, but it's a miracle I can stand upright.  Although it looks fairly easy in the pictures, I assure you it was the hardest thing I have had to do in physio to date!

Finding my balance...
Success!  For ten seconds...

So the good news is that my condition is fixable.  The other good news is that I don't have to stop running to treat it.  The bad news is that I have to deal with it in the first place.  It's frustrating because as soon as something gets fixed, something else goes wrong.  Thank goodness I have unlimited physio benefits through my work.

I am officially back into weight-loss mode.  I'm eating lean protein and vegetables.  Pretty boring but I know it will get me the results I want.  I need to drop my upper thighs, hips and ass to become a faster runner.  Well that and do speed work of course.  Losing the extra weight I'm carrying certainly won't hurt my running performance.  I weighed in at 165.5 pounds on Monday morning.  I'll weigh myself again on July 7th to see where I stand.  I don't like to do frequent weigh-ins because when I was losing weight while following Dr. Poon's Metabolic Diet, I became obsessed with the scale.  It wasn't a fun place to be because my weight could fluctuate several pounds in a day and I was constantly weighing myself.  I've come a long way in that department because I can go weeks without weighing myself.

I wouldn't recommend going weeks without weighing yourself, unless you follow a very regimented eating plan.  I didn't cheat when I went from 290 to 165, and one of my biggest pet peeves is when people say that anyone who says they didn't cheat while dieting is a liar.  I don't lie.  And I didn't cheat.  Believe me or not, but I'm so addicted to sugar and carbs that if I did cheat, I would have derailed myself completely.  I cannot have just one!  I never gained weight during the 14 months it took me to lose 125 pounds.  I did gain weight when I tried to lose 10 pounds in April.  Although I gained 3 pounds, I dropped a clothing size.  I lost those three pounds when I switched over to Paleo.  And I still didn't cheat!

I know that these last 15 pounds are not going to come off easily.  I need to be patient.  And I need to keep my eye on the prize.  Eventually I will run the Boston Marathon.  That is my ultimate running goal (right now) and it's a lot of work to get there.  It won't happen this year, but maybe I'll be strong enough next year.  If not, my qualifying time changes (10 more minutes) once I hit 45. Maybe 2015 is my year.  If that doesn't pan out, it goes up another 1.5 hours when I hit 80. Boston in 2050 or bust baby!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Meredith Hagan Foundation Inspiration Run 10K

It's all about the bling!

Yesterday was awesome.  Me, my hubby, Monica and three of my clinic girls ran the Meredith Hagan 10K Inspiration Run.  It was a challenging run that took place in the trails of Mountsberg Conservation Area.  This was not my race.  It was the race for my clinic girls and I got the opportunity to run with each of them.  I've never run a 10K before and regardless of my time, I got a PB (personal best).  I started off running with my fastest girl, then I fell back and ran with my mid-paced girl and we crossed the finish line together.  After my chip timer was cut off my shoe, I ran back out on the trail and met up with my last clinic girl and got to cross the finish line with her as well.  I wasn't worried about my time.  I was there to support my girls.

Hubby and I just before gun time.

My official gun time was 1:16:29, my chip time was 1:16:08.  My hubby came in just in front of me and my clinic girl.  We placed 100, 101 and 102.  I came in 102.  Hubby was happy to beat me for a change.  I will definitely run this race again next year.  It is very challenging and I'm so proud of my girls.  It's not an easy run for your first 10K race.  They did awesome!  And so did my hubby. The terrain was very uneven.  We had mud bogs and rain to contend with.  And there was a huge hill they call Mount Kilimanjaro.  It is so tall and steep, that it's virtually unrunnable, unless you are an elite (they are the only ones who ran it last year).  I do a lot of hill training and I run a lot of hills and I can't run it.  It would take longer trying to run up it than it would take to walk up it!

Alanna, Amanda, Monica and I showing off our well earned bling.

Hubby and I; dirty and tired.

Needless to say my shoes are a muddy mess and I couldn't even go out for a celebratory lunch afterwards.  I was offensive!!!!!!  I was muddy, sweaty, wet from being rained on, and full of bug bites.  How did I forget insect repellent this year?  I also got a lot of sun on the bat wings!  It's all good though.  Tanned bat wings are slightly more unseemly than stark white bat wings!  After I got home, paid the babysitter and showered, I ate my recovery meal of pork souvlaki, garlic and lemon roasted cauliflower, and sauteed green beans.  Super yummy.  I hung out on my couch most of the afternoon because I was a bit wiped.  I needed to rest up because  I was going out for dinner and drinks with the Back of the Rat Pack Girls (minus Tanya) that evening.

My post race feast.

We went to a pretty swanky Italian Restaurant and I ordered a tuna Mediterranean salad.  It was super yummy and HUGE.  It filled me right up.  I had my two glasses of wine last night at the Winking Judge on Augusta Street.  It was great to catch up with my girls and I'm glad I got to see Dawn and Brett.  While we were hanging at the Winking Judge a school bus pulled up with a rowdy bunch of 30 somethings.  It turns out it was a stag and doe doing the Augusta Street crawl from 7:30 to 10:30 pm.  The Master of Ceremonies had the itinerary taped to his back.  Most people were in various stages of intoxication.  Humorous to watch to say the least!  Ahhhhh, to be young again!

