Weight Loss Journey 6 months: Finding my inner ninja

This post is a little late (by 10 days) but life has been a little hectic lately.  I’ve officially been on my weight loss journey for six months.  I thought now would be a good time to crunch some numbers and really look at how far I’ve come since December.

Every journey begins with a single step so let’s start with the basics of weight.  Since December I have dropped 42 pounds.  Over the course of 26 weeks thatIMG_6523‘s 1.6 pounds a week.  Considering that we are just aiming for a pound a week that’s fantastic.  My BMI has also dropped by 6.1%. I’m also not considered obese any more; now I’m just “regular” fat.  I’ve lost a total of 5.5″ in my waist, 3.5″ in my hips, and 3.5″ in my thighs.  I’m 6 pounds away from being within Navy weight standards! Oh, and I saw a number of the scale this morning I haven’t seen since, um, 1995 if not earlier.

I’ve also shrunk down 2 full sizes and I’m well on my way to my 3rd.  This may also be why I only have a few things in my closet that fit and I’m throwing everything imaginable into the drying hoping and praying that it will shrink.  I’m currently swimming my EIS shirts (as seen to the right), but in the priority list of things to be replaced they fall behind things like bras, underpants, and work clothes.  LOL.

Now let’s talk food.   I mean, what kind of weight loss journey doesn’t talk food?  Honestly?  I am absolutely hands down in love with the exchange system that Sainted Mary has me on.  She gives me my budget, but I am making the choices.  If I want to eat half of a 4″ gluten free bundt cake I can.  I’m just giving up other food.  The best part is that not only am I eating regular food, but I have the flexibility in my day.  Not hungry at lunch (ok, that’s never happened) I don’t have to eat a big lunch.  Now that I have the Tom Tom for exercise I have even more flexibility in how we approach things.  Granted, I will say not being able to eat gluten makes life so much easier.  I can’t eat 99% of the bad food.  I still have my food “sins”, but I will budget ahead for them and yes they are worth every single solitary exchange I spend on them.

There are days where I am hungry.  I’ve gone through countless bags of tea.  Yes, there are days that I wish I could just eat whatever I wanted to include gluten filled foods, but those days are a rarity as well as an impossibility.   Honestly? I’m eating tons of food.  I’m just eating the right combinations of food.  Yes, I know it’s also healthy food (I know, insert groan here).

Support systems are critical for any weight loss journey.  I’m incredibly lucky that I have several folks who are there cheering me on.  C and by extension her family are incredibly supportive.  Any time I see a race that sounds awesome if she can do it she will be there! I can call her up when I’m having a rough scale week and she will get me out of my funk.  Then there is Amy.  She may think I’m nuts, but she is incredibly supportive by making sure that I know she has my back.  There are a number of folks at work who encourage me in various ways.  I have several folks who come to Biker Barre with me and we keep each other honest and I have a couple of folks who always seem to know when I’m beating up on myself and will give me a pep talk. I also have all of the friends and instructors I’ve met at Biker Barre who are amazing in their support, love, and encouragement. I’m a pretty lucky girl in that department.

This isn’t just about weight loss, though, it’s about getting fit too.  Last week I gave myself the Navy PT test and I passed running!  I usually took the swim test as I am a water based creature vice a land based animal.  Maybe that’s changing.  My goal now is to try to pass not for my age group, but to compete against 18 year old me.  That’s going to be my best indication for me of how far I’ve come; compare 18 year old me to 39 year old me.  My plan is to run my ass off this fall to ensure that I can complete the Glass Slipper Challenge (yay registration opens soon!)

I have to say that this 6 months hasn’t been easy, but I’m slowly finding my inner ninja!  The next 6 months are going to really be a time of focus and concentration.  For I have a smaller tutu to buy, smaller clothes to buy, and Navy weight standards to shatter.  Oh, yeah, and I’ve got my eye on being “normal” on the BMI chart too dammit.

wheel on a SUP

Trying new things: SUP yoga

Sainted Mary told me a month or so ago that I should throw in something new to mix up my workout routine.  She went on to explain that not only was this to keep my body guessing, but to keep me mentally engaged.  Yes, because I handle change oh so well (that’s sarcasm by the way).  I decided to do something different, but not too different; stand-up paddle board (SUP) yoga.

If you have never been on a SUP think of standing up in a canoe or a kayak while it’s in the water.  It’s like surfing met kayaking and had a baby.  It takes a ton of core work to keep yourself from falling in.  My last SUP experience ended with me getting dumped in the Pacific Ocean and loosing my GoPro.  Oh, did I mention that this class is on the Potomac River?  Nothing like adding a bit of current to make this just a wee bit more challenging.  I must admit I went into this class expecting to be dumped in the drink.  Lucky for me, Cross-Fit Girl was crazy enough to want to try it out too so I had company! Hey if you are going to fall in make sure that you have someone to point and laugh at you!

We paddled to the west side of Roosevelt Island and dropped anchor on our SUPs. This was to keep us in one place for the class.  While we would move around a bit with the current we weren’t going to wind up down by the Occoquan.  The best part?  We were in the shade so I wasn’t going to get cooked like a Thanksgiving turkey (even through my SPF 100).

If the class were done on land it would have been a pre-beginner or even a beginner level yoga class.  However, once you added the layer of the SUPs it was super challenging.  Every pose you did you had to ensure that you were balanced and centered on the board.  It wasn’t just the big muscles you were working but all of those teeny tiny little balancing muscles that don’t get worked hard very often.

Toward the end of class we had the option of doing bridge or wheel pose.  The first time around I did bridge.  The second time we had the option of going into full wheel.  I determined to try it.  I mean, what was the worst that could happen I get dumped into the river on a 90 degree day?  When I lifted up into full wheel not only are you dealing with the balance of being on the SUP but your brain is trying to process the water being where wheel on a SUPthe sky normally is and the sky being where the water is suppose to be.  I said, “Holy crap!” and began to giggle uncontrollably.  (Of course, I came down out of wheel or else I was definitely going to get dumped in the drink.)  The third time around I went back up into wheel again.  This time my brain was more prepared for what it was going to process.  It was still super funny.

As we went into savasana we were encouraged to put our feet into the water.  I must admit I splashed round like a little kid.  I was in a magnificent mood.    While I can’t afford to do it every week, I will definitely be going back.  I wish that they offered this class or the Intermediate at National Harbor because it would be easier for me to get to, especially during the week, but I’ll just have to keep doing the basic class (for now).

Oh the added bonus and I managed to burn 276 calories which is more than Sainted Mary and I had budged for! Hooray!

Strong Like Bull

Don’t take this the wrong way but….

Sadly after the Great Smoky Mountain Half Marathon that I am walking with my wonderful friend Jewell, who has amazingly lost 70 pounds; my running partner, C, heads off to a third world crap hole and will be out of pocket for several months.  This means that we are training separately for the Glass Slipper Challenge that we are (fingers crossed) hoping to get registered for.  For those that aren’t initiated, that is a 10k on one day followed by a half marathon the next.  The fact that she won’t be around to train with makes me sad.

In an attempt to rally the troops to help keep me motivated, and not lonely out on the race course, I put together my fall race/training schedule.  I determined that if even one friend signed up for every race that would be a huge help.  I then sent it out to all of my friends/co-workers that I know run, kind of run, ok, I was desperate I even sent it to those that think about running but never get off the couch.  (Hey you never know who you might motivate.)  The responses I got were hysterical (all names removed to protect the innocent);

“Girl.  Just reading that list made me lay down to rest.  That was over an hour ago, and I’m still exhausted.”

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but you are a BEAST.”

“WOW. Impressive.  You’re inspiring me” IMG_5284

Sadly, I’m still lacking in people to run with me.  Guess it’s a good thing that I’ve got Perry. He’s always up for a run. Besides, he helps keep me alive so there is that….

Why walk when you can run?

Why walk through the forest when you can run through it?? 

Today we all went to the Hoh rain forest. It’s a beautiful patch of ground. Trees 5 plus stories tall.  While it’s not my favorite part of Olympic since its teeming with people I do enjoy the beauty of it. Even with the whining people. 
We decided to head down the trail to go to a waterfall 2.7 miles down the trail. It was gorgeous.  Granted, after yesterday’s 13(ish) mile hike the boys weren’t actually game for another hike. There was a small amount of temper tantrums on the trail especially when the trail went up. 

When we got to the waterfall we turned around.  That’s when I decided to run back; 30+ pound pack and all.   It was the most enjoyable 3 miles. Big trees, huge ferns, and a gorgeous river.  Even with the weight on my back I still felt like I was flying. 


I wish more days could be like this. Just sheer joy. 

I think I broke my brothers

Last night we decided that we wanted to do the Elwha to Hurricane Hill hike.  Little did I know that this particular hike was going to allow me to kick my brothers asses, but it was going to demonstrate to me just how good of shape I’ve gotten in.

Now, let me start off with that this hike says strenuous.  I have racked my brain for 8 hours DSCN1684today to try to come up with another word beyond strenuous.  The only thing I can come up with is soul crushing.  This particular trail is 6.1 miles of straight up. Switchback after switchback of up.  I want to find the asshole who designed this particular trail.  What in the HELL were you thinking?  Or wait, am I the asshole for actually doing it?

This trail does cross almost every single cross section of eco-system in the park.  It is a beautiful hike.  I will say this, though, a year ago DSCN1694there is absolutely no way on this green earth I could have done this hike.  So, I’m awfully proud of myself.  The views at the top were absolutely breath taking.  You could see all the way to British Columbia today.

The entire trip up I was thanking Biker Barre for giving me strength.  WOW that up was horrendous.  I did learn that when my heart felt like it was going to explode it was only beating in the 170s.  LOL.  The entire trip down I was just mentally trying to focus on everything and anything but the pain in my knees.  For what goes up must come down.

The funniest part of this entire hike death march is that I kicked my brothers asses.  They started calling me mountain pony.  I just kept moving forward.  It took us 4 hours and 53 minutes to get to the top and just over 2 hours to get to the bottom.  Yeah, quite the difference.

We shall see how they feel in the morning, but I have a sneaky suspicion I broke them.

Update: Went to Hoh on Friday (6/12) Ranger said, “Wow, that’s the hardest hike in the park.” Definitely feeling proud and, yes, I definitely broke them.

Channeling Taylor Swift

Today’s mantra was “shake it off.”  C, Brother #3, and myself started off this morning with a gorgeous run.  It was a very short one, only 2 miles, but it was exactly what I needed after yesterday’s disaster. We took our time getting up to Marymere Falls and then I ran DSC_0109the way back to the car. I felt amazing and it was really wonderful to get back out on the trail and stretch my legs.  We had a grand time.  There was no one else on the trail we had the whole place to ourselves.   It was amazing. Then the day started to go to hell.

After we got some food into us, the whole lots of us went to Lake Crescent looking for the Olympic Adventure Trail.  They have a trail race here and we wanted to check it out before we even entertained the idea of running it.  Well, we couldn’t find the trail head so we wound up hiking the Spruce Railroad Trail.  Not a big deal, just shake it off.  We still had a great hike.  DSC_0295We even clowned around for C, who we have affectionately nicknamed “Paparazzi.”

After our hike we had signed up for an SUP lesson through Adventures Through Kayaking a company I had been stalking since the last time we were out here.  The guide, Ben, was absolutely awesome.  The scenery was beautiful.  Well, I had brought the GoPro and I thought that the case it was in floated. Um, yeah, about that.  Apparently someone in the Universe needs that GoPro more than I do.  We saw it, but then we started to drift and we lost it.  Sigh.  That sucks.  Shake it off.  Ok, I might still be working on that one. The boys had an awesome time especially towards the end when all they were doing was TRYING to knock each other into the water.  I honestly think that is the best time that they have had in a very long time.  Not sure it was worth the cost of my GoPro, but meh, it’s stuff stuff is replaceable good times and memories are not.

