There’s a point in here somewhere..

I’ve been noticing something lately that I was having a hard time articulating. My running has turned a corner.   I think a huge part of that has been mental for me.  Yes, it’s significantly easier to run 40 pounds lighter… but I was always able to run.  Now I enjoy it. It’s still hard, and some days each step is a challenge.  I still have aches and pains.. but I find myself able to better push through things that would have stopped me in my tracks even a year ago.  

I’ve always liked the idea of a mantra.   I tried to find one on my own- to come up with some original thing that resonated with me. Turns out I’m not as creative or well  spoken as I had thought.  I read Scott Jurek’s book “Eat and Run” and tried adopting his “sometimes you just do things.”  But sometimes I just didn’t.   I have an old workout DVD called “yoga booty ballet” that I occasionally like to do for “fun” and they make you say “I love, honor, and cherish my body.”  But I didn’t.  I wasn’t there.  I’ve been at war with my body my entire adult life.  I’ve had terrible issues with body image, and just self confidence in general.  When a run felt hard, I mentally berated myself.  I beat myself up for wanting to walk/stop/go slower. Loving and honoring my body was something so foreign to me that it was almost laughable. I needed something I couldn’t find.  

My good friend Kaitlin is a large part of why I run.  She saw me running, and started running.  I found out she was running, so I kept running.  She signed up for the Naperville half marathon (a distance I LAUGHED at the thought of ever in a million years running) and I signed up. Somewhere during that first year and training for that first half is when we got to be good friends.  She was so patient when we’d run 10 miles at a 13:45 pace with me complaining every single step of the way.  She could have run faster on her own, but she stayed with me, and kept me going.  She introduced me to Oiselle. 

Oiselle is an athletic clothing line made for and by women.  With Kaitlin’s expert gift giving advice, I received a few Oiselle items from Santa that year- and I ADORED them.  The logo for Oiselle is a bird, and since my boyfriend calls me Katiebird or sometimes just Bird, I was so on board for any graphic detail with a bird on it.  The problem was my size.  The items I got technically fit- but in a very painted on- not to be seen in public kind of way.  So I packed them away in the back of the closet for “some day.”  

Fast forward to this spring.   My collection has grown a small amount (both presents received and purchased for myself.) And suddenly- things that were sausage casing tight- fit appropriately.  I became obsessed with shopping online and stalking the website for sales. I’m sure their tag line was always “Head Up, Wings Out” but it didn’t find its place in my brain until this year.  It started out kind of silly- reminding myself not to hunch forward when running. I began to realize that every time I said it- I stood taller, prouder, more confident.  I tested it.  I ran easy, I ran hard, I ran short, I ran long(er).  No matter what, “Head Up,Wings Out” helped.   

My times began to improve pretty rapidly.  I went from running a 12+ minute mile to a 10+ minute mile on short distances in the span of 6 months.  Since my very first 5k (which I think took me 40 minutes) I’ve had it in my head that “real runners” run that distance in 30 minutes or less.  I can proudly say that I have now done that twice.  

First time EVER!!!
When the opportunity to join the Oiselle Volee team opened up- I jumped at the chance.  A year ago, I would have said “someday when I’m a real runner I might join.”  So much self doubt was holding me back.  
A very exciting mail day!
I realized recently that I was a real runner a long time ago.  Before finding my mantra.  Before hitting that time goal.   Before running my first half marathon.  I finally listened to the world when they say “if you run, you’re a real runner.”   I’ve been running for five years, and each step I’ve been a real runner, even if I only realized it now.   I know in my heart that finding my mantra is how I got here.  It’s how I stopped the negative talk and replaced it with positivity. 

This morning was a 4 mile easy run with my fur baby.  He’s napping. 

I’m writing this from the bath tub (don’t judge me.). Pro tip?  Those black charcoal peel off face masks?  They don’t work if you’re sweating in a hot bath.  

Lush: So White bath bomb

Tomorrow is three miles, Thursday is two.  Then TWO rest days before the Foxy Valley half marathon.   I’m stupid excited.  More than I’ve ever been, I think.   I’ve never felt this ready, and while I don’t know if I’ll PR (it’s pretty damn hilly) I’m hopeful I might.  

So yeah. Mantras. Helped me get over a lot of mental garbage that was holding me back. Do you have one? What works for you? Do you stick to the same one- or change it out?  

I’m starting to prune.  Time to go adult.  

Weight Loss

My weight loss backstory…

So you’re probably looking at the collage of pictures thinking… She doesn’t look all that different..  Just a much more flattering photo on the right.

And you’re right.  I don’t look THAT different.  But I am.  The picture on the left was my first ever half marathon.  I’m not sure what my weight was, but I’d guess around 190.   The middle picture is my second half marathon.  I had lost some weight, but had started putting it back on by this point, and I think I was around 170.   I’m currently at 151.4.  I’ve been stuck in the 150’s since March.   I’m about 5″2.

How did I get here?  I’m glad you asked.

Between kindergarden and first grade, I packed on a lot of weight.  I was a chubby kid with the belly of a forty year old man with a beer habit and no metabolism.  It sucked, and I was very aware of how different I looked than all my friends.  I think I went on my first diet when I was 11.

I’ve tried a lot of different diets.  Nothing really stuck.  I read a book called “Skinny Bitch.”  It turns out it’s less of a diet book, more vegan propaganda.  It fucked me up emotionally, and I was vegan for 6 months… which meant I made and consumed a stupid amount of pasta and vegan cupcakes (which were delicious and full of vegan sugar and other super expensive ingredients.)  I ended up going back to dairy, but stayed a vegetarian from May of 2008 until December of 2015.  It was a very emotional decision, but I decided to start eating meat again for health reasons.

I’ve tried to just be a normal human person and not eat like a monster (myfitnesspal was a real eye opener to just how much I was consuming.) I’ve had some success, but I’ve mostly had a lot of failure.  A few years ago, a friend of mine went on a very strict, very expensive diet called “Ideal Protein.”  It worked beautifully for her.  I first signed up in 2014 (I think) and I dropped from 190 to 160 in about four months.  The diet is extremely strict.  You eat one of their packets for breakfast.  You eat a packet plus 2 cups of approved vegetables for lunch, and then for dinner you have 2 more cups of vegetables with 8oz of lean protein.  At some point during the day, you have one of their packets as a snack.  The food comes in packs of 7 for around $28… three packets a day would mean you’d need 3 boxes minimum per week and spend a minimum of $84 per week… but it was working! I would have paid anything (literally- my soul was totally on the market- the devil just didn’t seem interested.)

The way the program works- there are four phases, and what I just described is phase one.  Once you’ve reached goal weight, you move on to phase two,  then three and four.  The whole concept is LOW/NO carb LOW/NO fat and moderate protein.  During phase one, you’re not supposed to do any kind of meaningful cardio (but I had already committed to running a half marathon a few months after I started.  You’re allowed to work out on the later phases as you reintroduce carbs and basically relearn how to eat.  I had expected it to work faster… I thought I would have reached my goal weight (140) in the four months that I was on it.  I asked the clinic I was going to if I could phase off so I could start running more (I had been running minimally the whole time… REBEL!) They were NOT supportive of me phasing off.  I felt a little bit fat shamed.  I tried to phase off on my own, but within a week- I was eating like I was on death row.  I had to have everything I had been denying myself.  I had to have A LOT of it.  The forty pounds came back fast and extremely squishy.

From 2014 to 2016 I bounced around in the 180’s until I basically just gave up and got up to 201.  When I saw the starting number of TWO, I had a bit of a break down, and went back to Ideal Protein.  It seemed different this time.  I walked in with a chip on my shoulder, but the whole staff at the clinic was different… and they were kind and helpful and supportive.  The weight was coming back off, even if it was slower than the last time (being over 30 sucks sometimes.)  I got down to 158.  And then I found out I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  We’ll talk more about that later.

I’ve been attempting to eat a ketogenic diet ever since.  In short, Keto is low/no carb, HIGH FAT, moderate protein.  Adventures in BACON! With keto and increased exercise, I’ve gotten down to 151.4 (for one glorious moment I was at 150) but I know that I could be working harder/eating better and that I would see better results.  So, for now, I’m admitting it.  I have a problem.  I’m half ass-ing my food choices.  I’m not eating gluten or any straight up carbs, but I’m not really tracking/weighing/measuring and I know if I was, I’d see more results.

For now, that’s where I leave you.  I’ll tell you all about my adventures with bacon and trying really hard to be body positive later.  For now, a rest day.  Tomorrow I cross train, and who knows… maybe I’ll track my food and meet my macros, but maybe I’ll eat 11 slices of bacon and feel too ashamed to tell myfitnesspal…. we’ll see.



Run Katie, Run.

My running back story…

Some background on me and running…

I’ve always wanted to be a runner.  Maybe not always.  I rebelled HARD against running the mile in PE class in grade school.  In third grade, I was not allowed to partake in the “field day” games because I had made such a stink about not running/racing.  As a teen- I glamorized running right around the same time I saw Run Lola Run.  The weird artsy fartsy boy I had a crush on really liked it, so naturally, I really liked it.   We owned a treadmill at the time, and I tried to be a runner, but I couldn’t stick with it.  I think, total, I may have used the treadmill 22 times (thank you season 2 of Buffy The Vampire Slayer DVDs.)

Fast forward to being a grown up.  I tried a bunch of different fitness DVDs and a handful of classes at local gyms, but I kept coming back to the IDEA of running.  In my mind- all runners were these svelte long limbed happy people, and the only thing stopping me from being them was the fact that I wasn’t running.

So I started.

It was about five years ago, hot as hell outside, and I had worked early.   I asked my boyfriend if Foxy, furball of delight, would be ok to go for kind of long walk in the stupid heat, half hoping he would say no… H said yes.  So Foxy and I walked.  Once we were in the next neighborhood over, we ran. Not far.  Not fast.  But apparently long enough for my boyfriend’s sister (and then next door neighbor) to see me running.   She told me it made her want to be a runner, and I’ve been running ever since.


I have been running on and off for five years.  I’ve completed 7 half marathons and a handful of shorter races.  I’m slow.  I’m not disciplined.  I’ve never fully committed to a training regimen.  All long runs (five miles or more) left me utterly wrecked.

This spring, I ran my 7th and most recent half marathon, having barely trained for it.   I found myself roughly 40 pounds lighter (don’t worry–we’ll get to that in another post) and I realized it didn’t have to be so hard.  Less impact from my body size already lightened my load (see what I did there) so imagine what a real training program might accomplish!

Enter Hal Higdon.

I downloaded the Hal Higdon app which is a bit clunky, but convenient to see what runs should be done on which dates.  I’ve been following it pretty strictly since the beginning of August, and I’m very excited about my next half marathon on September 17th.  At that point, I’ll be able to really compare this half to my last half, and give you a super honest review of the Hal Higdon half marathon training program: novice.

In the mean time, I’m going to be letting you know how my runs are going, my adventures in cross training (I own A LOT of yoga DVDs) and my attempt to keep losing weight.


Stay tuned…