Long Run Sunday 

First off, I reallllly didn’t want to go run today.  It was blustery from the get go, but when I looked at the hour-by-hour weather forecast online I had to head out straightaway in the morning or commit to running nine miles on the treadmill.  That’s a big pile of NOPE.  You can bet your sweet bippy that I hauled up out of bed once I realized that.  While I feel ready for the 15K next week, I wanted one more nine miler under my belt before I felt really ready, so I felt like it was important to honor myself in that regard.  I’ve recently learned the power of training and really want that to be a part of my focus this year as I prepare for my races.

I headed outside during the brief moment when the sun poked her shine through the clouds.  Along with that gorgeous sun and threat of rain was wind.  Ohmygoodness.  The wind.  I’m ok with some heat now, a little rain doesn’t melt me, but the wind drives the cold into all the cracks and crevices.  Not only that, but do you see my hair?  That was the crazy wind, keeping it in my eyes the whole time!  Talk about a derpy run pic of the day…  Anyhow…  My initial plan was to do three ‘extra large’ loops.  (‘Extra large’ is the distance from my house to the most easterly, main-ish road.). But each of those loops has a long stretch that behaves like a wind tunnel, so I made myself a deal: I only had to go around once, but that one time around had to include as many side roads and culdesacs as possible!  So I did it!  I ran in my neighborhood, wracked up some decent mileage, and still saw houses I hadn’t seen before!  What finally drove me home was that the freezing-cold, sideways rain started up again.  I tried to stick with the run, but my legs started to feel numb and I was getting stupid cold and fairly hungry.  Time to head home…  But I have no shame.  Today felt epic.  Now, this week, I taper and rest until Sunday when I have the official 15K with my team from Run the Year!!

*That said, I will stick with my Tuesday/Friday Zumba schedule, too.  I’ve found that Zumba does all kinds of amazing stuff, but it never impacts my ability to run.  I get sore in lots of places, but it just seems to make me into a better runner.  Last week the only thing I did was Zumba and I ran two miles on two different days in my kitchen (yes, I do switch directions often and even figure eight around the table and through the rumpus room for those interested).  It was such a healing week and a good reminder to take it easy every once in a while.  😉

Leap Day 2.29

If we are being all technical, I know.  Leap Day is Monday, it wasn’t Saturday.  But that doesn’t matter when you already have the bib and the medals in your hot little hand and you want to run your long run the day before Leap Day and you know you’ll be all tuckered out like crazy cakes and unable or unwilling to even run 2.29 miles on the actual Leap Day so you fudge.  Just a little.  🙂 

So, Saturday it was.  We felt like we needed to give the race importance, so we headed to a truly ‘running’ kind of environment: Greenlake.  It’s a nice, easy, flat almost three miles all the way around the lake.  There are scads of people, ducks, dogs, babies, strollers and even a little store and theater.  It has all the festive ambiance of when you’re at an actual, non- virtual race without actually being at a race, and you’re certainly surrounded by crowds so that you can dodge people a lot like you do in a race…  So we went there to run.  I stuck with Gigi while Bradley ran with Jude, and around we went.  Gigi told me recently that if I keep running with her that I’m going to get faster, and boy was she right!  I swear, every time I run with that kid I PR!  This time was no different!  I earned my best time for two miles.  😉 At the end of it, I pulled Gigi’s medal out and she felt weird so she refused to wear it.  I forced her to put it on to hand Jude his, but let’s just say that all of the screaming and hollering of encouragements to her bro, along with the medal, made her a touch self conscious.  Neither of the kids would wear the bib, I don’t blame them, but I thought it was pretty cute that the company sent them out anyhow.  Little Mr. Jude is sure impressing me with his tenacity.  He made the entire three miles without stopping, again, and then got all excited about earning the Wizard of Oz marathon medal!  Onward and upwards, I suppose!