I ended up taking a forced rest day today.  My ankle was really bothering me.  My orthotics and the trail run likely have something to do with it, but I think it had more to do with the heels I wore last night.  Regardless, I rested today which was a good call on my part because my ankle almost feels normal again.  I will get up at 5 am tomorrow and run then.  I always prefer running in the early morning anyway.  Tomorrow was supposed to be my rest day but I'll just switch them out. Marathon training starts one week from today.  I'm either very committed, or bat shit crazy.  Let's go with committed.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The post about the most awesome 10K clinic EVER

My 10K clinic at our "End of Clinic Social".

My last clinic was yesterday.  On the one hand I'm glad to be doing my own thing again, on the other, I'm going to miss instructing.  Teaching a clinic means that I am required to show up for clinic nights (Thursdays) and practice runs (Wednesday evening and Sunday morning).  And practice runs are not about me.  They are about supporting the people I instruct.  That means I try to run with everyone at some point during the run.  On long runs, I'd start out with the faster runners, stay with them for a few kilometers, then drop back to the mid-paced runners, stay with them for a few kilometers, then drop back to the slower runners and finish the run with them.  It was never about my pace, and I wanted to be as encouraging as I could.

It's too hard to teach a clinic and train at the same time.  I did both for my last half marathon, but had to run six days per week to get all my proper training in.  I don't think I'll have the strength to train for a full marathon all summer and teach a clinic at the same time.  But come fall, I'll be back to instructing.  I love encouraging others to run.  I remember how important it was for me to have a positive running mentor in my life.  If it wasn't for Carol, I'd likely not be running today.  I want to pay it forward and be that person to others as well.  Although it takes up a good chunk of my week (about 5 hours on average), and it's basically a volunteer position, I love running with and meeting new people.

Many of my runners are moving onto the half marathon clinic.  I'm really proud of them because even though I know they're nervous, they are working towards their personal goals.  Some of them doubt themselves and their ability, but I know that they are all ready to move on.  Running is never about comparing yourself to others. It's about being the best runner you can be.  The only person you truly compete against is yourself.

Tomorrow will see a few personal bests.  I'm running the Meredith Hagan Inspiration Run with three of my clinic girls, Monica and my hubby.  I think this is the first 10K race for everyone but Monica which guarantees a PB for five of us.  But this isn't my race.  It's the goal race for my clinic.  I think I'm going to run with them like I do on long runs and start out with the fastest runner and end with the slower runner.  It's the last time I'll get to run with them as their instructor.  I'm hopeful I'll get to run with them again in the future.  Maybe we'll even do some races together!

Marathon training starts in one week and I'm not happy with my running performance of late.  My pace has  not been great over the past week, and I could blame that on my faulty orthotics, but instead of making excuses, I'm getting real with myself.  I need to drop fifteen pounds.  I can definitely be leaner than I am now.  I have chunky upper thighs and hips.  I know that dropping weight will help with my pace and may even benefit my foot issues.  I also need to work on strengthening my core, so I'm taking Marion's advice and doing some yoga and core workouts with the hubby.  Hubby also wants to drop some weight for his running performance so we are doing this together.

Our plan is to continue to follow Paleo, and focus more on the lean protein and veggie side of Paleo.  No more nuts in the house, and I think I'm going to cut out my fruit, but hubby will likely be limiting his to one serving per day.  And starchy veggies (root vegetables)?  One serving per week (which will likely be consumed on long run days).  We're also going to do core workouts three days per week.  I'm not putting a time limit on my weight-loss, but I will be running my full marathon on November 3rd fifteen pounds lighter.  It is harder for me to lose weight now, but I think 4 months to drop 15 pounds is reasonable and certainly doable.  I know what I need to do, I just need to getter done!

So I'm back in weight-loss mode again.  A place I don't mind being.  It was where I was most comfortable with my eating because there were strict rules to follow.  It's much easier for me to follow a strict eating plan than one that has too many choices and options.  If I know something is off limits (ie: nuts), then I won't go there.  And it's all good.  I'll have nuts back in my life when I've dropped these last 15 pounds.  I'll return to eating Paleo the way I do now for maintenance.  And I'll be the best runner that I can be.  Not only do I want to be a positive and supportive running mentor, but I want to practice what I preach.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The post where I answer some questions

This week has been crazy busy so far and it's only Tuesday!  I left my house before 8 am yesterday and got home at 8:45 pm. I only had enough time to read books to Julien and put him to bed.  Today I had a late appointment in Brampton and didn't get home till after 7 pm.  The reason I'm so busy because I'm co-leading a group at work for the youth we service which means I still have to see my clients after hours.  Oh well, it's only for this week.  Four and a half more weeks till vacation!

Yesterday we began our group with an ice breaker.  We did an exercise called "2 Truths and a Lie".  Basically everyone writes down two true things about themselves on a piece of paper along with a lie and we collect them and read them all out.  First we have to guess whose paper it is, then we have to guess which one is the lie.  A young man guessed that I wasn't a runner because I didn't look like one.  That made me laugh.  That is what I love about running!  We come in all shapes and sizes.  Although he claimed I didn't look like a runner, another youth said I definitely looked like a runner because of the muscle on my legs.  Two different messages, both made me smile.

