Saturday, December 31, 2011

Windy Pre-Dash Jitters

Psyching myself up to run in the wind. So glad to see the National Weather Service issued a Wind Advisory for tomorrow. Nothing like making a mere 5 miles seem a whole lot longer! Here's hoping I get a nice tailwind for more than half of those 5 miles. I feel like this is Mother Nature's way of inducting me into Team Tough Chik. Way to go nature!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

For Times Gone By (Auld Lang Syne) in 2011

Exhausted. This week has kicked me in the butt. For the first time since I've started running my legs are just tired. I'm fatigued, I'm aching, and I'm feeling defeated. Add this feeling to the cookie/muffin top that arrived on my body last week and I'm just feeling, well... like a bump on a log. So what better time than to stop - look back at my "log" and see just how much I accomplished this year?

At this time last year, I had lost 50 lbs and hadn't run a step in my entire life. Today, I've lost 100 lbs and I'm racing 5 miles this weekend. Ok, that's sort of big.... add to that:

According to - which I've used since May 2011 - when I started running, I have run 130 workouts going 550 miles. 10 runs into my new hobby, I got more serious than just mapping my run and got myself a Garmin. My Garmin stats for 2011 are:

 Count: 140 Activities
 Distance: 491.05 mi
 Time: 113:50:53 h:m:s
 Elevation Gain: 15,559 ft

Avg Speed:
4.4 mph
 Avg HR: 142 bpm
 Calories: 72,929 C

 Now, some caveats. I have worn the Garmin for at least a handful of non-running cardio workouts. But, I will hold these numbers up proudly. When I started running I was a jiggling size 16. I'm still jiggling but I credit the running to getting the last 25 lbs off this frame, several inches, and getting my tummy slimmed down enough to fit into a size 12. More still, running has helped my self confidence, my stress level and my health in both measurable and unmeasurable ways. I've graduated from dancing on the Wii, to running in  "Publik", to kick boxing with Tony Horton, to racing a 5K, to plyometrics, to half marathon training. As one of my favorite running songs goes, "there goes the fear" (the Doves).

So pretty much this year can be summed up: I've gone from being a bump on a log to feeling like a bump who is committed to log (miles that is). 2011 has turned out into the best year of my life. Other years of my life have had highlights - 2004 for my marriage - 2008 and 2009 for the birth of my girls - but never has a year brought me so much personal triumph on an almost weekly basis. I'm feeling a bit melancholy that 2011 is ending and trying with all my spirit to embrace 2012, to set goals, make plans and sign up to keep on triumphing in 2012.

So I feel that I need to give 2011 its due respect. In order to do that, I will dress up! Ala...

Should old acquaintances be forgotten
and never remembered
Should old acquaintance be forgotten
For times gone by

For times gone by, my dear
For times gone by
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by

And in the wise words of Ferris: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Bring it, 2012!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tough Chik

I just joined Team Tough Chik!!! I'm so excited! Come on! I know there are other Tough Chiks out there!

Jiggle Miles (Week 4 Training Recap)

"Jiggle miles... jiggle miles.. jiggle all the way! Oh what fun it is to run on a cold and wintry day. Hey! Jiggle miles! Jiggle miles!"...

The most amazing transformation occurred this Christmas week. Cookies took it upon themselves to transform into a muffin - top that is. Muffin top. Welcome back. Beware, your stay will be short.

As I was running my long 9 miles this morning, I pondered the anatomy of a run. 

The first 3 miles

It starts out like this:

This morning it took me a long time to even get my gear on. I was procrastinating and with my 5th trip to the bathroom, I realized, I need to get this body outside or I am just not going to do it. My husband encouraged me -- but honest, I felt like I look. Totally disgruntled.

The first 3 miles are pretty much like this - always. I have this running conversation with myself...

"Why am I doing this? This hurts. I can't breathe. I could walk home. I could stop. I will run another day.... "

Each step feels heavy. My body is slow. My mind is in overdrive giving me excuses. My legs hurt. My lungs hurt. My ego hurts. I try to visualize myself at a further point in my route - at the top of the hill, I look towards Target and think that I will be there - and another 3 miles into this run - fairly soon.

The next 3 miles 

My little voice just keeps on..

"Ah! I feel strong! I feel empowered! I see my shadow, or my reflection in a window - and wow! Hey! Look at me! I'm doing what lots of people wish they could do. I lift my head up high. My pace is good. I feel like a million bucks. I've got energy to spare. I'm totally cute - check out my legs! I could totally run a half marathon. I could totally run a marathon. I get it! I could tackle anything.  I mean, honestly, if you have told me this time last year that I would be running - running over 5 miles in one go - I would have laughed you to another planet. Yipeee!!! "

My legs feel amazing. I am on springs. I feel powerful and in charge. Don't get in my way. Ugh, is that a tweek in my knee? Nah...

The last 3 miles

The doubt is creeping in at this point. I'm not sure I can go much further. My legs are starting to feel a bit like jelly and my running is a bit more haphazard. I'm sort of scared I'm going to hurt myself at this point. I tend to go faster as I am getting a bit desperate at seeing the distance at the Garmin. Now, I see the end and I am dying to get there. This is where I start to think about "emptying my tank" -- leaving it all out there. The pain sort of slips into a numb place, the voices quiet - and I am singularly focused on the end. Down this street - up that hill - across that park - almost there. I'm racing to be done. Forget thinking straight, I can hardly see straight.

During my cool down - a walk up and down the block - I relish in the post run confidence. The disbelief that I've just finished 9 miles, but the confidence that I could do it again if I had to. I feel exhausted but invigorated. Ready to tackle whatever comes my way.

I made it thru all of my runs Christmas week. I even made it to the gym. I gave in on the diet and consumed more sugar this past week than I have all year. I forgive myself for it. But I will add the caveat that despite feeling like I could "tackle whatever comes my way", I have failed at tackling the scale this week. Again, I haven't even gotten on the darn thing. I am totally scared to see the number. I'm in denial.

Week 4 was a taper week. I backed off the mileage:

Miles: 18 miles (15 miles outside - 4 on the treadmill)
Garmin stats were lost in the great Garmin death from the cold. Thanks to a reboot I am back up and running, literally.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas (Week 3 Training Recap)

This holiday greeting is brought to you by Kathleen Turner, ahem, no, rather, Mara - sounding like Kathleen Turner. As luck would have it, the fates heard the my college bestie was on her way to Mad-town for a visit. Murphy's law dictates that whenever you have lots of super cool plans that snot must immediately arrive in your sinuses, and thusly, it did. It is a good thing that this particular bestie is very familiar with the Mara ala Kathleen Turner, and did not blink an eyelash when she sailed down the escalator at Dane Regional Airport and encountered a slightly less than human moi. Let the good times roll!

