Thanksgiving Give Back!

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Is it just me or has this year flown by????  I can't believe the holiday's are here already.

It's that time of year when everyone starts to ask "what are you thankful for?"...

I have many things to be thankful for this year...I got married to the love of my life. I have a gorgeous, smart & loving stepson. I made it to 30 years old!  The list could go on and on about all the things we are (or at least should be) grateful for each year...family, job, shelter, ect.

The one thing I am extra thankful for this year is just the simple fact of being alive. Let's be honest here...I didn't necessarily treat myself the best this year.  I did a lot more damage than I did good.  So the mere fact that I am still sitting here, able to write on this here bloggy-blog is something that I am very, very thankful for.

What else am I thankful for...YOU!! I've been doing this blog since the beginning of 2010 and during these past 3 years SO much has happened, so much has changed. Some of you have been with me the entire time, and some of you have just joined me...either way, your constant words of encouragement and support...just the fact that you are HERE...reading...through the good times and the bad, have helped to keep me going this year and have definitely played a part in me getting my shit back together and getting (& staying) back on track!

I read every comment, every FB message, every Tweet, every email. Some days I pull up a specific email or comment and read it over and over just to help me through that day. I haven't been very good at all in responding back to people this year, and for that I am very sorry. I *might* have had something to do with the amount of alcohol I was drinking and by lack of desire to do ANYTHING. It *might* have, lol. But I am working on being better at that.

I want to give something to YOU to show how thankful I am for all of YOU this Thanksgiving!!

I'm calling it Suzi Storm's Thanksgiving Give Back! I know...such a clever & unique name. I swear, I am a genius!   

So, what is in this little give back pack you ask???? Well take a look...


Here are the details on what is included:

A Sony Walkman 2GB wearable mp3 player. I have never used this one but I have the same exact model (but in black) and it is great. You kind find more details about the product here.  Unfortunately the box accidently got thrown out when I took it out to make sure it had everything with it. But I saved you some trouble and possible trauma as opening the box was a complete bitch, lol.

 AND...

A Garmin Forerunner 205. This is a used item. But a very special used item for me. Around the time that I first started running I was using the Nike+ program, which was great for when I was training and running mostly 5K's but as I started training for half marathons I found that I needed something more accurate and a little more stable. Unfortunately I couldn't afford any of the fancy Polar or Garmin watches that everyone was sporting but an amazing woman on Twitter sent me a message and offered me this watch, as she had just upgraded and didn't have a use for this one anymore.  This watch changed the way I ran. This watch encouraged me. This watch helped me train for my very first 1/2 marathon AND ran with me in my very first marathon!!  Don't worry folks...I've cleaned all the sweat, tears and vomit off of it ;).
It's an oldie, but a goodie. And I hope that someone who needs something a little simple get's inspired as much by it as I did. I also have a copy of the user's manual that I printed off the internet that will be included.   

I'm not a blogger who get's a lot of big swag to review and giveaway (though I do have a couple of small things coming up) but I wanted to give something away as a thanks. Both of these items have been really helpful in getting my feet pounding on the pavement (or treadmill) and I am glad that I have these to give to you.

To enter just follow the details below. Contest starts today (11/24) and ends Sunday, December 1st.
*Giveaway open to US & Canada residents* 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck to everyone who enters!!

I am so thankful for all of you.

What if I didn’t stop?

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*WARNING: This blog post is very long. While I contemplated breaking it up into two parts it just didn’t feel right. So if you stick it out to the end, thank you! It focuses on how my relationship with beer turned a little too hoppy (see what I did there?! ;) over the past year.
However, I urge anyone who thinks that they may have a serious drinking problem to contact your doctor or your local AA chapter and reach out for help immediately.*

I was replying to a message that I got from a follower on FB and I said something that really lit a fire inside of me that honestly has never caught my attention before…not even while I was losing the 101 lbs the first time.

I said “if I didn’t stop making the choices I was making who the hell knows where I would have ended up.”

Wow.

You know those “Ah-ha” moments everyone talks about?? During my Weight Watchers Success Story interviews I always talked about my “Ah-ha” moment being when my now-husband and I were driving through a KFC after just attending a steak bake. Well, I think me writing “if I didn’t stop making the choices I was making who the hell knows where I would have ended up” is a definite “Ah-ha” moment for me this time around.

