Saturday, July 13, 2013

Derailed? NOPE!

So, with much purpose (see previous post) I headed back into the full-swing of marathon training.  Justin is on his way to recovery, and I am (was) on my way to marathon #2. 

About 10 days ago, I had my regularly scheduled sports massage.  I realized at the end of it, as she really worked my ever-tight calves, that my heel (Achilles) was pretty tender.  Sort of the “hurts so good” kind of thing – so I didn’t pay much attention to it.

Over the long holiday weekend, Hubby & I went to Central Washington to enjoy sites we haven’t seen before – Grand Coulee Dam, Wenatchee, Cashmere & Leavenworth.  It was an ACTIVE vacation…getting my daily (hot/higher altitude) runs in, tubing the Icicle & Wenatchee Rivers and Stand-Up Paddleboarding!  I had so much fun – and, in fact, think SUP will be my NEW vice!

Coming back this week, I noticed my Achilles nag me, but chose to ignore it.  That is, until it screamed back at me – after jumping rope at Boot Camp on Wednesday night.  Thursday morning, I couldn’t ignore it any longer.  While not in intense pain, I did notice swelling, and stiffness…like I could walk, but my ankle wouldn’t “go” with me.  After seeking advice from like-minded friends, I determined that getting it checked out right away was the big girl thing to do.

Short story – yes, Achilles is angry…and I’ll be in a walking boot for two weeks.  So, my “Justin Miles” will be shorter than planned as I prepare for September’s race – as I am now planning to do only the half-marathon, knowing that I have a minor training setback.  However, in the meantime, it won’t be all lollygagging, tanning and bonbons!  I will work on my core- and strength-training with as much intensity as I would have running.  And, when I start walking on July 27th and walk/running in August – I’ll remember who I am doing this for. J

I’ve had lots of people harass me in the last 24 hours about “this is what healthy looks like” and “when are you going to learn?”  In fact, a supervisor asked me, "What are we going to do with you?"  But, I’ve also had conversations with folks who realize that injury is part of life – active or inactive.  One of my favorite gals – Meredith of Swim-Bike-Mom (check out HER blog) – just did an IronMan race…after numerous injuries.  My answer to the "What are we going to do with you?" question is simply this - "Just keep supporting me!"  The key is to get THROUGH it.  So, here I go…marching on…Living My Fit Dreams!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Training with Purpose

Three weeks in to training for marathon #2, and I’m not off to a much more graceful start than last time.  Yes, my fitness level is greater, but I seem to have trouble getting training off the ground and into full swing.  You might remember (or not), that my son ended up in the hospital during the first weeks of my last go-round…which put me into a slow start.  This time, it’s not my son –but the son of a friend – who was hospitalized during my first training week.  Now, I’m not using him as my excuse – but it did derail me a bit that week, I was sick last week, and this week I’ve had a neck injury sidelining me.  WHEW…it’s time to get this show on the road.  I haven’t TOTALLY missed my workouts, but my start has been slow.  The Oregon Marathon is THREE MONTHS FROM TODAY!

So, starting today, I’m going to run with an extra purpose…and I’m asking you to support me.  My miles for the next three months will be run in honor of Justin Carey (the young man in the hospital).  You can follow his family’s blog/updates on

As the temperatures rise – right along with my mileage – I’ll keep in mind that I’m doing this not only for myself & my goals, but also in honor of Justin, who – for now – cannot run himself.  This young man was faced with a tremendous decision this past week, and made a decision that will allow him, in the long run, to lead the active lifestyle he dreams of.  Though our journeys are different, there was a time not so long ago that my active lifestyle was just a dream – but today it’s a reality – and I know that will be true for Justin VERY SOON.

If you’re inclined to encourage me, and support Justin’s journey, please consider making a donation – either via the CaringBridge web site, or at any Bank of America – the account name is “Justin Carey Caring Fund.” 

I’ll be out there – Living My Fit Dreams – for both of us!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Struggling - but not without hope

Like any other addiction, my food addiction is something I’m apparently going to battle for life.  Surgery helped start the process, but it’s still a daily battle to keep myself on the path to healthy choices – and living my fit dreams.  I’m going to share with you all – for accountability & encouragement to those struggling in the same arena.  WLS is NOT the “easy” way out.

Somewhere in the early part of 2012, a little more than a year post-gastric bypass, I hit my low “home” weight of 186 lbs.  (As opposed to my low “Kaiser” weight of 196 on 8/30/12.)  While pleased with the progress I have made overall, I still haven’t hit my “goal-goal” of 170 lbs.  I was truly not focused on the number so much, as I am doing all of the “things” I want to do – airplanes, athletic activities, getting back to “life” not focused on food, etc. 

