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Just in Time for the Holidays...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The past few weeks have been my longest (and one of my only) absences from SP. I wish that I could say that I have dealt with all of the difficulties of the past weeks with my head held high and a lot of courage and found strength I didn't know I had to make good decisions, etc.
What I can say is that it has been a difficult last 2 months, and I made it through and did the best I could.
There was the attack i n October I wrote about, then the subsequent trial that did me in nearly as much as the actual attack. There was being sick and there was Thanksgiving. There was a trip to NYC where I was not in charge of my food or my time.
Blah, blah, blah.
But now it is December 15th. Yesterday was the day I got to get back to me--I had been looking forward to it for several weeks (we got back from NYC on Monday). So on Tuesday I happily came back to me and my life. One of the core things about that is taking care of myself, something that looked different the past few months, but now looks an awful lot like health. There is nothing coming up that will challenge me too much (barring more trauma). The holidays can be hard, but I am so tired of not living in the way that I've become accustomed in the past 2.5 years that I am ready to say no to all of those cookies!

So, my goals for the next week, Dec 14 - Dec 21:

no coffee at all (I had started letting myself have decaf a day or two a week which has turned magically into caffeinated coffee every day).

No desserts (i'm not a big dessert person, but the occasional piece of dark chocolate has turned into 2 or 3 pieces every night)

no more than 8 oz of wine per day, no liquor (this had slid into 12 oz, etc)

exercise every day with one day off (this has actually stayed on track through everything)

track every day

No unplanned eating, picking, etc. Eating in a planned way does more for my feelings of success, wellness than anything.

I will come up with more holiday specific goals, but for the next week, I want to focus very firmly on these things.

I've kept running, even in the cold. My new gear is fantastic! The lowest I've run in is 19 degrees, but I was not cold at all. With so much ice on the ground right now, though, it looks like a week of Turbo Jam and jumping rope. Winter already seems a little long!

I spent the morning reading friends' blogs that I had missed.
I missed you all!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JAMIEHORN20 12/16/2010 9:34PM

    I hope you're meeting your goals this week. It was so good to read an update...I've been thinking of you a lot lately! And congrats on the running. I've only been sticking to the treadmill!

Hey, any interest in this? I'm going to run it regardless, but it'd be fun if you're free to join!


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ROYALETBONE 12/15/2010 9:35PM

    Thanks for leading the way... I need to follow...

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DDOORN 12/15/2010 10:31AM

    Winter seems TREMENDOUSLY long here as well and it's been a struggle for me also. Had a run the other night in the high special gear, but did okay as I heat up so much when I run.

Missing cycling TERRIBLY!

Let's keep putting one foot ahead of the other...c'mon SPRING! :-)


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The good news! And the really crappy news...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

It's been a while since I've written.
I had planned to write quickly after my first 5K, replete with tales of the race and photos and all the other gushy, celebratory stuff that is supposed to go along with it.
The good news is that it was an amazing day! But I'll get to that in a minute (so that I can end on an up note).

The reason I have not written is that my celebration got cut short. 2 days after my 5K while I was riding home from work on my bike, I got attacked by 4 teenagers. I didn't get physically hurt, though they tried very hard to pull me off of my bike while I was riding. I managed to stop (only 1/2 crashing), and then try to talk to them. The main kid was very, very angry and hateful. I have had the fortune to have training in non-violent communication and deflection of these kinds of situations and it served me well.
But it was still an incredibly difficult (to say the least) and painful experience. And it goes on as 2 of the 4 kids are in jail right now. They are only 13 and 14.
Both my own fear/pain AND the experience of those kids have been all I've been able to focus on the past 2 weeks. I understand both that every individual is responsible for their own actions and that the lives these kids come from doesn't offer them many chances.
It just really sucks.

I feel a lot better now emotionally. I haven't been able to get back on my bike yet, but I expect that will take time and space.

Health wise, I kind of ate what I wanted to for the past 2 weeks. It didn't really make me feel better, but it helped to not have to think about it at the same time. And things didn't go too crazy given the circumstances. I kept running, too, which was great.

But as of yesterday I started tracking again, and started remembering that I am a person who works out several times a week. I started craving again that feeling of being kind of in control of myself, and proud of myself and the way that I am living. I don't judge how I've been for the past 2 weeks, but it's time to get back to me again. So I have. This blog is part of that.

And the good news, again, is that the race was phenomenal! I wept for the last 100 yards and all the way through the finish line into the arms of Jenny and another 20 people who had come to cheer me on. Those running around me in the race kept asking if I was a rock star. I think about 35 people total were screaming on the course for me. It was very fun. I hadn't anticipated talking to other racers about my life changing health behaviors or SP, but I did end up doing so. It was a great spirit. It was amazing to find out other runners (at least at the pace I was running) were welcoming, open, and friendly It was so much fun.
And at the finish line I got 2 bouquets of flowers! (and a Klingon sash of honor!)
And after we had a big party and that was so fun too. The day was really perfect. Really, really perfect.
I want to do another 5K soon. Maybe someday (soon) I'll think about a 10K, but for now I just want to keep running and bask.

So there you have it all.
Love to you all.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FITFRANNIEK 11/13/2010 6:24PM

    OMG annjie! I'm so sorry you had to go through the experience with the kids. Unfortunately, I've had my run-in with this sort of experience too, and I know the overwhelming amount of emotions that can follow. It's a confusing and sad thing on so many levels. I hope you're doing ok.... On a Happier Note: CONGRATS! You're Totally a ROCK STAR! haha! I'M so proud of your running and making it through the 5k! Can't wait to hear about your further training and maybe we can do a St. Louis sparkers 10k together!!

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ROYALETBONE 11/12/2010 10:54PM

    Thank you for sharing - all of this.
We each get quiet for different reasons- processig this must be hard.
Keep on keeping on!

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FUNNINFIT 11/3/2010 8:17PM

    Jamie & I were talking about you last week & she said you were running your first 5K-what a great blog-sharing your scary experience must have been hard-glad you'd have the training to deescalate the situation as much as you did...there are 'turkey day' 5K's in the a 5K in the morning and 'stuff' yourself afterward!!! What a great way to end your race with all your friends/a get together-maybe some of the other runners will remember SP, too!
The two weeks you had your roller coaster emotional ride after your attack are OK-you realized food wasn't really comforting & you're back at your healthy habits-keep us posted & l love your finish line pic!

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DDOORN 11/3/2010 12:59AM

    Your news just knocked the wind right out of me!

Cycling has brought such JOY into my life it just seems so INCONGRUOUS that something so terrible as your situation could ever occur...! Of course rationally, stepping back, knowing the state of the world these days...sure, terrible things sadly happen all the time. I can relate as when I was a teenager others targeted me and threw a glass soda bottle striking me in the head in the dark once upon a time.

But Oh MY! To have this happen to you just makes me so, so sad! And while there's a bit of MAD to the feelings too, I truly hope these fellows can get the help that they need.

AND I truly hope that you can recover the kind of joy I know to my CORE that cycling can bring to a person! I've heard from many women who have been cautious about most outdoor sports: jogging, cycling, walking, etc. for the very reason that they could be targeted by such troubled individuals. Which breaks my heart! We all need to be connected to nature and have the freedom to get out and celebrate all that our bodies can accomplish!

No easy answers...just wishing you all the SPARK you can continue to build into your life!


ps...high FIVES on your 5k! I had similar exhilaration when nearing the end of my century ride this past September! I was just SO HIGH!

Comment edited on: 11/3/2010 1:06:25 AM

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HLEIGHH 11/3/2010 12:54AM

    What a scary and depressing experience. I am so sorry and I hope you are finding ways to process and make peace with what happened. It sounds like you have an amazingly compassionate perspective.

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CASSIES 11/2/2010 10:06PM

    Oh my dear, dear are incredible. My jaw was dropped as I read of the attack and how you handled it.

Your strength, power and compassion are beyond my comprehension.
I am completely in awe of your ability to talk to the angry person you described.

What a trauma and that fact you laid low the past two weeks seems like what you needed to recover.

I am wrapping you in love and compassion......think of me placing a virtual blanket around you, serving you tea.

And I know the feeling of craving exercise again after a needed break. Congrats on the 5K and keep on basking in your runs....I will too.
emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/2/2010 10:07:26 PM

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JAMIEHORN20 11/2/2010 9:37PM

    Annjie! Oh my gosh...what in incredibly scary experience you've gone through. I can't even imagine the range of emotions you've been feeling since the incident. I am SO glad you were able to confront the issue in the way you did. I am sure it wasn't easy.

But on a happier note...YOU DID IT! I absolutely love that picture of you, and I hope you're going to frame it. :) How cool that everyone thought you were a rockstar. Awesome that you had such a crowd turn out for you! Isn't the running community great? You have this preconceived notion that they're all elitist, but runners really do come in all shapes and sizes, and they have such a love for the sport that they're always happy when someone else discovers it.

I am so proud of you...for the running, for how you've handled this tough time, for dusting yourself off and getting back to it, and for just being generally amazing.

You rock!! emoticon

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YPPHOTOGAL 11/2/2010 8:55PM

    I'm sorry to hear about what happened to you. I am glad to hear that everything is working out and I hope that things continue to move in a good direction for you! Congrats on your 1st 5k I am re-doing week 2 of the couch to 5k program! Thanks for the inspiration!


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3 days from my first 5K

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I've been quietly training for my first 5K which is this weekend!
I am so, so excited!! The training has gone really well. I had been training this spring, but was sidelined by a hip injury. I've taken it slowly and feel really good this time around. It has been both good and hard putting so much focus on one thing (other things have gone to the wayside in the interest of 'hip protection' like digging in the garden, tennis, and this week biking). I look forward to all of those things coming back. But for now, I am all 5K all the time.

It feels like such a moment. Such a big moment where time should just stand still for a second when I cross that finish line. It represents so much for me. I feel like I am rejoicing with and holding up the transforming me of the past 2 1/2 years but also the heartbroken me in 3rd grade when a valentine got rejected with a note saying I was as wide as I was tall. I feel like I am making it up to the jr. high student who was so embarrassed by her elastic waist stretch jeans. I feel like the girl who's mom said, "I only wish I could go into a normal store to buy clothes for you", is looking up and smiling at me.

And a million other examples. I carry them all with me when I run this Saturday.
And I carry all of my SP examples and friends as well. In fact, I ordered a new SP tee to run in just to carry that message to anyone who might be looking during the race.

I wrote a note to a lot of friends and family. Most of them will never know, never have any idea how deep this goes for me. But I wanted to give them a hint.

So here is the note, to them, to you. And the details of the race in case any St. Louis folks are around.

I've also been practicing my arms in the sky victory pose for crossing that finish line!!



On October 16th I will be running my first 5K!

I don’t want to get all Oprah on you (at least not so soon in this note), but at no point in my life have I imagined that it would be possible to run a 5K, or a 1K for that matter. But as you probably know, the past 2 ½ years have been incredibly transformative for me in many ways.

The reason I am telling you this is because you are one of the people who have been holding me up in this process, helping me and encouraging me, and making this all possible. You have loved me before and during this process, and that has made an incredible difference. I am not exactly where I want to be yet. Having said that, I am further than I ever, ever dreamed I would be. And believe me when I tell you I have dreamed about this for most of my life.

So… I want you there! This 5K is a big deal for me, a celebration of life and health, and I want to be surrounded by the people who have been surrounding me so well to this point.

But…This is a no pressure deal. I KNOW you support me. This is mostly a chance to say thank you. But do come if you are in town, free, and so inclined.

And…(here’s the Oprah part)

It has been an amazing thing to wish for something my whole life and then realize I can have it. It is even more amazing to realize that I have the power to make it happen. It’s been so good, it makes me want to encourage everyone to do that thing that they think is impossible.

I should mention that this has been possible because of all of you, but also because of this website: Check it out if you like!


Saturday, October 16th

Race Starts at 4:00pm

Race Start and Finish is at:

Amsterdam Tavern
3175 Morganford
St. Louis, MO 63116

If you want to be on part of the course (which would be awesome to see smiling, happy people all through the race), here is a link to the race route:

After the race, we are going to converge for celebration at the annex of Café Ventana near SLU. For directions and to see the food and drink menus, go here:

We’re expecting to be at Ventana around 5:30pm.

Thanks so much!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TOWANDA132 10/18/2010 5:21PM

    This is so beautiful you brought a tear to my eye! I'm signing up for my 2nd 5k very soon. I'm so proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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ROYALETBONE 10/17/2010 9:46PM

    Great letter- wonderful goal.
Hope you are feeling the juice this evening... don't forget to drink more water to flush out the lactic acid.

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DDOORN 10/13/2010 11:17PM

    AWESOME DEAL on your 5K!

You are going to SPARK your way through to that finish line!

Accomplishments like these can give us SUCH a THRILL! I'm so EXCITED for you!


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TXDREAMSPINNER 10/13/2010 5:38PM

    How exciting! I am running my first 5K next weekend and am having so many mixed feelings. You sound so positive and excited. I wish all the best. I am too far away to be there cheering for you but I will be there in spirit. I can't wait to hear how awesome you did!

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COOP9002 10/13/2010 4:13PM

    I'm sure that letter means an awful lot to you. Best of luck on your race this weekend.

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Why am I so quiet?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

That's actually a pretty amusing title if you know me---I am extroversion incarnate.
But I've been so quiet here on SP. Not inactive, but not interactive. I've been mostly tracking my food and exercise like always, but I just don't seem to have time or energy for writing to folks, responding to blogs, or writing my own blog. I've never been way interactive (my internet time is a little limited). But I usually every other week or so go through a little bevy of activity, responding to cool stuff, getting inspired by peoples' stories, following the progress and lives of my friends here.

I have 2 thoughts---they are completely opposite and I'm not sure which is true:

1. It is summer, and I've been super active. So it's great that I've been tracking still, but my online time has given away to active things in a huge way. I'm biking, playing tennis, training for a 5K again, gardening, etc. It was a long, hard winter last year, and I am making up for it by being off the computer and into life this summer, soon to return to my former ways of checking in more frequently once the weather changes.


2. This is a warning sign. Though I'm still tracking, could that be the next online activity to go? Could this be a sign that I am not being as careful, as enthusiastic, and focused as I should be? Is this the thing that happens before it all falls apart (cue dramatic music indicating impending doom).

Well, it's probably a little of both. I am amazed by the people who keep their activity and enthusiasm up long term. I've been here 2.5 years now and am still on the SP hoop and holler band wagon. I tell everyone about it. I sing the praises of SP to my patients, coworkers, and mostly anywhere it slightly fits into the conversation.
But online it's harder to keep my oomph up. Has anyone else ever felt like that?

My friend Jamie Horn talks about it as a privilege and responsibility. I grew up in AA with my Dad, so know that once you get your s**t together, it is imperative that you help other people do the same. I believe that. But the motivation is harder to come by.

Anyway, if you've paused to wonder where I am, there you have it.

Things are great. My hip injury is not bothering me anymore and my 5K training is progressing beautifully. I am SO happy to be running again.
I am creeping out of the 180s and I am pretty excited about that. 179 is my next big goal, but I haven't decided what to reward myself with yet.

It sounds so freaking crazy to me to say, "I have 24 pounds to go till my goal weight."
24 pounds????
How I've hated people who had such little weight to lose. I've spent years despising people who complained about such a thing.
And here I am.
It is glorious. And humbling. I try not to hate too much these days (although jealousy at all you longer distance runners is still coming easily to me :)

Eating is good. It comes and goes. I am more relaxed in a way but within parameters I am comfortable with.

It's almost like after 2 1/2 years---this is me now, not an experiment or project. It's me and my life.

How cool is that?

See....once you start me talking I just can't stop! :)

PS giving up coffee is complete! we haven't had it in over a month now. It went OK. I still miss it, but am doing OK and feeling proud.
Wine is going harder, but we did find a Michigan wine we like, which fits better in with our local philosophy than California or Australian wine did!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROYALETBONE 9/16/2010 1:37PM

    So glad to hear you are doing well.... woot, woot!

phooey- 1st one didn't post until after the 2nd one did- computers...

Comment edited on: 9/16/2010 1:43:39 PM

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ROYALETBONE 9/16/2010 1:36PM

    Glad to hear 'bout you.... s'all good!

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JULIEIRENE 9/16/2010 11:51AM

    This is a great post! I think the question about active vs. interactive is a good one. I have found that I go in waves of both, and definitely as I've focused more on being active (outside) this summer, I was less active (online) here. Now I feel fall approaching and am thinking about adjusting to the shorter days/holiday season and anticipating that soon I will need more encouragement, so this week I've been working to re-engage in my online interaction.

As for your running and being so close to your goal weight - congratulations! That is huge and amazing and I can relate to that mental transformation that has to go on along with our physical transformation - so many layers to it all!!!

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DDOORN 9/16/2010 4:10AM

    Similar sentiments here as well...after 3 1/2 years with our SparkFamily it can be a challenge to come to SP with the same level of enthusiasm. In my case it has paralleled a bit of slacking in my approach to my new SPARKED lifestyle, although basically still intact. I recently made up my mind to rev it up a bit and return more to the things I know that work.

Great hearing from you and kudos to your ongoing success!


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JAMIEHORN20 9/15/2010 9:39PM

    I could have written this blog!!! (Well most of it...the part about me talking about myself in the third person would have been a little weird. Plus I just got a Bunn coffee maker and it is no giving up coffee for me. Okay, that is probably not what you want to hear, but I am proud of you for your decision and for sticking by it!)

I am in a funk too. I seriously had to make myself sit down tonight and catch up. I don't want the spark thing to get old, but I wonder if we have to change it up now that we've been at it for so long. I rarely respond to posts, and often it's a chore to catch up with my spark friends, even though I always enjoy hearing from them.

And it was great to hear from you...I did get excited to see you had a new blog. I bet you are right...once it gets too cold to leave the house, we will probably be online more. :)

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FUNNINFIT 9/15/2010 7:55PM

    I am excited that you've moved into a phase of your life where you are active/training/and comfortable in your own skin-there isn't the 'desperation' in your blog that many of us had(have) in the beginning-time/experience has shown it's a long process & I'm happy for you!!! You know we appreciate hearing from you, but it's cool to know you're doing so well & encouraging others about SP! Do you have a 5K chosen yet? I've decided to let my toenails grow back(still have one left to 'fall off') before I run more than a 10K again! I gotta go back & check out your pics-you go girl!!!

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ELLEN0407 9/15/2010 7:02PM

  i think you are focused and are quiet because of that. keep on track

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Ready to Refocus (and coffee and wine)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Things have been a bit rough since returning from vacation a week and a half ago. We offer hospitality to a homeless Mom and her 3 kids, and are very involved in the kids lives, education, etc. The summer and 4th of July always bring great struggles to our house (I won't bore you with the details), but it's been rough. I can't wait for the school year to start again.

I am feeling pretty good, though. I just wrote a long journal entry, which was helpful. Food on vacation was better than any previous vacation. I actually think I stayed in range most days. I let up a little bit (not intentionally) the last 2 days, and that letting up has seeped into real life. It has felt too overwhelming (because of the other stuff going on) to track, and I am not focused and so making lots of tiny poor decisions many times a day (a lick of a spoon with peanut butter here, an extra walnut or 2 there, you know the drill).

The good news is that exercise has been awesome, both before vacation and since we got back. We are playing tennis a lot, and really working hard during our drills. On vacation there was tennis, biking, paddle tennis on the beach, and splashing around in the waves—all very cool.

The other good news is that the unfocus is not throwing me too much emotionally, which still amazes me. It’s not time to freak out, it’s just time to focus again.

Two other things we decided on vacation were to give up coffee and to drastically reduce our wine consumption. I joke that these 2 things are my only vices left. We’ll see how it goes. This is not, per say, a health decision, but a continuation of our desire to reduce our impact on the earth by not consuming poorly—most of what we eat we get locally and seasonally, but there is no Missouri wine that we like and no coffee produced anywhere near here. I think in a way those decisions have me panicked, though. I see coffee and wine as my treats, and now I have to do without (or with less)? I’ll keep you posted. The whole treat thing is interesting. As Jenny pointed out yesterday, we start to feel entitled when we feel deprived. When we feel entitled we can justify an awful lot. So how to give up coffee and reduce wine and not feel deprived??? I don’t have a clue about that one.

Anyway my little 2 week hiatus is over, and I am very happy to be back, and refocusing.

I hope you all are well.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JAMIEHORN20 7/12/2010 8:18PM

    Wow, I am very inspired by your choice to give up coffee and wine. Perhaps you can indulge in a little local beer from time to time? We have some good options there. Keep me posted on how it's going!

Refocusing after vacation always seems to be an issue for me too. Glad you stayed on track so well while you were there. That's half the battle!

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ROYALETBONE 7/11/2010 9:21PM

    What a powerful woman you are- what healthy and loving to the earth and yourself choices you are making.
(She says, while sipping a lattee).... good on you!

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BETHSTL 7/11/2010 2:12PM

    You are doing wonderful...look at that ticker moving in the right direction LOL...Good for you.

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FUNNINFIT 7/11/2010 11:09AM

    I applaud your efforts to be more conscious of consumption/environmental issues...perhaps you can have the ounce of dark chocolate each day-AND, if you truly want a sip of wine, there are so many local wineries that offer 'samples', you'd have no problem getting in your 'quota'!!!
Your vacation sounds like it was an active one-good for you!

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