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Weddings, Summer & Resetting Some Goals

Monday, June 16, 2014

I enjoyed a fantastic few days up in my old home town Burlington, Vermont for the beautiful wedding of one of my closest friends, POKIEFUZZBUCKET. It was perfect! The wedding took place on a boat on Lake Champlain and was filled with a lot of laughs, some happy tears, a beautiful sunset, an awesome music playlist, a delicious maple cake complete with edible lake monster decoration, and lots of great new people I met. I had never had the privilege to be in a wedding party before, but it was so much fun and I couldn't have asked for a better person to have asked me!

Here's some pictures:

Me and the happy couple a month ago counting down the days!

Patti getting her makeup done!

Awaiting boarding the boat!

My fancy hair and makeup!

Getting ready!


All of us--

What a memorable weekend. My favorite part after the wedding itself, was playing games and laughing hysterically with some of Patti's family in a log cabin out in the woods late at night after the rehearsal dinner. They are some of the funniest people and so immediately welcoming - man I wish they all lived closer or I lived closer haha. It was so reenergizing to my spirit. Then of course, the Burlington food I missed and loved! And the gorgeous landscapes and people. Ah. I almost want to move back to Burlington.

In other thoughts, I am looking ahead to summer. I have a 4th interview at a behavioral health agency in Pittsburgh (yeah, 4th) later this week and I am hoping I get offered the job as soon as possible because I'm fresh out of money. I'm living with my two guy friends - one owns the house so we all basically pay no rent, which has been a godsend to me. I love these guys like brothers and we spend a lot of time together which has been great because i'm at a phase in my life where i am trying to learn how to be sustainably non-isolated, lol. They are working on making music and we are working on planting a garden, and we have been juicing pretty regularly together like one little family. It's pretty cool. I also figured out how to make rice flour by grinding brown rice in the juicer so I am going to start experimenting more with other things like nuts, etc. We are all talking tentatively about potentially making a group move to LA in the fall - them for their band taking off and me, I have some ideas about an organization I am starting to dream and plan on building that I think would really mesh well with so-cal culture and people. More on that later. So we are all just basically working on saving up money, them on getting the band stuff in order, and me on some physical goals that will move me more in the direction of my career/ professional goals because part of it will incorporate having some athletic training capability or background. So that's exciting.

I've been looking at instagram photos for ideas on healthy meals, juicing ideas, and other recipes and collecting pictures. I think I am going to revive my old tumblr page and re-post what I find to keep myself full of options and ideas and just try to gain speed and momentum like a snowball again. Being back in Vermont briefly reminded me of some of my greater times, with running, exercising, self-inventing, and I'm kind of excited and optimistic to redefine this now in my life - right as I am turning 28 and trying to power up to the 30s with no regrets as I close the decade of these tumultuous twenties.

I saw the following picture on instagram somewhere and laughed because it is the EPITOME of the root problem I have been trying to figure out with regard to weight loss this wholleeeeee time. if anyone has any ideas or tips how to do the following, let me know! :)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CONFUSEDBIRD 6/17/2014 8:26AM

    Great to see you back! Looked like a lovely wedding!

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June coming through a Big Grey Fog

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Something possessed me to log on today, despite not having been around since last July. Wow, time seems to really be flying by in life when I stop at sporadic moments to notice. The only thing that remains the same is that I continue to vacillate on weight loss, eating healthy and in control, and making space to prioritize my own needs. To be fair, I have made some personal strides with self-respect and continue to learn new things about it and how I want to negotiate that I suppose. In March, I quit a toxic social work job in the city of Chicago and in the most recent months, packed up my things, got rid of most everything I owned and moved to Pittsburgh. The closer I get to finishing up the decade of my twenties the more I find myself second guessing what I want, who I am, where I should be, what to do next. The most impressionable concept I have explored in these years is this idea of feeling multiple things at the same time - both heartbreak and relief at the end of a necessary breakup, both joy and pain and a myriad of other things at the same time in the midst of an endurance event, etc. It still strikes me sometimes as incredible - that the human experience is so complex and becoming less and less black and white as time moves on. Something about it kind of feels like a pressure to make room for all of these overlapping feelings and experiences and lessons, and that comes in mental conflict I think with my already ongoing engagement of anxiously making my body larger to contain whatever.