As the end of 2012 approached, I noticed my weight was creeping back up near the 200 mark, but I let it slide, as I was training for a marathon.  To some, it might seem counterintuitive to gain weight while preparing for an endurance event.  But I understand that it’s quite common to tend to eat more…and justify it…because of the long miles being logged, the feeling of “I earned it,” and such.  That coupled with convenience foods & eating out due to time & energy factors.  The problem there can be that in spite of the hellish workouts, without conscious effort to do differently, an athlete can tend to be quite sedentary during the non-workout hours…you’re just plain tired!  With the holiday season, winter months, etc….and I found myself at 205 lbs. on race day.  (2/3/13)

Post-marathon, my weight continued to creep, as I was recovering from my stress fracture, yet still eating like I was training – ending up just shy of 215 lbs.  Though I’ve been back “training” for two months, my weight is now hovering between 205 & 210.  The problem, still, is that when I’m “off,” I’m really OFF. 

Through the past couple of years, I’ve really tried to move from the “diet” mentality (focused on calorie counting and food journaling) to a more “intuitive eating” lifestyle (being in touch with my hunger, cravings, etc.).  That’s a good life skill, but I’m discovering there is still a place for those journal check-ins.  Yesterday was a big reality check.

Because I was journaling, I knew I’d be relatively “good.”  I wrote down my food, how I felt, etc.  At the end of the day, I looked up nutrition information…and freaked out.  More than 2100 calories on a non-exercise, “good” day???  Really?  Yes…really.

But, there is GOOD in this.  First, it became evidently clear that I’ve lost touch with portion sizes and reality.  It’s time to check back in with my measuring cups, nutrition labels, fullness feelings, etc.  As much as I hate journaling, I will do it for at least a month – just to remind myself where I SHOULD be.  And, I will “schedule” more activity than just my actual run sessions.  I know I should be strength & cross-training – I’ve just been too tired.  But, tired has had much to do with eating poorly & NOT exercising enough, I’m sure.

So, back to “square one” – but not quite.  I’m NOT back in the pit…just needing a mental and physical “reset.”  And, I’m so thankful that I have the tools, knowledge, ability & SUPPORT to do it.  Because, in spite of this hiccup, I’m still LIVING MY FIT DREAMS.

On that note, here are my upcoming event plans…just in case anyone is interested J
6/1/13 – Girls on the Run – Starlight Parade 5K
July 4th Weekend – Stand-up Paddle Board lessons & river tubing in Wenatchee, WA
7/13/13 – Oregon Marathon mid-season training run (10K)
7/28/13 – Lacamas Lake Half Marathon
TBD in August – Oregon Marathon mid-season training run (half marathon)
9/21/13 – StepOut Walk to Stop Diabetes (5K walk) – I’m the NW Natural Team Captain!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Healing Thoughts

The events of yesterday keep replaying in my mind.  Not in some nightmare-ish form, fortunately, but tumbling around just the same.  It seems fitting for someone as wordy as I to find solace in writing them down. Please forgive my rambling…if you can’t follow.  This is therapy.

I was elated yesterday morning to be able to “watch” my friend Richard, from my desk at work more than 3,000 miles away, as he achieved his dream of completing the Boston Marathon.  Yes…I was working.  But, every half hour or so, I was able to look online at the “little blue man” on the Athlete Tracker map, and see that he was steadily progressing from Hopkinton, MA, toward his goal in Boston! 

Truthfully, “The Boston Marathon” is something most Americans have heard of, yet maybe have no real idea of what they’re really talking about.  Such was the case for me.  Until I pulled up the Athlete Tracker map, I had no idea that the ground he would cover was the ONLY East Coast ground I had ever set foot on.  (I spent a short amount of time in Framingham, more than 20 years ago.)  Anyway, it was fun to watch him cross the screen for 3 hours and 25 minutes.

Richard, like me, has taken the journey from severe obesity to athlete.  In fact, he is a role model for me…being quite a distance ahead of me in the game.  He has been an encourager, a realist (sharing the good, bad, and sometimes ugly), and a friend, though we have only met once in person.  I was so happy to be a “part” of his day…and I truly prayed for him throughout the day.

I had posted a congratulatory message on Facebook yesterday, and headed to lunch.  Upon my return, I saw a post regarding “bombs” going off at the finish line, and assumed it was some euphemism for the end-of-race feeling/celebration/etc.  Oh, how I wish.

Fortunately, just a couple of lines above that, I read that Richard was fine, and then Facebook lit up like crazy.  How interesting it is, in these times, that we get “news” as soon as it happens.  Sometimes that leads to chaos of misinformation, but other times – like yesterday – it helps to know that our loved ones can make contact immediately.  This was the case.  Not only was Richard fine, but I was able to confirm that some other acquaintances (Running Chicks in PDX, BariAthletes, etc.) had checked in.  

The other thing that impressed me was the solidarity that social media has been able to accomplish.  Stories of people offering rooms, meals, showers, transportation.  Rallying the running community to wear our race shirts today (ANY race shirt – participant, volunteer, or friend), as a sign of shared hope & love.  Offering up of prayers for those injured, affected, or just moved by the tragedy.

And, then a profound thought hit this morning (as I was putting on my Surf City Marathon shirt).  I no longer feel like an “imposter” in the running community.  Oh, I am FAR from any sort of BQ time.  (What is BQ?  Boston Qualifying time – which for a female my age would be a 3:15 marathon…FIVE hours shorter than my Surf City time!)  But, my heart was AT that marathon yesterday.  I felt the elation, the sweat, the tears, the joy, the heartache, and mostly the PRIDE of the global running community.  Because no matter my current level of fitness, I choose to be a part of this tribe of caring, supportive, determined folks who accept you right where you’re at.  And, who will continue to support ME as I live my fit dreams.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

She's an April Fool

It’s a well-established fact by now that I’m a bit on the “foolish” side…and it IS April…so there we have it.  Training for Marathon #2 began yesterday – you can call me the April Fool, but I am completely serious about my commitment.

I’ve struggled the past two months.  Don’t get me wrong – the stress fracture gave me the excuse to sit on my backside for “complete” marathon recovery.  But, I was released to start, gently, two weeks ago, and found no motivation to do so.  I was getting very comfortable with my free-afternoons lifestyle, and yet my mental state was going on a quick spiral downward.  I am so committed not to become one of those “regained it all” statistics, and yet my weight was creeping ever-so-slowly upward.  I need a plan!

A little over a week ago, I got a message from Uberthons – a local race organizer.  They are doing a brand-new, local event – the Oregon Marathon – in a beautiful, scenic rails-to-trails area.  Close to home, fairly affordable, and some place I can easily go scout ahead of time. Dare I even ask my better half?  Duh!  Six months to train – exactly the motivation I need to get moving…and close enough to my last event to remember the things I did right, the things I did wrong – and far enough out to have forgotten the labor pains!

I posted a message on Facebook, and got an old friend to commit to do it with me (it will be her first!), and – low and behold – the mister said it wouldn’t cause a divorce J  I’m in, with the first-day registration discount and all!

I spent last week getting my affairs in order, planning my training, figuring out logistics, being thankful I’ll be training in summer, rather than winter, etc.  And, yesterday I set out on my first post-marathon/pre-marathon run! (I was VERY surprised how strong I still am!)

You’ll remember, I’m not “really” a runner yet.  Oh, if you run, you’re a runner.  But, truly, I’m not “there” in my head yet.  I WANT to run, but mostly walk.  So, I’m starting back at “square one.”

I’m spending the next nine weeks doing the “Couch to 5K” training plan, with the intent that I WILL be able to RUN the whole 5K at the end…and in approximately 30 minutes.  (My current 5K best is more than 40 minutes.) 

The reason for concentrating on this is because my “non-runners marathon plan” encourages you to start at that point – the ability to run for 30 minutes.  That was my BIG downfall last time – I jumped the gun and started before I was ready.  I did the mileage required (for the most part), but I didn’t do the groundwork they suggested before starting, which I believe may have led to my injury.  So, this time I will follow the plan!

I’m also working on strength training in this early phase.  As the mileages get longer later in the season, it becomes difficult to fit it in, along with the hours spent running.  (I do still have a family that needs attention!)  So, I’ll get a good “base” going now.

So, there you have it – I’m officially back in action – and living my fit dreams!  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A LONG marathon story

(The actual "race" stuff is half-way-ish...if you're short attentioned, or just don't care!)

Three days post-marathon, and I don’t really “have time” to blog…and yet, here I am.  Why?  Because I don’t want to lose another little bit of the experience to memory lapse!

Dear friend, Sarah, and I flew to Southern California after work on Tuesday.  Having done the bulk of my training in winter-ish weather, I knew that the climate change was going to be one of my bigger issues…so I needed to acclimate.  (Or so, that’s the excuse I used to justify a week away from my family, soaking up the sun!)  I was not disappointed!  We had WONDERFUL weather!  Having a winter break away from the Northwest is always good for the soul!

Sarah and I enjoyed our first full day away from home at SeaWorld.  I was about 12-years-old the last time I was there, and the wonder and magic hadn’t changed a bit!  (Sarah, however, was a bit disappointed to learn that all whales down there are “Shamu.” J)

Thursday, we headed to the beach.  In all the years we’ve been doing Disney, never have we ventured to the beach!  It was everything I had imagined.  Beautiful weather, miles of sand, people of all ages on beach cruiser bikes with surf boards strapped on.  We parked at the Huntington Beach State Park and walked our way (1.5 miles each way) on the Pacific Coast Highway sidewalk to the famous Pier & walked out to Ruby’s Diner for lunch.  It was beautiful, and the food was good!  On the way we saw pelicans, fishermen, and surfers galore.  Afterward we walked back, this time on the beach multi-purpose trail.  It was so lovely!  We went to Downtown Disney that afternoon, so we didn’t “waste” park days shopping, and then drove to Glendale, California to see my cousin, Samantha for dinner.  It was a relaxing, though packed, day.

On Friday, we headed to Disney!  Sarah had never been there, so we were in for a real treat.  We’d decided just to do a one-day park-hopper ticket, as we didn’t want to have a full-packed time away.  I was most looking forward to the new Cars Land at California Adventure, so we headed there first.  (Cars is one of my all-time favorite movies & Mater is my favorite character.)

We started off on the “other” side of the park, with Soarin’, and proceeded around the Paradise Pier to the roller coaster.  Before we knew it, half the day was gone, and we hadn’t seen even half of what was open.  I told Sarah that I was sorry, but we had to upgrade our pass to two-days (returning Monday, after the race), and she agreed.  We were having so much fun just being leisurely…and we weren’t going to make it to Disneyland that day.

We finally made it to Cars Land, and I honestly cried upon seeing it!  Disney has outdone themselves…it’s just like walking into the movie!  Unfortunately, the “big” ride in Cars Land – Radiator Springs Racers – had terribly long lines, always over an hour, and the FastPasses were gone for the day.  So, we decided to make that our first stop on Monday.  The other rides in Cars Land were cute & fun, and on the way out, we were able to have our photos taken with Lightning McQueen.  That evening, we saw the water spectacle World of Color, which had changed since the first time I’d seen it, and ended our evening watching the Disneyland fireworks from the plaza in between the two parks.  It was a WONDERFUL day.

Saturday was the Surf City Race Expo, and we had decided to “pay it forward” by volunteering.  We were stationed at the Beach Cities Challenge (race series) booth, and got to visit with a lot of folks inquiring how to participate.  (It’s a three-event race series with half-pound medals – MAJOR BLING!)  It wasn’t really all that exciting – but we know that races depend on volunteer staff, so we made our contribution.  (In fact, Sarah was going to volunteer on Sunday, too – but they never contacted her with her assignment.)  I was able to pick up my own race packet, have some fun photos taken, and hook up with a couple of folks I knew who would be racing, too.  Cheryl – a friend from “Running Chicks in PDX” – flew down there to do the half-marathon with a friend of hers.  Lea – my rockstar coach – lives in the LA area, and was also doing the half, with her boyfriend and some other friends.  They both stopped by the Beach Cities booth to say “hello” and connect.  So fun to see folks you know in a crowd of 20,000+!!!  Yes - 20,000!  There were about 3,000 full-marathon participants, and 18,000 half-marathoners!  After our shift & a good dinner, we were headed off for an early bedtime.  I had to catch my shuttle bus at 5:30 AM…and eat before that!

Let me take you on a little side trip here…We had chosen to stay the whole week at one of the race-sponsored hotels, in Santa Ana.  It wasn’t one of the “high-priced” hotels on the Pacific Coast Highway, but it was less than 10 miles away, and a very nice hotel.  Our discounted rate included free parking and a nice breakfast (not just continental) every morning of our stay & a shuttle on race day.  Each morning, as Sarah & I went down, we felt out of place in our “vacation-wear”, as there were many business-folks eating – a very serious, suit & tie crowd.  Saturday morning, that all changed.  We walked into a bustling-with-energy, sneakered crowd – those who were admiring each other’s race t-shirts, etc. It was so much fun.  I was wearing my green “Irish I Was Faster” shirt…which was a hit.  People who saw me at the race expo would say, “That’s the gal from the hotel.”  What fun!

Back to your regularly scheduled report…Race morning, I had coffee & protein in our room, and grabbed some fruit from the breakfast set up for the race participants on the way to the bus.  Sarah was going to join us later – in the rental car – so I sat next to a gentleman in his 60’s who was doing his 64th marathon.  (He is a “50-stater” – he’s done one in every state!  There were lots of those folks on the course.)  He was very encouraging!  (His wife was doing the half, and would ride the later bus.)  Our race start time was 6:30-ish (I was in wave 3 – at 6:34AM), and we got there with about ½ hour to check in our gear bags & hit the bathroom.  It was perfect timing…not enough time to get nervous or cold.

All of a sudden, the National Anthem was being sung, and the first wave (elite – FAST – runners) was off.  They did some fun things with the crowd as they waited two minutes between each race.  Birthday folks, 50-staters, first-timers, costumes, etc.  And, we were OFF!

Lea’s boyfriend, Max, had encouraged me the day before to “run your own race” – don’t get caught up in the crowd, enjoy the moment, etc.  I tried – I really did – but it is hard with all of that energy in the crowd!  At ¼ mile in…there was this man dressed in a jester costume, encouraging the crowd with a sign that read “You are almost there – only 26.2 miles to go” – with the .2 crossed off.  Cute & fun!  I felt really strong & ran most of the first 5K (3 miles).  At mile one, I got hot & shed my long-sleeved shirt…running sleeveless the rest of the day.  (I was a good girl – and did REALLY well with my sunscreen!  NO BURN!)  There was a slight incline as we entered into the Bolsa Chica neighborhood & I was really planning to walk the uphills, but an older gentleman came up beside me & encouraged me to run with him – because there was a photographer! J  So, we ran.  At mile 5, I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to keep that up if I was going to keep on, so I let him take off without me.  It was a nice, shady walk through the Huntington Beach Central Park, though the bathroom situation was FAR between.  (I was fine – but wasn’t sure I was going to be!)  I was pretty tuckered out, coming out of the park, and some stinker put a BIG HILL at mile 8!  I was starting to feel defeated & deflated, but at mile 8.5 we rejoined the course with the half-marathon folks, many of who were just starting.  I kept my eyes peeled for Lea, but didn’t think we’d really connect.

Another side trail…I have, on several occasions, solicited friends for playlist recommendations for my running.  I sometimes end up with music I wouldn’t have normally chosen – but find really works for me.  One of the songs Lea gave me (that always makes me think of her) came on my iPod about mile 10, and I thought, “Wouldn’t that be funny if I saw her now?”

As we rounded the corner out of the neighborhood, and back onto the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), there were FINALLY some porta-potties!  Just as I stepped in, I heard, “CHANDA!” It was Max & Lea passing, and they waved as they went on.  Her song was STILL PLAYING!  (You can’t make this stuff up!)  I was so energized by the timing (the song, Lea, and the bathroom stop!), that I was stoked to run again.

At mile 12.5, both the half & full courses turned and headed back on the PCH.  I was near mile 11 when I heard, “Chanda” again…and this time it was Vancouver Cheryl!  Just minutes later, I heard it again…and this time it was Lea & Max again.  It was so nice – in such a crowd, while running “alone” – to know there were people out there looking for me.  Even the “bus buddy” patted my shoulder as he passed me (earlier on).

I was remembering Max’s admonition…to be in the moment, and enjoy the things along the way.  It was easy to do early-on.  I was admiring the very large homes on PCH, wondering what folks do to afford them.  (Not envying…just wondering.)  Admiring the folks of all ages with their bikes & dogs & surf boards.  The sound of the ocean – being thankful for the breeze & scenery.  But, by the half-way mark, I knew I’d overdone my speed early on.  I was really tanking.   I knew my hydration and nutrition were good, it was just the speed & heat that were getting to me.

As I turned the corner to head back for my second jaunt up PCH (full-marathon only) at mile 16, I realized I was the last marathoner headed that way.  (It was hard to tell before, as there were still lots of half-ers on the road.)  I was really OK with being last, as my pace was still good, for me.  I was seeing other marathoners headed back (a second time), and didn’t feel alone.  I got smiles, words of encouragement, and felt part of the group.  That was until mile 18.  By mile 18, I had no gas left in my tank – just sheer determination to gut it out.  One of the last dozen or so folks turning the corner realized that I was one of them, and handed me a banana.  Now, I normally hate bananas on my run…but at that point, I was willing to try just about anything to give me a boost.  Several people would say “you’re almost there” – but they were lying, and I knew it!  I knew the last turn was a mile 20.5.  As I neared the 19 mile mark, people kept saying, “Look for the guy with the handlebar mustache.  He’s the support guy, and he’ll get you there.  He’s a hoot.”

Well, let me tell you…Mr. Handlebar was there.  He was the support crew.  And, maybe early on he was a hoot.  But, he was clearly not interested in waiting for me.  He said, “Oh, I thought the lady ahead of you was the last one.  I’ll have to call in.”  (She was quite a ways ahead of me.)  He asked me if I planned to finish the race!  I said, “Yes.  In fact, I already bought a “finisher jacket” so I have to!”  He laughed, but I really don’t think he believed me.  He went away and called in (while I proceed to the turnaround), and came back.  (It was 1:15 PM.)  He informed me that the race was officially over at 1:30 (I already knew that), and they would be calling him in soon…and did I really think I could do this without support? 

OH MISTER!  You are messing with the wrong pig-headed woman!  I explained that I had plenty of hydration on me, plenty of fuel, and it was a public path so even without the official “race” being on, I was going to finish.  He bid me adieu, and was gone.  THANK HEAVEN, or I might have handle-barred him right off his fancy little recumbent bike!  Don’t get me wrong.  I know he was a volunteer, and had only signed up for his allotted time.  I don’t begrudge him not “supporting” me…but he was just plain rude in his delivery.  There were PLENTY of live bodies on that public path, should I have had a medical crisis, or whatever.  (Off my soapbox.)

Anyway, I proceeded on.  I realized that there would be no “official” support, and after a good cry, I supported myself. I stopped when I needed a bathroom break, (REAL bathrooms on that path!), enjoyed the scenery when I passed little inlets.  Enjoyed the few volunteers who were still cleaning up the aid stations (mostly high school kids who always clapped and offered me whatever kind of aid stuff they still had left).  Non-race folks would see my bib, realize I was still “in it” and encourage me.  Another “official” race person found me somewhere in there, and made sure I was OK.  He was nice…and wanted me to know that, though the race was officially over, I needed to make sure to get to the check-in at the end, so they knew I was OK.  (And asked if I was OK!)  I’m thinking that was around mile 22.  I was exhausted, but truly wasn’t HURTING at that point.  However, my brain clearly was staring to melt.

At mile 23, I encountered my last official race person.  They were watching another guy who looked really bad off.  I, for some reason, failed to realize until later that he was part of the race.  He was clearly in pain, but moving forward.  (I realize this in hindsight.)  The race lady offered me some energy gel (no more, thank you!) and pretzels (yes, salt, please!), and encouragement…and I kept on – eventually passing the guy they were watching.  And, then “something” happened. 

I didn’t twist my ankle or fall off a curb or anything, but my left foot was in excruciating pain.  I realized I was just done in.  I took another bathroom break (icky bathroom!), and proceeded to start bawling uncontrollably once walking again.  I had myself a right-fine breakdown (all alone), and even tried walking barefoot for a short while…just to see if my shoes were the issue.  (They weren’t.)  I sat down on some steps (mile 24?) and tried to figure out what to do.  I thought of all the hours I have spent away from my family these past two years, and particularly the past four months.  I thought of the time I was spending away from them for this trip…and the money we could have used elsewhere.  I thought of the “finisher jacket” I had already bought – spending more on it than I should have.  And, I called Eric. 

He said, “You are strong.  You are capable.  I have been praying for you all day.  And you CAN do this.”  I put my shoes back on, and started hobbling toward “home.”  I called Lea and told her I hadn’t died, that I was in a lot of pain…but I would make it.  And, the tears dried up.

Mile 25…the beautiful pier was in sight.  And, all of a sudden, the jester was in sight, walking toward me!  He came to me and started walking with me.  His name is Ed, and it’s his mission to walk in the last racer at every event he participates in!  He was so encouraging to me!  Half a mile later, “my Lea” was there!  She walked with us!  At mile 26, Ed turned around his sign again…this time the “26” was crossed off and only the “.2” was left!  I could see what was left of the finish line…and my friends – Sarah & Cheryl!  (I had no idea Cheryl was tracking me & came back to welcome me home.)  My foot hurt like crazy – but I RAN across the finish line.  Sarah had my finisher’s medal – even though most of the staff was gone.  (There, surprisingly, was a timing gal there!)  And, surprisingly, I didn’t cry! J

We discussed the man I had passed – wondering if he was OK – and they told me he had dropped out.  I was OK with being last…I was glad to be done!  We gathered my belongings, hugged around, and went back to home-base.  On the way, I called those folks who had been tracking me, texting me, leaving me messages.  What a fan club!

(Oh…let’s talk about tracking, since I’ve mentioned it a few times.  The race had this great timing-company who tracked us on GPS (via Google Maps) – where people could “see” where I was online.  How fun is that?  My parents and several friends really thought it was fun.)

Sarah, being a nurse, knew just how to handle me! While I showered, she got my heating pad hot, my pillows stacked up, ice packs made and drugs & food next to the bed.  After seeing the swelling in my foot, she headed to CVS for an ace wrap & got me all bandaged up.  After all, we had to go see Mickey Mouse the next day!

It was a rough night…my foot hurt, my knees & hips were sore – but I was raring to go on Monday morning, and surprisingly was mobile, except for the foot.  (I am so amazed at how fast my body recovers these days…from “normal” aches & pains.  Again, the foot being the exception.)  Sarah & I decided, seeing the size & color of my foot, that I would use the electric wheelchair at Disney that day…a decision which saved me MUCH pain.  (Contrary to popular belief, it does NOT get you to the front of all the lines, as most are accessible these days.  It does offer shorter STANDING times, though.)

One thing which was new to ME this time was the “birthday” pin.  Sarah had insisted I get one, this being my 40th birthday trip, and all.  What fun it was to have many cast members tell me “Happy Birthday” as they noticed.  J 

Having missed Radiator Springs Racers on our Friday visit – priority #1 was to get a FastPass first thing.  Though we arrived only 45 minutes after park opening, they were handing out the LAST fast passes of the day!  We were SO FORTUNATE to get passes for late evening.  We could spend the day at Disneyland, and the evening at California Adventure.

We enjoyed the “old” rides at Disneyland as much as the “big” stuff elsewhere.  It was fun sharing this stuff with Sarah.  Though the park hours were short that day (it’s off-season), we had plenty of time to enjoy everything we wanted to.  Peter Pan, Space Mountain, Dumbo, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

We ventured back over to California Adventure to take in Cars Land in the twilight – and it was lit up like the old Route 66 – BEAUTIFUL!  The ride was EVERYTHING I hoped it would be…so worth the wait, and such a wonderful thing to do “last” on our trip.  And, guess what?  MATER was greeting folks on our way out.  He even “sang” Happy Birthday to me.  (Yes, Mater the tow-truck – it’s Disney Magic, after all!)  I truly didn’t think it could end more marvelous than that…but there was more!

On our way out of the park, I decided to try the new “Disney/Starbucks” coffee shop.  I doubted that anyone could make coffee the way our local Starbucks does…my sugar-free hazelnut soy latte.  I truly thought it would be just “drip” coffee.  But, NO…Disney does REAL Starbucks!  We grabbed our coffee, and headed back to Disneyland to end our trip with the parade.  We got seating at the end of the parade route, in the wheelchair section…and we were alone…just Sarah and I…in our spot.  As the cast made their way “out” of the parade…most of them looked our way and “mouthed” Happy Birthday to me!  Even the characters bowed & blew kisses.  It was a DREAM!  I felt like a forty-year-old princess!  (Oh wait, I am!)  On the way out of the park, we stopped at Downtown Disney Tortilla Joe’s for dinner…and I was presented with a birthday dessert & song there, too.  What an amazing ending.

So, yesterday we flew home.  I hobbled through the airport…knowing full-well I was not OK.  Eric picked us up at PDX, and took me straight to urgent care.  I explained what had transpired (even the Disneyland part), and the doctor was so fun – he agreed that he’d have handled it the same way…if the damage was done, it was done…why ruin my last day down there?  We had x-rays & nothing “big” showed…so diagnosis is “stress fracture that doesn’t show yet, or strained ligament.”  Treatment the same – walking cast for six weeks.  All in all…no big deal, just a BIG STORY!

And, get this.  I checked my time this morning (8:14)…and low and behold…the “dropped out” guy didn’t!  He came in an HOUR after me (9:10)!  He was as determined as me!  But, now I don’t get the last-place mantle…just the last female one J

Was it worth it?  Without any reservation – YES!  Will I be doing another marathon?  I’m really not sure.  How will this story end?  Dramatically, I’m sure….because I’m LIVING MY FIT DREAMS!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

An unexpected pick-me-up

So, I got my two-year follow-up call from the Kaiser social worker yesterday.  One thing she did was read to me my "goals" from my pre-op social work visit.  I had NO IDEA she had those on hand, though she said it was discussed that she would be doing that. was AMAZING, and exactly what I needed mentally yesterday - TOTAL "TEAR FEST".  I asked her to email them to me.  This is SO COOL...and I wanted to share.  
Subject Relapse Prevention - What Works

What works for me…
~Remembering that the gym is a good stress-relief tool, and can take the place of the desire to eat my troubles away. (Who wants to exercise for an hour to burn the few calories a candy bar costs?)
~It’s OK to hate the pool, and if I keep the weight off, my knees don’t hurt so badly and I can do other exercises. It’s also fine to look how I look, go as slow as I need to, and not want to talk to anyone else. This is MY time, and I need to do it MY way.
~Journaling BEFORE I eat is like spending money on paper (a budget) before spending my paycheck. There are many aspects of eating and spending that are similar – and the struggles are similar.
~Asking for advice from a counselor isn’t a crutch, or a sign of weakness. Counselors are good life-coaches – sometimes I just need to hear someone else’s take, or sometimes I just need to verbalize what I’m thinking. And, crying about it is OK!
Subject Where do I want to be? 1 of 2

~First, I realize that a numerical goal could be disappointing. I have a prime example in my mother-in-law. She’s now at the weight she was when she had my husband – but is completely unhappy with the way she looks. What she doesn’t realize is that it’s been 40 years…and she isn’t nearly as toned, fit, etc., as she was as a 26-year-old. I think, in seeing that, it’s been good for me to realize that I won’t necessarily look like another person who is in the 175 range. I might look good at 195 – if I’m fit, or look terrible at 150 if I just lose, and don’t exercise. Ideally, though – with proper diet AND exercise – I’d like to make it under the 200 mark.
Subject: Where do I want to be - 2 of 2

~I want to be able to walk – really walk – without fighting plantar fasciitis. I’m in a good place right now – I’ve figured out how to exercise w/o pain. But, I miss taking walks at the beach, walking all day at Disneyland w/o pain, etc.
~I want to fit on rides – planes, roller coasters, etc. My husband and I LOVE amusement parks – but don’t fit anywhere but Disneyland (and not on a couple of rides there). I want to enjoy these activities with my grandchildren.
~I want to SHOP at Wal-mart. OK, not really…but I want the ABILITY to shop at a “normal” store – especially a thrift store, or a garage sale!
~I want to LIVE to see my child married, my grandchildren grow up, enjoy the retirement I’m working so hard to earn, etc. And, not just be alive for them – but to be LIVING those experiences.
~I know I can do anything I set my mind to – in my head. I want to be able to do it in my body, too. This TOOL will help me accomplish those dreams. I am NOT defined by my weight – just hindered by it.
OK...NOW this is
I still hate the pool, but not because of how I look!  LOL
Journaling and budgeting are still a pain...but both really good tools.
Crying is still my biggest release.
I love my mother-in-law...but it was & is still a good example.
I am UNDER 200 forever!
NO Plantar Fascitis...and I can not only walk, but RUN!
I fit on planes and rides, and can shop anywhere!
I've hit ALL of my goals...except for the "kid married" and "grandkid" ones - which I am NOT ready for - LOL!
And, she asked me to come speak at one of the groups in March!  That will be so fun! :)  She wants me to talk about my life-change - including my marathon! :) 
And, you know that in the mean time...I'll be living my fit dreams!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Two Years, Tons of Tears