Despite all the diversions this week, water slides, wine bars, bedazzlement and squirrels.. I was still able to fit in all my runs. Add the flu to that week, and I am SUPER DUPER proud that I got all my miles logged. When I got back from my long 9 miles on Friday, hubs looked at me, and said: "Are you for real?" I looked and felt like death warmed over apparently.

Put this week in the DONE column. I'm looking forward to week 4, which includes all easy runs. We started our 3 month Groupon at the local fitness center this week. Today I had my free personal training session with, as luck would have it, their triathlon coach. The trainer was awesome and I feel so invigorated at all the things that I want to try - not only at the gym - but in addition to running. Rather than be intimidated, I felt encouraged that I can get on any machine at the gym and just - well Nike got it right - do it.

My Garmin stats for the week:

Distance: 23 miles
Time: 4:51:43
Calories: 3,315

Honest? I didn't even get on the scale this morning. I knew it was going to be bad. Food continues to be a challenge for me these past few weeks. I'm giving myself too much leeway given the training. I believe I will be joining the ranks of those making New Years Resolutions this year.

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family. I hope the season brings you peace, joy and laughter. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Batcave, the adult version (Week 2 Training Recap)

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it! This week my bestie from college is coming into town. Oh man.. How awesome is this going to be? We've bonded in Berlin, we've cheered in South Beach, we've froze in Hungary, we've tanned in Palm Beach, we've walked the beach in New England in February.... and now, we are getting our tacky on in the Wis Dells. Ok, well, not entirely, but it was a nice study in contrasts, yes?

See, back in the day, we thought we were cool in red eyeshadow from Chanel (or was it Lancome?  I can't remember... it was 1998). Now we know better, or do we? This week we find out.

I'm front loading my training this week, in order to have some free time for the fun stuff later this week. I've got an idea for some shenanigans but also playing it free and easy... you know, we are older now. This isn't the batcave anymore... well, it sort of is.. without the overflowing ash trays. Will there be prosecco? You can bet your Prada on it.

Training this week was good. My long run was the coldest day of the week, and it was a challenge. I'm getting where I am really enjoying my cold weather running, and the fact is, that Wisconsin weather is being kind to me since it hasn't snowed yet. I'm just going to keep going outside as long as I feel safe.

My Garmin stats:

Activities: 4
Distance: 23.04 miles
Time: 04:01:05
Average speed: 5.7 mph
Calories: 2,929

Oh, and the weight. Do we need to talk about it? Up a .5 lbs from last week. The diet continues to be my achilles heel. And let me tell ya, it is not going to be any better this week!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Points ( Week 1 Training Recap)

Points! I've earned points! Lots and lots of points!

Have you ever noticed how excited we get about points? I had a random Mara ranting in the car the other day after noticing a sign in the local department store about how today you earned "double points". Frequent flier points! Reward points! Get your points here!

Give 'em to me, I gotta have more points! As if the world is out there keeping tally. Like some big cash register in the sky is up there keeping tally, "Mara is doing well! So many points today!"

I think I even have a Petco card, where I get points - like every three years - when I buy my hairy cats (who seem never interested in dying) a new litter box because I can't handle the old one any more. Petco points - what are THEY ever going to do for me? But somewhere deep down in the bowels of my purse there are cards for these places - like Petco, Babies R Us, Red Robin. You name it, I've got a card and I've got points coming out the Wazoo... .

Now., here are some points I could go for:

1. Points for every cookie, cake, cupcake, pizza, hamburger, french fries or yummy adult beverage that I passed up.
2. Points that were immediately converted into a cash. On the spot. Plunk! Right into the wallet.

So, for each cupcake I skipped, I'd earn $5. I think that's fair considering a cupcake these days costs about $5.  Each cocktail would qualify as $10 cash back. Baked brie at the holiday soiree? $8. Just think of the mullah that you'd be making this time of year. Christmas day? You can make a killing. No cookies, no pancakes, no hot chocolate, no mashed potatoes, no stuffing. Everyone else is spending money and you are making it. A nice daydream, eh?

Ok, back on topic. How about those training points I put in the bank this week?

Half Marathon Training Week 1

Running Miles: 21
Cross Training: 1 strength training. 1 cardio boxing workout.

Here are the Garmin stats (all workouts):

Count:6 Activities
Distance:21.98 mi
Time:5:37:56 h:m:s
Elevation Gain:668 ft
Avg Speed:3.9 mph (totally off due to XT however, it is hard to run slow. I'm working on it.)
Avg HR:--
Avg Run Cadence:--
Avg Bike Cadence:--
Calories:3,446 C

And as to the weight? Well, if I am generous with myself (and I am), I will calculate from last Monday's weigh in. However, that starting weight is 5 lbs off my low from August. Folkals, I've been eating bad! But I'm counting my calories once again.

Weight loss this week: 1.5 lbs

Total Weight loss to date: 96.5 lbs

Weight to lose til goal: 17.5 lbs (total goal 115 lbs)

I've changed my goal a bit from the original as stated last week. I want to lose 15 lbs on top of the 100 lbs, so first up, get these pesky holiday lbs off and be back down where I was in August. For that, I will give myself double reward points! Yipee!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm Back!

Hello Monday!! I'm back!!

Woo Hoo!

Today I start my next THING. 14 week half marathon training starts today.

Day 1. Rest and/or Cross Training.


I'm all psyched up, and I'm cross training. Ah well. I need to do that as well, so I will. Not sure yet if it will be strength training or some cardio boxing, but I've got to do something. Too much food in this belly, gotta get moving!

I am so super excited to be sharing this training with two great supportive friends. These are internet friends - we've never actually met - although we've known each other for over 4 years now. We met up in an internet group for mommy's that had babies due in February 2008, and now, here we are, Facebook friends, and running friends, almost 4 years later. These are the gals who are always "liking" my random facebook posts, supported me thru the weight loss, encouraged me in my running, and kept me going when I thought no one was listening.

I am so excited to be doing this training with them!

I'm also going to put another weight loss goal out there. The half marathon training plan in 14 weeks. I would like to lose 1 lbs a week during this training. Honestly, I'll be thrilled if I lose 10 lbs, but I'm going to make the goal 15 lbs. This is going to be hard. But I've got to get my diet under control or all this training will be for naught. I can't expect to get fitter and faster if I don't give this body some decent fuel to work with.

Here goes. Half Marathon and 15 lbs. I'll be checking in on Mondays. So happy to be back!

Next up, find an actual half marathon to run. Hmmmm....

