FFTFL premiere

FFTFL premiere

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fabulous February Challenge

When I purchased Insanity many moons ago, I created a Beach Body account to log in my measurements and workouts to eventually get the coveted "I Earned It" Insanity t-shirt. I never finished the program, getting through the first month with great results, but not picking it up again, hence never getting the shirt. However, when you create an account, you are assigned a Beach Body coach, someone who can answer any questions you have about the program. Sandy found me and has been a friend on Facebook ever since.

From the Insanity website

I joined Sandy's Fitness Family group on Facebook, where members post workouts and successes, supporting each other through ups and downs. I participated in a September challenge that Sandy created. It was based on a points system, where different actions earned different amounts of points. Posting a workout was worth one point, where a muscle photo was five points. It was fun seeing my points add up. We had a partner and we would try our best to keep each other motivated and accountable. Sometimes there would be opportunities to earn bonus points, like completing 100 push-ups by the end of the day. You could do them all at once (yeah, right!) or ten sets of ten. It didn't matter, just as long as you got them done. That was a great accomplishment, doing those 100 push-ups. I felt like Shawn T. (almost).

So Sandy created another monthly challenge, this time for February, for teams of four. I managed to refer four friends, just by mentioning the challenge on Facebook, earning my team an extra 24 points! We're not all on the same team, which will make the competition that much more fun! I'm a team captain with my friend Gigi and two women I've never spoke to or friended before. My sister-in-law is a captain of another team, Dawn, a high school friend whom I ran the Diva with, is on another team, and a MFP friend is on another. I'm hoping it motivates us all  to stick to our health and fitness goals and helps jump start MY mission to lose the last 20 pounds I want to take off.

I plan on getting reacquainted with my boyfriend Shawn T. and start power jumping and burpeeing myself back into the shape I was in after that month, back in June. After completing the first month, not only was I stronger, but it REALLY helped with my speed. I PRd the Moriches Community Center 5k a week after that cycle. It must have been all of those butt kicks and suicides. Whatever it was, it worked and I'd really like to see what finishing the two month cycle will do for my body!

Not only will the February Challenge help kick-start my weight loss, but it's going to help get me half-marathon ready! Charlie and I have decided to run the Long Island Half-Marathon on May 5th!! I really needed a long race to train for besides my usual 5ks. The Diva half is not until October, and I'd like to remain half ready throughout the year, especially if I'm thinking of throwing my hat in the ring for the NYC Marathon lottery. That means we have 13 weeks to get race-ready, and this will be Charlie's first half!! He's run a few long runs with me- the 8 and 11-miler being the last runs he did with me before Diva in October. We're going to have to squeeze in more than one run a week for him to be truly prepared, which will be very difficult since he works 55 hours in a 6 day work week. I know him though. Throw him a challenge and he'll do what it takes to make things happen. I can not wait to cross the finish line with him!

The Long Island Marathon, Half-Marathon and 10k all have the same start line and time!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Where Was I?

Oh, yeah. Before I was gone for a week and staying with my niece's babies, I was telling you our team had just crossed the finish line. We had an awesome moment when Rik staged an impromptu medal ceremony and we just enjoyed the moment. Then reality set in and we had to clean up the vans and get our shit out. Somehow in the chaos of 38 hours, after using my iPod armpocket for the 1st leg and setting it aside to dry, it got misplaced. I hear it has been found in the box of Spark People t-shirts and is on its way to me. I hope so, since I only got to use the dang thing once!

Since the finish line was right at our hotel, I decided I wanted to drop my bags off at our room, and actually SEE the hotel. I really wanted a cold non-alcoholic beverage and figured we could hit the vending machine. That didn't happen. I also thought that I would just drop my crap off and meet up with my team mates to celebrate our finish. That didn't happen either. Charlie and I got to the room, I laid my bags on the floor and we laid across the bed, heads resting on our hands, while I tried to convey anecdotes from the last day and a half. I felt like I was just rambling on and on, my eyelids getting heavier and heavier. I started talking with my eyes closed. All of a sudden I open my eyes and Charlie is staring at me. "Did I just fall asleep mid-sentence?!?" While laughing at me, Charlie confirmed I was that exhausted that I indeed fell asleep while speaking. So, I decided I just needed to call it a night. I peeled my clothes off, slid into the luxurious bedding and, I believe, fell into a coma.

The bed was beckoning me...

I have NEVER slept that soundly. On a good night, I wake up at least ONCE to go to the bathroom. I also toss and turn, propping up the four pillows around me, creating a nest like a gorilla, to get comfortable. The next time I looked at the clock it was 5:40 am. I slept from 10 pm until nearly 6 am without waking up or so much as turning a pillow. I guess I couldn't possibly pee seeing as we were all dehydrated from the relay.

Since we were up early and not meeting our teammates until 10 am for brunch, we had some time to ourselves to explore a little and get some coffee. Right across the street from the hotel was Ana's Cuban Cafe and we got some great Cuban coffee, sat out on the porch and people watched. I got a surprising view of an older man riding past on his bicycle with white MESH shorts on. Of course he didn't have any undies on! Thankfully I only saw him going, not coming! We did some souvenir shopping and I picked up a beautiful mug for myself so that every morning, while I'm drinking my coffee, I'll think of my new friends and the great times we had on this trip.

I eat my oatmeal with the spoon!

We lazed around on a hammock, enjoying the warm sun, just like we did 17+ years ago on the beaches of Maui. It's nice to know, all these years later, we still really enjoy each other's company and can have fun doing just about anything.

I couldn't get the right angle no matter how many shots I took.

While walking around the area, we saw tons of vans from the relay. Some people had already started washing off their decorations, while others were still sleeping off the celebrating they did the night before. There were some interesting decorations and some seriously funny team names.

I think it should say "We run hard so you don't have to," like the Scrubbing Bubbles motto.

It was finally time to meet everyone for brunch and we wound up at the Six Toed Cat and enjoyed every one's company. Unfortunately, Jen, Carly, Jen and Ada had to leave right after breakfast, so the sad goodbyes began.

That's Meredith's husband, David,  in the Angry Bird shirt, and Rik's wife Cynthia is taking the photo, so not everyone is represented!

After a long, leisurely meal, Charlie and I had to figure out how the hell we were getting from Key West to Miami the next day, so we went back to our hotel to iron it all out. This is the first time I can remember staying at a hotel with a concierge. Suzie at The Southernmost Hotel was extremely helpful. She kept reminding me that it was her job to help, but it still was really appreciated! Anyway, she gave us the phone numbers for the Key West shuttle and some car rental companies. The shuttle was booked for the following SIX days!! That left having to rent a car and make the 4 hour drive ourselves. I called 3 companies and they had not one vehicle. Finally, Avis had vehicles, but would you believe all they had left was 12 passenger vans?!? We had no choice but to rent one. Charlie didn't really want to drive, but it was our only option. So, we had to get a cab to the Key West airport (if you can call it that!) to pick up the van. The funny thing was that I was able to decorate it with my before/after magnet for the drive to Miami!

By the time we got back, it was time to head to Rick's Bar for the Ragnar award ceremony. No awards for our team. If there was a "Most Inspirational" team, we would've had that one in the bag, I think. We hung out and met other amazing teams there, as well. "The Tightans" was an ultra team from D.C. that won their category, and that was after having 3 of their 6 team members drop out 3 weeks before the race. They scrambled and managed to fill the empty slots in time. How do you find someone (let alone 3 people) willing to run 1/6th of a 200 mile relay on the fly? I'd say www.nutjob.com!

Charlie and I split off again and went over to Mallory Square since it was just a few blocks away. Unfortunately by the time we got there, after enjoying some conch fritters and a delicious Key Lime martini, it was too late to watch the sunset at the top of the Shipwreck Museum. We did have a chocolate dipped piece of Key Lime pie from Kermit's and on the walk back came across Mattheessen's and got the best, biggest chocolate chip cookie EVER!!

They are literally the size of your head!

We also stopped into the famous Captain Tony's Saloon. People leave their business cards stapled to the walls and ceilings, so we left one of Charlie's.

Wait until you see the inside...

They don't just leave business cards!!! 

I wasn't willing to part with MY bra. We were still meeting everyone for one last drink at Bourbon St., so I didn't want to show up with my ta-tas hanging low. At the bar, we talked some more, took plenty of pictures and said our goodbyes. John and Meredith were leaving the next day as well. Rik, Katie, Lealah, Allison and Andrea were staying another day or two, the lucky ducks. From the pictures I've seen they had some really great times and I'm a bit jealous I wasn't able to stay and bond some more. I surely learned that coming in the day before and leaving the day after is NOT enough time to spend with all of these great people AND see the city. I will plan accordingly next time.

Charlie and I went back to the hotel and had one last beer by the pool and talked for a good long time. Had we known we weren't going to be tired, we would've stayed at the bar a little longer.

The Pineapple Bar at the hotel and the pretty color-changing lights in the pool

We finally got our asses up and back to the room to finish packing and get to bed. We had to start the day out at 4:30 am to get on the road for Miami. An 11:55 am flight to D.C. was waiting for us to bring us down on LI at 4:40 pm. It was an extremely long travel day and oh so depressing. The warmth and sunshine of Key West was quickly replaced by the gloomy steel gray sky and 30* temperatures. Snap! Back to reality...

Oh, yeah, even after feeling like death after my first leg, vowing I would never do a RR again, thinking I possibly wouldn't recover to finish the other 2 legs, we're all on board for another crazy ride, this time through Tennessee! November 2014 can't some soon enough.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I've Been Away Far Too Long

It feels like it's been forever. From Friday at noon until 8 pm Sunday, I was off the grid. I was at my niece's house watching her daughter and son so she could go on a youth retreat with her husband, who is a youth pastor. I could have brought my son's laptop, but that would have left him without a computer, since the PC's monitor is on the fritz. I have my crappy cell phone that I COULD have texted from, had I remembered to grab my bag with the cell phone charger, toothbrush, oatmeal, protein bars and drink sticks. So, all I had was my phone to keep in touch with my kids and husband, minimally, and the tv after the kids went to bed.

It's been a long while since I've spent that much time with a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 year old. I mean, I babysat for 7 years, but that was basically from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. And that was only 3 days a week, most times not even 3 days IN A ROW.  So, I'd have to go back about 13 years to when my kids were that age, when I was in my 20's and they were mine. Yes, I didn't want my kids to get hurt, but there's a certain type of pressure when they're not YOUR kids. So, there was the stress of not letting the kids get hurt, keeping them happy and not missing Mommy and Daddy and sticking to their schedule/routine, PLUS two dogs. Am I cut out for this?

Romeo- thankfully he uses a litter box!

During the day Friday, all things were copasetic. I have to say my niece has her kids terrifically trained for bedtime! My kids were horrors, and I can admit that was my own damn fault. I nursed them in bed, so they slept with me, since Charlie was out, working nights. It was pretty near impossible to get them out of that habit. My son finally started sleeping well when he had his own room with his "big boy" bed and could close the door. That was last year. JUST KIDDING! I'd say he was 8. Chelsea is a great sleeper, now. When she was little she had to sleep on me, usually with one or both of her hands scanning my face. That was frickin' annoying! Anyway, the kids get put in their crib/bed and you just close the door behind you! How awesome is that?!? AND they go to bed between 6 pm and 7 pm!! I think my niece might qualify for the Guinness Book!

So, I put the kids down and everything was great. Erin has a video monitor that I could see and hear what the baby was up to. I didn't sleep very well, being in a "strange" place on a "strange" couch. The baby was great, until 2:30 am. Inconsolable. I was trying to keep him quiet so he wouldn't wake up his sister and it seemed the only thing he liked was me standing and rocking him. Holy bicep hell! We were up and down on the couch for a long while before I realized his gums were bothering him, so I gave him some Motrin. 5:15 am he conked out. Then they were up by 7 am. It was going to be a rough Saturday!

We played ball, a lot. It was thrilling for them to sit across from me, with their legs open, rolling the ball back and forth. They also rode on their ride-on toys, with baby propping his feet up so I could push him in circles around the living room. I brought my hand weights with me for a possible night workout. Who needed to workout? Between running around after the kids, playing with them and rocking the baby, and then taking 7 month old Coon Hound Calvin down a flight of stairs every time he had to go potty (which seemed to be every hour), I was POOPED!

Calvin Klein

Saturday night I wised up. I gave the baby his Motrin BEFORE he went to sleep. They were in by 7:15 pm. I fell asleep by 10 pm with the puppies on the couch and the monitor in my hand. I woke up at 1:30 am and checked the monitor. So far, so good. 3:30 am and I was worried, but he was still out like a light. 6:50 am and the kiddies are finally up and ready for Sunday! I did it! Now I just had to make it through the rest of the day until my niece returned from her trip.

Baby had a bit of a rash on his hiney, so I dug out the diaper cream and slathered him up. I put it on the dresser and left the kids in Sister's room to take Calvin and the Chipmunks out again. This is what I was told to do. The kids play with their toys for the 5 minutes while the dog is doing his business. Come back in the room to play with them and there's white stuff all over Sister's clothes. Guilty face. Look over at baby and he has tracks of white stuff on top of his head. Are you frickin' kidding me?!? The stuff was on her dresser! She must have frickin' diaper cream radar! So, I changed her and attempted to wipe the crap out of his hair. I would've given them a bath if I hadn't been warned that she has a panic attack when her hair is washed and that sets him off with the terrors. Baby wipes it is!!

So, the kids are all in one piece and I didn't lose a dog. It turns out the little girl gets herself in trouble with just about anything she can. After relaying the story to Erin, she proceeded to tell me how she colored the doll stroller with make-up foundation and got her brother with a tube of mascara! So I guess I didn't do TOO bad, then.

I've spent the last two days catching up on e-mails, blogs, Facebook and cleaning. I'm happy to be home with my pretty self-sufficient teenagers. I'm thankful I stopped at two children and even though I hated it at the time, Charlie was right about having the kids closer together, even though it wasn't intentional. 22 months apart might as well have been twins at the time, but now that they're older it doesn't matter at all. I miss the baby stage, but I have definitely had my fill after this weekend. I will positively enjoy being a grandma, in the far off future!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Final Stretch

After we all finished our 2nd leg, it was time for lunch. We found ourselves on Ramrod Key at a nice tiki bar (Boondock's) with a good food and great service. We all drank our weight in lemon water and I chose onion rings. I knew it wasn't going to be very long until my final run and I didn't want to eat a full meal. I probably shouldn't have chosen deep fried onions with a chipotle sauce, but they were delicious and there was plenty to share.

my Edith Ann moment

Before we knew it it was time to get to the 30th and final exchange between Van #1 and Van #2. Jen had an awesome third leg and handed off to me between 4 and 5 pm. I can't remember. Isn't that just sad? It's on my Garmin. I have to say this: If you ever get the chance, fight tooth and nail for a runner position where your legs descend in distance! I'm not sure if it's a fluke, but mine went from 8 to 6 to 2 miles. Once you're done with the 1st horrific hot and humid long run, it's all downhill from there! What was a very pleasant surprise was when I looked down at my watch after only about 3/4 of a mile, up ahead, I saw the ONE MILE TO GO marker!!! EVERY leg should be like that! So, there's 100 legs in a Ragnar. It could work!

My third leg was my best of the three runs in the 28 hours since my start. It was still hot and sunny, but it was my victory lap. I think I had a goofy smile plastered on my face the entire time. I was talking to other runners, lip syncing to my running playlist... how fitting that I was listening to 'Some Nights' by Fun, and I hear the line "Who the f*ck wants to die alone all dried up in the desert dun?" Made me laugh out loud. I knew I wasn't going to die and in just 21 minutes and change, I was done. I didn't have time to be sad since we had to keep moving our runners down the course and ultimately to the finish line.

Captain Awesome ready for our final leg!!!

We all saw John off on his 6 mile leg and dashed to the finish line for a good parking spot since we had to meet up with Van #1 for the ultimate moment we all envisioned, crossing the finish line. I saw my Charlie for the 1st time in about 38 hours. I missed him. I really wish he could have experienced it all with me. Trying to put it all into words just isn't enough. Even now, after three blog posts, I haven't covered a smidge of what we were all thinking and feeling out there. The hysterical stories we have about the conversations and hyjinks that ensued didn't even all make it to film. We'll have to rely on each other to remember it all.

The eleven of us waited anxiously to see that superhero turn the corner to meet him and cross the finish line as a team. It felt like forever scanning the horizon for that orange blur! And then we see John, we run up the road to greet him and then turn around and run across the finish line, behind John, hand in hand. It was incredible.

I don't know who this picture belongs to. Someone even managed to  get a screen shot of this from the Today show.

At the finish line, Rik received our medals and called us up, one by one, to put our prize around our neck. I felt like an Olympian. We did it. We did what we set out to do- have fun, stay safe and celebrate our successes at battling obesity. Just look at those smiling faces.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

How Long Between My Legs?

That was actually one of the relay team's name. There were some real doozies. "No Dudes, 24 Boobs" won the Nom de Plume award for best team name. There was also an award for team spirit, best van decorations and homecoming (I guess that's for their finish line finish?). If you want to learn more about Ragnar and get a good feel for the race and the atmosphere, like their Facebook page. There is also a lot of fun photos posted, too.

Our vans had all of our before/after magnets along with our website and Sparkpeople sponsor. So many   runners came up to us, congratulating us and sharing their own success stories!!

The winning van! Must have taken FOREVER to decorate!

So, John, Runner 12, was running into Homestead raceway to hand the baton over to Katie to start Van #1 on their 2nd legs. While we were waiting to meet up with them and cheer John in and Katie out, the emcee was announcing the team numbers of the runners heading in to the checkpoint. There's a Ragnar volunteer about 1/4 mile out from the exchange, noting runners' team numbers and calling ahead to the actual announcer with the bullhorn so the next runner is ready. Well, one girl came running in and her #1 was nowhere to be found. They kept calling the team number and nothing. So, jokingly, the announcer says "Just go run it," and SHE DID!!! I would have flipped him the bird and staged a sit-in!!! Could you imagine? I wonder what the conversation was like at the NEXT exchange point. It might have started something like this: "WHERE THE FUCK WERE YOU ALL??!!!!???"

John came in and Katie went out and we were off. Van #1's legs were longer this time around, so we had more time to kill. We decided it was time for a real bathroom and a real meal. Jen had eagle eyes and found a place called Pollo Tropical, which is supposedly like Chipotle, but I'll have to take her word for it since I had never been to either. It was DELICIOUS and CHEAP!! I had the mojo pulled pork over yellow rice with peppers and onions and all the condiments I could dump on it and a drink for $5!! I had a great conversation with John about the young soldiers I had seen in the airport on my way down to Miami. Their holiday leave was over and they were returning to their various bases, saying goodbyes to moms, dads, girlfriends... It was so hard for us to watch, let alone imagine being in those parents' shoes. Since John is a Marine, he shared stories about his experiences. Lots of tears shed. I think we might have cried just as much as we laughed on this trip!

After dinner we did a bit of shopping, picking up ice, some snacks and two safety vests at Home Depot that we were missing, all of a sudden. I joked that there was a spot in the van, between the two front seats and the first bench seat, that was a black hole. Things would just disappear. Safety vests, tail lights, Rag Mags... It's amazing how things can get lost in a 12 passenger van. It wasn't like it was a camper or 4 bedroom house or something. After that we headed to the next major exchange (#18) and tried to rest. There's only so much room for 6 people in a van, so none of us were ever comfortable enough to really sleep.

At about 1 am it was time to get Jen ready for her second leg, 9.9 whopping miles through some pretty questionable neighborhoods. I can't blame her for being scared. That was the time I was supposed to be running, but because of the heat and humidity, our times were lagging. It was still very warm and humid and we were all literally running on fumes. It was a very tough run for her and you can read all about her own personal experiences in her blog. My 2nd leg started around 5 am, about 15 hours since my last run, and even though it was still dark, there was definitely a different mindset for me running at that time than 2 am. TONS of runners get up at that time for an early run (not ME). Plenty of people are getting out the door for work. I ran on a running path along a highway to my left and woods or houses to my right. The toughest part was "hurdling" all of the lumps in the path that were created by the roots growing underneath. I didn't want to trip or roll my ankle and take myself out of the game!

It was my first "night" run ever!! Having to wear the safety vest wasn't such a big deal, but my brand new, compact headlamp's batteries died somewhere between buying it and trying to put it on before my leg. So, I had to wear a larger, not as comfortable, borrowed one. I'm sure it will be majorly attractive on film. That's the other thing- since there were cameramen out there on the course, usually always a 1/4 mile ahead, I knew I wasn't completely alone, and I believe my voice carries. I ran pretty well that leg and I only stopped twice to eat half of my Power Bar gel. At around the last mile or so, a girl named Amber approached and started a conversation. She felt we were about the same pace, but I SO didn't want to hold anyone back. I wound up telling her about the documentary and talking really got my mind off the fact that I wanted to walk. She kept me from doing just that and before I knew it, I was handing off to Jen, Runner #9.

Recovering from that leg was a breeze compared to run #1.

Have you seen the segment about our documentary on Today? If not, here is the link!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

And They're Off!

Even though I am exhausted from actually working today for the first time since the hurricane, I feel compelled to write more about my Ragnar experience before it all falls through my brain like a sieve. So, I left off with Katie getting our team off to a solid start at about 7 Friday morning. After that, Van #2 wanted to see her come in to exchange #2 with the slap band since she had to run off without it because of the rushed start. She handed off to Meredith and then we went in search of some good coffee and breakfast. Starbucks was a sight for sore eyes.

My fabulous van mates and I at the start- look at that gorgeous sky!  (The team wore hot pink, then  neon  yellow and finally orange for our last leg.)

Legs 1-6 were the shorter legs for Van #1, so we didn't have much time to get to the #6 exchange. Jen was ready and did really well in her 4 mile leg. Then it was my turn. 8 miles in the high noon sun and 90% humidity. Apparently I started at a Macy's. When the eff was that? Don't remember it. Maybe that was the heatstroke wiping out my memory. The course was on busy highways and exit ramps. I took a couple of photos while on an overpass. (Of course those are on my son's phone right now.) At one point I asked a guy (passing me, creating a "kill" for him, the douche) if the road we were on was the one where the guy tripping on "bath salts" went crazy and ate the homeless guys face off. For some reason he didn't respond to me. Gee, I thought runners were friendly.

That run was rough. I had a mixture of Gatorade and water with me and during one of my support stops I refilled. Drank every last drop. I would pour plain water on my neck and enjoy it flowing down my back and chest. I could actually ring my t-shirt out, that's how much I perspired. It was incredibly odd to be running with cameras following you. I'd run for a bit with a camera trained on me, then the camera man would jump in the car to play leapfrog. I felt like every time I stopped to take a walk break, there the camera would be! I just couldn't keep up the pace that was projected.

I came into the exchange and handed off to Jen (I was the middle of a Jen sandwich!). I was projected to come in at 1:22, but I finished in 1:47. It was bad, but I was still vertical when I crossed the finish line. I can't say the same for after that. I managed to walk away from the exchange and drink some more. I wanted to stretch, but things felt like they were locking up, so I didn't, even though that probably means I SHOULD have. I did manage to get into the van and change out of my wet clothes. Yep. Modesty went right out the window when there was a really good threat of athlete's foot and crotch rot. I managed to wriggle my way out of them and put on my next outfit. I got out of the van and stood by Billy, chatting with him about my leg. And then I said "I don't feel good." He said he would be right back, so I just went to my knees and put my hands flat on the floor with my head down. I just watched the sweat drip off of me and prayed I stayed conscious. Kneeling there for 5 minutes helped a lot.

And we're back in the van to get to the next exchange and I called my husband, explaining the good, the bad and the extremely ugly. Then it hit me. The grippers. Runner's trots. Montezuma's Revenge. Whatever you want to call it, I was on the phone and I said to Charlie "I HAVE to go to the bathroom." Click. Now, to maneuver my ass out of the way back of the van and across the street to the port-o-potties. I thought in that moment of Maya Rudolph in 'Bridesmaids,' crossing the street in a wedding dress after eating bad Brazilian food, trying to get to a bathroom before it hits her. She shits herself in the middle of the street, in a wedding dress. Thankfully, I made it, but, let me tell you, if I didn't have such an emergency I probably would have puked from the crime scene that was most of the johns I went in. It didn't matter. I was desperate and it served the purpose it was intended for.

Surprisingly, I don't have a picture of that.

Don't forget to watch the segment about our team on Today at around 8 am, tomorrow, January 10th!!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Our Start

So I'm back. The "party's over depression" hasn't kicked in yet. We're all still sharing pictures and sagas of what happened out there on those 197 miles, and there's a lot more to look forward to. Some sick shit, I'll tell ya. We had a fantastic time and it all went too fast. It all started on Thursday when we left the house at 4:30 am to get to the airport. We had a flight out of Islip to D.C., then D.C. to Miami. Those flights and all the logistics went swimmingly and we landed at about 12:45 pm. Billy, a production assistant, was at the airport to pick up us and Rik and his wife Cynthia. It took us a while to find Rik, and then we found out that their luggage never made it to Miami. That sucks. Thankfully it was due to come in around 4 pm, so someone had to go back to get it, but thank goodness it did. His bag had all of his race gear in it!

flying out of D.C.

Thursday night we had dinner as a team. Would you believe Today is covering our team's story?!? Before dinner they had interviewed a few of our team members and then at dinner they covered us meeting for the first time. Surreal. Dinner was fun, to say the least, but we had a start time of 7 am, which means getting to the start line at 6 am, so we had to turn in to be up and ready. I didn't sleep very well. No surprise there. I don't sleep very well to begin with. Add in the fact that I'm in a strange place after having traveled and this huge endeavor looming over me, it's no wonder I got ANY sleep.

The gang is all here!

Charlie was set to go from Miami to Sugarloaf Key with Lealah's husband Mark, whom he had just met the night before. Angela, our director, felt there was going to be way too much traffic on Saturday for them to make it to the finish line on time, and since she had hotel rooms reserved along the course for the crew, she said they could crash there. I was happy knowing he would certainly be where he needed to be, but I felt tremendous guilt for him to kind of be pushed off to the side. He reassured me he would be okay, but when we pulled away to head to the start, I broke down. My teammates must have thought I was nuts, but I never leave Charlie (except when I get makeovers) and I was worried he was going to have a crappy time.

We headed to the start line. Van #1 had to have their safety briefing and Katie just barely made it to the start since the briefing was running long. She was ushered right to the front so the cameras could catch the big moment. There was a camera on a tripod planted right in the middle of the path and when the emcee counted down "3, 2, Run!" the runners were fighting to get some air time and there was a nice pile up. Thank goodness it wasn't the actual tripod that caused the runners to go down! Katie looked great in her pink shirt, tutu and cape, though, and managed to come out of the corral unharmed.

Ragnar Relay Florida Keys was on!

To be continued... but make sure you watch Today on NBC on Thursday, January 10th!!! That's when the piece about From Fat To Finish Line will air!!! I'm on the east coast and it is on from 7 am until 11 am with various anchors. We aren't sure the exact time they'll show it, so make sure you watch or DVR it!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Miami, Here we Come!

The 12 runners are descending on Miami! Some have started their journey there already. Most of us arrive tomorrow and from there it will be whirlwind of activity! Charlie and I start our morning off at 4 am to head to the airport for our 6:15 am flight to DC, then the connecting flight will get us to Miami at 12:50 pm. A production assistant will get us to the hotel to freshen up for our team dinner at 4 pm. That's where we'll officially all meet as a team of 12 for the very first time! Only Jen has met everyone, since she's also a part of the film-making process, but this will be the first time I'll be able to put a live face to all of the voices! I'm going to be a nervous wreck!

Even though we've been getting to know each other over Facebook and the few conference calls we've had, you really don't get the essence of somebody until you're face to face. We all just want to be liked, even after having worked so hard losing weight and building our self-confidence. You can say you don't care what people think, but that would be a lie. I hope my Long Island accent doesn't sound like nails on a chalk board to some and it doesn't get pointed out, like when I first arrived at college in upstate New York many moons ago.

After dinner, we'll be hitting the sheets to get some rest before the start line at 7 am. I doubt I'll sleep. I just hope I don't ruin Charlie's night! He'll be worried about me not sleeping. Katie will be the brave soul to start our race off. I'm in van #2, so we will have a few hours before Jen starts out our first portion of the course. The vans will be basically playing leap frog over the 36 hours. My runs will be at approximately 11:30 am. 2:30 am and 1:20 pm. John, Runner #12, should cross the finish line by around 4 pm Saturday. Then it's time to FINALLY exhale and celebrate all of the incredible hard work and planning it took all year to get there!!
If you haven't already liked the page, you need to go over to From Fat To Finish Line- the documentary and like it so you can follow our race! If you're on Twitter we're there too! Follow us- @FatToFinishFilm! We'll be using white boards to shout out to followers, friends and family, so drop us a line, and we'll try to get back to you. Make sure to add the hash tag #FatToFinish on your tweets!

Today will be spent doing more laundry, packing, grocery shopping and fretting over every detail until I come home on Monday!! Wish us luck and make sure to follow our adventure!!