Rock Solid

It was gorgeous running weather today!


I had another great week of fitness and fat loss.  I didn’t quite meet my goals, but I definitely took a good bite out of them!  I made it to spin-n-lift and Zumba, but I didn’t manage a good midweek run.  In spite of that, I did manage to get my 10,000 steps every day except one and I did get a good, long run in, as well as a run last Sunday and yesterday.  All totaled, I ran 8 miles.  Not terrible.  

My nutrition is also doing well.  Not eating after 8:00 hasn’t been hard since I tumble into bed sleepy by 7:30.  This weekend I did night eat.  On Friday night I was HUNGRY so I ate some granola by moonlight.  I’ve dialed everything back but I’m still not journaling my food.  I’m finding that I’m somehow able to play the head game for now and it’s working.  Today I weighed in at 232.6, so I’ve lost almost seven pounds since 1/1.  I’m pleased as punch with that.

This coming week I’d like to keep my goals the same:

  • Run thrice, one run needs to be greater than 4.5 miles.  The others can be any distance.  We have a six mile run in a month and a nine mile run in March.
  • Spin-n-lift Monday, Zumba or weights Thursday, toy with the idea of Sunday morning Zumba…
  • Continue fasting starting at 8:00 each evening
  • Continue making smart nutrition choices
  • Keep drinking diet soda- that crutch works for me!
  • Aim for 10,000 steps per day.

    Training Advice for the Not Newbie but Not Experienced Runner

    I recently had someone write to me, asking if I could offer some advice to her as a runner who wants to train for a longer distance than 5k who has a history similar to mine: weight, age and experience wise.  Once again, I must reiterate that  I’m not an expert in anything except my personal experience. What I did worked well for me but should never replace your own common sense or advice from trainers, coaches and/or doctors who know you and your unique situation. With that said…


    I realized that running was getting easier and easier. My run that was supposed to take up a specific amount of time going x distance around my block was getting done faster and faster, and my workouts were getting shorter and shorter. At first I was perplexed as to what I should do, but then I realized the answer was right in front of me: add more distance.  More distance will lead to a longer workout, and that is how I became a distance runner.

    My initial goal was simply to run a 5K. At that time, running for a whole minute was impressive to me. A 5K was beyond phenomenal.  After I was able to run for 20 minutes straight, I focused on the distance of 3 miles.  I did this by running as much as I could, then finished the 3 miles with walking. My thought was that if I could at least finish the distance, eventually everything else would speed up.  It does.  Slowly, for sure, but it does happen.  That said, here are my basics for gearing up for a long race:

    • Plan on spending a lot of time running.  This may seem obvious but it’s also not. You think that you’re being generous with yourself when you plan to run 9 miles on a Saturday, but your family has to live without you for three hours on that Saturday as well. Add to that all of the Saturday chores you have and suddenly that 9 mile run doesn’t seem like you’re giving yourself a break as much as you’re giving yourself a job.  Running longer distances takes a ton of time and energy. It should go without saying, but for some reason we think that it’s going to be easier to accommodate.  When I disappear, my family howls. LOL
    • Realize that not all of your runs need to be long, distance, training runs.  I thought that once I reached a new distance, that had to be my go-to training distance…  but I didn’t have time to run six to ten miles a day!  Now I know that I need to train around a distance, not always run the same every time.  Diversity is good.  These days, my ideal is what I call a 3-6-9 week.  Basically, that means I work up to running one of each distance per week.  It keeps me in condition but also allows me to have a life with other hobbies than running.
    • Run where you feel safe: People talk about running as though is gives them a ticket to the world.  They savor new runs and new views…  but some of us don’t.  When I am trying out a brand-new distance (beyond 13 miles, at this point) I like to try it out as close to home as possible.  I liked the security of knowing the exact distances I was adding as well as the security of having a clean bathroom nearby and the ability to quit the second things got too hard for me.  I remember when I was training up to six miles I made Bradley run the smallest loop near our house a bajillion times with me because it was where I felt safest.  Later I found out it’s always his least favorite part of our entire run because it has the most traffic, but he never complained.  LOL!
    • Diversify your running routes: this is after you feel safe running that new distance, of course.  I have several different loops near my house and a few trail runs that allow me to add hills of varying inclines and declines so races don’t kill me with their hills.  I also live on top of a hill; like, there’s a water tower less than two blocks from me kind of hill.  If I run, there are always hills involved!
    • Train up to your miles slowly.  Yes.  Most likely you could go out and run a whole half-marathon today, but how would you feel during mile 11 of that run?  How would you feel the following week?  My general rule of thumb is to start out with a three mile run then add one mile per week to it as my long run.  Over time, I work up my miles to that 3-6-9 and throw in another workout or two for diversity (lifting, spinning, hiking, Zumba).  If you add too much mileage too fast, you’re also probably adding an injury to your plate.
    • Adding miles can mean slower miles: When I add distance I get tired.  My muscles wear out.  There’s a growing and strengthening process that needs to happen.  Just allow yourself grace.  These days my miles are slow because I’ve gained some pounds, so running is harder.  That’s changing. 😉 
    • I like to complete the race distance before the race: Many training programs advocate getting within two miles of your goal distance then tapering until the race day.  I like to train to the distance then run it at least two or three times before the actual race.  If I don’t, I start my races jittery and full of anxiety, lacking confidence and just not in the best headspace.  Running it a few times beforehand allows me to relax and just enjoy the race rather than worrying I won’t make it.
    • Consistency is key: I believe in keeping my muscles warm.  What this means to me is that I need to run often.  It doesn’t have to be far, but it needs to be a few times per week.  The second I step away from that I get lethargic, slower, tire easier, injure easily and don’t love running as much.  The other positive side effect for me is that when I run regularly I don’t deal with depression or anxiety as much.  I love that!