First up, the New Years Day Dash (5 miles). Send me warm weather!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Berbee Derby Recap

Race recap. Ok, first race. No real idea what to expect. I didn't expect SO many people. I over emphasized a warming trend on the weather, such that, my poor children, husband and parents were freezing to death.

I totally get all the jokes about the porta potties now. Those poor people in line behind me running late for the 10K start - whoops! Should have planned ahead!

I had a couple of minor mishaps (didn't get my tights cinched up tight enough in aforementioned porta potty and thus felt like my pants were falling off the whole run). I did run with music, and was glad I did. I didn't anticipate the steep hill around the turn near the 2.5 mile mark, which was, unfortunately right after I had kicked up into 8 mile pace. Ouch. Lots of my co-runners were walking up that one, I refused to walk.

Oh, and I ran out of fuel at the end. To be expected I suppose.

But, despite the weaving traffic cones, dodging walkers and trying not to step on any school kids - I felt a great sense of accomplishment. Check that off the list. Did it. Done.

The results:

46/238 in my age group
417/2022 overall
Time 29:22
Pace 9:27

and here are my splits, cause my goal was really to do some decent negative splits:

Mile 1 - 10:10.7
Mile 2 - 8:36.6
Mile 3 - 9:19.1

I've run faster at home by myself. I've had better splits. But frankly, once I realized that the "traffic" is half the battle, the 3 miles themselves are hardly worth stressing about.

Thanks to my support, Mom, Dad, Erik & the girls! I know this wasn't the most fun thing to do on a Thanksgiving morning and it means a lot to me that you guys came out to see me blur by for 30 seconds.

Half Marathon training starts Monday. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tis the nite before the 5K

Tis the night before my first 5K and not a toddler is stirring...

As a sit and listen to my revamped running playlist (dutifully crafted to be just 30 minutes, the last 3 minutes of which I hope not to hear), it occurred to me that I should write something on my blog - to read the night before I run my first half marathon. Wink. Wink. Nod. Nod.

I'm nervous, yes. But I think more than that, I am sort of astounded that somehow in my strange brain a 5K (which I only learned less than 6 months ago equals 3.1 miles) now feels like a sprint. I've learned in the last 2 months that it actually takes me about 3 miles to warm up. When I run longer, the first 3 miles are the hardest 3 miles of the whole run. Rut Ro.

My goal has changed from just finishing to finishing well. Or at least, running a personal best. All sorts of strange competitive feelings that I haven't felt since the height of my swimming days (Jr. year high school) are creeping back in.

And then I take a deep breath and think back about what I was writing on this blog this time last year. I was painstakingly chronicling my calories and watching the scales drop. By Thanksgiving, I had dropped 47 lbs and worried relentlessly about adding just a drop of butter and sugar back into my diet. I was on the road of getting my life back.

Life is good. Here I am, on the eve of running my first 5K. I am starting half marathon training on Monday. I've got two gorgeous and healthy children. I am blessed with two loving parents who I have the luxury of seeing daily. I have amazing siblings who are brilliant and supportive. I have a husband who is loving, supportive, giving and super proud of me.

No matter the time on the Garmin, I am so thankful for all of these blessings.

And just cause you were wondering. I've tapered this week. 5K on Monday. Easy 2 mile jog on Tuesday and resting today. Trying to save these legs for tomorrow!

My running stats from last week:

Count: 4 Activities
Distance: 23.11 mi
Time: 3:47:06 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 1,360 ft
Avg Speed: 6.1 mph
Avg HR: 152 bpm
Calories: 2,754 C

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quitting, certainly

I don't like quitting. Anything. I have this internal sense of trying to keep people who have expectations of me - happy. I've had this with certain teachers, certain friends, certain family members - certainly my hubs, certainly happy with me. I don't like disappointing people. Who does?

I've been bouncing about since my goal accomplishment this summer. I've been playing, certainly. I've been testing the waters on a couple of things. I took up riding lessons. I flirted with half leasing a horse.

I tried running longer, shorter, faster.

Certainly, I've eaten too much.

I am certain that I have no idea what I am doing. It unsettles me. For the last year, I was certain about what to do. Lose Weight. Eat less calories than I burn. It is complicated, but simple when you boil it down.

The past two weeks I've been trying to get my focus back. I've enjoyed dabbling in this and that. Certainly, I still have things I want to do (skiing, for one, when the snow really hits), places I want to go (half marathon in Bermuda, anyone?).

I've made a couple of decisions:

1. My time and resources are limited. This sounds silly, but I need to realize I can't do everything. Certain 2012 changes will impact my work life balance. I have to take that into consideration when determining what to do next. The fact of the matter is that there are certain things I won't sacrifice. My husband, my kids, and my work have got to all have their time in my day.

2. I like running best. When I considered the cost benefit, time commitment of running versus the other activity that I have going - horseback riding - I realized that I like running better. This is a big step for me. I've always had this vision of riding as the height of sophistication. I love the idea of riding. But when I really got honest about it, I didn't actually enjoy it that much. I also didn't see what the end game was - what am I riding for? I'm not going to show. I'm not going to own a horse. I'm not going to go on some cross Ireland trek (as much as I'd like to). The time, money and dependence on animals and people outside of my control ultimately persuaded me to quit riding for now. (I reserve the right to reconsider in the event that 1. we win the lottery or 2. come into some other monetary windfall that allows me to be the kept woman that we all know is my true destiny.)

I'll say it more certainly - I honestly like running. I also like that I can do it seemingly anywhere anytime without much preparation or investment. I can literally see myself getting somewhere. In May, I ran 2 miles. In June, I ran 3 miles. In August, I was running 4 miles. Now, I can almost 12 miles without dying (well, I did that only once to be honest). Running seems to be a place where I can find out what I am capable of - set goals - and achieve them, while maintaining my weight loss.

So, yeah. I quit. I certainly have mixed feelings about it all. I certainly don't like telling people, my instructor, my friends, my husband, that I've decided to quit. There is, certainly, one person who isn't too sad about it - that is, my mother. She never understood why I would want to ride a 1,000 lb animal that could toss me on the ground. Certainly, she maybe onto something there.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Heart Condition

When I was 18, I had the privilege to study abroad in England for a year. As part of my preparation for that adventure, I was shuffled off to my primary care doctor for a physical. Due to some scheduling conflict, I saw the nurse practitioner instead of my normal doc.

She listened to my heart.

"Do you have a heart murmur?"

Yeah, I've had it like forever. Was checked out Pittsburgh Children's Hospital when I was like 8, and they said it was no big deal. I've never thought about it again, except to take antibiotics for dental work.

"It is really loud. You should have it checked out."

Mara shuffles off to the local university to see a pediatric cardiologist. Several tests and appointments later. I get an actual diagnosis. I'm textbook.

