Halloween Zumba

I went to Zumba!  On Halloween!  For 90 minutes!  In a costume!  

Ok.  I will stop speaking in exclamation points now…  I keep wondering when the time will come that I’ll stop being amazed at my life.  Like, when will I just accept that it’s not a big deal for me to choose to work out on a holiday?  In my past life, a holiday was a special day.  A day off from everything, including fitness or diet.  Halloween was code for ‘eat all the candy that you want and then eat some more,’ I think.  So to shift my holiday from one focused almost entirely on collecting and consuming candy to actually prioritizing and making it to Zumba is a pretty big nonscale victory for me.  Then I went through and inventoried my past, current and future celebrations, and I realized that I ran a half marathon for my 42nd birthday, went to an hour and a half of Zumba on Halloween and I’m starting out my Thanksgiving with a free 5k for the Lynnwood Food Bank!  They aren’t collecting money to run, just food.  Isn’t that the coolest??  But I realized I’ve started celebrating with activity instead of food.  I honestly didn’t think it was possible, back in the day, to have our focus elsewhere, but I’m proud that we’ve managed to make headway without even feeling the impact.

  {The Zumba crew, Camille is in the gold hat, our other instructor was the parrot, named Julie Z- loved her, too}

Zumba was pretty awesome.  It was at the Redmond Super Gym, which is a little more fancy schmancy than the one I usually go to.  Usually it would cost me a little more, but I used code word ‘Camille’ and was waved right in because it was a special event.  I walked in to find the lights dim, Thriller playing and lots of people in costume.  Immediately it was fun and festive.  Camille and Julie Z took turns teaching- Camille lead our boot camp type songs while Julie Z had awesome Zumba routines.  Like, usually I find Zumba to be fun but a little more straightforward and repetitive, but Julie Z did an amazing job of striking the balance.  I got an amazing workout!

 {Yep.  I’m the one, towering above everyone else, in the red hat.😄}

Needless to say, I had a good time and I won’t hesitate to ever join in on one of the ‘fun’ kinds of ‘special events’ that the gyms put on.  It’s like being a kid in school- remember that the Valentine’s and Halloween party days were just the best days??  It’s not because the party was that great, it was because the novelty made it memorable, and I will remember this Zumba class and monster mashing my way down the center aisle in my Where’s Waldo outfit for many many years.  Thanks to the other, friendly, ghoulish dancers and, especially, to the two, fantastic instructors that lead us in collective booty shaking this Halloween!



Well, I did it.  I went and turned 42.  It’s so odd to be this old, to be twice 21!  I celebrated my second 21st birthday last night!  My parents were in town earlier this week and they took us out to eat for my birthday, then we went out again, last night, to my very favorite place: Epolo in Edmonds.  They do an amazing job with diversifying vegetables.  They are where I get a lot of my own inspiration for how I cook my own food at home, and last night was no exception.  While I don’t always just adore everything I eat there, each time we go, we try something new and different.  It’s an adventure of a different kind.  Last night we tried grilled radicchio with a cheese sauce and roasted tomatoes.  It was bitter, surprising, something I’m not sure I’ll eat again, but a marvelous adventure.  In addition to the radicchio, we had burrata with basil and tomatoes, squash flatbread, pan seared calliflower and grilled Brussels sprouts.  Our waitress brought our food out in courses so we only used a tiny appetizer plate.  Our kids were shocked that they filled up from eating off such a small plate.  It was a lovely meal with lovely company, which made turning 42 not so bad after all.  Add to that the spoiling that my sweetheart second graders gave to me and my birthday turned out to be rather excellent.  🙂

Today I got to try out one of my birthday gifts. Bradley bought me a Garmin vivosmart!  It’s one of those wristband deals that connects via Bluetooth to my phone for a handy dandy little app.  So far I’m a little lost.  I’ve had to watch a bunch of YouTube videos to gain a deeper understanding of how the thing functions, but so far so good.  I’m already wanting to prove up to myself by pushing steps and distance,  I think it’s interesting how as soon as I put a counting device on, I generally get s lot more active.