      Have fun training!  I just signed Gigi and me up for another race: The Snohomish Women’s Run.  We are running the 10k and the race was ‘only’ 45, but with a hoodie and medal, I don’t think that’s too bad.  The theme: Nevertheless, She Persisted.  Oh, yes!  We will!

      My Training Advice: Newbies


      ***I’m not an expert in anything except my personal experience.  What I did worked well for me but should never replace your own common sense or advice from trainers, coaches and/or doctors who know you and your unique situation.  With that said…

      The Complete Newbie Runner

      Before I decided to make my life change I was pretty chill about working out.  In fact, a meander through the mall while I followed my toddler daughter was counted as a workout.  I just didn’t.  At least on purpose.  So when I started running it was incredibly intimidating.  Sustaining a jog for even a minute sounded intense.  

      1. Run for your comfort level: I found Katie, from Runs For Cookies, and she started running by planning a 30 minute walk.  Over a period of time, she started trading walking time for running time.  She started by running for 30 seconds, walking for 29 minutes 30 seconds, so I did too.  The next day she ran for one minute and walked for 29.  The next day was two minutes of running, 28 walking and on and on.  You may simply need to condition yourself for a long walk before considering running at all.  Eventually I got annoyed with the timing thing and just went for distance.  After I could run for about seven minutes straight, I pushed myself to run a mile, then a mile and a half and so on.
      2. Add Distance: I started adding another half block, full block etc.  I would tell myself I could walk when I got to the next goal destination, but then I would self asses: was I stopping from legitimate exhaustion or because of fear?  I found out that it was usually fear.  After about a month of running, I was able to run 20 minutes at a time without stopping.  
      3. Make Goals: I made a mileage goal every week and found that some weeks I would run a little bit every day, then other weeks I’d be busy and I’d cram more distance into one day.  The result was that when I should be adding miles turned out to be fairly straightforward and common sense.  I joined Run the Year in an attempt to earn 2016 miles in 2016, and boy.  That got me moving toward half marathons and long distances just for fun.  Yeah.  Fun.🤣
      4. Treat Yourself with Rewards: I like medals, craft supplies and beauty products.  When things are hard for me, I never hesitate to offer myself a treat for meeting my goals.  I’ve earned boots, make up, a squatty potty, NKOTB merch and more.  While I don’t care much about the reward by the time I’ve usually earned it, often it can be the thing that propels me forward at the onset.
      5. Dress Like a Runner: If you commit to the clothes you’ll make sure you use them.  If you have the clothes, you’ll blend in better at the gym, on the road or at the track.  You may feel like a poseur, but it will help you as you try to fit in until it all feels normal.
      6. Ladies: Buy a Good Bra: I get nauseous if the ladies bounce around too much.  My back hurts, not to mention how self conscious I get when my chest is bouncing around with some pretty terrific motion!  I like Living Comfort, the Juno and Jubralee have excellent support.  They’re the only ones I don’t have to double up to keep things in control.
      7. Sign Up For an Event: I signed up for the Color Me Rad 5k.  It was taking place six months after I started training- more than enough time- but it allowed me to be certain when the day came that I’d be successful.  I’ve since learned that having a race in front of me makes all the difference in the world for motivating me to continue training.  I never want to embarrass myself or not finish, so I train my butt off leading up to most events.  I’m never training to be competitive with anyone except myself.  I mostly just want to finish.
      8. Allow Yourself to Fail (Call it Learning): Whenever you fail or fall off the wagon, instead of seeing yourself as a failure, choose to see how successful you were before you took your misstep.  You learned so much from that attempt, use that to make yourself that much stronger this time around.  