I've had a few questions asked in the comments of my last few posts.  I'll answer them the best I can in this post.  Anonymous (funny name) asked if I did any core exercises or weight-lifting exercises to complement my running.  When I first started running I did do some yoga which I really enjoyed.  As my distances have gotten further and further, I sadly have little time to take yoga classes again.  I got a great suggestion from Marion to check out Beryl Bender Birch's (say that fast three times) Power Yoga book.  Yoga balancing poses could help fix running issues by strengthening feet, ankles and knees which could improve my balance.  Makes complete sense Marion!  Thanks for the suggestion.

I honestly wish I had the funds right now to get a personal trainer and do some strengthening exercises.  We are a single income family and on a very limited budget.  I would definitely need supervision while using any kind of  weights.  I also HATE the gym and would need lots of motivation and encouragement during workouts.  If I had the cash though, I'd go a few times a week.  Monday and Friday mornings are open.  They're my running rest days.  Paula suggested lifting weights for the bat wings and I definitely can do more in that area.  Ironically I sold my free weights on Kijiji several years ago when I was cleaning out my basement.  I could use them right about now.  Maybe if I go back on Kijiji, they'll be for sale again.

After seeing my belly pictures, Tara asked if I have any work done on my stomach. Miraculously enough I have not!  For whatever reason, and I don't know why, I have been blessed with very little extra skin on my mid section.  Could I get a tummy tuck?  Sure I could and possibly have an abdomen you could bounce a quarter off of.  Is it worth it?  Not to me.  I'm never going to be on the cover of Oxygen Magazine.  So I can put my money to better use, like correcting my bat wings.

Finally Ryan asked if I have any advice for someone who uses rain as an excuse to skip a workout.  Not good enough Ryan. The only reason I would skip a work out is because I'm ill.  I ran outside all winter during extreme cold alerts.  Yes, I am crazy.  One thing all my clinic girls who ran in the pouring rain on Sunday agreed with was that they did not regret their workout when were done.  We were soaked and muddy, but we were also awesome.  Now I'm not a ball buster, so if you really can't get motivated to go out in the rain to complete a run, find something to do indoors. Get some good workout dvd's.  Jillian Michaels is a sadist.  She'll whip your ass into shape!

OK.  So I didn't make the cover of Oxygen, but I
did make the cover of Esquire.  I guess I did have
my stomach and thighs done. Wore a great shirt
to cover the bat wings though.  I look really creepy ...
and a little primal. Must be the Paleo.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The post about being completely BAD ASS!!!!!

Today was a VERY wet morning.  I ran 10.5K (11 for me because I have to run between group participants  since everyone runs at different paces) with my 10K clinic.  It was raining pretty heavy when we headed out of the Running Room.  We ran a trail that is new to me.  It was a tricky run because not only was it pouring at the beginning of the run, but we had to run up a pretty huge hill about 2K into the run.  Then it was muddy along the trail and even though it wasn't as pronounced as that first hill, we were running up hill for about 6K.  Five women from my clinic showed up and I instantly labeled them as completely BAD ASS because regardless of the conditions, they got their hineys out of bed and gotter done!

I was feeling a touch fatigued from my long run the day before.  When I was planning my Saturday morning run, I committed to running 16K up the escarpment and back down.  The commitment was made to myself, but once I say I'm gonna do a running distance, I do it.  I honestly didn't feel like running the whole 16K yesterday morning, but I had to because the distance and route was already determined.  And once I'm actually running, I'm good.  Getting out the door is half the battle.  Considering that I had already run up the escarpment the day before, I think I had a pretty decent run this morning.

Two of my clinic girls.  Caitlin (l) and Jen (m).  We are soaked from the rain,
and I have a big head!

The route we ran today was really beautiful.  I'm looking forward to running it again when it's not so wet out. After running up the escarpment, we got to run down it.  That was tricky and there was a lot of walking involved due to the uneven terrain.  Lots of rocks to be mindful of.  It was quite an adventure for me because I only had a map that I attempted to memorize to lead the way.  I had no idea where I was going.  Luckily we were in pairs so no one had to run alone.  It made me nervous to think that one of us could be left alone on the trail.  You never know who or what is lurking in the woods.

Me looking back as I'm heading down the trail.  That's
Alana following me.  See all those rocks?

By the time I got back to the Running Room, my feet were soaked and my shoes were muddy.  I had mud splattered up my legs and on my running capris.  I was a huge mess.  Soaking wet and muddy.  I actually stopped by two grocery stores on my way home to pick up provisions for the father's day BBQ that I hosted today.  Yes, I was soaked and muddy and checking out cuts of meat.  I did get a few looks, but I was feeling too hard core and bad ass to care!

Couldn't wait to get these puppies off and hop in the shower.

My brother brought my father over for a BBQ.  It was a completely Paleo meal, except for dessert. I made pork souvlaki, baked sweet potato and grilled veggies.  My sister-in-law brought two Father's Day cakes and I sliced up half a watermelon.  I got rave reviews on the dinner and I don't think that anyone realized they were eating Paleo.  I didn't partake in any cake, but I did enjoy my first taste of watermelon this summer.

Yesterday we went to my girlfriend Elin's place for a BBQ.  She also made us a Paleo meal.  BBQ chicken breasts, grilled veggies and salad.  I love all the whole foods I eat.  They fill me up and I just feel good overall.  No stomach upset, I'm "regular" and I have lots of energy to complete my runs.  As far as food is concerned, it's just fuel.  One of the things that has made my life so much easier is changing the way I think about food.  I still struggle at times with thinking I miss something (ie: Rockets), but I'm able to not give into my urges.  The before picture I keep on my phone is my daily reminder of what I never want to look like again.  Anytime I think I may want to deviate from my eating plan, a quick look at 300 pound me is all I need to deter any thoughts I may have floating around in my head about former binge foods.  I remind myself daily that nothing really does taste better that being fit feels.

