A Few Things

Today I went for my first after-school run of the year.  I’ve done hikes, walks and kind-of jogs around the playground after school, but nothing that had me feeling like I went for a run.  It was short, but still.  It’s a good sign.  My world is starting to make more sense to me as I’m developing a better understanding of my students and the unique year we are going to share.  Being able to run tonight meant that I’m better at shedding the mantle of my day and resuming my home life without having a violent clash when the two collide when I walk in the door.  It felt so good to not fear it.  All month I’ve known I should run, but every-day-all-day I dread the thought of putting on my running capris.  Not today.  Today I saw the sun as I left my building and knew that I had to run through it.  I hardly passed the threshold to my house when I was changed and back out the door.  No one wanted to run with me so there was an unusual sense of freedom tonight.  I could listen to my music as loud as I wanted and I could run as fast or slow as I wanted and it just felt good.  Yeah, me! 
It definitely felt like autumn, though, with that thick, dense, fragrant, moist, lung-burning, throat-thrashing thickness.  Worth it, but man.  

I started wearing my Iron Horse Half Marathon shirt around the neighborhood on runs of late.  It’s rare that I get a run shirt I like, and I am way in love with this one- bright color, good fit, tech fabric and it actually says ‘half marathon’ on it.  That’s kinda cool.  Lately I’ve been wearing a few of my better run shirts out (I have three I like: Iron Horse, 2017 Beat the Blerch & Snohomish River Run), I watch people read them and I wonder what they think as they process the shirt and me wearing it…  

I’ve been thinking of joining a Diet Bet lately.  Skinny Meg is hosting this one, starting on 10/4, which happened to roll across my Instagram and it’s just been gnawing at me.  I really want to lose 30 pounds.  I absolutely would love to use my recent seven-pound loss as motive to continue on to lose more and, lately, my determination for food control has been in the outhouse.  I work out like a bandit and eat like one too.  I haven’t done a diet bet in ages and have some funds built up in my account, but I’m really wondering if now is the right moment.  But then I remember that some of my most stressful school years have been some of my best workout and weightloss years.  I think that my classroom can seem a little crazy to me some years and my health is one place where I can rule with utter control.  That may make me sound like a psycho, but the alternative is to eat to medicate the crazy away, and I’m not doing that (my class is still a unique, vocal, curious and spirited group totaling 29 2nd graders, this year).   So, yeah, I think I’m going to do it.  At the very least I’ll get some good habits started and make smart choices through my birthday and Halloween.  And at the most, I could be eight pounds lighter, come November 1st!  πŸ™‚

I was so surprised when I got an email last week letting me know that the Beat the Blerch sign ups were already in the works!  I had barely wrung out my socks and let my sneakers dry and already I had to commit to do it again!  Aiyiyi!  But you know I did.  I bit the bullet and paid a hundred something dollars for the privilege of sweating amongst others.  So, next year, once again, I’ll be chasing that Blerch for 13.1 miles through the Snoqualmie Valley woods with a belly full of cake, purple drink and oatmeal!  

And if you’re wondering, yes there really was a tent filled with kittens that you could cuddle with after the race.  I’m not kidding.

(These were the official race pics- my phone died on mile three of this race.  Lovely.)


This week was about getting on that horse and making friends with it.  This week was about learning who my students really were, learning what my year has in store as I uncovered reading levels and English proficiency and mathematic number sense and inventoried word building skills and a myriad of other things.  I truly saw my students for the first time.  I hosted curriculum night, attended after school meetings and even managed to start to integrate the rest of my life with my work life while managing to keep my head about me, a sometimes smile on my lips.  This is the time of year when work and home life truly crashes together, fighting for attention and energy in my life, so I prioritized a midweek hike with my man and a couple of runs this weekend to make sure I remember where my allegiances lay.  Today, Gigi and I giggled that it seemed like cheating to only run four miles and agreed that next year we are sign up to run the half marathon Beat the Blerch again (sign-ups happen next weekend, already, for both of the races coming up on December 3rd, 2016, and September 27, 2017!😳).

