Sunday, June 30, 2013

BodyLOVE Summer Challenge

I am noticing an unfortunate trend.  The more I eat, the guiltier I feel.  The more guilt I feel, the more I want to eat. Bad loop.  Hard to break out of. I have been shaming myself quite a lot lately. My mood is strongly dependent on the number on the scale. If it goes down, I feel proud and happy, but if it goes up a bit, I instantly start judging every food decision I made throughout the week and get down on myself for not exercising more.

It is important for me to pay attention to what I eat and to exercise regularly, but this shame spiral does not help.  I want to focus more on making positive choices and less on losing weight.  I want to continue feeling the pride in myself for becoming healthier without feeling ashamed of the less healthy things I choose to do. I can't be perfect and I want to be more accepting of that.

Because of this, I am going to take the BodyLOVE Summer Challenge.

The part that makes me the most nervous is Step #1: Get rid of the scale. On WW, I am supposed to check my weight 1x/week, but I tend to check it about 3-4x/week.  This is more than a habit at this point. It is an obsession.  Putting away the scale seems impossible, but I am going to give it a shot.  I don't believe that checking my weight is a bad thing at all, but the fact that the number can sometimes feel more important than the any healthy choice I made during the week is absurd.  I am not going to give up paying attention to the scale forever because it can be motivating and can be a helpful tool to track changes.  But I am going to give the scale a rest.  Besides, I'll check it at the end of the month and will hopefully feel better about the progress.

How often do you find yourself checking your weight? 
Does the number on the scale impact your mood, regardless of the healthy decisions you made during the week? 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Still a Struggle. Always Will Be.

I don't think that eating healthy or exercising will ever come easily for me.  I don't ever wake up thinking, "I think I'd like lovely salad and a 10 mile run today."  I wake up thinking, "I want pizza and I want to sit on my butt all day long watching Gilmore Girls reruns."  Every. Single. Day.  That is how often I want pizza.  That is how often I have to force myself to exercise.

The problem is, these last 3 days, I have been losing the fight.  I have eaten pizza 3x in the past 3 days. Tuesday lunch, Wednesday dinner, and Thursday dinner were all pizza.  And plenty of it.  Not good.  It's a terrible feeling because while I am eating it, I am happy. Then I finish my massive plate of cheesy, gooey, deliciousness and I feel sad and ashamed. Not because I think it's shameful to eat pizza, and not because I would ever want to live a pizzaless existence, but because I don't understand the word "moderation" when it comes to junk.  

Also, I feel ashamed because the pizza box always looks greasy and nasty when I am done, and I think about all the damage that grease is doing to my body. Greasy food is really only appealing when you don't look at it too closely. 

Aubree's Pizza leftovers from this evening.  My husband and I managed to do this much damage between the two of us.  
....And we shared an order of Ultimate Feta Bread. 

See what I mean?

And then I feel completely lazy afterwards.  Eating junk does not result in an active lifestyle.  Shocking, I know.   

So for 3 days, not only have I eaten pretty poorly, but I haven't gone running.  This means that I have missed 2 of my scheduled half marathon training runs. 

I have a million excuses. It has been storming.  I am letting my blisters heal.  I have been too tired after a hectic work week.  It's too humid out.  I have to clear out my DVR.  Blah, blah, blah.  

I need to stop focusing on the many reasons not to run and start focusing on all the reasons to run.  

-When I run, I feel proud of myself for doing what I had always thought was impossible. 
-Stairs are much easier now. 
-I feel happier when I look in the mirror.
-I feel less guilty about eating a little bit of junk if I run before or after. 
-I tend to eat less junk when I know that I am going to run because it tends to lead to stomach pain. 
-I will live longer. 
-When I am ready to have kids, I may have a healthier pregnancy. 
-It encourages my husband to make healthy choices. 
-Running makes me want to be more active in general. I am more likely to take the dogs on a walk, park farther away at the grocery store, do a little toning, etc... 
-It helps reduce my anxiety. 
-As a therapist, I feel like a fake when I encourage my clients to make healthy choices and I don't practice what I preach.  When I am taking better care of myself, I feel like I am more effective at my job, and I feel like clients can tell that I actually believe that it is possible for them to take care of themselves too. 

I AM going to get back on track. Tomorrow, I am going to buy a new pair of running shoes so that I can run even when it is wet out without having to worry about having to wear wet shoes the next day. Maybe I'll feel motivated enough tomorrow to run in the AM and PM.  Or maybe I won't take next Monday off, as I had planned.  

What do you do to get back on track if you notice that you have faltered a bit?  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Plantronics BackBeat GO vs. Motorola S10-HD

As I mentioned in a previous post, my iFitness Belt destroyed my headphone cord.  Of course, this sucked, but I am satisfied enough with the belt that I decided to buy bluetooth headphones so that I can continue using it.

Originally, I bought the Motorola S10-HD headphones.  They had mixed reviews, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I figured that I might as well see for myself.  I bought them on a Saturday and ran a 10K in them on a Sunday.  That was enough for me to decide to return them. 

  • They are cord-free. Seriously. That's all I've got. 
  • The earpieces hurt.  At first, I thought it was just because I wear glasses, but I tried them on without my glasses and they still felt awkward, heavy, and uncomfortable. My ears hurt for about 3 hours after taking them off. 
  • The sound quality was not great.  I don't need the highest quality sound on the market because I basically just want to listen to music while I run so that I don't have to hear the obnoxious sound of my breathing, but the sound quality was comparable to my $10 ear buds and for $50 headphones, I would expect better. 
  • I had to have the headphones on both ears or none. As I was waiting for the race to start, I kept having to take them off to listen to the announcements. I prefer to have the option of using an ear bug on just one side.   
  • I could not rest the headphones around my neck when not in use. I had to take them off and keep track of them.  
  • Although you can change the eartips, they just didn't seem to fit properly in my ears.
I returned them and bought Plantronics BackBeat GO.  I got them at Best Buy and because they price match, I paid around $59 for them.  
  • These are like typical earbuds.  This means that I can choose to have only one side in at a time, I can hang them around my neck when not it use.  
  • The small eartips fit very nicely in my ears and are comfortable (well as comfortable as earbuds can be). 
  • They are very lightweight compared to the S10-HDs. 
  • I called my friend, Laura, using both sets of headphones.  She said that the sound quality was better for the BackBeat Go headphones.  Although, she had no difficulty understanding me with either set. 
  • Without the stabilizers, they don't stay in my ears at all. With the stabilizers in place, I have used them on multiple runs and neither side has ever fallen out.  They feel perfectly fine during a run and I can easily forget that I have them in.  However, when I take them out, I notice a little bit of pain from the pressure of the stabilizers.  This only lasts a few minutes, but is not particularly pleasant. 
  • The sound quality is not amazing, but it is good enough for my purposes. 
  • It would be easier for me to lose these because they are so small and compact. 
Basically, there is no competition as far as I am concerned. The Plantronics BackBeat GO earbuds far surpass the Motorola S10-HD for my purposes.  

Either way, using a bluetooth headset is a wonderful way to go.  Freedom! 

*The opinions expressed in this post are my own. I purchased my own Motorola S10-HD and Plantronics BackBeat GO headphones. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Why I Use Weight Watchers, But Don't Recommend It

Since October 2012, I have been a Weight Watchers online member.  I have never been a meetings member, nor do I have the intention of ever becoming one.  I appreciate the value of support groups and I know that this format works well for some, but it wouldn't work for me.  There is no need for me to add pressure and have a group of people looking at me and decided how much weight I do or don't need to lose.  I put enough pressure on myself.  I just wanted to be able to pay better attention to what I was putting in my body, and the online services are sufficient for that.

I plan to stay on WW until I am at a healthy BMI and then think about whether I would like to continue.  At this point, it is more a matter of me being determined to use the same product for the entire process than a dedication to the actual WW program.  I could probably track my points very easily at this point without paying for the program because I am so familiar with the point system by now, but I continue to pay $18 per month for the ease.

I also feel that paying for WW gives me a sense of obligation to watch what I eat. It isn't horribly expensive, but I don't have wads of cash to just throw around. I feel like I have to actually pay attention to what I eat because otherwise it would be a complete waste of money.

There are a few things that I appreciate about WW. The points plus program encourages people to eat fruits and veggies with every meal, as most are "free."  Using the program reminds that me that I need to be conscious about every single item that I put into my body.  I also like that the activity points last for the entire week, rather than expiring at the end of the day. If I run 3 miles today, I can save those points and eat a bit more tomorrow, if i so choose. I tend to eat only a few of my activity points anyways, because it increases the weight loss, but still.

That said, there are things that I am definitely not fond of with the program:

- WW does not differentiate between good fat and bad fat.  Nuts are higher in points than chips, which makes choosing the healthy snack a bit harder.
- Since the focus is only on points, I could technically choose to eat all of my 26 daily points in Popchips.  There is no real reminder to eat a well-balanced meal, unless you go to the website and read the articles (which I do on occasion, but not very often at all).
- The focus truly is on the number on the scale rather than on making healthy life choices.
- Since some veggies have points (like avocados), I originally found myself sticking to the "free" kinds, which limits the variety of nutrients my body is getting (and can make for a fairly bland diet).
- The activity points calculator has limited options, which makes it seem like all "moderate" exercise burns the same amount of calories.
- Since the point system rounds, you sometimes get more bang for your points by eating more than a serving.  For example, eating 14 chips might be 3 points, but so might eating 19.  It seems silly to eat a smaller amount when it has the same points value, so I end up choosing the larger amount.  Sure, this would be fine if it only happened once daily, but since this is the case with a lot of different foods, I often find myself making a choice to eat more than a serving of something multiple times a day.

I would recommend the program to someone with terrible eating habits who makes no effort whatsoever to pay attention to what they put in their body (like me 8 months ago). However, if you are already a decently health conscious person with a few pounds to lose, I would not recommend WW.  I feel like it could actually make a healthy minded individual make poor choices. You might find yourself swapping nutrition for junk just because it fits into your daily points.

Sweaty Sunday

Since Sunday is my long-run day for my half-marathon training, I hereby dub it "Sweaty Sunday." Which is a disgustingly accurate name.  I attempted to get a post-run photo to demonstrate my grossness, but I couldn't even manage to take the stinking picture because of the massive amount of sweat and sunblock pouring into my eyes.

Today was supposed to be a 7.5 mile run.  I found myself walking for about 20 seconds every couple of miles, and was disappointed in myself at first.  But then I decided to extend the mileage to make up for the short walks.  Instead I did just over 8.25 miles with a 10 minute cool-down walk.  

Then, I decided to stretch in this cute little butterfly garden.  

People probably thought I was fairly strange because I sat on the picnic table to stretch, but I was sweaty and gross and didn't feel like sitting on the ground and getting dirt stuck to my bum.  

Overall, I am satisfied with how it went.  I ran at an absurdly slow pace, but that seemed like a good idea considering my focus was on adding distance, not winning a race.  

Oh...and the iFitness Belt was awesomely helpful.  I refilled both of my 8oz bottles  4 times each.  I don't know how I would have survived without the water.

Update: Apparently I earned 2 blisters today. Worst prize ever. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Pure Michigan

I went for a 5 mile run this morning and enjoyed being in the park so much that I followed it up with a 3.5 mile walk.  By the time I was done, I was positively beautiful.

This lovely, very attractive picture was taken between the run and the walk. 

But it was so worth it.  I had the trails mostly to myself. It was so peaceful, quiet, and calm.  And hot. Really hot. But I focused on the peace. 

I almost got tripped by a couple of chipmunks who appeared to be playing tag.  It was so cute.  It would have been less cute if I had fallen and broken my ankle, but since that didn't happen, I am going to decide to find it amusing.

The best part was the fact that I didn't get a sunburn, which is practically unheard of for me.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Is It Wrong to Run When My Husband Can't?

2 years ago this week, life changed.  My then fiance, now husband, Rey, was employed in a group home as a direct care worker for individuals with traumatic brain injuries.  One of the residents had a behavioral issue where he purposely fell to make staff catch him.  Rey caught him and herniated a disc and now suffers from Cauda Equina Syndrome.  Basically, this means that Rey spent a couple weeks in the hospital after having an emergency partial discetomy and is now relearning how to walk. He had nerve damage which caused foot drop, some numbness on the pads of his feet, loss of muscle, and poor balance. Thanks to loads of physical therapy and incredible determination on Rey's part, he progressed from using the wheelchair 24/7 to a walker and now to a cane. He still uses the wheelchair all time around the apartment because it is actually more of a challenge for him to stop and go because of his poor balance than it is for him to walk longer distances.  He uses a cane on most outings.  Although, he usually waits in the car if I go grocery shopping because it is too much work for him to walk around a store like Meijers...especially because I am easily distracted and tend to take an hour to make important decisions like which deodorant to buy.  He has come a long way and I am incredibly proud of  him and all that he has accomplished. I am proud that he hasn't gotten discouraged and that he fights hard each day to do what we all take for granted.

That said, my decision to start making running a regular part of my life was not easy.  Rey had to give me his blessing (which he thought was ridiculous). Without his support, I wouldn't have been able to start running and taking control of my health.  Rey stays at home alone all day long and then I come home and go running. It feels ridiculous. It feels incredibly selfish. He knows that he could choose on any given day to ask me to stay home and spend more time with him, and I would happily do so.  However, he has decided that if I am healthy and happy, we will be healthier and happier as a couple. He has decided to support me in my efforts to be more active and to encourage me to continue working hard to get in shape. 

For six months, I have been abandoning him to run in the evening several nights a week.  I then come home and get to spend a whopping 2-3 hours with him before bed.  He doesn't give me grief about it.  He pushes me to work harder.  He tells me that he is proud of me and that he is glad that I am making these changes in my life because it makes me feel better about myself.  He does this in spite of the fact that he cannot go running with me.  In spite of the fact that he is by himself all day long and he is bored and lonely.  He could be bitter about it.  He could be angry that I tell him about my runs and races while he is still struggling with walking short distances.  Instead, he jokes, "I could do a 5K, too. It would just take a few hours." 

I am so appreciative of his support as I learn how to fit this new hobby into our lives. As a thank you, my new goal is to work on running more in the morning so that it stops interfering with our time together.  If I run in the AM, he'll still be asleep and won't miss me at all.  Then I can come home in the evening and spend more time with him.  I have a hard time waking up early on weekdays, but I am going to make this a priority.  I want to show him that I appreciate the support, encouragement, and love that he has shown me.  This isn't sufficient, but it's something. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Why You Should Stick With Your 5K Training Plan

I made a mistake with my first 5K.  I registered for a race just one week in advance and I didn't check out the location beforehand. I had been training for another 5K that was supposed to be a few weeks later, but I decided I was ready and I wanted to run one right away.   I called my friend and asked her to come with me after I registered so that I could get a feel for the course.  Holy crap! It was terrifying. There were hills everywhere, roots and tree branches in the middle of the trail, and it was muddy and rainy.  Just walking around, I thought I was going to slip and die.  I told my husband about it and gave me his blessing to skip the race, even though I had already paid for it.  He said we could just consider it a donation, since the race was a Run/Walk for Diabetes.  But I decided to suck it up and give it a try. 

Of course, race day, it was still rainy, muddy, and cold. Exactly what you want to deal with for your first 5K. Right?

Well, I actually started out strong.  I was super impressed with myself actually because I was keeping pace with some of the more seasoned runners.  (By which I mean the people who had run in maybe one 5K in the past).   I was moving at a snail's pace, but I was doing better than I had thought I would, given the weather and the terrain. For the first few hills, everthing was ok. 

Then, I started running down a hill that basically felt like a cliff. My feet were moving faster than my brain was telling them to.  I kept trying to regain control of my body, but with no success. Finally, the inevitable happened.  My right foot slipped in the muck and my ankle gave way.  I screamed a fairly inappropriate word as loud as I could.  The old man behind me jogged by and asked, "Are you ok?" While he continued to run.  Rude.  If I had said, "No," would he have stopped?  I mean, this dude was not about to set a world record by any stretch of the imagination.  For God's sake, he had been behind me! Apparently, he was determined to set a PR or something, or he had no manners.

I stayed on the ground a few moments, trying to decide if I was about to cry.  But then I got the adrenaline back and I decided to pull myself up and fight on.  I stood up and tried to regain my composure.  Then I started running again.  Immediately. I didn't give myself time to decide if I was in too much pain, or to rethink my decision. I just ran. Not that I mean to say that I ran fast because I am not a fast runner by any stretch of the imagination.  But I ran at the same pace I was running before the unfortunate slip'n'slide incident.

As I continued running, I started to notice that I was actually in some pain. My knee still smarted from the landing, my ankle hurt because I twisted it a bit, and my hand hurt from smacking the ground as I cursed.  I started rethinking my decision to run. I told myself, "Just keep going. When you finish this, you are going to be proud of yourself, no matter how bad your time is, because you finished your first race even after making an ass of yourself."  I kept running. And then the best thing that could have happened to keep me motivated happened.  The guy who ran past me without asking if I needed help began to slow down.  He was getting tired. Heck yeah! I decided that not only would I finish the race, but I would finish with a better time than him. 

In the end, I finished my first 5K with a terrible, horrible, not even remotely impressive time of 43:02.  When I got to the finish line of my first 5K, I thought I was going to faint.  I was dizzy, and tired, and sore as hell because I am used to running on flat ground and I made the mistake of running in the hilliest race of all time (ok..maybe not the hilliest, but pretty darn close). I looked down and noticed that my knees scraped and bleeding.  While I was running, I had no idea that I had been cut.  A man waiting at the finish line said, "You fell?"  I laughed uncomfortably and said, "Yeah. Like a the first half mile."  He said, "You look hurt. Are you ok?" 

I was ok. I was awesome actually. I was proud of myself.  I had decided to race even though it was raining, even though it was hilly, even though my husband had given me an out.  I had kept running even though I fell.  And I beat the dude who didn't bother stopping to help.

I finished my second 5K a few weeks later in 29:09.  I was really proud of my time.  I had set a goal of beating 30:00 and I accomplished it.  But I am more proud of my 43:02. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

iFitness Running Belt Review

Recently, I decided that I could not stand the armband I was using to hold my iPhone while running any longer.  The one that I owned was incredibly cheap, which was very likely the problem. It kept chaffing and cutting my upper arm. Also, it would slide down my arm while I ran and I found myself spending way too much time adjusting it. I decided to see what other options were available for carrying my iPhone on a run.

After searching online for a few weeks, I narrowed it down to three choices: the iFitness Belt, the Flip Belt, and the SPIbelt. After reading reviews online, I decided that the iFitness Belt was the best for me. It was touted as being bounce-free by multiple bloggers and I liked the option of adding and removing water bottles as needed. The fact that the website was offering a free iPhone add-on pocket for purchases over $50 sealed the deal.  

I purchased: 
Neoprene Single Pouch with Race Number Holder (black) 
8oz Hydration Add-on (pair)
Replacement 8 oz hydration bottles (pair)
iPhone Add-on Pocket (black with green zipper)

I apologize for the terrible picture. Photography is not my forte, but I wanted to get a picture of the belt with the lights off to show the reflectors. 

I didn't really need the replacement hydration bottles, but it was actually cheaper to get them than it would have been not to since I definitely wanted the iPhone add-on and the bottles pushed my total just over the minimum $50 purchase required for the deal. 

I have used the iFitness Belt in both of my 10K races and I now use it on every run.  For the most part, I am fairly satisfied with this purchase, but I also have some concerns.

  • The belt sits comfortably on my waist.  When the hydration add-ons are not in place, it adds very little weight to a run and is hardly noticeable. I don't have to fidget with it like I did my armband. It doesn't chaff at all. 
  • I love the freedom of being able to decide whether or not to use the water bottles for any given run.  I had considered a hydration belt originally, and I think that would be too much. I tend to use the belt without any hydration add-ons for any run under 3 miles.  For 3-6 miles I use on add-on and anything longer I like to use both bottles.  
  • I can fit a lot in the pouch. I use it to carry my keys, ID, and energy chews.  I could easily fit a camera in as well.  The pouch has 2 pockets inside so that I can open the zipper while running and nothing falls out. 
  • The iPhone add-on is nice because it means I have a little more space in the Neoprene pouch if I wanted to carry additional items.  
  • I love the race number holder. It is such a small feature, but I love, love, love it.  I hate fussing with safety pins before a race.  It takes about 5 seconds to put on a bib, which leaves me with more time to focus on warming up or getting my head straight before a race. 
  • The pouch has 2 reflectors and each hydration add-on has a reflector for nighttime safety. 
  • When I run with both hydration add-ons in place, the belt bounces more and moves around a bit on my waist.  It is not really a big problem and I usually get used to it after the first quarter mile, but it is noticeable at the beginning of each run.  
  • There are no holes in the iPhone add-on for headphones.  As a result, the cord of my headphones had to stick out the side of the zipper and I ruined 2 pairs of headphones.  Basically, the cost of replacing these headphones negated the fact that the add-on was free.  I actually sent a comment to the company about the iPhone add-on destroying my headphone cord, but they never responded.  However, I am satisfied enough with the iFitness Belt that I have decided to replace the headphones with bluetooth headphones (which I will review later) rather than replace the belt.  
  • The plastic screen on the iPhone add-on is not as good as the one on my armband.  As a result, I find myself taking the phone out of the pocket to change the music or start my GPS. 
  • I feel like a massive dork when I use it.  My husband affectionately refers to it as my utility belt. My sister calls it my fanny pack.  Either way, it is not an attractive look.  However, as far as i am concerned, comfort trumps appearance.  Plus, if I am not using the hydration add-ons, I can usually stick it under my shirt and it stays hidden fairly well. 
  • The water bottles occasionally squirt me in the arm when I run.  This is fairly annoying, but it is only one small squirt and then done, so I can cope with it.  Plus, it might actually feel good when it is 10,000 degrees outside later this summer. 
  • During long runs, the add-ons occasionally slide around my waist. This is a bit annoying, but it is very easy to push them back in place. In my most recent 10K, I probably had to adjust the belt about 5 times. Not too bad, considering I used to have to fix my armband every 5 minutes or so. 

Overall, I would recommend the iFitness Belt to other runners who are considering a hydration belt, but also want to be able to run occasionally without being weighed down by water bottles. 

*The opinions expressed in this post are my own. I purchased my own iFitness belt and the accessories. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I am not a runner.

Why would I write a blog about running if I am not a runner?  Because I run 3-4x/week.  I am not sure whether this will make sense to anyone but me (which is probably not a great statement to make in the first paragraph of a new blog), but I don't know if I will ever be able to state, "I am a runner," without feeling like a liar.  

So here's my back story so you might understand why. 6 months ago, my hobbies were: reading, journaling, playing video games, playing board games, and watching lots and lots of television.  Notice a trend? All of my favorite things in life I could do from the comfort of my wonderful reclining sofa.  Oh. and eating. I love eating.  I use food to celebrate, to cure boredom, to feel better when I'm sad, and as an excuse to see friends or family.  

My love of eating combined with my sloth-like existence shockingly made me gain weight. I know, right? The world is a cruel and unfair place.  At 5 feet 2 inches, 175 lbs, I thought to myself, "Self. Get your shit together. The longer you wait, the harder it will be."  But, I ignored myself, because it sounded too hard to lose weight.  At 186lbs, it was getting a bit harder to ignore the obvious. I thought to myself, "Self. Seriously. Get your shit together!" And for some reason I decided to listen.  Maybe it was the fact that I had just gone up yet another dress size.  

I joined Weight Watchers in the fall of 2012.  Still not ready to exercise, because I was too embarrassed to be the chunky girl at the gym, but eating much better.  By New Years 2013, I was down 20lbs and I decided that it was time I made a New Years resolution (an unprecedented occurrence as far as I can remember) to participate in light exercise 2-3x per week.  Then I got bored.  Walking is boring.  So I decided to try running a little bit on the treadmill to decrease boredom and increase the chances that I would stick to my resolution.  

.25 miles on the treadmill killed me. My lungs burned, my head pounded, my legs hurt, I found myself coughing as though I had bronchitis.  But I kept going.  When I told my brother that I had started exercising, he invited me to run a 10K with him.  I laughed in his face.  A 10K?!  Not going to happen. A 5K sounded more reasonable, but still unlikely.

Flash forward to today. June 16, 2013.  I have now run in four 5K races and two 10K races.  I am training for a half marathon.

I thought running was impossible. I thought, "I'm too fat for that," and "I'm not built like a runner," and "Nobody wants to see me fall on my face."  Now I think, "Holy crap, I just ran 6 miles. And I didn't die.  And I don't even feel like I am going to die.  Maybe pass out. But not die."  

Oh...and I have only missed my exercise at least 2x/week goal twice so far this year, and I was sick both times, so I'll forgive myself.  I'm currently down 39lbs too, which makes running a bit easier. 

I have this idea in my head (that may be very wrong) that to be a runner, you have to find it effortless.  A runner is confident that if they run 4 miles from home, they will make it back without having to hitchhike.  A runner is tall and slender. A runner doesn't love pizza as much I love pizza and a runner certainly doesn't eat pizza as much as I eat pizza. 

So I don't feel comfortable saying that I am a runner and I may never feel comfortable doing so.

But I am someone who has learned to love running. And I hope that this passion stays with me...and I hope to share this passion with others. I plan to share my ups and downs as I train for my half marathon (August 17th), product reviews, and tips from a new runner for other new runners.