I'm in Pittsburgh now. And I'm second guessing it all the time, feeling self-conscious, and strange because my best friend was from here. In the time since he died, I have gotten somewhat close to other members in his family and things sometimes feel like they cycloned for me to move here - but I feel strange about it, like I should have and shouldn[t have at the same time. I'm really having a hard time explaining it. A lot of it, honestly, has to do with my perceptions of what other people's perceptions are or would be about me for doing this. I don't have any strong, real reason why I came here. My best friend's brother and his best friend live here and have stayed in touch and we have visited in each of our cities multiple times since the funeral. They were elated for me to move here; at the moment I am sleeping on their couch. But in the last week or so things have gotten strained; the brother and I got into a heated argument last night and things still feel kind of off. I will spare you the details but I felt lessened, dismissed, like my feelings were under attack and like my personhood was disrespected. I don't quite know what to do and I think in general, it is part of a larger trajectory in my own realm about figuring out my place, what I want to stand up for about myself in general, when to let things go, how to end an argument without getting the last word or straining to be understood when you won't be understood. I don't know, I feel like I have not figured much out about life at all. I feel like people must think I can't let this death go, that I am obsessive, leeching, lost. (Maybe I can't. Maybe I am.) Sane people are likely to say that most people probably aren't thinking about me at all, and if they are, maybe not thinking those things, but I feel paranoid at times; I don't even know why it matters to my mind. Loneliness comes in all forms and this seems to be one of them.

I'm back up to my highest weight - I don't specifically know what it is because Planet Fitness doesn't have any scales inside the location I got a membership at here, and I haven't had any other opportunities to weigh myself, except on a really old bathroom scale that I came across at a Memorial Day Yard Sale that maxed out at 270 and I knew I hadn't just serendipitously reached that number. I went on a short exercise on Memorial Day - the hills here are severe enough to give a person a heart attack and I just allowed myself to do what I could, speed up and slow down, choose which street to negotiate next as it came - on a whim. I stopped at a war memorial, felt the sun on my head and arms. I came back and ate a banana and drank some water and felt hazed.

Something positive is that in two weeks a good friend is getting married in Vermont and I am lucky to be in the wedding party. It's going to be on a boat! I am so happy for these two and am so looking forward to enjoying their day. The girls all met up a couple weeks ago for a weekend of fun in the mountains and we did a painting party which was really unique and cool. I have my painting hanging up in my office space in Pittsburgh and it makes me smile every time I see it.

As I'm trying to find myself, and find my place and my life moving forward, I feel an urgency or a sort of faint knocking at the door to my desire to return to running. Almost like a complete second wind - a chance to start completely over. The function it served in my life back in 2009 and in the subsequent four marathons I ran is something I behold in the corridors of who I am and something I feel an intriguing interest to try again, to see how it can fit into my life again at present, how it may transport me to my thirties in the next two years and how I can manipulate it to fit my needs - emotionally, spiritually, physically... I feel like an opportunity could be here for me, so I am going to quietly try to take it. Hopefully I will be channeling it into an explosive force this time - version 2.0. I feel my thoughts and words are scattered here, I am not quite articulating all of it, but I will eventually get clearer. Something that left a deep impression on me was a time when s a good friend Maureen said to me the following:

" One observation I'd like to make is that when you are running, your blogs are really excellent, and by that, I mean they are not just well written, but they are truly thought-provoking, inspirational, and get to the heart of the matter of what this journey is about. They resonate.

You are a good writer, so you don't have any *bad* blogs, but when you are running, your blogs really stand out. I remember once you said something about how you sort of write the blogs on the runs. "

I know what she means. I want to get back to that place, for myself. And I truly truly want to close the door in this decade in the next two years with resilience, power, revered beauty and spiritual peace. I want to dig my way, ferociously and so positively, out of the fog. So we all have been juicing vegetables here at the house, we have a grill and a nice outdoor fire pit we set up, and seeds we are planning on planting. I'm working on running, and doing morning meditation on the deck off the kitchen, and getting ideas of healthy dinners on instagram. Trying to just get the engine going at a slow speed and giving myself freedom and flexibility to dip my toes in wherever and however as I get re-started. Remembering something that helped me in the past: the idea that a whole series of choices and "chances" to get it "right" occur in a minute, hour, day, week. Just accumulate more good choices and more good choices and soon you will be rolling at high speed. I'll be back with another blog in the next couple days.

A photo of me from 17 weeks ago, at a hospital in Chicago, on the job (it wasn't all bad):

The most recent photo I have of me from May up in Smugglers Notch in Jeffersonville, VT:

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_COSMOPAULATAN_ 6/1/2014 10:05PM

    Maureen is right, of course, you have always written beautifully. Perhaps you are in your new home to discover why you chose to be there at this point in your life. It sounds as if there is a lot to stay curious to, and you seem to be flirting with the mindset that served many of us well in that magical 2009-2010-2011 period of self - love and discovery. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for.

