FFTFL premiere

FFTFL premiere

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Slow and Steady

Can I say I am thrilled I am running my dream race as my first marathon? The NYC Marathon just has something about it that draws me to it. Maybe it's the opportunity to run with 50,000 other runners through the streets of all 5 boroughs. Maybe because NYC, specifically Manhattan, is probably my favorite place on earth and the finish is in glorious Central Park. Most likely, however, it's probably because it will be my first and ONLY marathon. I know a lot of people say they are "one and done" and then get the marathon itch desperately needed to be scratched... I just don't think this body can take much more!

Following Jeff Galloway's run/walk plan has helped mentally, somewhat. When running, I can feel better knowing I only have to run for two minutes. I can handle that! But holy sh*t, that 1 minute walk break goes by 4 times as fast!! My short runs during the week have been great. I hit the treadmill at the gym and the runners around me really keep me going, like I am proving something. I'm a runner, dang it! Yesterday I managed to start off walking 1 minute, then ran the next 11 minutes to complete my first mile. I would have managed the 2nd mile the same way if I hadn't had the bladder of a frigging hummingbird! How does one sweat buckets, take in only 16 oz of water and *still* need to pee? First 1.8 miles in 21:30, (insert bathroom break), then another 2 miles in 25 minutes. So close to 4 miles. The right hip and the left heel are feeling it, though. Came home and iced the hip and rolled the feet on a frozen water bottle. Feeling much better this morning.

A major milestone last Sunday for Charlie and I was running our first half, Hope Runs Here, since the shit-show Festival of Lights Half Marathon in Brooklyn, November 2013. We went from one extreme to the other! 22* with a windchill of 'colder than a witch's tit' to 75*, God-knows what humidity, running 13.1 on the surface of the sun. The saving grace was that it was in MY town, 5 minutes from my house, running many of the roads of our regular route. We got to pass my niece's house where my 8 month old great nephew "cheered" me on, and since my cousin wasn't out (when I TOLD him to be) I harassed him from the street. The furthest we ran up until the half was 10.45 miles, and I had to walk much of the last 2 because my left big toe locked up on me. Never experienced that before. So, the plan the week before the half was TONS of water and a daily banana.

I really ate well and hydrated the week before. I stuck to the plan. I worked a race with the timing company the day before and that really helped lift my racing spirit. I just couldn't plan for that heat. We started out well, under a 13:00 mile the first 2 miles, and then hit the port-o-potty. I thought that was going to be a sign of things to come, but the bladder held up after that, however, the brain slowed down. After passing Keri's house at almost mile 4, along the bay, where there is usually nice wind gusts, the air was still, and hot. Did I mention it was hot? No shade? No wind? Humid? I knew we were at the back of the pack and I am SO okay with that now. It can't be about time for me right now. It's about getting out there and finishing. Just after that we met a 68 year old woman named Louise and chatted with her through the beautiful Smith Point Estates. Such an inspiring woman!

We walked a lot with Louise. Then she found another friend and we were able to start our run/walks again (like it was Louise's fault...). This course had phenomenal race support! Water at every mile, EMTs riding the course, ambulances every few miles... they were certain to take care of anyone in need. I was asked several times if I was okay, maybe because I was melting right before their eyes.We plodded along. Slower, but feeling good. I started to notice a twinge in the left calf but willed it away, maybe with a little more walking. After turning down Pinetop and being showered by several hoses and sprinklers, I was only 2 short blocks from my house, but heading home wasn't an option. I needed to get this run done to prove I could do it again, even if it was almost an hour slower.

There was a course limit of 3 hours and 15 minutes. Under cooler circumstances I may have made it. By mile 11.5, on William Floyd Parkway, a police officer was telling the back of the pack they should not turn off and instead head to the marina and the finish line to beat the clock. There was no guarantee I would beat the clock if  I did short the course, but on top of not making the limit I would feel guilty about short-changing myself. Charlie and I decided to stay on course and grind it out. All finishers got a medal, whether they were timed or not. My medal needed to mean something more than just race bling. It had to prove I could do that half mary again. It is half way to a marathon, which is only a little more than 4 months away. A few of us pushed on.

I am sad to say we didn't beat the clock. We had a finish time for a split second and I managed to get a screen shot before the timing company amended the race results. I managed a "sprint" at the end and Charlie and I crossed the finish line hand in hand. There is no picture of that because the race photographer must have punched out. But I finished, 13.1, and I wasn't hurting. I didn't start sweating profusely, feeling the need to both regurgitate and defecate at the same time. My system wasn't in shock. I was able to receive all of my friends' congratulations and love for getting back out there and making it count. I am very thankful they stuck around for us!!!

I even enjoyed a post-race beer and I NEVER drink beer!
our truly earned race bling

race results- not dead last (like Brooklyn!)!

Not the best picture but the gang is ALL here!

We got to enjoy a post-race party and socialize. There was no hour long commute ahead of us! I could only imagine how I would have looked getting out of the car after a ride like that! The 5 minutes nearly did me in! Maybe that was because we stupidly (sorry Gigi, Jan and Laurie) parked at my niece's house which was over a mile away! I believe I walked that mile at 1.0 mph. I was begging a couple of kids to go get a ride for us. 

Since we did the half, we are ahead of the marathon training plan. There will definitely be some schedule adjusting of long runs. For example, I am not too sure I will be doing a 17 miler on my son's birthday on 8/2 or the 23 miler on my birthday in September, especially since we have tentative plans to run the NYRR 18 mile marathon tune-up on 9/20, Charlie's 49th birthday. It's three 6 mile loops in Central Park. There's a 4.5 hour time limit on that. Definitely need to pick up the pace.

I am doing all of this to for the EJ Autism Foundation. I'm still fundraising and am just over half way to my $2,500 goal. I have a big paint night/raffle event coming up in July, and if I get a big enough crowd, I might just hit my goal a few months early!


Monday, May 11, 2015

Life Is Beautiful

April was a good month. That's a bit of an understatement. The premiere of From Fat to Finish Line happened at the Nashville Film Festival! It was a whirlwind trip for Charlie and I. We landed Saturday at noon and left Tuesday, same time, but we made the most of every minute we were there! Mark, team mate Lealah's other half, picked us up from the airport and we had a mini reunion with Allison, Lealah, Rik and Cynthia. Meredith and Dave were napping after the 5k the team had run that morning, so I didn't get to catch up with them before Allison generously drove us to our hotel across town.

I purposely picked the Hampton Inn Green Hills, the closest hotel to the premiere location, the Regal Cinemas Green Hills 16. We could see the entrance to the venue from our window, a very short walk for people who didn't rent a car! The festival site mentioned a different food truck would be on site every day, and I spied the big red truck from that window. We ran down and each got a Sonoran dog from The Rolling Feast (delish) and bumped into Brian, one of the talented cameramen who worked on the documentary. We went back to our room and while snacking I was texting Jen (From Fat to Finish Line, Jersey Jen, Runner #7, awesome chick) and I was trying to figure out where she was staying. Well, turns out, we were in room 504 and she was in 502! I jumped up and ran to knock on her door, only to think, "Maybe I should have asked first..." She wasn't *quite* ready, but after getting to finally meet her talented, sweet husband Marty I got to give her a big squeeze.

Pried myself away from Jen so we could get ready for the pre-premiere red carpet activities, which included photos in front of a step and repeat on an actual red carpet and several interviews of both the cast and the team from Media Meld Studios, the production company that developed the doc. We finally got to meet up with John and his husband Ric, Meredith and Dave, Angela and her Dave, and those Charlie and I saw after the airport. It wasn't quite right being there, just the 7 FFtFLers. For different reasons, Katie, Andrea, Ada, and Jen couldn't make the premiere and Carly was going to the second screening the following Friday. It was definitely a  bittersweet celebration.

Charlie and I before the premiere

red carpet photo shoot

So, we've seen a few rough cuts of the film before the premiere to give our 2 cents as to what we think is perfect or could be improved. Nothing can compare to seeing it on that huge screen with the sound system that a theater has!! This was the probably the 6th time I have seen the film and I *still* needed tissues, which Cynthia graciously shared with me! Hearing the other 11 stories of their fight against obesity and their breaking points is heart wrenching. I could see a piece of me in every scenario told. There were definitely many, many funny moments throughout the race captured on film, but seriously somber ones as well. The film pretty much embodied the roller coaster of events and emotions one goes through on his/her weight loss journey.

the q&a session after the screening


The word surreal doesn't even come close to describing what this night was like. All I can say is that I am so grateful I was able to experience it and that Charlie was there to share it with me. We are looking forward to the film possibly screening a lot closer to home so our kids can see it on the big screen as well as all my family and running friends.

The rest of the trip was spent reconnecting with my team mates, talking and laughing, A LOT!! There was a lot of good food and drinks added into the mix. We didn't see much of Nashville and I am okay with that. I know there are must see attractions, like the Grand Ole Opry, but country music isn't my thing, so it just didn't have the pull for me to take time away from my friends to visit. Unfortunately, John and Ric left first thing Sunday morning, Lealah and Mark that afternoon, and Rik and Cynthia Monday morn, so we didn't get enough time with them. Monday we had a great breakfast with those that remained.

and then there were four...
I have to thank Michelle, a From Fat to Finish Line Facebook group member, for coming all the way from Pennsylvania to be at the premiere and hang out with us! She has a great success story of her own and is a triathlete. The From Fat to Finish Line FB group is a great place to find inspiration and support for your own fitness/health journey. Athletes of all sizes and capabilities post and comment on what they are achieving on a day to day basis. Since I am training for my first marathon, I find the information and opinions of others a great help in figuring this whole thing out. More on that to follow...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Big Things

Too much time has gone by without an update. I get in a funk and the last thing I want to do is write about *said* funk. But things are looking up my friends. I entered, yet again, the NYC Marathon lottery back in February. Third time's the charm, right? Not. Lottery day came and went and I got the sad notice I was rejected, dejected, not even picked LAST for the team! Well, since Charlie gained acceptance last year through the lottery and we deferred his registration to this year since I just could NOT attempt 26.2 miles after knee surgery and rehab, I decided to guarantee myself a spot by running for a charity. I am honored to be running for the EJ Autism Foundation, a local charity that helps support school and day hab programs right here on Long Island. It's a daunting task, raising $2,500, but I've got some fun ideas for girls' nights and then there's the letter campaign. If you are looking to support a great cause and would like to help my fundraising goal you can find my page here.

So, Charlie and I will be following the Jeff Galloway run/walk interval marathon training program and it actually started this past Sunday! We're running two minutes, walking one minute and managed three miles in 37 minutes. This is a long, gradual program that leaves a lot of wiggle room for unforeseen circumstances and maybe second and third attempts at a long run. The actual marathon falls on week 30 with two weeks of recovery runs after the marathon. Should be an interesting, long and hopefully gratifying journey!

With the thought of becoming a marathoner floating through my mind, we got the amazing news that our From Fat to Finish Line documentary was accepted into the Nashville Film Festival this month! In just over one week we'll be sitting in the Regal Cinemas Green Hills watching our stories being told on the big screen! I didn't think we would ever be able to afford the trip, and in all honestly, money has been very tight, but this is a once on a lifetime moment. Charlie wouldn't let me pass it up. When I found a $215 plane fare from NYC to Nashville, we realized it wasn't horrifically expensive and that Charlie should come along. He has been my biggest cheer leader, my running mate, my best friend. He went with me to Miami to be there for me when I ran in the Ragnar Relay and the filming unfolded. It is only right that he be with me to share in this. The word "surreal" doesn't even begin to describe what this feels like.

If you're in or around Nashville on April 18th around 6 pm or Friday the 24th, come and see the premiere of the documentary with us!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Honesty = Best Policy

There are a lot of factors that play into that number. Pain, knee surgery, inactivity due to pain and knee surgery, overeating, overeating crap, more inactivity, more pain from weight gain and inactivity, working two part-time jobs which amounted to a full-time job the last two months, stress from never having enough money... all valid excuses, but excuses none the less. So, no more hiding. Major reality check. I am weighing in 42 pounds over my lowest weight (I believe I was there long enough to take a photo of the scale in August 2011) and 34 pounds over my From Fat to Finish Line before/after shot. Time to grow up and do the things I know I am supposed to do more importantly for my *health*, not the number on the scale. I feel like crap, my joints ache, I look like Shamu when I roll out of bed in the morning and my sweats are tight. My SWEATS are tight, people.

No more excuses. No more whining. Time to work again and make "me time" a priority. NYC Marathon in 342 days.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Bad Things

It's been a rough winter and an unfriendly spring for me. The harsh weather made it nearly impossible to run outside, and I didn't renew my gym membership in February because it just wasn't doing it for me. I love my Fitbit still and wear it religiously, but nothing compares to being out for a run. Well, in April my knee pain made me hit my breaking point. I couldn't even run a tenth of a mile without acute pain. I knew something was very wrong. I made an appointment to see an orthopedist.

At the appointment, the in-office x-rays didn't show any fractures, and then my insurance initially denied an MRI. After submitting it again, for a stress fracture, it was approved. On April 16th I had the MRI and on the 22nd I discovered I not only had a tibial stress fracture, but a meniscus and MCL tear. The stress fracture can take 6-9 months to heal completely and the tears require surgery. Now I just have to decide WHEN to have surgery so I don't lose out on work with the photo studio. I believe July will be our slow period and I'll have 2-3 weeks to recuperate.

Because of the stress fracture, I'm not even allowed to walk for exercise. I can use an elliptical but I don't have the gym membership nor the money for one at the moment. I feel like I'm sinking fast. As of today, I am 25 pounds heavier than that Ragnar Relay From Fat To Finish Line magnet that adorned both vans on our 200 mile journey in January of 2013.

I'm struggling with food and I'm sad about my situation, which makes me turn to food for comfort, which in turn causes me to gain weight. I'm caught in that vicious cycle. Seeing all my friends running race after race is a bit frustrating to witness, knowing I might not be taking my first running steps until sometime this fall, if that. What makes my situation even more depressing?

Charlie was selected in the NYC Marathon lottery drawing. I was not. However, after A LOT of research, I found a local charity to run for. It would mean raising $2,500 in order to earn my spot, and the founder assured me I would achieve that with her help, as well as all my family and great Island Girls Running friends' support. And then I had my MRI and got the results, so I had to inform her that I was not going to accept the invitation to run for her this year. I assured her that whether I get picked through the lottery or not, I will be raising money for her foundation next year. Charlie can defer his registration to 2015, after paying for both this year and next year, and I will hopefully be in amazing form to cover those 26.2 miles.

I'm trying to keep busy while I'm home. I have a list a mile long of things I need to get done around the house to make it presentable for both Chelsea's Sweet 16 Sleepover and Charlie's high school graduation party. I managed to rake the front yard in 3 days and am SO close to getting the entire back yard cleaned up for the first time probably ever. I've been taking it very easy and moving so slowly to make sure I don't further injure myself, so not to worry. The crappy weather recently has been conducive to window washing, so I only have a few rooms left to complete. I've washed and rehung curtains, as well. Things are getting crossed off, making me feel accomplished.

There is some good news in all this gloominess. I have another 8 days of work this month with the photo studio, and tomorrow is my 2nd race working for the timing company. It was a real eye-opener, seeing what the timing company does to catch every runner that crosses the finish line. A piece of advice- make sure you pin your bib on your front and don't obscure it with anything! The antennas sometimes can't read the chip on the back of the bib if it's covered. If you run a race, you want it to count!

How are you all doing with your fitness and health goals? I need some inspiration and motivation ASAP.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Making It Work

It's amazing what a difference a few days make. Instead of wallowing in my misery, I decided to do something. Change comes from action, right? I had accumulated a ton of points from Christmas shopping through My Points, and I decided I was going to cash them in for Amazon gift cards and get myself a Fitbit. Because I am home so much since it's the slow season for school photography, I've been sitting around, A LOT, playing Candy Crush and watching marathons of just about anything on Bravo. Inactivity does not help with the process of weight loss, nor the funky gray cloud that seemed to envelop me. A Fitbit would help motivate me to move and be active.

With my gift cards, I also got a Jackie Warner exercise DVD, a box of Atkins protein bars and 8 boxes of South Beach protein bars. All for just $14 of MY money!!!

I reached out to friends who I knew had a Fitbit, as well. Having a partner in an endeavor keeps me honest and inspired. A little friendly competition helps get my engine going, as well! I asked Meredith, my team mate from From Fat To Finish Line about her experience with the device and she suggested 10,000 steps a day for me and 15,000 for her. Since I mentioned how excited I was about getting the Fitbit, my friend and team mate Carly has also jumped on board!! Let me tell you, 10,000 steps is a lot. A solid hour of walking/running, getting me through 4+ miles, isn't equal to 10,000 steps! So, suffice it to say, being home, accumulating steps has been keeping my house clean! Any excuse and tactic needed to get some steps in, I'm doing it. I have plenty of spare time, so taking several trips to get the laundry up and down the stairs and away in drawers/closets is not a big deal. It may seem crazy to an outsider looking in, but they don't have to get on the scale for me or wear my jeans!

So I've had my Fitbit Zip ($51.99 on Amazon!) since the 27th, and I've hit my 10,000 step goal every day and two days I've managed to surpass 15,000! To achieve that yesterday, I walked in my neighborhood fast for 55 minutes and took Molly for a half hour walk (a slow 1.3 miles with her sniffing every pile of poop and blade of grass she could get to), along with my regular activity of the day. Not terribly taxing to achieve it, but on Sunday, after pacing for an hour while watching the Oscars to hit 15k, my legs felt like I ran a half marathon!

The Fitbit website is motivating as well. You receive badges for hitting goals in 5,000 step increments. It has graphs and charts and it ranks your friends 1st through 10th place in steps for the week. For those of you that like to keep track of everything, the Fitbit will fulfill your needs. There is even a version of the Fitbit that tracks your sleep and stair climbing total. Gee, this sounds like a review! I'm just excited about it! Let me know if you have one and we can support each other! I'm either Linda Kuil or Linda K. on the website.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


So, November's race had me down. Finishing last hit hard. Then the holidays hit me even harder. Oh, and then winter had to sucker punch me when I was down. I know it's been insane across the country, but I've only lived on Long Island (except for attending college in Upstate NY) and I have never EVER experienced a worse winter! It's not only been frigid, but we've had umpteen snow storms to boot. Last year we had one major storm that hit the day after Christmas, while everyone was on vacation. This year my kids have used FOUR snow days, along with a couple late arrivals and early dismissals.

While snow shoveling has been a great workout for me, we were running out of places to put the shit!

I've only run 2 races since the half. Charlie, my daughter and myself did a 5k toy trot that was a lot of fun. It was Chelsea's first race and she did great for only having run 1 time before. It was fun to dress up and get together with my Island Running Girls.

Her first race mile!

such CUTE mile markers!

The other race was a 4 mile prediction run put on by my running store, Sayville Running Company, on December 14th. So with a prediction run, you figure out how long it would take you to finish the course and write it down on a slip of paper. You run tech-free and your finishing place is determined by how close your prediction came to your time. The course was side streets that were covered in some ice and snow, so I took it slow, and I finished last, again. That didn't bother me. My knee didn't hurt while I was running and I didn't fall on my fat ass in those conditions, so in my opinion it was a WIN! AND I came in 9th place, so I won a prize! I'll definitely do another prediction run. It was just fun and a good time hanging out at the store with other runners.

My FIRST snow run!

A hard winter, over eating during the holidays and a bummish knee has my weight up. I'm in such a funk. On the last Sunday in January I did a treadmill run at the gym that just did my knee in. I took off almost 4 weeks. I've run/walked a couple of times in the last week and I'm so discouraged. I'm so slow. I'm running about a half a mile at a time to ease myself in. There's no pain during my runs, but a tightness afterwards. I definitely have to get my ass back to the store for new shoes. I have $175 in gift cards from Christmas burning a hole in my pocket, but I just haven't got there. I feel like I can't get out of my own way, running or otherwise.

At the beginning of this month my gym membership was up. I've scoped out a couple other gyms. One had such an amazing deal of $6.95/month I just HAD to check it out. The one perk to this gym was that it offered classes, which my gym did not. Would you believe that that $7 got you a total of 10 hours a week to workout? Yeah. I could go from 11 am to 4 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays every week, ONLY. I actually guffawed! There were other more inclusive offers with two and three year contracts, which just wasn't for me.

Without the gym, I'm struggling to formulate a plan. I have a plethora of workout DVDs (including Insanity!) to choose from and I also got a kettle bell for Christmas. There's no excuse to not workout an hour a day, especially since I have no work at this time, which kind of piled more onto my already full funk plate. Money is tight.

Winging it really isn't working. I need to get a calendar just for my workouts and plot the thing out. With gift cards from all of my shopping through My Points, I have a Fitbit Zip coming tomorrow (!) along with a Jackie Warner exercise DVD. February is almost over and I can not WAIT to turn the page and get my mojo back for March. 22 more days until SPRING!!!!

QUESTION: Has this winter weather crap hit YOU as hard?