Today I also landed back in Onderland!  Yahoo!  I’m not sure that it has been entirely intentional or if it’s just a result of my busy year.  I come home with a full lunch box often because I forget to eat.  There is just so much to do every day!  So each day I’ve usually hav just my carrots, hummus and chik nuggets by the time I come home.  Whatever.  Along with running and working out fairly regular it’s working.  I’ll confess the least surprising confession ever: I’d like to lose some more fat.  I’d like to lose 30 more pounds.  While I have been ok with losing weight slowly, I’m annoyed at this last bit and I’d really like to see what running feels like at 170.  I’d like to use this recent loss as a jumping point to get that started.  I’m planning to run a longer run of 7+ miles tomorrow as training for my last half marathon of the season in a few weeks: the Snohomish River Run.

In other news, I’ve decided to become an Orca Running Ambassador!  That means that I will get to run, review and share a discount to any Orca runs in 2017 with my readership.  I have to admit I was flattered, for sure, when they asked and I’m totally stoked to run their races!  They put on fun runs like the Better Half Marathon for Valentine’s Day, the Iron Horse Half Marathon, the Kirkland Shamrock 5K, Captain Jack’s Pirate 8k, the Snoqualmie Valley Half and the Orca Half at Alki Beach in West Seattle.  If you’re planning to run any of those, get 10% off by using my code: TAMARASHAZAM17 and let me know you’re running it so I can decide if I can join you or not.  I’m planning on running the Better Half, the Iron Horse and I’m curious about the Orca Half Marsthon at Alkai…

Check this out: me, my best Girl Scouts, fourth grade and a pink sweatsuit.  We were troop 308, the ruff-n-tuff troop!  πŸ™‚

Blerching It

This morning, after a month of nearly no training whatsoever, Gigi and I ran the Beat the Blerch Half Marathon!!!  And we survived.  That may sound a little glib and like a joke, but it’s no joke that I was worried.  We went to Disneyland at a really tough time in our training.  It was really our last chance to train in earnest before the school year and our half-marathon season hit this August-September-October and I haven’t really ran very much at all. That’s partially due to healing, partially to the back-to-school schedule as well as my own, personal apathy.  Have I meantioned that I’ve got a heavy load this year in my classroom???😋 It makes running at the end of the day seem alarmingly unappealing.  Anyhow, this race was fun, even if I wasn’t fully prepared.  Beyond that, I’ve run enough of these 13.1 mile deals now that I can read my body and not fear it any longer.  I know what’s happening, I’m solving puzzles and I know how to coach my way through them now.  It’s nice.  

  • I know when I hit around six miles, I’m good but that’s when I need to eat to keep up my energy.
  • I used an organic oatmeal/applesauce pouch for nutrition, this time, along with the cake, of course, and loved it.  I’m definitely more of a ‘real food on run’ kind of girl more than I’m a gel and gu girl.  It’s nice to know what to buy.  Gigi likes the gu and gel, though, so we grabbed handfuls of the free oatmeal, gu’s, gels and anything else to support our on-run nutrition in the future at the booths afterwards.  I love that they give all that stuff away at runs!  They encouraged us to take 3-4 of everything, so we did and we loaded an entire gallon zip bag with on-run food!
  • When I get to 9 miles I need to eat again.  I ate the other half of the oatmeal and it held me for the rest of the run.
  • Around 11 miles results in cramping.  I start to feel a twinge and need to walk a little bit to shake it out.  I had one in my thighs, my calf and my hip, this time, all on my left side which, incidentally, is also the hip that’s been bothering me lately.
  • The last mile is ridiculously long.  It feels like it’s really 2-3 miles.  Knowing this in advance helps only a little.  It’s brutal.
  • Seeing someone at the finish line is the happiest  thing ever.  Finishing a race is emotional so to have a person there to celebrate with is wonderful.  I absolutely love running with Guinevere and treasure our post-run camradarie.  Today had me crawling all over the car with a Charlie cramp, wearing only my bra and undies, as we were trying to change out of our wet clothes.  I finally realized I couldn’t bend my leg and needed her to dress me.  It was the funniest thing ever and we were dying, which, of course, invited curious looks from passer by.  Of me, sitting half naked in the back seat of my car while Gigi dressed me.  She said, “Mom, we will remember this forever!”  I agree!
  • I bought a belt with pockets in it for food and my car key.  Best.  Purchase.  Ever.  I hadn’t realized how much I worry about losing my key when I run.