Regarding this week’s goals, I have to confess to a pretty big goose egg.  I did not even come close to meeting them.  There was an event on Sunday that I attended where I ended up getting upset, speaking out, feeling like we made up and then I just sat uneasy with the outcome.  There’s been a shadow on me all week.  After my parents left, I just felt worn out.  My birthday looming ahead of me, conferences all week and pms just made me kind of dig my heels in stubbornly, and I didn’t do much of anything for my health except fall asleep early and drink lots of caffeine. It’s funny, though, that now that my birthday has passed I suddenly feel scads better.  Today was a half day so I came home and Bradley and I went for a nice run in the pouring dumping down rain.  It was wild, chilly, brisk and exactly what we both needed.  Tomorrow I’m planning to Zumba at a special Halloween event with my instructor, I plan on running on Sunday and I am going back to Zumba on Tuesday and Friday of next week.  I’m excited.  My run today woke me up and I’m ready to go!

There’s a three year difference here.  I can’t believe how much those little kids have grown!

Definition of an Amazon

Sometimes I question my status as an Amazon.  Am I really tall enough?  Stocky enough?  Muscular enough?  Then I see a picture like this one taken today at my family’s annual chili feed and pumpkin patch visit, and seriously.  I’m an a Amazon.  I’m just, plain, HUGE!  Those other taller people in the picture are my brothers and husband.  The remaining big, giant person?  ME!  The Amazon! 


Yesterday Gigi asked if I would do Zumba with her, and who was I to deny her?  She loves that we can find almost any song with a Zumba routine attached to it on YouTube.  About 15 minutes into our workout she remarked that she wasn’t working out very hard.  I answered that I was pretty warm and sweaty, thinking it was just my nearly-42-year-old body, but she said she was all sweaty too.  What she realized was that Zumba doesn’t feel like a workout.  It just feels like you’re jumping and playing to music, but you actually ARE working out.  The links were our two favorites that we did Saturday. 

 I’m making some goals for the week.  It’s conference week AND my birthday week.  There’s a lot of opportunity to get way off track so I think it’s important to keep a solid focus.  I want to:

  • Run at least ten miles.  Part of those should be a longer run toward the end of the week.  If I get that longer run in, I will most likely be past 10 miles and will feel pretty good about that.  
  • Document my food.  This week will be fraught with treats.  I need to keep on top of what I’m eating.
  • Extinguish soda pop- again!  I’ve picked up a very minor habit of drinking a glass of diet soda about every other day, but I need to just put it doooowwwnnn.  Be done with it.  Let it go.
  • Enjoy my birthday.  I have the birthday blues- I don’t know where to go to eat, dessert has too many calories, and really, I’m turning 42.  What’s exciting about that?  Really, it’s just disappointing and depressing and an age I never wanted to be and I’m just ready for it to be over.  See?  Here I go again.  Enjoy your birthday, dammit!
  • Keep strong, don’t eat the Halloween candy.  Just DON’T EAT IT.  If I don’t start, I won’t have to stop.

I was a scarecrow at my school’s costume carnival on Friday.  It was a fast, easy costume that turned out pretty cute!  

(I fuzzed my family out because I’m not sure if all of my family wants or is allowed to have their images online- no offense intended.)


I went on my first run, post-half marathon.  I kept it short and sweet at two miles, but they were two of the happiest, autumnal miles that I’ve had the pleasure to run.  The sun was shining and it was like was running through the middle of Stars Hollow with all the gorgeous leaves on the ground and dangling from leaves.  I’m really looking forward to taking a longer run, again.  It’s kind of funny: since running the 13.1 miles it really feels like I should be able to cruise longer distances without too much of a problem.  I certainly pushed myself that day, but I’m certain I can condition my body to run long distances and that I can handle a lot more than I give myself credit for.  

I was a little concerned that I might lose a toenail, mid run, I have one that is threatening to flip off and one that has turned black, now.  I keep watching to see what is going to actually happen.  The toenail drama is fascinating to me.  It doesn’t hurt and is just morbidly interesting to me.  

I haven’t anything amazing to report.  I have conferences next week.  My parents are coming into town this weekend, my son is an incredible writer, my daughter is actively reaching back to me again…  Lots of good stuff if happening.  I have a birthday next week, my students are writing amazing papers…  Life is marvelous!

