Focus: positive

Something has been running through my mind lately, so I figured I’d devote a little post to it. Maybe this stems from how I’ve been embracing my hippie side (thanks Austin, for basically being a melting pot of hippies). Over time I have noticed a pattern with people in real life or in the virtual world of social networking who always seem to be struggling through something terrible. It’s a little crazy, because it seems like I see the same people dealing with one huge struggle after another. One more dramatic, horrible event. One more asshole they are adding to their long list of enemies. One more reason the world is against them.

So it made me wonder. Are all of these people just really unlucky? Do they attract bad situations or jerks who do them wrong? Are they asking for it?

I don’t think it’s any of those things. First of all, don’t be mistaken: everybody has bad shit happen to them. There is something to be said for how an individual handles hardship though, as to whether it resolves itself or amplifies the issue to breed more problems. Negativity feeds off and creates more negativity. I’ve seen it first hand. When I was in a funk in my own life it seemed like everything went wrong. And when I gave voice to my problems, I seemed to get buried under more problems.

For a long time now I have worked hard to focus on the positive aspects of my life, and I can say without hesitation I am a happier person. This is not by ignoring my problems, but instead by not giving them a great deal of weight. I deal with my issues, I allow myself to feel the emotions that come naturally for whatever I am facing — but I try to make a point to not make a fuss in public about the shitty stuff. And it seems like there is something to this. Here comes the hippie – but energy is real. And every person has this magic ability to choose whether they want to spend more of their energy on positive or negative thought and behavior.

Yes, I know this can be hard. We all succumb to a negative thought, that’s human nature. We all silently curse the jerk that cuts us off, or maybe it’s the ex in your life you don’t want to deal with, or perhaps the thankless job you struggle to wake up and go to, or maybe it’s that weight that just won’t come off no matter how hard you try (and so on, and so on…). But how much negative energy are you spending on these things? Is bitching about it making it better? And while we are looking at it, when you bitch loudly about one thing, do you start to notice other shit that’s bad piling up around you? How many times have you uttered something to the effect of “what else could go wrong” or, “everything bad seems to happen to me.”

I’m no shrink, I’m no psychic. All I know is that it seems the same people who complain loudly complain often. Maybe it’s your attitude when dealing with the ups and downs of life. My blog is about more than my attempt to keep myself physically healthy. You can’t truly be fit if you’re not tending to the most important part of your body – your brain. Mental health matters. If anybody reads this and it strikes a chord, then I hope you consider a little introspection. Try to remember this: “self awareness.” I had this written next to my bed for about a year when I felt like I was at my lowest mentally. It reminded me to look at myself and how I was fitting into the big picture. It reminded me to ask myself how I was dealing with whatever I was facing. Was I doing something positive to fix a problem, or wallowing in negativity? You may not be able to choose all that happens to you, but you definitely have a choice on how you react and what you spend your energy on.



One of the many reasons I was excited about moving to Texas from Arizona is the change of seasons in hill country. Don’t get me wrong, AZ runs through the seasons too, but the summer lasts most of the year. Winter typically doesn’t get very cold. Spring in the desert is glorious but very short lived. It always leaves me wanting more and cursing the 100+ degrees that seem to appear as soon as I would get used to mid seventies. It frustrated me year after year while I lived there.

Springtime in TX has not disappointed. We’ve had some warmer days (high 80s) and then cool days down in the 60s. AND RAIN! This weekend we had badass thunderstorms roll through; all the rain makes everything bloom. I fall more in love with living here every week.

I’m also glad how willing people are to come visit! We’ve been here less than 2 months and already had visitors from AZ, plus all of my immediate family in Houston has come by to spend weekends in Austin. It is not hard to convince people to spend time here, this city has such a heartbeat. There is so much happening here all the time! Lot’s of great craft breweries, great venues to see live music, and amazing food trucks and restaurants. One thing I also dig about the food here is that so many places really like to rely on what is grown and found locally. Fresh local grub – right up my alley. And going back to the weather: by this point of the year in AZ many adventures would be harder to plan as it’s already getting close to triple digits some days there. I wanted to live somewhere that I could enjoy the outdoors for a greater portion of the year. I don’t want to feel trapped by my environment. It’s just like I wouldn’t want to live someplace that snowed all winter long.

I’m so happy! I’ve already discovered so many spots I love to explore. I’ve fallen in love with a couple of the local independent radio stations and discovered tons of new music, rekindling that somewhat forgotten passion. I really missed going to little rad shows here, I hated most of the venues in Arizona and I adore the fantastic locations here.

I need to get more hardcore with my fitness though. I’m not doing bad… I still run 3 times a week. I’m active at work. But there is WAY better food options here and that’s my achilles heel. I also drink more beer than I used to. As a result, my usual 125 is now up above 130. Usually about 132, 133. Now, I’m not stupid. I know that isn’t a huge deal and I can drop it. But even though I know that, I’ve definitely been beating myself up about it. I don’t look like I’ve gained much weight, but it is more obvious to me when I’m naked or in a bathing suit. I’m trying to find a good balance because I want to go out and have a good time here without worrying myself over every little thing. But at the same time I’ve worked so hard to get where I am with my fitness journey. It’s really driven home that idea that we are always a work in progress. I’ve found myself in a different phase now. It’s even more confusing when there are women at work who tell me how skinny I am, how “lucky” I am to be so teeny, or how they wish they could fit into my clothes, etc. I’m not a fan of being called skinny because it always sounds sickly to me but whatever – I know it comes from a nice place with these ladies. But as soon as these conversations begin, I want to tell them how fat I feel, how they don’t know how much I want to be about 7-10 pounds less. But of course there is no way I can say that, so instead I have this bizarre little freak out in my head and muster up a ‘thank you’ or find a way to change the subject. I know I am still healthy and other than a few extra pounds I really do look good, and I am in great shape. I just know that previously I got further than this, so the little backslide feels gigantic. I thought about using MyFitnessPal again but I’ve decided no. I know what I need to do, and I know how to do it. If I can’t get things back towards my 125 goal after some time then maybe I’ll consider it, but not yet. I want more freedom.


First half marathon – complete!

I did it! Yesterday I ran my first half marathon at the PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. The craziest part was I really enjoyed it. Sure, it was tough but I felt pretty great the whole way through. Plus I finished close to the goal time I had set for myself. Seeing as how this was my first time ever running this distance, I aimed to finish in 2.5 hours. My official chip time was 2:36:01. Practically nailed it! I think I would have hit it too, if it wasn’t for a spiral of tiny errors. The race started at least 40 minutes (or more) later than it was supposed to. That caused a problem, as I was hydrated to start on time. Right as I started to run I realized I desperately needed to use the restroom. Yeeeaahh, no bueno. The first porta potty I saw was a standalone, and the line was more than 20 people deep. I decided to keep going. The second one I saw had the same LONG line. I was so stressed! I knew if I waited for 20+ people to go to the bathroom it would take forever so I said a quick prayer and ran ahead, hoping the next bathroom opportunity would be better. It was, slightly. The next stop (around mile marker 2) had a few porta potty’s lined up, each with about 8 people waiting. I figured this would have to do. I bit the bullet and stood in line to wait.

I knew my pace was blown at this point, it put me at least 10 minutes behind. The delay was clear when I looked at the breakdown of my checkpoints. See, I normally run a 5k in about 30 minutes or less. Because of the bathroom debacle my 5k time was about 40 minutes. Oh well! Other than that, the rest of the run was exactly what I hoped for. I slowed slightly for water/gatorade along the race. I also got a wicked stitch in my side around mile 11 and took a quick breather to stretch and walk for maybe a quarter mile. Aside from that, I ran the entire half marathon! I made sure to keep a nice even pace, running over 5 mph but less than 6 mph for most of the race. I usually only keep 6 mph pace when I run 3-4 miles max, so rather than try to push and burn out I opted for a more relaxed approach on this 13.1.

I loved it. I saw bystanders holding hilarious signs along the way, and I got lots of high fives. But the best part was knowing I had followed though. My family and friends all reached out with calls and messages and I felt real pride for my accomplishment. And now I have a baseline goal. I want to run another this year, and I have a personal time to compete against! Plus now I know, no matter what, I am waiting in line to use the bathrooms before the gun goes off so I won’t lose time on the track. I’ve already scoped out another couple half marathons to do in Texas.

Did I mention this already? My husband and I are making plans to move to Texas soon. We are waiting on a few details regarding his job relocation, but planning is heavily underway and we should be there well before the summer, possibly early spring! I’m so excited, it’s a great opportunity for Matt and his career, plus I will be closer to my family.

Speaking of family, I proudly posed with a Rolling Rock in hand, just like my own dad whenever he finished a marathon.

Rolling Rock runner

And a photo Matt took of me shortly before I crossed the finish line, grinning like a damn fool:

Half Marathon


So much fun. I don’t know if it’s insanity or excitement that had me searching out my next half marathon while I recovered on the couch mere hours after finishing my first. Probably a little bit of both.




My brain has been my biggest obstacle. At the end of 2013 I wrote:

…my ultimate goal is to train for a half marathon. I don’t know if I will run one this year, I’m leaning more towards training during 2014 to ultimately run in one by early 2015. I am going to try! Exciting to think about… and a little scary.

I have been training all year, just as I said I would. In 2014 I became a stronger and more capable runner. A week didn’t go by where I didn’t run at least several miles, 2-4 times. Early in 2014 I decided my aim was to run the half at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon; not only because it was early 2015, but also because it was a marathon that my own father has run. It excited me to think of being able to cross that finish line myself (even if it was a half instead of a full marathon like my dad had done).

Even in December 2013 when I wrote the goal I acknowledged my problem. Being scared. Ultimately it is the fear of failing. I have been working on getting healthy and fit for so long now, and this is an actual marker of success. This is a clear and definitive goal to achieve rather than just getting healthy, or posting before and after pictures. If you run a marathon, you either finish it or you don’t.

As the race drew near I contemplated whether I was ready. While I knew I was ready physically, my fear took hold. I wussed out. A couple of friends asked if I was going to run, even tried to talk me into at least running the 10k. I said I’d think about it but deep down I knew I really didn’t want to run the 10k. I wanted that half and if I wasn’t doing the half, frankly I didn’t want anything to do with the event. I knew it would be a giant neon sign of failure in my own brain if I did anything less than run that half. And after all the hard work and effort I had put in, my brain put up a wall and I chose to cowardly skulk away from the whole event.

The other day someone asked if I would be there to watch her finish the race. I made up a completely lame excuse about not wanting to deal with the parking. I felt awful about it. So I talked to my husband. He knew how I felt, and asked me if I really wanted to run. After some hemming and hawing I admitted: YES. I was really scared but yes, I wanted to run. I had always wanted to run.

Last minute and way too much money later, I am signed up to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon. I’m going to crush it. And yeah – I’m still scared. But I think that it’s okay to be scared. It will be all the better when I cross that finish line. My time might be wimpy, but that doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is completing the goal I made. I’ve turned my life around over the last 2+ years. I’ve earned this, and I am really proud of myself for going for it. I’m going to cross that finish line, just like when I watched my dad cross it.

I got this.


Looking at my progress from a different perspective

I recently read an interesting blog post written by a woman who used to weigh 300 pounds and lost half of her overall weight. What was unique about this post was that she was writing about the things she misses from being overweight. Here is the link if you’d like to also read it.

It was strange, I hadn’t really thought much about what I missed from being heavier and what possible negative side effects I have found in my life now that I am smaller. My weight loss was not as extreme as the author’s, but there were parts of it that I could easily relate with. For example, one of her observations was the struggle with getting comfortable, and how it can sometimes be more difficult now with less cushion on the body. She mentioned needing lots of pillows and how her knee bones press together when sleeping on her side. I can completely relate. I took some time to reflect on my own changes, to see if I could find pieces from the “old me” that I missed, or if there are problems I now face.

I just discovered one problem this week. I’ve been feeling under the weather, very bad allergies. I decided to take a decongestant, so I opted for Sudafed. After taking it, I began to feel very anxious and started pacing around the house. I kept feeling like there was something I needed to do, like I felt an urge to organize my closet. Very strange, plus my head felt tingly. I mentioned how I was feeling to my husband Matt, not having put it together myself yet. He said that I was probably feeling a little cracked out from the Sudafed. I was confused, I had taken it in the past with no issues. Matt quickly pointed out that when I took it in the past I weighed at least 30-40 more lbs. My smaller body was processing it differently and I was feeling the nutty effects more intensely than I had in my past. Pretty inconvenient, as it probably works the best to make me feel less congested, but left me feeling extremely on edge.

And these days it is not just medicine affecting me in a more intense way… alcohol does as well. I have to be super careful when I drink these days. My tolerance is incredibly low. I mentioned in my last post I am cutting back. This is for a lot of reasons, (like empty calories and bloat) but one big issue is having a hard time not getting completely shithoused. I can honestly get a hard buzz – even drunk – after 2 drinks depending on how much I’ve eaten or how fast I drink. This can be a surprise disaster, and I’m not a huge fan of losing control. It’s crazy, I used to have a high tolerance and be able to keep up drinking with most average sized men. Now, I’m a complete lightweight with the booze.

Other than fluff for comfort, another physical change is that I sort of lost my boobs. Plain and simple, I used to have pretty big ones when I was heavy. Now I’m not flat chested, but they are much smaller. I miss wearing shirts where I could put the cleavage out! Not too much of it these days. I’m not overwhelmingly disappointed, I am still fond and proud of what I have, but man… what a difference. See??


Food peer pressure is different too. Let me explain: if a friend or coworker offered me something fattening/naughty back when I was chubby, if I declined I wouldn’t get too much push back (Maybe an “are you sure?” response). Now I am sometimes met with either a groan or an eye roll, even teasing. It’s not that I don’t eat naughty food – I’ve just never been much of a sweet-food person so I’ve not usually been one to lose their shit when brownies or donuts are in site. I’m also not hungry all the time anymore, my stomach has adjusted to how much food I eat now versus the giant portions I used to put down. Trust me when I say I am not about food shaming, everyone deserves to treat themselves. I absolutely splurge on naughty food, I’m just typically a little more calculated about it than some.

I don’t mean for this post to come across as me whining about losing weight – I am truly happy with what changes I’ve made and what I’ve accomplished in this journey. I just thought it was interesting to look at from another angle. Oh, one more thing that happens to me all the time that (while it sucks) helps keep me honest: I frequently have nightmares that I’m going to wake up and the weight loss will have been a dream and I will be fat again. Boy, that puts the fear in me.



My first step in the goal to do a half marathon has been officially checked off the list today. I ran my first 5k this morning and I did pretty well!

Picture 1

My goal was to try to get it done in 30 minutes. I practically nailed it, got it in 30 minutes, 8 seconds! Quite pleased with myself.


I went solo. It was a little strange to not have any familiar faces there with me. My husband was out out of town on a business trip (he wasn’t told about it until after I signed up) and my friend who was planning to join me got an opportunity to work (very late) the night before and couldn’t run so early. I was a little nervous; I didn’t have the social buffer of someone else to chat with and figure out what to do. But I went, and I did it. Ultimately this was something I did for myself so doing it alone kind of gave me an added sense of accomplishment. Even still, I know that the 5k was not a huge hurdle for me at this point. I’m already planning to sign up for a 10k when an interesting one crosses my path. By next year, I am planning to tackle the half marathon. I feel pretty confident that I am progressing well and will be ready.


Making good on my goals

On my last progress post I stated that I wanted to sign up for a 5k and start training towards longer races, like a half marathon. I’m already making good on both of those goals!

I have officially signed up for my first 5k. In March I will be participating in the Run to Fight Children’s Cancer. Stoked! I’ve been invited to run on a team, and I think I’ve even successfully talked my best friend into running with me. *Pats self on back*

As for longer distance training… this one scares me, I have to admit. There is a group of folks from my work that get together and go trail running a few days a week. Unfortunately they typically go on days I can’t. I have an unconventional work week; my weekends are Sunday and Monday plus my workday starts at the freakishly early hour of 6:30 AM – there isn’t a chance for me to go and then work after and they don’t happen to run on my days off. BUT! This week I have a few personal days off and they are hitting the trail on Saturday morning. I am going to join them. Here’s where I get jittery: it’s over 9 miles. I’ve been reassured that it’s a very slow pace and it’s OK to walk the tough parts. It’s a trail I typically go hiking on, a lot of steep inclines then drops. I was worried I’d get made fun of for walking instead of running up the mountains but was told that was normal, no worries. So… I am going for it. And fucking nervous as all hell. But it’s worth trying! I’m a big fan of meeting goals, I don’t think many things in life feel as good as conquering something you didn’t think you could do. If I eat shit, so be it. However, I have been working hard at increasing my stamina and endurance. I think this is a great way to see what I can really do. Wish me luck, I’ll update with how it went later.


Road trip success

The road trip to visit my family was a success! I managed to work out 6 times during the trip without it interrupting any fun or family time. We ate out, but I made smarter choices than the “old me” would have, keeping an eye on portion control and holding myself accountable by entering all the calories in MyFitnessPal. When I got back and weighed myself, I had maintained where I was before leaving. Victory! The trip itself was fun, we spent a lot of time chilling with the family – we went to TX and there was a major cold front that came through. We had rainy cold days almost the whole trip which was a bummer, but at least the company was excellent.


Road trip

Gearing up for a road trip! Really excited to go on an adventure with my husband, visit family, and knock back a few books on tape during the drive. As always, there is the element of staying on the right path with food and exercise running in the back of my mind.

Plan established ~

Food: Can be a little tough when on the road. I don’t want to get stuck with fast food or gas station snacks. Our long drive is broken up over a couple of days so we are putting together a smart snack bag and cooler. Going to make a few sandwiches (I’m pretty obsessed with Sara Lee’s 45 calorie whole wheat with honey), bring a big bag of baby carrots, and plenty of water. We also have a bunch of mixed nut and dried fruit snacks. I’m also lucky that after the road portion and during most of the trip we will be at my sister’s, she and her family eat well too with lots of cooking at home rather than eating out.

Exercise: I’m making sure to hit the gym a couple times before we go, and the hotels along the way have gyms as well. I am a member of 24 Hour Fitness, and there happens to be one around the corner from my sister’s place so it will be easy to keep up with my routine. Since we are driving it’s easy to pack extra work out clothes and gym gear. My husband and I are also big fans of walking adventures, we intend to spend vacation time parking and exploring parks, zoos and more on our trip. Plus we are spending most of our vacation chasing around an awesome, hyper little 2 year old, so I think that will keep us moving.

Adventure time – READY!


10 miles

A couple of weeks ago I went to the gym and ended up surprising myself. I wanted to do some cardio, so I got on the elliptical with the plan to just go for an hour like usual. Shortly after I started I decided it might be fun(?) to push myself further. I figured what the hell… I can do over 6 miles in an hour. Maybe I could make it to 10 miles if I could just stand to go longer?

I tried to put 90 minutes into the timer but the gym presets don’t let you go beyond 60 minutes. I decided I would do my hour then I would do a second round with the extra 40 minutes get to 10 miles. I found a good pace, slightly slower than what I normally do, and pushed myself.

I did it! I felt like my legs were rubber afterwards, but it was an excellent work out. And it wasn’t really planned either. I realize that’s kind of nuts but it was fun to challenge myself on the fly and to accomplish it. I took pics of the two sections of my journey, and a nerdy selfie too.