Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Be Safe Out There

As you probably know (I think I have mentioned it here and/or the blog FB page) I am just about to begin my HM training plan. This go-around I am following one from Runner’s World Magazine aimed to get me across that finish line under 2:30. This would be a PR for me- my current best is 2:38 from back in January of 2013. I have been running since maybe February/March (can’t remember how long it has been since I was cleared for full activity post-op) but really started working on my base mileage these past few months and started both running consistently and running outdoors over the last four weeks aiming for 3-4 runs a week. It’s been an adjustment, especially learning a new area, but it has been great.

 I got new running shoes. I hated them at first but love them now that I have adjusted. Does anyone else get sad when they learn that their make/model of shoes has been discontinued?

I fight with my GPS and/or my RoadID app most days but thankfully E bought me a new GPS watch (the Forerunner 220) and that should be in my hands tomorrow! Yay for new and hopefully more reliable technology!

It’s hot as crap most every morning I run but that is to be expected running outdoors in Florida during peak summer heat. But running during the heat I know will pay off in the long run especially since the last half marathon I ran in November reached the 90’s by the time I was finished. I need to be prepared for that same reality this time around.

But the big change in my training this time around is training somewhere new, somewhere without sidewalks or trails or running paths. Not that there aren’t any in Pensacola, there just aren’t any near my house. I was definitely spoiled in San Antonio. I was able to run right from my front door all over a neighborhood that was well lit, had sidewalks, and was super safe. And on the weekends there were plenty of running trails/paths for me to explore. Here…not so much.

But I digress. I am where I am and I will make the best of it. So what does this mean for my training? It means safety has become HANDS DOWN my number one priority. I run on a street that is about as wide as two cars. There are no lane lines, there are no shoulders and there are no sidewalks. I am now officially a street runner.

Good news: I am running through a pretty quiet neighborhood so there is not too much auto traffic at 6a. If there was, I would find somewhere else to run. Another cool thing about where I run is the street names (yes, I know this seems weird but wait for it…) – I live between 9 and ½ Mile Rd and Ten Mile Rd. A little ways up the road is 9 Mile Rd. Weird names right? Well they have significance- they are the distance from the water line, meaning 9 Mile Rd and 10 Mile Rd are a mile apart. This makes it super easy to gauge distance. A loop from 9 and ½ Mile to 10 Mile is one mile, a loop from 9 Mile to 10 Mile is 2 miles, etc. It’s nice and makes life easy. This isn’t really relevant to the topic of safety; it’s just something cool I thought I would share.

Anyway….since my running conditions have changed I have had to take some extra safety precautions and so I thought I would share.

1.       No Music! – I don’t run with headphones  (while street running) for the same reason I don’t listen to music when I ride my bike. My hearing is my only line of defense between me and the cars so why even risk it. Yes, running against traffic allows me to see the cars headed towards me but my concern is the cars behind me. If there are two cars coming down the road (in opposite directions) at the same time I need to get my butt off the road and onto the grass. I take myself out of the equation, not even allowing the cars to have to choose between moving away from me or swerving around each other.

2.       Share My Route – the Garmin Forerunner 220 has this feature but my current GPS watch does not. So, currently I use the RoadID app to share my route. I love this app because it allows you text someone your route, so they can track you while your run is in progress, but also has feature that sends out an alert if you have stopped moving.  Sidenote: the Bia Sport, one of the GPS watches I looked into buying, has an SOS alert feature that sound when you press a button.

3.       Emergency Info – not only do I use the RoadID app but I also wear a RoadID bracelet. The bracelet has my name and city info but also has a serial number and phone number on it. If something were to happen to me a paramedic could call the number, give them the serial number off my bracelet and have access to my emergency contacts, medical information and health insurance info. Also, in addition to the bracelet my lock screen on my phone has my emergency contacts as well. This is a feature part of the RoadID app I choose to use. Not as glamorous as most people’s lock screens but gives me some peace of mind.

4.       Stand Out- I run after the sun is already up but soon it won’t be so. Even if it is sunny outside I still wear brightly colored clothes/shoes. And during those times when I do happen to run before the sun comes up I wear reflective bands around my waist and ankles, my running shoes are reflective, and I have a flashy light I clip to a hat/visor. I want any car on the road to know I am there.  And get out of my way…lol!

5.       Abide the Rules of the Road- if I am running, I run against the flow of traffic. If I am cycling, I ride with the flow of traffic. I always keep an eye out for people backing out of their driveways, and yield to them. Same goes with vehicles that are turning. I always stop at stop signs (even if it’s just momentarily to check for cars in both directions) and I never cross against the flow of traffic with the right of way. I just try to be smart out there, because in any battle of car vs Dacia car will always win.

6.       Buddy Up- most days (almost all of them) I run alone. Not because I want to but because I don’t usually have a running partner in the mornings. But when I can, I try to run with someone else.  Most days I find comfort in knowing I see the same people walking and biking throughout the neighborhood. I pass the same cars every morning (and pretty much know what house they come from), I see the construction workers going to and from their office which is near our house, and now I see the parents and kids waiting on the school bus. Even though I am alone there are usually other people out and about and that definitely makes me feel safer.

7.       Don’t Be Stupid- I think this goes without saying but I always try to err on the side of caution when it comes to running outdoors. I don’t run alone through wooded trails at night (even during daylight can be scary when alone), I don’t run through areas that are unfamiliar or appear to be sketchy (I always try to do some recon beforehand), and I don’t run if there is a heat advisory telling me not to go outdoors – which is what happened last weekend so I opted to treadmill it up. I just try to not put myself in a position where I could get attacked or hurt or pass out from heat stroke. I try to make smart choices. Training is important but living is more important.

I know these precautions are nothing new. I am sure you have heard all of them before. But today’s post is written more for peace of mind for myself and for my loved ones that worry about me. I just want them to know (I’m looking at you, Mom and Dad) that I am safe and doing everything I can to stay that way.

Oh, I just had an idea….maybe E should ride alongside me some mornings now that he has a bike. What do you think? Great idea, right?

Love and hugs-


Friday, August 15, 2014

I Used to Give a Sh*t

I posted this pic the other day…kind of as a preview to a post I had been thinking about writing….and realized later it was terribly small and hard to see, if viewing from a smartphone. Hopefully this time around you can actually read it.
You see, I used to give a shit.
Not saying that I don’t now, because I do, just not in the same way.  Now, I don’t let what other people might be thinking about me influence decisions I make regarding only me.
I used to view my body in a way that brought shame and embarrassment. And I am not talking about when I weighed almost 300 pounds, but I am talking about over the last two years of maintenance. I used to let what I thought others would think about my appearance dictate how I presented myself in public.
For example, when I bought my first bikini I thought to myself -‘this isn’t to wear now; this is to wear when you lose ten pounds. No one wants to see your flabby belly and thighs’
Or when dressing to run or take a hot yoga class it was always short sleeve t-shirts and capri length pants – because no one wanted to see my jiggly arms or that bulge around my knees.
This same dialogue happened when it came time to pick out almost every outfit- what could I wear that covered up all of my ‘bad’ areas?
But then one day I just stopped giving a shit.
I wore that bikini (not having lost any weight from the day I first tried it on) and guess what- it didn’t matter.  No one publicly shamed me or started convulsing at the sight of me. I am pretty sure no one on that beach gave a shit either. And me in that bikini- I felt comfortable. Strike that. I felt sexy. And in that moment I realized how important it was to focus on how I felt in my body and not on how others may perceive me.
From then I switched to tank tops and shorts because guess what? I live in Florida and it is HOT. There is no reason to wear more clothes than the bare minimum when you are working out in the heat.  Isn’t running in August punishment enough???
I stopped caring so much about what others might think about my appearance and started living comfortably in my own skin.
This is not to say that I don’t have moments of criticism or self-judgment as to how I look, just now the only person I think about making comfortable is me.
See, I honestly don’t care if my lumpy thighs or flabby arms bother you.  They don’t bother me and my opinion is the only one that matters.  I was tired of feeling like I had to be a certain size or shape or number in order for parts of my body to be ‘acceptable’- which is just dumb. I am human being. My body serves a million purposes but one of them is not to be pleasing to other people.
Anyway, I don’t really know where I was going with this other than to say that I think we could all benefit by giving less of a shit (not sure if that is the correct way to say that) about what others think of us. Not everyone will like us. Not everyone will accept us. But who cares? All that really matters is that we like and accept ourselves.
Love and hugs,

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Next Four Week Challenge

I mentioned on Monday that I would come back and recap the last four week’s goal challenge so here I am. And looking back over my paper goal sheet, I think I kicked some serious ass. I did struggle with a few daily goals here and there, which happens- especially on the weekends, but all in all I am really proud of what I accomplished and the result of these last four weeks in action, I will explain more about that in a bit. First up – the goal recap….

Daily Goals

8,000 Steps a Day- 26/28

Stick to Meal Plan- 27/28

Track- 22/28 (some days I tracked, but only partially so I did not count them)

25 Minutes a Day Activity- 27/28

There was only one day where I didn’t hit any of my daily goals and that was a day I stayed home sick from work. Other than that day I was active every day and stuck to my meal plan, I missed 8K just one other time but I did flake a bit (on the weekends) with my tracking. Like I said, I only counted the days I tracked everything.

Weekly Goals

Drinkend Only- 4/4

Run Three Times a Week- 3/4

Eat Out Four Times a Week (or less)- 3/4

Weigh-In Only Once a Week- 4/4

I was really impressed that I was able to limit my drinking to the weekend only. Not that I drink all the time/every day normally, because I don’t, but because we have had both social outings (where I was the only one not drinking) and stressful days (where I just wanted to drink a beer and lounge on the couch- but hit the gym instead) that made this one challenging at times. But I made it through. Same with the scale. This one wasn’t too hard but it was definitely a change from my daily scale routine. But it’s a change I am glad I have made. As far as my other two goals, well I came close to 4 out of 4 on each only once did I miss my three runs a week goal but I still got in two, so close. And then one weekend we had an impromptu road trip and I ended up eating out lunch and dinner Saturday, breakfast and lunch Sunday which is only four but then earlier in the week I ate out at a work party….

Monthly Goals

Two Active Adventures- 2/2

Two Bike Rides- 2/2

This month I was able to work in a few active adventures; exploring Fort Pickens, kayaking and a lighthouse tour (which is both adventurous in that I sometimes freak out from heights and active as it is a steep and windy climb up to the top) and it was awesome! I also made it a goal to get in some bike rides using this as a motivator to start riding again. One was a ten miler around my neighborhood and the other was with Erick out in Orange Beach, AL where we rented some cruisers and logged about 15 miles out on the trails. It was nice to be able to spend an afternoon out on the bike with my favorite person. This was our second ride together, and although we decided this back in February, it helped get our butts over to a bike shop to find a bike for Erick, which we did. Stay tuned for more bike adventures! 

As for my reward (a dress from Anthropologie)- yes, I think I earned it. I hit 120 out of the 132 goals  which is over 90%. I think my ‘A’ in goal achievement has earned me a new dress. We are heading to NOLA next weekend and I plan on swinging by the Anthro there before we head home.


As for the next four weeks…

Well, I sat last night mulling over a clean goal sheet trying to plan out my attack strategy.  I loved the goals I had last month but things are changing (half marathon training, more traveling, etc.) and I wanted to set goals that set me up for success by providing a way for me to live in balance these next four weeks.  You see, what I learned last months was that those goals were designed to both challenge me and keep me motivated. It was all about incorporating in the behaviors and habits that are healthy for me and at the same time through in some fun goals to keep it fresh and light-hearted. Balanced.

So, as I sat there last night strategizing about my new goals I turned to E for some help. He suggested a weight loss goal (don’t get up in arms- the man doesn’t think I need to lose weight) and to which my reply was this…’if I am meeting these goals I have set on this sheet, then I don’t really care if I lose weight’

For me; meal planning and tracking, being active and walking every day, training for a half marathon, not obsessing over a scale, limiting my alcohol consumption, reading books and riding bikes…that is my balance of happy and healthy. And if I lose weight doing it, that’s awesome. If I don’t, that’s cool too. Because these types of goals are more like a way for me to reinforce good habits and good habits are what I depend on to keep me living this amazing life.

Goals for August 13th through September 9th


Track (only full days count)

10,000 Steps a Day (now that I am in full on HM training, I expect most days for this to be easy. It’s the rest days that get me)

30 Minutes of Movement/Activity

Follow Meal Plan (set on Sunday)


Weigh-In Once

Four Runs (basically this means follow HM training plan)

Drinkend Only

No Eating Out During Work Week


8 Bike Rides

Read Two Books

My Reward….well, I just noticed I left this part blank. I have been toying with the idea of getting the Garmin Vivofit BUT I may end up needing to replace my GPS watch so I am going to wait and see on this one. More than likely it will be something from Garmin though.

What about you? What are some healthy habits you keep in your routine? 


From a year ago(via the TimeHop app) - channel your inner Tim!!! 

Love and hugs,

Monday, August 11, 2014


What? It’s been four weeks already? How did that happen???

This summer has flown by…but that’s a whole other topic for another day.

I just now realized that today is the LAST DAY of my fourweek personal challenge. Of course, I didn’t realize it this morning and so I have no photo of the goal sheet on my fridge so I am just going to save the full recap for tomorrow.

I will say this, I am pretty pleased with how I did over that last four weeks. It felt good setting and sticking to some goals. And my favorite parts, of course, were the ones set around having fun. It’s all about balance, people. And as much as I need to try to focus on being active and limiting my drinking during the week and not obsess over a scale it is equally important to put myself out there, have some fun, go on some crazy adventures, and celebrate this amazing life.

And I can honestly say that over the past four weeks I did all of that. I found a pretty good balance. And it was awesome!

So, tomorrow….I’m coming back with my official progress update AND another set of four week goals. Because, why not?

Until then…here are some photo highlights from the last four weeks.

Exploring Ft. Pickens!

Beach Day

Kayaking...try not to look too happy, E!

Our minis, making a wish!

Bike ride around Orange Beach, AL

My favorite bike, stationed at the front door- ready to go!

New shoes!

The minis love beer, just like us ;)

Snuggling before a nighttime tour of the lighthouse...

Best 5K time for 2014...next stop, a new PR!

Also, just before I hit publish I found out I got an A on my final paper for my Social Reform class. That gives me an A for the semester. Add that to my A in my Stats 2 class and BOOM! 4.0 baby!

Love and hugs,



Friday, August 1, 2014

My Big Fat Lie

I have been seeing so much on the interwebs lately where people are discussing judging or not judging a person’s level of healthiness by their weight/size. People arguing that fat people can be healthy and skinny people can be unhealthy and how we cannot measure health by appearances.

And I agree…


Errr, mostly. Definitely mostly.

But here’s the thing- if I told you I was healthy at 286 pounds, I was lying. And maybe I never told you that but I know I certainly told myself that.

And maybe that’s because I was in denial. Or maybe it’s because I actually thought it was true. I don’t know. But I know I certainly thought I was.

Why did I think such a thing, you ask…

Well, because I wasn’t on any medication, I didn’t have diabetes (or pre-diabetes), my blood pressure was great, my cholesterol was a bit high but not high enough to warrant medication (my doc told me to eat less eggs- lol) and not outside of the normal range, and because I really didn’t understand the state of my condition. Meaning, I had no idea I weighed 286 pounds. Honestly, I never weighed myself- I actually didn’t even own a scale. I rarely went to the doctor and if you asked me I probably would have thought my weight at least 50 pounds lighter. Which yes, that weight still would have made me morbidly obese but it put me closer to 200 lbs. than 300 lbs. and so I thought I was ok. I knew I was fat but I thought I was a pretty healthy fat person, and that was ok.

But the truth was it wasn’t ok. And I certainly wasn’t healthy.

Maybe I had good bloodwork but seriously, is that really the only measurement of health?

Nothing about my life screamed healthiness. I ate too much processed and junk foods and my portion sizes were huge. I had no control over my ability to regulate my diet. I basically ate with complete disregard to the effect it was having on my body. The body that struggled with walking. Something basic that most every human being should do at least somewhat easily- was hard for me. And it hurt. If I went for a walk or rode the recumbent bike (the only two things I could do when I decided to try and become active) I would have to ice every joint in my lower half afterwards. And honestly, I know I didn’t even realize how much it hurt, how much effort it took, and how hard simple things were until I lost weight. As the pounds came off and my lifestyle changed everyday things became easy. That is when it really dawned on me how sick I truly was.

And it wasn’t just activity that was hard. Life, overall everyday life, was hard. I was sick all the time. I caught every flu, cold, and stomach bug that went around. I was tired ALL THE TIME! My energy was zilch but again- until it got better I really didn’t know how bad it was. Just getting up and showered and out the door for work every day was a challenge. And when I got home, after sitting at a desk all day long, I had no energy to move and no motivation to even try. My sleep was shit, unrestful. And don’t even get me started on the mental toll being obese took on me- I could write a novel on this topic alone. Pretty much every part of my day was miserable- even if I had adapted to it enough that I didn’t even recognize it- it was bad.

I know that we shouldn’t be judging people period, and especially not from appearances. I certainly wouldn’t want someone to have ever looked at me before (or even now) and tell me something they thought they could deduce just by looking at me- because it could be wrong, but it is also wildly unnecessary. That being said, I know now that I was not a healthy fat person. And yes, at some point I did become an ‘I’m getting healthier’ fat person. But I know with 100% certainty that I was absolutely not healthy at 286 pounds. And I say this not to try and debate healthiness while being obese but to tell you this:

Three years ago I thought I was healthy, mostly because no doctor had yet to label me sick.

Today, I know better.

And it took getting to this point now to recognize just how sick I was.  

And I honestly think I could have lived in denial for a very long time…

But the harsh reality was- it was inevitable, if I stayed the course, that one day a doctor would finally tell me otherwise.
I definitely was on the path to getting healthy but at this point even walking was still extremely hard

Love and hugs,