Home Zumba

On my way home today I was listening to my hip-hop-booty camp playlist and was busting out moves in the car all the way home.  Songs that I couldn’t recall the choreography to got all-new innovative stoplight moves, and by the time I got home I was being very expressive in my head about how much I love Nicki Minaj and, really, the way she plays with her lyrics and words And language,really, is simply poetry and art and I don’t even care that she can be a difficult, confrontational piece of work*…  and I needed to dance some Zumba with or without all of my ladies.  I had this big plan of rushing into the house and, while the family was at cross country practice, I would blast all of my gritty, kid-inappropriate hip-hop music that I never get to play while they’re home to march, dance,  prance  groove out with my Zumbastic moves to!  I would be so involved in my music and dance that they would just arrive at home, come through the door and, while looking awesome, I would perfectly finish out my final song and they would be impressed.  

But as I rounded the corner in my car, there they were.  My gorgeous family skipping down the road, and into my arms as I pulled into the driveway.  I gathered my hugs and let my dream die for a few minutes until I realized it was Zumba, run outside or run inside and I really was attached to Zumba.  They were all downstairs doing homework, but I walked in, turned up my tunes and started shaking it!  I’ll admit that I didn’t remember a lot of the moves, but I did sweat like crazy.  I also breathed hard like a person running up a mountain, was red like a tomato and my heart was beating like crazy.  It was a gooooood workout.  Bradley caught the view from behind and provided the photographic evidence of all my shaking.  

My kids got so into it that my daughter now thinks I need to be a Zumba instructor, insisted that I teach her some moves tonight and she can’t wait until she is 13 and can come to Zumba with me!  Bless her little heart.  ❤️ 

* Based on knowledge of three songs and too much reading of celeb gossip sites.  

The Rain Came Today

It was an interesting experience, recovering from the half marathon.  While 13 miles isn’t as intense as other runners endure, it was definitely an extreme situation for my body, and I don’t just mean the muscle recovery.  The weirdest thing of all for me was my whole digestive tract.  It was like everything shut down during the run and had a hard time turning back on.  My legs started functioning fully normally on Thursday.  Monday I walked like I rode a horse all weekend, Tuesday was better, Wednesday was almost normal and by Friday I could have gone for a run or Zumba, but I had to decorate a birthday cake for a twelve year old instead.  My toenails seemed to start to heal until I was trimming said toenail yesterday and loosened something.  Once the something was loose, the dam broke and a bunch of gross stuff came squirting out from under my nail.  Yeah.  I think that nail is on its way to coming off, but otherwise, I’m back in the game! 

 The funniest thing of all, though, is how much my identity as a runner has changed in my own eyes.  I’m not just a runner anymore: I’m a runner who has and can run 13.1 miles without stopping.  It’s an identity that I’m attached to more than I thought I would be.  I thought I’d do this once and call it good.  I did it, literally got the tshirt and now I could back off of the running and focus elsewhere, but I like being a person who runs halfs.  I think I need to maintain that for a while.  Gracious me.  You know what that means: more half marathons.  😭 I’m starting to have a deeper understanding of all of those tshirts expressing the love/hate relationship with running.  Ha!

     I’ve been really missing Zumba lately.  Like, REALLY.  It has seemed like there is one thing or another standing in the way of getting to the gym during Zumba times over the past few months and I’m starting to get really annoyed about that.  I haven’t seen my Tuesday instructor, Emily, since July, I’ve only been to a handful of Camille’s classes since then with 2-3 random classes with random instructors thrown in for good measure.  It’s just not enough, considering how much I love Zumba.  I was pleased as punch, then, when Camille posted to Facebook that she was subbing a class on Saturday morning.  I hauled outta bed on time to make it there, and it was wonderful to get to dance.  It’s been so long and inconsistent that I only knew a couple of the songs, but it was wonderful to sweat and dance for an hour.  She even did my favorite Zumba song!  

The thing that got me sore was all the hip swiveling.  In my day-to-day life, I don’t have the opportunity or need, terribly much, to move my hips often like a belly dancer.  Believe it or not, I don’t shimmy and swivel and booty shake all over the classroom all day.  Hard to believe- I know!  So, yesterday, Camille had me booty shaking and hip swiveling to beat the band and it started making me nauseous.  I couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong until I realized that I had exhausted the muscle to the point that I was beyond side ache- I was in full on cramp and it was making me sick!  It quickly passed and I was able to dance through it, but I definitely learned that my core muscle group really missed Zumba.  Dance is amazing for my body and I need to prioritize it.  When October is over, I think life might slow down enough for a little more consistency in the Zumba department, but until then, I’m going to grab every opportunity I can get!