{I made this donut creation, but then they didn’t give me a fork to eat it with, so this is about as much as I did with it.  Poor donut didn’t get to live out its destiny in meh belly…  But it was fun to make. πŸ™‚  }

First, off, this is a race for runners who don’t take themselves overly seriously.  We run this race becasue we like to run, but some of us also run because we like to eat, and the Oatmeal run definitely provides.  There’s (ridiculously tasty) cake, Nutella sandwiches (gross), purple drink, gels and big, puffy blerches sitting on couches at each aid station.  Yeti’s, too.  (If you don’t know what a Blerch is, click here.  Even if you know, you should still click because awesome.) I have a tendency to be all business, no matter what the race, and really have to tell myself to enjoy my time if I’m going to do that.  I trucked on past the first aid station, taking just some Nuun electrolytes, but then, at the second aid station, I was like, “What are you doing, Tamarella??  You paid $85 to run out here in the rain.  EAT THE FRICKIN’ CAKE!”  So I did.  And I sat on a couch or two, canoodled with a Blerch, pee’d, ate more cake because that stuff was addictive, drank some water to wash the cake down, I high fived people and elicited a ‘keep up the good work’ from Matt Inman as he passed me (it was a there and back), I walked out any threatening cramps, I looked at the mossy trees….  I just had a good time, blast the finish time.  Which was, quite honestly a PR for slowness for me at around three hours and I ran almost the whole way when I wasn’t sitting on couches chilling with blerches.  Ohmygoodness.  Some training over the last month definitely would have helped. 😂 But it’s ok!

When it was all over, we looked at this chart and wished we ran the marathon.  LOL!  Not really, at all.  But it seems like for all that work I earned more than 7.5 donuts!

Side story: we stopped at Taco Bell for bean burritos on our way home and my car wouldn’t start again.  It was then that our hero boys came to save us with a fresh battery for my car.  It was so nice to see our boys after all that rain and running!

Back to School- BOOM!

This week was intense.  I put off thinking about my job until the last minute and I ended up in kind of a stupor as I stepped back into my teacher shoes.  I remember almost nothing from the first day of meetings.  I didn’t even realize they installed this giant new monitor and resituated the entire library until I returned five days later and noticed- I spent a whole day in there prior to that and realized nothing.  My friend Christina mentioned I looked a little out of it.  Apparently she was more correct than anyone knew!  

{Jude asked me to put on the ‘rappiest Macklemore song’ on the way to school the other day, which turned out to be ‘Thriftshop’.  Emphatic lip-syncing ensued.}

Steps on Soapbox: On the first day of school, with about fifteen minutes until I needed to meet the students, I found out that I had 31 kids on my roster.  It’s been whittled down to a reasonable 29 students at this point.  Yes, that was sarcasm, if you were wondering.  I’m left questioning the way education is valued by our government and public with the lack of funding.  The voters approve mandates and then the legislature marginalizes the necessity, paints the teachers to look like greedy, money hounds and we all turn a blind eye to the fact that the voters said grades k-2 should have class sizes less than 20…  And I have 29, now.  It’s just nuts.  With the increase in numbers there’s also a mathematic reality that the number of kids who have special needs also increases per class, putting a greater load on the teacher and whole community.  Seven year olds shouldn’t have to compromise like this.  Steps off of soapbox.

By the way- it’s going ok.  There’s a lot of management happening and my ability to teach is definitely challenged, but we should be able to make it another 177 days with continued smiles and learning.  I’ll have earned my summer next year, though!

I’ve been taking it easy on the exercise front of late.  When I came back from Disneyland my hips hurt from standing in line a lot.  Then I ran a 5k on that Saturday followed by a half marathon the next day and ridiculously sore hips the day after that.  And the next.  And all the way through this past week.  I was getting pretty nervous about the Beat the Berch half marathon next weekend until Bradley and I went out and played on trail and tossed the frisbee around a little this afternoon.  We did the 3.6 mile St. Edward loop today at a pretty decent pace and my hip never started hurting!  A lot of my anxiety washed away after that.  While I am planning to continue to take it easy this week on mileage, and I may end up walking a little bit, I think I should be able to make the miles on at the race on Saturday.

