Running, living life, eating, struggling

It’s been nearly a month since the Fargo half-marathon and well, life has been…

Actually, I’m not sure.

RUNNING AND LIVING LIFE

Running has been great good. Although with the rising temperatures, my runs have been slower. But I’m okay with that. I know that in the summer, I tend to have slower times, but at least I am running, so that is why I’m okay with it. I’ve accepted it.

Life has been good great! My hubby and I have had some awesome weekends since the half in Fargo. We’ve complete two races since then – the Old Glory 5K and the Foodie Four Mile. Here are some pics from those:

Al finished in 23:43 and I finished in 29:04. We were both pretty happy with our times.

This was just a fun run, so it wasn’t timed. But according to our own watches, Al finished in 32:30 and I finished in 41:42. Yep, the heat really got to me. If you look closely at the picture, you can see how sweaty I was. It was a really great race though. Both Al and I said it was one of our favorites. Great course, great organization, great vendors, especially Mill City Running. Al and I stopped there on Friday night to pick up our packet and we met the owners, Jeff and Bekah Metzdorff. All I can say is WOW! Great store. Great people. Jeff took the time to go through the shoe fitting process with both Al and I even though he knew  we weren’t going to buy shoes that day. He did a gait analysis and everything. He really gave us in-depth information about our feet and what types of shoes are best. Next time we need shoes, we are definitely going to go back and get them from Mill City Running. Thanks to Jeff and Bekah for such a positive experience. We will be back! (Now they just need to hurry up and start carrying ASICS!)

We’ve also been on some bike rides and have just spent some quality time together. Time I treasure so very, very much. Al and I do actually spend an awful lot of time together and for that, I am grateful. Some find it weird that we spend all of our free time together, but I don’t. Although he is my husband, he is my best friend. I love that we can be together that much and not get sick of each other. It’s pretty awesome. Really, it is. I am truly blessed.

Just yesterday, which was National Running Day, Al and I ran together. We typically don’t because we run at different paces, but he was nice enough to go at my pace and run six miles with me! And not only that, he even let a friend of ours take some running pictures when we were done. He didn’t even complain! That’s the best part. I hope he knows how much it meant to me to have him not only run with me at MY pace, but take pictures of us when we were done. It was a FANTASTIC DAY.

Here are some pics from yesterday’s National Running Day:

I have to comment on the pics of Al and I because there is some significance to them. Why? Because I was wearing shorts. WHAT? That’s not a big deal. There’s no significance in that. EVERYBODY wears shorts. Right?

WRONG! I bought these shorts when I started running, a little more than four years ago. This is the first time I’ve worn them. Yep, you read that right. THE. FIRST. TIME. I don’t wear shorts. EVER. Even in the summer. I wear pants and I wear capris. Weird, I know.

I used to wear shorts…when I was 60 pounds heavier. But now? Nope. Don’t own any “normal” shorts. I have a couple of pair of running shorts, but that’s it. You see, I have this “thing” with my legs. Insecurities, if you will. Is it stupid? Yes, it is. But I can’t help it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my legs because I can run and walk with them and I am very thankful I have two legs that work. BUT……I dislike all the flabbiness in my upper legs. I dislike all the stretch marks. I dislike all the cellulite. Basically, from the knee up, they’re gross. Oh, and apparently, they are ghostly white, which I don’t mind, but apparently, it makes some people laugh until they almost pee their pants. I won’t mention any names. But wouldn’t you agree, Brandon! (Yep, my son laughed so hard when he saw my legs it almost made me cry. Literally.) But, he’s a 20-year-old “kid” who doesn’t know anything. Right?

Okay, so I know there are people in this world who would give anything to have legs and I should just shut my mouth and be happy I have legs. Right? Yes, I know that’s what you are all thinking and that’s okay. BUT, I can’t help how I feel. We all have our own hang-ups. And my legs are mine.

EATING AND STRUGGLING

Sooooooooo, I feel like I must come clean. Food has been my enemy lately. And, I have reverted, just ever so slightly, back to one of my really, REALLY bad habits.

Eating in private.

First off, I must tell you that this is a really hard thing for me to write. I feel like a hypocrite, a lier and a moron.

Second, I am so thankful and extremely grateful to have my texting buddy, my friend, my co-worker and my sounding board, Tonya, on my side. She has been a rock through this, although she doesn’t really know it. Don’t get me wrong, my hubby has been there for me, too, but without Tonya, I would be in far worse shape. Let me give you a little background on Tonya.

Tonya, who was one of my Weight Watchers members (she’s lost nearly 80 pounds!), is now also a co-worker of mine. She is a leader with WW, just like I am. And I so wish my schedule would allow me to go to one of her meetings. Tonya is an inspiration. She is strong, confident (although she doesn’t realize this sometimes) and beautiful inside and out. We are very similar at the same time very different. We struggle in the same ways and we have this connection that I can’t describe, but can only say I am very thankful for. I hope Tonya doesn’t mind, but I am posting a picture she recently posted in a Facebook group we both belong to, From Fat to Finish Line. This is a before and after picture of her:

Yes, Tonya is also a runner and we run some of the same races together. Here’s a couple of pics of us together – rollerblading and at two different races – the iRock Run and the Earth Day Run. Both were 5K’s.

Yes, Tonya has an obsession with the color orange, just like my husband does…and okay, maybe I do, too!

Can you tell I am avoid talking about the real issue…my eating habits and how much I have been struggling! AARGH!

Tonya does help to keep things real for me. She gives me the kick in the shorts that I need. I just wish she could be with me in my car when I am traveling all over God’s creation. This is the worst time for eating for me. And lately, it’s been BAD.

Donuts. Cake. Cookies. Ice cream cones. Licorice. Frosting. Candy. Little Debbies (these are evil by the way, just saying!). Sugar. Sugar. Sugar.

Worst part? It is out of control and I feel like I can’t reel it back it. I don’t know what my deal is. I just keep eating and eating and eating and eating. It is RIDICULOUS! Absurd, really. I want to stop. I need to stop. I have to stop.

Best part? I’ve been tracking it. Well, MOST of it. Yes, there are days when I don’t do the best, but then there are days where I do dang good. Then there are days where all I do is track numbers, not actually food. And the numbers are not honest. They are no where close to being real. Like for instance, if I didn’t feel like tracking because of the ungodly amount I’ve eaten, I tracked like this, “breakfast – 6 points,” “lunch – 8 points” and “supper – 12 points.” Is that real? Is that honest? Nope, not one single iota.

BUT…..it’s what keeps me tracking. If I simply stopped tracking, I would stop tracking. I wouldn’t start again the next day with a fresh outlook. Tracking dishonestly, which wow, sound really weird when I say it out loud and type it for the world to see, sounds really stupid. BUT…….it works for me. And that is what I have to worry about. Me.

Maybe if I actually felt some guilt, which is what I talk to WW members about all the time, it would maybe actually help me. I don’t feel guilt. At least I didn’t think I did. But, maybe I actually do. Maybe that is why this has been so hard to write. Maybe I do feel guilty.

I don’t know. What I do know is that it is time to stop. Stop with the insane amount of sugar I have been consuming and get back to the basics of good, clean eating – fruits, veggies, lean proteins, whole grains, etc.

That’s it. It’s time. I feel it.

Thanks for letting me all of this off my chest and out in the open. I hope you all don’t think any less of me. There is no such thing as a perfect journey and mine is a true testament to that statement. It’s not perfect, but it’s my journey and I am a helluva lot happier now than I was 60 pounds ago. (Okay, it’s actually about 52 pounds ago, but close enough, right?)

I will leave you with a pic from last weekend when we were down in the cities. This outfit was out of my comfort zone and not something I would typically wear, but I did actually feel good in it and it reminded me that I have definitely come a long way!

Thanks again, my friends!

(Sorry, it’s a little blurry and the color is a little off. My phone was being weird!)

P.S. I have decided to delete my Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl Facebook page. If you want to follow me, do so on my regular Facebook page or you can also follow me on Instagram.

A look at the Fargo Half-Marathon! (SORRY, IT’S A LONG POST!)

I’m not even sure where to begin because there is so much to share about this past weekend’s Fargo Marathon Half-Marathon!

First, please check out the short video clip that was posted on the Fargo Marathon’s Facebook page. It is seriously cool! It was amazing to be a part of such an epic event.

A CHANCE ENCOUNTER

I have to share a really cool thing that happened to me at the start of the race. And I have to start with this because it TOTALLY made my day and I have to say, it gave me not only a huge boost of confidence, but also gave me motivation to run a really great race.

As my hubby and I are standing in the middle of the ginormous mass of people waiting to start the half-marathon, full marathon, full marathon relay and the 10K, I grabbed my inhaler and was about to use it when a tall, slender, athletic-looking woman in front of us turned around and kind of got this funny look on her face. She was kind of awkwardly staring at me like she knew me. I didn’t know her and so I kind of looked, smiled and said, “Hi.” She kept looking and for a moment – a brief moment – I have to admit, there was kind of an awkward silence…kind of. But then I think she pointed or gestured or something and she said kind of hesitantly with an air of puzzlement in her voice, “Confessions of a Fat Girl? I follow you.” Or something to that affect. She had this large grin on her face.

It kind of threw me for a loop. I was stunned. And to be completely honest, I was totally shocked that someone – out of the THOUSANDS of people around me – actually “knew” who I was. I was kind of dumbstruck.

And…honored, somewhat giddy and felt sort of like a celebrity or kind of “famous” – just a little – for a brief moment, anyway!

We started chatting and here is what I learned in our very brief encounter. Her name is Jessica. She lives in Hillsboro, North Dakota or somewhere near there. This was her very first half-marathon and she was a little nervous, but excited about it. She follows my Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl blog (which is way cool by the way!). She has lost 60 pounds (how cool and inspirational is that?!?!). She lost her weight through Weight Watchers (yep, that made her even cooler in my book!). And she is currently a free Lifetime member of Weight Watchers (meaning she hit goal, did her six weeks of maintenance and maintains her goal weight) and continues to attend meetings and weigh in every single week (seriously, she’s a rock star!). I think she said she’s missed a total of two meetings in two years – or something like that.

Our little five-minute conversation was such a confidence booster for me and seriously gave me the energy and motivation to run a great race. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind taking a picture with me and she obliged. I let her know it would be in my blog, so without further ado, here’s Jessica and me waiting to start the Fargo Half-Marathon!

Thanks, Jessica, for turning around and knowing who I was. You rock!

Side note: In the unedited version of the photo, I could see Jessica’s bib number and so of course, I had to look up her time to see how she did and for her first half-marathon, she nailed it. She did so awesome…at least in my book! Proud of you, Jessica! I also found out her last name and stalked her on Facebook. We’re now FB friends!

THE RACE

First off, we couldn’t have asked for or planned for better weather. There was a slight chill in the air when we started, I had short sleeves on and got the goosebumps, but it was the perfect way to start a race. You warm up quickly when running. There was a slight breeze, but it wasn’t awful. There were no big gusts or anything like that. The wind was actually welcomed toward the end of the race when it was starting to warm up, or at least it was welcomed by me! Overall, the weather was perfect. Seriously.

Looking ahead of me (top) and behind me (bottom) at the start of the race. Yes, as you can see, there were THOUSANDS of people.

My hubby and I waiting to start the race. We talked for a bit and then a couple of minutes before the race was to actually start, after the Star Spangled Banner was performed beautifully, we separated and he moved closer to the front and I stayed closer to the middle/back of the line. This is something we always do and it works beautifully for us! He runs faster and likes to start up front so he doesn’t have to pass so many people. I run slower and like to start closer to the back, almost with the walkers so I can actually pass people. If I start out too close to the front, too many people are passing me and I let myself get defeated. My stupid mind works that way, so I have to play games with it!

The race began and the line kept inching closer and closer to the start. I got my tunes ready to roll, but didn’t hit play immediately because I only had “so many” songs on my playlist and didn’t want to run out before I got to the end. Here’s a look at my playlist (I didn’t play them in the order they are listed. I just hit shuffle and let it go!):

Yes, I like a variety of music!

When I crossed the starting line (seven minutes after the gun went off), I tried not to get swept up in the excitement and rush of runners because I didn’t want to start out too fast. I wanted to try and maintain an easy, yet challenging pace throughout the race. I knew if I started too fast, I wouldn’t have any juice leftover for the end. I like to save a little surge of energy for the last mile. The first seven miles actually went really well. And, went by kind of fast. I maintained a somewhat even pace, only varying it by 42 or so seconds. And, I actually kept it under an 11-minute mile. I really wasn’t expecting that. And that kind of excited me. Then, came miles   8, 9, 10 and 11, which still weren’t bad, but didn’t stay under 11 minutes each. All were over an 11-minute mile, but at least they were under a 12-minute mile.

Then, mile 12 came. Actually, it was closer to the middle or end of mile 11. Not sure what happened, but I kind of hit a wall. Not a bad wall, but enough of one that my pace slowed to 12:21. I wasn’t happy and knew that I could do better. That I had that little bit of energy left. I just had to dig deep to find it. And dig I did…mile 13, the last one, I had an 11:37 pace, which made me feel much better. Tired, but better. Here’s a look at my splits, four of them were negative, so that made me feel pretty good!

Yes, my watch showed me a little short of an actual half-marathon, which is 13.1 miles. I was .04 off. And, to be honest, it kind of ticked me off. I actually like when a course runs long. Weird, I know. So according to my Garmin Forerunner 220, I actually didn’t complete a full half-marathon. But, oh well, whatcha ya gonna do about it? Nothing.

My official time was a little different than my watch, which typically happens. Here’s a look at my official time, as well as my husband’s official time:

So, how does the Fargo half compare with the other two half-marathons I’ve done? My last half-marathon was in October of 2013 in San Jose, California and I finished in 2:38:31. I shaved 12 minutes and 23 seconds off of that time! And my very first half-marathon, which was in Las Vegas in December of 2012, I completed in 2:59:56. My time in Fargo was 33 minutes and 48 seconds faster. THAT made me more than happy, it made me ecstatic! I was happy last year when I shaved 21 minutes and 25 seconds off from Vegas to San Jose. I truly didn’t expect to finish the Fargo half-marathon in under two and a half hours. I really didn’t.

BUT…..when I realized it could happen, in that last mile, I kept repeating to myself and sometimes, out loud, “Push it. You can do it. Push it. You’ve got this. PUSH IT. PUSH IT. PUSH IT!” I think that’s what kept me going that last mile.

Overall, it was a GREAT experience. And truly, one I didn’t expect. Training wasn’t the best  because of the AWFUL, HORRIBLE, GROSS winter we had. Yes, it really was THAT bad. But, apparently, the training I did do, was helpful. I really wasn’t expecting much from this half-marathon and really didn’t have a “real” goal in mind. Of course I wanted to beat my time from last year, but I wasn’t expecting to. Truly. Especially because of my recent asthma diagnosis. By the way, I used my inhaler right before the start of the race and twice on the course. I was okay with that. And, the best part, I didn’t have a coughing attack when I was done. I actually felt good. Really good. Surprisingly good.

Here’s a pic of the hubster and I at the end of the race with our medals on:

We were both happy…very happy!

After the race, we went over to our friends’ house, took showers (the best shower ever, by the way!) and then we went out for a celebration dinner at Sickies Garage, a new place to us, but a place our friends have eaten at before. Here’s what I had:

And let me tell you, it was the best Blue Moon, hamburger and sweet potato fries ever!

For my Weight Watchers members and friends, YES, it was worth every single PointsPlus Value I spent (about 30 or so!). And, there was absolutely no guilt! And for those who are wondering, here’s a look at how many activity points I earned based on my Weight Watchers ActiveLink:

Additionally, because I am such a gadget geek, besides my ActiveLink, I also wear a FitBit One, which tracks my steps. This is the most steps I’ve gotten in one day since I started wearing my FitBit:

WHAT’S NEXT?

I am hoping to do the Old Glory Run 5K in Cold Spring this Saturday, May 17.  But, I haven’t quite convinced the hubby that this is a good idea. I think he wants a little more time off. :-) As it stands right now, our next race isn’t until June 7, the Lake Region Run half-marathon relay. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see!

Then, starting in July, I’ll be back to training again. This time, for the next half-marathon – the Rock-n-Roll Denver Half-Marathon in Colorado on October 19! So excited. AND…nervous. Nervous, because of the altitude. But, I will just do my best. That’s all one can ever do! Right? If I have any readers in Denver, Colorado, please share your tips!

Take care my dear readers. Until next time. And don’t forget, you can always find me on Facebook – either on my personal page or my Confessions page. And, if you are an Instagram user, you can follow me there as well. You can find me on Instagram here! I would love to have you as a follower!

Fargo half is almost here…and more on racing and running!

I think I am ready for this Saturday’s Fargo Marathon Half-Marathon race! I may not have followed the training schedule as well as I did when I trained for the Rock-n-Roll San Jose Half-Marathon, but I still trained and I feel good. Pretty good, actually.

I’ve ran a few long runs – 8 miles, 10 miles (a couple of times), 11 miles and even a 12-miler. I’ve had some good times, slow times, decent times and horrible times, but nonetheless, I think I am ready. I am actually kind of excited, to be honest.

One of the best parts is that I feel like with just the little while I have been taking my asthma medication (Pulmacort inhaler twice a day), my asthma is better under control. We raced this past weekend and my breathing seemed to be better. I wasn’t huffing and puffing as bad as before and I only used my regular inhaler (Albuterol) twice during our first race and I didn’t use it at all during the second race. AND…the best part, I didn’t really have coughing attacks after either of the races! For me, as of late, that is pretty big news.

Bring on the half-marathon!

RUNNING AND RACING

So yes, the hubster and I raced twice this weekend – we ran a 10K on Saturday morning in Glenwood and a 5K Saturday afternoon in Alexandria. We’ve never done back-to-back races quite like that and I have to admit, it was a challenge, but it was also a lot of fun!

This was taken after the Minnewaska Warmup by a guy we met. He just turned 70-years-old and started running last year. Turned out he was from the area I grew up in and I actually knew his son, who happened to graduate with my brother! Small world! It was fun talking to the guy, who said he plans on running in at least 7-8 races this year! Rock on, Ken! You are a true inspiration!

My hubby ended up placing 3rd in his age group for this race. So proud of him!

Yes, it was a wee-bit chilly with the wind blowing off the lake! We were grateful for the sun shining, but the wind, not so much! Felt like you were running in place half the time – at BOTH races!

This was taken after the second race, which was a fundraiser for Theatre L’Homme Dieu. Being that is the Run for the Roses, all participants received roses after they crossed the finish line. For a first-ever race, the event was very well run and organized! Kudos to the organizers!

I was pretty happy with my time at both races! I actually ended up getting a PR (personal record) for this year for a 10K. I was pretty stoked! And I love when my Garmin displays my new records. It gives me that little extra motivation I need some times!

“Wall of Fame”

Over the course of the last few years, my hubby, Al, and I have really taken to running. We love (most) everything about it, especially participating in races. Since 2009, when we ran our first-ever 5K, we have acquired several racing medals – most are just participation medals, but some are actually “winning” medals, such as winning 1st, 2nd or 3rd in our age groups. Yes, even I have won in my age group!

Our medals have just been hanging on a couple of dresser drawer knobs and we were trying to figure out what to do with them. I finally came up with an idea – a vision, if you will – and with the help of a friend of ours, my vision for a racing “wall of fame” came to fruition recently. I posted the picture on my Facebook page awhile back, so you may have already seen it, but I couldn’t resist posting it here as well. I am trying hard not to make it look too brag-a-docious, but I have to say, I am pretty proud of both my husband and I for what we have accomplished in just a few short years.

So, in 2009, we participated in one race, a 5K, which we completed in 40:55. (Al used to run with me, but now, we run separately and it works so much better!) In 2010, there were nine races, including our first-ever 10K, which I ran in 1:09:33 and Al finished in 1:01:22. Then in 2011, we nearly doubled the amount of races we participated in and ran in 16 different events including a 7K and three more 10K’s. In 2012, we nearly doubled our races again, running in 27 different events, including our very 10-miler and our first half-marathon, the Rock-n-Roll Las Vegas Half-Marathon! I finished in 2:59:57 and Al finished in 2:05:45. Last year, 2013, we hit 30 races! We did lots of 5K’s, 10K’s, a half-marathon relay and another Rock-n-Roll Half-Marathon. This time, it was in San Jose and it was to celebrate our five-year wedding anniversary. That half-marathon went much better than the first – Al finished in 1:56:11 and I finished in 2:38:31. We both felt great!

So far in 2014, we have finished nine races, including five 5K’s, a 7K, two 10K’s and one 10-miler. This weekend’s Fargo Half-Marathon will be our 10th race of the year and our 93rd race since it all began back in 2009!

We are not sure what the rest of the year will bring or how many races there will be. We know for sure there is another half-marathon – another Rock-n-Roll series one. This time, in Denver, Colorado in October, which we are so looking forward to. There is one more for sure in May, four in June, possibly three in July, possibly four in August, one for sure in September, two for sure in October and who knows what November and December will bring. The one thing we know for sure is that we’ll keep running as long as our bodies let us. We love it. It’s us. It is our life. And we wouldn’t change it for anything!

 

I. Have. Asthma. Period.

April 12. Fred Kurz 10-mile race in the Twin Cities. Worst. Time. Breathing. EVER!

Around mile six, maybe even seven or eight, I started having a harder-than-usual time breathing. By mile nine, I was breathing pretty hard. Not gasping, mind you. But definitely different than my normal heavy-almost-panting-while-running breathing. I used my albuterol inhaler before the race, like I typically do any time I run – race or while out on a training run. The inhaler has always helped. Always.

Not that day.

About a year ago, or maybe even two now, I was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma. Not a big deal, really. I was giving an inhaler and was told to use it before any type of strenuous exercise. Okay. Cool. I could manage that. (Although I will admit there were numerous times, I forgot to take it before running and boy could I tell a difference!)

After crossing the finish line that day, I managed to walk to a place I could sit down so I could try and catch my breath. I could barely talk. And, all it seemed I could manage to do was cough and wheeze. Cough. Cough. Cough. Wheeze. Wheeze. Wheeze. And suck air.

The hubster and I eventually walked into the school where the race had finished so I could use the restroom and get some water. I coughed. I sucked some more air. Within a couple of minutes, I told my husband that we had to go. I. couldn’t. breath. I needed my inhaler and it was in the car.

We made it to the car and I grabbed the inhaler immediately and took several puffs. I waited. I coughed. Trying not to panic because I knew that would make it worse, I softly mentioned that we should probably get back to the hotel. I took a couple more puffs on the way. And, I coughed. Still, somewhat, struggling to get enough air. I remained as calm as I could be. Meanwhile, I think my husband may have a little concerned because I didn’t really talk. And if you know me, you know something is wrong if I quit talking. I always talk. A lot. As calm as he tried to be, I think my husband was a wee-bit concerned and contemplated bringing me in to a doctor.

Instead, I texted my son, who has asthma and knows all too well what I was going through. He’s been going through it since he was 18-months old. He’s now 20. So yes, he knows a thing or two about not being able to breathe. I wanted to know how many times I could puff on the inhaler. He told me, “as many times as it takes to breathe.” I did just that.

By the time we arrived back at the hotel, I was breathing better. Not exactly normal yet, but better. I was still pretty quiet, except, I still had the annoying and loud cough. I ran a hot bath and sat there for quite some time. The heat and humidity of the bath, I think, helped me breath even better. I remember taking my son, when he was younger, into the bathroom and just sitting there while I let the hot water run with the door shut so that it would get all steamy. It always helped. And it helped me that day, too.

I will admit, I was slightly scared of how I felt after that run and of not being able to catch my breath. And of the coughing. Oh, the coughing. As annoying as it was, though, the coughing felt good – kind of – to keep doing it. It helped me to take better and bigger breaths for some reason.

The day of the race, it had rained, so it was damp out, plus it was windy and slightly chilly. I am not sure if that had anything to do with it or not. I ended up not actually doing too bad in the race. I finished the race, which by my Garmin, said it was 10.08 miles, in one hour, 50 minutes and 4 seconds (01:50:04). Not my best, but not my worst. Because of not being to breath so well after the race, my husband and I didn’t take any pictures at the race. Instead, we had the hotel clerk take one when we got back. By the way, my husband finished in one hour, twenty-eight minutes and 36 seconds (01:28:36).

That race was Saturday, April 12. On Monday, April 14, I had a little visit with my doctor. He put me on prednisone and told me to keep taking the inhaler as needed. I asked him if he thought I should stop running and he reassured me I didn’t have to. He thought the prednisone would take care of it, along with inhaler and that everything would be fine.

It was. For a short while. About a week. And then, the prednisone wore off and I was right back to wheezing, coughing and sucking air before, after and during all my runs.

Fast-forward to Wednesday, April 23. I was back at the doctor’s office. The wheezing had gotten worse. Especially, after a run. The coughing was still there, annoying as ever. And as usual, it was worse after I ran. I was waking up in the middle of the night, wheezing and trying to catch my breath.

Asthma.

Yep. I am an asthmatic. No longer labeled as exercise-induced asthma. I have the real deal. The real McCoy. I. Have. Asthmas. Plain and simple. I am sure many of you are probably screaming at me at this point, “QUIT RUNNING!”

BUT………I assure you, I am fine. I just have asthma. It’s not that big of deal. Really. I was given a steroid inhaler – Pulmacort – that I take twice a day and probably will for quite some time. And, I still use my regular inhaler – the Albuterol – as needed. I now not only take it before a run, but I carry it with me while I am running and have had to use it on most of my runs.

Before getting all bent out of shape and thinking I am damned fool for continuing to run, I will assure you my doctor said it was okay. I asked him point blank, “Do I have to quit running?” He replied, “Absolutely not!” He said we just have to manage the asthma and that there are several star athletes in the same boat as me – they are asthmatics, too.

Not that I didn’t believe him, but I just wanted to double check, so I Googled, “star athletes with asthma” and there were quite a few, including Jackie Joyner-Kersee (gold medalist track and field star), Amy Van Kyken (swimmer), Jerome Bettis (football player), Paula Radcliffe (marathoner), Dennis Rodman (basketball player), Justine Henin (tennis player) and Pete Vanderkaay (swimmer). And I am sure there are tons more.

So, my plan is to keep running…until my doctor says I need to stop.

I will run as fast as my lungs will let me!

The countdown is on, running and racing, plus some fantastic food finds

It’s time to get serious…the countdown to the Fargo Half-Marathon is on.

There is a countdown timer on the website and I have to admit, it kind of freaked me out.

32 days. THIRTY-TWO DAYS! How the heck did that happen? I’m not ready. At least I don’t think so. Or maybe I don’t feel as ready as I was for the San Jose Half-Marathon last October. The half that I actually followed a training schedule. This time? Not so much.

Why? Three words. 1. Winter. 2. Snow. 3. Cold.

I know one thing is for sure, I don’t think I will ever sign up for a spring half-marathon again. At least not while I am living in the winters-from-hell state of MinneSNOWta! Seriously, between all the dumb snowstorms and the bitterly cold temperatures, there wasn’t much running/training happening. I did actually run some on the DREADmill at the YMCA, but seriously, I don’t think I ever ran more than three and half miles on it. I. Am. Not. A. Fan. of the dreaded treadmill, hence the DREADmill name!

There was one day where it was snow storming and I was just pissy, so I said, “Screw it!” and went out for a run anyway. I only ran four miles, but it was four miles I didn’t have to do on the treadmill!

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten in a few runs, more than I thought I would and that makes me happy. I did get in a couple of long runs, too. I did an eight-mile and on Sunday, April 6, I did a 10-mile.

I think the temps were actually in the 50′s, which was SO NICE! When I got back, my hubby was sitting on the deck, so I decided to hang with him for a bit. It felt so good just to crash and lay on the deck with my feet up – on the table and straight up in the air! The run felt awesome and I actually shaved off about three minutes from the last time I ran a 10-miler, which was at the Monster Dash in October!

Training will continue as best it can for the next 32 days. I guess, maybe, just maybe, I might be more ready than I think for the upcoming half-marathon. I guess we’ll see how this weekend’s 10-mile race goes.

Speaking of which, if you are a runner who lives in, around or near the Twin Cities area, you really should check out this Saturday’s race – the Fred Kurz 10-mile! According to the race website – click here – “Starting times are handicapped by the “world-renowned” Lanin Guessimetric Method, with the slowest runners starting first and, ideally, all runners finishing at about the same time.” How cool is that? Additionally, the race is easy on the pocketbook – it’s only $15 to enter – or $8 if you are a member of the Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA). Seriously, check it out!

WHAT ELSE HAS BEEN HAPPENING?

We’ve had a couple of races since my last posting. And, I have had some awesome food finds. The rest of my post will be done in pictures. Enjoy!

This is from the Get Lucky 7K race in the Twin Cities on March 15.

I finished the 7K in 43:28. I was pumped because I was shooting for around 45 minutes. I was honestly ecstatic about my time!

Al did awesome, as well! Seriously, he kicked some major butt!

This is from the iRock Run in Cold Spring, MN, which benefits the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. It was a nice day, although a little windy. My hubby, Al, finished in 24:45. I finished in 29:33, which is a PR for this year. And my friend, Tonya, finished in 27:28. It was a great race and hopefully, we can do it again next year.

After the race was done, the three of us grabbed some lunch at Mongo’s Grill in St. Cloud and then Al and I had some errands to run. We had a few things to get at the mall and I forgot my extra clothes to change into, so I got to walk around the mall in my running gear, which included these crazy pants, which are SO comfortable and I love them. Yes, even though they are a bit bright! OMG! I have never, EVER in my life received so many strange looks and stares from people. The hubster, who was always dressed in his running gear, which include running tights with a pair of shorts over them and a very bright, neon green shirt, also received LOTS of looks. There were even a few people who glared/gave dirty looks. It was comical. Seriously, I kind of wanted to keep walking around just to watch peoples’ reaction to how we were dressed. It was entertaining, yet kind of pathetic.

FOOD FINDS!

The other day, my husband made chicken burgers (pictured later) and we really wanted some fries to go with them. My husband found these in the grocery store and thought we would give them a whirl. (Yes, I know we could have just made our own, but we didn’t feel like it!). For my Weight Watchers friends out there, these are definitely worth it. You can have 21 fries for only 4 PointsPlus Values. And they are nice-sized fries. Not little ones. They were fantastic and we will definitely have these again.

OMG! These are by far the BEST “healthy puffs” I have ever had. I have tried the baked Cheetos brand and other brands, but I will never buy anything else but these. Seriously, they had the BEST flavor. They actually tasted like real puffs only better. I am not kidding. Best part? You can have 52 of these things for only 4 PointsPlus Values. These will now be a staple in our house. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them! They are made by Green Giant, check out the link here.

My husband had bought some very lean ground chicken. If I remember right, I think he said it was actually 100 percent fat-free. Anyway, we thought he should try something different with them and make actual burgers. He took the chicken and mixed it with half an egg, a crushed up bag of Weight Watchers Cheddar Twists, a little BBQ sauce, a little liquid smoke, salt, pepper and some Lowry’s seasoning. Each burger was only 3 PointsPlus Values. And the BEST part? They tasted fantastic. They were NOT dry. They were juicy and full of flavor. We will definitely make these again.

I know I have talked about my smoothie pancakes before, but if you haven’t tried them yet, give them a try. I started adding 2 tablespoons of PB2, which is a powdered peanut butter to the mix. It not only adds additional protein, it adds flavor. I use 3/4 cup of the liquid egg whites, mix in one Weight Watchers smoothie packet (you can use any flavor you want) and then the PB2. Beat together and then cook in a pan sprayed with cooking spray until they are done. I don’t time anything, so I can’t tell you long. The pancake is a total of 4 PointsPlus Values – 2 for the smoothie mix, 1 for the 3/4 cup of egg whites and 1 for the PB2. I don’t put anything on mine, but a lot of times, I eat it with a banana. VERY FILLING!

These are necessarily a new food find, but lately, I have been obsessed with blackberries. I am not sure this is even the season for them, but OMG! they have been so good lately. I eat at least one container a day. They are so tasty, juicy, sweet, kind of crunchy. Just YUM!

MISC PICS

I just have to include a pic of my new iPhone 5C case I designed at MyCustomCase.com. I know it is “just a case,” but I am probably the most picky person when it comes to phone cases – just ask my husband! Anyway, I found the website somehow and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my new case. There are literally hundreds of cases to choose from and then you can pick the color and “write” whatever you want on it. Some have just monogrammed letters, others, like mine have words that can run along the bottom or along the side. Seriously, check them out. They have cases for all kinds of phones. It is definitely worth your time!

And lastly, I have to include a picture – or two or three or four – of my son, Brandon, and his absolutely stunningly beautiful girlfriend, Kenzie. They attended her junior prom. Aren’t they both just adorable. I am so happy for them!

As always, remember, you can find me on Facebook here or here and you can also find me on Instagram, here. If you want, you can also send me an email to confessionsofaformerfatgirl at gmail dot com (confessionsofaformerfatgirl@gmail.com).