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Magic Numbers, Loss and the Illusion of Choice

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I recently turned 27 and have been thinking a lot lately about how embodiment is a strange thing. When I think back on the life I have lived so far, I can't remember much of a time when I DIDN'T feel consumed by the desire to be skinny, to exist in a certain body and therefore do certain things. I can really see certain ways in which I put off living because I hadn't figured out how to get that skinny body yet -always thinking, "later, later, later I will be able to wear the clothes i really liked that they don't make in my always larger size, later I will be "eligible" for romantic relationships, later I will start living my life." In a lot of ways I have lived despite of my body and had eye opening experiences that contained an additional element of seeing myself do the things i always assumed were classified- I ran races and biked across the country and experienced what it was like to do it in a body (MY body!) that didn't look so much like the majority of others out there and to feel awed and proud of that, surprised, delighted even. i took risks, and I saw my body changing because of it. I did get into a romantic relationship at one point despite my body not having yet morphed into my ideal, and experienced the things I always thought was reserved or would be better for people who looked "better."

When I think back to who I was just a few years ago when I found SparkPeople and was motivated by its novelty and the community I was making, it became my primary source of joy as I negotiated life's challenges that I am learning will always be there alongside whatever else you are trying to build, create, imagine, and realize. I joined the site following my first big breakup and broken heart, and I was at the highest weight of my life: 285. At that time, something somehow clicked and I began to work on my running goals and commit to myself. I think in a way it had to do with the loss of my relationship- I didn't have a choice, so I turned inward and began to put my energy onto myself as I tried to heal my heart because I had no where else to put it. I needed the distraction, the feeling of being in control of something, the positivity that would come with success and on-scale and off-scale victories. I found that I really began to live life and it blew my mind and fed me spiritually - I remember taking this on a whim trip to New York City in nothing but my running clothes and just going for a run and then flying home, running a route in the shape of my name on my birthday, meeting new friends that filled me up with joy and belonging and challenged me to reach for my dreams.... I was present in my life through my pursuits of getting fit.

I can't understand why when things can be that good, fulfilling, happy-making why we ever let it go and slip back into old ways - binge eating, avoiding exercise, self-shaming, letting ourselves feel more and more hopeless as time goes on and we don't peel ourselves off our couches or beds to engage in our dreams or goals? what is it about my fat unengaged body that works for me? It makes no logical sense... why don't I stick with the stuff that I have proven to myself has made me really happy and brought me to life - the running, the consciousness, the reaching for goals, the optimism for the future as I want to define and create it?

I think in some ways things get in the way and my own poor coping skills have allowed me to prioritize the stuff that gives me anxiety in the past year (making a major move to chicago, searching for months for full time employment, worry about bills, etc) and then I don't have energy left to put into exercising because I am too busy convincing myself that I "don't have time" when i needed to apply for jobs (ridiculous), and i see myself spend way too much time on the internet which i think was a big distraction for me from my emotions and struggles.

Now I am in a similar experience as I was when I had my first break up, and strangely, I am at the same magic weight - 285. I have been desiring and desiring for months to get back on track, obsessively think about it, try to plan for it but have just been completely unmotivated, unwilling in some subconscious and conscious ways. The thought of "I'll do it later" was so strong in my every day mental dialogue. Then suddenly, my best friend passed away. I've been going through the grief process, and have arrived at that feeling again of facing something you have no choice in and I am floundering. I know I need to start putting energy back into my own wellbeing or I will not make it. What the hell does that even mean, "I'll do it later?"

The only choice we have every day we continue to wake up is to take risks. You don't have a choice about what the weather will be like, what the people around you in your morning commute will be like, what is going to appear on the evening news. You can choose your risks accordingly to the perceived level of consequence- what clothes you will wear to work, what to have for lunch, speeding, quitting your job to start a new business. I think maybe the risk of weight loss for someone who has never experienced the skinny body that possesses my fantasies, it is hard to take the risk all the way because i don't know what level of "consequence" it will have. will changing my body change who I am in essence, and how? what will my life be like in all the ways beyond what i physically look like? will people treat me differently than they have, and will I know how to manage or handle that?

I read an article on Forbes about risks and this part stood out to me:

"Ronald Heifetz, professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, likes to say that if you make one real decision in your life, that’s more than most people. Taking a real risk? Well, that’s just a rarity.

That’s because making real decisions and taking real risks requires freedom–freedom from the loyalties, expectations and fears that inevitably fog our risk-vs.-reward equation. “Peoples’ choices to take or refrain from risk are over-determined by their culture,” notes Heifetz."

The article also makes the point that all the people they interviewed (celebrities, powerful business people, athletes, etc) all said the same common thought: "The biggest risk is not taking any risk at all." And I wondered about that.

If I don't take this risk of losing weight and once and for all changing my life in terms of eating and fitness, I risk my health, my future, my livelihood. I risk not knowing what my life could be like, and I got a glimpse a few years ago on here when I managed to go from 285 to 220 after a lot of hard work, openmindedness, and patience/ diligence. If it was that bright and beautiful, then what could it be like if I accomplish my goals to get my weight in control once and for all and live the rest of my life maintaining? What would I fill my mind up with instead of the hours and hours a day I think about my "defective" body?