I can't believe I ever wore this top.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The post about #9 Dream, showing off my gams, pulling a Marilyn and thongs

Today's outfit.
He's such a ham!

So long ago.  Was it in a dream, was it just a dream? I know, yes I know.  Seemed so very real, seemed so real to me.  These are the lyrics for John Lennon's song "#9 Dream". I heard this song today during my commute home and it reminded me of the vivid dream I was having two years ago.  I was morbidly obese at the time, but I was dreaming about being thin.  And the dreams felt so real that when I woke in the morning, I was convinced I was a normal sized person. The way I felt in those dreams has always stayed with me.  These days, I need to pinch myself so I know I'm not dreaming.  Now that I'm at goal, I am living my dream.  I never thought I would be where I am right now.

Today was a confidence booster for me.  I did something totally out of my comfort zone.  I wore a dress to work.  The first time I wore this dress, it went down to my knees.  After washing it, it was shorter than I remembered.  I wasn't too confident in it until the compliments started rolling in.  I think I have chubby legs.  I got so many compliments on my legs today my head started to get big!  I also saw a few people I haven't seen in a very long time.  One didn't recognize me at first, one did an obvious double take, and one freaked out.  I forget that I look so different to others and it always takes me aback.

I should have worn boy shorts underneath!!!!

I'm a thong wearer.  I don't know how I ever wore brief style panties before.  Once I started wearing thongs, I felt so free!  Today I had to wear hipster panties because I was wearing the dress and just felt too exposed in the thong I had on at first.  It's a good thing I changed from a thong to a hipster. When I was pumping gas this morning, I pulled a Marilyn.  It was windy and my dress went flying up.  Trust me, I did not look nearly as glamorous, but the construction workers who saw me got an eyeful.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my general practitioner, Dr. Pitt.  He was quite surprised by my transformation which puzzled me.  The last time I was in his office was mid-December.  I weighed 2.5 pounds more than I do now according to my chart.  He did a double take because he said I looked so different.  When I look back on my belly pictures, I was a couple of sizes bigger in December even though my weight was almost the same as it is now.  Dr. Pitt said my face looked different too though.  Regardless, he was very pleased with my progress and even more pleased that I have more or less maintained my weight over the past 6 months.  No one knows my struggles with obesity better than Dr. Pitt.  He witnessed my crazy yo-yo dieting over the past 35 years.  He asked me what was different this time around and I just told him that I finally got it. Losing weight takes hard work and commitment, maintenance takes hard work and commitment. They are exactly the same thing.  What I did to lose weight is what I have to do to maintain my loss.  It's as simple as that.

I had a physio appointment today.  I had my feet stripped (which hurts like hell), then they used the ultra sound on them.  The ultra sound stimulates the tissue and increases blood flow.  This is a treatment method for Metatarsalgia.  I usually get this treatment once per week and usually the day before my long run.  I'm running 16K up and down the rail trail tomorrow morning.  The jury's still out on whether or not the ultra sound is at all helpful.  I'm also anxious about wearing my orthotics.  I'm going to be super bummed if my toes cramp tomorrow.

The ultra sound.  A good shot of how curved my toes are.

This next week is my last clinic week.  It's hard to believe that 10 weeks has gone by so quickly. I'm not likely teaching a clinic again until fall.  Although I like teaching clinics, I'm glad to be able to do my own thing again and run on my own schedule.  Four months of marathon training starts in two weeks.  I'm excited but nervous at the same time.  I'm going to train on my own, but I'll be training at the same time as the marathon clinic at the Running Room.  I'll always have the option to do long runs, speed work and hills with the clinic if I choose to.  They do those sessions on the free run days which are Wednesday evening and Sunday morning.  I'll likely need the support around the hills and the speed work.  I hate doing hill repeats, but I hate speed work even more:(

Tomorrow my girlfriend Elin is having a Paleo BBQ for my family.  It will be fun and I love that my friends support my lifestyle. It really means a lot.  On Sunday I'll be having my father, my brother and his family over for a father's day BBQ.  I'm making pork souvlaki and lots of grilled veggies.  I'll also make baked potatoes for my dad and brother since my dad is a potato fanatic.  Only five more weeks and I'm off for my summer vacation.  Lots to do at work before then.  This week I want to catch up on blog commenting.  I haven't been leaving as many comments as I like.  I'm reading, just not commenting.  It's because I'm reading blogs on my phone and it's so difficult to comment from my phone.  Not a good excuse, and I don't like excuses!  So I am making a concerted effort to park myself in front of the computer over the next couple of days to comment.  See what happens when you start taking better care of yourself?  You sleep instead of blogging.  G'night all!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The post about another orthotic adjustment, Rockets and being Forever 21

Thanks for all of the supportive comments in regards to my last post about my unsightly bat wings. I'm not embarrassed by them.  They are a daily reminder to me about what I have accomplished. They are definitely a work in progress and regardless of how much I work them, they may never be "normal" looking.  But I'd rather have them than weigh 300 pounds again.  In a perfect world I'd have guns like Kelly.  But alas I do not.  I can't complain.  Other than my saddle bags (which are getting better the more I do physio exercises and run), my bat wings are my only real "problem" area.