I’ve been feeling just exhausted this week.  I don’t think I made it much past 9:30 ever, at all, once.  When I think back, I think I’ve been crashing out earlier since I started my whole step challenge.  It’s true that working out and being more active sure helps in the sack, because I’ve been crashing out and staying out for most of the night (and that has not been the case for me since motherhood became a crown I wear).  But this week that bit of exhaustion started leaking into my daytime.  I wanted to fall asleep, and did fall asleep, around 8:30 twice last week and this weekend I could barley get past 9:00 before my eyes started sliding down.  I couldn’t figure out what was up with that!  Then I took a good, hard at what I did this week and it turns out that I ran about 30 miles this week.  Thirty miles.  Granted, there’s a Zumba workout in there that added up to three miles of that, but even still: I out and out ran 27 miles at the least and 30 miles at the most.  No wonder I have been so tired!  


This is so me.  I get all jazzed up about ‘hitting it hard’ and taking off some weight or adding on some muscle or training for an event and in my enthusiasm I stop listening to my body and just push Push PUSH myself!  I’ve been good about doing Zumba twice a week and running 2-3 times a week, but those runs have been between 4-6 miles, usually, sometimes shorter when I don’t have the patience.  My intention was to add a long run of around nine miles into my routine, today’s run, but I think I pushed it too hard this week.  Not only am I tired, cranky and edging on anxiety/depression, I’ve also been feeling the strain in my legs and hips.  My calves have been tight like a rubber band, my thighs swollen and heavy feeling and that stress fracture or bursa sac swelling in my left hip, the one that gets irritated when I push too hard, started acting up again.  

Today I was supposed to take my long run of nine miles.  It’s hard for me not to follow through and push myself to do it, but I think I’ll be much happier all week if I give myself a little bit of recovery time.  Instead I walked the dog and played some laser tag with the family. So this week’s goals:

  • Monday: kitchen miles, whatever feels good
  • Tuesday: Zumba
  • Wednesday: 4-6 miles depending on weather and how my hip feels
  • Thursday: kitchen miles (keep it easy) unless I feel better, then I might hit the streets.  Or hula hoop.
  • Friday: Zumba
  • Saturday: 9 miles
  • Sunday: 3 mile virtual leap day race with kids (Greenlake)

I bought some medals for a virtual race for my kids that they are going to earn next Sunday.  I always run but I think they might like a little extra motivation in the way of virtual race medals to spur on their interest in running.  It gives them a sense of accomplishment and it’s fun to run for bling sometimes!  I figure whatever motivates…  I think I earned the Race to Oz medal this week with my 30 miles!  I’m not usually one for medals, but to commemorate my most miles ran in a training week is worthwhile, I think.  😉

Side note: because I’m a big dork I have to go on just a little more about Macklemore and the game I play when I listen to him.  Right now I’m obsessed with the song Downtown.  I looooove it.  No- I mean I luuuuurve it.  It’s just so much and the pure excess is like witnessing a flash mob or something.  But anyways…  When I’m doing my kitchen laps with Macklemore I choose a part or two of his song to change up my steps to.  For example: in Downtown, whenever there’s cowbell I do a double-timed step or I get my knees up high.  I call them knee-highs but I’m not sure what they really are called.  When he has his posse rapping with him I do lunges while I walk and whenever the Downtowwwwwn! Part is being sung I have to have my arms in the air.  Plus I have to lip-synch and dance all sassy style as much as possible because the song just calls for it.  Anyhow, that’s just one more way I mix it up while I’m cruising along.  People always ask me how do I run that circle for so long, but I like it.  It has a lot to do with wanting to dance and listen to my music loudly and having access to headphones.  Fortunately my family, both as a child and now, is completely used to my antics and it’s not at all unusual to see me strutting around the house lip-synching and dancing to my heart’s content.  I think they’re all just glad I don’t belt it out loud anymore!