Trail Run

I planned to make a return to running on Thursday but it was a bit wetter out than I generally like.  Friday was a deluge the whole day long, and I’m not exaggerating.  It was ridiculously rainy.  Like, the kind of rain you see in movies that have the actors soaked through to their skins within moments- that kind of rain.  It makes me shiver just thinking about being out in it.  It was a bit sobering, realizing that my very near future may very well have a whole lot of those kinds of days.  Seattle.  That’s one of the reasons I love living so close to St. Edward Park.  The tree canopy is thick enough that even in some pretty intense rain you can find refuge, usually a fine mist and big drips make their way to us, but not much more.  After this long, dry summer, however, today, the morning after the deluge of yesterday, the park looked washed fresh.  We were some of the first of the day and there weren’t many footprints treading their way through the trails just yet.  We could see the patterns of rivulets that made their ways to the lake en masse, sweeping the summer’s dust and detritus with it.  There weren’t many puddles, at all, as the thirsty earth seemed to absorb the rainfall.  The birds were singing, chipmunks chirping, deer wandering- it was a gorgeous little trail run today.  

Iron Horse Half Marathon

Gigi and I ran the Iron Horse Half Marathon on Sunday!  We were both a little sick and a little worried about the run, but we were determined that victory would be ours, and it was.  

This race was a little different.  Unlike other routes we’ve run, this one was all downhill which meant we parked, hopped on a school bus, rode up the mountain, got dropped off, hiked 1/4 a mile to the start and ran back to the car.  For 13.1 miles.  Downhill.  The whole way.  The course started on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, wove past the Rattlesnake Ridge trailhead, a myriad of bridges and so many beautiful views of valleys, rivers and old growth forest!  When we left for Disneyland, the trees were just beginning to shift colors and I was surprised at how very autumnal the entire run was; gorgeous!

Since we both felt under the weather, we decided to stick together.  She was feeling a little insecure and I was just fine with running alongside her the whole time, but then I said something awful: I’m might go slow.  Like, really slow kid.  We are the last wave and I’m slow, so we might actually sweep the race and take last place.  When we took off, she realized that this race was different from others: these runners were serious.  No one was going to start walking at the half mile- these were people who likely run 10 or more miles on the regular.  This wasn’t going to be an easy win.  Furthermore, there weren’t that many runners in our heat so we thinned out pretty quickly, and before we knew it we were in a fairly small clump of 4-5 people with no one else in sight.  I started to fall behind them as she stayed in pace with them.  She looked apologetically back and let me run on my own- and I preffered knowing that I wasn’t holding her back, honestly.  She quickly faded away from my view.  At that point, there wasn’t anyone in sight behind me.  I couldn’t see anyone in front of me, either, and I started enjoying myself like, Maria in Sound of Music, spinning around the trail with arms thrown wide.  It was that beautiful.  But then, I saw some other runners come around the bend behind me and realized I wasn’t last, nor did I want this to be my first-last place, so I buckled down and decided to keep my lead.  There were two out and backs, as well, so I realized that there were about 15 people behind me, so my big lead wasn’t anything to worry about too much.  (I actually finished over 100 people from last😉)

On the first out and back I came across my darling daughter who shared her woeful tale – she tripped, fell, landed on her phone, the heel of her hand went into the phone, breaking through the glass face, gouging her hand, plus she scraped her leg all up, but bruised and bloodied she continued on.  She didn’t know the aid station would help her with a bandaid and quick trip to the finish line, but armed with that information, she got a bandaid and finished the race like a little determined hero.  What a little stud.  

She finished before me in 2:31 with a split pace of 11:33.  I finished a bit later in 2:46 with a split pace of 12:42.  I’m proud of her, I’m proud of me.  Just proud.  I’d totally do that one again!

Tips and tricks:

