Monday, May 28, 2012

Drum roll please...

You may or may not remember that in the beginning of March I mentioned that I may or may not have a big announcement to share.

Turns out I do.

Well, there it is.


Friday, May 25, 2012


My trusty dictionary defines the word as "going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary".

I have never thought of myself as extraordinary, nor is my story.  It is much like anyone else's, but it is my story, and it goes well beyond my "usual, regular, or customary."

I've struggled with my weight, or rather my body image, for as long as I remember.  I've always felt that I wasn't small enough, pretty enough and was always self-conscious of my looks, so much that I hid behind my clothes.  It couldn't be big or baggy enough for me.  As the years went by, I began to grow into my big baggy clothes.  As I grew bigger, my confidence grew smaller, not that I had much to begin with.  I didn't like to wear shorts or shirts that didn't "hide" my bum; and swimming?  Oh hell no.

I could become depressed at the drop of a hat. I hated what I had become and I desperately wanted to be someone else.  I hated trying to meet people.  I mean, how could they get past my weight?  They would never be able to "see" me.  And looking back, why would they want to get to know me?  I was a bear to be around.  Self loathing, self pity, oh my goodness it wasn't pretty.

The cards were beginning to stack up against me.  Not only was my confidence and my sanity in a downward spiral, my health began its descent as well.  My wake up call was when the Doc put me on a glucose monitor.  My mother and my sister developed diabetes, and no offense to them (and I love them DEARLY), no way did I want to follow in these particular footsteps to Downtown Diabetesville.  The first time I pricked my finger, I remembered seeing my mom lying on a bed in the ER.  I don't remember the exact details (don't forget, I'm the sibling with the shoddy memory) like how we got there or who exactly was with me, my brother I think?  Anyway, we were there because her blood sugar was off.  Way off.  So, when I pricked my finger that first time, I got scared.  And under no circumstance did I want to be on a bed like that by myself.  No thank you.  I tried to shed some pounds, exercised here and there, and then I'd stop.  This cycle went on for a bit.  I was none the healthier, none the lighter.  Only frustrated and miserable and felt like I wasn't good enough to change anyway.

One day I decided enough was enough.  One day I decided that I was worth it.  I didn't say "maybe I'll try".  This time I said "I'm going to."

I started to run.  I did it because I wanted to be healthy.  I wanted to be able to go for walks with people without feeling sad that I was always bringing up the rear, unable to keep up.  Yes, I did want to lose weight, but it wasn't all about that. I didn't have a number I had to reach in a specific amount of time.  I just really wanted to be healthy and happy with myself.

This is slightly different than your typical "Before and After"story.  I didn't decide to reach Xnumber of pounds or set my mind into getting into a size Y.  I decided to find the person I used to like, to get to know her again.  There are a few questions I get asked a lot and that I try to skirt answering these because, as much as I like numbers and data, this isn't about the numbers. But because I get asked a lot, that means folks want to know.  So, here we go.  .

What is your goal weight?  Well, when I enlisted the help of a coach to get me on track, she told me I had to pick a number to work towards.  She said it was easier to reach a goal if you make a goal.  So,  I picked 130 lbs.  Why?  Because it seemed like a healthy number.

How much have you lost?  When I was at my heaviest, I weighed around 180 lbs, maybe more, in 2008 and held steady.  It has been an up and down roller coaster since, but I have lost 50 lbs and have reached "goal" weight.

Are you still losing weight?  Because you look like you are (spoken with raised eyebrow).  No.  I am no longer losing weight, but am maintaining my weight.  My body is still changing though, losing body fat and gaining muscle.  I'm mindful of what I eat and I exercise at least 5 times a week.  NOT because I want to lose more weight, but because it makes me feel good, happy, healthy and I enjoy it!

I don't have the typical "before and after" picture because, well, this wasn't really planned.  It just kind of happened.  What I do have are some pictures I pulled together from over the years. 


I wish I could stress that it hasn't been just about losing weight.  It has been about finding the me that I hoped was in there.  Am I perfect now?  Hell no.  Do I still get depressed?  Heavens yes.  Do I still have self doubt?  Of course I do.  But I'm a hell of a lot better at handling the imperfections and depression and self doubt than I was a year ago!  I laugh more, I smile more.....I love myself more.

In the grand scheme of things, I don't think I'm extraordinary, nor is my story.  But I'll tell you what. The road to self discovery is never easy and is always scary.  I decided to take that road and I'm still truckin'.  And that, my friends, is what I think I'm most proud of.

And if you are sitting there, reading and maybe wondering if you have it in you to go down that road?  I'm here to tell you that you do.  All you have to do is decide, and I'll be with you every step of the way.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Food for Thought: Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I have been discussing some alternate diets with some folks in our local running group on our Facebook page.  One gentleman asked for some quinoa recipes.  I offered up my Black Bean and Tomato recipe and it reminded me that I had wanted to post this one.

So, today I bring you Mediterranean Quinoa Salad.  (sorry folks, no pictures for this one)

2 cups water                                           1/2 c chopped kalamata olives
2 cubes chicken bouillon                  1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
1 clove garlic, smashed                       1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1 c uncooked quinoa                            1/4 c chopped fresh chives
                                                                       1/2 tsp salt
2 large cooked chicken breasts      2/3 c fresh lemon juice
1 large red onion, diced                      1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 large green pepper, diced               1/4 c olive oil

Hope's Note:  If you're being vegetarian conscious, you can sub 1 can rinsed beans, I like the red ones with this, instead of chicken.  And you might want to find a substitute for the bouillon, or omit it all together.
Hope's Note:  I use 3! cloves of garlic.     

1.  Bring the water, bouillon cubes and garlic to a boil in a saucepan.  Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed; about 15 to 20 minutes.  Discard the garlic cloves and scrape the quinoa into a large bowl.

2.  Gently stir in the chicken (or beans!), onion, bell pepper, olives, feta cheese, parsley, chives and salt into the quinoa.  Drizzle with the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Stir until evenly mixed.

3.  Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold.

Hope's Note:  I use this brand of pre-washed quinoa.  It's easier and faster(!) than trying to prep it yourself.  It's pretty common in stores.  I get mine at Wal Mart (cheaper).

Nutrition Information:  based on the inclusion of chicken
Servings: 8
278 Calories, 13.9g fat, 45mg cholesterol, 713mg sodium, 20.1g carbohydrate, 2.4g dietary fiber, 18.4g protein


Monday, May 7, 2012

Jyl's Nashville Adventure

Today on seriously hope, we have a special surprise.

I've bugged asked my dear friend, Jyl, to be a guest blogger and to recount her adventure running her first marathon in the Country Music Marathon a few days ago.  She has conceded agreed and with no further ado, I will turn the mic over to my friend, the MARATHONER!!!!

Trying to wrap my head around finishing 26.2 miles is daunting... Yes I did train for about 6 months, and in the end 5 hours went by really fast! 

Nashville was the 3h's-- HOT, Hilly, and frankly, Hellish... those are my three words to describe the day. I realized walking to the starting line from my hotel at 6am that I was already sweating... not a good sign...
Usually on my long runs around Davidson, I didn't need electrolytes or water til about mile 6 or 7... Nashville started at mile 2.5!

The crowd and the music and the people were great for the first 12 miles... So if you want to run a awesome half marathon, sign up for Nashville. After Mile 12... Well they take you to a old part of Nashville that's not very pretty and the crowds disappear. I was sad to pull my ipod out at mile 12 hoping to only save it for emergencies and extra pep in my step, but it became a constant for the rest of the day... 

I learned that hoses and water are awesome. Neighborhoods had their sprinklers on and boy without those, I would have died much faster.. I ran through at least 12 hoses that day... 

We <3 Peeta....
I also wrote some words of encouragement to myself on my arms! For my friend Hope- I did "Team Peeta" for Hunger Games.. Plus, if Peeta could go into the Hunger Games and make it out alive, I sure as heck could do a marathon.. (I did see a couple signs along the way that did say " May the odds be ever in your favor!") those made me laugh.... 

Also I wrote "Beat David Cook"! David Cook was my catalyst for signing up for this whole thing. When I read in November that he was doing the LA marathon in March, I was like.. God David Cook is an American Idol, a Rock star, and certainly not a runner... if he can do it, I can... So needless to say I did beat hunky David Cook.. It would have been much more fun if he was running in Nashville, as it would have been good eye candy, but my goal was simply to beat his time and I did.. Well I crushed it, =)

I found my parents at about mile 11 for the first time and they had a pack of supplies, but all i wanted was water. It was so hot out...
At the half way mark I was happy with my time and my pace and how I was feeling... I was on path for about a 2:30 half and content... My body felt fine, no pains!

Come about mile 17 is where I met mom and dad again with supplies, that included heavenly orange slices and lots more gatorade...
Mmmmm cold towel and
a cold beer.
Life does NOT get much better!
Once I woofed those oranges and mile 20 came, the stomach wasn't totally happy with me... and no matter what I drank or dunked on my head, I was hot. I could not get cool. We were running on highways and there was no shade, it was just brutal! It was like a war zone from mile 20-24 with people on the ground, pale faces, just miserable looking people. No one was happy. There was also no crowd or cheering or anything... It was the hardest point. It was then I began to walk and realized that my "run" was a shuffle and walking was only a bit slower... and the stomach felt better walking... 

I met a concerned mom at about mile 24 and she walked with me til mile 26, which was the looming Titans stadium and my two friends waiting to run me in... Thank God it was only .2 miles from there, but I did run in and with a smile on my face... 
The Medal.  Or, otherwise known as
Race "Bling".

I was happy I finished, I didn't get sick, and I didn't fall over! I was just roasted from sunburn, and mainly that was the worst pain I had! I did not train or plan for sunburn! 

In the end 30,000 people ran the races at nashville and only 3900 finished the marathon.. I was happy to be one of those. I wasn't last place, not even close; and I was in one piece. I enjoyed the rest of the day in Nashville, and some good frozen drinks and food! 

So the question already is- will I run another? Ok- Yes I would.. No, I would not run Nashville again, and no I won't run in late April. I will do cool weather and flat courses... I would also like to run with someone the whole time.  All my training was with buddies, and man had my parents not been there for the last 10 miles, I would have been miserable. You need a support team for these things! It takes a group to get you to the end, from training to the day of the race! 

I am looking forward to this week of eating whatever and drinking beer, and not running.. I am looking forward to running ONLY 3 miles instead of 20 some Saturdays and not getting up before the sun rises!

- Jyl

Awesome.  Just awesome.  
And folks, don't think for a minute she's taking it easy.  She already has her sights on her next challenge.  Plus, since she's gotten back, she has already gotten up at least three times to run with me before the sun began to blink the sleepiness from its eyes...

Jyl, my friend, you are a ROCK STAR


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Food for Thought: Breakfast of this Champion

And no way am I talking about Wheaties, my friends.

'They' say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I don't know who 'they' are, but I tend to agree.  I mean, I don't know for sure if it's true, but I do know that if I don't get my vittles with a cup of coffee in the morning, I am a B**** all the live long day.

I am a faithful breakfast eater.  But even the faithful get weary.  I mean, how can you "shake" up breakfast so it doesn't get boring....eating the same thing EVERY DAY.  Especially when one is conscious about their health, weight and for runners/athletes, important recovery foods after workouts AND don't have a lot of time?  Well, I've been bouncing between a few options for breakfast.  And one of those I was inspired to share with you all this fine, sunny, 90 degree day (oh for heaven's sake the heat is starting early this year, it's going to be a long summer...).

A friend of mine introduced me to Irish oatmeal.  I was always one of the Quaker instant packet fiends with the Maple & Brown Sugar....but becoming health conscious, I didn't want to do that route anymore.  So I tried to make my own oatmeal.  Two words.  LOVED. IT.  That lead to rough cut oatmeal, and now steel cut.  LOVE IT!!!  I think that might be the only kind I will buy now.  AND how wonderful was it that I was eating it before I read an article in Runner's World yesterday about it being, well, awesome.  This isn't from that same article, but I can't find it that exact one, so this is from a different one that came out in the winter time, but pretty much says the same thing:
OATMEAL AND COFFEE Steel-cut oats provide loads of carbs to refuel muscles. And research shows that pairing those carbs with caffeinated coffee boosts glycogen stores even more than eating carbs alone.
So...does this mean I'm ahead of the game?  Probably not, but at least I know I'm on the right track.

And another good thing about oatmeal? You don't have to eat it the same way every time.  The possibilities are endless.  You can add your own fresh apples, cinnamon and nutmeg. You can add almonds or walnuts.  Dates.   Pretty much an fruit you want to....I like to add vanilla extract in mine too.

This morning I was chopping up my half banana, my strawberries and picking out the best blueberries from the carton, when I looked at it and thought to myself..."how pretty is this?  I must take a picture.

And taking a picture means it's blog worthy, which leads to this installment of "Food for Thought".

Some steel cut oats, walnuts, strawberries, blueberries, banana, a little vanilla extract, a pinch of Splenda and TA DA!

enjoy :)