(I always remember this one night when I was about ten years old, sitting on the stationary cycle, listening to Neil Diamond on some headphones and I just couldn’t keep the song in my heart any longer.  My family had to let me know that I would get booted off the bike if I couldn’t keep quiet about Sweet Caroline.  I didn’t last on the bike much longer.  Who could?😋)


That sky!  I was on my way home from work yesterday and didn’t really want to run, but I knew I had this little 12 year old grasshopper girl at home in her running tights waiting for me, and I saw that sky!  One of the side effects of being a runner person is that you always have the perfect excuse to go outside and run around in the pretty weather sometimes.  Last night was like that.  Gorgeous.  My running partner was disappointed to have to stop after just under three miles, but they were hard miles yesterday.  I worked out hard earlier this week and man-oh-man I felt all of those miles in every step.  Gigi was cute because she became my coach, telling me that over time she could push me a bit and she was certain that I’d grow into a much faster runner.  I told her I’m in it for the distance more and we ended up having a pretty fun conversation about speed and distance and which we like better.  She said she wants to run really fast for a really long time.  She said she wants to run marathons when she grows up- even ultra matathons…  I told her I could for sure follow her up to a half marathon, but it’s amazing that her little balloon is already starting to tug away from our family bunch.  For the other races I’ll have to be cheering her on at the finish line.  

I’ve recently realized that one of the current, primary reasons I love running is because I’ve engaged with music again in a very deep way.  That doesn’t mean that I am listening to deep music, oh no, well, sometimes, but I am listening to it again like a teenager.  Remember when you were a kid and you would listen to music so deeply that you would be able to sing some of the lyrics the second time through because you paid such close attention?  And then after you’d follow it up by scouring the liner notes for lyrics and clues?  It’s like that again.  Where I repeat songs over and over, back up good parts to relisten and learn it so next time I might be able to sing along…  It’s like that again.  I first woke up to hip hop in Zumba. At first I was a little resistant, but the one that finally got me was Pitbull’s Baddest Girl in Town.  I thought it was this little cute Spanish song and had no idea it was Pitbull until my friend Jessica pointed it out to me.  Then I dove deep into his catalogue and amassed a solid collection and loved it.  I still love it.  But there comes a time when talking about lust, money and big, bouncy booties has me questioning the morals I want to impart to my kids.  Seriously, nothing sounds as foul as when you turn on your car and Pitbull starts barking lyrics at your daughter about…  Well…  Google him and you’ll get it.  That said, I still think he has a place in my phone.  In my ear.  On my run…  But…  My new love: Macklemore.  Holy cow.  I thought he was like the Dj Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince or something, but that man raps about things.  Important things like money and fashion and marriage equality…  Funny stuff too, but my runs are seriously motivated right now by being able to listen to more and more Macklemore.  I want to run for a loooong time, just so I can process him.  I never thought I’d listen to rap.  But here I am and what a great place to be!  Macklemore!  What great motivation to run!  


In Training

Today I had a reader pose the question to me about my training and how I go about it…  Wow.  That’s a long story!  Here goes…

When I started running I did it just so I would push myself.  I had always admired runners and thought it looked like a pretty inexpensive sport to partake in.  Once I got going a little and started sampling different exercises, I realized that I would ‘dumb down’ most exercise opportunities until I wasn’t breaking a sweat or breathing hard, but running is always running.  No matter what, no matter how slow you go, you always have that little skip/hop in there that gets your heart pounding and lungs breathing deeply.  Then, once I saw the calorie burn that a 270 pound woman gets from running for ten minutes I was sold!  I decided that I needed to go longer and farther distances to maximize my calorie burn, and that’s how I was born a distance runner.  I don’t care much about speed.  As long as I’m under 12 minute miles, I feel solid, but if I can get farther than six miles I’m impressed!

I’ve never followed a plan.  My running has always been intuitive.  In the beginning, like four years ago when I just first started, I would run almost every day.  I might take a day off a week, but I ran or rode my stationary cycle for at least 20 minutes per day.  20 minutes was really pushing it for me then, too.  Don’t worry if you don’t have endurance yet; over time it will come if you just stick to the plan.  

Your plan.  And what is your plan?  Your plan should be one that makes sense, isn’t intimidating and works for you.  I needed to work out daily otherwise I worried that I would fall off the wagon.  That one day off would turn into two days off and so on and so forth.  I didn’t want to break my stride and stagnate so I just kept moving.  When I first started, I looked at some training plans but they all looked intense.  They started out with running a whole minute or quarter mile, walk for too short of a time, then repeat.  Erm, nope.  That was not going to work for me.  At all.  I was so out of shape.  So inflexible.  I had no muscle tone.  I decided that, like Katie from Runs For Cookies, 30 seconds of running the first day followed by 29 minutes and 30 seconds of walking sounded right.  The next day I ran for a minute and walked for 29.  Each day I added a little more and a little more until one day I just kind of wondered if I could run a mile.  I did.  It was a huge moment for me; such a victory!  It took me less than two months to build up the stamina and confidence to go from hardly being able to run 30 seconds to being able to run a whole mile without stopping!!  From there I knew I was unstoppable.


 I registered for my first 5k that was to be in July or August of that year.  I trained my butt off, running mile after single mile, sometimes two miles, but the three miler remained a huge challenge!  It was my opus!  I made it to three miles a time or two, but when I finally did my first official 5k it was hard on me!  I was worn out, tired, exhausted but exhilarated.  I felt so empowered that I was able to run that far.  

If you’re like me, distance becomes addictive.  If you’re like me, once you discover that you’re capable of an impossible task you chase it even harder.  I realized that running distances is impressive to me, so I set out to impress myself by running even farther.  At the end of that summer I had managed to run my furthest distance of right around six miles.  When I told a friend that, she said that I needed to sign up for a half marathon, then…  Ha ha!  I added and added little increments day by day until one day I met the goal and then I just let it all be.  After my 5k and 6 mile challenge I stepped back into a more passive running role.  I started running two miles since it took me around 20 minutes to complete just to get my workout in and calories burned…  But I got bored.  Without the races, without the challenges I started to lose interest in running.  It became a job, and a boring one at that!   I love the online comic The Oatmeal and the author, Matthew Inman, is a Washingtonion so last spring when he advertised a race locally I got all jazzed up and rushed over to sign up, only to find it was limited to 10k, 1/2 marathon and full marathon.  Yipes.  But with the carrot of an actual blerch, couches at the aid stations, chocolate cake and mystical purple drink dangled in front of me I decided to take the leap and take on the 10k.  It wasn’t too bad.  Then a friend posted about running a half marathon six weeks later, and after someone had once told me that if I ran six miles I could run 13.2, I drank the koolaid and signed up without thinking.  What can I say?  I was riding high on my six mile victory!   

I hardly trained.  I managed to squeeze in an eight mile run, once, and two six-seven mile runs, but that was it.  I was ill-prepared but had a lot of confidence and moxie!  I was doing it!  And I did!  I limped across the finish line with blisters on my feet and swollen, stiff thigh muscles.  But what I took from that was that there is always more left in my tank until there isn’t.  I can run 13 miles in a row without stopping, with very little training under my belt.  I like knowing that.  I’m capable.  This weekend I ran quite a lot and I feel like it’s something I can and should sustain with the race schedule I have coming up.  I’ve signed up for a lot of 15k’s!  

  So, to answer the question of my training schedule, my answer is that I’m not too good at a training schedule!  But I do have loose ideas…  This week:

  • Sunday: 10K/6.2mi (Better half race)
  • Monday: 5K/3.4mi (in my kitchen😂)
  • Tuesday: 8.8mi (neighborhood run)
  • Wednesday: 10,000 steps/rest day
  • Thursday: 5K with Gigi
  • Friday: Zumba
  • Saturday/Sunday: planning on 9 miles one day, six miles the other day depending

My goal these days, I suppose, is to run 2-3 times per week with distances of 3-6 miles runs plus one longer (7-10 miles) run per week.  Add to that my Zumba Wednesdays and Fridays and I have a whole workout week planned.  You see, what I realized after running the half is that running 13 miles is hard.  Running ten miles that dat, though, was doable, so running nine miles (15k) is comparable to that.  Six miles (10k) is fun, now.  Three miles is a dash.  In comparison to where I was when I started, I think my self-prescribed training plan worked pretty well…   I recently read an article that was talking up the 5k as an awesome run that people bypass on their way to distances of glory.  It makes sense to me in a big way and I decided to let longer distance goals go, for now.  I do appreciate the shorter distance and, right now, I don’t have time to train properly for a half marathon…  But I do wonder what my future holds and how far I will end up running in my lifetime.

