Wednesday, December 29, 2010



Ok, so I admit it.  I've been missing from here, the studio and most forms of exercise for a few weeks.  That doesn't mean I've fallen off the wagon - not completely at least.  I've managed to run a little, walk a little and I totally kick butt at Just Dance 2 on the Wii during our little holiday vacation, but you're right, I let myself down this holiday season.

No worries, though. Hyam returns from vacation tomorrow and thus, so do I. I can't even imagine how sore I will be on Friday (she's had an entire week to plan and scheme!) but I'm SO ready to get back in the studio.  Who knew I'd miss those killer workouts so much? I did!  

Side Note: The girl in the that picture above is also Missing in the "I barely recognize her anymore" way, too - hooray!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Friendship Buffet

I saw the term "friendship buffet" on the front of a magazine the other day and decided I was going to adopt it as my theme for the holidays. 

Since so much of the holiday season centers around eating and drinking - two things I am trying to control - I've been a little apprehensive about how I was going to deal with all of it.  A "friendship buffet" seemed like the perfect solution.  Instead of indulging on cookies and cocktails at get-togethers this month I will focus on filling myself up with my friends.  

Sometimes, despite our best intentions, our lives get in the way of the things that are most important to us.  After a difficult week that left me feeling pretty low I was fortunate to be able to spend time with several of my really good friends over the weekend.  Though we've all been extremely busy lately we carved out a little time to share with one another.  It was exactly what I needed - and I ended the week feeling fabulous. 

In class sometimes Hyam talks about the exercise "filling up your tank" rather than depleting it.  I love that analogy, and think it can be transferred over to so many aspects of our lives.  The holidays sometimes become so full of hustle and bustle that they leave us feeling stressed, tired and drained. But that is the antithesis of what it's really supposed to be about - it's supposed to lift us up - make us feel incredible.  So that is what I'm going to focus on.

That is also my challenge to you.  Find a way to fill up your buffet with friendship, love and laughter this holiday season.  Include a few cookies and cocktails along the way, but focus on the blessings that you have - and on being one to those around you.  It will leave you full in a whole new way - and you won't even have to unbutton your pants to enjoy it!

This *#%! Works!

I've been asked several times recently why I'm such a big proponent for Clay Fitness & Nutrition and this quote, from a classmate of mine - "This shit works!" always comes to mind.  Stephanie made this comment while banging out push-ups in class a few weeks ago - something she couldn't do when our program started.  And while it probably won't make the "Testimonials" section of Clay's website or Facebook page, I personally love it

Stephanie was a beautiful person when she started working out at Clay, but when you see her now she knocks your socks off. She's lost a significant amount of weight and gained some really gorgeous muscle, but it's not just the physical changes that make her so stunning - it's the psychological ones.  Even though she may not realize it - she exudes a confidence that I didn't see in her 12 weeks ago.  It's truly beautiful.

I don't get paid to throw Clay's name around or say nice things about Hyam. This blog was my own idea - a way to hold myself accountable and, hopefully inspire other people with struggles similar to mine.  I asked her before I started, of course, but nothing I say here is ever officially prompted by her.  She creates content for the blog without even realizing it by saying and doing things that inspire me (and many other people) on a continual basis. 

I love what I'm doing at Clay because though I'm not breaking any weight loss records I'm having greater success than I've ever had with my diet and health.  I rave about Clay Fitness because I'm 25 pounds into my weight loss goals and still I'm having fun doing it.  I brag about Hyam because she has an amazing ability to push me beyond my self proposed limits while building me up instead of tearing me down.  I go on and on about my workouts because despite the fact that I'm there three days a week they are always different and I'm never, ever bored.  I blab about it because quite simply - this shit works!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tears and Laughter

I spent Tuesday night with a few of my girlfriends. It wasn't your ordinary GNO, however. We entitled the evening "Tears and Laughter" because we started the evening at a church service held by The Compassionate Friends for parents whose children had died. Our friends Jennifer and John lost their son Carson a little over a year ago to complications to H1N1 and we were there to support Jennifer.  That was the "tears" part of our evening.

After the service (where there were definitely lots of tears) we all went out for a few cocktails and some laughter. It was a little somber at first, of course, but this is a really fun group of girls and tears of laughter ensued almost immediately. 

It was a very emotional evening for me on several different levels.  First, I was taken by surprise when I arrived at the church to see one of my babysitters standing at the door.  One of her sons had committed suicide several years ago - a story I had heard through the grapevine but she had never shared directly with me.  I smiled, hugged her and moved forward toward the two pews full of my friends.  As I rounded the corner I was completely taken aback when I saw my neighbor and her husband sitting in the last pew. I ignorantly asked, "Do you go to church here?"  I was unprepared to hear her respond with "Jennifer was killed in September."  Jennifer, their daughter, who was about my age, a single mom to 3 teenage daughters, was killed in September.  I had no idea.  I felt horrible for so many reasons.

When we were walking out of the service I stopped to hug and talk to her for a few minutes.  She said she wished her friends had come with her instead of her husband. Not surprisingly losing a child is extremely hard on many marriages - even those that are 30+ years strong.  My heart ached for her. I didn't know what to do or say so I just hugged her and said I'd be there.  I meant it, but I'm not sure how much it helped.