I joined a four week challenge thanks to MAMADELIGHT, and I am using it as a reset button. That is where I start. My only other commitment right now is that I will go to sleep earlier (by 9PM) in order to get up earlier and have time to use to pack lunch, prepare for working out either before or after work, to minimize the energy it will take to actually DO IT.) Planning ahead really works for me and I know that from my previous experiences. I want to blog every day, even if the posts are brief, to get myself back into the routine and build my rhythm. I am going to end this post here so I have some time to do some exercise and cleaning before going to work but there is a lot more I want to write - especially about "choice" and where I'm at and where I want to go.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOODIGGETY 9/12/2013 9:17PM

    First of all, you are so beautiful. Really...you are! And how beautiful that you have decided to hit the reset button as it were and take a different kind of risk....a risk to LIVE and be a healthier you. Hope we can be Spark buddies cus' I'm on the same journey and...I have my very first 5k in October. I'm completely excited and freaked out about it all at the same time. I agree with Baddogg....it's going to be exciting hearing about the new adventures that lie ahead of you.

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SEAJESS 8/23/2013 2:00AM

    You are wise and amazing and deeply encouraging to me as I put the shovel down and stop digging myself further into a relapse to unhealthy living.

I'm so glad you had some of the experiences we can be tempted to put off until we're the "right" weight.

I'm kind of speechless after reading your blog.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_MAYBETHISTIME_ 8/12/2013 8:06PM

    I completely understand all of this in ways I'm sure you know.

Sometimes I feel like I don't have the energy to put into exercise and weight loss and then I'm wondering: is it BECAUSE I'm not doing it that I don't have the energy to do it?

You're amazing, my dear, and ya know I love ya. I think you're beautiful at any size but what's important is that you're healthy and happy. I don't have any doubt that you can do this ... I mean, look at what you've done already - the marathons and the bike riding and the brave flight just to run. I can't wait to see you make it all happen for yourself.

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FREES1 7/18/2013 1:03PM

    Dash - I am so sorry for your loss... i hope you are moving beyond the grief and are starting to feel the joy in the memories of your time with your friend...

Its so good to see you back on SP.. you've been missed. Change is hard and changing gets scary.. you are correct, I think, that once we begin to move into the unfamiliar we seek the comfort of the known... and you changed many things besides your weight when your situtation changed...

you lost 65 pounds - almost a quarter of the person you were when you started.. that's a lot! but you sampled it and you know you liked and were able to cope with the person you were at 220 so this time shouldn't be so scary!!!

hang in - you can do it... we're all here struggling right along with you.. welcome back!

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    I am so with you... I find myself approaching my "magic number"/highest weight again and it is so strange to think about why that has happened (especially considering how incrementally over the last 30 pounds or so I have kept telling myself, "this is enough"). But I am grateful that you thought of me for that challenge... now we just have to win our money back!

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BTVMADS 7/13/2013 6:48PM

    Welcome back, Ash! I'm sorry to see that you struggled while you were away from SP, but so happy that you have the same thoughtfulness, introspection, and eloquence that I've always so admired in you and your writing. I'm actually really excited to read more about your new life in Chicago and the adventures you're going to take in the future!

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SHEILA1505 7/13/2013 4:22PM

    Hi there, Ash - look forward to hearing all about your journey
Wishing you strength
Hugs xxx

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MOLLI15 7/13/2013 2:45PM


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5BADDOGS 7/13/2013 12:11PM

    You FLEW to NY to go for a run?!?! Now that's crazy fun!

I applaud your decision to get back to living the life you want. And I look forward to reading more about your adventures, because you sound like someone who really knows how to have a good time!

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Well, well, well. Look who the cat dragged in. and by cat, I mean Caterpillar Bulldozer because I have gained back all the pounds.

Ha. Who's ready for a big old Front Street update??? Better get comfortable for this one. :-)

To see where I'm at, I had to look back at where I left off and I literally laughed out loud for a while and then almost peed my pants. My last blog update is this laughable post about how I was trying to eliminate all kinds of refined sugars and crap and well, I can't say that really lasted long at all. It was about right after that, that I lost my job in April. It's a long story but basically what it comes down to is that they had originally hired me to do a specific position that had to do with a new program they wanted to start. As soon as I was hired, one of the directors left abruptly for a new opportunity so my new program got put on hold. In the meantime, I was doing an interim job that wasn't totally my cup of tea, but I was doing it with the hope of the future. After all, I had moved out to one of the most remote parts of Vermont for the original job which was going to further my experience and career. If I wanted an entry-level job, I could have done it with less degrees and in a place with more people my age, but I digress. Anyway, it was coming on the new fiscal year and everyone was hoping/planning that that would be the time to start the new program. Meanwhile, I was sinking and sinking fast into depression. It's mortifying to say but there were days (lots of them) that I would DRAG myself to work, scary close to being late because I just couldn't get myself to move and I would come home and immediately crawl into bed and cry until I'd fall asleep. That was it. And McDonalds. (Told you I was gonna bare it all. And if you want to know the gruesome, it was the time of 2 for $3.33 Filet-o-Fish deal, which I got very into.) Well, I came upon an opportunity to apply for a grant for $20,000 which, long story short, would have given us a brilliant segue into starting up the new program. I wrote the grant myself and applied with my director's blessing and review of my application. It wasn't until I got the entire $20,000 award that I saw it in my director's eyes upon telling her that she hadn't truly thought we would get it. It was a mix of "oh sh!t" and "omg.... what are we going to do now...." As you might guess, in the coming weeks, she kept putting off meetings or rescheduling, stalling really. Finally, we were scheduled to meet and she came in and told me my job was over. That the new program wasn't going to be starting up (infrastructure issues) and that we couldn't accept the grant after all, and they didn't know when or if they'd be able to do the new program so they were letting me go. As miserable as I already was, holy sh!!!!!t was I miserable, my first thought was literally, "this is it. I'm moving to Chicago!" my second thought was about my integrity and the fact that now I had to go back to the grant people and tell them "oops, my agency made a mistake, they aren't really as ready as I made us sound." awesome for a young professional who just got her first 20K grant. Here's a bulletpoint list of what happened next:

- Job gets terminated on a Wednesday in mid-April. Negotiated one more week of work so I could ethically wrap up with my clients.
- Flew to Chicago that Friday - Sunday which I had already been planning, to see a friend from college. Decide I'm definitely moving.
- Work one last week at my job, tie up every loose end, let all the clients know. Go to Boston to talk to grant people, they tell me they read my application, they know i have what it takes to do the project I proposed anywhere with some tweaks, that there's no time limit and the money is earmarked for me when I'm ready to use it. SCORE.
- Give month's notice at apartment.
- Fly back to Chicago on one way ticket and end up staying two weeks with friends - look for jobs, apartments, etc. Start the hellish process to obtaining unemployment benefits. Get em. Score an apartment. Interview for some jobs. Ask friend of a friend who owns coffeeshop for part time job but they don't need any help at the moment. Couple days later get an email that they do actually need help and could i at least commit to the summer? Yeeehaw!
- Go back to Vermont, get rid of furniture via Craigslist so I have some money to move. Federal tax refund (thank God) covers security deposit and first month's rent in Chicago and all the flying that took place between late April and May. Pack up apartment into car. Drive to CT. Fly to North Carolina to see Bike & Build friend's wedding. Fly back to CT.
-Drive to Chicago.
-Move into new apartment on May 31, start working at the coffee shop 6/1. Slowly (and still in the process of) acquiring furniture from alleys, recycled places (couch cost $40 for instance).
- Listen to a lot of Stevie Nicks. Ride bike on Lakefront Trail. Get advice from people. Go to networking events. Explore. See free movies in the parks. See Natalie Merchant and cry. Go to the beaches of Lake Michigan at night. The early days of getting here, everyone was so nice to me, friends helped me out big time, people paid for my dinners sometimes. Made me feel welcomed. Threw surprise going away party for a friend who was going to work in Chile for the next 8 months. Discover a fantastic mixed drink and big party pleaser with my juicer. (juice fresh apples and fresh ginger and then add jameson and ice. wowwwww!!!) Apply apply applyyyy for jobs. Start volunteering at a homeless shelter.

And we're at present moment. I'm still working on finding a full-time job (anxiety city, unemployment's gonna run out soon and despite being fully qualified for some of these jobs, no one responds anymore. In the beginning people were interviewing me, telling me it was a hard decision and giving weak excuses like, "you haven't lived in Chicago long enough." Now I can't even get an interview and I'm not sure why. It's hard, hard for everyone, but I'm still working at the coffeeshop, praying I can get a full time job soon, too. Student loans are hounding me, ugh.

Anyway. Chicago marathon's in like two weeks. So I thought I should give you all an update on where I am since GOGOSHIRE will be here in a mere few days and I figured you should hear it from me first before the onslaught of marathon pics in which i will actually look like a human meatball.