Happy Runner

There are times as a runner when I’m going along and it’s just getting it done.  It’s a workout that I’ve promised myself I’d get in and I plod along, step after step, until I’ve met my goal for the day and I head home.

Sometimes I hate it.  Passionately.  I negotiate with myself the entire time about when I can stop and how far I have to go, brokering deals for smaller loops that will bring me home sooner…  

Then there are the weekends like this one.  This weekend I’m a powerful athlete who is in training.  I can’t wipe the smile off my face.  I’m so proud!

I’m an athlete who felt her power in those final three miles of the Better Half when she kicked it out and ran harder the rest of the way to the finish line.  I found a different kind of belief in myself and what I can do.  I saw it with my own eyes and felt it in my own body.

This weekend I learned that six miles is a fun distance for me now.  Fun.  The phrase ‘fun run’ seemed like an oxymoron for years to me, but now?  Oh running, how do I love thee?  Let me compare you to a summer’s day…  And if six miles is fun, I need to push farther to train.  I’m strong, now.  I can do this.

It was powerful to feel myself speeding up in the last turns, not getting tired, not getting out of breath, not feeling my lungs burn, and in the final miles of the course passing a number people.  I don’t really care about the competition, I care because it shows me that I’m not worse than the other runners.  I’m in league with them- we are all present -faster, slower, same paced- I belong, there, too.  (Ok, I’m not going to lie.  I felt a little super heroic and amazing when I was actually passing people during the last mile- I couldn’t believe I had it in me!  But I squish those competitive feelings down and try not to let them influence me beyond just having a little private puppy wiggle to myself. 😉)

And it’s amazing what setting a personal record can do for you.  I’ve been just high as a kite since running on Sunday.  That PR and that solid, good, healthy run has my sails full and I’m ready for the short week ahead…  Not only that, but I was aching to do it again.  Run.  Run.  Run.  

Realizing that I enjoyed the run so much because I had the right level of training made me realize how much fun my 15k’s will be as long as I train for them.  I loved the Better Half because I was ready for it.  It didn’t hurt at the end because leading up to it I was running six miles here and there like it wasn’t any big thing.  9.3 miles- or close to it- needs to be something I’m shooting for more often, and today was my day to take my first crack at it.

All day yesterday I wanted it. I got a 3.5 kitchen run in after 8:PM, but I made a date for 90 minutes this morning to be set aside for a long run. I was itching for it.  I headed out at 10:00 with the intent to just run three times around my extra large loop and see where I ended up, mileage-wise, at the end…  

Well, I did it!  Almost nine miles!  Today marks my longest run ever that is not an official race!  And the early morning weigh-in of 191.6 was just the icing on the cake!  What a great day!  In 1.6 pounds I’ll officially be able to claim 150 pounds lost.  Isn’t that just crazy?!  And come March 6, I think I’ll be totally ready to run the 15k!  I loved this weekend!



 I have two victories to share that happened during this long weekend.  The first of which is a total scale victory: I’m back to my all-time, full-grown-adult, low weight of 193.6!  I touched 193 for about 15 seconds last spring then bounced right back up to hover around 200 pounds for a bajillion weeks (it felt like it, anyhow).  Making sure to get my 10,000 steps per day is really paying off.  I’m finding that I can eat a lot more to sustain my weight and scaling back my calories to lose a little bit of weight isn’t nearly as hard when I’m moving this much.  Part of those steps is almost always an aerobic workout, too, so I’m getting it seriously done this year.  The habit of moving is pretty ingrained, at this point, and it appears to be paying off in both inches and pounds off, not to mention how great I’m feeling.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt this healthy!  

The second is a total non-scale victory…  When I was looking for my girl scout sash for my Russell costume I was digging through trunks and boxes of my old clothes when I came across this dress.  The last time I wore it was when I was seventeen years old to my senior tea, hence the odd, formal picture with my parents and grandfather, circa 1991.  I know, the flowers on the dress are dated and the fabric smelled like mothballs and I will probably never ever wear it again, but it fit well enough that I was able to wear it out on my date with Jude on Saturday night to the mother-son Valentine ball!  I haven’t worn a dress with a full skirt and fitted bodice like that since I wore my wedding dress!  It was so much fun to swirl around the dance floor with Gigi (Bradley was a bit sick and Jude preffered kicking the balloons to dancing with his mama).  We had the best time.  It was mostly very little girls dressed as Ana and Elsa with their daddies there so we just had a really good time kicking our heels up and dancing our hearts out without a care as to what the others might think!  I may have been channeling my inner 17 year old…  

After my great race yesterday I came home and ate the entire box of chocolates one of my students gave to me.  Relax, it was three pieces.  😋 Today I ate a little bit more sugar than I would like, but I also ran 3.5 miles in my kitchen.  They don’t cancel one another out, but I’m planning to go for eight miles (I have lots of new music) or so outside tomorrow so I’ll burn it out then.  I realized that six miles didn’t seem like too big of a deal yesterday because I’m fairly used to practicing that distance.  If I can run eight or nine miles 2-3 times between now and March 6th, the Hot Chocolate 15K shouldn’t be that big of a killer at the end.  Isn’t it funny how it’s true what people say?  Training pays off.  Who woulda thought??  Ha ha!  Wish me luck!

My Better Half-Marathon (10K for us, tho!)

Today was the day and boy did we bring it!  I couldn’t be happier with the results from today’s race!  First and foremost, it was with my number one bestie- my girl Guinevere!  Originally we were going to dress at Daphne and Velma, but after giving it a little more thought we went with Kevin and Russel from the movie Up.  I didn’t have everything just perfect- I should have had a gigantic backpack and a brown sash, but I think our costumes turned out really cute!  I ended up using my actual sash that I had as a Girlscout and just added a few things.  I even had the Ellie badge and spent yesterday creating the wilderness explorer badges.  Gigi was a rainbow in motion and seriously brightened up the dreary, drizzly, grey, Seattle day.  Afterward a few people commented to her that they loved being able to watch her rainbow tutu dodging and weaving in front of them while she pounded through the puddles.  I loved being able to find her in the crowd so easily!

The race itself was awesome.  We were at Seward Park so it was a mostly flat loop with Lake Washington on one side and a gorgeous forest on the other.  To earn our .2 miles (6.2miles=10k) they had us run up a mid sized hill at the very beginning.  It wiped scads of people out, but I managed to pace just a little behind Guinevere until we came down the hill where she disappeared from me until we met again at the finish line.  For me, the race was interesting.  I started out kind of hating running this morning.  It was really cold and the rain was just nonstop with the drizzle and the dripping off the trees, and don’t forget the puddles and mud…  But somehow, near the end of the first loop and onto the second loop I didn’t notice any of that.  All of the sudden I felt fast.  I know that’s all in my head, because look at my splits, but I started passing a lot of people and feeling my training.  Instead of wearing out, I was working out.  My breathing was fine, I was talking to people around me and digging on my tunes.  During the last few miles I decided to dig deep and pull up some energy and I actually shaved some decent time off of my miles!  I came into the finish strong and smiling, into the arms of my bestie: my girl Gigi.  

Not only did we both PR, GUINEVERE TOOK FIRST PLACE IN HER AGE BRACKET!  It should be mentioned that she was also the only person in her age bracket, but I seriously don’t even care.  How cool is it that she PR’d and got to celebrate that by getting the 1st place prize of a pink blankie?  It also says something about distances young runners are willing to take on.  I’m proud of her tenacity and willingness to push herself!  She’s already making plans for the blerch half marathon in September….  I have created an animal (who I adore and wouldn’t change for the world).  I took 15th out of 35 women in their 40’s.  That felt pretty good to me!  My last official 10K time had me about 15 minutes longer than today’s time of a few seconds over 70 minutes.  I’ve grown a lot as an athlete since September and my new record certainly shows that!  Woot woot for both of the Lj Girls! 

 Today also marked my inaugural run for my year of running for Curtis and asking ‘What would Curtis do?’ Curtis is a friend of mine who passed from esophageal cancer on Christmas Eve.  He is the one whose family, through the entire battle, encouraged everyone around them to remember to love one another and live as fully and completely as possible.  That time is not a guarantee and we need to meaningfully embrace what we have of it.  At his celebration of life event, among the Snickers adorning the tables, were buttons asking the question: What would Curtis do?  I had already decided to dedicate all of my major runs and hikes to Curtis and to carry his spirit with me on those adventures.  The button firmed that resolve.  If I can do it with the people I love, all the better. I think Curtis would.  And so Guinvere and I took inspiration from Curtis’s daughter who recently dressed as Mr. Fredricks, from the movie Up, complete with tennis ball, cane and balloons, such a fantastic costume, and we decided to go as Russell and Kevin as a nod to her.  I don’t think people knew who we were, but it was a really great time, no matter what and it all just felt so good and right.


❤️love love love love love❤️


 The treadmill.  I always have the best intentions on that machine, but I tell you what, it has absolutely earned its nickname of ‘dreadmill’.  I can get about two miles on it before I just start wondering when the heck it’s going to end!  I hide the screen, and still the miles tick but ever.  So.  Slowly!  What is it about the treadmill??  (dreadmill) Today I was watching a very engaging episode of The Biggest Loser- it was makeover week!  I was crying right along with them, marveling at their accomplishments, while still hating on that machine.  It doesn’t matter, though.  I still got a really solid run in.  I went at a snail’s pace for most of it.  I sweated hard and had really solid, healthy breathing, but after I hit the goal on my Garmin step count and passed three miles on the treadmill I wanted to quit.  Like, the dreadmill was super-dreaded right then and I was willing to broker pretty much any deal with myself to get off that thing, so I decided to go for a minute at full speed on the treadmill.  I watched one of the contestants on the Biggest Loser do it and never considered a sprint like that before.  I knew that at any moment I felt unsafe I could hop to the sides so before I could talk myself out of it I just started ratcheting up the speed and going like the flipping wind.  I didn’t know I could do that!  My feet were pounding the belt and mr elbows were pumping like mad! I definitely don’t have much endurance in me when I run at that pace and it’s scary as all get out- what if I fell?!  And it feels a little out of control….   But it was pretty cool and I’ll admit that it felt kind of awesome.  😁

Aunt Flo is My Gurl

So… This post is allll about periods. Mine, mostly, since I’m an expert about mine over any other shark-week sister, but there will be other menstrual madness as well, so please, if you just don’t want to know all of this, you might want to skip this one post…


 I’m going to talk pretty openly about the progression of my period, so here we go, back to that fateful November day in seventh grade, at the tender age of 12, when I felt super gross and sticky and the thought crossed my mind in choir class, “Maybe I’ve started it.” I wasn’t excited at all. And when I went to check in the bathroom during gym, the evidence was laid out in my underwear. Still, though, I was in denial for the entirety of that first cycle that maybe it would stop or maybe I could hold it in, so I didn’t tell my mom and just raided the emergency supply of pads that had, one day, suddenly appeared in my closet. It wasn’t until Easter, at my grandmother’s house in Oregon when the triple threat of stomach flu, diarrhea and menstruation hit in one night and I had to tell my mom that I had started that damned thing a few months ago and I needed help!


As soon as my period hit, so did my weight. If you look at my school pictures from seventh grade to ninth, there was a significant jump in my weight. I went from looking like a 12 year old to looking like a staff member in one year, and it was all because I got fat. I probably went from a decent 130 pounds to 190 pounds by the end of 8th grade.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I had been bitten by the PCOS bug. In fact, I was on a timer from the moment I was born. My period began, I started gaining weight and my period started letting its pattern known. I would get it about six-eight times a year. We assumed this was just teenage irregularity, but it never fixed itself and I just continued to gain weight until I was weighing in at and 240. I lost weight through a starvation diet when I was 17 and just as quickly regained it, finding myself soaring above 250 in my mid-twenties.


It was my former sister-in-law who finally figured out what the doctors couldn’t from a magazine article. I had poly-cystic-ovarian-syndrome, more commonly known as PCOS. As I started looking into my family history in my 20’s, I started seeing a pattern of childless aunts as well as grandmas and aunts who had long spaces between babies, implying irregularty or difficulty conceiving for one reason or another. When I looked a little deeper, I saw my symptoms as well- whiskers, weight gain with difficulty losing and diabetic tendencies. (I have never approached these aunts, cousins or grandmas as these topics make people squeamish and, frankly, talking about someone’s infertility is never something I would ask for. My own journey to having children was peppered with infertility heartache -which we obviously persevered through- and I’d never want to revive those feelings for anyone else.)

When Bradley and I got together we did the same thing most couples do- we enjoyed life, enjoyed food and gained weight.  By the time I was trying to conceive my first baby, my periods had completely stopped and I had ballooned up to a startling 340 pounds.  I had read online a little about how weight and PCOS would pair up to make pregnancy difficult, but I think anyone would prefer to blame anyone or anything but themselves.  We beat around the bush and paid doctors for years, and never once did anyone ever suggest me to lose weight.  I knew it would help, but the doctor didn’t say I needed to, so I medicated myself until, finally, my gorgeous daughter was conceived and I had a textbook, healthy pregnancy.  Like many heavy women, I lost weight while pregnant and dropped down to 290.  I felt absolutely skinny!  But again, I gained it all back.  Then, two years later, we wanted a second baby.  The medications and tricks we took before weren’t working and I was rapidly approaching the dreaded age when pregnancy shifts from the perfect thing for your body and baby to a risky pregnancy.  

One day in January of 2006, we were at the end of our rope.  We were sitting in the doctor’s office reviewing our options for conceiving this baby.  My doctor was wonderful and sensitive, kind to a fault, and he turned to me and said that even losing as little as 5% of my body weight could make a positive difference.  I was chagrined- there it was.  My demon.  The hardest thing.  My scariest opponent- fat.  Believe it or not it was a hard decision to make.  On one hand, I loved my life.  I was happy, loved and fulfilled.  On the other hand, I wanted a second pregnancy, a completed family, a sibling for my daughter.  I had to choose family over fat and it was a terrifying choice, but I did it.  Within a few weeks I had devised a plan to slowly make shifts.  I decided to lean hard on diet soda, sugar free chocolate and Splenda.  I decided to walk every day, and bit by bit I lost a little here and there, and by the time June rolled around I weighed 280 and in July I became pregnant, just as we were on the eve of our final try.  I often say that Jude was the best surprise-planned pregnancy that ever happened!

Once again, as soon as my pregnancy ended, I started gaining.  Pregnancy is kind to me- it pumps me full of hormones that otherwise get absorbed in my fat, preventing me from ovulating and the rest of the menstrual cycle that comes with it.  Regular cycles are healthy.  They are a symptom of being healthy, so as they started to go away again, I became alarmed.  I finally made the connection that when I have my period, when I have hormonal health that is symbolized by menstruation, I lose weight, feel better and am healthier.  As I passed 300 and started to climb up to 310, I freaked out.  There was no way I was going to get that big again, so I became determined.  If you know my story, you know I started out slow.  So, very slow.  I was terrified of failure so I only did what I could.  Reasonable to me seemed like losing a pound per month.  I made the rules, so that’s what I did- what felt safe.  I was successful for years until I finally decided to vanquish my fat for once and all and waged a serious campaign against it.  I had the confidence and have been really successful so far in my project.  I’m meeting my goal to get healthy and feel amazing.

My barometer through the whole project has been Aunt Flo.  After so many years of having my period be A symbol of the sad, sick and unhealthy state of my body, I almost thrill at having her visit.  I know it sounds cheesy, but my monthly visit is a testament to how far I’ve come with my health.  I was so sick, so heavy, so far off the path that I couldn’t complete my primary directive as a human being which is to procreate.  My body literally shut down, and as soon as I got my health back I also got my period.  While I don’t love any of the inconveniences shark week brings, I glory in what it means!  Aunt Flo is my girl! I joke, now, that had we not chosen to get my tubes tied off during Jude’s birth that I’d probably have six more kids- one for each year since he’s been born!  LOL!  This infertile chick totally flipped that.  

  So those of you who are struggling with weight and infertility, take heart.  If you’re working toward your health, you may very well be working toward your family, too.  I only needed to lose 15 pounds before things got interesting and a year later my son was in my arms.  Those of you who hate shark week, remember that while you may hate it, it means, HEALTH!  🙂