Sunday, December 4, 2011

End of Year races

So, last post, I said my season was over.  And, it was - sort of.  However, I have done two 5K events in the past two weeks, and REALLY enjoyed them.  AND, I've been doing the "keep Portland weird" lunch workouts with a good friend.

Working out downtown is so much fun...there are TONS of people doing the same thing, rain or shine, cold and colder!  There is this one guy who wears long running pants and NO shirt, every day.  YIKES - but he's out there!  He probably writes about the gal in the pink stocking cap who runs a block, walks a block every day :)

I've really noticed my time improve, and the ability to run increase.  Plus, I really look forward to going out each day, and miss it when I have a meeting interfere.  THAT is a change.

Last week, I did the Clark County Turkey Trot - a really fun, free family event on Thanksgiving morning.  A friend who I hadn't seen in  a long while (pre-surgery) joined me, and we had a nice walk-n-chat.  We fared better than the poor 40-year-old man who had a heart attack and died just minutes into the course.  (What a sad Thanksgiving for that family!)

Later in the day, I headed East to spend the weekend with my parents at their cabin.  I was so encouraged to be able to help them fall trees, haul wood, clean up branches, etc.  A couple of years ago, I was worthless.  This year, I called it "exercise" and was glad to show them my improvement! :)

Today, I did the Jingle Bell 5K in Portland.  It is a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation.  A coworker of mine has a five-year-old boy with juvenile RA, and our company graciously paid for 25 employees' entry fees to support the cause.  It was a COLD morning, but we had great fun!  There was even a group of BAREFOOT runners...oh my!

I finished with a time of 13:59 min/mile.  That's 7:01/mile off my first race of the season!  I'm still a slow run/walker - but I'm doing great in MY PR department! :)  My friend, Iron Man Mike, was gracious and when finished with his race, ran part way to the finish with me, before going back to walk with his girlfriend.  Just the encouragement I needed :)

I'm truly finished with events for the year.  I plan to work really hard on my run endurance for the next two weeks, then take off six weeks.  In February, I'll start the 1/2 marathon training.

Have a great holiday season - which ever holidays you celebrate.  For me, it's Merry CHRISTmas!

Living my fit dreams...even in the cold weather! :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm going to RUN!

We, once again, had unseasonably wonderful weather today - and I was able to do my first official half-marathon training workout in the SUNSHINE.  I started out with a jacket, but shortly converted to short sleeves.  I know those days are few and far between.

I've been finding it harder and harder to work out in the afternoons - with the weather not so lovely and it getting dark earlier.  But, I have a plan!  I just started a new job (same company, just a promotion) - and really need to work some different hours - staying a bit later in the afternoons.  SO, since I work in lovely downtown Portland, Oregon, I'm going to make the most of our waterfront, and I'll be taking longer lunches to make use of the opportunities downtown.  Even in the wicked Northwest rainfall, it has to be one of the loveliest places to get some fresh air.

One thing I decided is that with the whole "keep Portland weird" mentality - I won't be the strangest thing out there...whether walking, running, skipping, jumping - or whatever the day's workout brings.

For the most part, I'm still walking.  My pace is picking up, though - and I'm starting to add a block of running here and there, regularly, not to mention my FARTLEK sessions!  I'm being more diligent about icing after the workouts, and am back to regular acupuncture sessions to help abate any pain.

I have a plan - and that plan includes running most, if not all, of the RnR in May.  If it looks like that is going to happen, I think I'll put my name in the hat for the SF Nike Women's half for the fall.  (I believe it's a lottery to get in - but SO worth it if your name is drawn!)

Stay tuned...I'm going to have a RUN report before you know it.  And, you know I'm living my fit dreams! :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Red-Letter Days & Weeks

My "season" is over.  Last weekend was the 30th Annual Great Columbia Crossing - a fun 10K across the Astoria Bridge.  It's a relatively flat course - for the first half - then a 200 ft climb to the top of the bridge, with great views of the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean.

As I started down the bridge, I notice the finish line was at the bottom.  I had a lot of steam left, and was dying to run - so I did, all the way down.  Little did I realize...the finish line WAS at the bottom - but before you got to cross, there was a half-mile out-and-back left.  I'd used all of my "poop" running...and was really disappointed at my lack of planning.  But, I made it across - with GOOD time - I kept my 5K pace for the 10K race!  A great season-ender.

This past week was fun, too.  I had an interview for a fantastic new job.  Friday morning, I woke up in ONEDERLAND!!!  I have not seen a "1" out front on my scale since Jr. High School!  It started and ended as a red-letter-day with the news that I got the job!

This weekend, I spent 24 hours at my son's ROTC jog-a-thon - and RAN (ran-ran, not walked-ran!) 1.25 miles with some of the other parents.  The kids are really encouraged when the parents come along side them.  It felt REALLY good to participate.  (100 kids ran over 830 miles in 24 hours.  My son ran more than 22 miles!)

I'm looking forward to this new season..."off season" training, "job training" season, etc., etc., etc.  Reports MAY be farther apart, but I'll check in as I have something to report.

Living and loving my new life!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Post-Partum Depression?

How does a woman who has never given birth suddenly experience post-partum depression?  By having given birth to a dream, followed by a week of yucky weather and post-race down time.  Thankfully, I'm past all of that!

I'm a "planner" and truly have as much fun looking forward to things as I do in actually participating in them.  (I planned for 18 months before my first cruise, and the anticipation was so much fun!) Having been through other "mountain top experiences," I should have expected that I'd be emotionally down after the Warrior Dash, but I didn't.  Thankfully, I had a friend who recognized what I was going through, and validated my feelings while encouraging me to keep pressing on.

This past week, our weather turned back around - for one last peek at summer - and I was able to get in some great rides before the rains hit this weekend.  And, now that our "liquid sunshine" is here, I'm looking forward to new experiences in the training department.

I did go to two different WLS support group meetings this week - and got to share my Warrior Dash story at both places.  (I even wore my Warrior helmet and t-shirt to my "home" group - and they all enjoyed seeing that my year-long dream had become a reality!)

Next weekend is the Great Columbia Crossing 10K in Astoria, Oregon.  It will be my longest event of the season - and I'll be pressing to get across the finish line before the time limit.  I'm 95% sure I can keep the necessary pace - but since I haven't done that long of an event before, I'm not 100% sure.  I guess I won't be the only person to have ever been picked up by the bus - but I don't PLAN to need it!  Almost surely, it will be in the mist and/or rain - but since my Battle Ground race was a rainy day, I know that's no big deal.

I'll look forward to sending you my report on that.

Until then - I'm living my fit dreams!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This warrior dashed!

In one word - EXHAUSTED!  If I add a few more...proud, thankful, blah, blah, blah.

Warrior Dash was EVERYTHING I had anticipated - a hot, fun, exhausting party full of wonderfully supportive people.  But, it wasn't without trial.  I didn't complete every obstacle, in spite of best of intentions, and therefore - yes, I WILL do it again!

The day was amazing.  I got there right as I had planned, time-wise, and checked in while the day's temperatures rose, even up in the shady hills of North Plains, Oregon.  Check-in was a breeze, and it was fun to see all manner of costumed dress, muddy post-race warriors (my wave was at noon, and many had started and finished before me).  We set up camp for the family, and I set out to find my warrior and weight-loss friends.  Unfortunately, with a crowd that large (THOUSANDS), it was impossible to find anyone.

I'd heard there was a WARRIOR WEDDING to take place during my heat, and I headed to the starting line to watch it happen.  Upon arrival, I finally found three of my warrior friends.  They took off for an up-close view of the nuptials, and I kept a look out for my supporters.  Just before my wave took off, I found three separate groups of friends, and hugged and thanked them all.  The wedding party took off, followed by the rest of my wave.  (Pre-race, I never did find my other warrior friends.)

I found myself running down the first hill with the wave of folks, and felt a bit of a twinge in my knee, so I had a reality check about my pace - and slowed down.  There were PLENTY of people behind me, and many walkers, so it was just fine.  I'd been forewarned about the first mile - HILLS and more HILLS - very steep - and I was not at all surprised to be extremely challenged.  I found myself at the back of the pack - with about half a dozen folks behind me.  I kept trudging along, and up and up and up - and made it to the first obstacle - the pond with logs!

The water entry, to me, was refreshing...I was SO HOT by then.  Others whined about how cool it was, but I trudged along in shoulder-high water to the first log.  I attempted to hoist myself up and over, but the doggone log rolled me back - I didn't have enough "umph" on my own to make it roll over.  Along came a couple of other slow gals - and we 1-2-3'd our way up and over all four logs (roll over, splash, dive, 1-2-3, roll over, splash, dive).  It was actually quite fun!

Shortly after climbing the muddy slope out of the logs, we approached the tire run (think military school), and the junkyard jam - climbing over junkyard cars!  MORE FUN!  There were several climbing obstacles in succession, and I breezed through them.  I was surprised how "able" I was to complete these - and felt really good about the training I had put in.  The "rope" climb was the one I was most concerned about pre-race - but it was TRULY a breeze for me.  I was surprised, and elated, as many of the people with and behind me just went around the obstacle.

At the half way point, I was starting to feel lethargic.  I was 45 minutes or an hour into the race, and at the water station, I took on a couple of cups.  The problem with this race is that it is nearly impossible to carry any nutrition with you (mud, water, and all), and the aid stations only offer water.  (In training, I have a small snack every 45 minutes to hour, and electrolytes when I'm out that long.)  So, I kept going.

Our family friend (and coach), Jeff, was supposed to start in the 1:00 wave.  We had an agreement that he'd "kick my butt" if he caught me.  Well, he cheated - and started with the 12:30 wave.  I heard him coming around the corner just past the 1/2 way point - and hollering at me all the way. "Cross - I'm going to get you!"  A little love-pat as he passed, and he was gone.

