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Monday, November 17, 2014

What do I do now

I guess it's no secret that my blog has not been very active lately and I apologize. I havent had the energy to put the time into putting my thoughts down on the screen. I realize that now is the chance to change that, and so I will do my best to do so.

My last post was all about my first marathon. I still am in awe that I ran/walked a 26.2 mile distance. I want so badly to sign up for another race and to pull off an awesome PR, but alas, it isnt going to happen for a while.

When I started doing my long distance runs on the weekends, as I was training for my race, I began to have pain in my right achilles, where it attaches to my heel. As I increased my mileage, it got worse. I took time off from running just before the race so that I would be able to compete as planned. I wasn't able to run as much as I would have liked to during the race, but I did finish and that was what I set out to do.  As the days went by after the race, the achilles pain began to increase to the point that it was extremely painful to walk. I tried every style of shoes that I could think of, and had many conversations with a friend who is also a podiatrist and ultra runner. He advised me to stop running and let it heal or I would be chancing ending up having surgery or worse, a ruptured achilles. 

So I tried, to stop running. I went a week, here and there, but then I would get so depressed that my running wasnt happening, that I would get right back out on the road, and the whole pain cycle and inflammation would start up again.  Again and again I was told "no running for awhile". So, I would wear my air-boot for a couple of days and it would settle down enough that I could walk comfortably. But, as soon as I even tried to return to running the pain and inflammation reared it's ugly head and came back full force. The thought of not running for 3-6 months was making me sick to my stomach to even think about it. 

Fast forward to yesterday. I was finally given the option to walk,  and also ride my bike on the trainer. I set out on the roads and happily trotted along here and there. Not full running by any means, just a little here and there. I was only allowed 20 mins, but I ended up being out there 25. I was due to do 20 mins on the bike, so I took off 5 to allow for the extra 5 on the walk.  The day was cold, and brisk, but it felt F A N T A S T I C to be out there again. Mentally I needed that ittybitty walk/run. It helped immensely to lighten the fog my brain has been in since the marathon. 

I made sure to put on my favorite jacket from 180S, and my new shoes from Skechers Performance, the Go dri Ride3 Extreme. Totally made for winter/wet running. Great shoes for this time of year. Ankle/Achilles felt ok afterwards, a bit sore but nothing major. I knew that the test would be this morning when I got up.

As always, the morning is the hardest time to walk. When I sleep the tendon retracts and so when I get up and step down it pulls where it inserts into my heel and is extremely painful. This morning was awful, and I ended up making a very hard decision. I have many times gone to work and limped around all day not wanting to deal with wearing that stupid looking boot at work. But, today I realized that if I don't start listening to my doctor and my coach, I may injure myself enough that it wont get better without surgery.  This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. My life revolves around running and everything associated with it. The thought of not being able to run just tears a big whole in my heart as well as my psyche. 

So the morale of this story is.. do what your doctor tells you. Runners, I can totally sympathize with any of you dealing with injuries.. the hardest thing is to not run, and to explain to a non runner that it hurts the soul to NOT run. I know it doesnt make sense to them. I will include my family in that one.

So, I will from this point on try my hardest to be a compliant patient and do what I am told. Many thanks to Caleb, Dennis, and Isaac, who have been very, very encouraging, yet stern enough to tell me when I'm out of line. I value their input greatly.

So when you see me waddling around town or at work, you'll know the story and won't have to ask! Hopefully by putting this out there, I will keep myself on track a little bit better. 

Yesterday's run. I guess it'll be my last one for a couple of months. I will have plenty of time to do gear reviews and such, and get caught up on some design changes that need to be done on here! 

Need a running coach?   Caleb Masland 

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Road to my First Marathon

PART 1:  The beginning

Before I go into the details of the race, let me bring you up to speed first. I began running again in 2011. I had gone from 285lbs down to 210, and was ready to try it again, after being too obese for 25+ years. In my mind, I had always stayed the slim runner that I was in my high school days. However, we all know that age happens, and sometimes life just gets away from us. Unfortunately that happened to me before I realized it. 

I started running by using a Couch to 5K program, and it wasn't working for me. I just couldn't get past the fact that I used to run long distances and now I was struggling just to run for one minute without stopping. Try as I did, I just couldn't make the kind of progress that I longed to do. Still struggling with being over 200lbs, I was finding it hard to actually keep the endurance to run for a length of time. I remember the first time I ran a whole minute without stopping.. I was really excited!

Eventually I reached a fitness level high enough  that I wanted to try a Virtual 5K before jumping into the racing world. Here's a picture of me. My husband drove along and stopped every half mile with me, as I wasn't sure if I could complete a whole 3 miles or not. I got it done, by running and walking, but I finished it. That was a turning point for me, mentally and physically. That was the summer of 2012.

Fast forward to March of 2013. I noticed an online friend had gotten a running coach, and was talking about how his training was going. After mulling it over, I sent an email to the coach, asking if he would be willing to help me train, with my goal for 2013 being my first half marathon. At this point, I had done a few races, but was still embarrassed by my size, so I was pretty much just doing virtual ones. I contacted Coach Caleb Masland and asked if he would be willing to work with me. I wasn't sure if he would want to spend his time working with an overweight 51 yr old mother of two. Fortunately he said yes, and I then became a member of Coach Caleb's "Team Wicked Bonkproof". With Caleb's help I successfully ran 5K, 10K and 15K races, and eventually ran the Maine Half Marathon as my first Half, in October 2013. It was quite a feeling to cross that finish line! At that point, on that day, I decided that just maybe, a full marathon would be within my reach.  :)

Now my reason for writing all of this, is because I know there are many, many others out there that are either overweight or obese and would love to be out there running or walking, but physically aren't able to. I can say first hand that it wasn't easy. I wanted to quit every time I went out to try to run. I would end up getting so frustrated with myself that I would go home and vow to never try again. But.. the next day I would be back out there giving it another shot. It hurt. It sucked. I can think of many negative words to describe what I went through! But.. was it worth it??? YES!! ABSOLUTELY!!

Don't ever let anyone talk you out of your goals and/or dreams. Since I was 16, I dreamt of running a marathon. All those years went by, and I had pretty much given up my dream because I was morbidly obese and figured I was too far gone at that point. But still, deep down inside, it was still a thought that hung in the back of my mind. With a lot of hard work, and perseverance, when the time was right, I took my chance and went for it.

And so we move onto PART 2: The Training

Back in the spring of 2014 I asked Coach Caleb to draft up a marathon training plan for me, that I could look at and digest slowly. Seriously.. I hung it up at work and would look at it almost every day. The thought of running more than 13 miles scared me to death, and really seemed like it would be an impossible task. This is where you learn to trust your training. Many times the self doubt would set in, and I would think that I wouldn't ever be able to run 26.2 miles in a race, but I trusted my coach, and my training and never looked too far ahead. Caleb's motto is "getting after it, one mile at a time". That's how I approached my training come June, when it was time to start adding the mileage. I tried to not look too far ahead, and to only focus on the run for that day. Looking too far ahead was too scary, and I wasn't ready to do that, just yet. 

When I started running the longer distances, I would say, just about anything over 8miles or so, I began to have GI tract issues. Those of you that run, know exactly what I'm talking about. Those of you that don't.. well, when you run, it can get the colon moving a lot faster than you want it to. Not a good thing. I starting having to go to the bathroom every time I ran. The hard part was running in town, where there was no place to stop, I would have to run home, holding it in all the way. Again, not the best situation for my health, nor my running. To be honest, sometimes I made it home in time, and other times I didn't. I cried many times when I had to cut a run short because of it. I was putting in all this effort, and my body would just not co-operate.  I tried two different doctors, tons of medications, and changing my eating habits, but to no avail. Nothing helped. I pretty much ended up going without eating the day before a long run, just so that there wouldn't be much inside me that could cause problems. That was an issue in itself, because I couldn't properly fuel for these long runs.

The next issue that cropped up as my mileage increased was a pain in my right achilles tendon where it starts to attach to the back of the heel. I had previous surgery in that ankle, and developed really tight calf muscles in that leg. All that tension caused some calcium to start building up within the tendon itself, which was extremely painful. I would go days sometimes without running just so I could go on my long run on the weekend.  The months ticked by, and I was fortunate to have a friend who wanted to run my first marathon with me. I met Isaac back in 2013 when I was training for my half marathon. We met on Daily Mile and became friends, then met in person at the Half Marathon Expo. Little did I know on that day, what a part Isaac would play in my first full 26.2.

Isaac drove up from coastal Maine many weekends at the crack of dawn, to help me get the 18-20 mile runs done. We would try to be out the door by 5-5:30am, because it would get too hot if we waited any later. Being a slower runner, and still having to do walk segments, I needed to leave much earlier than most people. It was fun though.. I learned how to run with someone, as opposed to having to run alone all the time, AND... I learned to talk and run! That's right.. prior to that I had tried a couple of times to carry on a conversation while running but all I could spit out were a few words here and there. Isaac and I chatted away many times before I even realized I was doing it! 

And now, PART 3, THE RACE:  Fast forward now to the race. The two weeks before the race, I was working down in Portland and living in a hotel. I was scared to death about what I was going to eat before the race, since I had no access to a stove or microwave and had been eating out. Needless to say, I gained some weight from that also, which compounded the stress levels. I ate a lot of rice that week, and tried to stay away from greasy stuff as much as I could. I cut down on coffee and chai and hoped for the best. 

Race weekend came, and my husband came down the day before. I had gotten my race swag at the expo and was ready to rock. Up until that morning of the race, I was still debating over what to wear. 

The weather said (maybe) rain, but was supposed to heat up by noon. Isaac and I had talked it over and decided that my best bet was to take the early start option that began at 6am instead of 7:45 with all the other racers. The race director allows the walkers and slow runners to leave early as long as they don't finish before 5.5 hours. I was hoping to run less than a 6 hour race. But, the elephant in the room was how many port-a-potty stops I was going to have to make, plus the fact that my achilles was still acting up. We decided the early start was a safer bet and Coach Caleb agreed also.

So 6am Isaac and I were at the start line and ready to go. He brought along a video camera so we could record the event, and I am so glad that we did. The video is at the end of this post, and it's not very long, so watch and enjoy!  I'm happy to say that I went the whole race with no bowel issues, and my achilles didn't really act up until mile 8 and was on and off but not constantly bothering me. The weather was perfect, and the spectators, bands and other runners were fantastic. We high-fived the kids, thanked the volunteers, helped out a fellow runner in distress and basically had a blast. Leaving early gave me the chance to enjoy the race and not stress out about having the "sag wagon" right behind me the whole time. It was a fantastic experience, one that I will never ever forget. I cherish that race medal and it will permanently be displayed along with my bib from the race. Will I run another marathon? Absolutely!

Before I close, I need to thank a few people. My family, for putting up with my need to run when it got in the way of family life. Coach Caleb, for being patient with my questions and freak out sessions as the race got near. Isaac, for being the best running buddy there is and for taking time out of his busy life to share this experience with me. Skechers Performance for allowing me to run in their amazing running shoes and to Barb Powell for believing me in me. Your friendship will always be close to my heart. :)  

Me and Isaac at Mile 20

Heading close to the finish line

Crossing the finish line, Isaac still taping our video

Finished! One of the happiest moments in my life.. a longtime dream achieved!

Here's the Video.. I still watch this and can't believe I that's me! Woohooo!!

And the all important car window sticker! ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Breast Cancer Month at Skechers

I'm sure most of you know that October is National Breast Cancer awareness month. Pink, pink, pink everywhere. Some of us though, deal with this devastating disease every single day. Some are actively fighting their battle with cancer, some are survivors, and some of us are the mammographers that do your mammograms every year.

I have been involved with mammography since 1989. My career as a radiologic technologist has been extremely rewarding in many ways. I have made many dear friends through the years, and have celebrated with those that have conquered the disease and mourned the passing of those less fortunate. I could go on and on about this, but that's not why I am here!

As a runner, I know how important it is to have time to rest between workouts and races. Since I have been working with Skechers, I have been blessed to have the perfect running and racing shoes. They feel great, they fit great, and the LOOK great too!  I have to say though, working at the hospital has taken it's toll on my legs through the years. Fortunately I have found the most amazing company, that has the most amazing shoes for walking and relaxing!

Let me introduce you to the
GOwalk 2
by Skechers

Now these shoes aren't the every day walking shoe. The soles are amazingly light, and they do not slip. I wear mine year round in Maine and have no issues in them. Barefoot is fantastic in the GO Walk lineup. No socks needed!!  I will include the specs below, but I can't say enough about how comfortable these shoes are. I wear them to work almost every day. I have a grey slip on pair, and a black slip on pair. Because I also do IT work, I have to have something comfortable but yet somewhat business casual looking also. The first time I put my Go Walk 2's they felt like slippers and I didn't want to take them off. I have never in my life had shoes as comfortable as the GW2's!!

One thing that really touched me, was that they are donating funds to the American Cancer Society. All cancer patients can benefit from the research that is being done every day. I just ordered my pair!

For those of you that like to read the Tech-Specs....  

Women's Skechers GOwalk 2 Flash - Awareness Walking Shoes

Now there's a better footwear choice for walking with the Skechers GOwalk 2 Flash - Awareness. Designed with innovative Skechers Performance technologies and materials specifically for walking. Breast Cancer Awareness edition. Skechers Performance proudly supports the American Cancer Society in the fight against breast cancer.


  • V-Stride technology features unique angled outsole that complements a natural walking gait and promotes fluid stride transitions
  • Structured breathable mesh at front for cooling comfort
  • Engineered Stability Mesh side panels provide lateral support
  • Go sockless - Integrated OrthoLite® anti-microbial sockliner helps inhibit odor and prevent slippage
  • Goga Mat Technology cushioned comfort insole
  • Resalyte™ Midsole - proprietary lightweight injection-molded compound with memory retention helps absorb impact
  • Independent circular GOimpulse sensors offer flexibility and feedback for a more responsive walking experience
  • A multi-directional traction motif helps enhance footing control
  • Skechers Performance proudly supports the American Cancer Society in the fight against breast cancer
  • This special collection celebrates those who use sports and fitness to lead an active, healthy lifestyle
  • Join us in the fight to end breast cancer


  • Breast Cancer Awareness special edition
  • Heathered soft fabric side panels
  • Pink ribbon accent on heel panel
  • Athletic styled lightweight synthetic and mesh upper
  • Stitching and overlay detail
  • Lace up design with bold athletic logo trim
  • Soft smooth fabric lining for easy barefoot wear
  • Weight: Radically lightweight 6 oz. per

Skechers has given me a pair of the Breast Cancer Awareness Go Walk 2's to share with one my of readers! All I ask you to do is to answer the following question. Please be honest and share your thoughts and feelings. 

I will pick a winner in one week, on Friday evening the 24th. 

The question:

If you were told that you had the power to cure cancer, tell me what your plan would be, 
and how you would carry out your plan.

( NOTE: If you sign in anonymously, please leave your email address 
so I can contact you, should you win!)

I received some email submissions also. I did the drawing the old fashioned way by putting the names in a hat, and  lv2fly3@gmail.com  is the winner!  lv2fly3, please email me! 

Thank to all who submitted! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

FlipBelt Product Review

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received compensation for this post, though I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

As part of the Fit Approach, SweatPink Ambassador Program, I was given a FlipBelt to review for you. If you are a runner, then you might have heard about this product. Even if you aren't a runner, this product is simple, yet amazing! Everybody needs to have at least one! If I had my way, I'd have one in every color to match all my running gear! ;0)


What is a FlipBelt?  It's stretchy tube with openings in it to store your valuables or "stuff". You can use it when youre walking, running, biking, working outside.. the possibilities are endless. I have used this for shopping many times when I have been traveling. It hides well under your shirt, and no one would even know it's there. I can put my ID, some cash and a couple of credit cards, and it saves me from having to carry a purse when I am in the city. The last thing I want is to worry about looking like a tourist... that's just asking for trouble. 

There are colors for everyone, to match all your running outfits! I have this gorgeous neon green one, and I even bought a purple one also!  Of course, there is a lot to be said for basic black or grey, if that is more your style.  

Many people wear it on the outside of their clothes, as it gives easy access to your phone and or music accessories. I prefer to have it on the inside, and I use the "flip" to put the little openings against my body. My Iphone is for my work, so I can't take a chance on it getting lost or falling out, not that it probably would. I just am very anal about my stuff and keeping it where I need it to be!  There are actually three different ways to wear this product:

So that's the neat thing about this belt, it can be worn with the pocket openings out or in or up, and in or outside your clothes. You get the best of both worlds. It's make of a machine-washable high tech Spandex-Lycra blend and when you order, they will include a baggie for your phone if you wish. I do use the baggie as I tend to sweat a lot when I exercise. If you look at my last photo below, you will see that there is even a clip to hold your keys securely.

Here's the best part! Right now, until September 4, you can use my discount code sweat33 for 10% OFF your whole order! Don't wait.. the code will expire that day.. so stock up while you can. I can't say enough about this product. You need to try it yourself and you will be finding you use it for everything like I do!  

Tweet about this! Share it with your friends on Twitter!
Tweet: Run, play, explore with #FlipBelt! Use the code sweat33 for 10% OFF your entire purchase! http://ctt.ec/9fPaF+ @flipbelt @fitapproach

Here's a photo taken after my run this afternoon. LOVE LOVE LOVE my belt! If you like the neon green color, you can find it there.  FlipBelt

  • Multi-access pocket openings throughout belt
  • Turn items & pocket access up/down/inside as convenient
  • Flip to lock in items
  • Reflective logo - 3M Quality Reflective
  • Non-Bounce, Even Design
  • No buckles to cause uncomfortable chafing
  • Machine washable & Machine Dryable
  • Great for holding medication on the go.  Inhalers, insulin pumps, Epipens, etc...
  • EPA Certified, Odor Resistant, Pilling Resistant, Anti-Bacterial High Tech Poly Spandex Fabric
  • Available in colors, accent your workout wardrobe

If you prefer a video of the FlipBelt in action: