My Weight Is A Mindfuck

As I get older, I have started giving less and less fucks about what people think about my body. I’ll change outside of the stalls and only cover enough that I don’t flash people. I can be naked in front of people and just be like….what’s up, this is my body, and not care if they may be judging my saggy boobs or stretch-marked stomach that also happens to carry all of my extra weight.

I went camping this weekend. I wore a bikini in public. I honestly don’t even think I wore a bikini as a kid (a tankini for sure though), and my mombod self was wearing one on the beach and also walking back to our campsite, giving zero fucks even though I was getting some side eye. I felt GOOD about myself. I forgot to shave my legs and honestly didn’t care that much.

I drank a lot of Twisted lemonade this weekend.

I drank a lot of Twisted lemonade this weekend.

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Wearing a bikini in public, drinking in public (breaking the rules), giving zero fucks.

I didn’t really think too much about my diet. I didn’t go too crazy until the last day, and that was only because I drove my friend back to Edmonton and I have to constantly eat to keep myself awake on longer road trips -.-

I got home last night. I weighed myself this morning, and 201 was staring back at me. I was 197.2 on Thursday morning. Is it really possible that I gained 4lbs over the course of the weekend? Why do I put this much stock into the number on the scale? Maybe because after I finally hit 199, I thought that I’d never see 200 again (barring pregnancy)?

I thought back to how good I felt walking around in a bikini for the first time in my life…..why does seeing this number make me feel disgusting?

WHY AM I THIS HUNG UP ON THE NUMBER ON MY SCALE?

I have a feeling the simple answer is that I need to stop weighing myself…but I just CAN’T. Maybe once I eventually get to my goal weight and can go on maintenance I’ll weigh myself more infrequently, but for now, keeping a consistent eye on the fluctuations from day to day is what makes me feel like I have some control, when it goes down I feel accomplished, when it goes up I feel frustrated. I WISH I didn’t obsess about it so much, I see innumerable posts on my lady fitness groups about throwing away the scale and these beautiful buff women who apparently never weigh themselves.

I’ve spent the last year and a half steadfastly focusing on losing weight. Not weighing myself would mean that I’d be letting that focus go to waste. It may not be the healthiest thing in the world to be so obsessive about little electronic numbers that dictate whether I’ve been a good girl or a bad girl, but their very basic purpose is data. I NEED to know that I’m going the right direction.

I really don’t know what the point of this post was beyond that camping makes me fat and I make a lot of excuses about my need to weigh myself daily. Sigh.

DUCKS

DUCKS

/fin

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

There have been innumerable ups and downs for me over the past year and a half that I’ve been doing this whole lifestyle change for. My weight has gone down and up and plateaued, and down again, I gained back some of the inches that I lost during Biggest Loser and am only now getting close to where I was at the end of the competition.

My mental health has always been a bit of an issue, some days more than others. Hormones play a huge part in my mood and how I feel.

I’ve been very lazy lately, I haven’t gone to the gym and lifted in at least a month :( and not going to the gym makes me depressed. I haven’t even been doing training runs or going for walks with Noah like I fully intended to. Summer is really hard for me, I don’t get that daily break from Noah to do my own thing, and it makes me want to hermit. The only time I have to go to the gym solo is after Noah goes to bed, and that’s also when I need to squeeze in any adult socialization….and socialization has definitely taken the front seat for the past few weeks!

I’ve been trying to go to the playground more often to practice my monkey bar skills. I can now actually swing instead of just falling down the bars, but my body moves a little too much from side to side for it to be totally comfortable. I am noticing a huge improvement in my upper body strength. Today I went for a run for the first time in 2 months and ran my fastest 5K time to date, even with having a stomach ache and feeling like I needed to throw up for 90% of it. I did 3.34 miles in 37:49, average pace 11:19/mile, which is a big deal for me.

That’s all of the good and the bad, but the ugly….

I set out to run 25 races by the time I turn 25, inspired by someone on a lady fitness group I’m in who did 50 races by her 50th birthday, and a local friend who ran 50K on her 50th birthday.

But in the attempt to complete my goal, I’ve hit a lot of motivational snags. A lot of really disparaging moments during races that really make me not want to race anymore this year. Which is really sad, I enjoy racing, but god sometimes I just get so frustrated with myself for being so ungodly slow.

A friend told me the other day something along the lines of, “you inspire me. You get out there and finish the race, even when you’re last….most people would just give up, but you finish”. I realize that he was being encouraging and I appreciate the sentiment, but at the same time I wonder if I am just being unrealistic with my aspirations. Do I even belong in the racing community? I know that someone always has to be last, but am I just being foolish by continuing to do all of these long distance runs when I’m probably not actually ready for them? Should I be sticking to 5 and 10Ks instead of pulling in dead last at 21s?

In the last month I’ve had two really negative racing experiences.

The first was at Tuffest 10 at the Nitehawk ski hill just outside of Grande Prairie. I ended up stepping wrong in a soft spot on the trail and twisting my bad ankle. It took me 2:41 to do 10k (the terrain was ridiculously treacherous), so I called it at that point instead of completing my intended 21K (I may have been DNF’d anyway, the course was only open for 4 hours). I was so disappointed in my performance. I’m still disappointed. I did so well at Mountain Madness (another 21K trail race that I had done a month before, in comparison I finished it in 3:16) that I was really expecting a similar showing at that race, and it did not happen. The food after the race was excellent (spaghetti and meat sauce! ceasar salad! garlic bread!) but to be honest I could barely choke it down because I didn’t feel like I earned it.

The second was Beat the Bear #2, a duathlon. The first one, in June, I had finished second last and it kind of broke me. Completing a triathlon is on my list of ultimate fitness goals, but I realized after that race that I am HORRIBLE at the bike (it didn’t help that the route was all forest trail). It took me an hour to finish 8K of biking (I actually think it was closer to 10K, but that’s unconfirmed) :/ So going into #2 (I had paid for the 3 race series, otherwise I definitely wouldn’t have done another one after #1!) I was DREADING it. I knew I would be last because the person who got last for the previous one was out of town.

It’s only 3K running + 8K biking + 3K running, but dear lord even with a Red Bull 30mins before the race started (my new pre-race ritual since Mountain Madness), I had zero gas in my tank and the first 3K took me 26:53 (felt longer). The biking took me 55:29 and the last 3K took me 30:27. Overall I took almost a full 10 minutes longer with #2 than I did #1, although I enjoyed the route itself more.

In any case, I came out of it feeling very grumpy and discouraged, and now I don’t have any races until the third installment of Beat the Bear, followed by the Glow Run 5K the next night, which I am actually looking forward to.

Next year….I don’t really know what my racing schedule will look like. I don’t know if I will be doing Spartans again once I get my trifecta this year. I would like to do a marathon, but I don’t know how my schedule will be in regards to getting the mileage in to train for that. Noah is starting full time kindergarten in the fall, I’m hoping to get a job starting in October….who knows what that will mean for my free time? I may even decide to not work and just enjoy the time I have until Noah’s in all day school next fall (at which point I will definitely be working)? This year is going to be such a huge transition, I have no idea what’s going to happen or how I’ll feel after my 25 races are completed.

beat the bear #1 results

Beat the Bear #1 results….

beat the bear #2 results

….as compared to #2.

Ugly DNF next to my name for the 21K :(

Ugly DNF next to my name for the Tuffest 10 21K :(

PS to finish this super negative post with something positive, I FINALLY BROKE 200LBS THIS WEEK!! FUCK YEAH, ONEDERLAND!

weight loss milestone

July 17, 2015

:D :D :D

Ermahgerd, Monkey Bars!

Two days ago, I managed to do 6 monkey bars in a row! I cried!

This is HUGE for me, I haven’t been able to do monkey bars since I was 10 or so years old!

And yesterday I did the full set of dips (assisted with 85lb counterweight) without stopping! (But I still needed to stop for pullups haha)

GAINZ.

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PS if you don’t watch BroScienceLife videos on YouTube….YOU NEED TO START. Best channel of all time.

Thoughts on my new lifting program

I have been busy gearing up for the final few weeks before the race season officially begins for me (16K road race on May 10th, 13+K OCR on May 16th, 21K road race on May 23rd!) slash being lazy and not going to the gym.

I started a new lifting program called the Shortcut to Shred on recommendation from a woman in a fitness group I’m in on Facebook, after she posted a 12w before/after picture where she went from a little chubby to friggin 6 pack abs. I don’t expect that to happen to me, but hey even a nudge in the right direction would be good….I wrote on my last post that I lost 2 inches from my stomach, but it’s still holding a lot of fat and a lot of inches as compared to the rest of my body so I need to work on that.

I am well aware that you can’t spot reduce, so I’ve been really trying to focus on my diet and keeping within my calories. I tried to do macros for a little while (like a week? lol) but it was just way too complicated for me and got too reminiscent of my previous struggles with obsessive eating. I very very loosely follow them now, pretty much doing the exact same thing that I did from the beginning of 2014…..aim for high protein, moderate fat, and low carb. But really it’s pretty much, limit dairy (I only eat cheese, ranch with my raw veggies, and butter in my cooking, basically), and limit grains (I try to only eat grains at supper). Most of my (non-plant-based) carbs are eaten at night because after 7 is when I do most of my snacking. I have dessert every night as well, but I may need to cut it down or go back to eating protein bars for dessert :( I like protein bars but I’ve been in a big baking kick lately and that stuff is just so much better, haha. I made a strawberry crisp the other day that was amaaazing :D

Anyway. Back to Shortcut to Shred. I don’t like it as much as I liked Simply Shredded….just because of the way it’s organized. I think that in a home gym it would be great but being at the gym and it telling me to jump from exercise to exercise, it’s really not conducive to that type of environment, or at least the way my gym is set up! On a couple of the days it asks you to go from a strength exercise to doing a minute on the treadmill….at my gym the weight section is across the room from the cardio section. Plus, you do it between each set of strength exercises. How dumb would I look running across the gym, running on the treadmill for a minute, then running back and repeating X4? Also, I really hate the Smith machine (it encourages bad form), and there are quite a few things you’re supposed to use it for…..no thanks! I adapted them a bit so I wouldn’t have to use it.

This workout makes me feel like this tool (collect all the equipment, no I’m still using it!):

With Simply Shredded, it groups the exercises based on what equipment you’re using. So there will be like 3 dumbbell exercises and then barbell squats and deadlifts, that makes sense, right? Well with Shortcut to Shred, it’s a lot more nonsensical, it mixes in dumbbell exercises and machine exercises and then barbell exercises, back to dumbbell….like, what? Also, they seem really redundant. Like one day you’re doing med grip bench press, close grip bench press, decline benchpress, incline dumbbell press…..why? There also isn’t a ton of lower body work, it’s mostly all upper body.

I don’t hate it, it just doesn’t make much sense to me. I’ve been doing run training as well so I end up just combining 2 days of the Shortcut to Shred into one, which eliminates the redundant exercises lol.

I think that once May is over and I’m back to focusing on strength training, I’ll have to find another program, or just continue to make adaptions from this one.

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Today was a weird day.

This morning when I stepped onto the scale, it read 207.6.

I very recently finally broke my 210lb plateau and was just starting to wrap my mind around 208.8…..I haven’t been below 210 since the first 6 months of my pregnancy 5 years ago. I didn’t even trust that the scale was telling me the truth until the third day of 208.

So this morning my mind was blown a little more. I had really buckled down over the last two weeks to eat within my calories (1750), and so far I’ve been doing pretty good. Clearly the scale agrees.

And  check this out!

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GAINZ

 


 

This afternoon Caleb wasn’t working, so while we were out running errands we decided to stop for lunch. I ordered a burger and it came with coleslaw and a side (I chose seasonal veggies). We also ordered 10 wings to share.

I took one bite of my burger to see how it was, and I decided to take the top bun off, and cut the rest of it up and eat it with a fork. I also decided to only have 2 of the wings and I actually spent a long time deciding if I wanted to eat the second one or not. I decided to eat it, haha. So once I was done that, I had a bit of the coleslaw left over that I left on my plate, along with the top of the bun.

Now, the only reason that this is something notable, is to try to convey how out of character this is for me.

I am a chronic emotional and general overeater. I would characterize myself as a food addict and I don’t think it’s being dramatic to say that. I was raised not to leave anything on my plate, and that has been a large learning curve in terms of what a proper portion size looks like. I think that a lot of people who struggle with their weight as adults had shitty food influences growing up, whether that was because of a lack of food or too much food. For me it was that I had no idea what a proper portion looked like, I just knew to fill my plate and eat the whole thing. Hell, if it was something delicious, have another plate! At some point around the time I was 8 or so, it became a contest with my sister to see who could eat as much as our dad. My dad has always had a very active job, and at that point was still playing baseball in the summer and hockey in the winter, plus he has a wicked metabolism that basically immediately burned whatever he put into his mouth. He always reminded me of Jughead in that regard.

That is a LOT of food for a little girl, and that “contest” lasted until I was around 12, and I think at that point I started becoming much more aware of my body size in comparison to the other girls’. I was never really “fat” as a child, just big. I was taller than everyone in my class until 3rd grade and the tallest girl until at least 7th. I had big feet and wide shoulders, and my weight distributed in such a way that I was solid but I didn’t have a double chin or anything too crazy. I remember starting to notice my best friend’s food intake as compared to mine, I would have 3 pieces of pizza no problem, she would have 1. I could eat an entire bag of popcorn, she’d have a bowl or half the bag and be good to go. She was 5’0″ fully grown, so she was always significantly shorter than me growing up and much slimmer (especially as adults).

If there were any leftovers, my dad usually got the biggest portion, then my mom, and then my sister and I would share the rest. This resulted in me becoming very territorial about food, which really is weird considering that I have never had to go without food. I still eat ungodly fast as an unnecessary defense mechanism. I still flip out probably more than is usual if Caleb eats food that I have set aside for myself, and I hide food sometimes because I don’t want him to eat it.

I have had a lot of trouble with binge eating as an adult. I really didn’t have a problem until after Noah was born. I barely slept and I was severely depressed (especially after about a year), I ate my feelings and packed on the weight, but eventually after therapy and medication I’ve gotten a lot better. I’ve outlined in previous posts about my struggles with obsessive and disordered eating, so I won’t get too repetitive there).

I still struggle with binge eating from time to time, which is why it’s so incredibly bizarre that I sat there  and REALLY thought about that second wing. Hell, 3 months ago I could have powered through all 10 on my own, after finishing my entire plate. I thought about how full I was, if I actually WANTED it. At the start of my meal, while I was eating the coleslaw, I didn’t finish it, because in my head I thought about how I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be too full after eating the burger. Like wtf is this conscious eating shit, right? So at the end of the meal, when my top bun and some coleslaw was still on my plate, I thought, do you know what? I don’t actually want to finish this. And I DIDN’T FEEL GUILTY about spending money on a meal and not finishing it or not taking leftovers. I just was done eating when my body told me that I was done.

I’m actually tearing up a little typing this, because it feels like I really turned a corner today and it was the first time I ever felt like a normal person eating a meal.


 

Every day I eat some sort of dessert after Noah goes to bed. Sometimes it’s a protein bar, sometimes it’s ice cream, whatever.

Yesterday, being Easter, meant that I had a chocolate bunny in my possession. Last night I had chopped it up into separate portions and put each portion into a ziploc bag. I had already put in a portion of bunny for my dessert today (I made homemade apple crisp for dessert last night, YUM).

But when I got home tonight, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted chocolate bunny or ice cream….so I thought….why not both? I served up a  half portion of each (1/4c ice cream, 20g bunny), and thoroughly enjoyed it! The best part was…..I DIDN’T WANT MORE. AND! By having half of each, it was actually less calories than a whole portion of bunny, so I ended up only going about 4 cal over today, rather than 20! What!


Today was a really weird day. It really felt like I have been making some great strides in attaining my weight loss goals and my mental state definitely is a huge factor in that. I wouldn’t say that I’m totally cured or anything….but things definitely look very promising!


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Self-Love and “The Struggle”

My mental health issues are not a secret. If you look back in the recesses of this blog you’ll see tons of posts from when I was at the lowest point of my life. I’ve struggled with depression for probably 10 or so years, and then after Noah was born that manifested into severe PPD and PTSD due to the events of his birth.

In November/December 2012, when Noah was almost 2 years old, I was actively planning how to kill myself. However, I decided to get help. Talk therapy and Zoloft helped pull me out of the hole. I also decided to take 2013 off from any weight loss attempts, and just concentrate on pulling my mental health back together.

After 6 months, I got pregnant so I dropped my pills cold turkey (not smart, I know). I had a miscarriage only about a week or so later (it was very early), but I decided not to continue with the medication or therapy.

I decided that I didn’t want to hate my body anymore. I came to accept that that was the weight that I was. I got rid of all of my skinny clothes and bought clothes in my actual size. I decided to stop putting off my wedding in the hopes of getting to my goal weight. I got married in July 2013.

When 2014 came around, I was in a completely different, and much healthier mindset. I was ready to actually put the work in. So I did. I lost 40lbs between January and May. Then I got lazy and basically maintained (I gained 7lbs but that is so incredibly minor that I was not too concerned about it) until this January.

Self-Love

I am outlining my mental health issues because of a comment someone made on a lady fitness group I’m in:

“I strongly believe that loving your body is the first and foremost step to losing weight. Believing that you deserve to have the body you want is so much more important than people can believe.”

I very much strongly agree with this. So many people, women especially, are prone to starting diet or exercise plans because they HATE themselves. That negative thinking and attitude will NEVER attain positive, long term results. Starting out hating the way you look will (more often than not) result in someone who is obsessive about the scale fluctuations and obsessive about every single thing she puts in her mouth. That kind of thinking results in fad diets, scammy MLM diet aids, crash dieting, etc etc. These are NOT good things.

Look at food as something that nourishes and propels you. It is not your enemy. You have to consume SOME sort of food for your entire life, so don’t demonize it. That gives it too much power.

Don’t punish binges with insane cardio sessions. Exercise is NOT a punishment and shouldn’t be used as such.  Exercise helps your cardiovascular system, helps build muscle, overall health, and many other key components for living. Regular exercising also helps with bone strength and density for women in particular. And guess what? You physically CANNOT work out enough to burn all of the calories from your binge (nor does it really work like that).

You also can’t binge on Sunday and work it off on Monday morning. Sorry.

Losing weight is 80% food / 20% exercise. You can lose weight without exercising (this is easier to do when you have a lot of weight to lose, and it tends to be a slower way of doing it – BUT THAT’S OKAY), but it’s pretty damn difficult, if not outright impossible, to lose weight without changing your diet up first.

Whatever particular diet you subscribe to, the first and foremost thing you need to establish is….is it sustainable?

There are NO quick fixes. No 21 day diets or 30 day diets or detoxes or cleanses or anything like that. They don’t work.

General Dieting Tips (from a non-expert)

  1. If you do not have a good knowledge base for how much food you are eating and how many calories you are consuming, start weighing and measuring your food (use grams as much as possible) and logging your calories on a program/app like My Fitness Pal. (Click here to add me as a friend or just to check out my food diary).
  2. Do NOT estimate your food consumption. This is how I ended up eating 2 tbsp of peanut butter and counting it as one serving, resulting in an unknown extra 200+ calories a day. Weigh and measure EVERYTHING until you feel like you have a good idea of what a serving looks like. Even then, don’t get cocky! Weigh it occasionally to make sure you’re right.
  3. Go figure out your BMR. That’s the number of calories needed to maintain your current weight if you were in a coma.
  4. Try not to eat less than that (I know that can be difficult).
  5. For the love of GOD, do not aim for 1200 calories a day. You are a grown ass adult person and need more than just air to survive.
  6. “Clean” eating is a damn lie. Pretty much everyone can stand to eat less processed food and more greens and meat, BUT demonizing food as “bad” while allowing marketing to determine what is “good” is not a good thing to do.
  7. Organic is not better. Sorry, it’s a marketing tool. If you like the taste better or just prefer it, go for it. I’m not your mom. But don’t feel guilty about not buying organic, and don’t think that you are ruining your weight loss attempts because you are buying conventional food. GMOs are not evil or dangerous for human consumption.
  8. 1-2 lbs is a healthy weight of loss. However, when you are first starting out and/or have a lot of weight to lose, you will probably lose more than that initially. But it will slow down. That’s normal.
  9. Your weight fluctuates 1-3lbs/day on average. Always weigh yourself at the same time and in the same conditions. I prefer to weigh myself every day but only log my Wednesday weight because I like to see the fluctuations. I know that if I was 210 on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, and then had pizza on Tuesday night and weighed in at 213 on Wednesday, that 213 is not my real weight.
  10. Women can fluctuate around 5-7lbs per day when they have their period or in hormonal changes in their cycle. Keeping track of where you are in your cycle can help you understand why your weight may change so much from day to day (I’m not sure if this varies depending on what birth control a woman is using or not using, though). As an example,  I “gained” a pound on my last period two weeks ago, but when I weighed in last week I lost 4, and I’m not on any hormonal birth control.

It’s so important to remember that real life is always a factor. There will ALWAYS be birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc, where food is a central aspect of celebration. Having a cupcake won’t kill you. One day of overeating won’t ruin your entire diet, it just doesn’t. Part of self-love is not getting obsessive over what is put in your mouth.

“The Struggle”

Blah, blah, love yourself.

I realize that this is way easier said than done. I look at old pictures of myself and the feelings of shame and embarrassment creep in around the corners. It’s HARD not to judge yourself for your body, especially if you’re like me and you’ve lost a significant amount of weight (and have more to go). I still catch myself feeling up my belly fat and wishing it would go away. I think that this is normal. I mean, I’ve been doing the same thing since I was a small child, which is sad in it’s own way.

In a society where a woman’s worth is determined by the number on the scale, it’s really difficult not to internalize that message. Shopping is still pretty terrible, especially for tops. I see pictures every day of women in my various lady exercise groups who have my dream body, or women in my local running club who are beautiful and fast athletes, and it’s hard not to have little twinges of disdain for my own body.

But I really try to focus on the good parts of my body. A woman from my bootcamp class complimented me on my shoulders over  a month ago and I still think that’s one of my favorite compliments ever. I’m getting my  collarbones back and I’m really proud of that.

A year ago I couldn’t run across the parking lot of my condo complex without huffing and puffing. This past Sunday I ran/walked a half marathon. In 2012 it was discovered that I had a fatty liver. As of this summer it’s cleared itself up and I’m back to being completely healthy again.

My body is capable of so many amazing things and it’s really important to concentrate on that. I know that I have a long way to go. I probably will never be an elite or in the top 3 of any race, but I think I’m okay with that. One day I won’t be dead last. There will be someone like me out there and maybe I could encourage her too.

We are only limited by the boundaries we place for ourselves. If you wish to lose weight and/or achieve fitness goals, you need to WANT it. You need to know that you are worth it. You are worth so much more than a number on a scale. You have to accept that there are no quick fixes and to not get hung up on the plateaus, weight gains, life circumstances, or anything else that may impede your progress.

You’ll get there eventually.

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My First Half-Marathon! – February 1, 2015

Just a warning, this post will be a novel.

This past Sunday I ran the Chilly Willy Winter Run, in the 21K category. The temperature was a brisk -20C and I was wearing 3 layers of pants and 4 layers of shirts (this sounds way more ridiculous than it actually was). I was really worried that I wouldn’t be layered enough but it was actually perfect.

Here was the route: Chill_Willy_HalfMarathon_Map

Training

After I ran the Roots & Ruts Trail Race in September, I decided that I wanted to run a half-marathon. I signed up for the Chilly Willy and I downloaded the Hal Higdon half-marathon training app (which I highly recommend). I originally intended to run a practice half on Noah’s 4th birthday (December 19th). This did not happen, partly because of laziness, but also because Noah got sick a few days before so I missed some training days, I was planning two different parties that weekend, still trying to finish up my Christmas shopping, etc. I didn’t really feel the crunch because it wasn’t a race I had actually signed up for.

Fast forward to January. Well, Noah had now been struggling with the same respiratory illness for over a month and that meant that I had to completely skip every single one of my regular morning workouts. I tried to go to the gym in the evenings, but that is literally the worst time for me, so let’s call my attendance….spotty.

One night I was brushing snow off my vehicle before going to the gym, and I happened to be leaned far enough over and at the perfect angle for the snow under my left foot to give way, and I sprained my ankle. I hit the snow bank. I still went to the gym after sitting down inside after awhile. I took the week off from any actual foot-to-ground cardio and instead spent my cardio on a stationary bike watching Donut Showdown on the Food Network.

After not doing any actual running outside for 3 or so weeks, I chose the Saturday the week before the race to do my long training run. I was supposed to do 16KM but ended up doing only 13KM because we had to go to Edmonton for a pediatrician trip the next day so I couldn’t take as long as I would like to.

The TLDR is: the last month of training before the race was bad. I don’t know how to fully explain how frustrating it was to miss so many workouts simply because my poor child could not get over his illness. The only good thing is that I had planned my training for a race in December, so I had basically finished my training up until the portion where I was supposed to taper before the race. Originally I had hoped to use that extra month between my unofficial and official race to work on my time a bit, but that clearly didn’t happen. (Grr!)

Pre-Race (night before):

I had Chinese food for my carbo-loading meal! I had been looking forward to it forever, it was delicious. FWIW, I hadn’t really super-stuck to the “regular low carbing and then cycling into high carb the week before the race” thing, but….whatever. I tried. I ate Chinese food. I enjoyed it immensely. No ragrets.

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Pre-Race (morning of): 

I had been doing a ton of research about what to eat before a half, and I ended up settling on eating exactly what I normally eat before a race, but times two. I knew that I couldn’t shove that amount of food into my mouth all at once, so I decided to split it and just have a double breakfast.

I got up at 7AM. At around 7:10 I had a tbsp of peanut butter on toast, half a banana [I normally eat a whole one but I’m bad at prepping so I only had two in the house], and a hard-boiled egg. I started chugging water. (I may have forgotten about extra-hydrating the days before. Sigh).

At 8AM I had my second breakfast, of the same things.

I regretted not picking up a Red Bull.

I added 4 Nuun tablets to the 2L bladder of my Geigerrig hydration pack. I had never used the tablets before (and the Geigerrig itself only once, FWIW), but I crossed my fingers that my iron stomach would not give up on me for consuming the electrolyte water without testing it out first. I also packed 2 packs of Honey Stinger energy gummies, a banana, pack of gum (I can’t workout without gum, no idea why), lipgloss, mini Kleenex, an extra pair of gloves, extra socks, an extra shirt, and my Buff.

I wore my Canadian Mudd Queens and green Spartan bracelets for strength. My nails were also painted green for the occasion. (Green = cerebral palsy = Noah).

I had my husband drop me off since I assumed that parking would be a gongshow. I actually could have driven myself, because when we got there at 8:20, the parking lot was basically still empty.

8:20 – 8:45 was spent nervous-peeing and chatting with a couple of women that I know.

At 8:55 we made our way to the start line.

RACE TIME

[Note: ‘#’ = “approximately”]

Start – 9:00AM

Things started out okay. I was in the back half of the pack out of the starting gate. My headphones were wrapped around my Geigerrig strap the wrong way, so it was very annoying trying to figure that out with gloves on when the race had already started. I NEVER listen to music when I run, but in this case I wanted to be able to hear my Nike app so that I could hear my pace. But I finally sorted out my shit and was on my way.

Condition: frazzled, panicky, a little nauseous (I think I ate too much). 

# 0.5 miles — 00:05 into race

I had a pretty good pace going at this point, I was passing people and trying to get in a good spot in the pack. But then I decided to be a dumbass….

I stepped off the path in order to pass someone, and then I happened to step in the wrong spot and twist my left ankle AGAIN (I KNOW). I hit the ground and some kindly passerbys helped me up.

This was my major FML moment. I may have spouted some choice expletives. I couldn’t believe that I was only FIVE MINUTES in and had already wrecked myself. Once I got back up and moving again, everyone else was already light-years ahead of me. All I could do was walk or limp-skip for pretty much the entire 2KM loop around the reservoir. THIS WAS NOT A GOOD START.

Condition: discouraged, annoyed at self, left ankle in pain.

# 2.5 miles

My ankle was still in pain, but I was able to run for a short distance before having to walk or limp-skip. People were already coming back from the 10K turnaround. Wat.

Tried to drink out of my Geigerrig and my tube had frozen already. I managed to get a little bit out but this was not a good sign.

Condition: concerned about time, annoyed at self for not purchasing insulated drinking tube, left ankle in slightly less pain.

# 3.1 miles – water station/10K turnaround

They were out of cups so I had to share cooties.

Condition: joked around with water station attendant (apparently the pumps for their water had frozen too).

# 4 miles

Geigerrig officially frozen, so I was now wearing a hydration pack consisting of 2 litres of useless water.

Consumed my Honey Stinger energy gummies. They have a weird texture but taste good. I recommend. I could have sworn that I read that you’re supposed to drink water with them, but I’m hoping that I’ll be okay.

Condition: concerned about lack of hydration.

# 5 miles

The path is incredibly treacherous (just lots of uneven snow and patches of ice-snow). I run on the bridge for the first time ever, because an icy metal bridge is somehow safer than the ground today.

# 6.6 miles – water station/21K turnaround

Halfway done! One of the attendants (who I know) made a joke about offering me Bailey’s and I said something like “I wish!”.

Condition: still generally upbeat, jovial with water station attendants, feeling refreshed because I reached the halfway point.

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# 7 miles — 01:48 into race

I send my husband a “halfway” update text. I note the time. If I don’t get hurt again, I SHOULD make it back just under the 3.5 hour time limit.

The man on the quad who will come pick you up if you get hurt, stops and asks if I’m okay. He called me “love”, which was kind of cute.

[For the rest of the race he steadily followed me, but he was very nice about it. He would stop for 10 minutes or so, and then I’d hear the quad again and he’d stop 20ft or so behind me. However, I was a little worried that he would make me get on the quad if I showed weakness or that I was in pain]

Shortly after that, I’m on the way back over that same treacherous path, and I almost catch my left ankle again. Right ankle gets a couple twists, but it’s strong and dependable and I don’t get hurt (miraculously)

Condition: hopeful.

# 8 miles

Hey, hip pain. I have no idea why but I always have a lot of pain in my right hip after around 7 miles. It didn’t help that I was having to rely on my right leg more than usual because of my ankle. So at this point I have a still-slightly-sore left ankle, a gently throbbing pain in my right hip joint, a useless Geigerrig, and roughly 5 more miles to go.

Condition: in pain, nauseous/stomach ache (probably the gummies and/or lack of hydration). 

# 9 miles – water station/10K turnaround

Only 5KM left! This is exciting!

The attendants are running back and forth trying to keep warm.

My cup of water has ice in it.

Condition: slightly guilty about being so slow and making the volunteers have to stand out there for so long.

# 10-11 miles – 2:52 into race

Hip is really bothering me now, but I’m in the home stretch. I am not giving up now. I try to conserve my energy by going back to limp-skipping, but this time leading with my left in an attempt to give my right leg a break.

I bring out all of my chants and pep talks and imagination at this point.

“You are a Canadian Mudd Queen. You are a Spartan. You are Noah’s mother. You have been through much worse pain than this. AROO.”

I envisioned getting my medal at the end of the race. I thought about Biggest Loser and everything that I’ve accomplished for myself this year.

I thought about those first few moments after Noah’s birth when we waited in complete silence, waiting for him to breathe. Or seeing him in his isolette in the NICU. Taking him off life support and thinking that we were losing him.

That pain is so much worse than anything this race could throw at me.

“Canadian Girls” by Dean Brody comes through my headphones, and it pumps me back up. It’s just snow and ice. I’M MOTHERFUCKING CANADIAN. I CAN HANDLE THIS SHIT.

I’m basically growling at this point. I WILL finish this race.

Condition: determined.

# 11.5 miles

I’m back at Musko. Unfortunately I have to take THE WORST ROUTE IN THE WORLD, back around the reservoir, for the final 2KM.

At this point my right leg is almost useless. I was calling it my wooden leg. I was in a lot of pain, although thankfully my ankle had settled to a dull ache for the last half of the race. But I just kept telling myself….I had already done 19KM, there was no way I was giving up now.

My Nike app told me that I was at 2:52 or so at the 11 mile mark. I’m running the math in my head and it’s telling me that I should still be able to make it under the gun.

I suddenly realize that my stomach ache finally cleared up but I am now hungry. I have no time to snack so I push through it. There is chili waiting for me at the finish line!

Condition: hungry.

# 12 miles

Now I am just going for broke. I know that I am saving my energy to run down that final hill, and I’m hoping that gravity and acceleration will help propel me to the finish line. I am limp-skipping, I am trying to walk as fast as I can, and I feel almost ANGRY. This race will NOT beat me. I WILL make it across that finish line before time runs out. I cry a little bit over varying thoughts, between Noah, getting the medal around my neck, and the fact that I am ALIVE and able to do this race at all. I have a minor panic attack when I hyperventilate from the crying because of the cold air, but I gently pound my chest with my fist to try to concentrate on breathing (I do this when I can’t draw a full breath as well). The quad guy is roughly 40ft behind me and I am trying to get myself together before he sees me, in case he wants to pull me off the course.

Condition: broken, fierce, overly emotional, wooden leg.

# 13 miles

When my app tells me I hit 13 miles, I almost cry again. The final hill approaches. I hit it a little too fast and the impact of foot to ground is a bit much for my hip, but I push through it. I made it almost around the corner past the playground until I have to walk again. I am disappointed.

# 13.1 miles – FINISH LINE, MOTHERFUCKER

I took maybe 4 steps before I’m like, fuck this. I start running again.

I crossed the finish line at 3:21.

I got my medal.

Condition: relieved.

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Post-Race (Musko):

I felt dangerously nauseous and I contemplate running for the bathroom. Instead I walked it off and coached myself away from vomiting. Thankfully I was successful, because otherwise that would have been terrible.

I went inside and got my water on. They offered me chili but I turned it down for the moment. I walked around a little bit and drank the water. I knew I was dehydrated.

I felt a little better and I knew that they were trying to pack up, so I went and got my chili and muffin, as well as another water and a juice box for the road. I already felt slightly guilty enough about taking so long, I didn’t want the volunteers to have to wait around longer than necessary.

I texted Caleb to come pick me up.

A woman chatted me up, we talked about Death Race and other running things. She liked my shoes, so she took a picture of them. She said they might be good for Death Race, although I’m not too sure about that.

The chili was pretty gross, unfortunately. It was veggie chili, and pretty bland too. I love vegetables but good lord, I need MEAT, people! I still picked at it because I knew I was hungry and needed something in my stomach.

Caleb arrived, and then we drove to Tim Hortons to pick up some real chili (LOL).

Condition: in the immortal words of Kristin Cavallari, DUNZO. I had nothing left. I was just trying to get home before my legs fell off.

Post-Race (at home):

When we got home, I was suddenly freezing (hate that part about winter running) so I stripped some sweaty clothes and loaded up on blankets.

I felt better after eating my chili and bun with butter. Caleb was very nice and brought it to me on a plate and put it on a tray for me too :)

After that I got into an epson salt bath for like 1.5 hours (lol, not exaggerating), just watching Friends on the tablet, and drinking my electrolyte water that had become un-frozen (I wasn’t going to waste it!).

My middle toenail on my right foot felt weird, but it didn’t look like there was anything wrong with it. I had a blister on the top pad of my right foot and some weird slight pain in the middle of my left foot.

Later that night I went to karaoke!

Next Day (aka today):

It’s official. My toenail is bruised. I’m not sure if that means that I need it removed or what, but I’m leaving it alone for now.

Overall, I’m sore and creaky like an old lady. I definitely learned a lot and I can see that I need a lot a lot a lot of work before my next half-marathon in May. The Press Run training groups start next month. I think I am going to start C25K later this week….I need to majorly work on my endurance. If I could run for really any decent amount of time, I’m sure I would knock minutes off of my pace. For this race I averaged around 15:40/mile and I know that I could do way better than that. I think that I would have been much closer, if not under, 3 hours, had I not hurt my ankle. It will be interesting to see how much my time improves come May!

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GENERAL RATING

  • Route: 9/10 – I have no idea why, but I just can’t handle running around the reservoir, and in this race my first and last 2KM were on that route. There were a couple of slippery spots, but it’s northern Alberta in February, there’s going to be ice on the paths. Plus I have fancy winter running shoes so they didn’t give me too much trouble.
  • Weather: 8/10 – 5 degrees warmer would have been super, but overall I prefer colder to warmer as it would have made my outfit choice more difficult. I wasn’t too cold but I also wasn’t too warm in my many layers.
  • Injuries: 3 – left ankle, right hip, #2 right toe
  • Enjoyability: 7/10 – There were a lot of low points but overall it was a positive experience.
  • Will I Do It Again? – Fuck yeah!

 

“25 by 25”

Today on one of my OCR lady groups, one of the women mentioned her goal to do 50 races by the time she turns 50 (she is 44).

Well today I’ve decided to do a “25 by 25” challenge! My 25th birthday is February 11, 2016. Counting out the races, I may be a little short but it’s also possible that I’ll stumble across races that haven’t been announced yet as the year goes on!

Check out the “25 by 25” tab to see a full list of races!

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Fitness journey timeline (to present)

January 2014 – As I already said in my “weight loss journey timeline” post, January 2014 was when I decided to get my shit together. I basically just focused on managing my calories, but I also started doing Bikini Body Mommy workouts on a recommendation from a friend. I didn’t get too far, like less than 2 weeks before it required dumbbells different than the ones I had at home, so I quickly lost interest. I probably did some Wii Fit stuff as well but I can’t remember for sure.

March 3, 2014 – As part of being chosen for the Biggest Loser competition, we  were split into teams of 6 and assigned a trainer from the local CrossFit gym, Vo2Max. Ron Turner was our trainer, who I HIGHLY recommend if you’re looking for a personal CF trainer and/or you’re looking at joining Vo2! We had to go to two one hour-long training sessions per week (Tuesday/Thursday) and then a challenge of team vs team on Saturday mornings.

Team Black aka Team Ron aka Weapons of Mass Reduction

Team Black aka Team Ron aka Weapons of Mass Reduction

May 2014 – Biggest Loser was over, but I regretted not signing up for Zulu Challenge (I had thought about it but thought that I couldn’t handle it). I love CrossFit but ultimately it was too expensive and the classes didn’t fit into my schedule so I didn’t continue it after the competition was over (sad face).

However, I finally got an Eastlink Centre membership!

June 2014 – Last year I had planned on going to Color Me Rad in Edmonton, so I signed up for it. I was posting about doing Tough Mudder in 2015, and a Facebook friend asked me if I had ever heard of Spartan Race. I had not, but one promotional video in and I was already hooked. It turned out that there was a Sprint (5K) in Edmonton the day after Color Me Rad…..I was already going to be in the city, so why not, right? I signed up that night.

July 5, 2014 – Color Me Rad (5K), Edmonton AB. My first 5K. I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would but I was still glad that I did it. Considering that less than a year ago I couldn’t walk up the block without getting shin splints, doing a 5K and thinking it was painfully easy was quite the improvement.

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July 6, 2014 – Spartan Sprint (5K), Edmonton AB. This would be another day that changed my life. It may have been a spur of the moment decision but one I would be forever thankful that I made, just like Biggest Loser.

I don’t even know how to fully describe the how I felt jumping over the fire and crossing that finish line, but the closest I can come is just raw, unadulterated pride. I didn’t do “well”, I wasn’t fast, I didn’t complete all of the obstacles (in fact I had done 120 penalty burpees)….BUT there was something about crawling around in the mud and climbing over walls and chanting “AROO” at the start line that ignited a fire inside of me. I knew that I wanted to get my Spartan trifecta (finishing all three Spartan races in one calendar year) next year no matter what. I had a big goal and all of the determination and motivation in the world to get me there.

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I was already addicted.

July 11, 2014 – Glow Run (5K), Grande Prairie AB. This was the first year for this run and I enjoyed it 1000X more than Color Me Rad, which really surprised me considering that it’s a local race and CMR is huge and across the country.

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Lady Gaga was the inspiration behind the lightning bolts.

August 2014 – I was driving and I heard on the radio that the Zulu Challenge (May 2015) early bird registration was open! I signed up as soon as I got home. Only 9 months in advance hahaha!

September 2014 – I convinced Caleb to let me buy some trail shoes. I bought the Inov-8 TrailRoc 245s. I got them just in time for Roots & Ruts!

My preeeetties.

My preeeetties.

September 26, 2014 – Roots & Ruts Trail Race (10K), Grande Prairie AB. My first 10K. There were 5 of us former Biggest Losers running this race. Originally Shay (who is in most of these pictures with me, haha) was the only one going to do the 5K and the rest of us were doing the 10K. But the race day arrived and suddenly I was the only one doing the 10K! Terrifying!

The Biggest Loser crew! (I am proudly sporting my Canadian Mudd Queens shirt!)

The Biggest Loser crew! (I am proudly sporting my Canadian Mudd Queens shirt!)

But in a big way this race was a turning point for me. The previous races I had done I had stuck with my running partner (usually Shay), but with this race I decided to run my own race, right from the start. It’s so difficult to find a running partner who runs the same pace as you, everyone’s bodies are built so differently (I have mile-long legs which makes for a long gait even if I’m slow) and no two people train the same. So breaking out of my comfort zone of having someone right by my side the entire race really helped me gain the confidence to run and workout alone and not depend on other people to do that with me.

I found the first half of the race super annoying, mostly because of all the kids taking up the entire trail (keep to the right except to pass please!!). The weather was damp and it rained at the end. However, once I continued past the 5K turn off, I was all. by. myself. on that trail for a blissful 3K or so and it was absolutely magical. Running a beaten path through the woods without music is something everyone needs to do. Breathe in the life in the trees around you and appreciate the pull of your lungs and the ache in your legs. Just breathe in and be grateful that you’re alive and healthy and able to move your legs in a forward motion over a rutted trail without too much difficulty. I think about that every time I run, how thankful I am to be able to experience that. It’s made me really appreciate the city I was born and raised in, and appreciate the greenspace that the city maintains for its’ citizens to enjoy.

My official time was 1:26:49 (I told you, I’m slow!). I ended up placing 73/76 women, 17/18 in my age category. It wasn’t a good time by any means but for god’s sake, I ran my first 10K!

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Crossing the finish line!

October 2014 – I decided that I wanted to run an unofficial half marathon on Noah’s 4th birthday, December 19th. On recommendation, I downloaded the Hal Higdon half marathon training app (the most expensive app I’ve ever bought – $10 – but so so worth it if you’re looking for a great training plan) and started my training.

I also signed up for the Chilly Willy Run half-marathon in February 2015.

November 1, 2014 – Zulu Midnight Run (5K), Grande Prairie AB. I found this run super unorganized, although the premise was neat. After every mile you had to stop and do an “obstacle”. Mile 1 was 5 pushups, mile 2 was crawling underneath this caution tape (their version of barbed wire) in a horseshoe shape (it was too short to bear crawl through so I just army crawled), and mile 3 was 5 burpees (it might have been 10 pushups and 10 burpees but I can’t remember for sure).

Afterwards they had the pool and hot tub open at Eastlink but I did not partake. Apparently they were supposed to give away a mall gift card but there was nothing really going on and after I asked about it on Instagram (the only place I saw it mentioned) the next morning, they said that they would be doing a draw that day. I have no clue if that actually happened or not. To be honest this little run makes me reeeeeal nervous for how the real Zulu is going to go.

December 7, 2014 – Jingle Bell Fun Run/Walk (12K), Grande Prairie AB. This was a run that I was stoked about. There were prizes for best costume and I have a WICKED ugly Christmas sweater that I could pull out for just this occasion.

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I had bought the tutu at Color Me Rad and never used it, so YAY for finally doing something with it.

The route was 4 laps around the reservoir. I did one and hated it. I don’t know why but I can’t stand that route. At this point I considered just hiding in my van for 30 mins and pretending I ran it (there was free hot chocolate and coffee and potential prizes just waiting for me inside!) or just leaving entirely. I had eaten too early and forgotten a snack so at that point I was already hungry and very disheartened. I sat in my van for a few minutes, deciding what I wanted to do.

Well, I got the fuck over it and headed under the bridge to take my favorite route instead (we were allowed to go rogue if we wanted to, it was an unstructured fun run). I was immediately happier and didn’t want to give up anymore. It had been so long since I had ran that route last that the river was completely frozen solid and the dozens of ducks I had come to expect to see were all gone.

I was only 2K or so in that direction when I passed someone coming back and he offered me a high five. Right at that exact moment, his Nike app said that he had done 6 miles. In 40 minutes. I had done 3 in the same amount of time. HA!

When I finished my run, I realized that I had accidentally ran 13.2K instead of 12, due to my one reservoir lap. Oops! I also realized that I was dead dead dead last. It took me about 1:52 (I was so done by the end…..I needed more food!) and by that time, everyone had packed up and left. There was no hot chocolate waiting for me. I was okay with it initially, until I went to leave the park and I got stuck behind another vehicle waiting for the Santa parade to pass…

There is only one exit to the park (and two entrances, but one is a one way). At that point my sweat was cooling so I was getting cold, I was hungry, I had to be at my friend’s house in an hour for a baking day, and as the minutes ticked by I became more and more upset about everyone leaving before I finished. Soon enough I was having a full-blown panic attack because I was trapped there until the parade was over. I considered doing a u-turn and exiting the illegal way but there were 4 vehicles behind me too and it’s a narrow road so I didn’t have any room. I was completely stuck. And hysterically crying. I had to call my husband to talk me down. All I could do was hope that the parade would pass quickly and also hope that no one near the entrance was someone I knew who could see me having this freakout. My friend lives across the street and I saw her and a bunch of other women from my mom group come out to watch the parade. I hoped that they couldn’t see me and/or wouldn’t recognize my vehicle.

After the longest 15 minutes of my life, the parade was mercifully over and I could escape home for a snack, a hot tea, a hot shower, and a hug from my husband. BIG SIGH OF RELIEF.

My amazing winter running shoes that I got from my parents for Christmas!

My amazing winter running shoes that I got from my parents for Christmas! (Salomon Snowcross CS!)

December 19, 2014 – Okay, so this is a non-entry. Noah got sick (a chest and ear infection) so I missed some training days since he had to stay home from school. I did not do a half-marathon on his birthday. I’m a little disappointed with myself but I am okay with it.

January 1, 2015 – Resolution Run (10K), Grande Prairie AB. This run was brutal. I was so hungover (last drop of alcohol until February 1st), I hadn’t gone to bed until 4AM, and the absolute LAST thing I wanted to do was get up and run a fucking 10K.

But I did it.

I was slower than usual (who knew that was possible?). I wanted to give up multiple times. Thank god it was warm (I ended up running in just a t-shirt) because if it was cold I don’t even know if I would have gotten out of bed (okay I probably would have still ran, but I would have bitched about it more). I wore my Canadian Mudd Queens bracelet, my green Spartan bracelet (so it’s a combo of green for Noah and Spartan, in my mind (technically the green is for the Beast but WHATEVER)), and my beloved Spartan Finisher shirt. I needed all of the strength I could get.

This is the best smile I could muster. (Please don't judge my messy house).

This is the best smile I could muster.

I was miserable, I had to give myself a full-on whispered pep talk ALOUD like a crazy person, but I fucking DID THAT SHIT. I started off 2015 with a casual 10K under my belt. At this point I was doing 10Ks for training runs, I wasn’t even worried. Who knew that I would come this far in 3 months? Or even thinking about how out of shape I was coming into 2014, who would have thought that a 10K would be NBD? I couldn’t even handle a 1500m race when I was doing track in junior high!

HOWEVER, my right hip likes to bug me whenever I run over 8K or so (this has been happening for awhile), so I was limping to my van by the end of it. Damn my body, it doesn’t want to cooperate with me at all.  I have all of the determination and motivation to get me where I need to go, but my body likes to throw shin splints and hip pain at me just to be an asshole.

"thank god this race is almost over, FML" - exactly my thoughts at this point.

“Thank god this race is almost over, FML” – exactly my thoughts at this point. I was roughly half a KM away from the finish.


So that’s it. An entire year in review. Next I will outline all of the races I have on board for 2015, as well as my 2015 resolutions. YOU’RE WELCOME.