Two years ago today was one of those monumental, life-changing events.  I can honestly say it wasn’t “the” event that most changed my life – but it was among the top 10.  On January 14, 2011, I had RnY Gastric Bypass surgery.  In the two years that have followed, I have earned the title of WLS Athlete.  Not because I’m three weeks away (!) from my first marathon.  But, because I chose – one step at a time – not to take the “easy” way out (which is a lie, anyway).  I used the surgery as the “tool” it was intended to be and it launched me into this lifestyle I’d only dreamed of. 

Enough about that!  Let’s talk about the biggie – TWENTY DAYS until Surf City Marathon!

My last month of “Sunday long runs” has been very challenging – mentally and physically. 
~ Mental Low…I had a 16 mile planned day with icky weather that turned in to 17.75 miles due to a wrong turn. (At least I got the miles in.)
~Physical low…An icy morning in which I planned to do 18 miles on the treadmill (so I wouldn’t slip on the ice) and instead FELL OFF THE TREADMILL and got hurt at mile 9.  (Yes, that’s a special kind of stupid!) 
~Mental high, physical low…Last week was the highlight of the last month with a personal record time on my 10K race…followed by not completing the “walk home” mileage due to GI distress.  (Called hubby to come pick me up.)

So, yesterday was going to be great!  My last “LONG” run before the marathon - 20 miles.  I woke up to sunny, dry – but COLD (28 degree!) weather.  I’m fine with that, though – as I would prefer cold to rain and wind any day.  Since I wasn’t having an afternoon massage, I was on an easier morning schedule.  I took my time to have a good breakfast, make sure I wasn’t going to have any GI issues, let the sun come up fully, and make sure I had everything I needed for the trek.  I know that my dear friend Katie’s house is exactly 10 miles away, so I had planned to make her house my warm-up, clean-bathroom stop!  I’ve also been having “phone won’t stay charged” issues, so I was walking without tunes…which is good to do once in a while.  It was just me, my thoughts, and the bitter cold – but I was headed out (after a quick text to Coach Lea).

The first mile was the hardest (as always), but getting to Katie’s house, though much slower than planned, went well.  I had lots of time for talking to myself (IN my head, I think), and thinking about the “what next” phase of my life.  (Another topic, another day.)  When I arrived at Katie’s house, the kids & dogs were happy to greet me, though poor Katie was sick as can be.  Her dear husband made me a hot waffle, and offered tea and/or soup!  He’s a good guy.  I stayed just long enough for the dogs & kids to maul me – and decided I’d better keep moving.

The return trip was a different story.  My sweat had had time to cool…and the first two miles back out (mile 11 & 12) were EXTREMELY cold.  I could keep warm if I ran, but I was getting pooped…and couldn’t keep the pace.  So, I’d run 100 right-foot-strikes, walk 30, run 200, walk 50 – whatever I could do.  It helped, but I was getting physically exhausted.  At mile 14, I got back to my “good, clean bathroom” Shell station, bought another bottle of water & headed back out.  I kept my run/walk going for another 2 miles, and hit a wall physically.  My knees hurt if I ran, my hips hurt if I walked, and I was out of steam.  There were about 5 times per minute when I thought of calling home. 

By mile 17 I was in full-fledged pity-party mode – tears freezing to my face.  I knew that if I called home, hubby would come get me, never mention anything about it, stop at Starbucks on the way home, and that would be that.  But, I also realized that in the past four Sundays, I’ve only hit my planned mileage on one day (the day I took the wrong turn).  I KNOW I can do the miles, but when am I going to have the opportunity to push through the mental piece to finish?  Not on marathon day- but TODAY! 

Besides, my New Year’s Resolution was to pay myself a dollar for every mile I complete in 2013, and my cousin, Karina, is matching me…so was I REALLY going to give up SIX DOLLARS?!?!?  J

So, tears dried up (or chiseled off), I pressed on.  I told myself that Starbucks (and a clean bathroom!) were only 2 miles away, and after that it was only 1 mile home.  I could go get a warm cup of coffee to celebrate my last mile!  Low & behold, my pace picked up (still walking), and when I got to Starbucks I just wanted to be HOME, so I skipped the stop altogether and just finished! 

So, here I am…on the other side of 20 miles, two years out from surgery, and 20 days from the biggest athletic event of my life.  And guess what, I’m still Living My Fit Dreams (tears and all!).