See, I never was a person who was over weight their ENTIRE life. I went through some of my teenage years actually being underweight. I’ve never really been an emotional eater to be honest. My problem isn’t that I constantly want food. My problem has always been that I just make the wrong choices, or over indulge in things I shouldn’t (Hello, cheese!). Or my problem this time around…my number one lover/enemy…beer.

I’ve never hid the fact (umm…duh, look at what my blog is called!) that I love beer. Craft beers…IPA’s in fact are my drink of choice.  Back when telling my success stories I talked about how prior to losing the weight I would come home, get into my pajama’s and start throwing back the Coors Lights. Then when I was losing the weight I never gave up beer, I just started drinking it moderation…like only on the weekends, or after long run or good workout session. I had a healthy relationship with beer and it was something I had control of and was still able to lose my weight and maintain it for almost 2 years.

This time around though, beer had become my enemy. It felt like a mix between a friend who has turned their back on you, or doing something that you know is wrong but it just feels so right.

I blogged before about how I ended up becoming part of the Weight Watchers ‘Believe’ campaign and the crazy events that happened leading up to the audition.  Being part of that campaign is still one of the things I am most proud of. I will never regret it and it will always be a story that I will share. But the thing is…I was riding a “high” in 2011…being able to tell my story and show off all my hard work in so many different outlets. The commercials played again and again. The pictures showed up here, there and everywhere. It was the best drug. But like all highs, they don’t last forever.

All of a sudden I wasn’t completely poor anymore. I had a little bit of money. Frank and I were able to do things we normally couldn’t afford to do. It was so completely new to me and I had no idea how to handle it properly.

When there’s nothing really exciting to do in town, the best thing to do is go out to dinner, or go to lunch, or go out and grab some drinks…then grab some drinks at the store and go home. See, this time I could afford all the craft beers my heart desired. I didn’t have to stick with the Coors Light that Frankie was drinking because it was all we could afford. I tried more beers in 2012 than I have in my entire life.

Here is the absolute truth…
The money I earned in sharing my success played an ENORMOUS role in my regaining all of my weight back (plus an extra 30). And a good portion of that (I don’t even want to know the percentage) money went to us eating out and/or drinking.

Of course, the money did make me gain weight…my choices did. But I didn’t know how to properly handle these choices and I chose wrong again, and again, and again…which eventually led me to where I am today…

It got back to the point where I couldn’t afford the craft beers everyday, so it was back to slamming down the Coors Lights.  And as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been blessed/cursed with having a high tolerance for alcohol. Even at my goal weight I could still knock plenty of beer/wine back without getting drunk and stupid. So with the extra 100 lbs I was able to drink even more.

So I was drinking instead of running…or I would say I would run but then be too hung-over.
So I was drinking then having 2…3…4 servings (Who am I kidding…I didn’t even pay attention to the servings) of whatever I was eating…or I wouldn’t care what I was eating.
So I was drinking and staying up till 2am on a weeknight…or sometimes even later than that.

I stopped caring. I stopped counting Point Values. I stopped exercising. I stopped getting enough sleep. I stopped putting makeup on. I stopped caring about my appearance. I just stopped caring in general about myself.

Late January/Early February I was in an ambulance, pretty sure I was having a heart attack, but no…it was anxiety attack. But even that wasn’t enough to make me stop what I was doing to myself. I wasn’t anxious. I was depressed. I was embarrassed. And I just didn’t care…or so I thought.

Drinking in the excessive amount that I was made me think I didn’t care about myself at all. It made me think a lot of things. It made choose a lot of things I normally would not choose. It made me unhappy on different levels than I had experienced before. But even that wasn’t enough.

I can’t tell you what WAS enough. I can’t tell you that I had this “Ah-ha” moment that led me to wake the up hell up and see that I was slowly (and surely, I am sure) killing myself.  I’m not an alcoholic (as I’ve said before, and believe me, I have looked into it & consulted with Dr’s and other professionals)…I just have a tendency, like people do with food or other things, to binge and/or lose control. It doesn’t happen often and in fact this was probably the longest (and definitely the most damaging) out of control I have ever reached.