This morning was my follow up appointment for my orthotics.  They were adjusted once more and the newly positioned lump feels closer to where it should be.  Only time and distance will tell if it will work this time. My follow-up is on Independence Day with the chiropodist.  He's going to re-asses me.  The best way for me to explain my condition is by the example I was given today. When I run I'm a little off balance.  Because of this I use my toes to grip, which makes them bend, and leads them to cramp over time.  It has nothing to do with hydration or magnesium (thanks for the tip Karen but I already tried that).  The lump in my orthotic helps to straighten my toes when I push off instead of allowing them to bend.  Please, please, please let this work.  I just want to run pain free!

Yesterday morning I woke up super early.  Four-thirty AM!!!!!  I went to the bathroom and had major heart palpitations because my urine was red.  It took me a few minutes to figure out why.  I roasted beets and made beet salad the night before.  Phew!  I was genuinely freaked out for a few minutes because I figured that could not be normal.  And it's not.  But I guess it's the same ailment I get when I have green pee after eating asparagus.

A super early wake up meant I had a super early run yesterday.  I ended up doing 8K since I had some extra time.  I ran through the city.  I was going to head out on the rail trail but got freaked out a couple of weeks ago when I ran on it early one morning.  There was a shifty looking guy riding a bike.  And even though nothing happened and he just went on his way, it still eeked me out a bit. Not many people frequent the rail trail before 6am.  If something were to happen to me, no one would hear me if I screamed.  And I can't out run a bike.  So, the rail trail is only for weekend runs which I do later when there are lots of people running, walking, biking.

I get asked a lot how I lost weight.  Everyone wants to know what my "secret" is.  Honest to God it makes me want to scream.  There is no secret.  Sadly, I had to work really hard and completely change my life and eating habits.  The "askers" usually start out looking interested in hearing about my diet plan, then lose interest really quickly when I tell them what I've given up.  They always say something along the lines of, "That would never work for me because I can't give up dairy, or pizza or (fill in favorite food here)".  The truth is that it will never work for you because you don't want it enough and you're not ready to change your life.  And just like I used to, they use every excuse in the book as to why they can't eat healthy and exercise regularly (there are usually financial and time issues).   Trust me, I know all about financial and time issues.  I'm on a very limited budget and wake up at 5am to run before I commute 1.5 hours to work.

I lost and gained lots of weight from the time I was 7 until I reached goal at 42.  The reason my weight went up and down for 35 years is because I didn't get it.  I lost a hundred pounds in about 8 months in my late 20's and gained it back just as quickly as I lost it, and then some.  That is because I wasn't willing to change the way I ate.  I finally got it and that is why I'm finally maintaining for the first time in my life.  I've been pretty much the same weight, give or take a pound, since mid-December.  I wouldn't consider myself a maintainer until 6 months changes into years, but I know that as long as I continue doing what I am doing, my weight will stay the same. So that means eating clean for me.  No processed food, no grains, no legumes, no sugar, no dairy, nothing artificial.  I follow the 85:15 Paleo rule (85% compliance, 15% other which for me means cream in my morning coffee, natural peanut butter before long runs once per week, gummies or gels during long runs and wine on Sunday).  That's it and it's working for me.

The way I eat now is pretty much the same way that I ate when I lost the weight.  I refuse to regain, so that is the way it will be for now and ever more.  I run anywhere between 40 and 60 kilometers a week, depending on what I'm training for.  I start marathon training in two weeks so my mileage will go past 60K in the third month of my four month training schedule.  I never reward myself with food.  After a long run, I eat the same food I eat everyday.  My guilty pleasure is red wine on the weekend.  I have a standing Sunday wine date with my girlfriend Elin.  Since I drive there and back, I have a couple of glasses over the afternoon and call it a day. Maintenance is hard work.  It hasn't gotten any easier once I reached goal.  But it has become routine and I'm comfortable with my routine.  I certainly have temptations, but I'm able to walk away because I didn't work this hard just to gain it all back.

Just yesterday I was shopping with a client and we were in a dollar store in the candy aisle.  I saw the giant rolls of Rockets which I used to love and I'm not gonna lie, it was hard to see them.  I used too buy a bunch of them and eat them in my car until my mouth went raw and my stomach hurt.  No lie, I had a stash of them in my glove compartment.  My mouth started to water and for a second, I thought "I should just get a roll".  Then I did what I always do when I get tempted by something I deem off-limits, I felt my hip bones and walked away.  For me, getting one roll will lead to another roll, which will lead to another roll and pretty soon I won't be able to feel my hip bones anymore.  SO NOT WORTH IT!

When I first started losing weight, I had daily pity parties and cried over everything I was losing. But my self pity changed pretty quickly and I got stronger and stronger everyday that I stayed on plan. I was tired of being fat and immobile.  I was a prisoner in my own body.  And what was I really losing?  All the shit that goes hand in hand with being morbidly obese, that's what.  Giving up foods I thought I couldn't live without was a small price to pay for everything I was going to gain. And now that I am 125 pounds lighter, I can't ever go back.  I've just begun to start living a life I still can't believe is mine.
During the same shopping trip yesterday, my client and I went into a store called Forever 21.  It's a unisex clothing store for younger people and has trendy clothing.  I noticed there was a plus size section and was intrigued so went to take a look.  I'm not used to seeing plus sized clothing in trendy stores.  Anyway, I'm perusing the racks and a sales girl comes up to me and makes eye contact with me, then smiles, then clears her throat and says, "I don't know if you're aware of this, but this is the plus size section.  Are you looking for a gift?"  When I tell her I am not, that I'm just looking around, she leans in close to me and says "I hope you are not offended, but there's nothing here that will fit you."  Honest to gravy I wanted to cry.  I always feel anxious looking in regular sized clothing stores because I think people are judging me and think I'm too big to shop there (even though I'm a size 8).  Never in a million years did I think I'd be told I'm too small to shop in a store.  I smiled at her, thanked her for making my day, and walked away.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

My bat wings exposed!

So I struggled about whether or not to post this picture, but I have never tried to pretend that my bat wings were pretty.  They are pretty bad and I've said that from day one.  This is the cross I have to bear and if it's the only area of concern I have to deal with after a 125 pound weight loss, I'll take it.  I will definitely need surgery in the future because I really want to be able to wear pretty sleeveless numbers in the summer.  So there you have it!  I'm not perfect!  Far from it.  But I'm keeping it real.  My arms SUCK!!!!!!!!!

Regardless of my bat wings.  I love this picture of Carol and I.  We're just
about to cross the finish line of the Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon.

I've been so incredibly upset about my metatarsalgia lately.  I ran 9K on Saturday with my orthotics and my toes cramped.  I ran 10.7K on Sunday without orthotics and my toes cramped.  I really want to run pain free.  The rest of me is fine right now.  Just my toes are the issue.  It's so incredibly frustrating and really crushes my confidence as a runner.  When I'm running and I have a lot of time to think, I question whether or not it will ever be fixed.  Running with chronic pain is not fun.  But the chronic pain won't keep me from running.  I'm interested to see what happens at my follow-up orthotics visit on Wednesday.

This is near the end of the half marathon.
I'm in a lot of pain.

I haven't been commenting on a lot of blogs lately.  I'm still reading, just not commenting.  I have actually been catching up on sleep.  I have been going to bed much earlier than I have been and one of my late night vices was blog reading.  So I apologize.  I think I have hit the proverbial wall and really need to get at least 6.5 hours of sleep in a night.  I'd been burning the candle at both ends which is counter productive to a healthy lifestyle.

My stomach is flabby again which means only one thing to me.  I am getting smaller.  Every time my stomach gets flabby it means that I've dropped fat in my mid-section and I have to wait a few more weeks before I firm up again.  Honestly, there's not much left to lose in my mid-section.  It's actually quite bony now.  Please, please drop fat in my thighs and ass.  That's all that's left. Although my massage therapist has told me that my hamstring and glute area has firmed up, I still have about 5 pounds of fat I could stand to lose from back there.  Oh Calgon, take it away! You'd think that since I'm a runner that the thigh and hip area is the first place it would disappear from. Not true.  I have to work at getting fat off those areas.

So my eating is boring and the same as always.  I pretty much cut nuts out of my diet this week. But had some almonds at my girlfriend Elin's house today with my weekly wine.  Other than my daily cream in my coffee, I've been strict Paleo.  My weight has remained the same this week. I'm not sure when I last weighed in (it may have been 2 weeks ago), but I'm still 165.  I'm 165 but my size 8 skinny jeans are getting loose around the mid-section.  They're fitting bigger and I can't complain about that.  I also won't complain if I never get smaller than a size 8.  Never in a million years did I dream I'd be smaller than a size 24!

In two weeks I'm running the Meredith Hagan Inspiration Run with my 10K clinic.  This is not my race.  It's the race for the runners I have guided over the past 10 weeks.  I'm not hoping to get a PB during this race.  I'm going to cross the finish line with as many of my clinic participants as I can. That will make for a really screwed up chip time.  But I don't care.  When you teach a clinic, it's not about you, it's about your participants. I'm so very proud of them.  Some will go on to the half marathon clinic and I hope in part it has to do with the encouragement and support I have given them.  Everyone needs a Carol in their life.  I always strive to be the Carol in the people that I instruct.

This was Carol  and I 17+K in
during my last half marathon.  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The post about goal setting and running a 100 miler

An incredible athlete!  Grace, not me...

I had an awesome speaker come in this evening to talk to my clinic about goal setting.  Grace is an amazing woman.  Eight years ago, she was overweight and took the Learn to Run clinic at the Running Room.  Two weeks ago, she ran the 100 mile Sulphur Springs Trail Run.  That's right, I said 100 miles!  Listening to her story of how she started with 1 minute walking, I minute running, then worked up to 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon, Iron Man, various other long distances and finally a 100 miler was inspirational to say the least.  And she completed that hundred miler in 25 hours!  Can you imagine running for 25 hours?

Grace made achievable short term and long term goals for herself.  Once she reached a goal (ie: completing Learn to Run, then a 5K, then a 10K, etc.) she'd make a new goal for herself.  Her goals got bigger and bigger because she admitted she got bored.  I can appreciate that.  I'm definitely not bored with running, but if I'm not training for something, I feel a little lost.  I need a structured running schedule.  Just like I need to be structured about my eating.  It's what works best for me.  

I doubt myself and my abilities every single day.  Even though I know I'm becoming a stronger runner, I always have this voice in the back of my head questioning whether or not I can actually reach the goals I make for myself.  I have two half marathons under my belt now, so the obvious next step would be a full marathon.  With my foot and orthotic issues, I wonder if I'm even going to be able to run a full marathon.  The rest of me is healthy right now, but my crampy toes are a real killjoy and confidence buster.  Running long distances for me is painful.  Really, really painful. Regardless, running is a mental sport and I'm able to run through the pain because I can't give up on my dreams.  I'm sure my toe issues will be worked out once my orthotics are adjusted again. I'm pretty sure that the lump to correct my Metatarsalgia is in the wrong place.  When I wore the orthotics for my half marathon on Sunday, my foot pain was the same as if I didn't have the orthotics in at all.  Five hundred and seventy-five dollars not very well spent!  It's all very frustrating to say the least.

Regardless of my foot pain, listening to Grace talk tonight gave me the motivation I need to move forward.  I will get to the bottom of my foot pain and I will move forward and begin training for my full marathon at the end of the month.  I can't settle for anything less.  Grace said that if she can make and reach her goals, anyone can.  Grace said that running her first marathon was a lot of work and she swore she would never run another one.  But she also forgot about how hard it was once she was done.  She's run many since that first one and set even bigger goals for herself.  She said that doing the Iron Man in Florida in 2011 was a piece of cake compared to the hundred miler.  And even though the hundred miler was a lot of work and training, she's already planning on doing it again next year.  Well shit.  If Grace can run a hundred freaking miles, I can run 26.2 miles even if I do have crampy toes.  Thanks for the pep talk and the inspiration Grace.  I really needed it tonight. Maybe I'll be ready to join you in Sulphur Springs in another 5 years or so!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Happy runniversary and birthday!

Running birthday picture 2013.
I'm 43 and hubby's 42.

Yesterday was a very special day.  It was my hubby's one year runniversary and both of our birthdays.  I was tired from running the half marathon on Sunday, but I had to run with my hubby on his runniversary.  I took him out for his first run last year on our birthday.   We have both come a long way since then.  A year ago my hubby was doing 2:1 intervals (2 minutes running:1 minute walking) and I was running 6K as my furthest distance with my first steady 3K (no walk breaks). Now hubby can run 15K and has stopped taking walk breaks and I can run 21K and haven't taken walk breaks since last summer.  At the end of this month, he's going to start training for his first half marathon and I'm going to start training for my first full marathon.  We have come a long way baby!

Running birthday picture 2012

Even though I was tired from my half the day before, I still managed a 5K trail run with my hubby. We ran on my favorite wooded trail behind McMaster University.  I wasn't as sore after this half marathon versus my previous half marathon.  This tells me that my body has gotten used to the distance.  After the Chilly Half Marathon on March 3, I was sore for days afterwards.  I bounced back pretty quickly from this half.  I'm sure training for the full will be no picnic.  I just know I'll experience a whole new level of aches and pains.  Bring it on!

I have been feeling down right girly over the past few days.  I wore dresses all weekend.  I wore a dress out Friday night to a recognition dinner with my hubby (he's a volunteer), I wore a dress out on the town while I was in Niagara Falls (no pic though), and I wore a dress out for my birthday dinner last night.  What is happening to me becoming all feminine and stuff?  The Friday night dress I bought last year and only wore once before.  I think it fits much better now.  And the other two dresses I got for under $8 each at Old Navy on Friday night.  The recognition dinner ended early and hubby and I went to the mall afterwards because we paid the babysitter till 9 pm and we never get to go shopping together.  He needed new clothes because he's lost so much weight by following Paleo.  Old Navy was having a HUGE sale I picked up 2 dresses and 4 shirts for under $30.  That was a deal!

How I wore it summer 2012.
How I wore it Friday night.

Every year hubby and I go to Tucker's Marketplace for our birthday dinner.  It`s a local all you can eat buffet.  We go there because on your birthday, it's free.  We only pay for our drinks (which was Perrier water).  They have a salad bar, carvery and vegetable sides, so sticking to Paleo was not an issue.  Fresh fruit was our birthday dessert.  No cake for us this birthday...or next birthday. And no, I'm not depriving myself.  I just don't want it.  I had a couple of plates of food and found that before I even got full, I got tired of eating.

Lately, I have found that eating has become more of a chore than anything else. I make myself eat because I need the energy, but I often get lazy around the act of actually eating.  I will always eat enough to keep up my energy for running, but never in a million years did I think I would grow bored of eating.  I guess my priorities have shifted considerably.  I used to eat for entertainment, because I was bored, because I was angry, because I was happy, because I was sad.  Now I run for entertainment.  Running keeps me busy, helps clear my head when I'm angry or sad and definitely makes me happy.  When I'm hungry, I don't care about what I eat, just so long as it fits my eating plan and gets rid of my hunger.

I celebrated my second consecutive birthday following a healthy lifestyle.  That is the best birthday gift I could have given myself and I plan to give myself the same gift year after year.  I'm worth it and so is my family.  I'm in the best shape of my life and I refuse to ever go back to how things were two birthdays ago.  For everyday that passes, my former self becomes more and more of a distant memory.  Although I learned a lot of valuable lessons from the morbidly obese woman that I was, I am ready to leave her in the past where she belongs.  I am finally free to enjoy my life the way it was always supposed to be.  There is nothing I could eat that would be worth giving up my new found freedom.  Absolutely nothing!

