HM or whole series?

Terrapin Mountain Half Marathon is what enticed me to start trail running. It’s a tough run with 3200 ft elevation change, but the views look amazing. I definitely want to run it… someday, but maybe not this year.

There’s something called the RNUTS (Roanoke Non-Ultra Trail Series) challenge in my area. It’s a series of 6 trail races ranging from 5k to marathon distance. It’s meant to support increasing distance throughout the spring. I’m leaning toward running the series this year and saving Terrapin Mt. HM for next year. The series requires that I run 4 of the 6 races, but bonus points are given if all 6 are run (and I think it’s be cool to attempt all 6).


  • Jan 7 – 10K
  • Mar 3 – 5K or 10K (I’ll run the 10K)
  • Mar 17 – 5 miler or 10 miler (I’ll try the 10)
  • Apr 7 – Mountain 10K (It’s steep!)
  • May 5 – 10K or Half Marathon (I’ll be going for the Half!)
  • June 3 – 25K or Marathon (This 25K will be my first attempt at more than 13.1!)

It’s a really nice sequence of races! They’re all within 2 hrs of me; the most expensive is $42; and it will keep me running all spring. Unfortunately, with 6 races, even the reasonable prices really add up. I may be asking for race entry fees for Christmas! (haha!)

There is a trail that runs up the ridge behind my house. I can only run it on Sunday’s right now (otherwise, I risk being mistaken for deer and shot), but it’s nice to have it in my own back yard. It’s a really steep trail, though. These 2 pics are from the 1/3 mile mark. On the left, you can see the trail continue up. On the right, you can see the view down – including the roof of my house (It’s green and right in the middle of the pic.)


Um, hi?

I don’t really know where to pick up, so I’m going to bullet point the highlights:

  • On Oct. 1, I finished the Prince William Half in 2:18:54 (an almost 6 minute PR!)
  • After the race, I almost quit running. For more than 2 years, I’ve spent 90% of my running time going up and down the same 4 mile stretch of road, over and over and over again. I’ve watched the seasons change twice, been chased by raccoons, surprised by skunks, passed by a bear, lunged at by a snake, fallen in pot hole, offered rides by my neighbors, and even had students’ parents stop to ask me about an assignment as they drove past! It all just feels …   …   … the same – like I’ve been here and done this before. Consequently, my running dropped to just twice each week, and usually only 3 miles/ run.
  • After OBSCENE amounts of Halloween candy, I’m happy to still weigh 162 (This on the high end, but still within the range I’ve maintained since Jan 2017)
  • I’m wearing my size 10 pants. For a brief time last fall, my 8’s fit ok. They are all too snug now, but my 10’s still fit well.
  • Luckily, I started to REALLY miss running, so I decided to try out trail running.
  • Of course, I decided this during the opening week of hunting season and was almost shot by my neighbor during my first run.
  • Now, I run at a nearby state park – that does NOT allow hunting!
  • I’ve done almost half a dozen trail runs now, and I’ve decided I LOVE IT! It’s SO much slower than road running, but SO much more interesting!
  • I registered for a trail 10k on Jan 6!
  • I have no idea how life will proceed, but maybe one day this week I’ll post my debate about running Terrapin Mountain HM or attempting the full RNUTS 6 run trail series!

For now, I’ll leave you with my reward for tackling a 4.5 mile trail last weekend:

Happy Monday, Friends!

Whole 30 Day 11

Well, I definitely had to pull up my calendar and actually count out the days to figure out that this morning starts day 11! I’m back to my old philosophy of “just don’t think about it.” I’m too busy teaching, running, cooking, and doing family stuff to give much thought to foods I’m not eating. I am, however, enjoying some really delicious new recipes!

I’m not really noticing much “happening.” I keep reading about symptoms, magic, and tiger’s blood, and I must confess, I don’t get it. I’m not hungry or feeling cravings; I’m tired, but that may be the start of the school year.  My pants fit the same. I’m holding out hope that more will change later in the month.

I will say that I haven’t had any migraines since starting it, so that’s good! Unfortunately, my running has slowed WAY down. I’d been running 10:30-11 min miles with moderate effort. Taking it super easy would mean an 11:30 mile, and it wasn’t a big deal to pull off 3 consecutive 10 min miles, though I couldn’t really do more than that.

Now, well, my 10 miler on Saturday was at a 12:01 pace, and it was HARD! I had hoped it was just because of the distance, but I struggled to stay under 12 min miles on Sunday, as well. Then last night, I decided to really push myself. I ran hard for 3.5 miles. It was tough, but I pushed through…

…and finished with an average pace of 11:26 – AAAAHHHHHH!

From there I did my normal strength training tidbit. I felt super weak and really struggled with it, but I can’t blame that on Whole 30 because I haven’t been doing my strength training due to the busy start of school schedule.

The pink shirt picture was from a couple weeks ago; the green is last night. I don’t really see any difference, but I wouldn’t expect to after just 10 days.

To add to the chaos, my grandmother is back in the hospital, for the 3rd time since mid-July. *sigh* It is what it is.

I guess I just feel like I could really use a sign that eating healthier is actually going to lead to positive changes, but then I remember going through this same sense of questioning and feelings of hopelessness 2 years ago when I changed my eating habits. I stuck with it, and eventually A LOT changed. Hopefully, this will be the same.

If nothing else, I’m trying out a lot of great new recipes!

Whole 30 – 5 days!

Today was day 5, and life is still good!

Apparently, Hubby and I both like orange roughy! We made parchment paper packets with broccoli, orange roughy, and a dill/garlic/mayo/lemon sauce. We paired it with mashed cauliflower creamed with coconut oil.

orange roughy

Ok, so this is NOT my orange roughy. It’s just a generic fish fillet picture. The problem was that the actual meal was SO good, it was GONE in record time, so I never got a picture! I think it’s been our favorite meal, so far.

I have to say that trying out all of the new recipes is one of the best parts of this Whole thing. (haha, I just couldn’t resist!)

Of course, I say that now, on day FIVE. I suspect my tune will change as I continue to do dishes (we don’t own a dish washer) and have to cook every night (in the heat with no AC). I’m already looking at next week’s menu and trying to simplify things a bit.

Speaking of stupid heat:hot and late

Note the bottom right hand corner, where it says this was both my HOTTEST run AND my LATEST run! UG! Oh yeah, it was totally a walk, not a run, because you know.. the HEAT!

Other than that, there’s not much going on. I’m eating, running (kinda), teaching (kids have been back for 2 days), cooking, and cleaning… basic life stuff!

Oh, I almost forgot! I’ve been SOOOOO tired the last two days. I cannot keep my eyes open and I just want to sleep. The problem/gift is that I have no idea if it’s back-to-school exhaustion or Whole 30 exhaustion. I’ll likely never really know, since both/either should pass by the middle of next week. For now I’m just trying to stay awake 1 class period at a time.

Whole 30 Day 2

I found a “timeline” that suggests some of the more common “symptoms” that come throughout the Whole 30 month. According to that, it’s common for day 1 to feel great and day 2 to feel like a hangover. I’m not experiencing that. I still feel completely normal.

I mentioned that I’m nervous about this whole thing, and I have to explain. When I was in college, Atkins was all the rage. A few of my friends were doing it and asked me to give it a try with them. I was running a little now and then for fun, and was in decent shape. I wasn’t unhappy with my body, but what college girl doesn’t think losing a few pounds would be good? So I agreed to give it a shot.

3 days later, I was curled up on my dorm room floor sobbing hysterically. My roommate  handed me half a gallon of ice cream. After finishing ALL of it, I went to the store, bought a loaf of bread, and ate all of that too. I felt MUCH better and swore to never turn my back on carbs again!

That was more than 10 years ago, and I now realize that giving up all carbs entirely while weighing 140 lbs and running was stupid. Ketosis is NOT my friend!

At first glance, I was worried Whole 30 would be similar – but it’s not! I can eat potatoes, sweet potatoes, and fruit! Knowing that I’m running some of my highest mileage this month (30 miles/week is my max, and I’ll hit that the last week of the month), I want to make sure I’m getting enough carbs.

I also know that hunger is my enemy. If I get too hungry, I will freak out and eat anything and everything in sight… and then I’ll go find more!

With all of this in mind, I’m choosing to let myself snack. I know the program wants me to focus on 3 meals/ day, but I know myself well enough to know that will not end well.

I’m trying to really ask myself if I’m really feeling hungry, and if the answer is, “yes!” I’m eating something only after drinking 8-10 oz of water to confirm it’s not thirst in disguise.


I left off the mayo, because I REFUSE to make my own. That said, these burgers were delicious!!!!!

I’m eating foods I love and trying new recipes that are (so far) amazing! But I worry that I’m eating too much. (Apparently, I love chicken sausage, and now I know how to make my own Potato Leek soup – that is WAY better than store bought!)

I’m trying really hard to just trust the process. I’m doing this because I want to drop my migraines, reduce my flatulence, and get my whole digestive system back under control (it got CRAAAZZY! this summer). Losing a couple pounds would be cool, but it’s not my goal. My fear is that I’ll step on the scale after this month and weigh 232 lbs again. (I know, this is one of those “out-there,” “looney-tunes,” “bring-on-the-straight-jacket” fears.)

Seriously, though – with how much I’ve been struggling the past 8 months (I’ve gain 10 lbs!), I’m having hard core nightmares about regaining all the weight I worked so hard to lose!

Stepping so far away from what’s worked for me in the past is a big leap of faith for me. Luckily, I’m too stubborn to quit something once I start it, so… for better or worse – I’m all in!

I also ran 4 miles between the end of our teacher workday and the start of Back-to-School Night!

Update & Start Whole30

Oh Boy, has it been crazy recently! Hubby and Little Man came to join me for the last couple days in PA. After 2 weeks apart, I was REALLY excited to see them again! One of my cousins was kind enough to watch Little Man for a bit while Hubby and I enjoyed a hike. It was really nice to have 4 miles of peace and quiet to catch up with each other and just hang out.


The Hubs! We had fun hopping from rock to rock into the middle of the creek!

Of course, then it was right back to Grandma. We got her “settled” (with her dementia, there really is no such thing) in rehab. Her physical therapy started out REALLY bad. She didn’t understand what was happening and refused to work with them. I hated leaving her while we still weren’t sure if things were going to work (if she refused too many sessions, Medicare would have forced them to discharge her). The therapists were wonderful and patient, but Grandma was NOT dealing well, so it was just a really bad situation. It killed me to leave, but I had to start teacher workdays.

Luckily, things with Grandma have improved. She’s actually doing really well in PT, now. She’s not back to using her walker, but she is walking her wheelchair up and down the hall! She still has bad days – my sister called me to vent after Grandma hit her a few time this past week – but mostly things are getting better. I’ll go back up over Labor Day, so I will be able to see her again soon.

As life has started to settle into our school year routine, I’ve decided to kick things off with a month of WHOLE30! (I’m secretly super nervous about it, but… life is about taking risks!) (Side note – how old am I to see a “diet” as risk-taking!?!)

In the past, I’ve had trouble with migraines. They start with aura and end with me dizzy and vomiting. In the past, they’ve always been diet-related. I know that any kind of artificial sweetener causes them and caffeine prevents them (I gave it up once and after 30 days I was experiencing almost daily migraines).  I’ve found that too much artificial food dye, especially red, often triggers them, as well. I’ve been down to just 1 or 2 per year for the last couple years, but in the last month, I’ve had half a dozen!

Thanks to the aura, I can medicate early and stop them before they become debilitating, but it still sucks. I’m hoping Whole30 will help me figure out what’s causing them, so that I can be sure to stop eating it!

I’ve also had more digestive issues this summer. I suspect my lactose intolerance is getting worse with age. I figure 30 days without any is a great way to confirm that suspicion.

Add to all of that the fact that I’m starting this school year almost 10 lbs heavier than I started last school year, and well… clearly SOMETHING needs to change. (Of course, some of it might be the 2 doughnuts my sister brought me every morning when I spent the night in the hospital with Grandma.)

So, today is day 1 of 30. I woke up weighing 164.1 lbs. My waist (directly under my rib cage) measured 34.5″ and my hips (at the fattest part of my butt) was 42.5″


I caught this little fella noshing on a mushroom on the school nature trail, this week. He’s a messy eater, but appeared to be enjoying his food!

PS – Sorry for the long post! Hopefully returning to a normal routine will lead to more regular posts which, in turn, will be a bit shorter.


Stitches of time

Sometimes we measure time in minutes, hours, and even years. Other times, we find ourselves measuring time in much smaller increments. When this happens, I crochet.

In 2015, I spent 8 days making an afghan while watching my grandfather slowly starve to death (he refused to live on a feeding tube, and I supported his decision). I sat with my grandma, talked with her, played cards, explained that he wasn’t getting better every time she needed to hear it.

I helped her get ready for his funeral. As sad as it was, I really enjoyed spending the time with her.


This is Grandma and I on the morning of my grandfather’s funeral.

It was just after he passed that I decided I was done being fat and started this journey. Now, a full 2 years later (yep, totally missed my fitiversary), I find myself working on another afghan as I sit with my grandma.

She spent the last week in the hospital, and there were several times when we thought this would be it. She was discharged today, so she’s not dead yet, but I still worry. At almost 90 years old, the end is a bit inevitable. That said, I want her final times to be enjoyable, comfortable, and happy. She’s in rehab now, and I worry about how well they’ll take care of her, and how much improvement she’ll make.

A month ago, she was using a walker and enjoying assisted living. Now, she can’t even stand up on her own, and her mental state has deteriorated enough to end our card games. She no longer remembers that her husband is dead, and often calls me by the wrong name, but we still laugh, stick out our tongues, and remember the summers I spent working in her grocery store while I crochet. Every stitch counts as time spent with her.

Anyway, it’s kept me busy. I’ve been staying overnight at the hospital, since she wakes up confused and upset in the middle of the night sometimes. I’m happy I can be there for her, but it’s been a long and exhausting week. I’m hoping things get better now that she’s in rehab.

In any case, I’m still running, though my mileage is down a bit. I’m mostly making healthy food choices, though I haven’t been on a scale in a long time, now. I should be heading home this weekend, since I have to be back at school at the start of next week. Who knows what that weigh-in will look like, but I’ll be posting it, either way.

Quick Travel & Changes

The plan for this week involved trekking through Kentucky (visiting my in-laws) on our way out to Missouri for a big boy scout reunion. Unfortunately, my grandmother’s health took a turn for the worse. This isn’t the end, but I’m worried it may be the beginning of the end. The rest of my family would have to juggle vacations, work schedules, and whatnot to ensure someone is with her the entire time she’s awake, but since it’s still summer break and I’ve already done Disney, Niagara, camping, rafting, etc. I happily volunteered to come spend as much time as necessary with her until I have to return to school the second week of August.

Of course, this meant there were some last minute travel changes for me. All said and done, I spent Monday night in Virginia, Tuesday & Wednesday nights in Kentucky, Thursday night in Missouri, and arrived in Pennsylvania on Friday. To say it’s been a bit of a whirlwind week would be putting it mildly.

My diet has been, well, ugly. For my daily goal review each night I just keep checking the “keep trying” box (instead of the “met” or “exceeded” boxes). At least I am tracking all of my eating!

I’ve also managed to keep up the running, though I’ll “only” hit 20-22 miles this week (normally I’d be celebrating that, but after last week’s 27 miles… whatever).

Running in the miserable heat and unending flat, sun-soaked misery of the mid-west really reminded me just how much I love my mountains! I’ll take shaded, windy hills over miles of corn any day!

An actual official weigh – in!

It’s been a while, but I did remember to take a picture this morning – of a 3.4 lb loss, so less! Scale 17 July 2017

Tracking everything I eat is really the key for me, and I’m mostly happy with how things went this week. That said, I’ve been a bit concerned about how/if I’ll continue tracking while traveling. Then I had one of those “I’m a moron” palm-to-forehead moments when it dawned on me, that I switched to paper tracking to keep up with my running – perhaps I should do the same with my eating… duh!

Paper Journals

The Training Journal is awesome for keeping track of my runs. It lets me look at a whole week across two pages, but still gives me enough room to make notes about my runs, my pace, how I felt, and any cross training I did, Weekly Runs

At the end of each week, I total my mileage and add it to my running total mileage for this training cycle. (I’m very excited to say that I ran 27.1 miles this week!!)Daily Runs

When I went looking for a food journal, I wanted something similar. A lot of the ones I found wanted me to record carbs, sugar, protein, fiber, sodium, etc for everything, and that’s just WAY too much for me!! Eventually I found this journal, and I’m really excited about it!Daily Food

It allows me to pick any two things to focus on (calories, sugar, fiber, etc) and I just record that information. I can change my focus as needed. The book also has me record my hunger and fullness levels before and after I eat, and asks me to set daily and weekly goals. It even prompts me to evaluate how well I met those goals. These are some of the big things I want to work on.

I did okay this past week, but a lot of it was because I ran so much. My activity level allowed me to get away with eating ice cream (A LOT of ice cream). I don’t want to “have” to run 27 miles to make up for a crappy diet. I want to eat healthy! (or at least healthier)

This journal also has a weekly wrap-up. It prompts me to reflect on what went well and consider the challenges I faced.

Overall, I’m hoping to improve the quality of diet while still keeping loose track of calories to ensure I stay on track. For this week, I’m just going to record calories, but my goal will be to only eat 5 sweets over the course of the week (this past week, I had at least 1 sweet every day, so… baby steps!)Weekly Food

Big Update pt 2 – Summer Travel

Since becoming a runner, one of my biggest motivators is using my runs to explore new places. I run through wherever we are staying to learn my way round (and discover easy access to hidden trails!), and sometimes I even run trails to see what I can discover. I never worry about pace and pay only a little attention to my distance. Mostly, I run for the adventure, and it’s amazing what I find!


We’ve see lots of waterfalls this summer, and it all started with this one in Shenandoah National Park. We hiked down to the base of the falls and enjoyed a picnic lunch on the flat rocks at the bottom.


Chef Mickey’s was one of the best parts of Disney! We got to meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald. AND the food was AMAZING!


These are almost more art than dessert, but they tasted delicious, too! We got one of each and shared them all.


This was our camp set-up at Niagara. The campground had almost no shade, but temps weren’t too bad.


This is Cucumber Falls found in Ohiopyle State Park in PA. It was cool, because there were a ton of rocks to climb around on at the bottom of the falls. Unfortunately, we ended up hiking back to camp in an afternoon downpour. The upside was that it cooled us off.


The Tree of Life, found in Animal Kingdom, was really cool. There are all kinds of “carvings” in the trunk of the tree, and the whole thing looks completely real – even though it’s actually made of concrete!


Animal Kingdom had DinoLand where kinds could dig for fossils, and Little Man LOVED it! It was a great afternoon break in the shade.


My parents got a character experience for my son where he got to be a rebel spy. He dressed as an imperial officer and snuck aboard the “Star Tours” ride. He loved it!


I was surprised to discover that it’s actually really hard to get a picture of Horseshoe Falls in Niagara because of all of the mist! This was the best we could do.


The rainbows were amazing, and riding The Maid of the Mist into the middle of Horseshoe Falls was one of the coolest parts of our time in Niagara Falls!


I was shocked to learn that Niagara Falls has moved 7 miles upriver has the water erodes the rocks! Of course, it’s taken 12,000 years, but still!


My most interesting run so far this summer has been along the Niagara Gorge Rim Trail. It was one of my slowest runs of the summer, because I was so in awe of the views!


Niagara Gorge has tons of swirling whirl pools due to the widening and narrowing of the river. They were -fun to see as I ran the trail along the rim of the gorge.

It has been an amazing summer already, and we leave again next week!

As much as I’m unhappy with my weight right now, I’m not willing to focus on it too much – I just have so many better things to do! I am, however, tracking everything right now, and I’m working on getting back to some easy healthy habits that I had let fall by the wayside these last few months.

I’ll weigh-in again (and hopefully remember to take a picture) at the start of next week and again when we return from this next trip. It’s my goal to lose weight this week and not gain any back while we travel!