Textbook. Pulmonary Stenosis. With a gradient reading on the ultrasound that is right at the the threshold of do-we-intervene-or-not.

At age 18, my relatively healthy self choose no intervention. So on with life I went. Yearly updates with the pediatric cardiologist (pulmonary stenosis, a narrowing of the pulmonary artery is a birth defect, thus, the pediatric specialty) at the ripe young adult ages of my early 20s.

In 2000, as a young woman, pulmonary stenosis started to interfere with my adult life. It caused complications for me as I prepared to have a particularly agitated gall bladder removed. They wouldn't do the laproscopic surgery and thus, I was under the knife and out of commission for 6 weeks due to major stomach surgery.

Later that year I was in for a real shock. My OBGYN sat me down in his office post checkup.

"Mara," he said, "with your pulmonary stenosis, I would really advise caution about having kids. In fact, I would say that your chances for cardiac arrest during childbirth would be significant. I would recommend that you not consider (ever) having children."

THAT was NEWS to me. It wasn't like I was in the middle of my family planning but I had always just assumed that I would have kids some day. I left my OBGYN's office with a sense of "What just happened?" Why did this seemingly innocent heart condition that hasn't caused me any noticeable symptoms just thrown a wrench into my life plan?

I started talking to more doctors, more research, more time passed. I learned that when I wanted to have kids, I might consider having a catherization to widen my pulmonary artery. Time passed and I met Erik.

In 2005, I was referred to some amazing doctors at the Boston Adult Congenital Heart Clinic . There Dr. Sloss and Dr. Landzberg advised that since Erik & I wanted to have kids and the catherization risk so low, that I should have the procedure done to mitigate any risk I might have during pregnany. Without going into the details of the procedure, lets just say that this hospital experience was so positive, I would recommend these doctors and this facility to anyone looking for this kind of care.

What I won't forget is my post operation feeling. I felt like weight had been lifted off my chest. I ran up the stairs for the first time in years. I recall discussing this feeling with Dr. Sloss at my post operation follow up.

"Its not like I wasn't athletic. I was a swimmer all during high school."

"But, did you like to run?" he asked.

"Well, no. But I could if I had to."

He explained that I likely gravitated to a sport that was easier for my body and my condition to handle. Sort of a gravitation towards the path of least resistence. I realized that what I had done in my life was very much impacted by my asymptomatic heart condition.

At that time, I was a plus size girl. I went on to have two beautiful babies. Also as a plus sized girl. I remember being told that I should lose weight for my heart. I knew this. As I've blogged here, I dealt with complications during both my births due to my blood pressure. I never had blood pressure issues until preeclampsia hit in the 32 week in both pregnancies. My blood pressure was ranging around the 130/90 mark when I delivered both of my little girls a month early. Even with my corrected heart condition, my docs considered me high risk. In retrospect, I think this was due more to my weight than my heart.

My little girls were healthy. I was not. I had managed to make it thru the pregnancies but neither of them were ideal. They say that preeclampsia isn't caused by weight. All sorts of shapes and sizes get it. In my case, I feel like my body can maintain its health until I hit about the 300 lbs mark. At that point, all my systems (mainly my kidneys and my heart), don't handle the weight very well.

Why am I thinking about all of this on a rainy (and soon to be snowy) Wednesday morning?

I found a print out this morning from a couple of weeks back. I went into urgent care for a infection. While there, the nurse took my blood pressure and pulse. She was concerned. She was concerned for the opposite reason. My numbers were so low.

Blood pressure: 105/51
Pulse: 42

She took my stats twice. Then she looked at me and asked. "Are you an athlete?"

That nurse made my day.

Why, yes, I am an athlete. I am also a runner. I am a mom of two with a heart condition. Thanks to some amazing doctors and some hard work I've changed the path that my life was on. I no longer choose the path of least resistance. I have a heart condition. Now it is called healthy and happy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Running to Youngstown

Feeling a disturbing sense of pride after this mornings longest run ever (11+ miles!), such that I have just reviewed my Garmin log and have the following recaps to report:

The week in review (includes 1 non-running cardio-boxing routine):

Count: 4 Activities
Distance: 19.26 mi
Time: 4:15:38 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 428 ft
Avg Speed: 4.5 mph
Avg HR: 148 bpm
Calories: 2,996 C

October 2011 in review:

Count: 16 Activities
Distance: 78.40 mi
Time: 14:16:07 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 3,075 ft
Avg Speed: 5.5 mph
Avg HR: 148 bpm
Calories: 10,335 C

Year to Date stats:

Count: 108 Activities
Distance: 353.91 mi
Time: 86:10:39 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 11,222 ft
Avg Speed: 4.2 mph
Avg HR: 140 bpm
Calories: 53,276 C

This year, I have run 353 miles (so far). That is like running from Madison Wisconsin to Youngstown Ohio. That's a LONG way. Youngstown, I am so there! While in Youngstown, I'm thinking it is time to pick up some new running shoes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011



This is a little bit of YAY me! I was feeling HOT, yes, like sexy mama Mara, trying on this jacket today. And I almost bought that darn thing just because it was one of those unattainable sizes (as I have previously blogged about). This jacket is a size Medium. Now, I will add the caveat that it is a medium at Lands End, which does tend to be a generous medium and translates into a 10/12, but STILL!! A medium. I haven't worn a medium in any memorable time of my life. I swear I went straight from 14X kids to 14 womens. There was no in between for me. So a medium is a great morale boost. I need a bit of YAY Mara right now, so I'll take it.

I also bought two pairs of size 12 jeans. Which isn't such a huge deal cause I've been in 12s for a while now, but cool nonetheless. Especially when you consider that this time last year I was celebrating getting out of size 24 and into size 22. What a difference a year makes.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 31, 2011

Scary! Boo!

My run this morning. Scary stuff. I might as well be wearing a costume because I don't recognize myself.

Distance: 10.03 mi
Time: 1:46:39
Avg Pace: 10:38 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 442 ft
Calories: 1,230 C

Untitled by agirlcallededdy at Garmin Connect - Details

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Goals. Round 2.

I've been languishing in my post goal accomplishment. Its been beautiful.


I need goals. I've done well sort of fluctuating on 2 lbs on either side of my goal weight, but I'm selfish, I want more. So, here's what I've got going on.

I'm going to run a race. Big whoop you all say. I should have done it like 5 months ago. But 5 months ago I was chicken (and still am for that matter) and not mentally ready. I know I can run well. I know I can even run fast. So it is time to come out of the running closet and do it in PUBLIC. I'm hoping that I've convinced some mommy friends to join me at the Berbee Derby on Turkey Day, but if not, I will register as an individual and do it alone. Either way, it has to be done.

Second. Back to the weight. I want to lose another 15 lbs by my Birthday (April 2012). I think this is an aggressive and yet attainable goal. It will help me to have this goal as the SUGAR is getting me down as of late and I need to get my focus back. Especially thru the holidays. I can feel the food calling my name.

So, I put these two goals out to the blogosphere and expect you all to hold me accountable.

When this is all said and done (never going to happen), maybe I will go to Disney World.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Forcing myself to say something

I'm out of sorts and I don't feel like talking about it. I've gone inside myself over the last month. I can't say it has been any particular thing that has caused it. It is a sort of a let down. A minor depression cycle of fall, maybe.

It has got me thinking.

A lot of people who lose weight gain it back. I can see why now. It is really hard work to keep up this momentum. If I eat too much I have to exercise harder to maintain. Counting calories has lost its allure and I've had a taste of sugar and I'm jonesing for some more. That's the easy answer.

My running stats for the last week:

Count: 5 Activities
Distance: 22.69 mi
Time: 3:43:34 h:m:s
Avg Speed: 6.1 mph
Avg HR: 152 bpm
Calories: 2,871 C

The harder issue is that so much has changed. And not all of the change has been good. The good change is obvious. I feel better. I look better. I'm healthier. The subtle changes are less obvious. I feel fractured because I don't recognize myself. I'm selfish about my time, my workout, my new routines. I'm less intimate. I can't seem to find it within myself to give outwardly. I've got no words. I don't want to talk about it. I just feel like a little bit of an alien to myself and that spills over into my most important relationship.

I don't know how to fix it and I'm not wanting answers right now. I just need to put this out there. It has been an amazing transformation, but there are some things that I lost that I'd like back now.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"and I will never need umbrellas in the rain.."

I quoted this in my senior year book. There is a lot going on with my old high school on facebook these days which reminded me of the song.

It also is a nice prelude to the festivities this weekend. Certainly it sums up my general not-so-sure-what-I-am-doing-right now. It is time to be a ghost! Will I pay for who I've been?

I forget my own words too. No worries Tori.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


The Lewis family blurred through Maryland this weekend. I say blurred because it was a whirlwind tour, 16 hour drive out on Thursday, thirty some odd family members mingling on Saturday, lots of ham and cheese sandwiches, nap times with black out shades (got to love a hotel), 1 speeding ticket, a shattered oil lamp vase AND Christmas tree ornament at Cracker Barrel, 1 panic attack (Minivan DVD system ceased to function), and ummmm, hours of missed sleep = blur. It is all a bit blurry still.

But for all the blur, one thing is clear. There is something lovely and fundamental about returning to where you spent the happy carefree days of your childhood. Of course, there is the prerequisite shock over the change. The geography changes, the faces change, the cars change, sometimes even the decor changes, but the feeling is the same. That at home feeling. There is something that happens to my hubby when he travels to the "end of the road." I can see the desire in him for the most simple of things, family, love and fellowship. That is what blurred together this weekend. It is the thread of blurry continuity in his childhood that provides the foundation of the childhood we strive to give our girls today. It is a lovely thing to see why the man you married is the man you love. That is a happy blurry feeling. Thank God for the blur.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Why I am a Runner

That's it. It is official. I am a runner. Not because I have done any races. Not because I am built like a stick figure. Not because I live in my sneakers. No. Those are not the reasons.

I am a runner because I am addicted. I can't seem to go a day without a run. There is this internal thing in me that loves the endorphin rush. That loves getting past that 3, 4, or 5 mile mark and feel like I can still keep going. I love feeling that every time I get out there I am steadier, stronger and faster. Each time I am working my lungs and working off the jiggle. Every time I come in and pull off my Garmin that I have ten times as much energy as I did before. I have less appetite for food and more appetite for life.

That's why I am a runner. And yep, I am a runner now. I am afraid to stop. I am afraid to lose this level of fitness, where I can run 5 miles, and then walk up and down the block and have a heart rate back under 100. That's why I run.

I also run so that I can eat. I haven't purposefully stopped logging my food diary, but inadvertently I have. I haven't been eating perfectly well these past few weeks. I am splurging on date night, desserts, and too much bread. But I've run. And so I am thrilled to report that 6 weeks after my goal achievement of 100 lbs lost, I have maintained my weight loss to the pound. Now granted I feel a bit guilty, cause frankly, I would have lost weight if I hadn't splurged, but this is about living, and I am doing just that. Like today, perfect football, chili in the crockpot and homemade apple pie with apples from our orchard trip. Gotta love fall!

My week, running:

Count: 6 Activities
Distance: 24.28 mi
Time: 4:04:03 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 572 ft
Avg Speed: 6.0 mph
Calories: 3,165 C

I ran long and hard this week. I probably should have stayed home for 2 of these runs, but I didn't. Part of the reason is that we are taking a trip in the next week and I'm sure I will be missing my running time. It is family time and I can't wait to show off my two little beauties to some family in Maryland that we don't get to see very often.

Monday, September 26, 2011


I am a firm believer in play. And given the sort of state of euphoria that I've been living in over the past few months, play, has become a mantra. I am making up for lost time in the play department, so please forgive my juvenile behavior.

Over the weekend, the worldwide day of play was celebrated. At the our house, we learned this due to our Nick Jr. being unavailable. No cable. No Olivia! No Bubble Guppies! We were meant to send our kids outside to enjoy the afternoon playing.

Right now, I love that. Lets all turn off our regularly scheduled activities and play! Try something new. Do something fun. Laugh. Run. Play.

I'm playing every day these days. I still work. Work hard, play hard. But play is now a priority. I play at running. I play at horse back riding. I play at P90X. I play on date nite. I play at shopping. I play. Maybe I should be more serious. Maybe I should be more mature. Maybe. But I hope that by playing, I keep my soul and spirit happy and young and teach my girls that play is an essential part of life.

This week recap of running:
Count: 3 Activities
Distance: 15.39 mi
Time: 2:34:24 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 340 ft
Avg Speed: 6.0 mph
Avg HR: 153 bpm
Calories: 2,031 C

I also did two P90 sculpt / Abs routines on non-running days.

I had an awesome riding lesson on Friday. Riding as an adult is such a different thing. I can finally let my nerves go and just focus on the nuances of my connection with the horse. I had my horse "on the bit" for at least a portion of my lesson which was an absolute first for me. I can't wait to ride again and ride more!

Happy Birthday to my favorite playmate. I love you babe.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Checking In

Just doing stuff. Maintaining my weight loss. Need to get some weights back in the mix. This past week was heavy on the running as I was left to my own devices with hubby out of town.

Count: 5 Activities
Distance: 18.13 mi
Time: 3:40:53 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 802 ft
Avg Speed: 4.9 mph
Avg HR: 145 bpm
Calories: 2,661 C

Riding is great and I can't wait to do it more!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Intention. This word, spoken at my riding lesson this week, has resonated with me. Living with intention. Moving with intention. Thinking about where you want to go and then shifting your gut to point that way. The amazing thing about riding is that if you are centered, if you have intention, the horse will know, instinctively, and follow.

Every action evokes a response. Know what response you want and then ask for it. Intend it to happen.

I’d like to think that I’ve brought some attention back to intention in the past year. To look forward with an idea of what I want to feel like, what I want to look like, who I might be able to be. I am shifting my weight, shifting my posture, shifting my center.

I’ve exhaled. I’ve sank into my heels. I feel the weight in my ground. I am thinking forward. I am full of intention. I’m not sure where I am going to end up, but I have intention to move forward from here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Running + 1

On Friday my closest friend from high school stopped at our place on his way thru town. He does this every 2 years or so. I can't complain. If it weren't for the effort that he has made to come and see us over the years, we might not have spoken since 2003. This is a guy who has known me in every happy, sad or awkward phase of my life. I think I shocked the crap out of him when I opened the door. The last time he saw me, I looked like this:

Seeing his reaction to seeing me helped me see what I had accomplished. I had planned an aggressive day of activities on Friday and it rocked! After my riding lesson, we headed up to the Wis Dells and took on the Bigfoot Zip Line. The largest zip line in the country. It was fantastic! The boys were doing tricks, upside down, trust fall starts, helicopter spins. What a rush. Even I got into it! If you are in the Dells, I HIGHLY recommend it. Worth every penny.

We scooted back to Madison, cleaned ourselves up, grabbed a taxi and made our way down to State Street for dinner before the 8pm comedy show. Kyle Kinane had us in stitches and laughing for 2 hours straight was the best way to end the day.

Us, two years later:

But for me the biggest deal of the visit was a run with my old friend on Sat morning. See, he ran cross country in college when I was smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, eating pizza and packing on the pounds. I always teased him for his running - self torture - or some such nonsense. It was only fitting the the first run that I should do WITH someone would be WITH him. So we set out.... I was self conscious for the first mile, acutely aware that I had music and all he had was me breathing heavy next to him. By mile 2 we settled in and then it was fun. A silent communion. Somehow, even without the running, our friendship had always been like this. Running with BWB somehow allowed for me to think of myself as a runner. Thanks, B.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Boiling it down

I refuse to accept that the best days of my life are over.

That's it. That is the WHY. The big WHY. The big bam of emotion that forced me off the couch and into the world last year.

I refuse.

I am not going to take it.


Memories are beautiful things. Wow, I love how a smell or a taste can take you back to a place that -- although maybe a bit fuzzy around the edges -- can be as clear as yesterday. There are certain things that take me back. Rolling down hills. Umbrellas. Salami. All Terrain Vehicles. Yes, these odd items each have some sentimental place in my heart.

Music does the same. God, there are some bands... some songs ...I can't listen to at all anymore just cause I overplayed them in my maudlin youth.

But no. I am not going to live there. It is a nice, glorious, idealized place to visit, but what they say is true, youth is wasted on the young. So instead of letting the world, my life, just go on without me while I lived in my happy little memories, I said: Screw it. Time to make this moment the one that I want to be in.

That is the WHY.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Burn baby Burn!

Just so you all didn't think I was slacking just cause I wasn't writing!!

My workout stats from last week:

Count: 5 Activities
Distance: 8.15 mi
Calories: 2,411 C

This was 2 runs (1 less than 3m, 1 5 miler). I ran the 5 miles in less than 50 mins which is a PR for me!

The rest of the activities logged are P90X. I wore my Garmin for all but 1 of them (skipped the HRM for Yoga X). Calories burned is fairly accurate.

My diet took a hit over the weekend with friends and family visiting, but all and all I am pretty psyched about my fitness right now.

I also took the next step as for riding and ordered some gear. I am still anxious that this is the right step for me, but excited as well. Thankfully, if I change my mind, all items can be happily returned to Dover Saddlery.

Next up: More Zip Lining on Friday with my oldest friend who is coming to visit this weekend! YAY!

Happy Trails!

Friday, September 2, 2011


It has been an interesting week. I've been ruminating in the variety of things I could be doing with myself now that my singular focus (the scale) is no longer my singular focus.

This is what I've come up with so far:

I want to do something that:

1. Challenges me physically and keeps me engaged
2. Forces me to address my long standing body and self image issues
3. Is social
4. Will energize me on a more spiritual and emotional level.

I've been putting feelers out there about horse back riding. I am not sure if riding is the sole activity that will encompass all of the things that I want to accomplish, but it is something I love, fear, respect and wish I could do better. So from that perspective, it has got my attention at the moment.

In the course of putting feelers out there about the riding possibilities in southern Madison, I came across (kismet?) a life coach. Huh. This was an interesting development for me. Life coaching. Would I -- stubborn Mara -- who insists on promoting change from within (dare I say a "self changer") be open to life coaching?

In an effort to be more than the usual Mara, I reached out to the life coach.

The conversation was honest and real and satisfying. It was certainly nice to have someone who doesn't know me -- listen --- and be a sounding board for all the ideas and concerns I have about the next step. The what-to-do-now that is staring me in the face. I suspect if money and time weren't an issue that I would continue having these conversations. I felt invigorated, energized, and ready to tackle something when I got off the phone. Life coaching.... to be continued.

As for the week, I think it has been highly productive. I've signed on to P90X. So far so good. I feel like my whole body has gone thru some sort of tightening up process and am encouraged by the fact that I can actually do most of the exercises. I'm also looking at these routines as a means to an end -- if I do end up riding -- I will be in the best shape I can be in to do it.

Since I started the P90X, I've missed running. Yes, I said it folks -- missed running. Sunday is supposed to be a rest day, but if the weather is nice, I'm going for a jog. I did get a couple of miles logged last weekend and I ran as a warm up on Wednesday but 2.75 miles just doesn't cut it anymore. (Did I just say that out loud?!) Who AM I?

Thus, the searching...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Much Ado About Nothing

The Monday After. I think I am having weigh in withdrawl. Ok, not private weigh in withdrawl cause Lord knows I am still getting on the scale --- but that public, Hi-Blog-World, this is what I did this week weigh in.

I'll get over it. Promise.

This past week was glorious. I was semi-good on the diet until about Wednesday and then full vacation mode kicked in. I tried to run on vacation but wow, there were hills every direction from our vacation condo which really depressed me and convinced me that vacation isn't for running.

Not that I sat around. I went zip lining for the first time ever! We did a night time zip, so, we didn't even get on the lines until 9:45pm. I was flinging my new body into the dark unknown. I wouldn't say that zip lining was a great HUGE deal. I was nervous and I was a bit freaked out by the height, but more than anything I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

So I did. As a side note: Last year I was unable to do the zip lining, even if I wanted, cause I weighed more than the limit.

We went swimming, and water sliding, and chased our toddlers thru the pool day after day. Erik & I took Xanthe horse back riding. A love of my youth.

I want to ride more. I haven't determined if that means dressage lessons, or western pleasure, or what. But I want to do it.

There is so much I want to do. Right now I can't seem to narrow it down. So, I am sort of just letting all the possibilities wash over me and some day soon I will prioritize them.

But the number one goal: Maintain. I can't celebrate my goal forever. I've gotten back to reality upon my return from vacation. I ran 6 miles over the weekend, and Erik started P90X this morning. I'm hoping Tony Horton can keep me on the straight and narrow. I've tenatively set a goal to lose another 15 lbs off the last goal but as for now, I haven't given myself a time limit to do it. I just want to keep steady, slow, and watch the results happen. The tortoise wins the race.

"O, what men dare do! what men may do! what men daily do, not knowing what they do!" A wee bit of Shakespeare for the day.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wis Dells 2011

The Girlies enjoying the water slides on vacation at Wilderness on The Lake! This was Day 1, but Day 5 they were pros! : )

Sunday, August 21, 2011

100 Pounds Lost

This is the blog post that I've been longing to write for a year now. The big YAY ME blog post where I joyously declare:

I've LOST 100 lbs!!!! I DID IT!

There is a little story that goes behind this momentous weigh in. I really (really really) wanted to hit the 100 lbs mark before we leave for vacation. We leave tomorrow. So this morning I said a little prayer, dragged my sorry tired butt out of bed, and after a few first morning rituals, climbed on the scale.


Oh, HELL NO. (I've never actually said the number, but 175 was the goal).

Ok, now what? One pound? How can I get this pound off? I strip down to my birthday suit and tenatively step back on the scale.


I DID IT. I DID IT. Doing a little Dora The Explorer dance. Wait. I need proof.

Grab Erik's camera, step back on the scale.


UGH. QUICK! Put camera down!!!!

Step back on scale.

174.5 lbs

Grab camera, CLICK! Saved for posterity as proof. A rush of emotion, a little bit of - OMG - I never actually thought - I can't believe it is true - who the heck am I? - moment.

Then upstairs to see my girlies and say good morning. Despite all the change I am so thankful that there are some things that stay the same.

Photo shoot and celebration to come. I am just soaking in this day.

Friday, August 19, 2011

1 Scale Down. 1 to Go!

A pre-vacation gift from my Wii. I haven't been on the Wii for 90 days. As some of you guys recall, I started my exercise on the Wii Fit Plus and then did the Gold Gym Dance Workout. Today I climbed on the Wii Fit balance board to check my weight. I knew this would be a nice diversion since the Wii always registered my weight a couple of pounds lower than my regular bathroom scale.

And low and behold...

101 LBS LOST!!!

Now, if I wanted I suppose I could claim victory. But I want to see this number on the bathroom scale as well, so I am just going to keep chugging along. But it certainly is a nice little number this morning. It is awesome to see all the hard work pay off!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cinnamon Bread SBS Style

Cinnamon Bread
1/4 cup dry milk
3 Tbs. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. shortening
1 cup warm water
1 pkg. active dry yeast
(for quick bread add 1 more pkg. yeast)
3 cups flour
Additional 3 cups flour (approx)
1/3 cup sugar and 1 Tbs. cinnamon

Put together yeast, a small amount of water and sugar. Let proof for about 5 mins. Mix together dry milk, sugar, salt and shortening. Add three cups flour, yeast mixture and water. Add additional flour -- a small amount at a time until mixture takes a ball shape. Put into a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape about 1 1/2 inch thick. Brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture. Roll jelly-roll fashion and pinch the ends and the seams. Put into a pan and let rise again. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 mins. (Note: this bread is baked through when you knock the bread and it sounds hollow.)

Honey Pecan Chicken SBS Style

Due to Facebook demand, sharing some old SBS recipes:

Honey Pecan Fried Chicken
2 frying chickens, each about 3 lbs, cleaned and cut into serving pieces.
4 cups buttermilk
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tst. pepper
Sufficient oil for deep frying

Place Chicken pieces in a large bowl and cover with buttermilk. Let chick soak at least one hour, refrigerated. When ready to cook, drain chicken for a few moments, then coat thoroughly with flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper. Fry the chicken in hot oil until crisp golden brown and cooked through.

Honey Pecan Sauce
1 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Bring ingredient to a gentle boil. Arrange hot chicken on serving dishes and drizzle with honey pecan sauce. Serve immediately. Serves 6-8.

Courtesy Dorothy @ SBS (reprinted from SBS Apron)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Crouching Hidden Fat

I was just putzing thru Picasa tonight and came across these nearly identical pictures that were taken of me crouching down at the reflection pool at Olbrich Gardens. The first picture, with Xanthe, was in the fall of 2009 a couple of months after Porter was born. Kyle & Lori were both visiting. My weight at the time, still nursing and post baby, was probably somewhere in the 270s.

The second picture, with Porter, was taken this June by Erik. We took the girls over to Olbrich to run thru the Gardens. I was kneeling down trying to keep Xanthe (cropped out of the photo) from getting her whole body wet in the reflection pool. Weight at this time was around 190's.


What a difference some time and hard work can make.
Posted by Picasa

The Stats

No fancy stuff. No accolades. No excuses. Just a plain old weigh in:

Weight loss this week: 1.5 lbs
Total loss to date: 96.5 lbs
Weight to lose til goal: 3.5lbs

Running stats from the week:
Count: 4 Runs
Distance: 14.93 mi
Time: 02:37:08 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 806 ft
Avg Speed: 5.7 mph
Avg HR: 152 bpm
Calories: 1,909 C

I'm making a major push this week to see that GOAL #### on the scale. But whether I make it this week, this month (as per plan) or even next month, I will see that number and make my goal.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mara circa 1995

This week is a study in contrasts. I was so good Monday thru Thursday. I was eating well, working out twice a day and was seeing the scale drop. It felt good and as you can tell from my previous post, I was feeling victorious.

Whoops. Don't celebrate so soon! A couple of carb heavy meals, an extra cookie and I've bounced back too easily.

Weight loss this week: None, nada, zilch, nil.
Weight loss to date: 95 lbs
Weight til next goal: 5 lbs

My body likes this weight. I've pretty much shed the fat that exists everywhere except my belly. Granted, the belly is shrinking, but it is stubborn! This is the fat that I first put on. The fat that has been with me the longest.

1994 with Linda in Austria

1996 Jeans-in-Motion w/ Felix

It is the most "attached" and it is certainly the most reluctant to go. I am committed to seeing you go belly-fat, so you should just accept your fate. Whether it happens this month, or the next, the time will come and you will relinquish your hold on my core muscles. I promise I will conquer you.

I'm skinnier now than I was when I graduated high school. I've got to channel my inner teenager and call on some youthful energy to rid this belly from my body!

My little toe is a blister and my Achilles tendons are aching. I am going to need to find something to do so I don't run myself into the ground.

My running stats this week:
Distance: 22.29 mi
Time: 04:31:36 h:m:s
Calories: 2,896 C

Perhaps I should go back to the basics and hula it off?

Mara at Emerald Isle 1984

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Light at the End

"...I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel."

Well folks, I am coming to the light at the end of the Lincoln Tunnel and there are all sorts of thoughts swirling around my head this week....


What to wear for my AFTER pictures

Whether to keep my size 14 clothes

If Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11 in shocking PURPLE was the right choice

How I can kick it up, another notch

How to celebrate a 3 digit weight loss

and most importantly - what the heck do I do next?

Now, this is all premature of course, cause I haven't actually REACHED my goal as of yet. But I am going to just take it as a given that it will happen.

Whose coming to Madison to party like its 2011?!

How would you celebrate the end of a year-long life-changing journey?

And then, there is a sadness, of waking up the next morning and knowing that I will battle these demons the rest of my life. It is easier now that I know I can beat them. Easier but not easy.

I am still pondering my next step. I've got some time to figure it out. I suspect it won't be quite as significant as my last goal but perhaps a lot more meaningful.

I want to say also that blogging this year has been tremendous for me. It has brought me back in touch with old friends that I may not have otherwise reconnected with. It has brought me perspective on my impact to my family and my community. It has centered my ego so that I realize that there is so much that goes on that has nothing to do with me. I can only control a small fraction of the forces that will determine my destiny. At least now, I've got control of one of them.

I've made new friends. Friends that have encouraged me even if only thru a thumbs up or a comment about reading my blog. I'm not good at making new friends so I really value this development the most.

And mostly, I just want to say Thank You for sticking with me. I've been a broken record on here and I am frankly astounded by how many of you kept with me week after week.

Until Monday,

Ps. 3 lbs to GO!

Monday, August 1, 2011


Yes folks, you can use your broiler to make Smores:

Before Sugar:

After Sugar:

95 Down - 5 to Go!!! Go! Go!

Please forgive me while I toot my own horn. I am going to get a bit 'pep talky' today. I need to do a sort of accounting to remind myself where I've been and where I want to be. You see, it is August 1st (which makes me want to scream, btw...) and I've got a month left before my arbitrary deadline to lose 100 lbs. Only a month left to lose what is going to be the hardest 5 lbs to lose. I am going to do my darndest, but you know, (putting on my Stuart Smalley voice), I've already won (and gosh darn it, people like me.) Winning! I'm winning, you see, and here's why:

I've lost 95 lbs.
I have lost an average of 7.9 lbs per month
I've lost a total of 30 inches
I've got a 34 inch waist for the first time in my adult life
I've lost a total of 34.5% of my body weight.
I've lost 6 pants sizes (26 to 12, is that 6 or 12 pants sizes? Who the heck knows..)
I've lost 5 shirt sizes (3X to L)

I've had a physical. My blood pressure, my cholesterol, my blood tests, everything is normal.

And the small victories:

I am not afraid.
I am engaged in my life.
I feel like I can control my own reality.
Lesson learned: if you don't like, change it.
I want to do things instead of sitting on the couch.
I feel alive (the synapses are firing, be afraid!)
Oh, and I can wear a killer pair of heels and even walk (before you add alcohol) in them! Have I mentioned I am pretty proud of my legs right now?

Some mantras that I am hoping will get me thru the remainder of my journey:

I want to be long and lean and lose all this stuff in between.

One foot in front of the other.

I got this.

Weight loss this week: 1.5 lbs
Weight loss to date: 95 lbs
Weight till goal: 5 lbs

Running Stats this week:

Distance: 18.00 mi
Time: 04:33:13 h:m:s
Avg HR: 132 bpm
Calories: 2,533 C

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Bucket

Dear Miss P:

You're Two! It brings tears to my eyes (ask Daddy, I honestly teared up Saturday morning while drinking coffee and watching Sprout) to think that my baby is so big. You are such a determined little lady. Never bashful and full of opinions ("Yep! No! Mine?") you are our little Leo lion. I love that you are perfectly satisfied to be Mommy's baby (you frequently tell me that you are a baby and wear diapers vs. my insistence that big girls wear panties) and I will savor these remaining days that you are my baby because I know they are fleeting.

Mommy wishes that she has done a better job documenting some of the perfect toddlerisms that have come from you as of late. For fear of losing them for from my memory completely lets jot a couple of them down here:

When I asked you what you wanted for your birthday last week you told me that you wanted:

"A phuket." Huh? You repeated: "A pfffucket."

"A Bucket?"


a bit later you added a shovel to the birthday request. We had a awesome pool party for you on Saturday and lots of our new Madison friends came to celebrate with you. For the first hour, you flirted with the pool, not sure it was for you. Finally you decided to go for it and after several rounds of "One! Two! Blast Off!" with Daddy you were happy as a clam.

In preparation for your birthday this weekend, we taught you to answer the question: "How old are you?" When I told you - "I'm two!" you looked at me and mumbled: "I'm a shoe."

You love your food and you particularly love treats. You give us this little lowered eyelashes smile when you ask. It is a killer that smile and will serve you well in life.

You make friends with everyone you meet and you often look at us and ask "Friend?" as if to request permission to be sweet to persons you have yet to meet. As you continue to grow I don't think you will ever be wanting for friends. They will be drawn to your jolly laugh, your joy of play and your fierce devotion.

We love you -

Mommy, Daddy & X

This week's weigh in:

Weight loss to week: 1 lb (edited after I read down the blog! YAY!)
Total loss to date: 93.5 lbs
Weight to go: 6.5 lbs

I was down 2 lbs on the week until we had left over ELMO cake in our kitchen all weekend. Buttercream is the enemy people!

The running stats are totally off. I wore my Garmin for two Tony Horton workouts this week, so the only accurate stat is the calories burned.

Distance: 22.28 mi
Time: 04:53:37 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 939 ft
Avg Speed: 4.6 mph
Avg HR: 145 bpm
Calories: 3,076 C