My daughter turned 12 this week so we had a bit more going on than usual.  It was interesting to realize what a grown up person she is becoming.  We had a talk about makeup and how she wants to start wearing it in seventh grade.  And with that comes all this other big-kid-grown-up stuff that means she really is growing up and away.  It’s happening.  Such a bittersweet thing, this parenting stuff.  While I can’t be prouder of her, I also feel cheated by time that it’s going so swiftly.  I try not to dwell on that side, but man.  She was so tiny, so recently, that I’m in shock.  And I’m about to turn 42.  

Needless to say, it was an emotional week full of opportunities to eat stuff not ordinarily on the menu.  I’m glad to say that I made it through the week eating pretty well.  On Tuesday night I ate a cream puff, the next day some donut and definitely some birthday cake here and there, but not enough of anything to start weighing more than 200 pounds again.  To me, that says success.  Bradley and I both committed to making it through the holidays without eating too much junk.  We both agreed to birthday cake on the birthdays, a few treats on Halloween, an honest-to-goodness Thanksgiving Feast and a Christmas Celebration with all the trimmings, but before or after those days we are going to be good little pilgrims and merry makers who are staying on plan.  We don’t want to start 2016 with a surplus 20 pounds, this time.  It was helpful to have that reminder in front of me with that pink, four-layer, chocolate, birthday cake calling me from the kitchen.  I went down, cut it into pieces and fed it to the freezer.  I can have the cake for later, if ever, but freezing it helped me to let it go now and I’m already back in the game.  

   I saw an inspiring picture of this woman on her Instagram. While I am not focused on being in bikini competitions or anything, seeing people who push their bodies far like this is interesting and inspiring to me.  It makes me see that the adventure doesn’t have to end because I’ve reached a certain milestone, and I don’t have to stay focused on my initial goal of longevity only forever and always.  I can play with my body and muscle and see what I can do.  At present, I’m feeling pretty inspired and excited about losing some more fat and adding muscle.  Between this lady, crensch, and Skinnymeg, I’m feeling like kicking some butt and doing some hard work for a little while, just to see what I’m capable of.


A benefit to joining in the fitness game later in life is that I get to play the part of the total neophyte. I get to be a scientist while I experiment on my body with exercise and nutrition to see what it’s really like. I reflect on the outcomes, consider changes I would make, revise and try it again.  

Now, I have to be honest and say that I already felt like I was a pretty established runner.  I’ve been training for years for 5k’s and various self-selected longer distances and have run distances of about 8 miles or thereabouts, so I thought that I had this running thing pretty much in the bag.  Yesterday taught me that running is truly something that changes with every mile further that you can endure.   I did learn that I really can just go out and run at a slow jogging pace for 2-3 hours.  It comes at a cost, but I was saying that for years and it was actually accurate.  That’s kind of a nice feeling, but training is definitely important for those longer runs.  The interesting thing is that the training is mostly in my head and only partially in my body.

The body part seems more like math. If I wanted to run further distances, I would need to build up endurance by running longer and harder. Along with that, and very importantly, is pre-run (in the weeks leading up to a run) and on-run nutrition. My stomach started to get that feeling like when you’ve had your morning coffee and nothing else and you want to throw up, kind of, but really you just need solid food. That feeling. The gels I was sucking on were basically just liquid, the gu was liquid, essentially and I felt sickish. I always think I like to run on yogurt or some other similar dairy/protein/glucose hybrid, but Sunday taught me that, for longer runs, I need to figure out how to eat something small and solid. I remember a runner friend of mine mentioned his buddy took along frozen, bean burritos. 😂 That seems so funny, but at the same time?  It makes total sense!  I also saw these waffle things at REI, marketed with the gels, that I think would do the trick nicely.

   I’m not sure if it was the distance or the time moving that truly exhausted me, but I was motivated to keep a good pace until I got to ten miles.  At the ten mile point, I got all excited that I made the double digit milestone.  Then I realized I still had an entire 5K in front of me.  This is where I had to really put myself to the test.  I was done at ten miles and totally, definitely finito by 11 miles in.  Bradley texted me and asked how I was doing. I honestly texted back that I was tired, and it was probably the worst thing that I could’ve done.  As soon as I admitted that to him I admitted it to myself, too, and went into a downward spiral of being tired and allowing those negative feelings to overtake me.  I quickly realized what was happening and made the active decision to shift my brain’s focus elsewhere.  I realized that if I stayed focused on being tired, I was going to stop and walk.  The race became a totally mental one at that point.  I looked to my music.  I was over it.  I tried to think about the scenery.  On a there and back kind of race, I had already seen it once and was over it.  Super over it.  I just wanted a car to come fetch me.