  • I didn’t eat well and the gel was awful and made me sick again.  I’m confirmed that applesauce is the way to go for me with a protein boost (yogurt or cheese stick) right before the start.  So is eating something GOOD for breakfast.  I just had coffee and a granola bar and forgot the rest.  Since we had to get on the bus, there was no way to go back for my stuff and I had to tough it out.  Thankfully they had yummy, vegan hot dogs at the end!!!
  • I cut my toenails super short and had no problems this time.  None of my toenails turned blue or bruised and there’s no lifting.  Last time I lost two toenails!
  • Running gel (Glide) helps with thigh chafing but didn’t do anything for my under-bra-boob-on-belly chafing I get, which is a lovely, stinging, red line that shows where my bra sat and chaffed the whole time.  Ouch.
  • Shaved or not, how to maintain the female runner’s  bikini area is still a mystery to me.  I thought some decent growth in that zone would help things in the chaffing arena (last time I ran a half, I performed some bikini area shaving close to the long distance running date and it resulted in perfect, horrid, little circles of bare, raw, open, weeping flesh around each follicle), but it seems that the bikini zone is simply destined for difficulty.  I had significant chaffing this time, too, even though I did forgo the razor all during the swim suit season of August.  It seems I can’t win with that zone!  I’ll guess I’ll just require a recovery time and comfortable undies (aka ‘spanky pants’) the day or two after a long run!  And yes.  I tried waxing.  Some stories shouldn’t be published.  Let’s just say that bikini waxing is not my jam.  At all.  Or even in the general area of my jam.
  • I forgot to use my inhaler and did totally fine.  Phew.  I guess it really does have a whole lot to do with anxiety and weather, not just running.
  • Once again, I can make it ten miles, but beyond that gets really hard…  Except that this time it was only the last mile that was truly the worst one.  Doing it once before gave me so much confidence that it wasn’t quite as hard to finish it this time.
  • I used the toilet before I ran, but still had to pee by mile three.  I was worried the trend of peeing every mile was starting again, but I was just fine after that!  Phew!
  • I trained, practiced, and worked up to this run.  The night before I rolled out my muscles and the morning of I stretched out really well.  At the start line, I was that guy, hopping around on one foot, bending over, stretching as much as possible.  After I crossed the finish line, I stretched some more.  Guess who didn’t get any Charlie horse cramps on the way home, the next day or any other times?  This girl!  I’ve been rolling my legs every night and think I’m ready for a run, again, tomorrow!  

Bubble Run

I have to confess something: I signed up for the Bubble Run under duress.  I asked Gigi which runs she wanted to do this year and she named Beat the Blerch and the Bubble Run as her numbers one and two priorities.  I fear the water.  I rarely ride amusement park rides that get me wet for two reasons: I hate having a wet crotch that results in wet-thigh-rub-ouchie from running and or walking afterwards and I get overly worried about wet, blistery feet.  The Bubble Run has planned wetness for three miles.  Yikes!!!  Through a bubble bog every half mile!  Including the start line!  It sounded like a nightmare, so when I thought we were going to be in Disneyland for the race I was not disappointed. At all.  I asked a few friends if they wanted to run with our bibs and I got a loose commitment from a friend who said maybe and then never gave it another thought until Wednesday when the informational email came.  I realized that we had two races this weekend- a 5k and half marathon!  Oops!  I spent all day Friday trying to talk Bradley and Jude into using our bibs until Jude spiked a fever and Bradley worked in insulation all day and his lungs felt yucky.  Indeed, it was to be Guinevere and I running this one, so I decided to embrace the run and plan for the best.

Well, it was AWESOME!  We picked up our packets and modified our run shirts into tanks, which, I won’t lie, made us pretty stoked for the run.  Then we looked at videos and got even more amped.  We set our alarms, drank some coffee, ate a granola bar and hit the road.  As we stood at the start line, the crowd yelled and the foam started flowing.  We surged forward and, by the time we crossed the start, we were already knee high in bubbles!  Each bog was a different color and as we went though we’d get covered in a new dye.  Some of the bubble bogs were waist deep, but the blue one was over my head and I literally had to hang onto Gigi otherwise I’d have lost her!  It was terrific fun!  When we got close to the finish line, Gigi ran ahead to take pictures of her mom as she crossed it, which was so flattering to me.  How thoughtful was that? We totally want to do this again, next year, except we want to bring our boys to play along.  I think Jude would just love it, especially at the end where there was a bubble canon that shot bubbles like crazy into the air.  We got to play, make bubble angels and roll around in it to our heart’s content.  It was a fun and energizing way to prepare ourselves for the real race tomorrow: Iron Horse Half Marathon!  We both have a cold and this helped us to feel much more confident!