      9. Fresh Starts Happen Anytime: You don’t need to wait until tomorrow or Monday or summer or 5:00.  Every moment is an opportunity.  Don’t let it slip by.
      10. Be Unapologetic About Your Health Shift: Whether its running, weightloss or going vegan, people feel the need to question your shift in a way that doesn’t always feel good.  I realized that some of my relationships were with people who wanted a fat friend for one reason or another.  They’d caution me against losing too much weight, tell me that running would ruin my knees, warned me that Bradley may get jealous when his hot wife emerged, that they better start losing weight too otherwise I was going to be smaller than them and on and on and on.  It was sad and strange.  My health choices made people I love question their own and they felt judged.  They wanted the old Tamara back.  The one who made a lot of food for holidays, decorated cookies as a weekly hobby and who wasn’t afraid to commit to a weekend full of pizza, donuts and video games.  I had to learn that without me I have nothing.  If I lose myself I lose it all.  Staying heavy would eventually make me very sick, very dead. I wasn’t going to be able to be anything for anyone if I didn’t get healthy, so I had to stop listening to the naysayers.  If it was between my knees and my heart, I said I’d kill my knees because I can’t live without my heart.  

        That’s a hodgepodge of advice, but hopefully someone gets what they need.  😉

        Feeling All Kinds Of Sunday

        This past week was harder than I expected.  We stepped back into the classroom on Tuesday, 1/2 and, for all intents and purposes I should have been ready to return, but man.  It was a grind!  I came home this weekend and slept hard- 10 hours both nights.  I may be ready to face the next week, yet!  I couldn’t bring myself to take down my holiday decorations yet, though.  It’s still Christmas at Lj House!  

        I had a solid week.  I got 10,000 steps on most days and was able to squeeze in three runs and two gym workouts- not bad!  In addition to working out, I did the hard job of shifting my eating habits back to a more reasonable place.  Telling myself no was so hard, but by the end of day one, I already felt stronger.  Ts morning I still weighed 234, so I feel safe claiming my five pound loss! Four more pounds till I reach my dietbet!!

        Going into next week I want to: 

        • Run three times: 4 miles and two runs just to stay running (1-4 miles, long run next Saturday, total of 6-10 miles)
        • Spin-n-lift class on Monday 
        • Zumba or lifting Thursday
        • Continue to eat smart
        • Dial back night eating even more- ditch the cereal and just go with the banana, don’t eat past 8:00
        • Meet Step goals 

        A Solid Start for 2018

        There are times when I’m starting up a new health plan and I’m ALL IN.  Like, I’m an energizer bunny, going nonstop, complete with a smile and encouraging cheer!  But this time?  Nope.  I was excited to get back to a place where I feel proud of the way I feel and look, but it was more like I was resigned about having to do the work.  Last Sunday it just looked hard.  Breaking habits is hard.  Telling myself no is hard.  Letting my tummy growl is hard.  Running or going to a gym workout after school is hard and I wanted nothing to do with any of it except the end result.

        To add insult to injury, everyone at my work unloaded their holiday pantry onto our staff room share table and it was all of my favorites: Twix, Reese’s, Lindt chocolate, angel food cake and the worst/aka my favorite thing aside from donuts: Danish Kringle.  I wanted to cry.  Instead I walked to my dear friend Julie’s room to find that she is in the exact same boat.  She gained weight and wanted all of the snacks on the table.  We linked elbows and didn’t cave, instead secreting away in her room to avoid temptation and stand strong together.  It’s funny how triumphant I feel after something like that happens.  I had the will and determination to stand up to myself in the face of absolute favorite, flaky, delectable, almond-paste-deliciousness and said no.  You’d think I finished a big race, the sense of accomplishment that gave me, but after that day I had an attitude shift.


        My fears and worries fell away as the week continued and things just kept working out.  I never made another trip back downstairs in the middle of the night.  I started keeping a banana or orange upstairs and that seems to be helping me, but mostly I think it was finding out what was really happening: night binging while I was asleep.  I had lingering concerns about the impact of my medication, still unsure if it helps me to gain or lose, but after the bloat, water and hopefully a little fat slid off me to the tune of five pounds during the week, that fear largely left me.

        Remember in Winnie the Pooh when Rabbit tries to lose Tigger in the Hundred Acre Wood in an attempt to help him lose his bounce?  It’s like the opposite happened to me.  And if I’m truthful, I think my fat girl was kind of setting up camp again.  Suddenly it seemed really hard to work at my health and so easy to simply relax, forget about my health goals and let go again.  Have another cookie.  Watch tv sitting instead of while getting my steps.  Lie to myself…  I did get lost again and along the way I gained 30 pounds.  When I weighed myself on 1/1/18 I weighed 239 exactly.  I was shocked.  Today I weigh 234 and my fat girl is shuffling down the hallway, headed to her magician stand where she’ll concoct a plan for the next time I’m weak.  She’s always there.  But at this point?  Tigger’s got her bounce back. 👍

        Fat Girl Problems

        While I can’t blame her for everything, I think I may have solved part of the weight gain mystery: some people sleepwalk and some sleeptalk.  It’s been told to me by my husband that I do those (plus more) but now I can add sleep eat to this charming list of special features.  How do I know?  Apparently, Bradley has casually started keeping track.  It started a few months back, soon after I started on my medication.  I was startled awake with crackers in my mouth by Bradley, asking if I meant to be eating at 3:00 in the morning.  I retorted something defensively about being hungry, but really didn’t know what was up.  The night before last, I was startled awake when I dropped a box of crackers that went everywhere and made a big sound.  Last night I was awakened, in the pantry again, by Freddie who came downstairs to check on me.  Two nights in a row!

        My Orca Running Ambassador Top Nine from my Instagram takeover


        When I shared my findings with Bradley, he responded that it’s no wonder I’m so tired lately: he hears me getting up 4-5 times per night, banging around, opening doors, wreaking all kinds of havoc.  I know I get up once or twice, but 4-5 times?!  Then he admitted that he’s been survailing me a bit, watching me.  He agrees that there’s no way my food input should result in this kind of weight gain and my nocturnal binge eating is undoing all the hard work he sees me putting in.  Then he said, “Your inner fat girl figured out how to play after all these years,” which is both funny and sad.


        I know how much I weigh now.  I’m not ready to post it here.  I’ve lost 2.25 since 1/1.  Gigi and I ran today.  I’m doing the work, eating right, working out.  But damn my inner fat girl.  I hope finding out her secret is enough to banish her for a while again.  She can come party every once in a while, but this has to stop.  

        I remembered, however, when Katie from Runs for Cookies fell off the wagon and went from her 130ish to over 150.  She had a moment of realization hit her, too, and she had to get back to basics.  She got back to weightwatchers and working out in earnest.  She fought off her fat and got back to her comfort zone.  I’ll say again like I said at the beginning of my body project: if she can, I can too.  

        Today’s run that turned into a walk 😂

        2018, What Will Become of Thee?


        I keep thinking about this blog here: Tamara Shazam.  Throughout December I wrote minimally and didn’t even really think about it.  My enthusiasm is still here to blog, but my drive is minimal.  

        That’s not to say I don’t have goals because holy moly, I do.  I’ve gained a bunch of weight.  I’ve been working out like a demon, but it hasn’t been nearly enough.  Apparently.  Last time I weighed myself I was in the 220’s. I thought it was my medication, but my doctor disagrees and directed me to a nutritionist and I’ve been there before to no good end so I didn’t go and…  I guess this is as close as I’ve been to giving up.  Letting go.  Falling off the wagon and forgetting how to stand up and get back on.  


        Then, I realized I was choosing clothes based on which ones disguised my fat rolls best.  In spin class I’m having a hard time bending over my fat roll to ride comfortably.  I only look slim in my workout clothes anymore.  My fat is mushrooming out above and below my waist, so I’m determined to get things back in control…  I’m just not certain how this website fits in with that.  I’m good at instagramming right now if you want regular snapshots into my life.

        My plans are as follows:

        • Lose 30-40 pounds.
        • Run run run- three days a week, with the kids to get back into good running shape like two years ago with Run the Year.
        • Continue body pump 1-2 days per week.
        • Squeeze in Zumba and hiking when it makes sense.
        • Kick, claw, bite and fight my way back to my healthiest version of me.  I’m worth this promise.

        Run these races:

        *Orca races- if you sign up, use code tamarashazam18 for an extra 15% off. This code will work for all 2018 Orca races!

        Merry Christmas, Happy Everything!

        Can you believe what landed on us for Christmas Day?  The snow was simply magical.  The last time I had this happen, I was 17.  It was 1990 and I was a senior in high school.  My grandma lived with us as well as our exchange student from Germany: Ute.  That year we had a date to ride the ferry to see our cousins in Kingston.  Talk about over the river, through the woods!  We headed over the Puget Sound, into the woods and up a bunch of winding hills!  In the snow.  With my brothers, grandma, Aute, me my mom and dad all in our car.  We couldn’t get up the hill and had to be saved by our cousins who could drive all over the place with no problem.  Anyhow.  I hadn’t any plans to workout on Christmas Eve after Zumba that morning, but there I was, walking around through the snow flurries by house lights and singing carols.  Talk about a magical night!  Waking up the next morning was just as beautiful.  After the exctiment of presents ended, we headed back out in the snow to take a walk and find the best sledding hill.  We got our steps in and even got sweaty in the process!  The snow was a gift on many levels. ❤️

        Another Disney Adventure 

        In our quest for experiences over things, this year we offered our kids a choice: our usual Christmas with lots of packages to open on Christmas Day or a trip to Disneyland, a Macklemore concert and a small Christmas morning focused on one another, not the gifts as much.  They chose Disneyland!

        High points from the trip:

        • Riding the Haunted Mansion with Jack and Sally several times was so much fun. 
        • Nighttime ride on the Mark Twain because the Santa Ana winds were too crazy (we were there for the start of the California fires).
        • Our kids bonded and held hands while they walked around the park.  Boof- right in the heart!
        • Appropriately aged boys checked Guinevere out and it was so cute to see her unaffected non-reaction followed by a smirk and blush as they passed.  Cute little 14 year old.
        • Jude was a sweet little boy while we were there.  Disneyland allows him to embrace that imaginative, little kid while he’s there and for a little while, we have a little, young family again.  Plus a teenager.  We always had a teenager. 
        • I was the runner who went back to the hotel and ran errands.  There’s something about being that guy who saves the day and puts a little extra energy in that feels good.
        • I got one of the famous Disney candy canes in the last day.  I don’t know what I’ll do with it, but somehow it was one of my favorite experiences from the trip!

        Post-Thanks

        If I look smug it’s because I’m feeling kinda proud of myself. A week and a half ago I decided to start bringing my best again and could hardly walk after one session of bodypump. Since then, I ran a bunch of miles, I lifted a bunch of weights, I took a bunch of Alleve and kept on going through the misery of being so sore I could hardly walk or get off of a chair! But today? I’m not sore. I added weight to my bar today and finally pushed beyond just showing up. Today felt so good and, yeah, I’m proud I pushed through the last 11ish days to get back to me! Woohoo!! Now things get really fun!

        I also added Diet root beer back into my diet.  Guess what?  I walk around feeling full all of the time. That’s nice for me, yes really.  Suddenly I’m not shoving calorie filled carbs in my face and I appreciate that more than the lack of fake sugars.  It’s like I have a trade I can make and that crutch helps so much.  What’s next?

        • Keep getting 10,000 steps per day
        • Body pump twice this week and run twice
        • Add journaling food into the habits
        • Stay off the scale.  I hopped on to see I was down to 224 and hopped on the next day to see 229.  Just.  Stop.  
        • My doctor offered to send me to a nutritionist again.  Ha ha ha!  She said it’s not the meds.  I think I problemsolved it and don’t need to return to that place.  What a waste of time, energy and money.