Summer 2004
June 3, 2013

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon

Well I did not do a sub 2:15 half, and I did not get a PB (personal best).  This was my worst time for a half marathon (I've only done two), and I'm okay with that!  I am disappointed, but not at my performance.  I'm really frustrated with my feet.  My toes in particular.  They cramped at the 11th kilometer despite the fact that I had my orthotics in.  Looks like I need ANOTHER adjustment.  I couldn't have been more prepared or better trained for this half.  There's nothing more frustrating when your body gives out before your mind does.

I was really pumped because I got to run this race with Carol.  Carol is my former running coach and mentor.  If it wasn't for Carol, I honestly wouldn't be running today.  She is the most encouraging person that I have ever had the pleasure to know.  Even when I had zero confidence in myself, Carol always cheered me on and told me I could reach my goals.  She is such a joy to be around and I'm blessed to have her in my life.  We keep in contact via email because she lives nine hours away in Illinois.  When I heard she was coming back to Ontario for a visit and to run this race, I registered right away.  I have never had the opportunity to run a race with Carol.

Pretty decent swag!

We arrived in Niagara Falls yesterday afternoon to pick up our race kits.  I was the driver as I felt it was the least I could do since I totally crashed someone else's hotel room!  I spent the weekend with a bunch of women I knew only as acquaintances and I had a fabulous time!  I was definitely a newbie as this was my first "away" race.  There's nothing like spending quality time with women who run!  I was definitely the "newest" runner because I believe I was the only one who has not run a marathon yet.  That will be remedied when I run my first full marathon this fall.

At the expo I had the pleasure of meeting (and hugging) Katherine Switzer.  Katherine was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1967 before women were allowed to run it.  She was registered under her initials and was attacked by the race organizer in an attempt to forcibly remove her from the race.  See those pictures here.  She was lovely.  One of my room mates wanted to meet her and buy her book, so when she got to the front of the line, I took their picture and Katherine hugged me and said "thank you".  She also "high fived" me twice during the half marathon!  It certainly was a thrill to meet her!  She's a running pioneer.  Especially for women.

Clifton Hill.  Not even tourist season but still hoppin!

After picking up our race kits, we headed to the hotel.  The Days Inn on Victoria Avenue in Niagara Falls.  We settled in, drank some wine, then headed out for a late dinner.  We went to Ruby Tuesdays and I had shrimp skewers with lots of veggies as my side.  I also had their endless salad bar and lots of water.  We walked around Clifton Hill after dinner for a bit, then got caught in a couple of torrential down pours!  We finally made our way back to the hotel just after 10 pm to call it a night so we could be refreshed for the race the next day.

Not mine, but the running grand masters
tell me that this is the best way to "carb up".
Some of the weather we had to contend with.
That's our hotel in the distance...

Race day had us up and at em at 5:30 am.  Not much different than any other day for me, but for some reason, I slept like a log the night before.  I thought that strange since I don't usually sleep well away from home.  I was actually woken by an alarm.  We got ready pretty quickly and met in the breakfast room just after 7 am to make it over to the start line.  The start time was for 8 am, but due to excessive port-a-potty traffic, we didn't actually start the race till about 8:05 am. Everyone had left already and the corral was empty by the time we made it to the start line.  No matter though.  I had a chip timer on me!

The port-a-potty line.  There were flowers
in them.

So Carol and I sauntered to the start line because she was trying to get a signal for her Garmin. The plan was that we were going to run as a foursome (there were my two room mates as well), but they left before Carol could get a signal, so it was just Carol and I and she was going to be my pace bunny for a 2:15 half.  We stayed on pace for about 11 kilometers, then my toes cramped on my left foot.  As much as I tried to keep up with the pace, I started to limp which caused me to get pain in my hip and I told Carol that we were going to have to abort my 2:15 half and just try for the PB.  It just wasn't worth it for me to get injured.  I would have got the PB, but that flew out the window when we stopped for a photo op with a bunch of body builders.  By this point in the race, my toes on both feet were beyond sore and I needed a distraction!  I honestly never really looked at these guys and couldn't have picked them out of a line up.  It was a just a fun thing to do.

This was at about the 17K mark.

The last four kilometers or so was spent in easy conversation.  I asked Carol about some training advice and I filled her in on how the 10K clinic that I'm teaching is going.  Carol also told me stories of past races she's run.  I've already heard many of the stories, but it never gets old hearing them again.  And it was a welcome distraction so I didn't have to think about my sore feet.  Ah, my feet. I'm so very frustrated. I could have continued my 2:15 pace if my feet didn't give out!  It's beyond my control right now.  I have another follow-up appointment for my orthotics in a couple of weeks and I'll definitely need another adjustment.  I can't go on running like this.  It's a real confidence crusher.

Another half marathon under my belt.

So my official chip time was 2:22:35.  I came in 808 out of 1422 and 155 out of 284 for my age group.  I ran a 6:46 per kilometer pace.  Like I said, I know I could have done better, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it.  I just have to hope that my crampy toe issues will rectify itself sooner than later.  I start marathon training in a few weeks.  The most important thing is that I got to finally run a race with Carol.  Carol took me out on my first run and has seen my progress since I started running fifteen months ago.  I'm still a rookie runner.  I have lots to learn from Carol and the other wonderful women I got to spend the weekend with.  This was definitely a race to remember, for me anyway!

My recovery meal.  Extra chicken and I didn't tell them to take the
cheese off.  My first official Paleo cheat meal.  It hit the spot and
I needed lots of energy.  I'd just run off 1650 calories!