So…  I posted this the other day, while we were on vacation, and, like any other blog post, I posted it to Facebook and Donnie Wahlberg liked it.  The Donnie Wahlberg from NKOTB and Blue Bloods.  The Donnie Wahlberg who scored a fairly dedicated crush from me during my teenage years when I wasn’t ready for a real boyfriend yet.  At first I thought one of my friends was messing with me and had created a Donnie Wahlberg account to punk me (and wondered who the heck has that kind of time), then I thought it was a fan page, but I went and looked and…!!!  It was him!  Does it mean anything?  Nope.  But does it mean everything?  Yep.  

Sigh.  I will meet him one day.  Oh yes, it will be done.  It’s good to have goals, huh?

I’m not sure how he found me.  I didn’t tag him except on Instagram, so he may have followed that paper trail, and yes, I totally spazzed out.  The Donnie Osmond comment was great because I loved him, too.  Apparently I have a thing for guys named Donnie!  He he!  I still have my Donny Osmond doll I got for my fifth birthday!

(And that’s a skort- not my undies- it’s my favorite travel clothing ever!)

Amusement Parks

Last night, Bradley and I had the unique opportunity to visit Disneyland by ourselves, without the kids!  Gigi is finding her newfound responsibility as a babysitter to be intriguing, so last night when Bradley and I wanted to absorb every last drop of Disneyland, Gigi cited a cold as an excuse to stay in the hotel while Jude was just plain tired and found the allure of cable tv too exciting to pass up.  We don’t have cable at home, so the Disney channel is just as much a vacation treat as anything else.  We talked about safety, talked about what to do in case of an emergency, then took a ‘soft date’ at the hotel happy hour to try it out and after one more check on our kids, vegetating in our room, we took off to Disneyland!

It’s been 17 years since we first visited Disneyland on our honeymoon and every return we’ve made has had friends or family in tow.  The result has been a focus on the group dynamic and making everyone happy, but last night we just focused on us.  It was a weird and wonderful experience.  Without the kids, we became the kids.  We ran around, laughed out loud, kissed when we wanted, took too many selfies and rode on just a couple of rides.  We did manage to drink a few beers, too…  I don’t generally drink except in these kinds of situations and Bradley has gone dry over the past year, so we were prett loose and having a great time!   We shopped and impulsively and bought silly souvineers for ourselves like a Little Mermaid bubble wand (for me) and a stuffed octopus for him (Hank from Finding Dory reminds Bradley of himself and he got a little attached to the critter).😉

The other thing that happened was being able to notice the way my body works in an amusement park for me.  Because I’m always trying to point out reasons to myself to stay in shape and to avoid returning to a heavier weight, I decided to do a little reflection here:

