Archive for Personal
Catching up … it’s mid-June!
So, after my renewal of faith in Oklahoma I found my next race VERY appropriate. It was by complete accident I ended up choosing The Big Run for the One in Allegan, Michigan, June 14-16. I was just looking for a race to do in Michigan, because that’s where my Aunt LaRue and Uncle Paul live. We picked Allegan because my Aunt and Uncle live just 30 minutes southeast in Kalamazoo. Little did I know I was picking a race organized by The Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I love having family close by when I race. It sure helps with travel because it gives us somewhere to stay … and the added support is phenomenal! When I let my Aunt and Uncle know about the course they said they would bring their bikes and would join Daniel in riding while I ran. This half marathon course was going to be a hilly one, but I was up for the challenge! I was so happy I would have my family there to cheer me on!
The race started at 7 a.m. My Uncle Paul wasn’t that excited about getting up early on a Saturday, but delicious food and a nap were promised to him, which seemed to wake him up a bit! Daniel and I checked out The Big Ticket Festival the night before to pick up my packet, so we had an idea of where the race started (which was nice because sometimes we get lost, as you know if you’ve been reading my blogs so far). Even so, we arrived just minutes before the race start! This was the smallest race I’ve done yet, with only 100 or so participants. The course was … well … “Pure Michigan.” The first part was uphill. I’m made for hills. I just love my hamstrings burning (I’m crazy, I know). At about the halfway point, a bug bit my arm and in swatting it I knocked my bodybugg® watch off my wrist. When I saw Daniel and my Aunt and Uncle I yelled and told them to “Find my bodybugg, find my bodybugg!” They were on their bikes so they turned around and went looking for it. Thankfully, the shiny side was showing and my Uncle Paul spotted it. (I’m so glad too because you know I gotta know how many calories I’m burning!)
Usually, I hate miles 6 through 9 of a half marathon … and this race was no different. The last several miles were all on gravel!! That’s right, gravel! My pace went down the tubes … I was shuffling! Once I got past that it was back to the pretty Allegan countryside and quaint neighborhoods. By this time, my pace was shot and I just couldn’t regain what the gravel had done to my feet and legs. I was determined to finish and make sure that the woman I’d been leapfrogging all morning didn’t beat me (she didn’t). Finally, the last mile was downhill and I was excited to finish the race at the foot of the large wooden cross in the grandstand. Unfortunately, the motocross event after the race started too soon and they had to redirect the runners left instead of right! I missed this however, and ran a little extra to the right before cutting back when I saw my Aunt running at me and waving her arms. I decided to cut across the field rather than run back the way I came and finish that way.
It was exhilarating to share my experience and my renewal of faith with Maurice Holbrook, the race director, after crossing the finish line. I’ve been nervous to share my faith and he encouraged me to talk about it because it’s very real to me and my life and it’s worth sharing.
Overall, this was an amazing trip! We got to spend some quality time with my Aunt and Uncle (who knew they were so much fun), run a race with great purpose, and enjoy some really fun aspects of Michigan. Daniel and I got see some really fun things this trip. Have you seen the Michigan tourism commercials that say “Pure Michigan”? The slogan is on a lot of the signs in Michigan and Daniel and I got a laugh every time we saw one. It makes sense though. Michigan really has its own unique feel. If you’re ever in the area, here are a few places you should check out:
- Crane’s Pie Pantry: This is an orchard that has the best apple cider I’ve ever tasted! I think it has fiber in it because it made me full! Of course, Daniel wanted to try the pie and since apples were in season, I decided to try a piece. I don’t like apple pie, but I heard Rachael Ray say to try it with a piece of cheese over the top so I did and it was delicious! We wanted to give my Aunt and Uncle something and share this great place with them so we got them a blueberry pie. It was yummy, too. Remember, it’s about moderation. Having a piece here and there (especially after a race) is not going to hurt your weight-loss or maintenance efforts.
- Meijer: While visiting this part of the U.S. I have to make trip to Meijer. Not only is it a different spelling of my last name, but it’s a big super store of awesomeness. It’s a time warp! It sells everything from groceries, to picture frames, to kayaks, and even clothes — so much stuff that you lose track of time just taking it all in.
- Perrigo Outlet Store: Perrigo is the world’s largest manufacturer of over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceuticals. In Allegan, they have an outlet store where you can find off brands of OTC medicines for extremely low prices! If you’re ever near Allegan, be sure to stock up! We got the essentials, you know, muscle rub, Advil®, Excedrin®, all the things this everyday athlete needs!
Needless to say, Daniel and I loved our Michigan trip! Stay tuned, because the next blog is all about our trip to the Pacific Northwest … WOOT!
Like most Iowans, I look forward to the Iowa State Fair every year! Another 10 days of foot-long corn dogs, funnel cakes and — new this year — a chocolate MOOSE! But, this year was again very special because I teamed with the Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP) for the second year to help Iowans learn a little bit more about what their state actually provides, not only for us, but the rest of the country.
This year the people of the Iowa FFP decided to take it “Back to the Farmer,” paying true homage to the 1980s flick “Back to the Future” with an out-of-this-world canned food sculpture: a DELOREAN!!!! Make no mistake, this “time traveling” car was not fueled by a plutonium-powered nuclear reactor; no, no … the opposite actually. It will help fuel thousands of hungry Iowans, because all of the great and healthy non-perishable food items are being donated to the Iowa Food Bank Association.
The Iowa FFP exhibit was a frenzy of activity both days I was there in the Varied Industries Building. They had a spinning trivia wheel where people could answer questions about agriculture in exchange for chicken, cow and pig potholders. Iowans crack me up — people really loved those potholders — they waited in long lines for a chance to spin the wheel! I overheard the volunteers from the Iowa Food Bank Association ask fairgoers, both young and old, questions about who leads the country in the production of pork, soybeans, eggs and CORN??? I knew the corn question! It’s IOWA of course!
While I was there it was my extreme pleasure to hang out with the partners and producers who work with the Iowa FFP, and to get to know some great fans who came by! I signed quite a few autographs, but I also had time to chat with many of the visitors (like my new friends Leah and her little brother Brock, both big fans of “The Biggest Loser”) and share with them the tons of ag knowledge I have been learning from the Iowa FFP. Like the fact that, as Daniel and I travel all across the United States for my 50 in 50 by 30 Challenge, chances are the turkey in our sandwiches from Subway® was produced right here in Iowa.
That’s just one fact you should know. Since most Iowans live in a city these days, it’s important we know, respect and understand the connection we all have with the hardworking Iowa farmers who really feed the country. I encourage you to take a minute and read a little more Iowa farmers.
Some of the visitors I met at the Fair also shared with me details about their personal weight-loss journeys. Like Ron Foronato, a fellow Des Moines south-sider, who is down some 40+ pounds. After all, that’s what I do. Life after “The Biggest Loser” has meant starting a personal training and weight-loss coaching business with fellow BL alum — and fiancé — Daniel Wright: FitnessWrightNow, LLC. We specialize in helping others figure out why they are where they are. My hope is that the people I met start fighting FOR — not against — themselves! Meeting and helping inspire others is a huge part of why I do what I do, whether it’s through FitnessWrightNow or the Iowa FFP.
There were so many other great people I met and I am so thankful to all of you for sharing with me and making my days at the Fair so memorable! Like little Gregory, who’s a fellow Giants fan!
This blog wouldn’t be complete unless I sent a huge thank you to Cory and Greta for hooking me up with the Iowa FFP again this year. I just love working with you because you are so passionate about what you do! Keep up the great work. And thank you to all of the vital partners of the Iowa FFP: Cate Newberg, the Iowa Soybean Association’s director of marketing; Lindsey Haley, the Soybean Association’s district coordinator; Jordan Vernoy, the state director for Iowa Food Bank Association; and Ben Carlson from the Northeast Iowa Food Bank. Lastly, I have to thank all of the other volunteers I met. Thanks for all your hard work. Without you, there would not be an Iowa Food & Family Project!
Until next year, eat healthy, and next time you’re at the grocery store, think about the agricultural heroes — the Iowa farmers — who produce the food you put on your table!
On March 15, 2012, Daniel and I headed out in Ruby for Virginia Beach. I can’t believe that in two years to the date my 50 in 50 by 30 Challenge will be over!! I’ve got a lot of racing to do! We decided while looking for plane tickets that it was spring break for a lot of people and flying to Virginia Beach was almost out of the question! So, why not make it a road trip?!? We stopped to sleep for a couple hours that night at my very good friend Jenny’s house, which is just outside of Champaign, Ill. After a few good hours of sleep, we got up at 7 and away we went! Daniel and I had recently started reading “The Hunger Games,” so after a few hours of music and talking we decided Daniel should read the book aloud to me (since we’re in Ruby, I’m the driver). I know what your thinking, “reading aloud sounds silly,” and I actually thought that, too, but he has such a great reading voice. After a couple pages or so I was hooked! It was even better than a book on tape! The only issues were keeping my “narrator” hydrated and supplied with throat lozenges … it was more than a 20-hour drive!
This trip seemed to sneak up on us so we found ourselves without a whole lot of snacks. Luckily there was a Trader Joe’s on the way so we stopped to get some healthy snacks: nitrate free beef and turkey jerky, 110-calorie kettle popcorn bags, packs of assorted nut blends, fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, hummus and veggies. AND we discovered Naan bread, a yeast-raised East Indian flat bread. Naan with some wasabi mayo for turkey sandwiches was YUMMY!! Once we had our snacks and a cooler full of water and a couple low-carb energy drinks, we were set!!!
If you’ve been following my 50 in 50 by 30 Challenge, you know I’m always trying to conserve money during our travels, so when looking for races in March (had to be warmer) I started asking family and found out Daniel’s aunt and uncle lived in Virginia Beach and would love to have us visit! Then I found the TowneBank 8k, which was part of the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon on St. Patrick’s Day … WOOT! For those of you who have not been introduced, Yuengling is “Americas Oldest Brewing Company.” They make some SERIOUSLY DELICIOUS BEER! I was introduced to this refreshing libation with Daniel in North Carolina and have been a fan ever since (in moderation of course!). Sadly, we cannot get it here in Iowa, but whenever I am on the East coast I have to check around for Yuengling!
Now, back to the actually racing … I was intrigued by the concept of an 8k. How many miles is that anyway? I, of course, had to Google yet again — 8 kilometers is 4.97 miles! Ok, I can do 5 miles; sounded great to me. Especially when I looked at the course map (I do that now because of my adventures with the 10k in Missouri) and found out the last kilometer or so was on the ocean boardwalk!
We didn’t get into Virginia until late Friday night. The race was early Saturday morning, so we had to sleep fast! When I woke up, I remembered that not only would I have Daniel there cheering me on but his Mom Denise, stepdad Jim and sister Deanna, who had come up for the weekend to see me race and spend some time with us. As I shared in my Texas blog, my checklist of “gear” was all on … except this time I was not going to be racing in a pink tank. After all, it was St. Patrick’s Day and I needed to get in the spirit (and I didn’t wanna get pinched) so I wore a green lululemon racerback tank. The weather was a little colder than I expected, but thank heavens Denise had an extra jacket I could wear until the raced started.
This race was fun even though it was flat. I like it when you get to run through a downtown you don’t know because it gives you something new and fun to look at while you wind through the streets. The next thing I know I was coming up on that stretch of beach I mentioned before. I could see the flags flanking each side of the finish banner! I was SO CLOSE … this one was going to be a fast finish. I don’t know if I’ve told you but ever since my first race (the Des Moines IMT Half Marathon in October 2009) I always make it a point when I can see the finish line to drop it into fifth gear. “What’s fifth gear?” you may be asking. Well, I believe all runners have gears. Rodney Filer, my at-home trainer during the show, used to talk about my gears and how even when I said “I’ve got nothing left!” he could provoke me into a fifth gear. It’s that last bit of gas we all have inside of us that I believe is powered by our own sheer WILL! In this moment, that is what I was going to use to finish this race. There is nothing better than the sound of bystanders cheering you on and saying “Whoa! Way to finish runner!” It is possibly one of my favorite parts of racing, especially when I surprise even myself!
This race taught me maybe I should run with my phone. There were SO many runners and supporters there I could NOT find MY PEOPLE!!! The next thing I see is Deanna riding on Daniel’s shoulders looking for me!! We all had breakfast and I of course had to have a Yuengling with mine. It was a cold, perfect post-workout treat … really!
After the race, since it was my birthday (kind of got overlooked in the frenzy to get from Des Moines to Virginia), back at the house I was surprised by Daniel and his fam with presents and cupcakes from my soon-to-be sister and mom.
The rest of the trip was filled with family time, boat rides, and laughter. It was a nice little get away from everything. Next thing we knew, it was time to head home. I was actually really excited about a 20-hour car ride, because we had “The Hunger Games” book No. 2 to read!
It seems like only yesterday that I was hanging out at the Iowa Food & Family Project’s (Iowa FFP) State Fair exhibit. But that was last year. I am SO excited that they’ve asked me to be a part of it again this year. I will be there on Sunday, August 12, from 1-5 p.m. and Wednesday, August 15, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Iowa FFP is a “young” group that’s only been around for about a year. So if you’ve never heard of the Iowa FFP, or not very much (have you been paying attention to my fact-filled Facebook (or second Facebook) and Twitter posts?), let me introduce you. Their mission is to inspire positive relationships between farmers and consumers through personal engagement and advocacy to the benefit of human vitality, environmental quality and economic prosperity.
One thing you cannot miss at the Fair is Iowa FFP’s canned goods sculpture: Back to the Farmer. It’s top secret what it’s going to look like (no, they haven’t even shared that with me), but it’s going to be something you’ll want to see. I know this girl is excited. Watching the volunteers build the sculpture last year was pretty amazing! Plus, did you know that all the canned food used will be donated to the Iowa Food Bank Association (IFBA). Stop by to see if you can figure out what they’ve made. If you can guess how many cans they used to build it, you can win a $250 gift card from Hy-Vee! While you’re there, you can “buy” a can of food for the sculpture for only a $5 donation (of course you can always donate more) to the IFBA to help feed hungry Iowans. If you are one of the first 2,000 to do this, you’ll get a FREE T-shirt and they’ll put your name on the can! You also can test your knowledge on our great state’s agriculture in quizzes and you could win FREE Casey’s pizza for a year!
Last year, I got to spend some quality time with the people who make the Iowa FFP and the IFBA so great. Before that 2011 State Fair gig, I thought I was relatively knowledgeable about Iowa’s agriculture and production, but oh boy did they drop some serious learnin’ on me! For example, did you know that approximately 98 percent of Iowa’s farms are family owned? Or, how about that when you eat at any Subway® (one of my faves!) in the U.S., there’s an 80 percent chance that you’re enjoying turkey provided by Iowa farmers! So, if you’re looking for more than just a sick stomach from the Iowa State Fair, drop by the Varied Industries Building to see me, and find out that The Iowa Food & Family Project isn’t an organization — it’s a movement — one that celebrates the miracle of food and the men and women who provide it!
I decided to take January off from my 50 in 50 by 30 Challenge and the next thing I know it’s February! Time’s a wastin’! Utah it is. Why? In December, while Daniel and I were at the Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge (we are Ambassadors; there are three: Utah, California and New York) I read about the Run Like a Girl 5k in nearby St. George, Utah. But first the backstory …
I told you in a previous blog that I met some serious new “family” while I was at the resort. No lie. We connected especially with two people: Brynn Lunkins and Kim Hawkings.
Brynn was originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and Kim is from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Our friendship with Brynn became very special very quickly at Fitness Ridge. So much so that Brynn decided to move temporarily from Cleveland to Des Moines for a few months to train with us (Daniel and I are certified personal trainers) to continue his weight-loss journey after he left Fitness Ridge.
You probably guessed by now that Daniel accompanies me on many of my travels. When it happened that Daniel couldn’t get to Utah for Run Like a Girl, Brynn decided to return to Utah and support me during my race! We both decided it was the perfect opportunity for a mini-reunion with our friend Kim. Did I mention that Kim dropped some serious weight at Fitness Ridge in the month or so she was there? I thought Run Like a Girl would be a great one for Kim to spread her wings and RUN a 5k with ME!!
What fun. Of course, Kimmy, Brynny and I took advantage of Utah’s proximity to Las Vegas (only an hour away) and hung out a little bit in Vegas, just to relax and catch up, then Kim and I did the 5k.
Come Saturday morning I was decked out in my usual pink (DUH!!!), but it was especially fitting because it was, afterall, Run Like a Girl. Thanks to race organizer Amy Vellinga for all the hospitality and generosity. Amy let me jazz up the runners before the race, so I shared my story, then Kimmy and I took off. Kim wanted to stop several times — because she thought she needed it — but I said NOPE. I told her we must keep it going, we could slow down a bit, but stopping was NOT an option!! We ended up finishing the 5k in 40 minutes or so! That day Kim became a RUNNER! She realized her inner athlete and has not stopped since!
It was at that point I also realized that with every race in my 50 in 50 by 30 Challenge it is not only about MY life-changing journey, it’s about getting out there and helping change other people’s lives.
To finish these races in the next two years is truly a humbling experience! I cannot wait to tell you about more of the amazing people I’ve met thus far! Thanks for sticking with me. Soon it’ll be back to real time blogs … no more catching up for me! Next stop, Texas!
Continuing with the catch up theme … In December I took a little time off from racing, because my now fiancé and I felt it was time we started OUR OWN COMPANY!!! WOOT! We thought and thought on what to name it … and one afternoon during our now-allotted business hours I glanced down at my new sparkly engagement ring and it hit us like a light bulb … we officially became FitnessWrightNow, LLC. We started training clients out of a 24/7 gym called Maximum Fitness. It’s PERFECT for us and our busy, on-the-go lifestyle, since it never closes! If you’d like to know more about our company, check out FitnessWrightNow. There’s more I can tell you but I want you to look at it!
FitnessWrightNow is more than just personal training and weight-loss coaching! No, no, this dynamic duo of former fatties does motivational speaking too! Let’s face it: not only am I blessed to have my best friend as my fiancé and business partner, but we play really well off of each other speaking … if I do say so myself. So, Daniel and I helped Aviva USA (a great business) kick off their annual Holiday Health Bowl. We gave a presentation about “Healthy Holiday Eating” and followed that with a 10-week boot camp class! We’re happy to still be doing personal training and classes there today. Aviva has been great to us and we love helping their employees see success in their wellness.
Geez!! December really was a full month! We got the BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENTS EVER!! Daniel and I were given bikes from Giant® Bicycles and Bike World in West Des Moines. As sponsors, Giant and Bike World are the BEST! They hooked us up with a custom fitting so we would be as efficient as possible for our upcoming triathlons. My bike’s a blue Avail 1 … her name is Bubbles! Bif, Forrest, and everyone else at Bike World West really has made us feel like family. What a relief, because Daniel and I were definitely what you would call “novice” bikers.
Oh yeah! There’s still more in this month … and we’re only half way through! Most people would think that a month off from racing would be a time to lie low, rest, relax … NOT ME! Daniel and I decided this was a great time to check out The Biggest Loser Resort: Fitness Ridge in Ivins, Utah. For all of you out there who wonder what “The Biggest Loser” ranch is like: this is the closest thing to it! Instead of Jillian’s coffee breath yelling at you … you get Sharon. We all love Bob Harper’s beautiful baby blue eyes, right? Well, that’s what trainer Sione Fa is there for! Sione was on Season 7 with Daniel. These two, as well as ALL of the other staff members, made this time truly great!
I know it sounds silly, but for me it was almost like going home. What do I mean by that? Well, on “Loser” we would start our day with some sort of cardio. At Fitness Ridge, our mornings started with hikes! They usually lasted about two hours and ranged in difficulty level. I decided I wasn’t messing around and got on the “advanced” group. I wanted to see as much of the beauty that Ivins has to offer, but also get my calorie burn! After that, your day ranged from kickboxing class to yoga to mental and emotional classes. The mental and emotional classes were my favorite part. They do these VERY well. The life coaches there know their stuff! I learned things about myself even after the two years of change I’ve been living through. All in all, I give the place two thumbs way up! And, I’m an Ambassador, so if you decide to check out one of the resorts (there are three locations), tell them Rebecca Meyer sent you.
As happened to me on “The Biggest Loser” I came away from my time at Fitness Ridge with LOTS of new friends and family!! Want to hear more about them? Visit again to read my next blog coming at ya ASAP!!!
So where was I? Oh, yes, as promised, continuing to zoom through the months that are missing from my blog. Remember I told you that something seemed a little wrong with Daniel before I left for the Women’s Running Magazine Half Marathon in Tempe, Arizona? But, what was wrong was … Daniel wanted to make me Wright!
November 7, 2011: GREAT DAY! Returning home, halfway down the escalator at the Des Moines International Airport, I see Daniel, smiling, holding one red rose and then he dropped to his knee. Describing it for you now, I’m still smiling, seeing the red and excited look on his face, all I could do was cry! I was spinning around like a puppy looking for her tail! Daniel then told me to “Come here.” So I walked over to him, hand covering my mouth as he pronounced his love for me, telling me I am “his perfect” and that he “wants to spend the rest of his life with me.” And then he asked me the five words that I never knew I always wanted … “Rebecca, will you marry me?” And like a shot I screamed “YES!” and jumped on him! I bypassed the ring and just started kissing his face wanting to tell him how much I love him! Finally, after 20 seconds or so of kissing, I realized my Mom, Dad, sister, and our friends Craig and Shirley were there to witness the event. Not just witness, but videotape! At this moment I realized that not only does the man love me and want to spend the rest of his life with me, but he knows me. Because it was intimate, yet a spectacle. And then I turned my attention to the ring, of course. I looked at my left hand, it was shaking. There was the most beautiful diamond covered simple yet antique-looking band that I had asked for, yet could never had dreamt to be so beautiful. “Holy cow I’m engaged!!” was all I kept thinking. I couldn’t believe he surprised me. No wonder he was acting so weird!
After the dust settled slightly I was treated to another surprise! Our friends Craig and Shirley gave us a night away to have dinner and celebrate with just the two of us. This was truly the best gift and I’m so grateful!
Now that I’ve shared my bliss with you, let’s get back to races shall we!?!? Next up, my final half marathon of the season: St. Petersburg, Florida, on Sunday, November 20. Whoo-hoo! This race was also a Women’s Running Magazine event, so you know what that means … Palm Tree Medal baby! I saw a picture of it while I was at their race in Tempe, so I knew I had to get that medal (see previous blog explaining I love collecting medals). After much consideration and budgeting, Daniel and I decided to drive! It was the weekend before Thanksgiving and we had another race coming up with Daniel’s family so we decided to just have fun with it!
We were super blessed to have another Biggest Loser contestant — Season 10’s Fredo Dinten — allow us to stay at his family’s condo in Florida. Not only was it close to the race location, but Daniel and I spent a little time afterward just sitting on the sandy beach!
Back to the half marathon. I figured since it was November, Florida wouldn’t be too humid, right? I was so wrong! After a chilly fall full of races, that Florida heat and humidity kicked my little booty this last 13.1. One thing that was outstanding, though, was Daniel was there to see me finish. He decided not to participate since he didn’t need another pink T-shirt, but having him at the finish line was extra motivation for me. And, rather than just sitting around, Daniel started a new routine on this trip: while I was racing, he spent the time working out, too! He used a fantastic mobile app on his phone called Body Fate, which generates random exercises (you should check it out!). He, too, was beat by the humidity and found out that running stairs is much harder in humid Florida when you are used to chilly Iowa.
So… 50 in 50 by 30 Challenge for Florida … check! It was a great race. Just remember, if you’re going to a different climate for a race get there a little early and do some running so you’ll be used to the different weather!
It’s becoming sort of a tradition in my travels to have one indulgent meal after I run 13 miles. I figure it’s one reason why I run, in addition to changing my life for the better! But, I’d be lyin’ if I didn’t share with you that I sometimes run for food. We took a tip from the show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and visited the Tampa Bay Brewing Company. Beer’s supposed to be a great post workout, right? I had the best plate of bacon-wrapped meatloaf over mashed potatoes with a sauce made from their homemade beer. It was worth every calorie. I budget my calories wisely. If I’m going to indulge and have almost a day’s worth of calories in one meal then it’s going to be homemade and not prepackaged and processed. That way my body knows what it is and knows how to burn it off. Part of finding your own normal is making sure you don’t deny yourself life’s little pleasures occasionally.
Speaking of burning it off! We decided to make good use of our trip back from Florida and visit Daniel’s Dad in Georgia for Thanksgiving on the way home. And, while we were there I used the opportunity to cross Georgia off my 50 in 50 by 30 Challenge list by running a 5k Thanksgiving morning (it was part of the Atlanta Thanksgiving Half Marathon on November 22)! I was fortunate enough to be able to do this Turkey Day 5k with Daniel, something we’ve only done once before. It was a great hilly course that tried Daniel’s patience. (He doesn’t like hills as much as I do.) We earned our turkey, ham and mashed potatoes feast that day and best of all, we got to spend Thanksgiving Day with Daniel’s Dad and younger sister. It was my first Thanksgiving actually cooking without my Mom and Grandmother, so I was on the phone with them making sure I got the mashed potatoes JUST right. I wanted to share a little piece of home with my new family.
The lesson learned from these races going into the holiday season is that it’s not one piece of pie or one cookie or a larger serving of mashed potatoes that causes a holiday weight gain. You have to choose wisely, though. And if you make time for yourselves, for your workouts — which for me means my runs — you’ll stay on track and be able to balance food and fitness during the holiday season. There were no races in December, but I did have a pretty life-changing experience, so please visit again in a couple weeks for the next blog!
As you may have noticed … it’s been too many months since I’ve shared the adventures in my life with you. Cardinal sin among bloggers everywhere is to not blog (according to my manager). My problem is a combination of too much activity (including blogs for clients, so it’s not like I haven’t been blogging at all), too little time, but also, for those of you who may have read my past blogs, you know that I’ve struggled a time or two putting “pen to paper” so to speak. But I’m back at it with a vengeance and a lot has happened that I’m really excited to share with you!
Where to start … well I guess I should start where I left off, but first a brief announcement … I GOT ENGAGED!!! Before I tell you about that, though, I need to back up a little further to catch you up on what happened before that. So where I left off …
The next race in my 50 in 50 by 30 Challenge was the Vikings 10k in Mankato, Minnesota, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, (yes, 2011; remember, we’re catching up!) as part of the Mankato Marathon. Daniel and I drove Ruby (my MINI) up the night before and we were welcomed by our host Amanda Dyslin. She is a reporter for the Mankato Free Press (read her blogs … they’re very good) who volunteered to put us up! I was relieved because she was super nice and we were able to feel right at home. The night before the race at the Expo, I was invited to be a part of the Speaker’s Series where I presented Finding Your Run. Even though I sometimes get nervous before speaking, Daniel was in the audience for moral support, along with with our friends/clients Craig and Shirley. Nothing like bringing my own cheering section!
The race started early and let me tell you that even though Mankato is a mere three hours north of Des Moines, I definitely was feeling that end-of-October weather. The first few miles I was a little chilly but then soon was warmed by the fun hilly course. What can I say? I love a challenging race! Daniel and I both PR’d (got personal records) and overall we had a great time! After the race, we met some really cool people who had watched us both on the show. I love meeting people who have been inspired to make a change in their lives, especially when they’re out racing! For me, Mankato … TWO THUMBS WAY UP! The people were welcoming and it felt very “home town.” But, for those of you big city people, Mankato had that feeling too. I don’t know if I’ve talked about this very much before, but my post-race “recovery” ritual is very important to me. Post race: whether it’s getting a cake doughnut with chocolate frosting and sprinkles or reading a magazine with my feet up watching Daniel and our friends kayak, it’s a tough life.
AND THEN …
What should naturally follow a 10k? A half marathon, of course! Fast forward about three weeks to Tempe, Arizona, first week in November (and yes, it’s still 2011). This was my first race all by myself (i.e., no Daniel and no other running partners or traveling buddies)! Initially, I was kind of hesitant about it. It’s not that I’m afraid of flying alone, or even running alone (I do both all the time). I think it was the combination of the two. But, rather than getting all bogged down by thinking “I’m all alone” I started thinking “I GET to do this for ME, and me alone.” Because at the end of the day, this is why I started my 50 in 50 by 30 Challenge!
This race was Sunday, November 6, for Women’s Running Magazine, which featured me and one of my favorite recipes in their November/December issue! So, needless to say I was excited to go to the Expo and meet the gracious women who made this dream possible. The Expo was awesome!! I’ve never seen so many women in one room … and so much pink! So naturally, I fit right in. Getting the opportunity to bum around Scottsdale where I was staying was really fun! It’s even a place I could see myself living some day … maybe. The morning of the race we had to park in a parking lot and were given colored wrist bands. We were told to be there at a certain time to get on the buses that would take us to the starting line. I am sometimes challenged more by the clock than anything else, so needless to say, as I arrived at the shuttle point I found myself sticking my head out the window and yelling to make sure the bus did not take off without me! In my head the whole time I’m thinking “I didn’t come all the way here not to do this race, and if I miss it I’m going to FREAK OUT!” But I made it, and the race turned out to be pretty fun. The second half of the race was really hilly, which kicked my butt but I loved it. Flat races are boring. (Secretly, there’s nothing like passing someone on a hill, going up and coming down.) That’s where my training comes in. What was actually pretty good for my legs was that after I finished, I got lost on the way to my car and ended up following a nice group of women who looked like they were headed in the right direction. It ended up being about a mile, which was a great cool down! Did I mention how awesome the medal was?!?! It was a big sun with a little charm in the middle! I love race medals, they make feel SO accomplished.
Later in the day, I went to lululemon athletica, to exchange a pair of pants. I had to take advantage, because we don’t have lulu in Des Moines and I LOVE lululemon. I was sharing my story about my 50 in 50 by 30 Challenge with the salespeople and without hesitating they told me to go pick out whatever I wanted … that I had inspired them. What kindness … it brought me to tears! My initial thought process in doing this Challenge was just to keep me racing and keep me going and physically able. But what I’ve realized is just how life-changing this whole thing is. I sat on the bench looking at a big beautiful new bag and called Daniel crying. He thought something was wrong, but I had just been so humbled by the day’s events. Speaking of Daniel, this whole trip away I thought he had been acting a little weird. He and I had gotten into a small spat before I left so I just wrote it off as being that. But boy was I WRONG! Want to know what I was wrong about? Well, I will tell you in my next blog, which, by the way, will be in a couple weeks, not months …
I have to start this blog about my Omaha 10k experience last weekend (Sept. 25) with a shout out to my ‘lil MINI Cooper “Ruby”; she’s my car. It is proof you don’t have to pack a whole lot on a road trip and you can be gas efficient!
Heading to Omaha Daniel and I were super excited to see our BL alumni friends Amy and Marty Wolff (Season 3)! They so very kindly put us up while we were in Omaha! It is invigorating to be around like-minded people who have been through the same journey I have and are still living their change at every stage.
The four of us spoke to the race participants who attended the pasta dinner and packet pick-up the night before the race. Sharing my journey and listening to theirs is exactly why BL is so very popular: we all have different motivations for why we changed. It makes me feel great when marathon and ultra-marathon runners make it a point to talk with me to let me know that my outlook on being my own “normal,” and loving and respecting my pace is something they want to use! It lets me know I am where I need to be.
Lets get to the race, shall we? So, I understand they need to start races early for full- and half-marathoners to give particiants enough time to complete their race, but it doesn’t mean that I like getting up early on race day! I do it enough during the week for my longs runs! That being said the race started at 7 a.m.! By this point I have had my pre-workout /run blend of deliciousness and am ready to run! I pass over the time strip and turn on my music! And there it happens: my iPod dies. I have perfectly mixed this playlist for 6.2 miles!!! I was almost in tears. I couldn’t just stop and say “no I can’t run because I don’t have music,” but boy did I want to! The best thing about my job as a motivational speaker and trainer is I empower people to do whatever it is they need to do…. That’s why I know I need to practice that myself! Adversity is an opportunity to conquer a new fear, not a challenge! I started to review why I run and how much I love it, then pay attention to my form and foot placement! The next thing I know two miles are gone. “Ok,I got this” is all I kept thinking! Finding people I wanted to pass and slowly accelerate to pass them! Next thing I know Marty comes along and scares me … we were almost to mile 4. We started chatting and he said “well I’ve got my phone … you want it for last two miles?” An offer I couldn’t pass up! I plugged my ear phones in and took off! One, I now have music and two, I could not let Marty beat me. Gotta love that competitive urge that gets in my blood when I run!
Finishing I felt so very accomplished! I waited a little while for Marty, Daniel and then Amy to finish! There is something about watching the people I care about cross the finish line, especially Daniel, that really chokes me up! We are all athletes now and I just love that sight!
We spent the remainder of the time at the race chatting in Marty’s tent for their new business called “Square One.” Keep on the look out on for their website or if you are in the Omaha area for this great gym concept for people of size.
Well that’s it: Nebraska, state No. 7, is checked off my list! Forty-three to go, but before the end of the year that number will be down to 38!! Stay tuned for the Wichita, KS, run, Sunday, Oct. 9: the Prairie Fire Wichita Marathon.
The Central Iowa Chapter of the American Diabetes Association asked Daniel (and me) to join in their Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes this past Sunday morning (Sept. 18).
For Daniel this is a perfect charity to support, because he had Type 2 diabetes prior to the being on “The Biggest Loser.” Happily, he no longer has any symptoms from this horrible disease whatsoever. I was there to support Daniel and the many Iowans and Americans who suffer with this disease. We hopefully were able to bring awareness to all the small things you can do for prevention! Like walking 90 minutes a week. Yep, it’s that simple!
The walk was a 5k at the Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines! It was a misty, dreary morning, so the turn out was lower than we expected. The great part is many people already had donated who did not walk and those who did drag themselves out on a yucky morning were there to show our support and raise funds! We are excited to be involved with this organization and look forward to walking and raising even more money next year! Thanks to everyone who came out and hope to see more of you next year!