The funny thing is... well it's not really funny at all, but I haven't really done sh!t since last summer - since Bike & Build!!! That was a little over ONE YEAR AGO!!! I was at the lowest weight of my life, 220 - I can't believe now looking at those pictures what a difference 30-40 pounds really makes. And mostly, just in the athletic conditioning. I went from physical activity, strenuous physical activity of average 10-13 hours a day to ZERO. And part of that is that what could really compare to bike & build? physically or emotionally. In ways, I still feel like i am recovering deep inside from that. The experience changed my life so deeply and I know it all sounds like an excuse when it comes down to it, but I dont really know how to articulate it anyway. I want to get back to that joie de vivre in so many ways. So here I am. Coming back. The good thing is that I've seen 220. I've seen what it feels like to be able to fit into my sister's clothes for the first time in my life, what it feels like to be able to wear smaller sizes, what my body looked like then. Which means I know it's possible now. It doesn't feel all that daunting that I have to re-lose the 30-40 pounds I packed back on. (That's a lot in one year though! wow. just now thinking about that.) Mostly what is startling to me about it all is that my body looks goopy in ways. Athletic conditioning is a serious thing!!!! Even if the scale doesnt move or moves really slowly, your body still gets firmer, fits into smaller spaces.... THAT'S WHAT I CARE ABOUT, WHAT I MISS. I miss walking down the street feeling like an athlete. I'm getting that back now.

As for Chicago, I am kind of amused because when I signed up I hadn't planned at all that I'd be living here when I ran it. I didn't think I was ready to actually run a marathon in the very place I lived (all my marathons have been destinations) for weird, inarticulable reasons, but now it's like well, the future is now. I'm doing it now, ready or not. And in someways, I kind of like this. Moving to the midwest, moving to a major U.S. city... having the guts to just do it all, well, I think this is perfect timing. This will be a way to feel a connection to my new home - to run a marathon in MY city, it's like an official ceremonial type thing now, a commitment, a fusion, a promise, a ribbon-cutting in a way.

Well this blog doesnt say everything I wanted it to say, but there's always tomorrow. And even though it's disorganized and kind of all over the place, I just wanted to give an update, and say that I'm bringing myself back and bringing up my self-expectations. I don't want to turn 30 in four years and still be living in this buried body. I want to experience the rest of my twenties in ways I haven't yet before all I have left is regrets.

Here's some pictures over the last couple months.

Besides me and Muriel (the dog) in the front seats, we could only take what we could fit in the car to Chicago. So we prioritized, naturally.

Cutie friends from Bike & Build got married in North Carolina.

I looked fat, yet sparkly. ha!

Flying back from the wedding, I got a free upgrade to First Class (first and only time in my life!) because the guy at the gate counter said to me, "A smile like that ain't gonna fit in coach anyway." I was beside myself. Life was in bloom.

The dog got a summer shavedown.

lolzzzz we'll call the first month and a half or two months, "urban camping."

We got our first piece of furniture in the midwest.

Spent time exploring via bike.

Rode on the anniversary of Christina's death "with" others from around the country. Took picture at the cloud gate (bean).

Got a public library card.

me, at the public library haha.

got a bed, and got creative with cheap photo decorating ideas.

Started an urban indoor garden.

Learned how to make fancy espresso drinks and all the ins and outs of coffee. We got a new machine at the shop, too. We call those steam wands "God's frothy lasers."

Got my sixth pair of running shoes in life (3.5 years and running!) wow!

the good thing is that i've eaten a lot of salads since being here.

but see what i mean about goopy? i joined a gym within weeks of moving here, and i've even run lakefront trail, gotten new running shoes, new tights (old ones had super big holes, it was sad, but more on that later.) i need to get consistent, get serious.

i leave you with my most motivating personal pics i have of myself, my body. I'm going back for this. Now's the time. I'll post an update tomorrow or this weekend with my ideas and a plan. Thanks for reading!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Ok, so I know I'm about a THOUSAND years late but I'm so excited to see this update from you. And I completely understand what you mean about still trying to recover from an event that changed your life. It doesn't sound like an excuse to me at all, but I also know that there are a lot of people out there who won't get that. But I do!

Chicago looks beautiful and it took a lot of guts to pick up your life and move. I have faith that things will work out for you there. Do you feel like it's where you're supposed to be?

I miss your guts - let's chat soon!

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TIFFANIE150 10/5/2012 12:54PM

    I'm so glad to see an update from you. Can't wait to see where your adventures lead, girlfriend!

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RUSSELLORAMA 9/25/2012 6:00PM

    Yeah, just a *few* updates! :)

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CONFUSEDBIRD 9/24/2012 8:36AM

    Great to see you back. I am not running Chicago this yr. It just didn't work out as planned. Sometimes lives throws u a curve ball and it always seems like you make the best of it!

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WINTERWINGS 9/24/2012 1:32AM

    Wow, that's quite a year! Hard to believe it's been that long.

I have regained most/all of what I have lost as well. (sigh) Amazing what happens when life gets in the way, eh?

Here's to wishing us both luck as we try to wind it back up!