  • Belts: Rides usually have some kind of safety belt or security bar.  I was always wedged in so tightly to every ride!  It was kind of nice- I rarely slid around while on a ride and felt safe in my spot.  That said, it was also a tremendous stressor.  While Disneyland does an extraordinary job of making most rides universally accessible to almost all riders (even at 340 pounds and a size 28/30, I fit on all the Disneyland rides, without question), other amusement parks don’t employ the same strategy.  Nobody wants to do the walk of shame for being too big to ride, but once it happens to you, the humiliation and anxiety that rises up as one approaches a new ride is intense.  During this trip to Disneyland, the bar never even touched my stomach unless I leaned up on it.  It was such a weird and oddly wonderful observation.
  • Walking around: The first time we took Gigi to Disneyland, she was 16 months old and I was almost at my heaviest, over 300 but not at my max.  We stayed at a hotel directly across the street, but by the time we got out of the park on any given return to the hotel, I could hardly handle it.  That I had to climb stairs to the second floor was torture.  I’d put Gigi down for a nap, then I’d crash too!  It was simply exhausting!  I ended up being one of those moms who sends the kid and hubs on the ride while I was really, honestly satisfied to sit back and take pictures  -my feet and body were so tired!!!  Now my feet don’t get tired at all.  My hips get sore from all the standing, but last night we were on day 7 of an intense trip and when the jazz band drove by, there were Bradley and I boogeying in the street and running through the park.  My body isn’t sore and I’ve got energy on reserve!  What a wonderful feeling, knowing that I can do this ‘life’ thing, now!
  • Clothing: Disneyland does a good job of merchandising to everyone- they’re going to make sure everyone who wants to spend a dollar has something to buy.  That said, when you’re bigger, things are more limited.  These days I wear a size large or extra large so I can try on pretty much everything in the park.  And if the shirt doesn’t fit, there’s always a size up or down, now, and I can actually get what I really want without settling.  Furthermore, I don’t feel like I have to dress to hide my body.  I saw so many bigger people walking around in black shirts and pants, long sleeved, long panted and I just remembered doing the same and being so hot.  I wore tank tops, this time, a strapless bra under a sundress, short shorts, dresses without leggings under them and even my workout capris.  I felt so free!  Furthermore, I can fit more clothes into my bag and they take up less space, just from the lack of fabric.  We used to marvel that my bag was jam packed while Bradley’s was practically empty, but my clothes simply took up more space than they do now.  Now I have room for important souvineers.  You know.  Like an Ariel bubble wand and stuffed octopus toy.  😋
  • Sweating:  The sweat factor is way different now.  I still sweat, of course, but not nearly to the degree that I once used to.  
  • Exhaustion: I used to nap daily during our excursions to the Magic Kingdom, but now I’ve got serious oomph.  We still come back to the hotel for a midday break, but now instead of sending the kids and daddy to the pool so mom could nap, I take the kids to the pool so dad can nap!  (He’s still dealing with that car accident injury that’s been exhausting him constantly.)  I feel like I get to participate more completely with my family by showing up consistently and not needing extensive recuperation time.  I feel like instead of Bradley always supporting me, I get to return the support to him.  This time it wasn’t just him carrying the backpack, running for fast passes or making bathroom runs with the kids.  This time it was me, too, who shouldered part of that burden.  You know.  Like a real partnership.
  • Heat: When I was heavy I was like a furnace.  I used to tell Bradley that once my core overheated, I needed either a dunk in the pool or a cool shower.  I lived in the pool and shower when I was in California.  In any water play place, I was in the thick of it, wetting my arms, seeking the mist, dipping my toes- anything to cool off!  Any theater was an oasis of air conditioning.  I’d shop in any store that would allow me to stand near an icy blast.  Now I have the opposite problem, funnily enough.  I actually carry a thin sweater with me at all times so I can slip it on in theaters, stores, rides or any other place that blasts that cold, freezing, arctic air!  I goosebump like a porcupine and shiver, almost uncontrollably and definitely instantly until I can return to the sun.  Sadly, this has extended to the pool, too, and I’m no longer the water woman I once was.  Swimming just looks like a chance to shiver, so I avoid it at all costs now.  Sitting by the pool and smiling, though?  I’ve got that jam down.
  • Food: I needed to support my body size and energy level with food, so I was always hungry in Disneyland when I was heavy.  Ice cream called, churros beckoned, the smell of anything reminded me that I needed to eat.  I didn’t want snacks, either.  I wanted a full-on, sit down meal for breakfast and dinner.  It was expensive, but red robin is down the street with AC, bottomless Diet Coke and fries and delicious burgers.  On one trip, I think we ate there five times!  These days we buy a microwave at Target, along with Lean Cuisine, oatmeal cups, vegetarian proteins, fruit, veggies, granola bars, cheese sticks…  We eat snacks (aka many small meals) all day long and only go out to eat a few times on the trip.  We always are fed and hydrated with decent enough food that we dont get too grumpy from being hungry.  (We give the microwave to the hotel, hotel employee or another thrifty family before we head out.You can usually rent a microwave for about 25 per night but they only cost 30ish to buy and we eat so much better with the ability to feed ourselves independently.)

    *Every once in a while I like to restate the purpose of TamaraShazam.com.  I started this blog as an accountability tool for myself.  I realized that I had such shame about my weight that I entirely hid my eating, exercise, dieting and depression from other people in order to keep up appearances.  I realized that transparency is really important to me in order to be successful.  While I share my blog with the world, it’s really, most often, a reflective moment when I own who I am and what I do to myself, sort of a diary.  As my website has grown over the years, in weaker moments I turn to particular posts to remind myself of my power and what I am capable of; I get inspired and find a pocket of determination based on what I was capable of doing before.  Sometimes I feel like I brag too much on here, then I remember, the ‘why’.  That others want to read about my body project is quite a bonus of support.  πŸ™‚

    **The Picture set up top is from the exit of the Roger Rabbit ride in Toontown.  Ever since our first visit to Disneyland on our honeymoon in 1999, Bradley has had me pose on that tire stack.  I was so self conscious the first time he made me do it, but now it’s just a tradition!  πŸ™‚