Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Then and Now: Because the journey isn't over

Yesterday, I saw this picture of me and Kyle at my company Christmas party. Cute, right? Definitely a keeper.

But then, I compared it to a picture of us from Kenlee's first Christmas in 2011 ... and I was shocked.

We've changed a lot over the last three years, most obviously in regard to our weight. At this point, I've lost 105 pounds and Kyle has lost more than 90. As I've said before, taking this journey together has made all the difference. We're proud of the changes we've made and the lifestyle we've adapted. Our appearance has transformed, yes. But we've also transformed our attitudes, our marriage and our family.

It's admittedly hard to see that picture from when we were close to our heaviest/unhealthiest. At first glance, I feel ashamed and embarrassed. How did we live like that? Why didn't we change? I don't recognize those people anymore, and I definitely don't want to be those people anymore.

But as I looked at that old photo a little longer, I realized those people starting back at me are a vital part of who we are today. Without them, we wouldn't understand the struggle. We wouldn't know the gravity of our everyday decisions. We wouldn't be able to truly appreciate what we've accomplished.

You know, I used to wish with all my might that we were never obese, that we never had issues with food or impulses or motivation to exercise. I wished Kyle and I were both naturally thin people with amazing metabolisms and athletic abilities. I wished we'd never had to worry about weight at all!

But that wish will never come true, and I think I'm finally starting to accept who we are ... AND who we used to be. I believe everything happens for a reason, and I believe our journey over the last three years is merely a piece of a much bigger one.

You know, a lot of people post photos for #TransformationTuesday and label them "Before" and "After." I prefer, however, to think of ours as "Then" and "Now" ... because our journey isn't over.
If the last three years have taught me anything, it's that we can handle anything as long as we're together.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Accidental PR (No, Really!)

OK, don't punch me. But I accidentally PR'd my 5K on Thanksgiving.

I'm not trying to downplay anything or humble-brag. I seriously never intended to go that fast, and I certainly wasn't trying ... at least not I until I was nearly done with the race. Here's how illness, a malfunctioning GPS watch and some sibling rivalry combined to create my accidental PR.

It started a couple of weeks ago, when my daughter caught a cold, complete with a nasty cough that kept her (and us) up all night for nearly two weeks. Kenlee was kind enough to share her germs with me, and I had my own coughing/hacking spells and wasn't able to breathe or talk normally for a solid week.

I didn't run a single mile during that time, and I barely left my couch. My first "test run" was a 4-miler with Kim, and it was all I could do to keep my head up as I trudged along behind her. That was the Friday before Thanksgiving. On Sunday, I went alone for 5 miles, telling myself I would just take it easy and get back out there. Well, I WAS taking it easy and I STILL wanted to stop and walk. I was wheezing by mile 2 ...

Fast forward to the day before Thanksgiving. I was feeling better that morning when I met Kim, who said I could pick our pace/mileage since I was running a Turkey Trot the next day. I laughed at the thought of actually racing while I was still recuperating, and we decided on 6 miles at what turned out to be a good pace. We needed a few breaks - for my legs and her hips. I was happy to run again, but I was noticeably sore the rest of the day.

That night, as Kyle and I were going over the logistics of the next morning (alarms, when to drop Kenlee with grandma, etc.), I was pondering my strategy. I didn't want to race, but I also didn't want to go out for a leisurely jog. I decided my best effort would be to come relatively close my PR from May: 25:31. I felt like 8:30 miles would be obtainable, yet challenging. I fully expected my pace to actually come closer to 8:45, if I was lucky.

On race morning, I wasn't nervous at all - I didn't have a big goal, so I just wanted to have fun. Kyle and I met up with my brother, who WAS a bit nervous since he hadn't run at all since his MARATHON in October. (I'm so proud of him, by the way. I'd say he deserved a break!) Scott asked if I would warm up with him, and I agreed. We took a short jog through the park and came back to the start, where I tapped the button my GPS watch to search for satellite signal.

Well, my watch searched. And searched. And searched. ... And when start whistle blew nearly 5 minutes later, it was STILL searching. I started the timer and took off, annoyed. Without GPS, I couldn't monitor my pace between miles. I wouldn't know if I was running 8:30 miles or 10:30 miles or 6:30 miles (in my Kenyan dreams, OK?) ... UGH!

Well, I decided to do the next best thing when it comes to race strategies: Run like hell and hope for the best! As I passed the first mile marker, a volunteer was shouting times: 7:21, 7:22, 7:23! Shit. That was way too fast. How am I still breathing? I'm totally going to puke if I don't slow down. 

Just after that, Scott passed me. He's always been faster, which is only natural since he's got legs like a giraffe and was on the track and cross country teams in high school. But I was disappointed knowing he'd taken more than a month off running and could STILL beat me. I decided I would at least keep him in my sights. Don't let him get too far ahead! Some people might call this being a sore loser - I prefer to call it healthy sibling rivalry, OK?

About a mile later, I realized I had not only kept him in my sights, but I was also catching up! Then, miraculously, I actually PASSED him! Neener, neener, neener! I wanted to make a snide remark and stick out my tongue like a 10-year-old, but I decided I'd better focus.  After all, I didn't want him to come back and pass me again. Sibling rivalry for the win!

For the final stretch of the race, I was doing runner's math in my head. My GPS had FINALLY found a signal around mile 2 (better late than never, I suppose!), so I could see I was holding my 8:30 goal pace. With that pace, and what the timer said, I suddenly realized I might finish just a few seconds under my PR. Maybe, right? No, I'm going too slow. Wait, I have more than enough time banked from the first mile! Do I? I suck at at math. Shit, just run, Tami!

So I did just that. I ran. As fast as my lungs and legs would allow. I thought I was going to pass out a few steps after the finish line - from exhaustion and surprise! My watch read 24:57! I took more than 30 seconds off my PR!

When I looked at the official results, I got another surprise: My time was actually 24:54! It's a good thing I floored it at the end - Scott wasn't far behind, finishing in 25:08. The cherry on top of the perfect race sundae was seeing Kyle come in at 28:28, well under his goal of 30:00!

So I'd like to thank Kenlee for forcing me to take that unexpected taper with her cold germs, my cheap GPS watch for letting me start out way too fast, and my brother for giving me the motviation to finish strong. Accident or not, a PR is a PR ... and I'm thrilled to have another great race in the books.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I Mustache You Some Questions

Kim tagged me in a little bloggy game, so I obliged. But I didn't tag anyone else ... because I'm not sure if any of my bloggy friends would want to play. So if you want to, go for it! 

Four names that people call me, other than my real name
  • Momma (Obviously)
  • Tami Sue (People constantly guess that Sue is my middle name ... It's Jo.)
  • Word Lady (Coworkers)
  • Sperman (Only Jodie!)
Four jobs I have had
  • Cashier at Kaiser's Supermarket in high school
  • BGSU Rec Center Reccie
  • Summer worker at an air conditioning factory ... which was NOT air conditioned!
  • Reporter/Editor/Paginator/Christmas Tree Decorator at the BT
Four movies I've watched more than once
  • Cinderella - Still my all-time favorite princess movie, and I CAN'T WAIT for the live action version coming in the spring
  • Mean Girls - Still know almost every word and wrote a paper on it in college
  • A League of Their Own - Of course!
  • Christmas Vacation - Need to bust this out soon ...
Four books I’d recommend
  • The entire "Harry Potter" series
  • "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tart (awesome on audio book)
  • "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall (also good audio book)
  • "The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World"
Four places I have lived
  • Edgerton, Ohio
  • Bowling Green, Ohio
  • Toledo, Ohio
  • Edon, Ohio
Four places I have been
  • New York City
  • Ohio Stadium
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Chimney Rock, North Carolin
Four things I don’t eat
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pork rinds
  • Moonshine - Never again!
  • Protein bars - I'm not a fan of the chalky consistency in most
Four of my favorite foods
  • Any and all Mexican food
  • Wine
  • Hummus - Especially when Sabra is on sale!
  • Broccoli - REALLY! Ask Kyle, we eat it with nearly every meal. 
Four TV shows that I watch (NOTE: I don't have any explanation for my absurdly random TV tastes)
  • "The Walking Dead"
  • "Pretty Little Liars"
  • "Dance Moms"
  • "19 Kids and Counting"
Four things I am looking forward to this year
  • Running a marathon
  • Going to Disney World next fall! Woohoo!
  • Our living room/dining room remodel
  • My sister-in-law's wedding - As long as I stay away from the moonshine!
Four things I’m always saying
  • "Look at me. I said look at me. What did Mommy say?" (Stolen from Kim, but it's SO TRUE.)
  • "Did you tootie?" Sometimes I ask Kenlee, sometimes Kyle ... and sometimes Rowdy. There's a lot of tootie in our house, apparently ... must be the broccoli
  • "I write much words" - Basically my job description
  • "I love you" 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What We're Eating: Loaded Baked Potato, Weight Watchers Style

In my recent search for more healthy recipes, I had a light bulb moment for a meal that’s so easy, it’s stupid (but Kenlee would immediately tell me that stupid isn’t a nice word … so let’s say it’s ridiculously easy). 

Loaded Baked Potato, Weight Watchers Style
  • Large, plain baked potato – 7 points
  • 1 tablespoon County Crock Light – 1 point
  • ¼ cup fat-free sour cream – 1 point
  • ¼ cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese – 2 points
  • 1 ½ slices turkey bacon, crumbled – 1 point
  • Steamed broccoli – 0 points!
  • TOTAL: 12 points! 
So I guess I could give directions, but this one is pretty self-explanatory. Kyle baked our potatoes in the oven, with olive oil and sea salt (which would technically add 3 points), but I realize you can bake a potato many, many ways that don’t involve any other ingredients. 

You could also add/remove ingredients to your preference – I loaded mine with broccoli, but the possibilities are endless! Next time, I’m thinking of using salsa. Oh, and Kenlee requested MORE BACON. Kyle pointed out she wasn't eating her meal, she was on a bacon scavenger hunt. Ha!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Let's go streaking!

If you go to Weight Watchers meetings, you know that from now through New Year’s, they’re focused on helping members get through the holidays. No doubt, this time of year is difficult for people trying to stay healthy and make good choices – food temptation lurks around every corner, and Mother Nature makes it hard to stay active and motivated. 

Starting my 2013 streak at the YMCA Turkey Trot - same plan this year!
At my meeting Friday, our leader asked if we had any goals for the holidays – lose weight, maintain, make a healthy meal for your family gathering, etc. I hadn’t thought about it much, but I decided I’m doing the Runner’s World Run Streak again. Last year, I didn’t take time to write a follow-up post, but I know the streak really helped me stay on track

So I’m bringing the streak back – and I’ll hope you’ll join me! Here’s why:

“It took the focus off food,” I told the other members at my meeting. I hadn’t said the words out loud before, but that’s EXACTLY why I loved the streak so much. No, I didn’t just eat anything and everything and let myself off the hook for the whole month. But I did feel a lot less guilty when I threw back some cookies, cocoa and crab dip. I didn’t really lose any weight – but I didn’t gain either! Every day, it’s like I was hitting a reset button. A quick mile (or more) in the morning would set the tone for my entire day, and it gave me incentive to make better choices – not perfect, but better. 

The Christmas before, I went in feeling like I had to stick to a serious plan in order to stay on track through the holidays. I wasn’t working out much, (OK, I wasn’t working out at all!), so nutrition was the only thing I could use to keep myself in check. And I felt deprived. I felt like I couldn’t enjoy things like everyone else. As much as I hate to admit it, the holidays just aren’t as much fun without some (not all!) of my favorite foods. 

Managed a few long runs while streaking.
With the streak, I put my focus on fitness, not food. Instead of feeling like I was being restricted or limited, I was giving myself something extra to enjoy. It was a challenge that was fun and exciting rather than controlling and miserable. And yes, I’ll admit that I felt a little badass for running in the snow and cold. Hey, at least in December all of the Christmas lights were out to enjoy! Come January and February, the outdoors isn’t nearly as enjoyable for running. But I digress. 

This year, I’m hoping to get more streakers going with me! The challenge is free, and you don’t even have to sign up or log into anything. You can, however, follow Runner’s World and the official social media hashtag #RWRunStreak for inspiration, motivation and accountability. That last part is a BIG help – my friend Chelsea and I kept each other accountable last year by messaging each other our mileage every single day! (Thanks again, Chelsea!)

Mother Nature's natural mascara!
Since I created my blog’s Facebook page, it will be easy to post some accountability for anyone who’d like to join me. If you’re up to it, I’ll post a thread every day – from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day – for people to comment with their mileage or workout. I say workout because I think it’s totally acceptable to walk, run, bike, swim, elliptical, Zumba, WHATEVER YOU’D LIKE. My mother-in-law biked a mile a day last year and kept her streak alive well after the holidays! In my opinion, ANY activity is a step in the right direction, especially at this time of year. Personally, I may trade in a few of my miles for a Piyo workout so I can continue to work on my strength goals. 

So, do you want to get a head start on that New Year’s resolution? Do you want feel proud of yourself after the holidays – instead of disappointed? Are you up for a fun challenge? 

All right, let’s go streaking! Make a plan now for logging your daily activity, and make sure you like and follow the Tales of Tami Facebook page. I’ll start posting on Thanksgiving Day. Here’s to a healthy, happy holidays!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Grand Rapids: Selfies, swearing, goats, chili ... and promises

Do you know what happens when you forget about nerves, time goals, mile splits and intensity? You remember to have FUN. Races can be awesomely fun, but I think I somehow forgot about that in recent months. After the unnecessary self-loathing and disappointment that followed Fort4Fitness, I made it a point to change my attitude and strategy for the Grand Rapids Half Marathon. My only goal for the day was to have FUN ... So I did.

Oh yeah, I also pushed Jan to an unplanned PR. That was the cherry on top of an already amazing race :)

Anyway, here are my keys to having fun at a race:

1. Run with a buddy. As planned, I ran with my sister, Jan. She agreed we would be "those people." You know, the ones you either want to run with ... or run away from. Ha! Luckily, we passed the serious pack of racers mid-course and found a couple of like-minded women who joined in our self-entertainment from about miles 8-12. There was plenty of laughter (and maybe a little bit of swearing).

2. Pick a great course. This one started in downtown Grand Rapids, which features some amazing architecture and a small-town vibe. Then we made our way along the Grand River toward some gorgeous park areas, which showed off the beauty of fall in Pure Michigan. It was so stunning, I didn't even mind the hills (Jan and I are half goat though, so we eat hills for breakfast).

2. Keep your phone out to take selfies and other pictures as often as possible. Feeling down? You can't frown in a selfie! (OK, Jan proved me wrong by flipping me the bird in an end-of-the-race shot. But otherwise she played along. Lol.)

3. Interact with spectators as much as possible. You can give a simple thumbs up or thank you, but high fives (not pictured because I'm not coordinated enough) are much better! (Just forget about flu season and Ebola for a little bit ...) They love when you take pictures and comment on their signs. I love when they oblige my request for MORE COWBELL!

4. Celebrate! The post-race party is just as important as the race itself. In Grand Rapids, race director Don Kern shakes the hand of every finisher ... and also agrees to take selfies. Haha! They had every sort of traditional recovery food imaginable (apples, bananas, Muscle Milk, yogurt, bagels, etc.) and plenty of non-traditional delights (Culver's ice cream, Wendy's Chili, Oreos and UNLIMITED beer from New Holland Brewing). As my preschooler says, "YUMMY IN MY TUMMY!"

So here's the deal. Obviously, I loved everything about this race. Obviously, I'd recommend it to any of my friends. But I'm going to take it one step further and commit to returning next year ... for the FULL marathon.

You read that right, I'm committing to running 26.2 miles on Oct. 18, 2015. (They just announced the date!) I've known for a while now that next year would be the year of the marathon for me, but I didn't quite know when or where it would happen. After my fun experience this weekend, the deal was sealed: Grand Rapids will be the home of my first marathon.

It's a little (OK, a lot) scary to type that out and put it out there in public, but I figure there's no time like the present! If I'm going to run a marathon, I'm going to do it up right. That means getting serious about my training and committing to strength and cross training more regularly. Over the next few months, I'm going to explore some new workout routines and schedules to get started on the LONG road to race day.

BUT that doesn't mean I'm going to forget the FUN of running. I might be challenged, stressed, pushed to my limits, but I want to do it all with a smile on my face. Next year, I want to be that same woman running down the finish chute, arms in the air, fist pumping and cheering with the crowds. Maybe I'll be too tired to take selfies, but I won't be too tired to shake Don's hand or sip some beer.

I promise you this: I'm going to run a marathon. And I'm going to have fun doing it! 

Monday, October 6, 2014

What We're Eating: Snacks for Weight Watchers

It took me a long time to realize the importance of snacks in my weight loss. For many years, I just starved myself between meals in an effort to lower my calorie intake. "I don't need a snack," I told myself. "I'll save the extra points for dinner."

Well, that didn't last. I was hungry, cranky and not really losing weight.

Eventually, I started to understand how snacks are a vital part of my daily nutrition plan. In addition to packing my lunch every day for work, I pack TWO snacks: one for the morning (usually eaten around 10 a.m.) and one for the afternoon (usually eaten around 3 p.m.). Every snack includes some sort of protein, such as yogurt, string cheese, hummus or something else. Why? Because protein takes longer to digest, so you stay satisfied longer. Don't believe me? Start adding a hardboiled egg to your afternoon apple - you'll notice a difference!

I also leave room in my tracker for an after-dinner snack most evenings: usually a glass of wine with popcorn or a Fiber One brownie. Sometimes, I treat myself to a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich or Greek frozen yogurt.

Several readers have asked me to publish a list of snack ideas, so here's my best attempt. PLEASE let me know if you have good ideas to add! I'm always looking for new foods to try.

Favorite low-point snacks:
  • Veggies with hummus (I usually eat 4 tablespoons) = 3 points
  • Veggies with homemade ranch dip (1/4 cup) = 1 point
  • Fat-free Greek yogurt (I'm on a kick with Dannon right now) = 2 points (Varies by brand/serving size)
  • Fresh fruit with fat-free cottage cheese (1/2 cup) = 1 point
  • Light string cheese = 1 point
  • Hardboiled egg = 2 points
  • Deli-sliced turkey (2 oz.) = 1 point
  • Pretzels = 3 points (serving size varies by brand)
  • Rice Krispie treat = 2 points (I was shocked to learn these were so low cal!)
  • Low-fat popcorn (I LOVE Boom Chicka Pop) = 1 point/cup (Again, varies by brand!)
  • Greek frozen yogurt (Healthy Choice makes small cups that are usually near their frozen meals, not with the ice cream products) = 4 points
  • Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches = 4 points
  • Fiber One Oats & Chocolate bar = 4 points
  • Fiber One Protein Bar = 5 points
  • Fiber One Brownie (Great chocolate treat with a glass of wine!) = 2 points
  • Wine (4 oz. glass) = 4 points 
  • To be fair ... Light beer = 4 points
  • Fruit with fat-free caramel dip (We like T. Marzetti brand, 2 tablespoons) = 3 points
  • Reduced-fat peanut butter (2 tablespoons) = 5 points (I don't have this often because it's kinda high for a snack, in my opinion)
Favorite 0 point fruits and veggies for snacks:
  • Bananas - I eat one EVERY morning with breakfast!
  • Apples - Stick an extra in your lunch pail because they are portable and can satisfy random cravings, especially on your commute
  • Grapes
  • Cherries - Though I'm not very good at gracefully spitting out the pits at my desk
  • Carrots
  • Sliced bell peppers
  • Cherry/grape tomatoes
  • Fresh pineapple
  • Fresh watermelon
Another note about snacks: Don't forget to plan them around your exercise! I need SOMETHING in my stomach about hour before I work out (In the morning, it's usually a Fiber One bar and a banana, with a cup of coffee). After, I try to refuel with something that has plenty of protein to help my muscles recover. (After my morning runs, that's usually a bowl of cereal or Greek yogurt with berries and granola.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The many, many emotions of a race

This is half race report, half cathartic rambling about the Fort4Fitness half-marathon. My goal was to come in under 2 hours, and my official time was 2 hours ... and 6 seconds. I apologize in advance for the length ... and the whining. 

Excited: You’ve been training for weeks, and you’re ready to finally see the results of your hard work. You have a plan, even if it’s vague, and you have some goals. Let’s do this thing!

Nervous: A few bad days make you wonder if you plans are dumb and your goals are realistic. Can I really do this? Did I set the bar too high? You consider dropping your expectations so you’re not disappointed.

Cocky: A few good days (and one awesome Warrior Dash) make you feel unstoppable. You hit a key workout and think, “This is in the bag.” 

Who wouldn't feel awesome after leaping over fire?

Anxious: You just want race day to hurry up and get here already! You have nightmares about being late to the starting line, and you might compare your husband’s driving to a grandmother the next morning because you don’t want that dream to come true. You jump and bob around the corrals for 20 minutes and don’t even notice a coworker when he walks RIGHT BY YOU and says hello. Whoops!

Liberated: The gun (or in my case REALLY loud cannon) is fired, and you’re finally off and running! Your feet start to fly with the crowd around you. 

Calm: At mile 5, you take note of your physical state. Breathing: steady. Legs: Happy. Mouth: A little dry. You sip from your Camelbak and power on. You’re right on pace!

Annoyed: Around mile 8, the course starts to twist and turn through some small hills. It’s nothing you haven’t dealt with before, but the pace group is bunching and runners are starting to cut you off around corners. You push ahead of the herd slightly to avoid feeling like a sardine. 

Panicked: Somewhere around mile 10, you start to wheeze a little and you can’t keep your head up. You take in some fuel and the pace group passes you, making you feel worse. You scramble on a downhill to catch back up. You hear a pace say you’re one minute, forty second ahead … 

Desperate: Your legs and brain start to shut down. The pace group charges ahead, and it’s all you can do to keep them in your sights. Your eyes flash between your watch and their signs, which are getting smaller in the distance. 

Imagine this outfit on me and in motion.

Numb: One foot in front of the other, you’re not sure if you’re really running anymore or just shuffling. The watch says you still have a chance, but your brain says you’ve lost all hope. You can’t seem to will your legs to move any faster. 

Determined: As you’re dragging yourself to the finish, someone yells, “Sprint when you hit the corner!” Miraculously, you do. Your feel the dirt fly up behind you, and you give all your might until you cross the mat. 

Disgusted: Safely across finish line, you stop your watch. It says you’ve missed your goal by 20 seconds. You know it would take a serious miracle for the timing chip to read much different. A high school classmate (the one you wanted to beat because APPARENTLY you’re still a competitive teenage jock) is the first to greet you. And he’s already got a medal around his neck. “Shit, you beat me!” is all you manage to say. Later, you remember to not be an asshole and congratulate him instead. 

Disappointed: You find your husband and daughter in the crowd and nearly cry. “I missed it,” you say, and pout a little. You wander around the finish area in a daze, eating pretzels and finally hobbling toward the results table. It’s official: You missed your goal by 6. Freaking. Seconds. 

Dead: Still in shock from running 13.1 long miles, you practically shut down on the ride home. You barely manage to walk into the restaurant for lunch, and you don’t completely comprehend your husband’s talk of races for next year. More races? No way. He gives you the pep talk you need to hear, and you agree to stay positive.  

Count on your BRF for the best racing advice.

Depressed: As the day pass and more people ask how you did, you try to keep your chin up. You contemplate redemption at your next race (when you’re supposed to be running slow and “just for fun”). You Google three-week training plans. You seek advice from running pros online. You want someone to tell you what to do. 

Enlightened: Your BRF says EXACTLY what you needed to hear: Don’t do it. You’ll injure yourself OR be even more disappointed if you don’t hit your goal. Back off – just have fun. Try again next season. 

Relieved: In a split second, everything is back on plan, and you're looking forward to running for fun again. You really are feeling positive – not just saying you are. The hard part is over, and you accept the fact that your big race is DONE, no matter the time. You hear the leaves crunching under your feet and feel the crisp autumn air. Suddenly, you could care less about those 6 seconds – this moment is what matters. Just keep running. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

What happened and what's coming

It's been a while since I've had the time to open up the dashboard and write a decent post. But, LIFE HAPPENS, right? Here's an update: 


  • I went on a three-day work trip and ate ALL THE FOOD. Seriously, I was contemplating writing an entire blog post on how NOT to eat well when traveling. I had good intentions to find healthy options, but all those plans went right out the window ... Oh well. The positives were that I learned a lot in our training, and I managed to put in some treadmill miles and a strength workout while staying at the hotel. 
  • I ran my third official half-marathon! Kim, Kim and I took it easy at the Parlor City Trot in Bluffton, using the course as a training run. It was a WONDERFUL way to start my Labor Day weekend. I finished in 2:08 and change - it wasn't a PR, but it was good enough to unexpectedly place second in my age group. Go me!
Yes, Kim pushed baby Kate through the entire race. I'm still in awe. 
  • That same day, Kenlee fell and broke her arm while going "on an adventure" from our couch to our recliner. This was NOT a wonderful way to start my Labor Day weekend. After the initial ER visit, we returned to the hospital the following week to have her arm set under general anesthesia. Thankfully, all went well and she is healing as expected. She's promised us "No more adventures." Meanwhile, I ran ALL THE MILES trying to battle my anxiety. 
Her arm may be broken, but she's still performing her royal duties as a princess.
  • My husband has been a rockstar in his 10k training! Yesterday, he ran 5.63 miles ... while pushing Kenlee in the stroller! I'm so proud of him, and I can't wait to watch him cross the 10k finish line in Grand Rapids next month. 
  • We punked out on our first triathlon because we realized we just didn't have the time or energy to devote to swimming and biking. Turns out the race was cancelled anyway, but it felt good to be honest with ourselves and admit that it was just too much to take on at this point in our training. 
  • I battled the world's most annoying corn on my right foot ... and I think I won. If the story wasn't so ridiculous, I would devote an entire post to my insanely silly antics trying to get rid of this thing. For now, it's definitely shrinking, thanks to some new (wider) shoes, some REAL running socks and LOTS of Dr. Scholl's pads. 

  • Our second Warrior Dash is this weekend! After finishing last year's race, we instantly knew we needed to complete another. This time, however, we'll be racing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which offers a MUCH FLATTER course. Either way, we're prepared because my sister-in-law Holly put us through some training with an obstacle course at my niece and nephew's birthday party. Aside from the fact that I lost my lead at the cornhole station (argh!), it was pretty awesome (and entertaining)!
Kyle and Kenlee digging for keys in the "Mommy's Morning" obstacle race.
  • My fourth half-marathon will be Fort4Fitness Sept. 27 in Fort Wayne. I was going to focus on Grand Rapids as my big race for the fall, but once my employer sent out the reminder that they would reimburse our race registration fees ... I just couldn't say no! It will be another family event as Kyle has registered for the 4-mile option. I've heard soooo many great things about this event, so I'm excited to experience everything for myself. 
  • My FIFTH half-marathon will be in Grand Rapids Oct. 19. Yes, that means I will have run three half marathons in less than two months ... Holy cow, I never thought those words would come out of MY mouth! Because I packed my race schedule for the fall, I don't plan to go fast at this one. I hope I can just log some quality miles with my sister and take in what should be some gorgeous fall scenery in Pure Michigan. Ahhhh ... It will be a nice way to wind down the fall racing season. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

7 truths for new Weight Watchers members

Track, track, track! 
1. You’ll quickly feel overwhelmed. From the outside, the program seems simple. Count points, lose weight, right? Not exactly. I think a lot of first timers have trouble sorting out all the “rules,” and sometimes it’s hard to figure out where to even begin. Don’t freak out! Over time, you’ll know the points values of your favorite foods by heart, and IT WILL GET EASIER. (NOTE: If you choose to go to meetings, the leader will always offer a new member orientation after the regular session. Don’t miss it!)

2. There will be food you don’t know how to track. Weight Watchers has a list of millions of foods in its database, but it doesn’t know the recipe for Aunt Susie’s strawberry cheesecake lush – and neither do you. Rather than freak out over calculating the precise points values, find a substitute or make a best guess. Tracking estimated points values – even if you’re wrong – is better than not tracking at all. Don’t sweat it. 

3. All of the Weight Watchers food will be delicious – and expensive. Yes, the free food samples in the meeting rooms are yummy. And yes, those SmartOnes meals are a bargain at the grocery store sometimes. But NO, you don’t need to buy them to lose weight. There are plenty of alternative snacks and meals out there, and they are just as low in points and A WHOLE LOT cheaper. I’m not saying you should avoid the WW products, I’m just saying they’re not necessary for your success. 

4. You'll have bad weeks. Translation: You will gain weight. In a perfect world, we’d lose weight every single week and be successful all the way to our goals. In the real world, however, there are ups and downs. My weight tracker chart looks like it’s doing the wave over the last two years – up, down, up, down. But overall, the trend was more down than up. So don’t get discouraged by a bad week – or two, or three. Use those weeks as learning opportunities and motivation to get back on track.

This is what three Weight Watchers memberships over five years looks like ...

5. You'll have good weeks. Translation: You will lose weight and feel like a rockstar. Those weeks when you hit a magic number or drop more than you expected will make you feel unstoppable. Reflect back and think about what you did that week to make it happen. Then celebrate! Be sure to share with your meeting group, your friends or anyone who will listen! Every bit of weight loss (even when it's tiny) is awesome. 

6. You’ll think you can do it alone. I know countless people (myself included) who have gotten on a roll with the program and decided to do it “on their own” by counting/logging points with a good old notepad and pencil. Great, that *might* work for a while. But the support from meetings or online groups will be GONE, and the accountability of paying for a program will be lost as well.  Even at my goal weight, I’ve found the extra support of my Friday meeting to play a crucial role in my success. I'm not saying it can't be done – it can. I just think paying for a membership has benefits that are well worth the cost.

7. Eventually, you'll understand what they mean by LIFETIME. Yes, when you reach your goal, you are considered a Lifetime member and don't have to pay a membership fee anymore (THANK GOODNESS!). But the BIGGER benefit is that you have learned the strategies you need to make a permanent lifestyle change. No, there's no guarantee you'll keep the weight off, but I truly believe all of the tools and lessons you gain from being a Weight Watchers member are designed for long-term change, not short-term results. Isn't that what most of us are looking for?