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FREE_TO_BE 9/22/2012 9:30AM

    Welcome back! It sounds like you had quite the year, but it is good to see you blogging again. :)

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MAGPIE17 9/21/2012 10:43AM

    Welcome back, Dash. I've been wondering what you've been up to!

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C4CHRISTINE 9/20/2012 9:24PM

    Welcome back. Sounds like the only way for things to go is UP! Your insane spring and summer made my bad day seem less so. Thanks for that :)

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-CORAL- 9/20/2012 2:20PM

    I'm so glad to see you back here. Sounds like a whirlwind summer!! Welcome back, you can do it!!!!

Oh, and I also wanted to say, my sister went through much the same experience as you with her hike along the PCT for 9 months.... she was quite depressed when it was over and didn't know what to do with herself as it was such an all-encompassing, life-changing experience, so I can relate in a small way to the way you feel about bike and build. Chin up, it sounds like you have found a great place to put your roots down.

Comment edited on: 9/20/2012 2:22:30 PM

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RUNNER12COM 9/20/2012 11:30AM

    What an adventure. Good luck to you as you continue this exciting part of your life!

(And I'm totally stealing that photo hanging idea. It's so cool!)

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4EVERADONEGIRL 9/20/2012 10:36AM

    Hey - welcome back! Sounds like life has been nothing short of an adventure!!

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MOLLI15 9/20/2012 10:22AM

    Oh Dash! I'm so glad you are back and blogging! What an amazing, gutsy move--way to go! Big risks are supposed to pay off big time, and it sounds like yours is doing that already in terms of mental/emotional health. I really look forward to hearing more about your adventures! Also, I stalk two Chicago blogs (KITHKINCAID is here on SP and running the Chicago marathon, and asmallloss.com is another one i stumbled on not on SP) in case you are interested. I guess that is kind of a random/weird thing to comment? Also, awesome on the grant! You are a rockstar and you WILL make it happen one way or another.


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HEIDI-25 9/20/2012 10:01AM

    Best of luck to you!! I hope that you find a permanent full time position that you like and that you can change around what you want to have happen...
I live 4 hours to the north of Chicago in the middle of Wisconsin. If in time things don't work out for you job wise - you could explore looking for a career in some of the smaller but really nice towns that are here. The cost of living is considerable less as well. There are lots of universities in our smaller cities that make things feel culturally like you are in a bigger place. There are lots of friendly people too :)
Have a great marathon! I will look for more updates and hope you continue to let us support you!

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FREES1 9/20/2012 9:58AM

    So aside from that Mrs. Lincoln how was the play? Wow! What a year you've had!
Welcome back.. keep that positiveNess going. Ending that venture was a loss to be grieved just as any major loss and now you're moving forward.

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DARKFAERY 9/20/2012 9:37AM

    Yay!!! Welcome back, Dash!! I missed your lovely face!

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SHEILA1505 9/20/2012 5:16AM

    I know you 2 are going to have a great pre and post Marathon time - going to be motivating each other right out of the park,etc.

Good to see that you are working it and hope that everything comes up roses for you!

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GOGOSHIRE 9/20/2012 4:31AM

    OMG - I am SO excited to see you and hang out. We are going to have so much fun. My brother said I can borrow his bike. I'm mostly going to be out in the northern burbs (Libertyville), but I'm housesitting for him for a week in mid-October, too, and I can come down whenever you have time to hang as well. Can't wait to re-explore Rogers Park and get reacquainted with this town that changed my life - and that I ran away from, to some degrees. More on that for the f2f convos...

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GOGOSHIRE 9/20/2012 4:31AM

    OMG - I am SO excited to see you and hang out. We are going to have so much fun. My brother said I can borrow his bike. I'm mostly going to be out in the northern burbs (Libertyville), but I'm housesitting for him for a week in mid-October, too, and I can come down whenever you have time to hang as well. Can't wait to re-explore Rogers Park and get reacquainted with this town that changed my life - and that I ran away from, to some degrees. More on that for the f2f convos...

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What have you been eating lately? Picture Update

Friday, April 06, 2012

Here's some food pictures of some of what I have been eating lately.

I have eliminated 90% of refined sugars and carbohydrates - I have been substituting gluten free tortillas and wraps for bread, rice pasta instead of whole grain and only eating whole foods. I've been using fresh homemade salsa and sauce in moderation. In the last two weeks I have felt good energy wise and definitely notice a difference.

Here's some pictures:

3 oz of thin sliced turkey cutlet stacked with tomato, spinach and mushrooms, minced garlic and a sprinkle of fresh shredded parmesan. 'noodleless lasagna'

mashed turnip with minced garlic and fresh chopped chives

egg white with fresh red bell pepper, spinach and mushroom. minced garlic and basil.

homemade ground chicken burger stuffed with chopped mushrooms, cut in half in a joseph's flax low carb tortilla stuffed with spinach, tomato, light canola vegan mayo along with watercress/white bean/ red pepper salad and half of a baked sweet potato.

been juicing this combination lately which makes a great juice that i sip on in the morning and feels so filling. another breakfast idea that i have had is batch cooking quinoa (totally plain, cooked in water) and taking portions to work to top with blueberries and a splash of almond milk. the other thing i have been doing is taking a josephs flax wrap (60 calories) spreading a tbsp of natural peanut butter on it, placing a banana in the middle and sprinkling a tbsp of mini soy, nut, dairy free chocolate chips and some times dried cranberries and rolling it up. it's DELICIOUS.

i have been finding a lot of ideas on tumblr for food. here's a link to my online vision board where i have collected a lot of food ideas, pictures of things that inspire me and just things that i identify strongly with and with my healthy, best life that i want.


does anyone have any good recipes or food staples they have been relying on lately?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LEAN-N-LEXY 4/13/2012 11:03AM

    I moved to gluten free the easy way by eating paleo/primal earlier this year. My body loves me for it and started shedding weight easily. Along the way, I learned that I cannot tolerate beans (ack, there go treat black bean brownies!!).
Anyway, looks like great food.

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RUNNINGNP2B 4/11/2012 9:26PM

    Look delicious love!

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BTVMADS 4/8/2012 4:39PM

    Oh, and duh! Your menu looks so good!! Have you ever tried Chia? I had my first taste of chia seed porridge this morning while camping, and it was SO AMAZING. It's apparently quite the super food and just a couple tablespoons goes a very long way!

I'm curious though on your definition of "refined carbohydrates." Gluten-free wraps/ pastas/ etc. are still full of refined grains, so I'm just wondering why you chose to eliminate gluten from your diet but not rice, quinoa, oats, etc.

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BTVMADS 4/8/2012 4:34PM

    I've been living la vida primal as much as I can. I mean, I screw up a lot because I love ice cream, but I've been eating nothing but plants, meat, and occasional full-fat dairy at meals. I've been doing LOTS of experimenting with no-grain baking -- coconut flour breads, muffins, and pancakes (best pancakes I'll ever eat are grain-free!), almond flour cookies and souffles, and cauliflower pizza crusts. Bread is a rare, rare thing in my diet (usually only when I don't plan well enough and I'm about to crash on a long run day), and I love it this way.

My usual menu is something like a fruit smoothie and eggs for breakfast, a huge salad topped with tuna or left over chicken for lunch with a side of homemade pepper-cheddar poppers, and a portion of meat for dinner with cooked veggies and the occasional sweet potato or squash as sides. If i need a snack, I turn to almonds or Greek yogurt. Yummmmm!

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    Oooooh, those ALL look SO delish!! emoticon
And I'm totally following you on tumblr now emoticon

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FEB_SHOWERS16 4/8/2012 9:37AM

    Lovely pics! Great choices!

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WINTERWINGS 4/7/2012 1:20AM

    Avocado Salsa

2 tomatoes, chopped
half red onion, finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (I used just one and thought it was enough)
1 tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar
1 tbsp (15 ml) lime juice
1 tbsp (15 ml) coriander (cilantro) minced
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
pinch pepper (or a quick crank of the grinder)
1 avocado

I don't always use the 2 tbsp of oil. I cut back on that and generally use canola oil just because I can get to it easier in my pantry. Oh, and looking at this, I reduce the red onion and greatly increase the avocado and tomato. I do it with maybe four or five avocado, six tomatoes, one jalapeno, ballpark the cilantro and double the liquids. So really, just to taste. But you get the idea.

Oh, and this recipe comes with a lime marinade for chicken breasts too, if you want it. Let me know and I'll post it to my page.

Comment edited on: 4/7/2012 1:24:03 AM

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SHEILA1505 4/6/2012 2:17PM

    OMW Looks yummy - even if I leave out the gluten-free substitutes
I sometimes make noodleless lasagne - I use eggplant instead of the pasta and layer loads of veg :))

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LULULUCY 4/6/2012 12:48PM

    those look amazing! I am going to tumblr stalk you now. yummmm.

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GOGOSHIRE 4/6/2012 12:44PM

    Oh Chef Gallo, where have you been all my life?

Staples for me are quinoa and sweet potatoes, new go to dish is thai curried cod filet! I can send recipe if you like. Email me.

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    I've been enjoying vegan overnight oats for breakfast. At night I mash a banana and mix it with 1/3 cup each oats, vanilla soy milk and vanilla almond milk, along with 1 tbsp of chia seeds. Stir it up, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning you can top it with fresh fruits, toasted nuts or sweetener, or just eat it as-is.

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GOOSIEMOON 4/6/2012 9:52AM


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