Then one day…I just didn’t have any beer or wine. One day turned into 11 days. It’s not the longest stretch I’ve ever gone without any alcohol. I didn’t plan it or set a goal. It just happened. And other than getting married this year it is probably one of the best things that I could have had happen to me. It gave me clarity. It let me see what I was missing in my life….MYSELF! I missed ME! I didn’t just miss Weight Watchers or running or blogging or being part of the “health & fitness” community…I missed who I was on a day to day basis. I missed putting on makeup in the morning…who the fuck am I kidding, I missed just being able to get out of bed in the morning!! I missed counting my WW points. I missed running. I missed feeling like I wasn’t going to pass out for the majority of the day.  I missed going to bed with my husband instead of waiting for him to go to bed so I could drink beers and listen to music all by myself (this can be a very dangerous combination for your mental health if you are not in the right frame of mind in the first place).  I missed actually enjoying a COUPLE of beers…not just drinking 20 of them “just because”.  This past Saturday I had my first beer in 11 days after my run with the Lake Effect Group and it was glorious! And you know what…I didn’t proceed to go ahead and have 20 more after that. I had control again. I knew how I did and how I did NOT want to feel.

“if I didn’t stop making the choices I was making who the hell knows where I would have ended up” …I probably would have turned into an alcoholic. I probably would have added more health issues to myself. I probably would have gone over 300 lbs. I probably would have never ran another mile again. Scariest thing to think about…I probably would have let the thoughts and self hatred eat at me enough that one night I would have let them get me for good.  I kept all these issues to myself for the most part and eventually it would have ruined me completely. 

So that sentence is my “Ah-ha” moment that keeps me on the track I have been on the past few weeks. One where I am taking care of myself, inside and out…One where I am not drinking to just say “screw all of it” and letting it become a nasty habit …One where every day I am trying to look at today instead of yesterday.

I can’t fully describe how much better I feel. And I can’t thank everyone here and on social media who have complemented me on how I have looked lately…you guys have no idea how much it means to me, especially right now. Funny thing is, people keep saying I look healthy and glowing…well I’m pretty good with a makeup brush ;) and I haven’t lost a noticeable amount of weight yet, but I think just the elimination of beers during the week and the decrease in consumption has done wonders on my overall appearance…thanks to less bloat in my face and eyes and of course, more sleep! Which in turn gives me more confidence which in turn makes me feel better about life in general which in turn makes me make better choices for my body which in turn keeps on turning stuff into a positive rather than a negative.

Everybody has a moment where something gets out of hand…even sometimes the things that make us healthy can turn into something negative if we abuse the feelings we get from them. Just try to step back for a moment. Give yourself a moment to clear your mind. Free yourself from its grip and examine how you *really* feel. Think about what it is that you truly want for yourself…from yourself.  I will never give up beer, but I always give up any power that I accidently let it hold on me.

Sometimes you fall down a hole so hard and so far that you think “what’s the point of even trying to get out”…but there is always a point. You can always get out. You might break a few nails or sprain a few bones clawing and climbing your way back up, but you will heal and you feel even stronger than before. You will have more knowledge than you did before…and next time, you might just be able to catch yourself before you fall again.

I’m a loner Dottie…A rebel!!

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Yesterday was a first for me…

It was the first time ever that I ran with a group. You see, I prefer to run alone. I always have. Minus the occasional buddy you pick up along a race, I enjoy pounding the pavement with me, myself and my thoughts. 

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But I have been telling myself that I would get out and run with the Lake Effect Run Club sometime. Especially since I’m signed up for their half marathon (which I blogged about here). I’ve known some of the people in the club from when I was still running regularly and doing local races. and a lot of them I met when I put together the #SyracuseStrong run in support of the tragic events that happened at the Boston Marathon earlier this year. But like I said…I’ve never ran with a group that didn’t guarantee some kind of medal or t-shirt.

This weeks meet up was right down the street from me at Cafe at 407 and it would head right into Onondaga Lake Parkway (my home turf). Since they meet up at 8 am…on a Saturday….and since I am NOT a morning person (especially since I get up early 5 days a week for work) I prefer to go when it’s close by so I don’t have to get up SUPER early. I’m not an early morning runner…no matter how hard I have tried in the past.

I set my alarm for about 6:45 and by some kind of miracle I was up at 6. I can’t even get out of bed at 7:40 during the work week (and I have to be to work at 8…thankfully we live close by). I had some coffee, took care of what coffee does and got dressed. It was much warmer this weekend than it has been which was a relief because all of my running clothes, especially my cold weather gear, are in sizes that I was wearing about a year and a half ago. But I found some pants and a long sleeve shirt.

I wasn’t nervous which was surprising to me. When I got there I saw some of the people I knew and exchanged hugs. I met some people I didn’t and it grew into a really nice group. They were nice enough to take a picture so I could post it on here…you know…photographic proof that I actually went…

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Then there was a little introduction and we were about ready to take off..

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So yeah…here’s the thing…

I’ve made it no secret that I haven’t ran much (if really at all) in the past year and a 1/2. But I have been slowly (and trying to be safe) getting back into running regularly. I’ve been using this app called ‘Running for Weight Loss’

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Now, I follow the Weight Watchers program so I’m not using this app to lose weight. But I like the intervals it uses. I feel like even though I’m starting from scratch I’m not starting from scratch…does that make any sense?? Well anyways, I find that the 5K training app’s are too easy and the 10K or 1/2 training app’s are too hard right now. So this one has been working.

I forgot my headphones this morning and decided to just “wing it” and not use this app. I knew I wanted to get 3 miles in (the rest of the group runs around  6 or so but I’m not back there yet). Well…this was kind of a BIG mistake.

As soon as people started taking off, the runner inside me went “ok, let’s start running!” and it took me almost a 1/4 mile to realize that I wasn’t too far behind some of the group. What alerted me you ask?? First my shins, then my heel, then the numbness in my feet. I literally lost my footing and could barely walk. This was a stupid, stupid mistake on my part. BUT…I kept going. I walked more than I ran, but I threw in running spurts when I could feel my feet enough to know that I wouldn’t fall down once I started, LOL.

The group at this point was long gone and I was once again just out there by myself…it was a beautiful morning to be out.

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I was never really alone though. Many of the members would pass me and say “great job” or “keep it up”. It felt great to know that I had support out there. That there were people who would call 911 if I keeled over and couldn’t move anymore.

I ended up going 3.25 miles. The longest distance I have done in a long, long time. This “run” was an ENORMOUS mental battle for me. I would see people heavier than me just running a long, making it look so easy and think “wtf, why am I struggling so hard?!” and then there were the people in the group…I was one of those people not so long ago…healthy and fit and could very easily run 6 miles in the morning. I was envious, angry and irritated.  I had to constantly remind myself that I was there. I was not at home, asleep in my bed. I was not at home, with my ass on the couch. I was out and I was moving and I was getting exercise!!

I think it was that mental reminder that kept me going…because I wanted to quit, many times. I told myself “maybe you are just not ready yet, Suzi. Maybe you just need to focus on eating healthy right now.” But I banished those thoughts because I know how running makes me *feel*, not just how it can help to make me look.

Afterwards I got to meet some really nice people and it was really nice to feel like part of something. Things felt even cozier when my friend pulled out the beer he promised me for the end of the run.

See, I went 11 days without a beer or any alcohol what so ever. It wasn’t intentional. It just kind of happened and I never set a goal or anything for myself. I think it was just what I needed though because I felt great and it put a lot of things into perspective for me as well.  And I’ll tell you what…I’m glad I had waited to have a beer until then because it was a delicious reward…even at 9 o’clock in the morning Winking smile.  And to my surprise many other runners came up and asked if my friend brought extra beers, so standing there in the street with a handful of runners, drinking a beer at 9am…it was pretty fucking awesome for many different reasons.

Thank you to everyone at the Lake Effect Run Club for coming out on Saturday and for king me feel welcomed and accepted.

So…will I ever run with them again?? You betcha!! Do I prefer to run alone or with a group?? Well, that’s kind of hard to answer since I didn’t really “run” with anyone and I was still by myself during the time I was working out, but I enjoyed knowing that the group was out there and having some of them encourage me as I went on.

