Smoky Mountains 2014 068

Hiking Healthy: Crushing the Smokies!

Hubby and I took a quick weekend trip to the Smoky Mountains.  We drove down Friday, hiked a gorgeous hike on Saturday, and drove back Sunday.  It was a lot of driving, but oh-so-worth it!

We Went to the Smokys last June with the whole family.  I was only a few months into my weight loss journey, and was probably sittin’ not-so-pretty at roughly 260.  I hiked once with the family–it was a short one–and it was rough.  I have always loved hiking, but it was so difficult.  This is me last summer.

298 208 223 273 275

We hiked Andrew’s Bald that day and also went up Clingman’s Dome.  I was beat when we were done.

Here I am this year.  We hiked my absolute FAVORITE hike.  We started on Alum Cave Bluff trail at 6:20.  That was an hour and 24 BEFORE sunrise. :)

Arch Rock, 1.4 miles in.

Arch Rock, 1.4 miles in.

Smoky Mountains 2014 006

After Arch Rock, we continued up to Alum Cave Bluff to watch the sunrise.  This was 2.3 miles in.

Smoky Mountains 2014 024 Smoky Mountains 2014 023

We continued on our way. I was rocking my MO’ Cowbell half marathon shirt.  I even scored a compliment on it!  People love that SNL skit!  We finally arrived at the lodge which is 5 miles up from the trailhead.

Smoky Mountains 2014 077

We were feeling better than ever, so we decided to head to Cliff Tops–another .3.

Smoky Mountains 2014 051 Smoky Mountains 2014 052 Smoky Mountains 2014 047

Still feeling awesome, we ventured farther up the mountain than EVER before!  This was my 4th trip up and my hubby’s 5th.  We made it to the summit.

Smoky Mountains 2014 063 Smoky Mountains 2014 059

There were no views at the summit, but we hiked a bit farther–.7 miles from Cliff Tops–to Myrtle Point which was absolutely gorgeous.

Smoky Mountains 2014 066 Smoky Mountains 2014 068 Smoky Mountains 2014 069 Smoky Mountains 2014 064

After taking in these b-e-a-UUUUU-tiful views, we headed back to the lodge for a sack lunch that consisted of a bagel with cream cheese, summer sausage, oreos, a fruit roll-up, trail mix, and hot cocoa.  It was delicious.

Nom Nom...

Nom Nom…

The trip down was nice.  We saw a TON of people though.  On the way up we were virtually alone, but the trail was packed late that afternoon. Hubby twisted his ankle pretty badly, but we still got a ton of great pictures.

Smoky Mountains 2014 120 Smoky Mountains 2014 080 Smoky Mountains 2014 086 Smoky Mountains 2014 091 Smoky Mountains 2014 095 Smoky Mountains 2014 101 Smoky Mountains 2014 102 Smoky Mountains 2014 103 Smoky Mountains 2014 116

I felt like I was flying.  I was so light on my feet. I was sure-footed.  I didn’t feel like I would keel over dead at any given second!

In years past, I would be dragging my exhausted body up to the lodge around 3-5 pm.  This year, I bounced up the trail and made it to the lodge at 10am!  In fact, when we made it back to the parking lot after the hike, I was sad to see it end, whereas with all my other hikes, I was dying to get in the car and get my boots off!  This was an amazing day made possible (or at least more enjoyable!) because of my weight loss.

#LiveLifeHappy

Healthy living, folks! :)  Do it.

Fall Pictures 2014 032

What did I GO! and do now?

I did it.  I am officially registered for the GO! St. Louis Marathon on April 12, 2015.  This race takes place almost two years from the day that I weighed 297 pounds and looked like this:

Notice how I'm trying to hide behind not one...but TWO people!?

Notice how I’m trying to hide behind not one…but TWO people!?

Hiding again. Oh-so-unsuccessfully.

Hiding again. Oh-so-unsuccessfully.

Over 130 lbs later, I’d say I’m a whole new person–or at least half of what I was.

Fall Pictures 2014 032

Fall Pictures 2014 004

I will celebrate my two year anniversary with a run.  A really, really looong run.  I will be working on a training plan that will fit my schedule and not kill me.  I’d like to try to keep up the fitness level I have now–I can currently run 10 miles with relative ease–and I want to work on speed. In addition to that, I will start my actual marathon training in December.  I will probably use Hal Higdon again.  It was easy and it got the job done.

Goals to reach by April 2015:

1. Lose 20 lbs.  I’m currently hovering around 165.  I’d like to be 145 when I run, but I’ll be happy with anything from 145-155.

2. Run 10 minute miles comfortably. I know my race pace will be slower, but for shorter distances, I want to run faster!

3. Finish my marathon in <5:45:00.

Here’s to a new training plan and more regular blog updates!  Wish me well.

Happy (marathon) running!

Long Time, No Post.

Things have been hectic since I ran my half marathon.  I’m overwhelmed (and underpaid) at school.  I’m teaching two new classes this year in addition to being the Student Council Sponsor (an unpaid position).  We’ve had Pink Out for Breast Cancer Week including a Pink Out game, we held a blood drive on Friday, October 10th, where we met exceeded our goal, and we are in the planning process for the Halloween Dance which is scheduled for next Thursday after Parent Teacher Conferences.  I’m tired just thinking about it all!  At least we have saved some lives in the process!  Have a gander at our spoils:

I vant to suck your blood!

I vant to suck your blood!

It was extra cool to donate and to see so many of my students brave the big, bad needle, since my momma has been in the hospital since last Tuesday, and has received 5 units of blood.  She’s not doing so hot: end stage renal failure, heart failure, low bp, bradypnea.  Lots of other fun stuff.  She goes in to have a cardiac cath done tomorrow because her heart is functioning (ejection-fraction rate) at <25%.  This is worrisome because she just had a cath done a year ago and they put in 11 stents.  It’s pretty unlikely that she has clogged up that much in a year’s time.  They may put in a defibrillator too.  It’s scary–even scarier since I can’t be there due to being so bogged down at school.  My brothers won’t be there either.  I hate to leave her hanging.

The reason this ties into my fitness blog at all is that my mom is the main reason I made a change for the better.  She saved my life (by proxy).  I saw how imprisoned she was in her own body.  She is sick all the time.  She is uncomfortable all the time.  She has so many meds that a nurse has to come refill her pill box for her.  Her eyes are so bad from the diabetes that she can no longer see the lines on her syringes to dose her own insulin.  My dad–a heavy smoker and drinker–is legless and feels as if he is suffocating despite each ragged breath.  I knew at 300 pounds, I was careening toward that same life…if you want to call it that.  I saw my mother’s misery, I saw my father’s helplessness, and it scared me straight.  I turned my life around.

My parents will probably both be gone within the year, but I will live my life to the fullest to honor them.  I know they are proud of what I have accomplished, and I will continue to make them proud. I even have marathon aspirations, so maybe with their motivation, I will actually be able to cross that finish line. I will take them with me for each step of a Sunday afternoon jog.  I will run every race for them.  I do it now, and I will do it long after they are gone. <3

Run far. Run happy.  Just run.

I Finished my First Half Marathon!

Celebrating with the kids post-race. :)

Celebrating with the kids post-race. :)

Welp, I did it, and it was great!  On Saturday morning, the family got up and headed out the door for St. Charles, MO.  We stopped at Denny’s and I indulged with pancakes and hashbrowns.  Yum.  We ran a few errands, and I tried to find some compression pants in a smaller size, but with no luck.

We went to the Expo where I received an excellent stretch and a looooong, much needed massage from a young man named Ramone.  I told him I wanted to marry him.  He thought I was joking.  I picked up my shirt and car sticker and a few coupons.  One coupon was for free socks, so we visited that store, since it was basically in the same plaza as our hotel.  They were out of the free ones, so they gave me an even better pair of Saucony dri-fit compression socks.  Score!  And in talking with the young lady behind the counter, I found out her grandparents live in the same community as me and I’ve done several training runs by their home.  Small world.

We ate at a cheap Italian place.  We were tired, and the restaurant was next door.  I ordered lasagna.  It was frozen!  I was so tired that I didn’t even complain.  I just ate around the solid parts and we went back to the hotel.  We watched a bit of Harry Potter, and we had the lights out by 9pm.  I think I fell asleep by 9:30 and slept well all night–which is uncommon for me.

I woke at 5 and had all my race gear in the bathroom, so I could dress without waking the family.  I was still pretty out of it, so when I turned around in the bathroom with my clothes in my hand, I dropped my socks.  In the toilet!  I’m soooo glad I had gotten that extra pair the day before!  To run 13.1 miles in uncomfortably thin cotton socks would have been a nightmare!

I scarfed a granola bar and a fruit bar and woke the fam.  They all bounced up and were ready within 15 minutes.  We hit the breakfast downstairs.  I had coffee, and the kids had muffins and yogurt.  There were other runners there, but they were pretty obnoxious.  They really seemed to just want to hear themselves talk.  They were having a conversation, but each person’s was one sided.  Just a bunch of declarative statements, really.

We arrived at the public parking lot.  It was dark and cold.  We waited in the car for a bit, but then I decided to head to the start line at 6:40.  The race stared at 7:30.  I used that time to stand in the super long port-o-potty lines and meet up with my friend who was running too.  She and her husband lined up at the back of the 10 minute mile line.  I lined up with them so that I would have company while we waited for the start.  After a mile or so, when the crowd thinned, I slowed my pace to a 12ish minute mile pace.

After the start, I was overwhelmed with emotion.  It was a big deal for me, having weighed almost 300 pounds in 2013.  I realized how hard I had worked and how far I had come, and that I was realizing a goal I had set for myself and trained religiously for for months!  It was all I could to to not ugly cry.  The feeling passed, and I ran a great race. For the first half of the race, every time I would pass a mile marker, I would think, Wow!  Really?  Already?  

There weren’t as many spectators as I thought there would be, but the High-Five Zone at mile 5 was pretty cool.  The only negatives were that I had over-hydrated, so I had to stop at several port-o-pottys, and halfway through, I started having tummy trouble, again…having to stop at every port-o-potty. :(  I thought it was because I had drank more Gatorade than I’m used to, but that night, my daughter got sick too.  Figures that I would have a stomach bug on my first big race!

Even with the frequent bathroom breaks, I hit both of my half marathon goals:

1. Finish in under 3 hours (My finish time was 2:48 flat)

2. Run the whole course without walking (I allowed for bathroom breaks…just didn’t know I would be taking so many!)

At mile 10, the flat course became a hilly course.  Ouch.  Bad place to add some hills if you ask me.  I was still feeling okay, and had plenty of energy.  At one point, as I was passing everyone who was walking up the hill, a woman yelled, “You run that hill!”  I loved that encouragement.

Mile 11 was the longest mile in history.  I don’t think I ever saw the mile 12 sign. I must have missed it. During the final miles, my hips were hurting, and I had to stop and stretch them and my quads, but other than that, I felt great.  Others around me were miserable.  Someone with knee pain was telling her husband it was worse than giving birth.  Some were limping. Some were sitting on the curb.  Some were basically crawling.  I was so proud of what I was accomplishing and how well I had trained for it.  My body was not giving out.  My mind was not giving in.  My heart was not giving up.

Finally, people started shouting that the finish was just down the hill and around the corner.  I was thinking:

A. OMG…If I was running a marathon, I’d only be HALFWAY!

and

B. OMG…I’m going to finish a half marathon! 13.1 miles!

And then I saw the finish.   I saw the clock.  I saw that I was going to beat my goal by more than 10 minutes.  I crossed the line.  I jogged a little farther and began walking toward a gate to get some good stretches in.

My hubby came over and hugged me.  A big bear hug.  He was so proud.  The kids were proud too.  I celebrated (even with my bad tummy) by getting my free beer and some delicious blueberry bread.

We walked around for a bit and then went to the car.  We stopped by the mall, so I could return some items, we shopped a little, and then we stopped for lunch.  After this, I was beat.  We got home, I took a shower, and I hit my bed and stayed there watching tv all evening.  Heck, I deserved it. :)

It was an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to do it again!  I’ll be working on speed now that I have some miles under my belt.

Now the question is…to marathon, or not to marathon…

Sunny selfie in my race shirt.

Sunny selfie in my race shirt.

T-33 Hours to My First Half Marathon!

I am beyond excited.  And scared!  I have worked so hard for this race, and it is finally here.  Long runs, short runs, painful runs, hot, cold, never-ending, euphoric runs.  They will culminate in 13.1 miles of kick-a** racery on Sunday, October 5th.

I did my last training run this evening.  I have been so busy this week that I truly did not have time to run.  I felt a little…off…so I put in 3 miles tonight.  They were okay.  Cold.  I got a side stitch.  My knees hurt a little. But all in all, I feel very prepared and oh-so-ready for my race on Sunday.

The kids and I made signs tonight.  It was therapeutic after the week from hell I had.  The signs turned out nice!  Can’t wait to see them on the course! :)

I'm sure hubby was thinking two out of the three signs here the whole time we were making them.

I’m sure hubby was thinking two out of the three signs here the whole time we were making them.

Yes, I know they are cheesy, but a little cheese might be all I need to push me through the last few miles.

Thanks to all who have rooted for me, encouraged me, or gave this newbie some seasoned advice.  It is all so very appreciated.  Send me good running vibes on Sunday morning!

Keep running.  I know I will.

The Old Me

She came back.  After a year and a half of hard work, determination, and dedication to a true lifestyle change, somehow, someway, she found her way back.

I like-a-da foods.

I like-a-da foods.

She started creeping her way back in about two weeks ago.  It started innocently enough: I ran 9 miles today, so I can have a slice of pizza tonight.  I ran 10 miles this morning, so I can have some cake. And beer. No…beers…plural.  I  thought I could handle a few treats here and there.  The truth is, I can handle a few treats here and there.  Unfortunatlely that’s not what I was doing.  She came back and tried to eat the world.  Instead of a slice of wedding cake for a special occasion, she took me to the store for a bag of chocolate covered mini-donuts.  I had run 12 miles.  I could eat donuts if I wanted. At least, that’s what I thought…

I ate the whole damn bag.  Every last one. Over a thousand calories and a belly ache later, I couldn’t fathom what I had just done.

images (5)

Yep. That happened.

This week at work was a nightmare.  I was feeling busy, overwhelmed, under appreciated, and exhausted.  So exhausted that I thought I surely must be sick. Nope.  No fever, no cough, no symptoms….just t-i-r-e-d, tired! I only ran two nights last week, and only a few miles at a time.  :(  I also ate well during the day, but pigged out at night (in addition to the whole not running thing).

I was feeling a little lousy–emotionally and physically because of the week I had, and as a result, I spiraled out of control this weekend.

On Friday, I ate well during the day and then had junk all night.  Junk-junk.  Like, not even real food-junk.

On Saturday, we went to a Civil War Reenactment.

1531724_819978391355679_5836312809067527294_o

10708584_819979264688925_2358575589822212269_o

10679727_819988791354639_1364952246839043285_o

(Photo cred to my awesomely talented friend Rheanna Wolk)

It was a lot of fun, but really hot.  We stopped in the little town nearby and ate.  Instead of a healthy salad, I had the catfish platter, fries, slaw, and an appetizer of jalapeno poppers.  Later that night, we went out for frozen custard, and then came home and had creamy chicken enchiladas.  We did a lot of walking, and I had run 1.5 miles that morning, but still…how disappointing.

Today, I got up knowing I was going to overeat.  Not just overeat…overeat bad food.  Stuff I normally wouldn’t touch.  I had Fruity Pebbles for breakfast (what a waste of calories).  We needed to run to the mall, so I had a huge pretzel there…with cheese sauce. On the way home, we stopped for custard again.  Her idea.  It was sooo good, but sooo out of my calorie allowance for the day.

