Fit, Fat and Floundering

My adventure with fitness, fatness and everything in between!

Baby, it’s cold outside

This is COLD for these parts!

Hello Winter! You’ve made yourself known in the Pacific Northwest. Snow in Seattle? Cold wind? Iced pavement? Yes, yes and yes. What is a girl to do?  Layer up and get outside!  I haven’t hit the treadmill in months and have been loving almost every minute of my runs in my new neighborhood.

I am used to running in this type of weather over the holidays when I visit my family in Eastern Oregon, but it has been a bit of a shock since I moved to Seattle.

The trick to the best run you can have when the thermometer drops?  The right gear!  Not all gear is created equally and not everyone loves what other runners love.

I have my top 3 picks:

  • Proper head or ear covers.  If it is raining I wear my normal running hat (baseball style).  It keeps the run out of my eyes and still lets my head breathe a bit.  If it is dry, I stick to some ear warmers I purchased a few years ago at Roadrunner Sports.  They are light enough that I can still hear and don’t sweat to death, thick enough to make a difference and have a bonus reflective stripe on the back.
  • My running vest is my next go to.  It keeps my core warm without over heating my arms.  I can zip it up or down and I love to have the extra pockets.  Mine is fitted on the sides so it doesn’t add too much bulk.  My favorite is from Lucy, but most running and athletic brands have their versions too.  They typically are an investment piece, but SO WORTH IT!
  • If you hands are cold, there is no way the rest of you can stay warm!  I love my lightweight gloves.  They feature a tech usable pad on the pointer finger and a (sorry this is gross) snot wiper on each thumb!  They aren’t too heavy, they wick away moisture and can machine wash.  Plus, I have small hands and I found women specific ones that fit, well, like a glove.
Cold and clear on my favorite trail!  i was trying to catch those geese!

I just finished my 23rd day of my Holiday Streak and I’d say 75% of my runs have been in the rain, the wind, the cold or a combo of all three.  Don’t let the weather get the best of you  BUT remember to be safe.  Don’t run in conditions that are dangerous – check for ice, blizzards, wind-chill, etc.  Sometimes even the best gear can’t beat out common sense.

What is your favorite cold weather gear?  Do you push your runs inside when the temperature drops?


Falling into Running

I fell down.  Yes, I was that girl who fell down in the middle of the street while running.  Luckily, it was dark…very dark.  Luckily I morphed into a push-up beast while a truck slowed down to almost a stop beside me.  Yes, I TOTALLY meant to do that.  Or…not.  Oh well.  What is a couple of bruised knees and a bit of a battered ego among runner friends eh?


It got me thinking of getting back up and doing what we love.  It would have been easy to walk the rest of my route and take a few days off.  It would have been easy for me to be mad and sad and embarrassed.  But instead, I took note of it and moved on.  I even drew attention to it in a non “poor me” way.  When we have something happen to us that could easily derail our plans, we need to pop back up, run it off and keep moving forward.  I do have to admit that it was totally funny to hear my sister yell “OOOOHHHH KAAACCCCCCIEEEEEE” as I was falling.  I keep irritating intimating her by reenacting her holler all places around town.

Don’t find excuses not to run (or bike, swim, box, whatever!), find ways to make it work.  

I also had to remind myself that it wasn’t as bad as running into that pole in high school in front of the packed library window…. What is your most embarrassing running fall?  Admit it, we have ALL done it!

I am 11 days into my streak and things are going well. I am just under my miles per day goal, which is OK since I wasn’t in tip-top shape when I started. My legs are already feeling stronger and my runs feel more effortless. For all you streakers out there, I wish you a happy Friday and many miles this weekend!

The Streak Is On

Tonight was the first run in my second annual Holiday Streak!  I am so happy to be back at it.  I have been craving the structure of some sort of training schedule and need the accountability!  This past year has been one of the hardest in my life and instead of coping with exercise and a healthy lifestyle, I have hit the couch, the carbs and the snooze button.

I am excited to end 2016 with a strong finish and begin 2017 anew.

My Plan

  • 8 weeks of running (Monday, November 21st through Sunday, January 1st)
  • At least 1 mile a day but with a goal of averaging 3.5 miles per day over the course of the streak.
  • Try one new run/course each week (I recently relocated to the Seattle area and have been relying on the same course when I have occasionally run)
  • Try at least one group run with a new club/group/team

I am visiting my family for Thanksgiving and was able to start the streak tonight with a quick run with my sister.  We prepped this weekend by getting in a couple of hikes in the beautiful Blue Mountains that surround our hometown.  I can’t wait to get back here this summer and run some the trails that we explored.

Moving Forward

I will be doing my best to keep my blog up, especially during my streak.  I hope that you all had a successful 2016 and are preparing to rock your 2017.  Are you interested in doing a streak?  How are you staying motivated during the holiday season?

Hippie Chick Half – Race Reflections

I still feel like I am recovering from Saturday’s Hippie Chick Half in Hillsboro, OR.  The race was really fun, we finished, but there were some things that I wish had gone a bit different.2016 Logo

My alarm went off at 5 and I wanted to die.  That is way to early for me to get up!  I jumped in the shower, dragged my sister out of bed and we made our way to breakfast at a local restaurant.  We were fast getting ready since we laid out everything we needed the night before.  We got to the Village Inn before they even opened.  We had planned for 30 minutes to order, eat, hit the restroom (several times) and get out of there.  We made it out in 35 minutes and were on the road.

Hillsboro is about a 30 minute drive from my house.  I was worried that traffic would be bad, but luckily we missed any big delays.  We were warned that parking could be a nightmare and to be at the start early.  Parking?  It was a breeze!  We drove right in to one of the main lots with plenty of time to spare.  We even had time to hit the port-a-potties, switch my sister’s race shirt and go potty in a real bathroom.  Our timing was great – we couldn’t have done it better. We also had time to reapply sunscreen – we were going to need it!

It was already hot at the 8 am start time.  This is not normal weather in early May in my fair, typically rainy state of Oregon!  We both were carrying water but knew we would also need to rely on the aid stations to make it through.  The start was a bit jumbled.  I heard there were pace groups, but I never saw them.  There were no time corrals, everyone just started at once (both the half and quarter marathon had the same start time).  We had positioned ourselves in the middle of the pack.  It took us a good mile to finally be able to pass all of the walkers (who were walking three and four astride and wouldn’t move to the right.  It was so frustrating!).  We hit the first aid station, I passed on the water but my sister grabbed a cup.  Very refreshing!  The course was great.  No big hills, full of farmland views and open road.  It got even better when the quarter marathoners split from our group.  We had more room to move and less people to pass.

There was very little shade. The sun was super hot.  We started to run out of water.  There were plenty of aid stations…BUT…the water was horrible.  It tasted like sulfur mixed with hot plastic.  The first time I tasted it I thought it was a fluke.  I ended up just dumping it on my head.  But each aid station was the same.  I considered grabbing one of the electrolyte drinks they were offering, but I figured they were mixed with the same water. We were both now out of water completely and I had to take my energy gel without anything. Yuck. Near mile 8 or 9 I spotted a spectator cheering on his wife/girlfriend/sister/friend.  He had 5-10 brand new bottles of water perched on the ground in front of him. “Are those up for grab?” I asked as we approached.  “Yes!  Take one!” he replied.  He was my savior, my hero.  We both grabbed a bottle and took several long drinks.  Amazingly cold good tasting water my friend!

To the man with the wate13714187 (1)r- THANK YOU!   A few of the following aid stations had hoses hooked up and were able to spray us all down. It was a welcome cool-off!  The very last aid station (which also happened to be the first) had great water!  We needed it to push through the last mile.

After the last aid station we rounded the corner to see the baseball field and the finish line.  We could hear the announcer as he cheered on the finishers as well as those of us that were almost there.  We hit the astro turf and ran through a narrow fenced area.  A handful of women who had already finished the race were standing and walking through the middle!  We had to dodge them.  I loudly asked them to please move as we were still trying to finish the race.  It was weird.  I’ve never seen other racers be so unaware of their surroundings during the entire event.

We crossed the finish line, grabbed our finisher necklaces and water…much needed water.  We headed for the awesome misters that they had set up and tried to cool down a bit more.  We headed right home to Sonic for some tater tots and limeaids.  Overall it was a fun race.

Race Positives:

  • 8 am start time!
  • Plenty of Parking
  • Women Only
  • Lots of Aid Stations

Race Negatives:

  • Walkers
  • Gross Water

I do hope to do this race again.  Did you race this weekend?  How did it go?  What do you do if the aid stations aren’t awesome?

Destination: Run

Last weekend my pal Carmen and I took off down the Columbia Gorge in search of a destination run.  We both have half marathons coming and were a bit sick of the same ol’ same ol’ training runs we have been slogging through.  We needed a change of scenery.

We ended up in Hood River which is only about an hour away from Portland.  Did I also mention that we wanted out of the city as it was 80+ degrees out again?!  We found a great paved trail that leads to the Moiser Tunnels. This run is great because you can run it as an out and back (a little over 8 miles if you start at the Hood River trail head) or you can park a car at one end and run to the other.  We had varying distances to run so we split up and I hung out and watched all the people (and dogs) at the trail head for a bit before I started out.

It was a gorgeous run!  Full views of the Columbia River.  Giant birds Chimneying above my head.  I even saw a few deer.  This path is closed to motor vehicles, but was packed with runners, walkers, dogs and cyclists.  I even saw someone on wheeled paddle board.  I of course was doused in sunscreen, but also tried to do my best to stay in the shade when I could.  We carried our own water as well – and snacks for post run.  IMG_4759

I was only supposed to run 5 miles, but found I was enjoying the view so much and felt so good that I ended up doing just over 6.  I can’t wait to head back over there when I have a chance to run the entire trail and back.  We also lucked out because after our run we headed over the river and enjoyed some wine tasting at our amazing local vineyards.  We had a very successful and fun Destination Run day.

My half marathon is this weekend!  I only have 1 training run let before Saturday.  The nerves are starting to work up.  I know I have put in the miles and the time, so hopefully Saturday will breeze by.  I’ll keep you posted on the race!

Do you have a favorite Destination Run?  What do you do you switch up your normal run routine?

Drinking wine with the vineyard dog at Syncline in Lyle, WA.

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The Bermuda Triangle

So no, my lack of recent posts doesn’t suggest that I got lost in the Bermuda Triangle.  That would involve me having time to take a trip or a vacation which I certainly haven’t been able to do.  What have I been doing?  Running and working.  A lot.  T-minus 2 weeks till my next half marathon.  Work has also been crazy, keeping me more busy that my typical schedule.

What has been great?  The Pacific Northwest Sunshine!  We have had several days of HOT weather up here.  Days in April that push 90 degrees are unicorns in Portland.  Although we love them and worship them and can’t get enough of them, they create some hardships whilst in the midst of a training plan.  Hot weather in the summer vs. getting hot weather unexpectedly during the cool spring is much different.  We haven’t had a chance to acclimate to the heat.  We haven’t even pulled out our summer running gear and some people haven’t even purchased their first bottle of sunscreen yet (I have already purchased 2 because I am a sunscreen must-user with pale, pale skin).

I was forced to start carrying water even on my short runs.  I had to buy a new visor (new post coming soon) because it was just to hot to run in my hat.  And even, with copious amounts of sunscreen coverage I have developed the runner’s arm tan triangle!


Add that to the lovely lines I get from my armband that holds my phone, my giant Tom Tom runners watch and my odd length of running capri’s I am dotted and dashed with tan lines!

BUT, lets be serious for a moment.  SUNSCREEN.  I use a lot of it.  Do I use enough?  Most likely not.  As a runner who spends hours each week outside I need to be more proactive in protecting my skin. According to the American Cancer Society about 5.4 million basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed each year.  Runners can be at an increased risk because we spend so much time outside.  Also, even if we properly sunscreen (that is apply enough sun screen 30 minutes before we even head outside), we tend not to reapply during our runs which is bad because A: we sweat the stuff off and B: sunscreen isn’t designed to last a long time while on your skin.

How can we make running safer?  Plan for it!  Keep a bottle of sunscreen in your car or at some point on your long runs so that you can reapply!  Wear clothing that protects you.  Many athletic companies are now manufacturing clothes with built in sun protection.  Wear a hat or visor to protect your face (and sunglasses to protect your eyes!).
sunscreen-in-shot-glass-april-9.jpgRemember that just because it is cloudy out doesn’t mean you can skip sun protection. You also need to use ENOUGH sunscreen.  If you are using a lotion type sunscreen you need to use at least an ounce.  Yes, an entire shot glass full of lotion.

Start a relationship with a dermatologist.  Yes, is sounds like dating which it kind of is.  See your dermatologist yearly.  He or she needs to do a thoroughly skin check.  Mine even takes photos so that we can compare moles and spots year after year to help detect any changes.  Do your own skin checks – have your partner help!   Early detection can improve your survival rate if there is something wrong.

Be smart when you run, it can save your life! Do you wear sunscreen regularly?  Have you purchased any specialty sun protection clothing?


Sick As A Dog

There are so many things we can plan for in our quest to get healthy…except being unhealthy.  Colds, the flu, a stomach bug or other illnesses can swoop down and derail all of our plans.  All the sudden you don’t want to eat, or nothing healthy sounds good, or you can’t keep anything down.  You can’t workout because breathing out of your nose is impossible, deep breathing causing you to hack and cough or you just don’t have the energy to do anything but the bare minimum (like get out of bed).

Last week I was a wreck.  I had felt a cold coming on but was trying to fight it with massive amounts of vitamin C, extra sleep, allergy meds, and healthy eating.  I was sleeping with my trusty Vick’s Vapor plug in and flushing my system with plenty of water.  I started to feel better and then I made a big mistake.

I had a nine mile run on my training schedule.  I was feeling OK, so I thought, why not? I was also visiting family for Easter Weekend and had the opportunity to run with my sister which I didn’t want to miss out on.  The weather looked a bit dicey as we set off, but I tend to get hot really fast so I didn’t want to pack too many layers.  Big mistake. About 3 miles in the rain started.  The wind started.  The temperature dropped from the low 40’s into the low 30’s.  It was so cold that we  wished the rain would turn to snow to warm it up a bit.  There was no escape from the wind no matter which way we turned.  I was miserable.  It was really to the point that if someone had stopped and offered me a ride I would have gladly accepted.  But no one stopped.

We slogged through the nine miles, which were not fun, not great or fast or strong, but we did it.  Afterward we tried to warm up as fast as we could and fill our bellies with some good food.  After a shower I had to jump in my car and make the four hour trek back home.  I was exhausted.  During the night, the cough came.  The sinus headache, running and stuffy nose (how can you have both at the same time?!)  the chills, aches and general feeling like crap came.

Getting sick may mean taking time off.

Ugh.  My small cold was now a huge issue.  I could barely walk up a flight of stairs without throwing my body into a coughing fit, let alone go for a run!  I had to take almost an entire week off of running.  I was sad and disappointed, but I didn’t want to get sicker and have to take even more time off.

To get back in the swing of things my first two runs were shorter ( I did 4 and 6) and I mixed in some walk segments into the runs.  I wanted to get my body moving again, but wanted to be gentle and not worry about pace.  Everyone is different, every cold (or illness) is different.  I found that slowly working my way back AFTER giving myself plenty of rest worked for me.  Now that I am feeling better I am ready to get back out there and resume my training plan!  Only 6 weeks till race day!

How do you build back up after an illness?  Do you find it hard not to run even when you are sick?

Singing in the Rain

I’ve started to hate the treadmill so much that I have bucked up and become a rain runner.  Living in the Pacific Northwest guarantees me rain…a lot of rain! To top it off, Oregon has had more rain already this year than we did all of last year (thank you Mr. Weatherman for helping me with useless trivia!).

As I am adding miles to my long runs in preparation for my half marathons I cringe at the thought of logging them on the treadmill. Luckily, even though it is wet here, it isn’t too cold.

On Sunday I logged 8 miles in the pouring down, dark thunder clouds and crazy blowing wind weather.  I avoided some areas that I love to run in because I was a bit frightened that  tree, branch or pine cone may hit me in the head.  I got soaked.  It was OK though I was prepared.  My hat, and favorite rain jacket helped me stay a little dry.

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This coat is actually a light lighter in color (and weight) when it isn’t drenched!

Once I finished my miles it was easy to cool down.  I did have to rush home, get a HOT coffee and jump in an even hotter bath.  I was so cold.  I took a rest day on Monday but was right back at it, in the rain, on Tuesday.  Although I had put everything out to dry some of my gear was still soaking wet.  My shoes actually made a squishing noise and I almost gagged.  I thought about wearing another pair of shoes until I realized it didn’t really matter – it was still wet and I was going to get soaked again.

I am really learning to enjoy running in the rain.  But, I am looking forward to bit more running in the sunshine.

Do you run in the rain?  Are you a fair-weather runner?

7 Out of 10

We do a lot for our health, but could we do more?  It is hard to even know where to start, until you know your numbers.  I took a trip to the doctor’s office this morning to learn more about my health today and what I need to do to make tomorrow even better.  Do you know what your fasting blood sugar is?  What about your cholesterol, blood pressure or waist circumference?  Do you even know why these stats are important?

Today my doctor (who is awesome!) asked me to rate my health.  She was so surprised with the number I gave her.Untitled-1

She looked at me and said “really?”  I said, “uh, yeah.”  She then proceeded to ask me why I came up with that rating.  I explained it was all about my weight.  She shook her head and told me that yes, I should lose some weight, but look at all the things I am doing right.  I am eating healthy, working out, have healthy relationships, am safe in my environments, wear sunscreen etc. etc. etc.

I think we judge a lot of our health by our body weight.  I know I do. But, we need to focus on the entire picture of our lives and our health.  Granted, I don’t have a lot of weight to lose and it isn’t currently causing health issues (diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea etc.).

A trip to your doctor’s office, some easy blood tests and an honest conversation can help you figure out your health path.  You may be doing great!  You may need to lose weight, control your blood sugar or work on your blood pressure.  Knowing is half the battle.  Do you get an annual check-up to see how your heath stacks up?

Check out the info below from the American Heart Association.  It gives a brief  shout-out to some of the tests we should be performing yearly and why.

Critical Health Marker Recommended Range More Information
Blood sugar
The amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood

HbA1c (glycosylated hemoglobin) less than 6%


HbA1c (glycosylated hemoglobin) less than 7%

Blood sugar is also measured by the amount of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in your blood. An HbA1c test gives you a picture of your average blood sugar control for the past 2 to 3 months and provides you with a better idea of how well your diabetes treatment plan is working.
Blood pressure
The force of blood against the arteries when the heart beats and rests
Less than 130/80 mm Hg Blood pressure is typically measured by a device that uses the height of a column of mercury (Hg) to reflect the circulating systolic and diastolic pressures. Systolic pressure (top number) is the peak pressure in the arteries, and diastolic pressure (bottom number) is the lowest pressure.

Get more information about high blood pressure.

Blood cholesterol
A waxy substance produced by the liver
Get your cholesterol checked and talk to your doctor about your numbers and how they impact your overall risk. Because cholesterol is unable to dissolve in the blood, it has to be transported to and from the cells by carriers called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein (or LDL) cholesterol, is known as “bad” cholesterol; high-density lipoprotein (or HDL) cholesterol, is known as “good” cholesterol.

Get more information aboutcholesterol.

Body weight A body mass index (BMI) of 18.6-24.9

Waistline smaller than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men

A person’s ideal body weight varies by gender, age, height, and frame. Your body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference provide good indicators of whether you are at a healthy weight. Use our BMI calculator tool.

Get more information about weight management.

This chart was provided by the American Heart Association.  More info here.

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