Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Herding Cats, Dog Puke and Other Stories of My First Half Marathon! (aka Part 3: The Final Chapter)

I’ve had some complaints. I didn’t “tell all” with my last two posts. They just seemed so LENGTHY!
Soooo…here’s a couple of gems I didn’t put in the last two blogs…ENJOY!!!

Don’t Worry, I Have Plan C

Around the time I was REALLY getting worried about my luggage, we came up with Plan B. Plan B was to get my second string running gear to Vegas by having Lu (my roomie) and Cody (Ditto’s hubby) meet at my house and pack it and bring it with him. But many of you don’t know I also had a Plan C.

Plan C included going shopping on Sunday morning. This would have worked although it would not have been very cost effective!

About 4pm, when my luggage hadn’t arrived and I hadn’t gotten a hold of Lu, I decided to have a cocktail. I ordered one of those fancy slushy drinks they have all over Vegas with the extra shot in a test tube. (No judgements, I needed a cocktail….badly!)
Anyway, I’m drinking my deliciousness when someone (ELSE) asks me what I’m going to do. Now, I recognize that people were concerned, but all the concern was freaking me out! I explained to my friend Plan B and then, probably because the drink was so strong, I held up 3 fingers and said “And don’t worry, I have Plan C”.

It got quiet for a second and the whole group (about 6 people) all busted out laughing at me….good thing I have a sense of humor about myself…because it was ridiculous and hilarious.

Herding Cats….

Poor Johnny! Somehow, he got roped into making sure we had a table for dinner.

In Vegas.
For 14 People.
Who were all staying in different hotels.

He’s such a trooper. He waited patiently from when we arranged to meet him until we all got there about an hour later.

As Johnny put it, “This is like herding cats!”

Luckily, it was a group of hungry (mostly thirsty) cats who wanted to be together.
The simple fact that WE ALL made it to this place for dinner, then met before and after the race was a miracle in itself.

Having such great, easy-going, FUN friends is a true blessing!

I Saw You But I Didn’t Know it Was You!

My friend, Cedric, came to Vegas. I haven’t seen him in over 2 years. We keep up on Facebook and I heart him to the moon and back. He’s such a great, irreverent, sweet soul. It was so awesome to see him and he gave me the biggest compliment of all.
He met us at the restaurant where the cats had been herded. We had a large party (14people) and were put in the corner as they generally do to loud obnoxious people. I was talking to friends, facing the wall when I received a text that simply said, “I’m here”.

I turned around and made a beeline for the bar and there he was. After a long hug and HUGE SMILE, Cedric said the 9 sweetest words in the English language…

”I saw you, but I didn’t know it was you!”

You see, he had walked to the table and only seen me from behind, he said I was so much smaller that he didn’t recognize me!
It was so awesome to see him!!!

I Can’t Get Over There, Let Me Text You A Picture

After the race we were tired, and sore, and tired. Ditto and I were lying in different beds in the hotel rooms with our legs up on the wall so the swelling would go down. Lying like this feels good after a race. Ditto was talking about her toes and the nails. It looks like she was sacrificing a toenail to the running Gods.

I told her I wanted to see it, but couldn’t move.

She told me she wanted me to see it, but couldn’t move.

Then she said, “I’ll text you a picture”
Which she did!

Lazy or Smart? You be the judge!


If you’ve read the other blogs you know that Ditto and I had to share the back seat of part of our airport ride with Cat and Jeff’s 90 pound yellow lab, Rex.
Well, we had to pick Rex up and take him home too. We got into the back seat with this enormous bucket of love and hit the road home.

The whole trip home was a discussion of what to do for dinner that night and what we would do for New Year’s Eve.

We were about 5 minutes away from home when another car cut in front of us causing us to swerve and for poor Rex to hit his nose on the back of Jeff’s seat.

Suddenly Rex was agitated. He was turning around in his seat, which in turn means dog butt in Ditto’s face. He got back into his original position and proceeded to vomit all over Ditto’s leg and a bit into her purse.

Now, the two of us are both holding ourselves up off the seats so dog throw up doesn’t drift over. After running 13 miles less than 24 hours before this is no easy feat. My legs were shaking and my head was out the window.

I was the lucky one.

Poor Ditto, puke on her jeans, and right next to the saddest, sorriest pooch in history.

We jumped out of the car as soon as it stopped and Ditto grabbed her luggage to change.

I grabbed her purse. It was the least I could do. I wouldn’t let her touch it, I cleaned it out. It wasn’t THAT awful.

Jeff cleaned out the car, while Cat laughed her butt off we me and Ditto in the kitchen. Cat was both horrified and amused. In her words, “It was like he sh!t out of his mouth!”

And Rex, well, he sat in the backyard for a while staring inside at us. Then he came in and apologized.

How can you stay mad at this face?

Overall, this experience was more than hard work and accomplishment. It was who I got to share this experience with.

Seasoned runners like Johnny, Joey, Deb, Ang, Sue and Cat

Rookies like Ryan, Ditto, Bil and Me

And who can forget our "Athletic Supporters"? Those who didn't run but cheered us on...Danielle, Jess, Nicole, Jeff, Vinson and Cedric!

My weekend could have been super stressful with lost luggage and so many people to organize, but it wasn't. It was awesome.

Seeing my friends waiting for me under the "Y" sign was as awesome a moment as crossing the finish line because when I felt like I couldn't run anymore these folks (and others that couldn't be there) were the ones who carried me.

Simply put...Be Jealous Because My Friends Are Awesome!

(oh, and they can beat your honor student in a foot race...)

Friday, December 9, 2011

RACE DAY aka My First Half Marathon Part Deux

When we last left off, I had gotten my luggage, it was 3am and I was carbed up and ready for a good night’s sleep…

On Sunday morning Angela, Ditto and I all woke up around 9am. The goal had been to sleep longer, but I think we were all a bit nervous.

We decided to put on our sweats and go find some breakfast. The goal was to have a good size breakfast and then something small, but filling around 2pm.
Since most races are first thing in the morning, figuring out how and when to eat was a challenge for us. .. and for everyone else apparently.
When we went downstairs, every line was so FREAKIN’ long! When we finally got in a line at a place that made smoothies and crepes (A smoothie for Ang, crepes with eggs, ham and cheese for me and Ditto) everyone around us was trying to figure out the same thing.
The line for Starbucks was no different…long and full of people who were trying to find the best way to eat and drink for the day.
The three of us really took it easy, but you could tell both Heather and I were getting nervous. We were fidgety. Organizing our gear, figuring out our plans, etc.
The plan was to meet the rest of the gang at 4pm and then head to gear check together.
We were all ready to go about 2:30, walked over to grab a quick sandwich at Quizno’s and then finished up our preparations and headed out.

We met up with everybody and this is when I got really nervous. Here are my nervous traits:

1. I obviously over-hydrated and was nervous because I peed at least 3 times between meeting the group and getting to the corral.
2. I couldn’t talk. I was really in my head the whole walk to the gear check area. For those of you who know me, I ALWAYS have something to say.
3. When I did have something to say I would start to cry. Okay, okay…I’m such a girl sometimes. This event moved me. What I was about to do moved me. My progress moved me. But most of all my friends moved me.

All this time I wanted to stop and thank Cat and Ditto, but every time I tried I started to cry. I said what I wanted to say eventually, but I’m pretty sure I said it really, really fast so I’ll say it again here.

Ditto- I don’t know how “ready” I was that night, but every bit of ready was because of you. Training with you (okay, okay behind you…) has been both fun and difficult. Becoming friends and running buddies with you has been a highlight of this experience.

Cat- I literally would NOT have done this without your encouragement and belief in me. You have been the voice in my head every time I thought I couldn’t do something. You started this ball rolling and there is no way I can repay you for the gift you have given me. You are the angel who gave me my life back.

Enough of that mushy crap…

We finally all said goodbye at the corrals. All of my friends were in corrals 16-22.

I was in 31.
It took me about 30 minutes to get to the start line. That’s 30 minutes to stand in the cold, over think my performance and get the nervous pees again.

This race was crazy. Over 42,000 people trying to run to the same place! I have nothing to compare it to and I thought it would be crazy, but I’ve never dodged and weaved so much in my life.

Here’s my race rundown:
Mile 1-Awesome! I felt great! I felt ready! I had to pee.
Mile 2 – Had to stop to pee. Stood in line for about 6 minutes. Ruined my time. BOOOOO!!!!
Miles 3-4 – I had organized the run into 3 parts. Start to Stratosphere, Stratosphere through Downtown and Back, and Stratosphere to Finish. Getting to the Stratosphere at Mile 4 was awesome!
Miles 4-8 – I was still trying to make up my time from the bathroom. (I wanted to be under a 13:30 pace) But I was doing okay. I remembered to take my Shot Blocks and tried to enjoy the race all while dodging people. I would find groups of runners and latch on to them going through the holes of people walking.
And I looked like this…EWWW

Mile 8- I had to pee again. This time I took the time to stretch and rest. It was only a two minute stop.
Miles 9-11 – Still doing okay. When I hit mile 11 I started crying (again). I realized two things.

1. This is the furthest I’ve ever run. I had only gotten to 10.5 in training runs.
2. I only had 2.1 miles left!

Miles 11-13.1 – I really wanted to catch up on my time so I was running as hard as I could, but every time I looked at my watch my pace was really slow. It made me mad, but I didn’t stop!

FINISH- The finish line is a safe zone, so you don’t see your friends until you get through it. I got my picture taken , got some water, snacks and made my way to where I was meeting my friends.

It was really cold that night and just as I was leaving the safe zone it started to rain. I can’t imagine what it was like to run in because the rain was so cold it felt like daggers hitting my skin.
I got to the meeting place and there they were…freezing and waiting for me. It was so special and great. I love my peeps!

The rest of the evening was both eventful and uneventful.

Eventful- Overcrowded dangerous halls trying to get back to the hotel. Rock N Roll has a few kinks to work out.

This was the crowd trying to leave Mandalay Bay!

Uneventful- I wasn’t feeling well and went right to bed! I didn’t even eat.

Eventful – I had so many texts! My parents signed up to get alerts and texted me when I finished. My friend Mike had taken guesses at where I was throughout the course and written encouraging texts at 3 miles, 6 miles, 9 miles and the finish.

I’m so stinkin’ grateful for the wonderful people in my life!


2:59:42, I came in 25895th!

And I feel great. I was sore, but not so much that I couldn’t move. In fact, Cat is running another half this Sunday and if I didn’t already have Mom and Daughter Brunch plans, I probably would’ve signed up too.

I can’t wait to get back on the pavement. I’m taking this week easy and just doing yoga and walking.

Next year’s goal?

3 Destination Half Marathons:
1. Dallas
2. ?
3. Dublin, Ireland!
I think I need to find somewhere that starts with a “D” to go with my theme!

Nothing can bring me down from this “Runner’s High”.
A year ago, if you had asked me if I wanted to run a half marathon, I would have called you cuckoo. Now I can say I’m a half marathon runner!

And I have the GLOW IN THE DARK MEDAL to prove it

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Always Carry On Your Running Clothes aka My First Half Marathon

As most of you already know, I was both nervous and excited for my first half marathon.

For those who don’t run, running is more than going outside and pretending someone is chasing you. Its knowing what to wear, when and what to eat, how to pace yourself and what music to listen to.

Everyone is different and I really took this seriously.
Well, I seriously as I can take anything.

You see, I chose my first half marathon to be in Vegas. Here’s what I told people when they asked me why:
“I figure if I hate it, I can just run right in to a bar!”

I like to have a “Plan B”

It was more than that of course. It was my friends. They were running or had already run this race before. It was at night! How fun to run down the strip with the lights and the signs and the men handing you pictures of naked ladies! It was a weekend in VEGAS! Yeah, maybe I couldn’t really do my normal “Vegas Damage” but I could still have fun….

To quote my own Facebook page, last weekend was, “the craziest, most stressful, most hilarious, most difficult and proudest weekend of my life!”

And it all started Saturday morning!


Saturday morning I went to pick up Ditto (aka the other Heather) and we went to meet Jeff and Cat (aka Staci) to carpool down to the airport.

All we had to do was squeeze in the back seat with their 90 pound yellow lab, Rex, to Pasadena and then Jeff’s brother would graciously drive us to the airport. No taxis, no parking fees, EASY BREEZY!

And it was that easy. However, we learned early on….Don’t listen to Jeff!

Jeff picks the slowest lines so it takes a long time to get anywhere. We managed to get some beer and breakfast! (Carbing up is important and it’s never too early for a beer when you’re on your way to Vegas!)

We got up and went to go to the bathroom and Jeff says, “We have plenty of time, the plane’s not even there yet.”

However, while I’m in the restroom I hear the following, “Okay Southwest flight 1347 to Vegas… Group B line up!”

What?! Group B? Uhhh, what happened to the plane not being there?

We made it on the plane and after one of the bumpiest trips of my life (thus far…I still had to get home!) We landed safely in Vegas.

We got to the baggage carousel and there was so much luggage! I’m not entirely sure why there were 3 empty carousels, yet ours held the luggage of four different flights, but it did.

The carousel went round and round. There was Ditto’s bag. There was Jeff’s bag. There was Cat’s bag.

Where’s my bag?

With my running clothes?

No, seriously, where’s my bag?

Jeff is a gentleman. He takes my baggage ticket and goes to the Southwest booth.

He’s gone for a while and I decide to join him. When I get there I tell the attendant, “Yes, I’m missing a red, Nike duffle bag.” And suddenly Jeff is laughing.

He says, “I just told her it was a black rolling bag!”

Not even close, Garcia!

So I make a report. She assures me this happens often and it will probably be on the next flight and in my hotel in the next couple of hours.

I’m calm, cool and collected. Being a seasoned traveler, this has happened before, in worse places. I’m not concerned. However, Cat and Ditto are worried. Cat says, “What will you do if your stuff doesn’t come.”

I say, “It’s gonna come, I’m not worried.”

I even make a quick “Vegas 1, Heather 0” joke on Facebook and worry our friends that are driving and solicits a comment from an experienced runner, “Rule #1- Always carry on your running gear.”

Really? Information I could have used YESTERDAY!

I decided I was going to think positively. There are about 20 flights a day between Burbank and Las Vegas. My bag would make it on to one of them.

This was at 10am.

Then it was noon.
Then we went to the expo to pick up our bibs and shirts and shop a little! Here’s our first official race photo!

Then it was 2pm.

Then it was 4pm

And I started to freak out!

Luckily, Ditto’s hubby, Cody, had decided at the last minute to join us. He had an 8pm flight that night. I arranged for him to meet my roommate at our house. She packed me a bag of my “B-Team” stuff and he promised to “carry it on”!

I told you I like to have a Plan B. (Plan C was to go buy an entire new outfit at the Nike store on Sunday morning! Thank Goodness it was a night race!)

Meanwhile, I was eating, drinking and being merry while enjoying my awesome friends! I realized I would be wearing the same clothes for the next few days and resigned myself to that. My friend, Cedric, even came out from West Virginia to see me (and his family, but mostly me!). It was a fun night and I got to do what I love the most. Spend time with cool people and make jokes at my own expense.

Front Row seated (left to right): Danielle, Ditto, Joey, ME!
Left side of table standing (front to back): Nicole, Deb, Jeff, Cat
Back row seated (left to right): Johnny, Angela, Jessica, Ryan
Right side of table standing (back to front): Vinson, Bil

Plus, when you’re taking it easy in Vegas, you HEAR the craziest things.

For example, while in the restroom I heard the following conversation in the stall adjacent to mine:

Sober Mom: Come on honey, get up, we’ll help you walk
Drunk Daughter: I can’t (slur, slur)don’t want to walk. I will walk when I don’t need help.
Sober Mom: We’ll help you
Drunk Daughter: If I straightened out my butt right now, I’ll throw up. Just three more throw ups and I’ll be good.
Sober Mom: (stunned silence)
Drunk Daughter: But I really want a Pepsi and some food
Sober Mom: I’m not bringing you a Pepsi and some food to the restroom. If you want food, you’ll have to walk.

I couldn’t stay around to see how it turned out for fear they would hear me laughing and know it was AT them.

Or you see funny things, like:
The poor guy in line in front of me at the convenience shop who’s debit card was declined when he tried to buy…..condoms.
Luckily, he had a credit card.

Cody arrived around 11pm and met up with us around 1am. And he had with him the second string running clothes! The planets were re-aligning!

We managed to stay up until 2am (our goal) and carb up - Pancakes, bacon, eggs, toast, etc – before heading back to our hotel.

Ditto, Cat, Angela and I headed back to our respective hotel rooms. While Cody and his buddies stayed out to play.

When we got in the room, I went to the bathroom and we had a phone in there. Curiously, the message light was blinking.

Now, Southwest assured me they would call me when my luggage got to Las Vegas and was on its way to the hotel, both at the airport when I filed the report and when I called (twice). So, it couldn’t be that it was there! Could it?

I couldn’t make the bathroom phone work, so I rushed out and went to the one in the hotel room. I listened to the message and screeched, “IT’S HERE!!!!”

I ran downstairs and got my bag. In it, my cute going out clothes, my make-up and other toiletries, pajamas and of course THE FIRST STRING RUNNING CLOTHES!!! YEAH!

You should have seen the smile on my face…OH WAIT… here it is!

Part Two…RACE DAY ….coming soon

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Truth About Endorphins...

Tuesday 11/15/2011

Today, I had a bad day.

I couldn't put my finger on it, but I was blue.

I wanted to crawl back into bed and get out tomorrow.

I'm sure there are a plethora of reasons why I could have been sad.

I'm busy. I do it to myself.
I'm overwhelmed with my busy-ness.
I have a hard time shaking the feeling that I'm disappointing people.
I have a hard time shaking the feeling that I'm disappointing myself.

So all day I felt,well, blah.

I knew I had to get a workout in today. I debated running, going to spin, or getting back into bed and exercising my right to change my mind.

But I ran.

I never thought I'd become a runner. I started running because I was stubborn. I decided to do a 5K and wasn't going to stop until I did.

I kept running because it was helping me drop the LBs.

I like making goals. I really like accomplishing goals.

But today I wasn't feeling it. I went anyway.

Here's why:

I like the way my co-workers look at me when I leave with my running clothes on, "There goes that crazy girl on another run..."

I like the way the soccer moms look at me at the park like they're jealous that they don't get to go for a run...

I like it that tomorrow I might hear a friend or an acquaintance say, "I think I saw you running on McBean last night."

But most of all, I like endorphins.

From Wikipedia...

Endorphins ("endogenous morphine") are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters.[1] They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise,[2] excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm,[3][4] and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being.
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E

Tonight, on my run, I had a "runner's high". "During a release of endorphins, the person may be exposed to bodily harm from strenuous bodily functions after going past his or her body's physical limit. This means that runners can keep running despite pain, continuously surpassing what they once considered to be their limit"

That pain doesn't have to be physical pain. Today my endorphins helped me with my emotional pain. My blue mood faded a little bit with each thump thump thump of my shoes on the pavement.

With each mile, I felt a little bit better and honestly, if I hadn't seen that coyote next to the paseo, I probably would've run further.

At the end of my run I wasn't happy but I was content.
I was relaxed.
I wasn't overwhelmed.
I felt good.
My body felt good.
My mind felt good.
My soul felt good.

If hindsight is 20/20, then I can see why the old Heather spent a lot of time drowning in melancholy.

She was pre-endorphins.

I'm grateful to the pavement.
I'm grateful to my body.
I'm grateful to be healthy and happy.

I'm so grateful.

We all have days like this. Days that nothing seems to go our way. Days that we simply feel, BLECH.
But it's important to find something that puts things into perspective. Something that makes you feel like your authentic self. Something to bring out those endorphins.

We have a choice, to drown in the sadness or find those endorphins.

I don't think it "is what it is", I think it is what you make it.

Tonight I made that four miles my beeyotch.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Race #11 SC Marathon 5K: A Lesson in Milestones

For those of you who don't know, I'm running a race for each month of 2011.

Race #1-3/5/2011-Mardi Gras Madness 5K -40:22
Race #2-3/12/2011-St Patrick's Day 5K (tough cross country course)-47:12
Race #3-4/9/2011- Footsteps 5K-39:36
Race #4-4/16/2011 Down & Dirty Mud Run 5K- 1:02
Race #5-5/14/2011 BMCF Fight It 5K-Co-Chair
Race #6-6/5/2011 Love Run 10K (1st 10K)-1:22:12
Race #7- 7/4/2011 Independence Day Classic- 38:18
Race #8 - 8/21/2011 McConnell's Endurance Event 10K- 1:16:09
Race #9 - 9/3/2011 Disneyland 5K - 35:43
Race #10 - 10/2/11 Santa Monica 5000 - 1:15:09
Race #10.5 - 10/23/2011-Sandy Feet 5K-Temecula - 36:04
Race #11 - 11/6/2011 - Santa Clarita Marathon 5K - 34:42

Each year the city I live in, Santa Clarita, hosts a marathon. This marathon is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon so it’s a big deal. There is also a half marathon, a 5K and a 2.6 mile Mayor’s Walk.

Last year at this time I had just begun my journey, I had several friends running that day in the 5K and the half and even one running the marathon. I decided to do the Mayor’s Walk. This is the first fitness event I paid for and fully participated in.

I woke up early, put on my “Mayor’s Walk” shirt, (Such a nerd, I don’t wear race shirts on race day anymore!) and went and did the 2.6 mile walk. It took be about 45 minutes to do it and my friends who did the 5K were waiting at the finish line with a “Go Heather” sign.

Me in 2010... (furthest on left, obvi!)

It was a great experience and the seeds were planted for me wanting to do a race. That day, I thought to myself, “Next year I’m doing the 5K!”

And I did.

I woke up Sunday morning to pouring,driving rain. I’ve never run in the rain before and was very nervous and worried.

I’m a spoiled Southern California girl. There are songs about how it never rains here. When it rains even a quarter of an inch we go on “Storm Watch”! I get that people think it’s crazy and we’re wimps. Well, we are, but I get sunshine 85% of the year. I get poolside weather from April to October. So, call me a wimp….I don’t care.

But it was raining...hard. I decided that I’m doing it. I’m running in the rain. I made this specific goal a year ago. It’s also part of my goal to run a race for each month of 2011. This was my November race, I couldn’t miss it.

I got up, got dressed and headed out.

I met my running buddies, Ditto (who does almost all my races with me) and Deb at Deb’s apartment. Deb’s apartment is literally steps away from the starting line. We drank some coffee, got ourselves nice and toasty and headed down.
We were so close that we went leisurely.

While on the second floor, we looked over the railing and said, “Look at all those poor people standing in the rain, we’re so lucky!” When we hit the street I had a brilliant idea. I said, “I don’t want to fake anything. This is probably gonna suck. But, I’d like to come up with some positive things we can focus on. I’ll start…I’m so glad I bought a HAT!”

Deb, “We all have shirts that zip up to our necks so water doesn’t run down our chest”


Ditto, “We got to meet at Deb’s so we’ll be back and warm in no time”


We were laughing, the photographer was taking our picture and the spectators were all walking towards us.

Wait a minute, why are the spectators walking towards us?

Deb says out loud to anyone who may be listening ,“Did the race start?”

Random stranger, “YES!”

I look at my Garmin and it’s 7:03am. The race started at 7:00am. We must’ve been walking in the stairwell when the starting gun went off. We’re dorks!
Luckily it’s a chip timed race, so it didn’t matter too much. We organize ourselves and get going. This is the last I see of my friends who finish in the 28th and 29th minute of the race.

Now, I’m running too fast. I can’t breathe. This has gotten me all discombobulated. I concentrate on regulating my breath with the song that’s on my iPod Shuffle. About half a mile in I relax and get my stride.

Now that I’m in the back with the walkers and very slow runners (I’m just slow, not very slow) I have to get around people. Yelling, “On your left!” messes with my breathing a bit too, but I’m only getting wetter and now there are puddles. My feet are officially soaked and squishy and cold.

People are wearing plastic ponchos and trash bags. I’m in my running clothes. The dry wick clothing keeps the water off of my skin pretty well though, so that’s a bonus. The hat is shielding my face and my shirt has thumb holes so I can hide my frozen fingers in there. I’m not even looking at my Garmin, which is strange for me. I see the 1st mile marker and take a peek. I’m doing pretty well. Wow,

I’m running kind of fast for me.

The race is flat and comfortable (besides the rain). Right before Mile 3 we go on bridges that go over the city streets. For some reason the incline on the bridges feels really steep. I run on these bridges at least once a week, I think maybe I was going faster than usual, but I feel myself slow down and I don’t want to because I’m almost done. I know in my heart, my head and my body that I’m going to PR. I didn’t set a goal for the day, but I wanted to PR really badly.

I see the home stretch. I can’t see my friends, but I can hear them cheering me on, standing in the rain watching for me with my mom. That’s right, my biggest fan was there getting soaking wet just to see me finish. I ran through and saw the time 37:53!

That sounds bad, but it made me feel good! I KNEW I left AT LEAST 3 minutes late. My Garmin said, 34:49, so I felt like I did it!

AND I DID! Official time = 34:42 A full ONE MINUTE AND ONE SECOND FASTER than my previous PR!

(I found my time out while having a much needed recovery beer at 8am)

I guess the point of my story is this: YOU CAN DO IT.

One year ago I was a grossly overweight person who could barely walk 2.6 miles in under an hour and now I’m over 80 pounds lighter and finishing 5Ks in the top 43% of my age group and training for a half marathon.

Everyone’s goals aren’t the same as mine. I don’t think everyone is meant to run like I am but I do believe that if you set your mind to something, if you make a goal and focus on it, you can achieve it.

Believe in yourself.

Tell the excuses to “suck it”


You’re only a failure if you don’t try.

Me in 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wrapping My Head Around Me

I can’t wrap my head around the new me. My mind is not catching up with my body.

So many people are noticing the changes. I get a lot of compliments and it’s truly lovely.
I smile.
I say “Thank You”.
I joke and tell people to say it again. But I’m consumed with the feeling that I’m still the “fat girl”.

I can’t bring myself to shop for clothes in a regular store. I go to the same stores I went to before and buy clothes because I need the “airbag” of being able to get that bigger size if I need it.

I stare at my body in the mirror, picking apart the “not so great” parts rather than focusing on the really fantastic changes.

I know the people who know me see the difference, but I almost want to wear a sign that says, “I’ve lost over 80 pounds! I’m still fat, but not like I used to be!” so the people who didn’t know me before don’t judge me.

OH LORD! I hate that I even wrote that last sentence.

It’s because I constantly judge ME and this makes me so OVERLY concerned that others are doing it as well.

I never thought that losing weight would solve all my problems. BUT I’ve been blindsided by the fact that it has brought on a different set of issues.

Different body issues.
Different mind issues.
Different spirit issues.

I WANT to feel beautiful and awesome and sexy.
I want to feel strong and thin and fast.
And a lot of the time, I totally do.

However, there’s this chubby girl inside me that hasn’t fully departed and she casts shadows of doubt.
She reminds me that as far as I’ve come, I have further to go.
She reminds me that this next leg of the journey is going to be even more difficult.
And although the realist in me appreciates her candor, it brings the rest of me down.

And I just can’t get her to STFU!

Please believe me when I say that I AM proud of myself.
I, above all, know my sacrifices and hard work and BY NO MEANS do I feel sorry for myself.
I am just ready to look in the mirror and see what everyone else sees.

I remember being overweight and glancing at my reflection in the mirror and wondering who the fat chick was following me. I was in denial about what I truly looked like.

Now it’s the opposite. Where there is a girl with a more pronounced waist and cheekbones and waaaay smaller boobs, I see rolls and fat and ewwwww.

I want to look in the mirror and recognize myself as a friend. I want to see someone that I’m proud of. I’VE WORKED SO HARD! The voices of doubt and negativity are quieter, but they’re still there….and somehow they’re still just a bit louder than my true voice.

So, my newest challenge is not losing weight. I’m doing that, albeit slowly.
It isn’t running farther. I’m doing that too. Slowly as well, but it’s getting done.
It’s not becoming stronger. That’s happening.

My newest (and greatest) challenge is this:

Not just someone who simply IS thinner, faster and stronger

BUT someone who *FEELS*

I’m ready for my body, mind and spirit to be on the same page.
I’m ready for my stars to align.
I’m so freakin’ ready.

I Motivate ME!

***I also blog on a website and sometimes they make it on there, but not here...today I'm posting some old ones :) ***

I went to a Boot Camp last week.

Allow me to preface this story with how welcoming, fun and lovely the people running the Boot Camp were. There was no crazy Louis Gossett, Jr. guy calling me “May-O-Naise” as I drudged through mud and up and over walls. Just a super attractive, really nice couple who took turns leading us through some pretty tough exercises.

It was leg day.

It all started because I have a new friend. He recognized that I’m a “work in progress” and said, “Come to the Boot Camp. It’s free the first time. I’ll be there.”

So, a free Boot Camp, with support. Why not?

Here’s why not….. for me.

I am my own worst critic. I hate, LOATHE, when I can’t do something that everyone else is doing. Then I over do it. Every time I felt like I had to stop, I felt like a failure. This makes me want to quit, which in turn makes me pissed because I’ve come so far.

And apparently, I don’t like positive reinforcement.

My friend was so nice as he tried to motivate and inspire me to keep pushing...
“You got this Heather.”
“Just one more.”
“Don’t you quit”

Until I got to him during some crazy hopping exercise and said as I looked him dead in the eye, “I’d really like it if you just didn’t say anything, AT ALL.”

I MOTIVE MYSELF. I know when I can and can’t.

I know when I need a break.

I KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that even if a stop to rest I will finish EVERY.SINGLE.REP.

I’m not the fastest or the strongest or the thinnest.
However, I AM the most determined.

I want to succeed.
NO, scratch that, I NEED to succeed.
Failure is not an option and I will continue to push myself until….FOREVER.

So, although I may do another Boot Camp, I don’t want special treatment. I don’t want someone supporting just me.

I support myself.


Do You Really Want to Win? Because I DO!

Here’s the deal. In this life we’re both cheerleaders and players. We are there to cheer our people on. We remain positive when they miss a field goal. We cheer for them when they fumble and encourage and motivate them to get to their goal. But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past year it’s that you have to be your own cheerleader too. I know we need these other cheerleaders in our lives too. I would not have come this far if it hadn’t been for those key people in my life who grabbed their pom pom’s and gave me an “H!” However, I also had to learn to grab my own pom poms. Every time I hit a milestone, did something I couldn’t do before or tried something I wouldn’t have tried before, I had to be on the top of my own victory pyramid.

At the beginning of the football game, the cheerleaders fire up the crowd. They get them excited. They stand at the entrance of the tunnel and cheer for the team to come out. And the team comes out with a vengeance. They run out, pounding their chests, jumping up and down and feeding off the energy of the crowd.

I want to come running into life like that.
I want to be fired up.
I want to jump up and down and pound on my chest.
I will fight like hell to make my goal until the last buzzer sounds. Even if I don’t win, I will not be defeated.

Lately, though, I’ve felt like I’m cheering for the wrong teams. I’m cheering for those who are already defeated. “But” you may say, “those are the ones who need it most!”

What about what I need?

I’m on a journey and it’s starting to hit me that the closer I get to the Heather
I’m supposed to be, the further I’m going to get from the people who were satisfied with the old Heather.

The pushover
The fake-happy
The people-pleaser
The put-my-life-on-hold-to-help-you-deal-with-yours

That girl is going away.

You’re either on the new team bus wearing the school colors or you’re not. And for that matter, if you’re not gonna wave your own flag for yourself, I’m not going to hoist it up for you.

I’m busy waving my own.

The fact is I no longer have the time or energy to continue to fight for those who don’t fight for themselves. I’m living proof that you can drastically change your life. If you don’t like how it’s panning out, do something. You’re not helping anyone by sitting there and feeling bad or living with the status quo because it’s easier.

I was you. I have lost respect for that other me and I’m losing it for you.


It’s time to get up, run down the tunnel and pound on your own chest. I’ll be on the sidelines with my pom poms when you’re ready, but until then I’ve got my own game to win.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Owe Me An Apology

Dear Heather of One Year Ago,

I owe you an apology.

Hell, I owe you a couple of apologies.

I owe you an apology for not taking care of you like I should have.
I owe you an apology for not giving you the credit you deserve.
I owe you an apology for the time I wasted when I was you.

But most of all, I owe you an apology for not loving you enough.

It’s time for some brutal honesty. Sometimes, when I look at pictures of you, I hate you. I’m disgusted by you. I can’t even look because I feel like you’re such a failure.

But I am wrong. I am SO VERY wrong.

It was you.

It was you that took the first step on the track with your friends.
It was you who decided to run that first 5K.
It was you that started buying healthier items at the store and logging every bite of food.
It was you that started this path I’m on.

It was you.

How can I hate the person who believed in me the most? You didn’t give up. The things we do to our body now were far more difficult for you when you started.

Remember the first night you decided to run the straight-aways at the track?
You waited until everyone you knew was gone, so only strangers would see you look foolish. That is 1/16th of a mile. Now you’re training to run a 13.1 with your friends.

Remember the first spin class?
You chose the bike closest to the door so you could leave when you wanted. You didn’t stand up when the teacher did. In your head , if you pedaled the whole time it was a victory. Now you go at least once a week and easily keep up with the teacher.

Remember the skinny jeans at the top of the closet?
You worked you’re a$$ off until they fit and you shrunk out of them before you could even wear them out.

It was you this whole time.

We still have a long way to go, but I would be mistaken if I continued to treat you with disrespect because you helped me become me.

At my current weight and fitness level I face a different bunch of challenges that will be so much easier because I got to learn from you.

So, although you may be surprised at what we can do now- don’ t be. It’s because of YOU that I am where I am today.

Thank you, Heather, from the bottom of my (much healthier) heart for taking those first steps.

Thank you for making goals and sticking to them.

Thank you for making me so much healthier and happier.

Thank you.



Friday, September 30, 2011

What Moves You?

I went for a pretty good run this morning. My proposed 2 miles turned into almost 3 and a half. This was surprising because I almost didn’t get out of bed. The excuses were flying around in my brain like bees around the hive. I’m realizing that I have multiple personalities and the conversations go like this:

Old Heather: I didn’t go to bed until midnight.

New Heather(THE REAL ME!): So, you still got a good 6 hours of sleep

Mean Heather: Yeah, fatty. Get up! You don’t want to get all chunky monkey again do ya?

Old Heather: I worked out twice yesterday!

New Heather: That’s awesome! You can still run this morning!

Mean Heather: Bully for you, LAZY A$$, now GTF UP!

Old Heather: You guys suck

New Heather: You’ll thank us for this later

Mean Heather: Suck it, GET UP!

Then I get up and get going. What can you do? Old Heather tries to talk the others out of the run until I get going and then suddenly she’s gone. She vanishes in a whirl of pounding pavement, sweat and music. Mean Heather quiets down. She likes running but she’ll be back if I ever want to quit.

The question still remains, once I’m up and going what is it that helps me continue? It’s the MUSIC. This morning as I ran, I realized that although my running mix is varied and may sound strange to others, it’s perfect for me. It reflects my personality(s) and keeps me motivated on my journey.

One of the first songs that came on today was “Let it Rock” by Kevin Rudolf. Holy Moly! This is a good one. It’s electric and rockin’ and the lyrics always get me! “Because when I arrive I bring the fire” YEAH I DO! And this other line that I fear will get me in trouble one day, “But it broke his heart so he stuck his middle finger to the world, to the world, to the world”…Probably not a good idea to accidentally flip off cars as I run!

Next it was Elphaba and Glinda. The line in “Defying Gravity” where Elphaba finally decides that she’s going to go her own way makes me want to spread my arms and run downhill. If I’m lucky enough to be running downhill when it comes on, this is exactly what I do. “Everyone deserves their chance to fly! And if I’m flying solo, at least I’m flying free.” Running is such a solitary thing for me, but I love it.

Then it got all sexy up in my shuffle! Ladies and Gentleman, I give to you the Kings of Leon! “Sex on Fire” makes me run faster! Why? Because it reminds me of how much better sex is gonna get as I get more confident with my body. Another good one? “Come on Get Higher” by Matt Nathanson (or covered by Sugarland). **Mom, if you’re reading this I IMAGINE sex will be awesome when I’m more confident…I don’ t really know!*** For the rest of you - "Bow chicka bow wow" (if you get my meaning ;) )

And then you can be magically whisked away to England! Ah for the love of Mumford and Sons! “I will hold on hope and I won’t let you choke on the noose around your neck. AND I’LL FIND STRENGTH IN PAIN AND I WILL CHANGE MY WAYS, I’LL KNOW MY NAME WHEN IT’S CALLED AGAIN” Hello?! If that isn’t a metaphor for my life what is? Finding strength in pain and changing my ways….

Then there are a couple of songs that I put on the shuffle just because I liked them and while I’m running they come on and I realize they literally have the word “run” in them…

In “Mama Said” by Lenny Kravitz he sings, “And I’m always on the run!”

Or Florence and the Machine in “Dog Days are Over” she sings, “ You better run for your mother, run for your father, run for the children for your sister and your brother!” This is a reminder that I’m not only doing this FOR me, but to be a BETTER me and that benefits everybody!

Suddenly the shuffle goes country! Thanks to Rascal Flatts “Feels like Today” is my theme song. Another song with the word “run” and it inspires me to make TODAY the day I’m going to be healthy and happy!

This morning I got a strange new song to make me run! “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel pops on. Too slow? NEVER! This song makes me want to persevere with the same defiance as Lloyd Dobbler holding up the boom box outside of Diane Court’s house. He isn’t giving up on her and I’m not giving up on me.

And after all of this almost 40 minutes have passed… I finish with a little Dave Matthews Band. “Lie in Our Graves” and the following line, “Would you not like to be sitting on top of the world with your legs hanging free? Would you not like to be okay, okay, okay” As a matter of fact Dave, I DO want to be okay. That’s why I run.

As I walk into my door the music ends and with it ends the silence of those voices in my head. This time the conversation is a bit different.

Old Heather: Wow! That was great. I’m really proud of you.

Mean Heather: Nice job kid, don’t forget to do the same thing tomorrow!

New Heather: Thank you.

Lloyd won't give up

Neither will I...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Matter Over Mind

"The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It's your mind you have to convince."
— Vince Lombardi

I’ve thought a lot about the words “I Can’t”. There are a lot of things I can’t do.

I can’t fly an airplane.
I can’t surf.
I can’t play the guitar.
I can’t rewire a computer.

But the thing is I CAN learn to do all of those things…if I wanted to. Honestly, I have no interest in flying an airplane or rewiring a computer (the surfing and guitar would be cool though, bucket list time!)

BUT when it comes to my body, as of today, there is NOTHING I CAN’T DO.

When I first started running, I would get tired so quickly. At the time, I couldn’t run a mile. I pushed myself and trained until I COULD do it.

I remember a particularly challenging run when I was bargaining with myself. “Heather, if you make it to that tree, you can walk for one song.” “Heather, if you make it to the light post, you can walk for a 20 count.” But my body would keep going. In my head I wanted to stop. My body and more importantly, MY HEART…wasn’t hearing it.

In fact, at one point I was walking and I didn’t even know I had stopped running. My body KNEW when I couldn’t go anymore and slowed down, but my mind was still running.

It’s difficult to match your body and your mind. The mind is a tricky and slow thing. My mind doesn’t always seem to know what’s going on with me.

It tells me to stop when I can still go.
It thinks I can’t fit into clothes at some stores when, in fact, I probably can.
It doesn’t recognize the person in the mirror at a glance and does a double take.
It says I can’t.

If you were doing something and someone you knew or even some stranger looked at you and said you can’t, would you listen? Or would it make you want to try even harder? Would you sit back and listen to the naysayers or would you get stubborn and do whatever it takes to prove them wrong?

For many of us, someone else telling us we can’t just makes us more determined to prove that we can. Why do we insist on proving others wrong but we still let the voices in our head deter us from our goals and dreams?


It’s time to tell our minds to SHUT IT!
It’s time to listen to our bodies. It’s time to listen to our hearts.

I CAN! Can you?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The First Step

Have you ever watched a baby learn to walk? The little one is all full of trepidation and wobbling. They hold on to the coffee table or their mommy or the couch. They refuse to let go until something in them switches and they just KNOW they can do it and suddenly they’re walking….and then they don’t stop.

That’s how I felt at the beginning of this journey. As I come up upon the one year mark I see that we take first steps every day. Sometimes we’re wobbly, sometimes we jump up and go. Either way, once you’ve taken that first step all the steps that come after seem a bit easier.

I’ve been trying to run in the mornings. I really love the way I feel when I’ve accomplished my run before many people I know have even gotten out of bed. I love that I pass the same guy who can only be described as FAAAAST (he passed me 3 times yesterday) and the same older lady who won’t even nod “hello”, she just stares straight ahead. Maybe I’m scary at 6:30am? No, for sure I’m scary that early. I love that it’s cool out and even though I sweat it’s not unbearable.

I hate getting up that early. I like to sleep. I have a hard time falling asleep. My mind races when I lay in bed because, well, it’s the only time I stop. I go, go, go all day and my brain finally has some time to work stuff out at night. This means I often don’t fall asleep at a decent hour so I definitely don’t want to wake up at the a$$ crack of dawn.

However, I’ve come to notice that once I’m up, I’m up. If I can just get my two feet on the floor and butt out of bed, then it all comes naturally. I brush my teeth, wash my face, change into my running clothes, turn on my Garmin and I’m gone.

It’s totally that first step.

It’s the same way with this whole journey. Once I started making the commitment to living healthier I couldn’t stop. Do I have moments of weakness? Of course. I like sweets and fried food and beer. Do I have moments of laziness? Of course. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is sit on your booty and rest. However, I can’t stop living like this. It’s like a baby learning to walk and then thinking, “Meh, This blows. I'll just crawl or that nice lady I call Mommy will carry me....forever.”

Once you start, you can’t stop.

Life often gets in the way. A lot of people have ups and downs on the journey to look better, feel stronger and live healthier. The thing is, if we would only remember that the first step is the hardest we’d realize how easy the rest of it is. It becomes second nature, like putting one foot in front of the other.

So the next time my alarm goes off at that god-awful early time, I’ll try, in my weakened and sleepy state, to remember that this is the hardest part.

I’m not saying the rest will be easy. There are decisions that have to be made and pressures that have to be dealt with. We all have crazy schedules, different amounts of stress and friends who can eat whatever they want and never exercise.

But once we stop wobbling we can use our courage, our determination and our new-found strength to let go of the coffee table and move forward towards our goals.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


When you are through changing, you are through. ~Bruce Barton

So, I've had a rough week. I know, it's only Tuesday but I'm overwhelmed.

As usual, I have over-committed myself to a variety of causes that I feel strongly about on top of school, work and taking care of myself. I do this to myself and I sincerely want to be a part of everything that I commit to. It's just that every once in a while it feels so big that I want to crawl in bed and do nothing but eat those oreos that are backwards (you know, vanilla cookie/chocolate creme) and watch reruns of Sex and The City, hoping and praying that no one will find me.

At least, that's what I USED to want to do...


I think what's peeving me is the fact that these things I've committed to are getting in the way of my commitment to myself.

That's a refreshing and lovely change.

Who'd have thunk I would be pissed because MY world doesn't revolve around me.

This is a way of thinking that I'm not sure I was prepared for.

I was so stressed last night that I accidentally left my gym bag on the floor of my office and I keep EVERYTHING in my gym bag that I need for a workout. I kept trying to figure out HOW I could get a workout in without my stuff.

Missing one workout won't kill me. Or will it? I'm not sure.

This week has just gotten so far away from me and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight but what I refuse to lose sight of is my commitment to myself and being a better, healthier, happier me.

It seems that with all the changes I've made in the past 10 months, the biggest one is a shift that was almost imperceptible.

I changed my eating...obvious

I changed my physical activity...obvious

I changed my body...obvious

I changed my attitude...OH SO OBVIOUS

But that change in myself, the change that made ME more important than everyone and everything else...that wasn't quite as obvious until today.

I will remain committed to the things I've promised. I pride myself on being a loyal person who is true to their word. However, I feel myself being drawn to more decisions that have my best interests, my sanity and my happiness at heart.

And that change is far bigger (literally and figuratively) than the smaller pants I changed into today.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


What is Sexy?

What a question! How the hell do I know? I’ve spent the majority of the years where it’s acceptable to look sexy looking (and feeling) lumpy. Have there been sexy moments, of course, but have I ever REALLY LOOKED OR FELT SEXY?


I’m not sure I would have known what sexy looked like if it stared at me from the mirror…

Until recently…

Suddenly, I have these moments. It’s not a 24/7 thing, but there are these chunks of time where I KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt what sexy looks like…

It looks like cheekbones that are more pronounced and make my smile bigger and my eyes brighter.

It looks like less chins. There’s still at least two where one should be, but that’s less than the original four.

It looks like a chest. Whereas my breasts are failing me (falling down, down, down…nothing some store-bought , new SUPER boobs won’t fix…I see plastic surgery in my future), I have this new area below my chins and above my breasts that’s kind of lovely. My necklace no longer gets lost in the fat rolls in my neck…OH WAIT, I actually have a neck!

It looks like a waist. A what? OH, that! It’s a waist and I actually have one of those too.

It looks like a narrower booty! (I just hope it doesn’t go away, I like my A$$!)

It looks like legs that are strong and getting stronger and smaller….legs that I can actually cross at the knee instead of the ankle…which by the way are no longer cankles.

You know what’s even more awesome? I know what sexy FEELS like now too!

It feels like sweat running down my face when I’m pounding the pavement.

It feels like freedom when you finally hit the downhill on the tough cross country course.

If feels like tight hamstrings and sore core muscles after a spin class.

It feels like not wanting to take off your workout clothes after a tough run as if to scream to the world, “I just ran 6 miles! What have you done today?”

It feels like inspiration, motivation, determination and strength.

As I reminisce about times when I felt low or frumpy or lumpy I can’t help but have bit of regret over the years I wasted feeling that way, when all it would’ve taken was some physical exercise. The simple truth is this and it’s so freakin’ obvious: Until you see yourself as sexy, you won’t be sexy. Sexy isn’t just a look or a feeling, it’s an attitude.

It’s an attitude that I am happy to adopt.

So today when you’re working out or hanging out or even chillin’ out, take a minute, get in the zone and adopt the sexy. It may be the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself.

It’s one of the best gifts I’ve given to my own SEXY self!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Decisions, Decisions...

I remember someone once telling me that we “choose our attitudes, so we should always choose to have a good one.” I always kind of thought that this was BS. I mean, what if I’m having a bad day and my boss is a jerk and I fight with my boyfriend and get in a car accident. Really? Don’t I have the right to have a bad attitude about these things? I mean, they’re sucky and I don’t want to smile and pretend to be happy when my boss treats me poorly or I’m handing my insurance card to the other driver. I’m a firm believer in owning your emotions.

BUT, I am also a big believer in making decisions. I feel like there is a difference between a decision and a choice.

A choice is something you do on a test:

Today I will be

a. Happy

b. Sad

c. Overly-enthusiastic

d. Angry

Sometimes I feel ALL of those emotions in one day. I own them, but what I DECIDE is that I won’t let the negative emotions derail my efforts to do my best and to be my best.

I’m not perfect by any means, but I try to make good decisions.

I DECIDE to pack my gym bag every night before I go to sleep so I have no excuse not to take it in the morning.

Then I DECIDE to bring it into my office and sit it on the floor, so I won’t have an excuse not to go to the gym after work. (It’s staring at me with those googly-eyes….”You’d better hit the gym, lady!!!”)

I DECIDE that I will run in the morning because its summer and it gets hot and I’ll most likely flake and complain if I plan to run in the evenings.

I DECIDE to buy healthy food so even when I’m feeling down and want to shovel food in my face, my choices are limited to healthy snacks.

I DECIDE not to eat 100% clean. That a night on the town with my friends that includes an adult beverage is good for my soul and that’s just as important as my body.

I DECIDE that I will appreciate my blessings and accomplishments (which is not always easy because as human beings we tend to focus on the negative)

I DECIDE that I will try to remain a positive influence on my friends and the world around me. Nothing good will come from me being negative. When I have those “not so positive” moments I have them, but then I DECIDE to focus on something else.


I will never be the kind of person who makes every situation rainbows and butterflies. In fact, I don’t want to be that person. Some problems are not meant to have a positive spin, but they are meant to have a solution. I want to recognize a challenge and find a way to overcome it not dress it up in an evening gown and call it Ms. Congeniality.

Maybe I’m splitting hairs. Choice or decision? What’s the real difference? The difference for me is that sometimes I have NO choice over my feelings or my reactions, they are emotional and they just happen. But lucky for this control-freak, I have TOTAL power over the decisions I make. I am the Queen of Decision Land and I rule over my subjects with a firm hand.

I will do everything that I can to make positive and life-changing, life-making decisions.

So today I will make healthy food DECISIONS even though I’m eating out with friends. I will go to spin class after work even though I DECIDED to run 2.5 miles this morning.

What will you DECIDE to do today?

Monday, August 8, 2011

I Can't Hear It Enough

People have been complimenting me lately.


Which is nice. It’s hard, but nice. I’ve had to teach myself to say, “Thank You” instead of listing how much further I have to go.

People have also been saying things like, “You’re probably sick of me saying this…” or “I know I keep telling you this…” right before the compliment. And you know what, that’s ok. Even though it sounds conceited I still want to hear it.

I NEED to hear it.

You see, despite my positivity, ear-to-ear smile and go-get-‘em attitude I’m still learning to TRULY like myself and treat myself as a friend. It’s getting better each day, but sometimes I can be a bully….to me.

So, every time someone gives me a compliment I put it in a file. I have a file cabinet in the corner of my heart where I keep these and when I’m feeling sad, defeated or discouraged I open the cabinet drawer and pull a compliment or kind word out. I think about it, I remember when it was said and who said it, I believe it. Because the people I love, the people who are in my life who take the time to notice and recognize my hard work wouldn’t lie.

I remember how good it felt to hear it, the pride in their faces. How, for some, that pride replaced worry or pity. How happy they are to see me, well, happy. I feel the pride, faith, joy they felt when they said it (I think it feels as good to give a compliment as it does to receive one) . I also like the surprise. That look when someone hasn’t seen me for a long time and didn’t know or maybe knew, but didn’t really “get” the changes I’ve made. That surprise is good too.

I am not afraid to hear, “You’ve lost weight!” because I have. Or “You look great!” because I do.

I challenge you with this, even though it’s hard.


Very rarely do they come from a mean place. If you are making changes, if you are surprising people, if you are doing something to be proud of accept the kind words people have for you. Even though you may not want to go around tooting your own horn, (Although if you want to, by all means!!!) keep what people say and put it in your heart.

You never know when you may need it.

I Can't Hear It Enough

People have been complimenting me lately.


Which is nice. It’s hard, but nice. I’ve had to teach myself to say, “Thank You” instead of listing how much further I have to go.

People have also been saying things like, “You’re probably sick of me saying this…” or “I know I keep telling you this…” right before the compliment. And you know what, that’s ok. Even though it sounds conceited I still want to hear it.

I NEED to hear it.

You see, despite my positivity, ear-to-ear smile and go-get-‘em attitude I’m still learning to TRULY like myself and treat myself as a friend. It’s getting better each day, but sometimes I can be a bully….to me.

So, every time someone gives me a compliment I put it in a file. I have a file cabinet in the corner of my heart where I keep these and when I’m feeling sad, defeated or discouraged I open the cabinet drawer and pull a compliment or kind word out. I think about it, I remember when it was said and who said it, I believe it. Because the people I love, the people who are in my life who take the time to notice and recognize my hard work wouldn’t lie.

I remember how good it felt to hear it, the pride in their faces. How, for some, that pride replaced worry or pity. How happy they are to see me, well, happy. I feel the pride, faith, joy they felt when they said it (I think it feels as good to give a compliment as it does to receive one) . I also like the surprise. That look when someone hasn’t seen me for a long time and didn’t know or maybe knew, but didn’t really “get” the changes I’ve made. That surprise is good too.

I am not afraid to hear, “You’ve lost weight!” because I have. Or “You look great!” because I do.

I challenge you with this, even though it’s hard.


Very rarely do they come from a mean place. If you are making changes, if you are surprising people, if you are doing something to be proud of accept the kind words people have for you. Even though you may not want to go around tooting your own horn, (Although if you want to, by all means!!!) keep what people say and put it in your heart.

You never know when you may need it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Happiness is...

Once there was this girl, her name was Heather.

She went for a run with her friends. As she was running she realized that her pants had slipped down a bit, she pulled them up and still felt uncomfortable. So she fiddled and faddled and realized that although she was wearing skin tight running shorts, her underwear had slipped down.

Yes, my friends, she had lost so much weight that her panties had slipped down below her gut under her tight pants.

The moral of this story?

Happiness is.... your panties falling down

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Don't Want To Fake It...

I often hear the term "Fake It Til You Make It" and for those of you who use this as a tool to move forward, I apologize because I just don't buy it.

I know this saying comes from a variety of places. According to Wikipedia it means "to imitate confidence so that as the confidence produces success, it will generate real confidence"

Here's my problem with this...


This is my life. This life is real and it's what is happening now. This is it. There are no do overs. There is no rewind button.

Believe me when I say that I’d love a rewind button! Honestly, I’d like to call Doc Brown, borrow the Delorean, put some plutonium (or trash) in the flux capacitor and go back to the me of 5 years ago and tell her how awesome it feels to run 3 miles without stopping. Tell her how much fun she’s going to have in spin class. How good it feels to shop in regular stores vs. the plus sized stores. I'd like to tell her to stop living in her head, to stop focusing on all the negative things.

Once, when feeling at my lowest, I made a list of pros and cons about MYSELF. And believe it, the con list was waaaaaay longer than the pros. Then I sent it to my friend who, because she is a good friend, went on to debate all of the horrible things I said about myself.

But it didn’t matter what she or anyone said or perceived about me because I didn’t believe in my GUTS that I was worth being the person I was meant to be….No one can fake that.

I’d like to say to me 5 years ago, “QUIT FAKING IT!” Because, for me, it didn’t work. All that bravado and that "I don't care what people think" attitude. All that smiling while wanting to curl up in a ball. It’s BS.

I always think about a line in the movie "French Kiss". Meg Ryan's character Kate is exasperated (as she maintains through most of the film) and says, "Happy, smile. Sad, frown. Use the corresponding face with the corresponding emotion..."

That's how I feel:

If you're happy, BE HAPPY. Dance in the streets, hug your friends, laugh out loud at inappropriate times. Share your joy. DON'T FAKE HAPPY...

And if you’re sad, be sad. Lounge in the glorious emotion that is sadness. Watch a sad movie, cry into your pillow....BUT don't drown yourself in it. YOU are the only one who can pull you out. YOU decide when you’re ready and what it’s going to take for YOU.

In the 2005 Cameron Crowe movie, “Elizabethtown”, the character Claire says “Sadness is easier because it’s surrender”

Think about this. Surrender. That word makes me angry. Like I gave up. I don't want to wave the white flag.

She then follows this up with the comment, “I say take time to dance alone with one hand waving free”

NONE of what we’re doing on here is easy. Surrendering is the easy way out. We are changing lives, our own lives, and when you chose to do that, you are choosing a life made of difficult choices (what can I eat here?, Where am I at with my calories?, I’ll have to wake up at WHAT time to get a workout in?), but a life where the rewards are plentiful (longer healthier lives, little black dresses, hotter sex, feelings of accomplishment).

Your reward is being able to dance alone with one hand waving free…because that, my friend, is REAL.

I can tell you this, faking it NEVER helped me. What worked for me was to *get real*. Like they say at the beginning of the MTV show “The Real World”; I had to “stop being polite and start getting real!” I had to have difficult, honest conversations…with myself.

For me, and I only speak for myself, life is about moving forward. Not walking in place, not taking steps backward. I’m not saying that I’ve never done those things. I’ve taken more steps back than I care to mention. I spent about 5 years walking in place because I didn’t know what to do or where to go.

It also means that every minute of every day I'm genuinely ME: the good, the bad and the fugly.

So if faking it works for you. Go for it. Fake it until you make it, I sincerely hope you make it.

And while you’re doing this, search for the tools to help you make it. Find supportive friends and goals and dreams that you can strive to accomplish. These are the hammer and the nail that help to build a better me. These are my supporting beams.

But we didn’t start building until I stopped faking it and got real.

Finally, I really believed that I could no longer live the way I was living. Finally I believed that I was worth being taken care of. Finally I believed that I could and should take care of myself. Finally I believed I could accomplish these goals.

Finally I believed…

And that belief can’t be faked.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Plateau That Ate My Motivation.....


Okay, seriously. I'm soooo over this.

Let me preface with this:

1. I know this happens to everybody and every body.

2. I know my body is still changing and getting healthier.

3. I know I'm stronger and could do things I couldn't do before.

4. I KNOW I'm not supposed to care what the scale says.

and there is a big BUT (not to be confused with a big BUTT)

I'm still technically obese so the scale does freakin' matter. I still haven't hit the half-way mark of my weight loss, so it does freakin' matter. It makes me, an otherwise peppy, sassy, happy lady, GRUMPY. Therefore, my friend....IT.REALLY.FREAKIN'.MATTERS!!!

I know a plateau is a natural part of this journey, but that doesn't make it any less annoying. I have been within the same ten pounds for the last two months. It goes down, it goes up a little, it goes down a lot, it goes up a little.

So, I'm gonna try a few things to shake it up. I'm going to start some serious strength training, maybe rearrange my diet a bit, etc.

I'm going to keep my positive attitude. I'm going to keep running. I'm going to keep believing that I will reach a "maintaining" point in my journey. (I'm smart enough to know this journey I'm on is called, "My Life" and it doesn't end until I do)

But, I'm still allowed to be annoyed. I'm still allowed to want to eat an entire pizza followed by an entire cake. I'm still allowed to feel like I want to quit.

What I'm not allowed to do is let being annoyed derail me. I'm not allowed to eat my feelings.


So although the Plateau is after me, I'll fight it. I'll fight it like Luke fights the Dark Side. Like Harry fights Voldemort. Like Ricky Bobby fights Jean Girard.


Because (and this is for Angela "Boobies" Ilich) a year ago I looked like this...

and now I look like this.....

But the goal is to look like this....

So giving up is NOT an option....


Friday, July 22, 2011

Get Back On That Horse

When I was 22 or 23 I went horseback riding. I went with a group of friends and my mom, who's always up for an adventure, came along. About halfway through the ride my horse stumbled on a large rock as we were running and I went face first into the ground. (Note to self: Break fall with HANDS, not FACE) I was fine. Bumped, bruised and scraped, but altogether fine, albiet a bit shaken up. On the other hand, my mom was terrified. This was around the same time that Christopher Reeve was thrown from his horse and paralyzed. As I lay on the ground thinking, "I'm mortified, can I just get up now?", my mom, voice shaking, was asking the trail guide to "get her off the (f-word-ing) horse." I'm her baby after all. If this was scary for me, it was twice as scary for her. In fact, my first visit to the emergency room was probably more traumatic than the incident itself, but I digress.

About a month after the accident, when I was all healed, my mom insisted we go for another ride. Her reasoning? That old saying, "You gotta get back on the horse." She refused to let the last memory of horseback riding for both of us be a traumatic one. So, we went for a lovely ride. Shaky at first, but we did it. My mom was right. We had to make a bad experience better.

I recently signed up for a Summer Series of 5Ks at the local community college. Every Thursday for eight weeks in the summer, a group of people get together and run a pretty difficult cross country trail that goes through the college and into the surrounding hills.

I only started running in October. I'm slow and I prefer pavement. I know it's harder on my body, but I like it. The city I live in has 30 miles of paseos that are perfect for long or short runs. Needless to say, this Summer Series is difficult for me and yesterday was the worst!

First of all it was hot. I live in the Southern California desert and we've had a fairly mild summer by normal standards but it's still hot for running. Secondly, most of the people doing this run are really good runners. Like 200 kids from the local cross country teams and 7 slow pokes. These people are crossing the finish line in 15 minutes. I'm lucky to get in under 40 minutes, so it's a little intimidating. Lastly, I was just plain not feeling it.

So I went yesterday. My friend bought me the series as a birthday gift and I wanted a run and want to do this, right? Honestly, I could have easily been persuaded to blow it off, but I made it there.

Mile One Sucked. I couldn't get a good rhythm in my running or my breathing. It got better when I realized I was further along when the leader past me that I had been the week before but then the water table was set up on the side where the FAST runners were going and I had to STOP, sneak through the line of young, fast, in shape runners to get a drink, then WAIT to find a place to cut through again.

Mile Two Sucked Harder. This is the roughest mile anyway. It has two pretty nasty hills. These hills have been named "F You" and "F You's Little Sister". They suck. I always try to run, but usually end up walking most of them. Again, I couldn't catch my breath and was feeling out of sync. I had a cramp for most of this part of the run that I couldn't shake and my feet hurt during a run for the first time. And the water table had no water left when I ran back by. I was thirsty!

Mile Three Sucked Too. Mile three is usually my best mile in most races. I was annoyed at the water situation, mad at the fact that I was pacing the 70 year old man that "walk/runs" and pissed that I wasn't doing my best. Then, clarity.

I literally thought to myself, "Well, I have to come back next week because this has to be better." Then I thought about horseback riding. I knew in my heart and my head that I couldn't have a bad taste in my mouth about this or any other run for that matter. I KNOW, with certainty, that I will go back next week and try to make it a better experience. I'll go back every week for the next 5 weeks and run. If my last run there feels bad, I may go back again to make it better. (Although the In-N-Out Truck comes after the last run, so I think I'll have very warm and fuzzy feelings after that race ;) )

That's the point, right? When we have negative experiences, we can choose to leave them in our memories or we can choose to replace them with better, more positive ones.

I'm trying to replace my negative trail running feelings with positive ones. It may take one more run or one hundred more runs, but I think I can do it. Maybe when I can start running as fast on hills as I do on the road or maybe when I just have a particularly strong day and it feels really good. Either way, I'm not going to stop trying to make the last memory a good one.

I'm going to keep getting back on that horse.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

12 Races in 2011!

So, about 2 months ago I decided I was going to do a race a month for the rest of the year...then looking back, I realized at the end of the year I will have participated in some way in 12 races in 2011.
Here's a rundown of what I've participated in so far and a wrap up of my latest race!

It was last October when I decided (with the help of some friends) that I needed to start taking better care of me. At the time, if someone asked me if I ran my answer was always, "Only if someone's chasing me". Who would've thought that 9 months later I would be a runner? I can say I'm a runner for two reasons:

1. I'm obsessed with any and all running accessories! Road ID bracelet-check! UV arm muffs-Check! Belt with water bottles on it-Check! Fancy compression socks-Check! New shoes and newer shoes-check! Next purchase is that super fancy Garmin watch that Staci has....oooooh I want one, but I promised I'd lose 5 more pounds first!

2. I smile when I see a photographer during races.

In November I started C25K and decided I would run the 5K that I was co-chairing. Well, I didn't run that race BUT I have done A LOT more!

Here's a quick recap of what I've done so far:

Race #1
3/5/2011- Mardi Gras Madness 5K - Goals were- under 45 minutes, run the whole time, don't come in last
Finished in 40:22, ran the whole time, didn't come in last!!!!

Race #2
3/12/2011- St Patrick's Day 5K-Goals were under 50 minutes (it was a tough cross country course with big hills), don't come in last.
Finished in 47:12, didn't come in last

Race #3
4/9/2011- Footsteps 5K-Goals were under 40 minutes, don't come in last
Finished in 39:36, didn't come in last

Race #4
4/17/2011-Down & Dirty Mud Run-Goals were have fun, finish!
Finished in 1:02...I had no idea what to expect but it was so much fun, I'll definitely do it again!

Race #5
5/14/2011-BMCF Fight It! 5K-I didn't run this race, but I co-chaired it. It was by far the hardest thing I've ever done (and I'm still finishing a few loose ends) however, it was rewarding and exciting as well. We had over 380 runners and raised over $21,000 for a great cause. This was the hardest "race" I've ever done. No amount of training can prepare you for the amount of work it takes to put on a successful event!

Race #6
6/5/2011-Love Run 10K-Goals were to run the whole time, finish, don't be last (and my secret goal was under an hour and a half)
Finished in 1:22:12, ran the whole time, finished and not last!

Now that we're all up-to-date...Here's a recap of yesterday's race!

Race #7
7/4/2011-Independance Day Classic 5K-Goals were to run the whole time and finish under 39 minutes
Unofficial time is 38:18! I ran the whole time and it was HOT!!!!

We all wore red, white and blue! Shout out to Nicole for the cutest running outfit EVER! (That's her in the tutu if you didn't already figure it out!) This is the first race I didn't wear my "That's not sweat it's my fat crying" shirt....but I made up for it.....

I wrote it on my arm along with "Sub 39:00" to remind me what I was doing there and that I had a new goal for a personal record!

That afternoon someone turned my joke around and said, "I can't believe you ran! Was someone chasing you?"
My answer? "Absolutely someone was chasing me! Me....70 pounds ago!" I'm definitely running away from the out-of-shape 70 pound heavier me and toward something soooo much better!

Something better like my next 5 races!

Race #8
8/21/2011-Mc Connell's 10K Santa Barbara
Race #9
9/3/2011- Disneyland 5K
Race #10
10/2/2011-Santa Monica 5000 10K
Race #11
11/6/2011-Santa Clarita Marathon 5K
Race #12
12/4/2011-Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon in VEGAS!

I also plan on doing more Fun Runs, Running Pub Crawls and training of course. Running has become a big part of my life! I can't believe I'm saying it, but I LOVE IT!

For those of you who think, "I can't run!" You can! I always thought I wasn't a runner, but I'm just not a fast runner. I can do it because my body is so much stronger than I give it credit for! So give your body the credit it deserves and take it for a run!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Ran a 10K! Who am I?

This past Sunday I participated in The Love Run 5K/10K to benefit Senior Concerns. This great charity raises money to bring "Meals on Wheels" to senior citizens. It was a great day, a great event and a great run! Let's go back a little bit....

After finishing my 3rd 5K in April, I decided I wanted to try a 10K. Some friends, who will remain nameless but you know who you are (CAT AND ANG!), were trying to talk me into running a half marathon and I thought I could placate them by signing up for a 10K as a test run.
I found The Love Run and a 10K in August on raceplace.com and proceeded to sign up for them as preparation for the half I MAY or MAY NOT sign up for. Lo and behold, I signed up for the half marathon a full 3 days before I ever ran the 10K. But I digress....

I've been training with my running buddies, Heather (aka Ditto), Ryan (a girl with a boy's name) and Lindsey (aka Lu)...we did weekly runs, slowly added a half a mile or so each week. However, last week I came down with a cold. I wanted to be healthy for the 10K, so I eased back on my exercise and DOUSED myself with vitamin C.

I had 3 simple goals for the race:

1. Run the whole time
2. Finish
3. Don't be last

I didn't want to give myself a time goal, but secretly I was hoping to get in under 1 hour and 30 minutes!

We carbed up on pasta the night before and on race day Ditto picked us up at 5:30am the morning of the run! We stopped at Starbucks for our morning burst of energy and as we walked out Ryan gasped!

A FULL rainbow was over us!

We could literally see where it hit the horizon on both ends! Lu was about to ditch the race to find the leprechaun and the pot of gold!

We headed down to the race, picked up our packets and bibs and stretched! The race started a bit late, but here's how I felt mile by mile.

Mile One:
About 30 minutes before I took some "Sports Beans", this is the best I've felt on a first mile before. I don't know if it was all in my head, but I found a great stride and got lost in my music. At this point I was still with a large pack because the 10K and 5K were intermingled.

Mile Two:
Still doing ok, music still rocking. What pushed me forward? The hairy man!!! There is a man who does all the races in the SCV and no matter the season or weather, he wears short shorts and no shirt and he is HAIRY! This race was at least 40 minutes from home and there he was, sweat glistening off of his shoulder hair, motivating me to get keep going. Thanks hairy man...whoever you are!!!

Mile 3:
LONGEST.MILE.EVER! I'm admittedly the slowest of my friends and all I wanted to do was see them at the turn around because it meant I was almost there! When I finally did run by them, I made them take out their headphones so I could yell, "HAIRY MAN!"

Mile 4: By far the BEST mile of the race. Every song on my shuffle was AWESOME! My theme song came on. I sang out loud and ran. By this time, I was pretty much alone. It seems I'm the slowest of the runners, but faster than the walkers.

Mile 5: Still feeling good!

Mile 6: This was a tough one, a bit of an incline and this one girl was pacing me. She'd pass me, then walk. Every time I passed her, she wasn't having it and would run again. That is, until the last .2 miles. She literally stopped running and started texting. I said to myself, "Peace out Homie!" and started booking. My body hurt the second I could see the finish line, but I finished strong.

Time: 1:24: 42
Then it was time for the chip time, it actually took us almost 3 minutes to start so my official time: 1:22:12!!!!!

I met all my goals! Even my secret one! All in all a great day! I can't wait for my next 10K in August. This one has an added benefit, an ice cream sundae bar at the end of the race! Yes please!
And I'm doing it, The Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Vegas in December.

As my friend April would say, "The Heather of 5 years ago is saying, 'What the hell?'" Shoot, the Heather of ONE year ago is saying that!

Thanks Ditto, Lu and Ryan for a fun run and being great support!