It was another lesson of letting go of the past…of trying not to think about where I was but to think about where I am going. If you follow this blogs FB page you saw that I had a post about letting go and moving forward. It took a lot of courage for me to post this, especially the pictures since I am the heaviest I have ever been (even though I did lose 4.4 lbs this past week 1425508_1429573843922238_827073433_n so HOLLA!!!!)…

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Whether I run by myself, with a friend, or a group of friends, I am running FOR myself. I’m not going to push myself to do anything I’m not comfortable doing and I will continue to keep learning from my past, the good and the bad, and keep focusing on the future and where I want to be.

My name is Suzi Fucking Storm…I am a marathoner…I am a woman who had lost 101 lbs…I am a woman who loves beer…I am a woman who took some wrong steps and landed down the wrong path…I am a woman who refuses to give up finding and staying on the right path. I believe in myself.

Being OK with your emotions…

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Sometimes it is perfectly OK to not be OK.

This is a lesson that I learned very early on in life and while some people fought me on it, I always stood my ground.

I spent a lot of my adolescence in therapy, whether it was outside the school system or inside…or for a little while, both. I saw a female in school counselor once when I was in 10th grade and she said to me “Susan, what will it take for you to be happy?” and my reply was “I’m not looking for happiness. I’m looking to be content. I believe that happiness is a moment, a piece of time that comes and goes with a situation. It’s not an ongoing emotion.” Her reply to me was basically telling me I was crazy and that was a bullshit response. Needless to say, that was the last meeting I ever had with her, or any female counselor for that matter.

I still stand by this belief. As someone who has lived with depression since a very, very young age and has had to deal with some trauma’s along the way that are usually held for those of a high numerical age number, I *had* to focus on being content so help save my sanity and belief that not all is bad in the world.

For me, happiness is a *moment*. Hitting goal weight, getting engaged, getting married, trip to LA, trip to NYC, a lazy summer day with ice cold beer, finishing a marathon….those brought happiness to me…those moments. Yes, the happiness lives inside me and sparks when I think of them, but it is not a constant energy that is constantly flowing through me. I’m Suzi fucking sunshine all day.

Some days I am miserable…just because I want to be. Call it being a woman, call is depression, call it not enough sleep, call it what you want. That’s just how it is.

Other days I am down because things bring me down. Whether it’s my fighting my own personal demons that day of negative self talk or because something has happened in my life that has upset me.

Most of my friends know that Tori Amos has been my idol and inspiration since I was very, very young. And yesterday I walked into an exam room and this was on the wall:
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Coincidence???? I think not. It was exactly what I needed to see. It spoke to me so much, not just because of that moment, but because of the overall picture of where I am in my journey to getting back to getting healthy again and getting back to my goal weight.

Sometimes I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about it with my husband, my mother, my friends, on the blog or social media. And that is OK. No, I am not “bottling up” my feelings. I am not suppressing them. I am working through them in my own head, my own way. Sometimes it works to write it out (which is kind of what I’m doing here without really saying what I’m working through, huh? Lol) or meditate or run it out.

So what’s the point of this post?? I don’t freaking know. I guess the point I am trying to get across is that these moments will always happen…whether you haven’t begun your weight loss journey yet, just started, or started it 10 years ago. These “Just leave me alone, and let me just be” moments will always be there and that is OK. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed at anything, it doesn’t mean you are giving up or quitting. Sometimes we just have to *be* with our feelings. And the knowledge we take from these moments is where we really shine.

To quote the wonderful Tori Amos myself this time…
i found the secret to life
i’m okay when everything is not okay
is not okay…oh, we turn and we turn our little blue world upside down
”- Tori Amos, Upside Down

I’ve spent the past year and half gaining all of my weight back and I spent pretty much that entire time in the “not OK” moment. But I learned stuff, not only about myself but also about the way I approach certain things and the way I accept things that I never learned on the journey I took last time.

Now I am 30 years old. I am married. I have a wonderful stepson. I will have many more blessings in my future, I am sure. Some things in life are meant to be. Others are not. Some I can control. Some I can not control. Some things I have to make a choice that while not as easy as I thought it would be, is the best choice for me.

Sometimes our emotions take us by surprise and sometimes we don’t know how to convey those emotions. But that is OK. Feel them, be with them, accept them, and learn from them.

We are all strong, powerful beings who can overcome more than we even know. We don’t give ourselves nearly enough credit. You are amazing…not matter what.

Just call me Suzi Snow Storm!

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Or Suzi Snowflake…or Insane Suzi…

I’m officially registered to run the Lake Effect Half Marathon on February 23rd 2014!!

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I signed up to run this race this past year, but like every race (minus the Color Me Rad run) that I signed up to run this year, I backed out. I only have one DNF in my entire race history (which was really when not only my running was falling apart, but *I* was falling apart)…but this year I sure did rack up a lot of DNS’s and those are the worst.

That will NOT be the case this time!

I have missed running, so much. I miss the *me* time it gave me. I miss the way it helped me relieve stress. I even miss the way it sometimes caused me stress. I miss the feeling of my feet pounding the pavement…now all I feel is my ass pounding the couch cushion. I miss the feeling of accomplishment after a run. I miss the aches and pains. I miss the feeling of getting ready for a race. I miss gathering with my fellow runners at the starting line. I miss crossing a starting line.

Living in Central New York…running in February….it’s pretty crazy. In fact, the first year this race was put on (this will be the 3rd year) there was a crazy snow storm. I remember waking up that morning, looking out the window and saying to myself “Man, I’m glad I didn’t sign up for that race!” HA! That could come back to bite me in the ass big time.

The weather won’t be the only challenge.

As many of you know, I haven’t ran in like, well, forever. There have been a few attempts but they didn’t work out so hot. I either start running like I haven’t gained back over 100 lbs or I act like I can still run 8:00 minute miles….yeah right!! But this past Saturday I went to the parkway and was just planning to go for a walk…but as I’ve mentioned in the past…I’m not a walker. It bores me. If I’m walking it better be to go get beer or shopping or something fun! So Saturday I threw in a few running moments. I had to catch myself a few times because I could feel body wanting to run like I used to…but that’s just not possible (unless I want to hurt myself or give myself a heart attack and I really don’t like either of those options).

But once I slowed down…once I let my legs lift just the right amount…I felt *it*. I felt that *click*. And it wasn’t just about running. It was getting easier when I would say to myself “OK, start running at this marker here and stop at that tree.” I think I ran a little more than I thought because my legs and core have been pretty sore (BOOM! Poetry, bitches!).

I might have actually ran more if I wasn’t pulling my pants up every two seconds…the pants that also have a whole in the backside. I really need to get a nice pair of running pants and a nice long sleeve shirt for cheap, like crazy cheap, like “BUT IT WAS .99 CENTS!” cheap. I also don’t want anything super tight that makes me look like a piece of sausage stuffed into its casing. I have my compression socks and that’s about all the compression I want and need right now.

Am I crazy for planning to run a half marathon in 3 months and 17 days (not that I’m counting or anything)?? Yeah, probably. Especially since I can’t even run a mile straight right now.

But I’ve done crazier stuff with races (hello, marathon. hello, boilermaker 2012).

I’m sure I won’t be running the entire race. And I certainly will not come close to any of my previous half marathon times. But I’m going to that starting line! For the next 3 months I am going to start training again. For the next 3 months I will find my motivation and desire to run. For the next 3 months I will find *myself* again and I will get back to taking care of *me*. For the next 3 months I will stop making excuses and hating myself…I will just suck it the fuck up and DO IT!!

I hope to blog a lot about my journey into this race. I’m not really a newbie, but not really a runner right now. I’ve kind of been calling it a “comeback”…but as my gal Cyndi wrote on my FB page “Don’t call it a comeback- I’ve been here for years”…well that is true. But the past year and a half I have been stuck…and I’m finally starting to feel myself becoming free of all that stickiness. I’m not just training again for another half marathon…I’m getting rid of the weight I added back onto my body…I’m tossing out the bad habits, the excessive habits and re-teaching myself to make the right choices. This is more than just a race for me…it’s a re-birth!

Here I go again…

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