Wanted: Personal Chef

I love to cook. There is nothing that makes me happier than pulling together a bunch of ingredients and making something fabulous–and even better is watching my friends’ faces light up after biting into something I’ve made just for the them

But damn I’m tired after work. Looks like pasta with olive oil and garlic again tonight. But at least it’s whole wheat…


It’s been a bad exercise week

Sorry no updates, but really there’s been nothing to update. Work has been crazy and I can barely fit in time to breathe, let alone work out. Oddly enough, I’ve lost 4 lbs.

It’s a beautiful day outside, but instead of going out and enjoying it, I’m curled up on the couch watching the Skins game. I’m kinda psyched–they’re already recovered a fumble and it’s only 3 minutes into the game. And I’m digging the pink shoes, gloves and hand towels in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I’m leaving for Mexico on Thursday for a long weekend. Keep checking back for food and activity reports! I’ve been told everything is super fresh and local (at least where I’m going.) I’m staying in the mountains so there will be many photos of pyramids, churches and various things I like during our many hiking expeditions.

I did it!!!!!

I did it! I did it! I did it! I did it! I did it!

I ran my race!!!! And since I’m sitting here typing this, it is fair to say that I did it WITHOUT DYING! That’s the most important thing.

Friday night, I met up with Becca and her boyfriend, Chris, out in Fairfax for some quality Chinese food and some minor shopping. I decided I wanted a runner’s belt after Helen, my friend slash race organizer, told me there would be a water stop only at the half mile point. (There was a concurrent one mile “fun run” for the kids and organizers wanted them to be able to get water too). I knew from my training that I’d need a lot more water than that. But I also hate holding things while I’m doing anything active. Solution? Runners belt with a clip for a water bottle. Win.

What did I come home with? A runners belt with a water bottle. And a new pair of Nike running capris (wearing them right now. Uber comfy). And a cute Nike shirt that says “I’m so official, I don’t need the whistle.” And running socks. The belt was $10. My other impulse buys totaled $95. I’m normally very fiscally conservative so I’m justifying it by saying that I’ll use them a lot, thus bringing the cost-per-use to almost 0.

Because honestly, it’s not how fast you go. It’s not whether you finish. It’s about how cute you look doing it.

Starting the race was great. It was a charity race to benefit my church’s school (of which I’m a graduate of), so our pastor offered a blessing over the racers before the gun went off. I’m definitely not a holy roller, but I felt a lot better knowing God and some extra angels were running with me on the road that morning.

And it was cold. I didn’t pay attention to how warm it was going to be at 6am when I listened to the weather report. It was habit. Normally I’m snuggled deep under my awesome comforter at that hour. I was way under dressed to be just standing around in 45 degree weather, but once I got running, it was perfect. I think I created enough heat to power a large industrial complex or two, but the coolness of the air made me feel room temperature.

The first mile totally sucked. My body completely protested to even moving that early. The water station was right where Helen said it would. Mile 0.5.

You are fucking kidding me. I’m only at half a mile? I was in the middle of the group starting out, and it seemed like everyone and their brother passed me. I refused to look back to try to orient myself. The race is against you. Fuck the rest of them. I turned up my iPhone so I couldn’t hear the other runner’s footsteps and just focused. I lost myself in the Carbon Leaf blaring through my headphones and ran.

Coming down to the finish line is a feeling that I don’t think I could even describe. Helen made sure there were plenty of volunteer cheerleaders to root for any runner coming across the line. Hearing the cheers was great. Two of my choir buddies, Helen, her husband and their two kids were standing next to the lane barriers to watch me finish.

Not gonna lie, as I ran towards the finish line, I totally imagine a montage in my head. Slo mo and chariots of fire style. I looked fabulous in it, too.

Crossing the line was the best moment of my life so far. I worked so hard this past year to get the weight off and keep it off. It’s been slow going. I have fought for every single damn one of those pounds. There were nights when I cried myself to sleep because my muscles hurt so badly. Because of those down moments, the highs are euphoric. It took everything in my power not to tear up.

I finished the 5k in 37:23, which comes out to exactly a 12 minute mile. I had been running 11 minute miles the week before. But I didn’t run in the five days before the race, and rarely run outside where there are the bitchy little things called “hills.” So I’ll take the minute gain. Gives me something to work towards later.

Helen and I might be running a turkey trot together in November!

In an effort to engage any readers I may have—do you have a first race/competition story? Comment to share!

Tomorrow is race day!!!

Tomorrow is race day.

I don’t know if it’s the uber cute new running outfit I bought or if I’m actually getting psyched for the race, but I’m really excited.

This has been a long time coming. As I mentioned in early blogs/rantings, I started running last fall in preparation for a 5k in December. Why I thought it would be alright to run outside during winter is beyond me, but whatever. I do wild and crazy things. The race got cancelled. I focused on spinning and not running. And now I’m back to running again.

I think like a lot of fat kids, I’ve wanted to be athletic all my life. I was always picked last in gym class. I was so bad, I got picked last in HEALTH CLASS when we were choosing teams for trivia competitions.

I tried so hard to be good at sports. When I ran on the basketball court, I ran harder than anyone. I ran the wrong way, but I ran. When I swam, I kicked harder than anyone. And could barely make a full lap in under a minute. I was so accustomed to residing in the back of the pack that I just stopped trying.

But this past summer, I was actually relevant to my softball team. It’s beer league softball, but still, it’s a team and we exert energy. When I went hiking with Becca on that godawful billy goat trail, I was tired but I made it. I’m looking better and feeling better, even on my down days.

I’m excited and nervous as hell about tomorrow. In the back of my head, there’s this little voice, Insecure And Crazy Mel, telling me that I haven’t really made as much progress as I think I have. I’m not going to run as fast as I want to. I’m not going to be able to finish the race. I’m going to walk across the finish line. The course officials are going to pick me up in their cars and drive me back. I’m going to be last. People are going to laugh at me. I’ve just imagined the weight loss. I’m still a fat ass.

But at the same time, I know I can do it. Sane Mel rolls her eyes at Insecure And Crazy Mel. I may not have run 3 miles all at once, but I’ve biked ten times as far in spin class with some wicked strong resistance. I’m also stubborn as hell. I’ll finish it. Worse comes to worse, I’ll just imagine I’m being chased by zombies. Or worse. Dallas fans. (Go Skins!)

So updates, most likely with pictures, will come tomorrow. I’m at least starting the race with my choir buddy Patty. (We’ve both agreed that after the starting shot, it’s every woman for herself).  She’s lost 85 pounds in the past year. Between the two of us there’s nearly 140 lost. I’m so proud of all the hard work she’s done! Such an inspiration to me!

I’m headed to bed now. I’m getting up way earlier than I think she be allowed on a Saturday so I can eat, get ready, and make it to the race site on time. Wish me luck everyone!

It’s cold and it’s raining.

It’s cold and it’s raining in the DC area. I was supposed to run tonight. Instead I’m curled up on the couch, in my pajamas, watching television and crocheting. And I’m unapologetic about it 🙂

Updated Photos

I’m not sure how motivated I’ll be later tonight, but I wanted to get some updated photos on here.

This was me when I started this whole thing in late July 2009.

And this is me as of this afternoon.

What a difference a year makes!

Ugh, Mornings.

Sorry no update for a few days. I’m still recovering from Friday.

So I woke up at 4 fucking 30am on Friday morning to go running. It was surprisingly easy, but I’m going to go with I was just excited for something new. I made it to the appointed Starbucks about 3 minutes before everyone took off running.

“Sorry this is a weird week,” Sandi, the organizer told me. “The 5k runners already left around 430. They all had somewhere to be at 6.” Who the fuck has somewhere to be at 6am?!?! I’m usually still asleep! She explained the loop and asked if I would mind running alone.

“Um, I guess?” I didn’t see what choice I had. Everyone else seemed a lot faster than me. Whether I started with them or not, I’d probably be running alone at some point.

“Hey, I’m going to walk some then run a little, if you want to come with me.” A pretty brunette in black running pants, blue yoga top and a blinking red light on her baseball cap waved at me.

“Mel, this is Janice,” Sandi said. “She’s good to run with.”

Sounded great. A little walking, some running, things would be easy. Three miles in no time. And then we started.

Janice walks faster than my run. After a few blocks, she suggested we “jog a little.” Which meant going even faster. Within half a mile, I was already winded.

“So what got you into running?” Janice asked me, like we were enjoying a casual stroll down the waterfront.


“Great! Running is an excellent way to get that weight off. I’ve started slowing down lately though. I’m 18 weeks pregnant.”

Seriously?!? Seriously!! Please. I looked more pregnant than she did. And she was faster than me. Janice also explained that she did rowing in college. Then she came to DC, joining the DC Rowing Club, and after she got married and bought a house, she had to scale back because there was a lot of renovations to do. So instead, she started competing in triathalons.

“Um…I…neeed…towalkforasecond.” Janice looked down at her GPS watch and calculated that we were moving at a 10 minute/mile pace. I usually bounce between 15-12ish, depending on how motivated/tired/hungry/focused I am. That’s almost an entire 2 minutes off my fastest time, on my best day, in my best form. I wanted to die.

I made up some dumb excuse about how I’m coming off an ankle injury (not a total lie), needed to take it easy today (sort of a lie), and it was hurting (complete lie and I’m going to Hell for it.) Janice nodded and slowed down a bit.

Mature Mel would have just said, “Look, I’m new at running. You are not. Would you mind either slowing down a lot, or just giving me directions for the rest of the loop and go on ahead?” But unfortunately, Mature Mel was not awake yet. She was still back at home asleep, along with Sane Mel. The only part of me that was left was Crazy and Insane Mel, as evidenced by the fact that I woke up at 430 to go running with a bunch of strangers on a muggy, drizzly morning that barely counted as morning because it was so close to the night before.

I turned back halfway through the loop. I was only scheduled to do 2.5 miles that day, and I didn’t want to push myself too far the first day out. Plus it was way too early for me to be conscious, and I realized that. Belatedly, but I realized it.

One hour after I started, I was back in my car. My face was flushed, my hair flattened against my scalp, and my glasses were beginning to steam up. Every guy I passed on the road (coming the other way, trust me, I wasn’t passing anyone going the same direction) was hot as hell and I looked like a truck hit me. Great.

Back at my apartment, I realized I actually felt great. No real exhaustion like I thought I’d feel. I showered, wrote some emails I’d been putting off, made coffee, breakfast, did my hair AND make up (big deal if both of them are done at the same time) and made it to the office by 745. My boss about had a heart attack because he’d never seen me that early before. And I was…productive.

I ran up to my boss’s office two floors above mine for a short meeting. Jennifer is a runner too, and I told her all about my running experience.

“That’s great, Mel! Keep it up!” She’s so supportive. “I’m going to type an IM to Mike real quick,” she added. Mike is a colleague of mine, and our polygamist work spouse in that he buys both of us coffee. “Hey Mike, check on Mel a few times today. She went running before work and I think she went off the deep end.” Thanks, Jenn. But he did buy me coffee so I guess I can’t complain.

I was supposed to go running again this morning. But then I woke up and heard the rain outside my window, said “Oh HELL no,” and went back to bed. I did some research and found some evening running clubs. Hopefully that will work out better.

And now I’m going to bed. Cause I’m still exhausted.

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