Total calories burned today 991.  Total miles 7.78 miles (not including the SUP mile).

NODM 2015: Are you kidding me?

This race was going to be one of my best.  C & I were on track for PRs.  We were rolling along at a GREAT clip.  Then the following happened.  I sincerely, hope that this family realizes just how lucky they are that C & I were the ones that helped her.  This 8 year old could have been half way to some third world country being sold as a virgin bride, or worse.  I’m still processing how I feel about everything that happened, but below is an excerpt of the the letter I sent to the NODM race director;
Dear Race Directors:

I would like to bring to your attention a situation which happened on the 10k course during the NODM 2015 running.  My best friend and I traveled from out of state to specifically run this race.  We were having an awesome race on track for our best personal records when we came across a limping 8 year old child alone red faced and glassy eyes which are classic signs of a heat injury.

She and I are former military members and recognized the signs and immediately asked her where her parents were while we began rendering aid.  Apparently her mother was running the half marathon course and her Dad who she said was running the 10k course, left her, to continue on the course.

We doused her with cold water, gave her water from our personal hydration packs which we carry because we both have medical issues, and I proceeded to carry her 1.5 miles until paramedics on bicycles came up behind us.  We had even sent runners ahead trying to alert paramedics.

I am not only imploring you to set a minimum age limit, but that parents must  accompany minors under 12.  This was CRIMINALLY irresponsible.  We could have pressed charges against the parents.  I have no idea what the paramedics will do with an unaccompanied minor.

When we have done other long distance races medical attention has never been more than a half mile apart.  While I understand the size of this race and limited resources having more aid or scouts on bicycles is a way to mitigate this risk.  I shudder to think what would have happened to this little girl had we not stopped.  Other runners had passed her.

Thank you for consideration,


Just like Pinocchio I’m a “real” athlete now

Do you remember the part at the VERY end of Pinocchio where the Blue Fairy (who looks suspiciously like a recycled Disney Princess) comes down and turns Pinocchio into a real boy?

That is kind of how I felt today.  Except instead of a Blue Fairy I got an Amazon box, I feel cheated, which contained my TomTom MultiSport Cardio Watch! I guess this means I’m a real boy, er, athlete now!

I’ve been really going back and forth for several weeks about whether I should actually get a GPS watch with a heart rate monitor or not.  I was having a really hard time finding a single piece that was going to give me all of my needs.  Not just for running, but for kayaking, spin, treadmill, and hiking too.  The hardest parts were the kayaking the spin classes.  However, after bugging asking the local TomTom rep tons of questions, as well as tapping into two of the best watch/technology experts I know I finally decided that I was going to make the leap.  Just as an aside, I didn’t get the FitBit because it wasn’t waterproof, the iWatch needs cell, and the Garmin didn’t make what I wanted.

Why would you do that if you aren’t an elite runner; you may be asking yourself.  It has more to do with getting an accurate account, not only for my distance, but for the number of calories burned.  As I’ve been working with Sainted Mary we’ve been making estimations on most of my activity using the “standard” rules (e.g.; 100 calories per mile). The problem with this is that if I am burning less than we are over estimating my allowed food intake and vice versa. By getting this model not only will I be able to more accurately determine the number of miles I’ve paddled or run, but when I’m doing activities I’ll be able to more accurately determine caloric burn.  What this means is that over time we will be able to better calculate my calories.  This will become extremely important the closer I get to my goal.

What this has also enabled us to do is let me start to dabble in being a free range chicken.  Next week I’m going on a hiking trip.  I have no idea how many miles we will be doing or even what the terrain will be like since we haven’t picked our trails out yet.  Having this enabled Sainted Mary to say, ok, this is your base calories for the day.  Use your watch and whatever you burned in calories you are allowed to eat on top of your daily ration.  This means that I don’t have to plan out every single days mileage, and if you ever met my brothers you’d know what that would be nearly impossible anyway.

I guess you can say, I’m a “real” runner now.  Even if I still come in last place!

Oh and PS, I named it Coconut because it’s lime.  Get it?