Love Your Body Challenge Day 2: Capable

Where do these stories we tell ourselves come from? As I try to make sense of how I came to feel such disdain for my body I am reminded of how I was acutely aware from an early age that my body was different than other girls. I also decided that I wasn’t capable of being athletic presumably because of my bigger body.

I remember vividly standing in line in my elementary school gym waiting to hang from the pull up bar. It was part of the Presidential Physical Education Challenge. I was so nervous. Finally it was my turn. I grabbed the bar, held on for dear life and lasted probably less than 20 seconds. That part is a little hazy, but I remember even back in grade school accepting the fact that I simply was not athletic.

My Junior High school housed the swimming pool so we were expected to take swimming as part of gym class in 8th and 9th grade, quite possibly the pinnacle of awkward body image issues for prepubescent and pubescent teen aged girls. I feigned pink eye (spray Aqua Net near your eye or rub something near your eye), headaches and menstrual cramps to get out of the dreaded swim class. And when I didn’t have a physical ailment I could complain to the school nurse about I simply “forgot” my bathing suit. I mean really, are you freaking kidding me? You want an already self-conscious overweight teen to strip down in an open locker room amongst her female classmates, get into a bathing suit and then jump into a pool full of boys. Um no!

The only penalty for not attending swim class was to stay after school one day a week and make it up. The make up class was simply swimming laps. I was a strong swimmer and that was a piece of cake, plus I was usually one of the only people there while the swim team practiced in the other half of the pool. The best part was the gym teacher didn’t care if I wore a shirt over my bathing suit after school, but during school we could not. So I would swim my laps effortlessly and still received credit for gym class. On two occasions I was approached by the swim coach to try out for the team. I never did and I kick myself now thinking back. Not only would I have made friends, I probably would have lost some weight naturally from the increase in exercise. I also may have realized my athletic abilities a lot earlier.

I was a dancer and took dancing lessons well into my teen years. However, I didn’t equate dancing with being athletic. I loved dancing, but shied away from ballet which I considered to be for petite slender girls not big clunky girls as I thought of myself. I took jazz and tap instead. I loved dancing, but never felt graceful and elegant as I dreamed I should.

And the list goes on. In my head I’ve always been the “big” girl and therefore I was not meant to be athletic. By college the only physical activity I did was to walk to and from class. During serious attempts at weight loss walking was my go to exercise and I could walk for very long periods of time at a good clip. It was just walking, though, I told myself.

Ironically each year on the third Monday in April I would tune into coverage of the Boston Marathon, reduced to tears as the winners and those to follow crossed the finish line. Never once during those broadcasts did I consider running myself.

As part of the Love Your Body challenge today’s mantra is: ”I am capable of _________, and that’s awesome. In fact, I am capable of anything I set my mind to, that I am willing to work for. “

My mantra would be: I am capable of being an athlete, and that’s awesome…

Today’s action step is a choice between:

1. Engage in the activity that you talked about in your mantra if possible, and if it makes you smile. Remember to repeat the mantra while you are doing it.

2. Think about something that you’ve been wanting to do/learn/practice/master for a long time, and set yourself a reasonable time limit to achieve it. Reasonable is the key word here. Keep repeating the mantra to remind yourself that you can do anything that you set your mind to as long as you’ll work for it.

I’ve done both. This morning I attended my usual Vinyasa yoga class, but there was a substitute instructor who had a totally different style than my instructor. I was challenged from beginning to end. Of course I also went for a run today, but not just any old training run. I’m running with a friend as she prepares for her first 5K. She is doing an incredible job training. She is super motivated. She is losing weight naturally and healthily. She is also loving running and pushing herself to go a little further each time. We ran almost 4 miles this morning on a rather hilly route. She didn’t back down once. I’m so excited for her and thrilled to be a part of her training. We will run a 5K at the end of April and she is already talking about doing my favorite 10K this summer.

As for the second option above I have hinted around the blog that I’ve been thinking a lot about running an ultra marathon. I did the Fat Ass 50K back in December and although that is technically an ultra it was a torturous 10 redundant loops through and around a paved park. I would really like to experience a 50 mile ultra marathon on trail. I’ve come along way from the “big” girl who wasn’t meant to be athletic. I’m truly in awe of what my body has accomplished in the last 5 years. It’s time to see what else it’s capable of accomplishing. So on my 13th wedding anniversary I will be running the Vermont 50! In preparation for the 50 mile race I will be running the Vermont City Marathon on May 25th, ironically, the same day registration opens for the Vermont 50. Training started about a month ago. I’m happily settling into a routine with a very new style of training plan. I have a few other races planned and a goal or two I hope to accomplish along the way.

I’m not sure how my story started, but I’m so glad that I decided to change how it ends.

Monson Half Marathon Recap Finally

In the fall of 2011 I fell down the stairs in my house and broke a rib. I just re-read the post I wrote about it and I said that the doctor gave me order not to run for one week. I’m pretty sure I was delusional when I wrote that because I am certain he said 6-8 weeks. I was in the midst of training for my first marathon at the time so I’m sure there was no way I wanted to believe that I couldn’t run for that long. As it turned out, thanks to lots of rest, a mix of homeopathic remedies and Ibuprofen I was comfortably back in action after about 3 weeks. One of my first double digit runs after the injury was the Monson Memorial Classic half marathon. The idea was to enjoy a change of scenery and have fun with the long run. I was not looking for a PR or any special time. To date it remains my slowest half marathon. I finished in 2:22:57 (10:55 pace).

This fall in my attempt to complete at least one race a month I needed to find a race for November. The Monson Memorial Classic was once again a last minute decision. It was held on November 10, 2013 and again fell on a day that I worked the night before. I coordinated with my friend who lives on the race route and since she was going to be home Carlos could hang out at her house and play with her son who is the same age.

Quick side story… My friend who lives in Monson is my best friend from childhood. We grew up across the street from each other. She is a couple of years older than me, but we have maintained a close friendship since we were kids. We used to talk about moving to California, going to college there and then we planned to have children around the same time so they could be friends too! However, she got married when she was 25 and had three boys before I even got married so we never imagined we would have children the same age. I love her kids. They are awesome boys and I  have always thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them. I called Missy the day after I discovered I was pregnant to tell her. Of course she was thrilled for me. She called me the next day to let me know she was also pregnant, but didn’t want to tell me the day before because she didn’t want to steal my thunder. I was so excited to know we were going to have children at the same time. Sadly she miscarried a month later. Fate works in mysterious ways though and she became pregnant again months later. Her 4th boy arrived 3 and a half months after Carlos was born. When those boys get together they are best buds and have so much fun together just as their moms did.

Monson Memorial Classic, pre-race photo with my Bug

Monson Memorial Classic, pre-race photo with my Bug

OK back to the race. So with little fanfare my friend dropped me off at the starting area of the race so I could register at the last minute. I hung out by myself feeling a little self-conscious and rather indifferent about running a half marathon. At that point I was tentatively training for the 50K race I did in December. I had actually run 5 miles right after work that same morning. I remember feeling great during that run. I just looked back at Map My Run for the workout and I ran 5.05 miles in 47:28 which is a great pace for me. So the half marathon was really meant to make up the rest of an 18 mile run I had on my training plan.

The weather was cool and a bit overcast, but perfect for running. The race started with little fanfare and we were off. This race is notorious for its hills. You climb slowly here and there for much of the first 8 miles. It’s a challenging course with few spectators and not a great deal of scenery to enjoy. I fell into a comfortable pace, my breathing was calm and I actually felt great once I got going. Then it began to rain rather unexpectedly. It wasn’t heavy rain and it did little to disturb my groove.

I’m not sure I can explain what happened during this race, but I was on fire. My legs felt amazing. My pace was steady. I powered up every single hill without backing down. I had absolutely no idea what my time was at all throughout the race. The last couple of miles were brutal as the rain picked up and the temperature grew colder. Although there is a nice downhill stretch towards the end there is also another big hill to contend with.

As I was entering the home stretch in the last mile a woman passed me pushing a wheelchair. I read her shirt and knew immediately she was a member of Team Hoyt. Team Hoyt is the organization inspired by the father and son team of Dick and Rick Hoyt. Dick Hoyt has pushed his son Rick, who is in a wheelchair, in over 1000 races including the Boston Marathon multiple times. This woman was pushing a little girl who was older and larger than Carlos. My eyes welled up with tears and I felt a surge of energy as I saw the finish line ahead. I had no desire to “beat” this woman, but suddenly I needed to finish my race strong. If she could run 13 miles pushing this beautiful child then surely I could keep up my momentum all the way to the finish.

I didn’t even see the time as I crossed. I kept my eye on the woman and the little girl. As I cleared the finish chute I went to her and with tears in my eyes I congratulated her and the girl. It was her daughter she said as her eyes also filled with tears. We spoke briefly and she told me that she runs with Team Hoyt to raise money and awareness for others with disabilities. She was around my age and told me that only a couple of years prior she was overweight and inactive. I was in awe of how fit she was now. She had to turn her attention to someone greeting her, but her husband immediately introduced himself. He was beaming with pride and said that both he and his wife had undergone a huge transformation over the past year. I am constantly inspired when I run races, but this was an exceptionally moving encounter.

It was hours before I would learn my time. Honestly it wasn’t a focal point of this race as it had been with other races last year. For me it was just my “November” race. Well it also turned out to be my 2013 half marathon PR. Prior to this race my official half marathon PR of 2:03:52 was achieved at the Plattsburgh Half Marathon in April (I just re-read my race recap of that race and I now have tears running down my face #iamagoof!). My new half marathon PR set at the 2013 Monson Memorial Classic Half Marathon is 2:02:22!!

Funny story about the race results. When I finally got the email announcing they were online I checked them out right away. I was nowhere to be found. However, I knew the woman’s name from Team Hoyt and there was a mysterious “Unknown” a few people below her time with a time of 2:02:22 which I suspected might be me. The age was correct, but the Unknown was a male. I sent an email through the race website and politely explained that I thought it might me my time. Although I felt kind of silly, I asked if there was any way to determine whose time it was because if it was my time it was a hard earned PR for me. I also asked if it was my time could they please change the sex to female. I know it’s silly, but for some reason I get a charge out of pulling up the growing list of my race results on Athlinks and I wanted this race to get listed there as well. I was contacted by a very understanding race director confirming that it was indeed my time.

What a year in running for me!! Truly incredible! If you had told me a few years ago that this running thing would become such a huge part of my life I would have rolled my eyes and snidely told you “I don’t think so.” Running isn’t everyone’s thing and that’s really ok, but get out there and move even if it’s only a little bit. The more you move, I guarantee you, the more amazing you will feel.

Fast Times 2013

Happy New Year! Where does the time go? I had high hopes and obviously grandiose expectations for an end of the year wrap up post, a year of races post, recaps of two late fall races and another Skin Deep post. The posts are all written…in my head. If only there was a way to synch my mind with my computer I would be a prolific blogger.

I love this blogging thing and wish I could devote more time to honing my writing and photography skills. I love the therapeutic aspect of writing my thoughts and feelings. It’s been beneficial simply to get it out, but even more helpful to hear feedback from others who graciously take the time to comment here.

I have felt very welcomed by the community of bloggers I have joined. I am reading even if you don’t see a comment from me. Technical issues took up a great deal of time in the last few months. For some reason my phone does not allow me to comment on certain blogs. I enjoy tech troubleshooting so it annoys me that I can’t figure out the problem. My 2008 MacBook has given me a run for my money this year. After countless trips to the Genius Bar at my local Apple Store I installed new RAM and a new hard drive on my own. Prior to these interventions the computer ran so slowly it was impossible to do anything without being locked out by the swirling ball of frustration. It’s a running much better now thankfully so maybe I can get blog posts done more frequently.

From November through the New Year life rolled along at breakneck speed. Here are some highlights:

  • I am now the proud wearer of Invisalign braces! Long story short although I had braces at the very early age of 10 my bottom teeth have turned inward and I need to straighten them so I can finish an unresolved issue on my top teeth. I don’t believe they are invisible and though I am grateful to have the good fortune to fix this issue they are an uncomfortable nuisance.
  • I ran the Monson Memorial Classic Half Marathon (cute pics of Carlos if you click the link!) again in November. I ran it for the first time in 2011 less than two months after breaking a rib during my training for the Disney Marathon. It was my slowest half marathon time. This time I ran an unbelievable race and enjoyed a truly unexpected PR. I will eventually write about it because it’s a race I would like to remember.
  • My husband, son and I ran the Northampton Hot Chocolate 5K in early December. I first ran this race in 2010. This time Orlando and Carlos ran together with my friend Mary’s daughter. Carlos did amazing. He ran the entire race and finished in just over 32 minutes. I stayed back with Mary who hasn’t run in years and suffers from tremendous knee pain at times. This was an interesting experience for me and one I would really like to elaborate on in a future post.
  • I helped run the Secret Santa Gift Shop at my son’s school which is a three day event where the kids get to shop for their families.
  • I adopted a whole foods plant based diet aka vegan after being vegetarian for three years.
  • Carlos and I enjoyed an impromptu two days in New York City with my sister. We went to the top of the Empire State Building, walked a bit of Central Park, saw Rockefeller Center, went to the Lego Store, the Apple Store and F.A.O. Schwartz.
  • Thanks to my sister I had the good fortune of dining at the organic vegan Candle Cafe in NYC. It was incredibly delicious.
  • My baby boy turned 7. I really wish time would slow down. Legos are all the rage in his life right now. Our guest room has been turned into Lego City.

    Legos have taken over my home!

    A new Lego truck

  • Christmas came and went with little fanfare. Orlando and I got iPads for each other. I got the mini and he got the new iPad Air.
  • I worked a lot of overtime in December. My husband got laid off on December 16th which always causes a bit of distress initially. Fortunately he started back at work the week after Christmas. This has been a very unpredictable year for him. I have been lucky to pick up overtime often, but more work means less blogging, reading and other nonessential “fun” activities.
  • Carlos got old school Battleship for Christmas and we have been having so much fun playing it together, such a great game!
  • We spent New Year’s Eve at my friend’s home in upstate New York. It was a fitting way to close the year. She is one of my dearest friends and I have been honored to be welcomed into her trusted circle of friends this year as she bravely battled breast cancer. This, in and of itself is challenging, but she did it while pregnant with her second child. She is a warrior! My friend and her husband now have a gorgeous baby girl who is healthy and so very happy. I couldn’t wait to hold her. She just sat there blissfully in my arms. As I watched my friend and her beautiful family my heart filled with so many emotions just thinking of all she has been through this year. It was an important reminder for me to not take the goodness of life for granted.

I learned a lot about myself this year. I ran a lot this year.  I shattered my fitness goals. I have taken up yoga pretty seriously and hope to continue to improve and grow in my practice.

Despite all of these milestones I have found myself in the throes of emotional eating on and off since October. Just as things improved the holidays triggered the behavior once again. I realize that my journey with weight, food issues and body image distortion are far from over. I have more tools now to cope with emotional eating so that I don’t incur a weight gain, but the fact that I’m still struggling with certain behaviors is frustrating and a bit frightening.

It’s a new year and as with the past 7 new years I intend to continue to grow, change and improve myself and my life. Having Carlos 7 years ago sparked a fire inside of me that has encouraged me to be the best person I can be. I can always be better. Improvement requires change. Change is difficult. It means facing fears, looking inside of yourself and digging up hidden truths, trying new things and most importantly it means failing.

“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” C.S. Lewis

Free Flow Friday

Another edition of my random thoughts posted via the talk to text feature on my phone.

I really love the new iTunes Radio. I’m currently listening to an Avicii station at the gym.

Today’s workout is Jamie Eason’s Live Trainer phase 1 week 4 chest/triceps. I tend to go out of order on the days. So far I really like this program because it gives me some structure and guidance in the gym. Plus all of the exercises have accompanying video demonstrations.

Oh my goodness why am I so emotional. Seriously I have no self-esteem or confidence lately.

Halloween trick or treating was a success despite the rain. Now I have to figure out how to slowly get rid of the massive quantity of candy without Carlos noticing.

Mission accomplished

Mission accomplished

We just got new neighbors yesterday. Hopefully they are friendlier than the last neighbors.

I really enjoy podcasts. My favorites are Roni’s Weigh, The Rich Roll Podcast, Half Size Me and No Meat Athlete.

White socks and little boys make no sense.

I just paid $3.19 per gallon of gas at Stop & Shop. It’s sad that i’m excited by this.

I’m washing my bed linens today. It takes 3 loads to do them all.

Taking Carlos and his friend to Kick or Treat event through Carlos’ soccer program. More candy coming their way!

The boys are having such interesting conversation about butts, poop, diarrhea and farts. They are talking about it while eating!

Carlos lost a shin pad during soccer and actually tried to blame it on me.

House Hunters in Athens, Greece – the couple is most concerned about getting a piano in the apartment. Also the guy looks very much like Howard Stern.

We ordered pizza tonight after soccer. I didn’t eat any because I don’t eat dairy anymore. It was my favorite pizza with fresh roasted tomatoes, feta and artichoke hearts. I made a kale salad for myself. Sometimes it’s really difficult to eat differently, but I feel so much better eating a certain diet.

Since I’m not eating dairy that means no milk chocolate which makes eating most of Carlos’ Halloween candy off limits. I have not touched one piece of candy this year. I feel great and very in control right now.

Election Day on Tuesday…go vote!

Watching the local news and turns out that guy Penn from Penn and Teller is from Greenfield, MA about 45 minutes north of where I love. Who knew?

I went to vinyasa yoga class twice this week. I love it but it’s really challenging. I want to be good at yoga someday.

It’s a late night and already 11:30. Time for bed. Long run in the morning, soccer, more soccer, afternoon Fright Fest at Six Flags and date night with my husband on the agenda tomorrow.

October Redo

I am stunned that this month is one day away from being over. Where did it go? More importantly how did it pass by without apple picking, pumpkin carving, pumpkin seed roasting or hot apple cider drinking?

Here’s a very brief glimpse into the month. It was a whirlwind of many fun outdoor activities. Probably the only thing not featured in the photo gallery are photos of soccer and the soccer field is definitely the place we spent the most time!

So October I wouldn’t mind a redo. You are my favorite month after all and you flew by in the blink of an eye. As I sit here typing this by the warmth of my space heater I’m not sure how much fall we have left. There are still lots of leaves to rake which means leaf piles to jump in. The pumpkins might still get carved and perhaps there are even apples left to pick. If not there is definitely plenty of hot apple cider to drink.


Bragging Rights Guest Post: Deb

Since embarking on this journey to lose weight, become physically fit and lead a healthy lifestyle I have received so much inspiration, support and motivation from blogs. I love the excitement and enthusiasm in the posts of bloggers who reach their goal weight, PR a race, lift a bigger weight or fit into a new size of jeans. I also appreciate the raw honesty of bloggers who share the challenges and obstacles they face along the way. The reader comments are typically full of encouragement, cheers and helpful advice. 

For me the blog has been a great space to share my love of running and how it is helping me to come to terms with my lifelong struggle with weight, poor body image and lack of confidence. Part of this process for me is learning to be proud of my accomplishments and ultimately to really love this new person I am becoming. We are so quick to put ourselves down. I am great at doing that, but I have difficulty accepting a compliment or singing my own praises. When I wrote the post Bragging Rights  it was also a call to anyone who wanted to share something awesome that they have accomplished.

Deb has recently celebrated a couple of big accomplishments. She graciously agreed to write a guest post. I’m so honored to share Deb’s inspiring story here.


My name is Deb, and I am a runner.

A little over a year ago, I would have never believed it.  I was a depressed, 100 pound overweight semi-couch potato.  I say “semi” because, like Aimee, I am an RN who works night shift.  Any nurse will tell you, we get plenty of “exercise” running up and down the hallway for eight to sixteen hours at a time. But, all that “exercise” I had over the last 27 years didn’t prevent me from becoming morbidly obese.

I think we can all agree that it’s challenging enough to exercise and lose weight.  But, when you work nightshift, it’s like climbing Mount Everest.  Well, maybe not quite THAT hard.  But, I’m sure you can appreciate the obstacles.  When you’re chronically sleep deprived, unhealthy carbs are the stimulant of choice, and there is usually no shortage of them – chocolate kisses at the front desk, donuts in the staff lounge, and a multitude of sweet or salty options in the vending machines.  And, that’s just on a regular night.  During the holidays, it’s a veritable smorgasbord of cookies, cakes and brownies!  As for healthy eating habits, sitting down for a meal is not always possible, especially on a busy labor & delivery unit.  Donuts are great for eating on the run!  As for “real” exercise, when faced with the choice between a treadmill and a nap on the couch, the nap is pretty hard to resist.

But, “choice” is the operative word here, isn’t it?

Last year, I realized it was past time to start making better choices.  No more yo-yo dieting.  No more binge eating. No more mindless snacking.  No more excuses for not exercising.  I knew that if I continued on the same path I was on, I would dread my 50th birthday; I would never know the joy of slipping into a size 10 and loving what I see in the mirror; I would never let my husband see me naked again; I would never know the simple pleasure of walking uphill without getting out of breath; I may die of some chronic illness and never get to enjoy my future grandchildren.  When I looked at it that way, the choice became quite clear.

I’ve lost weight before, too many times to mention.  I’ve always fallen off the diet bandwagon and ran out of steam before ever reaching my weight loss and fitness goals.  But, THIS time, I decided to go public.  I confessed to my family, and all of my friends and coworkers, that I was embarrassed that I let myself become so overweight and out of shape; that I avoided having my picture taken, and didn’t attend family gatherings and other social outings because I was ashamed of my appearance; that I didn’t want to hide anymore because I missed them. I asked them to keep me accountable and I promised them that with their help, I would commit to taking better care of myself.

I received such an outpouring of love and support, that I cannot begin to express my gratitude. It made me finally realize I AM worthy.

More than anything, I’ve wanted to make my kids proud of me.  They’ve seen my weight go up and down over the years, and they’ve learned to accept my many attempts to “take better care of myself” with a big grain of salt.  One afternoon, my son and I were taking a walk in our hilly central PA neighborhood – me huffing and puffing and making the usual promise to get in better shape — when my son told me about the Couch-2-5K running program. I said, “I’m doing it!” Whether he believed me or not, I was determined that THIS time, I wasn’t going to let him down.

The first time I ran, I thought I was going to die! (I’m sure all of you beginner runners out there can relate.)  After a few false starts, a proper pair of running shoes, and a YouTube video about Chi Running, I really began to hit my stride. 🙂

In order to keep myself motivated, I registered for my first running event, The Great Race 5K, in Pittsburgh, PA in September 2012. It was a life-changing experience.  There was so much energy and emotion! I stood toward the back of the pack – it’s was a HUGE crowd — and looked around in amazement at all the shapes and sizes of runners. Music was playing and people were stretching and warming up. I couldn’t believe I was there and I was actually going to run a 5K.

My only goal was to finish the race. After the National Anthem and the sound of the gun, we began to move toward the starting line. I was so overwhelmed with emotion; I could feel my eyes welling up with tears.  But then, as I fell into pace with the rest of the runners, I felt my confidence soar. Around mile two, the course begins a slow steady uphill climb. A nice gentleman talked me through it and when I reached the crest, it was downhill the rest of the way, and I knew I was going to make it. For the last half mile, I couldn’t help laughing with the sheer joy of it. I saw my son and husband in the crowd, cheering me on, and I couldn’t stop smiling. I never felt more proud of myself when I crossed that finish line. From that day on, I was completely hooked on running, and I couldn’t wait to do it again!

Despite all that great exercise, I noticed I wasn’t losing any weight.  My husband felt inspired by my 5K, and we decided to help each other reach our weight loss and fitness goals. We joined Weight Watchers together and we starting going to the gym on a regular basis. And, of course, I began training for a half-marathon!

Since then, I’ve lost that 100 pounds, I’ve become a Lifetime member of Weight Watchers, and I am proud to say, “I am a runner!”

I ran my first half marathon at the Rock & Roll Cleveland with a time of 2:43, and I’m hoping to PR at my next half marathon on November 2nd. I decided to borrow Aimee’s idea and try to run a race every month. I find I really like the discipline that being in training mode requires. It keeps me motivated. But, more importantly, it’s fun!

How do I know THIS time I’m going to keep the weight off?

Because I know if I slip up — and I probably will once in a while — I have the tools, and the support to get right back on track. I know how good it feels to make the right choices for my health and well-being.

Best of all, I am looking forward to celebrating my 50th birthday in two weeks, and I’ve never felt better. And, I don’t even mind having my picture taken anymore! 🙂

(Me, my son Kevin, my step daughter Maggie, and my husband Larry, at the Rock & Roll Cleveland Half Marathon)


Thank you so much for sharing Deb! Congratulations on the half marathon and achieving Lifetime membership with Weight Watchers. You look fabulous for almost 50!! 

Do you have anything you want to brag about?

Free flow

Gosh I’m feeling all unbalanced today. Hormones? Change of season? Stuff swirling around my mind? Busy pace of life lately?

I allowed one bratty entitled patient last night to burrow under my skin.

Feeling really self conscious at the gym today especially since I keep losing my balance doing single leg barbell dead lifts for the first time.

Not sure if I’m doing the work I’m meant to be doing.

I just want to run in the cool crisp air and hear the crunch of the leaves under my feet. Tomorrow I will run.

I’m positive one of my arms is longer than the other.

I swear the girl at the front desk of my gym dislikes me because I’ve been going for years and she is always snotty to me no matter how polite and friendly I am to her.

I keep feeling like I want to cry. Ok it’s hormones!

Christmas is already stressing me out. I just want to hide for the holidays.

All sorts of negative body image thoughts on my mind. Wondering why my legs are still so big.

The leaves are so beautiful today. I love the fall. It’s my favorite season and probably the only reason I live in New England.

I love my fall wreath this year.

I vow not to watch the biggest loser this season. The show upsets me anyway but especially this season because that American Idol contestant Ruben Studdard is on the show. I believe he has the financial resources and the support to lose weight on his own. I don’t believe the show is the best role model for weight-loss but it still helps people to lose weight. Someone else could really benefit from being a contestant on the show.

I seem to be the only person in my family who can put the laundry away.

My husband called me on his lunch break and made me feel little bit better.

Tonight is my last night of a 7 night stretch at work. It was self-induced. However, I’m glad it’s almost over.

I’ve been journaling my food on paper recently. Today I went back to MyFitnessPal. Want to see what I eat? Come find me there at mozaim.

I’m struggling with afternoon snacking. Those calories add up so quickly. I think I will always have to work against emotional eating. Today I will fight the urge.

4:52 pm- At last it is time for bed before work. Aside from a small apple I didn’t have anything else to eat this afternoon.

This post was written entirely by the talk to text feature on my phone. I spoke a sentence here and there throughout the day as things popped into my mind.

Bragging Rights

I have been itching to run a race since the marathon. I also intend on completing my goal to run a race every month this year and I didn’t have anything on the October calendar.

On a whim this Sunday I ran the 10th Annual Peaked Mountain Commemorative 7K Trail Race organized by the Trustees of Reservations. Despite the dreary grey rainy weather I decided to do it anyway. It was awesome! There were only 25 of us crazy enough to run half way up a mountain, back down and around a pond on muddy trails. I loved it. I had no time goal because I’ve never run a race like this. I just kept repeating to myself, “don’t fall!” I watched the ground the entire way up and down the mountain to avoid tripping or slipping. It was a bit tedious, but I enjoyed the challenge.

I know it was a tiny race, but I was pretty psyched when the woman at the finish line told me I was the third female. Out of 25 people running, 15 were female. Since I was alone and had nowhere to rush off to I decided to stick around to cheer for people during the awards ceremony. A 7 year old girl had run with her dad and I was sure she would get an award. Plus they had hot apple cider! It was a friendly group so as we waited for the last runners to come through the finish I passed the time chatting with a few people. I also learned more about the Trustees of Reservations. I was amazed to discover so many beautiful reservations here in Massachusetts.

Peaked Mountain 7K Finish Area

Peaked Mountain 7K Finish Area

This was a bare bones kind of a race. No reinforced holes in the bib meant I ended up carrying it most of the way.


Peaked Mountain Reservation

Anyway the awards ceremony was really casual. Winners got to select a prize off of a prize table. I was more than a little shocked when my name was called for first in the female 40-49 age group. Yay me!!! Pays to have just turned 40. I actually came in 8th overall. Not too shabby for this 40 year old previously self-proclaimed non-runner who has only been running for about 4 years.

I was so excited on my way home, but no one answered their phone!!

Do you ever do something, go somewhere or have an experience that you want to share with the world, but every time you start to talk about it people go into a semi-comatose daze nodding occasionally to make it seem like they are listening? I’m used to this phenomenon.  I’m pretty sure as soon as I say Peace Corps certain friends and family members immediately take a mental vacation.

I find I get a similar reaction when I talk about running. I can’t help myself though. I get so darn excited when I run a race or have an awesome training run and I just want to share my enthusiasm. However, most people aren’t very interested in my running stories. That was one of the reasons I started this blog.

Do you have anything you want to brag about or share? If so please leave it in the comments or email me at I would love to post about other’s accomplishments fitness or otherwise. I know it’s really difficult to toot your own horn, but come on let’s hear it!!

Prelude to a Marathon PR

In my last post I cut to the chase and announced my marathon results. What I didn’t explain was the significance of my race time.

Back in June I outlined my race plans for the summer up until the Montreal Marathon. At the end of that post I said this about my marathon goals:

“I have big goals. That’s right Oprah I’m coming for your time sister (Oprah ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 1994 and finished in 4:29:15)! I’m light years from ever qualifying for Boston so I need to shoot for something more attainable. Given the way my training runs are going I actually do have an even bigger goal in mind, but I’m going to keep it to myself for now.”

For some time now I have been running at a sub-10 minute/mile pace. When it became more consistent run after run I was astonished considering where I began with my running. My speed has improved so naturally and gradually over the course of my running. I don’t have a coach or anyone forcing me to do more than I am doing. I do speed training and some high intensity interval training to help improve my speed, but I am always mindful to do what feels right to me. I love running and I want to continue to love running. However, if it feels too much like work then I might not love it so much anymore.

In order to accomplish my goal of beating Oprah’s time (which really was just a fun way to strive for a sub-4:30 time) I would have to average a pace of 10:16/mile. My last marathon time was 4:38:52 or an average pace of 10:38/mile. When I first set my sights on running another marathon this seemed like a lofty goal, but one to work towards. As I began my training I also started to feel like I might be able to challenge myself even more given the improvement in my speed and overall running. So I set three personal goals:

B Goal = beat Oprah’s marathon time of 4:29:15

A Goal = maintain an average pace under 10 minutes/mile which would be 4:21:45 or less

A+ Goal = finish in under 4:20 for an average pace of just under 9:55/mile

Ok that’s a whole lotta numbers. Are you still with me?

The bottom line is this training was vastly different than my previous two marathons. I have begun to come into my own with running. I have developed some confidence in my running and my ability to improve at running. I worked hard and pushed myself without pushing to the point of injury or burn out. I upped my weekly mileage as much as possible this time around. I was diligent about maintaining strength training 2-3 times a week and P90X Plyometrics once a week. I stretched and foam rolled. My hill training was awesomely difficult, but it yielded results. I ran races and set PRs in many of them. My long runs peaked at 22 miles, and included two 20 mile runs along new routes.

In reflecting on the training period I have also identified other factors that were instrumental in helping me to accomplish my goals. I had no setbacks in this training unlike the last two. Four months prior to Disney I broke a toe and two floating ribs and throughout my training for Philly I endured calf and Achilles issues. My diet is cleaner with a central focus on eating whole unprocessed foods as much as possible. I food journaled consistently throughout training either online or on paper. I have shed some weight since my last marathon. I paid close attention to hydration especially throughout the hot summer. I switched my fuel during long runs to Vega Sport Endurance Gel, pretzels and dates. Vega* products are entirely plant based and complimented my diet nicely. I drank Vega Pre-Sport Workout Energizer prior to long runs and races. My pre-race and pre-long run meal used to be toast, nut butter and banana. I have traded the toast for a chia pudding made with 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds soaked in water or almond milk topped later with banana and nut butter. Weird, I know, but it didn’t weigh me down and I am really starting to wonder about the power of those little seeds! I also followed up my long runs with Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator. I seemed to bounce back very quickly from long runs this training. I know I can’t give all the credit to Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator, but I do believe it helped as I experienced little to no muscle soreness the following day after my 13-17 mile runs and much less than typical soreness on my 18-22 mile runs.

There is one other component that affected my training and ultimately the final event for me and it is largely psychological. Back in April I wrote about my PR in the Plattsburgh Half Marathon and my dear friend who, at that time, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. What I didn’t tell you was that my friend was also pregnant with her second child. Throughout her chemo treatments this summer, pregnancy hormones, navigating life with cancer, a toddler and a baby on the way I have been completely humbled by my amazing friend who has handled it all with such poise and grace. She is truly a Wonder Woman.

There were moments during training and even during the race that felt difficult, but my thoughts immediately shifted to my friend and I pushed the discomfort away because I knew nothing could possibly be more trying or uncomfortable than what she has been going through. As a result I had so few doubts about this race. If she could kick cancer’s ass then I sure as hell could run another marathon faster than my last. In the grand scheme of what my friend has had to cope with this year I felt like the least I could do was push past my mental limitations once and for all.

I purposely chose this race in Montreal because I knew it would give me the opportunity to stop and see my friend as we passed through upstate New York on the way home. I didn’t know my final time yet when we arrived at her home. It didn’t matter. I knew I ran a great race. I felt phenomenal the entire way. Given the distance that separates us I couldn’t be there for my friend as much as I would have liked. I was able to spend a couple of weekends with her but mostly we stayed in touch through email, text and phone calls when possible. Her positive attitude, courage and fighting spirit are a constant source of inspiration and motivation. I thought about my friend so much during the marathon knowing that she is running her own marathon and there was no one else I wanted to share that medal with more than her.

Race Together Fight Together

Race Together Fight Together

When I finally received my official time my eyes filled with tears. It’s not really about the actual time 4:16:35 or that I shaved 22 minutes off my marathon time. It is about me finally believing in myself. It is about reaching my full potential. It is about exceeding my own expectations. It is about committing to something, setting a goal and following through. It is about going the distance.

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” John Bingham

*I should note that I do not work for Vega, nor did I receive any of the aforementioned products from Vega. I purchased them with my own money and all opinions are my own. I was not contacted by Vega to discuss their products. I just happen to really love them. 

Montreal Marathon Results

In high school physical fitness involved sitting on the bleachers during gym. In college physical fitness was walking to the bars with a cigarette in hand. In my 20s I joined gyms and resolved nearly every Monday that “today was the day” I would finally lose weight and get fit. By Tuesday I was berating myself for screwing up my new diet and the vicious cycle continued as I got heavier and heavier. For as long as I can remember I told myself I was not an athlete nor could I be an athlete because I was overweight.

Then in my 30s I became a mom and suddenly life had a new meaning. My never ending plight to lose weight became less about my weight and more about leading a healthy lifestyle and becoming a positive role model for my son. As a result not only did my body finally change so did my mind.

For so long I believed I COULD NOT. I want to tell you that if you really want to you CAN!

On Sunday, 9/22/13 I ran my third full marathon in Montreal in 4:16:35!!

It was amazing. I feel fantastic. I can’t stop smiling!

A full recap to follow I promise.