While at the mall I got measured (34-friggin’DDD) and tried on a BRAzillion bras at Victoria’s Secret.  I bought two that kinda-sorta worked, came home to try them on again, and decided they weren’t for me.  They just weren’t supportive, and I need that in my life.  I took them off, told my husband, “I hate……….my body!”, and sobbed while hiding under my covers.  Poor guy came in to console me (I’m usually super level headed, not crazy hormonal, and pretty confident in my awesomeness these days, but today was…off).

I told him that it wasn’t fair that I worked so hard for so long, and I STILL can’t shop at a normal store.  I shouldn’t have to go to a specialty bra shop.  I should just be able to walk in and shop off the rack. But I can’t.  The sad thing is that even though I measure at a 34DDD at VS or a 32FF at Ann’s Bra Shop, my chest looks small.  My husband says so. My co-workers say so.  I just don’t understand.  I continued to cry and tell him that I was ugly. Fat.  Deformed.  It was a regular hatefest.

While I sobbed and whined about how disgusting I felt and how it just wasn’t fair…boo hoo…what I think I was really saying was I can’t believe I ate all that, why didn’t I run more this week, why didn’t I log my food, how could I have worked so hard for so long, just to let her come back again.  

I had my binge.  I had my cry.  I had my feel-sorry-for-myself moment.  Tomorrow is a new day, and it’s time to pick up the pieces and move on.  I am NOT ugly. I am NOT deformed. I am most certainly NOT fat.  I had a moment…and that’s all.  An ugly moment, and it’s over now.

This is who I really am:

Happy, healthy, beautiful momma!

Happy, healthy, beautiful momma!

I’m gorgeous.  I’m strong.  I’m happy and healthy.  I ran 12 freaking miles last weekend, and I’m running 13 point freaking 1 miles next weekend.  I’m a rockstar…to myself…to my husband…to my kids…to others around me!

In fact, an old acquaintance reached out to me via facebook just yesterday.  She had lap band surgery 2 years ago.  It failed. She recently had it drained and is looking into a healthier lifestyle…and contacted….ME!  Said I was an inspiration.  Wow, okay.  Me?  Wow.

My son told me on Friday that I was “kinda like a teen”.  I asked how, and he said “because teens are just a little bit smaller than a real adult, and usually in really good fit (shape/fitness).”  I look good, I feel good, and I love that people notice.  I had a moment of weakness….don’t we all…and now that moment is over, and I will be my strong, courageous, and inspirational self again tomorrow morning!

I can’t wait to be me!  See ya on the flip side!

It’s Tuesday: Quick HM Update

 

I’m a tired, tired lady.  Some of it is from all this running.  The rest is because I’m a teacher.  I love what I do, but boy, is it exhausting!  I’m also doing a lot of writing on the side…a novel maybe?  But it’s just for fun…Bucket List fun.

 

download (1)

 

I’m also a hungry, hungry lady.  Again–all the running, I’m sure.  I’m keeping my calories in check, but Lawd, have mercy, I wanna eat the world!

 

 

Eat-All-The-Food-Meme

 

I ran after school with a co-worker/half marathon training buddy.  We’ve only run together twice during our training.  That wasn’t the intention, but it’s the way it worked out.  That’s fine though, she’s much faster than me, and I hate feeling like I’m slowing her down.

I’m tapering this week.  I ran 12 miles on Saturday, and then took Sunday and Monday off.  Today, I only ran 2.5 miles.  I’m planning on 5 tomorrow, 5 Thursday and 6-8 Saturday.  Next week I’m thinking I’ll do 5 on Monday, 3 on Tuesday, 3 on Thursday, and then rest Friday and Saturday before the big race.  I’m so excited.  I feel very prepared.  As long as I’m healthy, rested, and injury-free, I’ve got this!

Happy running! :)  Enjoy every step.