You know that pep talk that I referenced yesterday?  The one complete with the quote, “She believed she could, so she did,” written on my arm?  That conversation was instrumental in my success.  I despised that version of me in those last two miles in the same way you despised your parents when you were a kid for making you eat beets and clean your own bathroom.  I told myself to shush when I said that I was doing great.  That I was amazing.  That I could really do it.  That as long as I took it one step at a time it’d be over before I knew it and I’d be sipping my soup with Jessica…  Still, I was surly and bratty in my attitude.  I didn’t want to do it anymore.  Though I trotted on, I was having a full-blown tantrum in my head that I was having to talk myself out of over and over.  I swear, I teach little kids because I have so much in common with them.  Time after time though, every time I’d want to really give up, I’d force myself to read that quote and I swear to you that it totally kept me going.  It did not feel good at the end and I didn’t care much about the finish line, but I knew the chick who wrote that on my arm the night before while spouting affirmations sure would be peeved if I stopped with less than two miles to finish.  That’s only one extra- large loop!  Two smalls!  You can do that in your sleep!  And it worked.  I finished.

I still am in disbelief.  As I hobbled around all day today I was constantly aware of my sore body that was all worn out from running 13.1 miles the day before, and I just felt good.  Proud.  I finally did something that really impresses me.  Lost a bunch of weight?  Cool.  5K.  Sure.  10K?  Getting somewhere.  Half marathon?  Utter disbelief.  I did that.  Like, me.  Formerly 340 pound, totally out of shape, never-ran more-than-a-mile-in-her-life Tamara Littlejohn ran 13.1 miles?  I swear, ten years ago I’d never have believed it.  Maybe I’d have been able to believe that I’d lose some weight, but not this.  Today I just felt amazing- and not to others, but to me!  So amazing that I looked in the mirror and saw a beautiful, incredible, strong woman.  I wasn’t critical, for once, instead I just allowed myself to see what I’ve accomplished.  Even though I generally avoid bathroom selfies at all costs, I took one today, just to capture that moment when I saw myself. 


Today was good.

Snohomish River Run Half-Marathon 

Last night I was both remarkably calm and totally freaking out about the half marathon that I knew was on my horizon.  I gave myself a pep talk, telling myself that I was capable of doing this.  That I always say I can run for hours if I go slow enough.  This was my opportunity to put up or shut up.  I told myself that it has always been my belief in myself that keeps me moving forward, so I wrote that on my arm, in preparation for my weak moment: she believed she could, so she did.  I used it in defense of my wall.  My Blerch.  So this morning, when I was finally able to hop in the car and head to the event, I was pretty excited and positive that I was going to run the entire thing.  I gave myself allowance to stop if necessary and not beat myself up about it, but I really did want to be able to run it.  All of it.  

***I just want to quickly note that there are a bajillion typos and stuff in this post, but WordPress is being annoying and every time I try to fix the issues it doesn’t update.  Sorry.***  
And I totally did.  I ran all 13.1 miles of that thing!  

There were a few sweet moments that I particularly enjoyed: 

  • I loved it when I ran past the point where I would have turned around for the 10K that was happening simultaneously, had I run that instead.  I suddenly felt like a serious runner.  It was like a moment of no return.  It was delicious and it made me feel proud.
  • While my family stayed at home, I included them in the race by texting them each mile marker as I passed it.  In return I would get a flurry of supportive texts telling me I was burning up the miles and that I was amazing.  I felt amazing.
  • While I was definitely at the back of the pack, I wasn’t at the tail end either.  And the people who were using me as their pacer (there are always a few people who seem to walk until I pass them and then they run ahead and we do that over and over) got worn out in the last two miles, and though I was exhausted by then, I passed several people who had been catching up to me up to that point.  My slow little turtle ways paid off a little in the competition part of the race.
  • It was kind of cool to be in a race with real runners.  This wasn’t a fun themed run designed to capture the attention of new runners or runners who like flashier events, this was a beautiful run on a dewy, October morning along the Snohomish River, made for people who like to go outside on exactly this kind of morning for a lovely, long run.
  • My friend, Jessica, ran the race with me.  It was so nice to have a friendly face there to start the run with and to commiserate with after it was over.
  • I learned that the running gels can REALLY make a difference in my energy level!  When I got a little tired, they definitely added a little skip to my step.
  • The food afterwards was a vegan pumpkin/squash soup with bread.  Vegetarians usually get the shaft when it comes to this kind of stuff, so I was all in when I saw vegan soup was an option!  But it wasn’t just edible, it was AMAZING!  I totally want to visit the Hungry Pelican to see what other yummy stuff is on their vegan and gluten free menu!!
  • Post-race water was heavenly.  Usually I can’t drink or eat for 5-10 minutes but I easily guzzled two bottles within minutes of finishing.  This race was really different for my body.
  • My arm quote and pep talk ended up being instrumental in helping me to run the whole way.  Whenever I wanted to give up, I reflected back on that conversation I had with myself last night.  More than anything I didn’t want to disappoint myself.  And I wanted to be able to really wear that sweatshirt knowing full well that I really earned it.

There were some not-so-sweet moments too:

  • The designated parking was five blocks away and the instructions said to go to a store to pick up the packets.  It took me forever to find it, so by the time I finally got everything all sussed out, I had 10 minutes until the race started!  Good thing I got there an hour early!!
  • There were only 4 port-a-potties at the race start and the line was huge so I decided to wait until the first care stop to pee.  Jessica was smart and trucked down to the finish line where no lines existed, but I didn’t.  When I arrived at the potty I headed in and realized ther was a lot to manage and the potty was already decidedly un-fresh and filthy.  The toilet paper was so thin that it just shredded rather than pulled off in a clean sheet, so I ended up with this small wad of toilet paper shreds that I had to use while I dropped my phone and my gels and…  Ugh.  By then I was all sweaty and it was like getting dressed after swimming, except in a disgusting port-o-potty.  Bleh.  So I pulled up my pants as well as I could, announced on my way out that the toilet was nasty and went on my way.  That toilet paper was not my friend.  It stayed in place all during my run and I had a nice, rashy surprise at the end of the whole thing.  Lesson learned- pee before the run no matter what!
  • The run organizers left allllll the roadkill there for our viewing and smelling pleasure as we ran the route.  Frogs, possums, birds and a variety of unidentifiable, furry animals were all there, displaying their innards.  That was pretty bad.  No joke.
  • Gu tastes like you’re practically mainlining frosting.  Like, you took the tube of frosting, squirted it in your mouth and just started swallowing.  Shiver.  I could hardly swallow it and could only get half of the shot sized gu down before I tossed the rest into a handy garbage can.  I was really glad I opted for the gels over the gu, but I really hated having that much sweetness in my mouth for that long.  You’re supposed to let them melt in your cheeks and absorb the glucose, salt and vitamins, but I got sick of lemon-lime sweetness taking over my mouth.  That said, I wouldn’t hesitate to use them again.  They changed my race.
  • The last two miles.  They were not sweet. Except for the last 200 yards or so.  And neither was the walk up the hill to my car.  Five blocks.  Uphill.  After I ran 13.1 miles.  That was harder than the run.  Even harder than that though, was when I had to step in the brakes for a red light and my entire right leg started spasaming!  I actually had to pull over to the side of the road, get out of my car and walk around it a few times.  I must have looked so weird, stiffly walking around and stretching, bending over, and the faces I was making…  
  • My two most middle toenails are halfway off.  I wasn’t expecting that at all.  I also understand about runners who have chaffing issues as well.  Thank you, runners bra, for the lovely friction spots I have under my boobs.  Loooovely.  LOL!

I don’t think I need to run a whole bunch of half marathons or anything.  Who knows, I may change my mind, but for now I think I’ll run one or two per year just to keep in condition.  I definitely don’t think a full marathon is in my future, but then again, you never can tell with bees.  😉


Yeah.  That’s it.  I’m tapering.  


If tapering means that while training for a half marathon I pretty much called it good a week and a half ago on my longest run of about eight miles, after I got too bored to run a step further, and since then I’ve run exactly 6.3 miles total.  What can I say?  It’s been a busy week!  😊 I get worried and then I remember a few things.  It’s going to hurt on Monday no matter how much training I did or didn’t have.  If I run three or thirteen miles, I’ll hurt.  Also, I can walk at any time if I need to.  I really don’t want to, but it’s an option if I need it.  Lastly, my secret weapon: I have gels to eat during the run that will magically make me feel better and will give me all the energy I need to finish the thing with dignity and grace, right?  Right?!?!?   

So, yeah, it looks like I’m a little overly optimistic and underly prepared, but I don’t care.  I mean, I care, but I’m not scared, surprisingly.  It will be a really interesting experience and something to cross off my bucket list- that I ran a half marathon.  I’ll be able to say that on Monday.  Who would have thought?  I certainly find that pretty unbelievable.  

When I finish, I get this: 


I don’t know if or where I’ll ever wear it, but I’ll be pretty proud to be its rightful owner.


Yesterday was the big day: Biathalon Day.  It started with a 5K at 8:00 AM and finished with climbing the stairs to the top of the Space Needle!  It was an amazing day, to say the least.

All of the Lj’s did really well at the 5K.  First, guess who scored a first place in her division??  That’s right!  None other than my lil’ Gigi!  She was SO proud when she got those results- and so were we!  She’s been training for cross country this fall and her efforts really paid off!  Bradley placed in the top eighth for his division and I placed in the top 33rd percent for mine.  Neither of us really has that much at stake in the numbers, but it’s interesting and kind of fun to see how we stack up to our peers.  It must also be mentioned that Bradley got best mustache, second year in a row!  That thing gets him more attention, I’m telling you.  Jude’s goal was to run the whole way, and HE DID.  He got nervous about halfway through, but then he found his second wind and started going so fast I couldn’t keep up with him!  It was marvelous to see!  Unfortunately we had to bust out of there to head to Seattle, so we didn’t find out about Gigi’s win until much later.  I’m writing to the organizers to find out if there is a medal or anything that I should pick up.  That said, her pride and ours is plenty!  😊 (Mom guilt, tho…)  

The climb was pretty incredible.  I wrote the names of all the people I was honoring all down one arm and Bradley drew a big Space Needle on the other.  I met Drea and Macky, we put our climbing socks on and we headed into the chute.  The Needle has a double helix of flights of stairs that wrap around inside the stem of the needle.  The elevators are just on the outside, and when they would drop or rise rapidly by, it made me startle every time!  The let us start climbing every 15 seconds, giving a bit of lag time in between.   

 Once I started climbing it went both way faster and way slower than I thought it would.  I rapidly began to breathe hard and my heart was pounding, but I kept a pretty solid pace.  I kept reminding myself that this was not going to be a problem, that my breathing was fine, and I was just amazed that I could keep on going!  There were paramedics throughout the climb, and at one point, as my heart was beating like a bass drum, I did decide to stop and rest for a moment.  I stood still for about one whole minute, knowing one minute of good rest would do a lot more good than a few seconds of quick rest, and then I headed up to the top.  It only took me 13 minutes to climb it!  I was planning on 20-30 minutes, so I far exceeded my expectations.

It felt like quite an accomplishment, to climb such a building.  And now I’m kind of hooked.  It was a supremely good workout.  I went home and read up on stair-climbing as an aerobic exercise and learned that because it is so strenuous that 15 minutes of stair-climbing is the equivalent of 30 minutes of jogging.  It was difficult to find data that supported the strenuous level of climbing- most of what I found was about how you should take the stairs instead of the elevator.  But then I found a post about athletes who are training for intensely aerobic events use stair climbing as a tool because it is so intense.  I wish I could have access to someplace like the Space Needle stairs on the regular.  It’d be awesome to climb up those every day to double down on a quick aerobic exercise, then hit the weights.  

It was an incredible experience.  I loved the climb and I loved doing it with Drea and Macky, my partners in crime.  Or I should say partners in CLIMB!  Ha!  You know.  Because we climbed the Space…  Ok.  Anyhow, it was incredible.  And part of what made it such a memorable day was carrying those names.  The cancer list just keeps on growing and it’s bothering me in a big bad way.  I feel good that I got to do something when there seems like nothing I can do.  I did this, with them and for them and anyone else.  Thank you for helping me with contributions and kindness.  What a day.  ❤️

And then this: