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).

Whoa…time flies, doesn’t it?

I just realized I last blogged on February 22! Wow, where does the time go? It’s crazy, isn’t it? I mean, really, didn’t we just start 2014 and it’s already March 12! Craziness!

So, what’s been going on? Lots. Lots of running and getting back into the swing of things, that is. I ran my first race of the season this past weekend – the 100% Irish for a Day 5K hosted by Twin Cities in Motion. It was a great race with great weather, great food, great route and great volunteers! Someday, I am going to be a volunteer at a race. I think it would be so much fun! It’s on my bucket list.

I was so excited when my husband opted to run this race with me…as in by my side the entire time! We typically run the Twin Cities in Motion Valentine’s Day TC 5K together, but if you remember from my last post, I was sick and didn’t get to run. So, he said he would run this one with me and it was so awesome. We set a goal of running it 33 minutes. Yes, that is WAY slower than he usually runs for a 5K (he can finish anywhere from 23-25 minutes), but he was so gracious to run my pace and let me actually set the pace. Most of the race, he did run by my side, but there were a few times where he actually ran behind me so I was setting the pace and leading. In addition, the road was still slightly icy and snow-packed, so sometimes, he ran behind me because there was no room to run by my side.

The race was not officially timed, but I was delighted when we crossed the finish line (hand in hand, no less) and saw the time on my Garmin – 31:51 – yes, 31 minutes and 51 seconds – under the goal of 33 minutes. Seriously, I was ecstatic. For my first race of the year and not too much training, I was so happy with my time. I was actually just happy to be able to get out there and run. It felt SO good. I think Al was pretty impressed, too. I’m thinking he thought we would actually finish closer to 35 minutes. Maybe by the end of the year, I will actually get under 30 minutes more than once! Here are a couple of pics from the race:

Yes, that is a Finnegan’s Beer. And yes, it was before 10 a.m. in the morning! Free beer. What more can I say?

This is our time, according to my Garmin and the temp. It really felt warmer than what it was because the sun was mostly shining and it felt so good. There was what we like to call a “sardine start” at the beginning of the race, meaning there were lots of people and we had to maneuver our way through. You can tell by looking at our pace that it got better as we went along. There was quite a bit of zigging and zagging to get out of the glob of runners, but it a way, that’s what makes it fun. Plus, you end up with negative splits – where your time improves with each mile. It felt great to see we started with a 10:40 pace and ended with a 9:50 pace.

Our next race is this Saturday, March 15 – Team Ortho Foundations’s 7K race, the Get Lucky. Looking forward to it, especially because the weather is supposed to be so nice!

EATING OUT

For all my Weight Watchers friends, I just have to share about my experience at Ruby Tuesday’s last Sunday. We stopped there on our way home from the Twin Cities for lunch. Both my husband and I were craving a good ol’ burger and fries. I decided to look up Ruby Tuesday on the Weight Watchers mobile app on my phone and to my surprise, it was there.

Yes, I ordered the Bacon Cheese Pretzel burger, but I had sweet potato fries instead of regular fries and I only had water to drink, not a soda pop. I’m not the biggest pop drinker, so it’s easy for me to skip it.

I did make a few changes – such as I only had one piece of cheese instead of the two it came with. I had them delete the mayo that came on the burger and I took half of my fries and gave them to my husband. In addition, I took the bottom bun off and didn’t eat it, which most of the time I don’t because I HATE soggy, greasy, hamburger buns. I also had the bacon extra crispy so most of the fat was fried out it – right? At least in my mind, crispy bacon is better for you than soggy bacon. (Yes, that is how my mind works!). At any rate, I didn’t track the 47 PointsPlus Values for the meal. I decided that 30 sounded like a good number and that is what I tracked. Did I really save 17 points by making the changes I made? Maybe, maybe not. But it sounded good to me!

This journey is not about being perfect. Period. I tracked and that’s all that matters! To me, anyways.

Check out the picture of my burger and fries – doesn’t it look scrumptious? It was. And I enjoyed every single bite. No guilt. Just pure satisfaction!

Remember, you can find me on Facebook here and here. And, you can also follow me on Instagram, here!

What’s been going on…

Since my last blog post, I have had one physical therapy session and got fitted for and received my neck brace.

Not the prettiest accessory I have ever worn, but I guess if it helps, I will wear it. I am REALLY, REALLY, REALLY glad I don’t have to wear it all the time. I mostly have to wear it when I am driving because I do a lot of driving! I am on the road four days a week traveling lots of miles each of those days. I’m also supposed to wear it if I am doing excessive activity…whatever that means! I will tell you this, it forces you to use your whole body for doing things…kind of weird, but kind of cool.

As for physical therapy, I’ve only had one session because unfortunately, I came down with a real nasty cold. My first therapy session was Tuesday. It was real basic. The physical therapist asked a ton of questions, did some tests and then we did two types of traction therapy. It was WEIRD. (I’ll write more about that next week!) I have two scheduled for next week and I am actually looking forward to them. I was supposed to have another one this morning, but instead, I found myself in the doctor’s office. I didn’t make an  appointment, but just the urgent call thing. When I went up to the desk to speak with the receptionist lady, I had a coughing attack. She made me put a mask on. I’ve never had that happen. Ever. Looking pretty cute, huh?

Turns out I have bronchitis…again. It really stinks, but gosh darn it, I get this a lot. And for now being what I consider a mostly healthy person, it gets kind of frustrating! I used to get pneumonia as a kid, not sure if that has anything to do with. I also used to be a smoker. WHICH….I am so happy to report that as of January 7 of this year it has been nine years since I quit. THANK GOD! I know that people who smoke or have smoked are more susceptible to bronchitis. Another reason to NEVER EVER start. Seriously, it sucks being sick and not being able to breathe. The good doc gave me the Z-pack (zithromax) and an inhaler. Mine was out. (I use an inhaler for running because a few years back, I found out I have exercise-induced asthma.) I hope the meds work quick, my hubby and I are headed to the cities for the weekend. Going to the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre to see Fiddler on the Roof!

As for the injection I was supposed to Monday get for my herniated discs in my neck, I had to reschedule because the person who does the injections wasn’t going to be at the clinic. I am now going to get the injection tomorrow, Friday. I am actually going to be having it done in St. Cloud at CDI. My husband is coming with me, for which I am so very, very thankful. I am hoping they are going to actually let him come in the room with me because I am a scaredy cat when it comes to needles! I’m gonna need his soft, loving hand to hold!

I haven’t done any running…insert heavy sigh here. Prior to getting bronchitis, I’ve been spending time on the elliptical, the bike and a little time on the ARC trainer. And despite it being stupidly cold out, my husband and I have been doing some walking outside. Not much, though. Here’s a pic from last Saturday after we got done with a quick walk after we ate supper. On Saturdays, we usually have a date night where we make fun food and drink some wine. We usually go for a walk when we are done and this past Saturday was no exception, even though it was just a wee bit cold.

Yes, it was COLD!

Reminder, you can find me on Facebook here and here and you can also find me on Instagram.

A harsh and much needed conversation with…myself!

After polishing off the leftover-from-the-weekend salted dark chocolate brownie bites and candied praline pecans (both from Trader Joe’s), along with a couple of Brach’s cinnamon hearts, a caramel roll, a few bites of caramel sea salt gelato and a banana – yes, quite out of place wouldn’t you say – I decided that enough is FINALLY enough and it’s time to put on my big girl panties and dig myself out of this rut I am in. Oh, I should probably mention that all of that was before noon, today.

I decided it was time to have a little conversation with myself. A reality check of sorts. A come-to-Jesus-meeting, if you will. Here’s what I said:

“Yes, it’s winter. Yes, it’s friggin’ cold. Yes, it’s miserable outside. Yes, it’s almost the anniversary of your sister’s death (it will be three years this Friday, January 31).  But seriously girl, it’s time to quit being so dang lazy, quit eating to try and make yourself feel better, warmer or whatever it is you think the food is going to help. It’s time to get your head in the game and out of your behind. It’s time to get your lazy butt off the couch. It’s time to seriously quit feeling sorry for yourself and time to quit thinking everyone else has it so easy. Quit being jealous of others. They work harder, are more committed, have more dedication and also have struggles just like you. No one is perfect. You tell your members that ALL the time. You motivate people (or at least TRY to motivate people) every day. It is time to motivate yourself. Pick yourself up out of this rut and get moving, get tracking, get back to healthier eating. Just get back to it. NOW! And remember, ACTION speaks louder than WORDS!”

It was a good conversation to say the least. It was exactly what I needed to hear from myself. Because I work for Weight Watchers and try to be an inspiration for so many, I do sometimes forget that I am human, too. Even though I say it all the time to my members, sometimes, I just forget. I don’t ever try to be perfect – there’s is no such thing. But sometimes, I forget that I need motivation. I need guidance. I need inspiration. I need help, just like my members. Just because I lost dang near 60 pounds (okay, I did, but I don’t maintain that 60-pound loss. I maintain a 50-55 pound loss!), doesn’t mean that I got this healthier lifestyle down pat. It is still – after five years – a struggle from time to time.

And even though I do get jealous of others – there are four bloggers/friends in particular – I also look to them for inspiration. It’s time for me to quit being jealous of these four individuals and start listening to them, start feeding off of them for inspiration and using them as motivation.

These four individuals make it look so easy, but I am guessing it is not as easy for them as people think and I am thinking (or at least kind of, sort of hoping) that they have their own personal struggles as well. So, my four bloggers/friends, I need your help, your assistance, your guidance, your awesome selfs to show me the way back to a healthier lifestyle. Please keep up your amazingly awesome blogs so that I can use your wisdom and words to get my mojo back.

Jim, erin, Katie and Lee, thanks for being you and thanks for being my inspiration, motivation and truly, my heroes. You may not know this, but I look up to all of you with so much love and admiration, and yes, at times, with so much jealousy. But I need you all. Thank you for helping me find my way.

I am going to leave you with some of my favorite quotes and words of wisdom that have helped me before and are going to help me again.

“What you eat in private, you wear in public.”

“Change is not an event. It is a process.”

“Every day is a good day for a run.”

“We don’t fail. We learn. It’s called feedback, not failing.”

“There is no finish line. So love the journey.”

“Diets start and end. A healthier lifestyle is a journey, so enjoy the ride.”

A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.”

“The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.”

“There are three C’s in life: Choice. Chance. Change. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.”

“If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.”

There are so many more inspiring quotes and words of wisdom out there. If you have some to share, please share them here or go to my Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl Facebook page and leave them there. I would surely appreciate it.

I am asking for help. In any way you can. Thank you. All of you are greatly appreciated.

You can find my Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl Facebook page here, my own Facebook page here and you can also find me on Instagram. And if you really want, feel free to send me an email at celbeam@gmail.com, encouraging words mean so much!

I am not going back to this:

This is where I want to be – at my happiest and healthiest ever in my life:

When life throws you a curve ball

The last two weeks have been such a roller coaster. And let me tell you, in typical situations like this, I would have eaten myself into oblivion. I didn’t. And for that, I am beyond proud. And the fact that it’s winter, extremely cold, and I haven’t put on the extra 10 pounds I did last year is another reason I am proud of myself right now. For the most part, I have stayed on track. Although, I could have used some more time running outside or on the treadmill (did I just say that?) or spinning at the YMCA, but for right now, I am okay/at peace with the amount of exercise I am getting. It hasn’t completely vanished and for that, I guess I am grateful.

So, let’s back up just a tad to a couple of weeks ago:

On Friday, December 13 (I guess we should have known better), my dad went in for a “simple” surgery on a ruptured ligament in his left ankle. The next thing we know, the doctor says he is NOT doing surgery because my dad’s ankle/lower leg is infected and he wants the infection gone before he will do surgery.

Here’s a pic of my dad waiting in the surgery room before the doctor finally came in. My dad’s surgery was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. and the doctor’s first visit to the room was around 12:30 p.m. Yes, FOUR hours after he was supposed to have surgery.

So, to make an extremely LONG story shorter, my dad was admitted to the hospital, where he stayed from December 13 until December 20. He was then transferred to a nursing home, Knute Nelson, where as of today, December 27, he remains. And to be honest, we don’t even know for how long. (Communication has NOT been the greatest because of the holidays and his doctors not being available.) And then, to top it all off, he had to be brought to the emergency room twice since he moved into the nursing home. On his very first night, he fell (unfortunately, we will never know the real story as to what happened) and I had to demand he be brought to the hospital to get checked out. He was also having some complications with his IV line (pick line) and a nurse called my mom at 5:20 in the morning to let her know he would be going to the ER, although she really didn’t know exactly what time he would be going. But apparently, she thought she would call a nearly 80-year-old woman, who is already stressed to the max because of everything that has happened, and wake her up at 5:20 a.m. on Christmas Day no less, to tell her her husband was going to the ER. It should never have happened that way and let me tell you, that poor nurse who called my mom got the wrath of me. There have been several times the “poor” nurses at Knute Nelson have had to deal with me. I’m guessing they don’t much care for me at all. But…I. Don’t. Care. I really wanted to move my dad to a different nursing home, but it never happened. He will remain at Knute Nelson…for now. (There is TONS I have left out, but I will not bore you all with any more detail. If you want more, feel free to check me out on Facebook, where I have been posting almost daily updates.)

If/when my dad eventually has his surgery on his foot, I will guarantee you, he will do his rehab time at the other nursing home in town, Ecumen Bethany Nursing Home. He will NOT be going back to Knute if I have my way. I will note that not all the nurses have been terrible. There have been a couple that have warmed over my heart.

WHAT ELSE HAS BEEN GOING ON?

Again, I am grateful, happy, elated, proud and so much more that I have not turned to food this time to deal with all the stress. Although I am guessing, my poor husband wishes I would have. I think I might have taken all my stress out on him. And for that, I sincerely am sorry.

Here is a look at what else has been happening in my world:

For fun, my husband and I took out medals from the last three years and hung them on the tree as our ornaments. We only did this as a joke because I saw something on Facebook. We did take them off and decorate the tree with our real ornaments, but I may just do this next year…for real! There is a total of 66 medals, some just participant medals, others actual “winning” medals for age group categories and such.

Yes, when I said it’s been cold, I wasn’t lying. IT HAS BEEN FRIGID!

But at least it’s somewhat pretty.

Well, maybe it isn’t ALL that pretty. I guess it was pretty cold this particular day I decided to go for a four mile run. I really didn’t think it was that cold, but apparently sweat mixed with cold temperatures makes for some frosty conditions. Kind of scary, huh?

With our first big race (just a half-marathon) coming up in May, I thought I better get my training scheduled figured out. So far, I have January planned out, but that’s all the further I got. I will take some time soon and finished the rest of my schedule.

So, that about wraps it up. OH, WAIT…besides all the stress and stuff going on with my dad, I have my own medical stuff happening. First off, my heartburn has nearly faded…thank GOD!, but I have still been dealing with my shoulder pain. Read my last blog post to see what’s been happening.

So far, I have had two MRI’s done and a few X-rays. The first MRI was on my shoulder and then I saw an orthopedic doctor who decided that I should have another MRI done on my neck. He thinks I might have some kind of pinched nerve or something going on so he wanted to see pics of my neck. I had that MRI, but apparently I didn’t stay still enough, so on New Year’s Eve day, I get to have another MRI, but this time, I get to be sedated. Oh, joy! Hopefully after that, the ortho doc can figure out what’s going on. Until then, I will continue to deal with a very painful shoulder, tingling and numb arm and a shoulder blade area that likes to tingle, as well.

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and you all have a very Happy New Year! I will try and continue to keep you all posted on my dad and on me.