The next obstacle was a series of chest-high hurdles (walls) followed by barbed-wire you crawl under (over hurdle, under wire, over hurdle, under wire, etc.).  I was zapped for energy, and made it up the wall, and proceeded to fling myself over - way over - landing hard, flat on my back.  A wonderfully nice man (a runner) stopped and asked if I was OK.  I assured him I was, and since I was already on the ground, proceeded to roll over and crawl under the barbed wire.  I got up, and just stood in front of the next hurdle - staring it down!  One of the course volunteers said, "You can go around."  I looked at her and whined, "But, I don't WANT to!"  She laughed.  But, truly, I did not have it in me to try to heft myself up again.  (Had I been in my right mind, I think I could have figured it out - but that's in hindsight.)  I walked around the rest of the hurdle/wire obstacle.

At that point, I was mentally and physically distraught.  The next obstacle was in sight, and as I got to it, I just couldn't bring myself to even try.  I didn't think I could climb up, or do the jumping required.  So, I walked around it, too.  I was discouraged - to say the least.

Fortunately - as strange as it sounds - there was a BIG hill ahead.  I talked to myself all the way up that hill - about what progress I've made (as opposed to the guys who commented that they should have trained more than two days - who had NO CLUE how far I've come this year), that I'm out there doing it, and so on.  By the time I got to the top of the hill (slowly), I'd recovered my brain!  I was going to finish strong!

There were several obstacles ahead, and one more LONG hill...but I took them one at a time - a scary one, a fun one, and so on.

Finally, I smelled the flames from the fire - which I knew was the next to last obstacle.  That is were my family would be waiting, and I wanted so badly to RUN into view, and really leap over the flames.  (Truly, the fire was the obstacle that scared me the most!)  I stopped in a shady spot just around the bend from where I knew I'd be in view, took a few deep breaths, and set out for a strong finish.

As I rounded the corner - they didn't let me down. EVERYONE - my family, my WL support friends, my warrior coworkers - were all there hollering for me.  I ran for the fire (the lower flames), and leapt over both lines.  I walked to the next obstacle, hearing my son's best friend hollering, "That's my friend's mom - and I'm so proud of her!"  (My heart melted for that boy!)

The last obstacle, was the one that I most looked forward to - the one that to me said, "This is Warrior Dash" - the MUD PIT!  All of the photos I've seen of W.D. events show the mud-covered runners, and I wanted to be that person.  I'd finally earned my turn!

I walked to the mud pit, and as I entered (via fanny), they sprayed me down.  I splashed in (getting my face covered, and my eye full of muck), and rolled to my belly.  They have you crawling under barbed wire - to keep you down in the mud.  I did the belly-crawl under, and got to the other end.  Getting out was hard, as I kept slipping back in.  I finally stood up, and took one giant step out - on to the mud-slide at the end.  (Think big, icky, slip-n-slide.)  It was SO FUN, and SO FAST sliding down that I nearly took out a guy at the end, who was trying to help his injured wife out.  (I had no control over the situation.)  He saw me at the last minute, and straddled, and I zoomed between his legs (FOR REAL!) as everyone in the audience roared.  I hit the hay-bales at the end (the "stoppers"), and it was over.

The volunteer staff at the end were there with cups of water for your face and hands, bananas and chocolate milk for "recovery" (not this bariatric patient's recovery choice, mind you), and oodles of people offering hugs and medals for finishing.  My fellow-warriors had no problem hugging me, but I even had one dear WLS friend who hugged me in her every day clothes!  Nancy's a trooper!

The family said they'd meet me at the car, as I headed to the "Warrior Wash" - a communal pond which by that point looked like chocolate milk.  It was refreshing to get the first layer soaked off.  On your way out, you dropped off your muddy shoes to be recycled, and I headed home.  As I was leaving, the missing coworker-warrior group was just heading to the pond for their dip - so we finally connected - and I handed them my "free beer" coupon.

What a fantastic day!  THIS is the event that I dreamed about...THIS is LIVING MY FIT DREAMS!

On a final note, the Warrior Wash might have got the outer layer - but under garments hold LOTS of mud!  LOL!  Nostrils, and ears, too.  - Just in case you were wondering!

Monday, September 5, 2011

My first Fartlek!

No, that is not code for something naughty...but rather something way FUN.  Swedish for "speed play," Farklet is just a fun form of interval training.  I'm finding that though distances are getting easier for me, my time isn't really improving.  Basically, I think I need to push myself - and today was definitely my hardest "by myself" workout.  I ran to the nearby school, put my water bottle down, and did graduated sprint there/walk back sessions to and from the water bottle for 35 minutes.  It was hot and challenging - but I felt like I'd truly Labored on Labor Day! :)

I spent this weekend starting to plan my path to the bigger races - and my training is definitely going to be more thought out.  I know I've done half-hearted strength training, and have yet to implement my yoga/recovery plan.  Now, it's all PLANNED, and I need to IMPLEMENT.

And, Mike and Lea will be happy to know - I'm taking my RECOVERY shakes seriously, too.  Putting on my big girl panties (figuratively - no longer literally!), and drinking them whether I want to, or not!

Closing in on a big number in the weight department.  Stay tuned.

Six days until I rock it at WARRIOR DASH!

Until then, Living My Fit Dreams!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sleepless nights = Big Dreams

Sleepless nights.  Yep, several in a row.  I wake up to take the dogs out, and start thinking of the possibilities.  Right now, it’s the next two years worth of races.  I’ve already moved on past the HOPING I can do Warrior Dash and Columbia Crossing – I know those are in the bag!  It’s the “what next” that keeps me awake at night.

I’m planning the half marathon next year – and, again, KNOW I can do that.  When talking with Iron Man Mike last week, I even told him that.  I know I can do that today, if I needed to.  Maybe not with a great time, but I know that I now have the endurance ability to finish a longer race.  So, it’s time to DREAM.  BIG DREAMS!

Half marathon, century ride, and yes – even thinking of that doggone swim…via triathlon.  Bariathletes posted a link last week on great Ironman races for first-timers.  These are Ironman 70.3 races (also known as Half Ironman races).  One is in beautiful Oceanside, California…and the 2013 race will be right after my 40th birthday.  Dare I dream of it?  YES!  ABSOLUETLY YES!  I keep saying that I’m going to be better at 40 than I was at 20…and I mean it.

I have a long way to go.  The 15.9 mile ride I did yesterday is barely enough for the sprint-triathlon I plan to do next year.  But, it was definitely NOT the hardest ride I’ve done so far (in spite of heat and hills), and had it not been getting dark, I could have ridden a while longer.  I’m not breaking any land-speed records at this point.  But, I’m getting out there.  And, I’m DREAMING, especially when I’m not sleeping! 

Stay tuned…because I’m LIVING MY FIT DREAMS.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


People who have never struggled with obesity might not understand the physical pain that is involved with daily living.  Today, I watched a gentleman “rev up” to get going.  He was intentional in his movements, as he made sure he was balanced before he took off across the room.  I know all too well the effort it took for him to do a minor daily task – I was there myself a year ago.

After a very exciting time at Warrior Dash Boot Camp last night, I am thoroughly amazed at my lack of pain.  Those who knew me two years ago know that I spent an entire summer (Memorial Day to Labor Day) in a cast, due to severe plantar fasciitis.  Never have I been able to enjoy day after day of rigorous exercise and wake up pain-free (knees and feet).  This morning, I feel my muscles – knowing I had a tremendous workout – but I have NO PAIN! 

I realized this at the grocery store the other night, too.  I’d played in the river with my pup on Friday night, played in the ocean with my nephew on Saturday night – and grocery shopped Saturday night when we got home.  Years past, I’d have been a major crabapple – if I’d have even gone to the store at all. 

I’m excited and amazed, too, that I made it through boot camp without any injuries!  It seems to always be an injury that sidelines me.  I’ve become more confident in my abilities, and have learned what to do to protect myself – while still having fun.  Warrior Dash is only 11 days away, and I can truly say I’m going to rock it!

Living my fit dreams – and knowing I’m truly blessed!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


For the record, I’m sitting comfortably at my desk typing – WITH MY LEGS CROSSED!  Not sure if I’ve posted on this topic before, or not…but those who currently can’t, or have been in my position in the past, will understand the magnitude of joy it brings me to do it mindlessly these days.

Forgive my ramblings here, but I have “stuff” to write about today!

Another thing that brought me joy this past week was a visit home to see my best friend.  On Friday night, we took a LONG walk along the railroad tracks & river, and really enjoyed being a couple of moms/wives chatting.  I doubt we’ve ever walked together before – as it was something I’d just not have done.  The next morning, we went from garage sale to garage sale…again enjoying the fact that I got out at EVERY stop…not hiding in the car to recuperate, scoping out the goods from my seat. 

But, the culminating “I did it” for the weekend was a visit with her and her children to visit my mom.  I didn’t realize that, though the kids live in the same rural town as my parents, they don’t take for granted “farm life” as I had grown up with.  They enjoyed wandering the big garden, picking up the fallen apples to feed the calves, and realizing that Mom has horses.  My “niece” stated to Mom that she had never ridden a horse.  Mom proceeded to halter her older gelding and each kid rode bareback with Mom on the lead.  It was so much fun enjoying their excitement.

After their ride, Mom told me to head over to a “perch” – it was MY turn.  She knew, as we had discussed it a couple of months ago, that one of my weight-loss goals has been to ride again.  We can’t remember exactly how long it’s been – but it was in jr. high or high school – so it’s been at least 20 years.  I know my weight is down to where I’m not a hazard to the horses, and I was excited and scared at the same time.  The horse wasn’t standing very still for my climb on, and it wasn’t very easy without a stirrup to step into, or a saddle horn to hang onto.  (Thankfully, God thought to equip the horses with handles!  - The mane.) 

My friends & family knew what a big deal this was for me, and had their phones to snap photos.  Unfortunately, after a few minutes, they put them away – so we only have photos of my mom holding the lead rope – making it look like I’m on a pony ride! J  But, I know better.  After a few circles around, mom gave me the lead, and let me go.  I rode around the pasture – enjoying the time.  Bareback riding is very good exercise…using core muscles, and thigh muscles that hadn’t been engaged in years.  Sunday morning I felt like Jillian Michaels had put me through my paces!

I look forward to having a “real” ride – saddled – with my mom in the spring!

In the Northwest, we are rarely as sun-blessed as the past weeks have been.  The spring rain seemed to drag on and on, and since then it’s been hard to head to the gym – opting, instead, to find a place to work out in the fresh air.  Yesterday was no exception.  We had a particularly humid day, and though Wednesday is usually my Aqua Zumba night (in an already muggy pool), none of my friends were going, so I decided to head out.  I did a good, long bike ride – and rode to the gym.  (My first time riding to the gym.)

At the gym, I jumped on the elliptical for 20 minutes (when I started I couldn’t do five!), and headed to the weight room.  I could hear the STEP class going on upstairs, and was surprised to hear the “Monday night” guy’s voice.  But, as I said, I haven’t been to the gym much this summer, so apparently, they had added his class on Wednesday, too. 

This guy is a fairly new teacher, and had harassed me a few times earlier in the year about trying it out.  I kept telling him that I wasn’t ready – at the time I was still mostly biking, with just 10 minutes, or so, on the treadmill.  My knees truly couldn’t have handled it.  He told me that he’d keep on me.

Well, while I was in the weight room, his class finished up.  He came down to do his strength training, and we passed each other for 30 minutes, or so, never speaking.  I thought, “He doesn’t have a clue who I am!”  But, of course, I wasn’t going to tell him – I’m not ready for this class!  LOL!  I finished up my workout, headed out to put on my bike gear, and as I was climbing on, he came out the door.  I smiled, and he said, “Wow!  You look great!  Don’t tell me you’re not ready for my class now!”  He’d figured it out!  I told him I’m saving myself for Warrior Dash and the bridge crossing, and he understood – but made me commit to trying his class after those events.  I don’t think I really want to do a STEP class – I’d rather go back to “regular” Zumba, but I’ll give it a shot!  We did talk about how much weight I’ve lost, what I’ve been doing for training, and such – and he was glad we’d talked.  Apparently his wife has had some injuries, and he thinks Aqua Zumba might be what she’s looking for.

I safely arrived home, realizing that I’d been gone more than 2 hours – and it was the hottest, sweatiest, most advanced workout I’ve done so far! 

Still living my fit dreams!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New things to celebrate

Last weekend, I spent time with a WLS buddy.  She's four years out, and has done some of the fun things I have my eye on.  (Particularly a RnR 1/2 marathon and the SF Women's 1/2.)  She knows my heart's desire to be an athlete!

Her idea of fun was to introduce me to kayaking - and having been a former white-water rafting lover, I was looking forward to the adventure.  I was thinking of an hour or two exploring some calmer waters, and back home for the day.  Boy, was I out of my head!

We put in the water (at the mouth of the Columbia River), and headed upstream for an hour or so, thinking the current would carry us back when we were tired.  We kept going and going, and after only a few minutes, any fears I had of being too upper-body weak were gone.  It was quite easy - and so much fun!  I have to admit, I'm still in the "get 'er done" frame of mind...I have trouble enjoying the journey.  After some discussion, we decided to go "around the island," but - thankfully - decided against the second island (which turned out NOT to be an island...that would have been frustrating!).

As we headed back DOWNSTREAM, the wind picked up, the sun hid behind a cloud, and it got HARD to paddle.  Low and behold - two people who should have known better (she a beach-town dweller, and I an ocean-loving freak) failed to consider the TIDE, which was full-force coming in.  It was actually harder paddling downstream than it had been going up.  We had to keep paddling full-time in order to not get pushed back.

There was never a time I was afraid - afraid I couldn't do it, afraid of tipping over - but, boy it was WORK.  As we neared the rental shop, we did get into a little inlet protected from the wind, and were able to slow down a bit.  We started smelling burgers grilling at a local eatery, and knew we were almost home.  (We both discussed how GOOD the burgers smelled, but how it would make us sick to actually eat one.  That is a nice thing to have in common!)  All told, our trip lasted three hours - three hours of mostly paddling.  We fared better than Gilligan, too!

The thing I gained the most was the fact that in spite of my "weak" upper body - I now have the confidence to know that the Warrior Dash is definitely do-able for me.  If I can paddle for three hours, certainly I can climb a few obstacles!


Today, I had another "fun" thing happen!  The first day I was able (May?), I signed up for the inaugural Portland Rock N Roll 1/2 Marathon - on May 20, 2012.  I paid $50 (or $55) for my registration - it was a one-day-only special.

Well, low and behold, they've been drawing monthly for prizes, and I am one of three August winners!  I got a call today, and was told that I could pick any pair of sneakers I wanted from the Brooks Running web site!  My $100 Brooks Dyad 6 (pink/silver) shoes are on their way, as is my Brooks Running tech tee!  Pretty good deal, all in all...and if the shoes are comfortable they gained a customer, too!

Have I mentioned lately...I'm living my fit dreams?!?!?!

Monday, August 8, 2011


Life – daily living – is becoming easier.  What does this have to do with being a WLS athlete?  Well, I think it’s a direct result of the changes I’ve been making.

I’ve had a couple of rest/recovery weeks.  It was supposed to be one week – but turned into two.  Week two, I was purposefully active, but didn’t really stick to “the plan.”  However, life itself is more active these days…more walks, more purposeful movement, etc…and it adds up.

This weekend, I had the privilege of helping some friends unload their moving truck.  I say privilege, because it is truly a blessing to be ABLE to help.  (Not that I WANT to help everyone move – I do have a life!…but this one was exciting – discovering I could!)  I found myself going up and down stairs with armloads of boxes, racking up steps on the old pedometer.  Lifting and moving furniture with the guys.  Bending down picking up armloads of hangers stowed in every nook and cranny.  And, today, I’m not down in bed unable to move!

I’m now less than five weeks away from my season’s BIG race – Warrior Dash – and having no second-thoughts about my ability to finish strong.  Oh, it will be work, I will be worn out, and I’ll cry!  J  I won’t break any records, but, I will finish…something I wasn’t so certain of on the day I signed up.

Four weeks of strength training are ahead, which will be a new endeavor for me.  But, these guns are ready for work – and I’m going to give it 100% each and every workout. 

In case you didn’t know – I’m LIVING MY FIT DREAMS!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back to reality

Vacation is over!  Yes, that is "over!" - not "over :("

While I loved every minute of the time spent with friends, I'm a sucker for routine.  Work routine, home routine, eating routine, and exercise routine.  Without routine, it's too easy to not do what I need to do.

But, this vacation was a success!  Without "planned exercise" (it was "planned recovery" before embarking on my next training phase), I still managed to get as many steps each day as I do on "workout" days.  In fact, some days were more than I get on RACE days.  It felt good to be able to keep up with our friends, and to know that an active lifestyle is possible - even on vacation!

Food-wise, too, I was successful.  We daily had "treats," but I managed to enjoy them...and to be fine with the fact that when vacation is over (now) that they are gone, too.  In fact, I was just savoring my pineapple a few minutes ago...and realized it was more enjoyable than some of the other things I'd chosen last week!

Up to this point, training-wise, I've been in the "endurance-building" phase.  This week, I move to "strength-building."  It's only FOURTY-ONE days until Warrior Dash...and these "guns" aren't ready.  

I'll keep you posted on the new phase of progress...and you can cheer for me!  In case you can't find me in the gym, look for me in the park.  I'll be the cute blonde climbing the jungle gym! :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It all adds up

A few years back, my employer enrolled us for HealthMiles, a voluntary program that rewards us for the activity we do.  We all got little pedometers to strap on, and log-ins to account for non-step related activity. (Swimming, etc.)  We get "points" just for wearing it, for reaching 7K, 12K, or 20K steps.  Points add up for cash rewards.  A pretty painless program!

When we first got these, I was at the peak of my weight journey (peak weight-wise, valley fitness-wise), and was elated on the days that I got 3000-3500 steps.  I was enduring severe plantar fascitis, and more activity wasn't likely.

Post surgery, I've been able to easily hit 7K most days, and 12K on more days than not.  20K is still elusive most days.  Last weekend, I discovered that the 8K/5 mile race ONLY accounted for 10K steps.  BUMMER!  I really thought I'd hit 20K that day.

Well, low and behold...I was out in the field for work yesterday...a couple of "short" trips, and before lunch had 15K steps!!!  Not only that - I wasn't even tired!

What a difference a year makes!  Those little trips really add up.  Moral of the story...more little trips!

WLS Athlete

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This is a quickie...but still good stuff!

I wanted to report on this past weekend's race - my first 8K!  The day was unseasonably rainy (yes, it's the Pacific Northwest - but it's also JULY!), and I was concerned.  Not to worry - rain makes the sweat less of a problem.  But, note to self, a hat would help the rivers running down my face.

Regardless, there was NO FEAR (remember, I let that go!), and I knew I could finish, in spite of the hill at mile 2.5.  I made it in under my 90 minute goal - with 43 seconds to spare!  WHOOT!  It was a really fun event, and I hope to be able to do the half marathon next year!

My other RED LETTER news for the week!  You'll remember (or not) that I spoke on behalf of obese patients at a brown bag luncheon at work.  Well, a few days after that, I was contacted by the local newspaper (not related to this luncheon) regarding an article they were doing on medical treatment of obese patients.  It was posted online today and will be in print tomorrow.  Enjoy...and comment, if you'd like!

WLS Athlete

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Being last doesn't kill

It happened.  I was last...and lived to tell about it.

I started out the race at the back of the pack ("pack" being relative in a race of less than 50 participants), but not last.  I made it up the big hill/half-way point with two ladies (and the SAG bike) behind me, but somehow they overtook me on the downhill.  I was TRULY fine with being last, and the SAG gal kept checking on me.  When I crossed the finish line, everyone clapped...which I needed...I was WIPED OUT! It was the HARDEST race I've done so far...temperature, terrain, and all.

I struggled most of the time, due to the fact that my RunKeeper pooped out on me about 13 minutes into the race (due to tree cover), and I had NO IDEA what my pace was.  I just kept pushing...knowing they weren't going to close the course without me - the SAG girl was with me.  My mom walked the last four blocks with me, and that was really fun.  Anyway, I crossed the line, and they called out my time.  I still didn't have a clue - because I keep track of my time per/mile, not overall.  I ignored everyone while I whipped out my calculator...and started bawling.  My time was 1:27 per mile faster than last month's race!  NO WONDER I WAS WIPED!  Not only did I finish with a great P.R., but they did awards by age group, sex, and walk vs. run.  I placed third (even though I was last!) in my group!  "Go, Chanda!"

Today, I headed down through the gorgeous Columbia River Gorge, and decided to tackle another previous "I can't."  I hiked clear to the top of the beautiful Multnomah Falls!  42 minutes to walk 1.25 miles at a very steep incline.  The trip was well worth the reward of the beauty at the fall's headwaters.  The trip down took a little longer, as I was concerned about rolling an ankle, twisting a knee, or another injury before my LONG race next weekend (8K).

What a monumental weekend!  I keep adding things to my "I did it" list, and am so proud of what I've done in the six months post-op.

Being last doesn't kill...and I'm LIVING MY FIT DREAMS!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Go Chanda!

One thing about doing these big races is the camaraderie.  The other thing is that there will, more likely than not, be someone behind you.

What happens, then, when it’s NOT a “big” race?  I’m about to find out. 

This weekend, I’m going to participate in the Athena, Oregon Caledonian Days 5K Run/Walk.  As of this morning, there are SEVENTEEN people registered!  I know, I know – there will likely be people registering the morning of the event…but SEVENTEEN?  It will be a little hard to blend in to the back of the pack.

On the upside…there are medals to the top five finishers of each sex in each age category.  My hope…that there are not more than five females age 30-39!  Or, that at least one of them is slower than I am.  Jodi (my partner in crime for this event) is faster than I am…so there goes my chance of WINNING, but at least a medal would be fun, right?

Regardless, it will be fun.  My mom will be there to watch me, likely with a home-made “Go, Chanda!” sign in hand.  For the daughter who never felt she measured up, this will be monumental.  My parents are proud of what I’ve done this year.  (Should it still matter what they think when I’m nearly 40 years old?  Not sure if it SHOULD or not – but it does.)

I’m proud of the work I’ve done.  Big event or small, trophy/medal or not, front of the pack, or dead last…I’m doing more than I’ve done in years.  My body is cooperating, my mind is getting in the program, and I know that I’m LIVING MY FIT DREAMS!

“Go, Chanda!”

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence Day

Yesterday I celebrated INDEPENDENCE!

Independence from 121 lbs. of "I can't do it," fear of trying, bondage of food addiction, and all that goes with that.

I was looking forward to an early-morning bike ride...and it was longer and more challenging than I'd planned.  As I chugged up a long incline (one previously in the "I can't" category - though I'd never actually tried), I kept thinking..."go as slow as you need to - but don't stop."  And, the even more exciting thought, "You get to ride DOWN it on the return trip!"  Not only did I make it...without any terrible leg burn, but when I got to the top, and older gentleman passed (was he there the whole time?), and said, "Good morning!"  Yes, indeed - it was...if he only knew!

Go as slow as you need to - but don't stop.  That's independence!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Still living the dream!

Yesterday, dear pup and I hiked for the first time.  (Six-month old Cocker Spaniel - Minnie Pearl)

I'm fortunate enough to leave in the BEAUTIFUL Northwest, and just minutes away from rivers, trails, and God-blessed beauty galore!  We chose Lucia Falls, a 15-minute winding road away.  I'd been to the park several times and admired the lovely falls, but never really explored the trails.  

There is an "established" hiking trail around the park, but there are also several "rabbit trails" that lead down to the water, over big boulders, or just to secluded, scenic views.  Pearl was a nut - she dragged me up and down places I'd never thought I could manage...but I did.  At one point, I was thankful that she was harnessed - rather than collared - as I had to "jerk" her up off a rock face.  SHE might have made it, but I wouldn't have.

THIS is what it is all about for me.  NEW adventures, NEW ways doing things, an DISCOVERING that I DO have it in me!  (Not to mention that the boulder climbing, and sliding down dirt trails is helping me prepare for Warrior Dash!)

What is YOUR adventure?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Will my mind catch up?

I hear weekly, "You're doing so well," "you're inspiring me," "you're a rock star!"  It really makes me feel good that people are NOTICING my efforts.  (As if I'm not continually bragging about them!)

But, there is a little voice in my head that says, "Yeah, they see the outside, but you haven't changed on the inside."  Sometimes I just feel lazy, knowing that I could work a little harder, be a little more diligent about my food choices, have one less Sugar-Free Hazelnut Soy Latte per week.  (I have downsized from Venti to Grande, and this week to Tall.)

When will my mind catch up and realize that this is my new LIFESTYLE, not just another diet?  There will be social gatherings around food (even in the weight-loss-surgery group events...we didn't get fat NOT knowing how to eat). There will be weeks that I'm struggling with feeling well, and it's OK to pare down the training...even skip a night when I'm exhausted.  An oatmeal cookie taste test is now AN oatmeal cookie, not half the batch (before baking).

I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this...especially those not still honeymooning with their new pouch.

Monday, June 27, 2011


I'm so excited to be sharing this journey...and hope someone is being inspired!

Today, I'll share a few sites that are inspiring ME right now! (Warrior Dash on Facebook)
I'm scheduled for the NOON wave of the Oregon Dash on 9/11, and doing my darnedest to be ready!  Join me - at your own, local one - or meet me here! (Big Dreams on Facebook)
These folks are spreading the love, goals and inspiration, of folks after massive weight weight loss - through "traditional" or surgical methods.  Come support their project! (Obesity Action Coalition on Facebook)
JOIN - to help get Congress to understand the need to treat obesity as any other disease.
These ladies ROCK, and bring the latest and greatest news from the world of the Altered Freaks!

More to come!

Friday, June 24, 2011

More about my journey

I've always been active - in my head - wanting to do big bike rides, swim, run...things I've never been able to do in the body I had since puberty.  I did do a couple of 35-mile bike rides (in Oregon), but when I tried to "train" for bigger events, I'd invariably get hurt, setting me back, regaining the weight and then some.

In spite of this, I still considered myself "active."  (Now I know that was a lie I told myself.)  After I'd hit age 35, my body started talking back to me.  Up to that point, I'd still been able to do most everything I wanted to - spend a day walking and riding at Disneyland, cruising with my husband, etc.  But, after a seat-belt-extender plane ride with a very rude seat mate, a few sore muscles, and yet another failed attempt at Weight Watcher's...November of 2009 came, I hit bottom emotionally about the problem. 

Up to that point, I'd considered weight loss surgery the "easy" way out.  But, the fact is, I wasn't getting OUT any other way.  I was able to get a referral from my primary care doctor to Kaiser's Severe Obesity Program.  Kaiser's program is comprehensive - and definitely not the "easy" way out.  They make you go through many classes, counseling sessions to work through your individual issues, lose weight pre-operatively and show that you have what it is going to take to be successful long-term.  It was EXACTLY what I needed. 

Between November of 2009 and January 2011, I lost 60 lbs., preparing for surgery.  1/14/11, I had RNY surgery, and have FOUND MYSELF since.  I'm down a total of 117 lbs, have done two 5K races (walking at this point - because of knee pain, and advice to wait to run until I'm closer to goal weight).  For the rest of the year, I have 5 more "races" scheduled - (5K, 8K, and 10K), and have signed up to do the Oregon Warrior Dash on 9/11/11.  I've also signed up for the inaugural Portland Rock N Roll 1/2 Marathon on 5/20/11!

I've had a couple of challenges.  I'm an active member of Kaiser's monthly support group, and one of the "moderators" for the online support group.  (I was asked to take over that position because of my "enthusiasm" and "getting it.")  I've really found it challenging to find others who are motivated as I am in the physical fitness area.  I really WANT to do big things - marathons, triathlons, etc., and am realizing that there aren’t a lot of people with my passion.  Of course, I realize that in the "skinny" world, the percentage of people interested in endurance events isn't all that great, either.  I'm still seeking that kind of support - from the BARIATRIC community - and know if I keep digging I'll find it.  (In fact, I got a referral to a group last night - but have to wait for their meeting next month.)

One great thing that I was able to do was too hook up with Lea Crossetti.  She's a nutritionist (and triathlete) in California who formed "Bariathletes," a program specialized in training and nutrition for bariatric patients wanting to do endurance events.  Lea's background with bariatric patients, as well as her own experience as a triathlete, made for the perfect combination of information and expertise for me, where that information is so hard to come by - even in this high-tech world.  I spent the past three months working with her, and though I can't afford to keep up with her services for any longer - I felt she gave me enough information/training to empower me to move forward.  Plus, I know we'll be LIFELONG friends!  (I’d recommend for anyone to connect with her – she’s a rockstar!

Another thing I've been able to do...which culminated speak on behalf of the bariatric community.  Obesity discrimination is a huge issue, and the company I work for is addressed the topic yesterday, in the form of a "brown bag" lunch workshop.  I got to speak (with a medical professional), on what it's like to be a fat person, not valued as much as a normal-weight person, in today's workforce (and world, in general).  In my short five months post-op, I've already seen the change in the way I'm treated...and I still have 50-75 lbs to go!  It was an amazingly supportive session, and I got fantastic feedback…plus we had a great turnout!

I'm still early in my journey - but I have PASSION about making a difference, and showing people that this TOOL can be life-changing, when done right.  It is NOT for everyone.  I have a family member who considered the surgery, and decided it wasn't for him.  (For now, anyway.)  It is a very personal journey, with tough decisions along the way, and lots of work to do before and after.  (Of course, there are always going to be people who just "pay" for it, and don't get the support they need, and become another statistic.)

I hope my story intrigues you, and that you'll be interested in contacting me!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Who am I, and why do you care?

Well, I can't guarantee that you DO care. But, I do know who I am, though that is evolving daily, so stay tuned!

I'm a 38-year-old athlete!  A year ago, I was a 37-year-old morbidly obese individual with BIG DREAMS!  In January 2011, I underwent gastric bypass surgery, and committed to use this GIFT/TOOL to its full potential.

I've created this blog to find like-minded individuals, have a place to share exercise/nutrition ideas/goals, etc...and to share the things that only someone who has been/is morbidly obese can understand.

Let's get movin' together!  You'll hear more from me, more often than you'd like, I'm sure.