On the opposite end of the emotional spectrum I couldn't help but feel really blessed that night, too.  Don't get me wrong - I have spent hours crying over Carson's death, weeping for my friends' loss and questioning my God as to why this happened.  This night, however, I was also reminded of how fortunate we are.  I sat there surrounded by nine really incredible women that night there supporting their friend. Schedules were juggled, babysitters were called in and husbands came home early from work so that we could be there.  None of us gave it a second thought. There was no place we would've rather been.

Jennifer and John have started a great foundation called The Carson Raymond Foundation in Carson's honor. If you'd like to help bring baseball to kids in our community check out the foundation's website at or feel free to give me a call.  GO PLAY! 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Had a Bad Day

I cannot tell you how glad I am that this week is almost over.  It's just been one of those weeks.  It's not surprising, as today's date is December 9th. The holidays are in full swing and we are, like most people, busier than ever.  

It was made worse by the fact that I started the week off with an arguments with not one, not two, but three of the people closest to me. I never fight with my mom and sister, and somehow I managed to offend and hurt both of them within a matter of a few hours.  Everything is okay now, but it was an awful feeling.  The third benefactor of my rage was, of course, the Spicy Chicken. He's used to it, though, so that one was over before it even started.  

It's not a good feeling when you realize that you are, in fact, wrong.  Though I may have had a valid point or two, I was the common denominator in all three of these arguments and I was out of line. That sucks.  While any guy I ever dated would probably call bull shit on me for saying this, I don't actually like confrontation and controversy.  I'm a pleaser by nature - I like to keep everyone happy.  I guess that's why things like this happen.  I keep everything in until I finally blow.  I wouldn't advise it, however,  it's not real effective - just ask my mom and sister.

On a positive note I have managed to get rid of the 3 pounds I gained over Thanksgiving.  Exercise has been my saving grace during this week of insanity - I'm not sure how I managed without it for the past few years.  

Monday, December 6, 2010

Worth a Thousand Words

That's me, circa. 1988!

I met Kristine Pringle a few months after I started my "journey".  She had documented the McIntire Park Fireworks on the 4th of July for the Newsplex and subsequently appeared as a guest on C'ville Plugged In with me.  I was in awe of how she captured not just the beauty of that event, but also the feelings surrounding it.  After the segment I made a plan to contact her in the fall, when I'd hoped to have lost "a few pounds" (like 40).  

For years I've put off getting family photos taken because of my weight. Documenting it  would've forced me to accept it.  Denial was much easier.  I coveted, however,  the beautiful family portraits my friends had covering their walls, and knew I was depriving my children of years of laughter in their adulthood (the hair in that pic above was cool when the photo was taken, I swear.) by not getting them done.  I made that vow that every overweight person makes -  I'd do them "once I lost weight".

September came and went and I found myself only at -20. I had planned to use these photos for our Christmas cards, but was I really ready to show 150 of our "closest" friends what I beast I still was?  Not really, but I decided I'd trade my pride for the beauty of a Charlottesville fall and gave Kristine a call.

You will see from the photos below that Kristine has mad photography skills. Sadly, however,  I still found it hard to look at myself.  I immediately started picking apart my flaws and was mad at myself for not losing more weight.  I hate that.  

The longer I looked, however, the more credit I began to give to myself.  I've come a long way from the fat girl, sleeping on a lawn chair on the beach last spring.  Once I recognized that, calmed down and added "be kinder to myself" to my growing list of New Year's Resolutions I saw just how beautiful these photos are.   Even more importantly than that, however, was how Kristine managed to really capture who we are - even though she barely knew us.  That's talent, people, pure talent.

We did what Kristine calls a "countrypolitan" shoot - 

Urban shots downtown Charlottesville...

...and a little country at Jefferson Vineyards
(And yes, we drank a bottle of Viognier during the shoot)

Goofy picture of me, but I love that we are running together!

Can you believe this is my baby?

Messy hair, playing in the grass, absolutely beautiful...
SO Maggie.
And this, of course, is my favorite.

You can see more of our photo session with Kristine, as well as other examples of her talent at  

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Unintended Consequences

The first time I sat down with Hyam it was simply to interview her for a story for SuzySaid.  A friend had tried out one of her classes and thought it would make a good story so I checked it out.  Less than 30 minutes in to our conversation I knew my life was going to change. At the time, however, I believed those changes would be limited to my own personal journey back to health.  I had no clue I'd be blessed with so much more.

December marked the end of my latest 12 week session at Clay.  To celebrate our success, as well as Hyam's (surely you read the Daily Progress article about Clay's upward expansion into the former Bel Rio space?) two of my classmates had us all over for dinner.

On the way to their house I gave the Spicy Chicken a run down on the names of people he hadn't met.  As I started telling him about each individual it dawned on me what an amazing group of people they were and how highly I thought of each person.  

Whether they realize it or not each of them has guided me on my journey in their own way. Sure our workouts consisted of some really intense training, but somewhere between the curling & crunching, skipping & jumping and squatting & lunging there was a whole lot of smiling, supporting, laughing, encouraging and inspiring going on.  

Twelve weeks later I've lost few pounds and added a few new friends.  I'll take those unintended consequences any day.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pretty Cool

I got an e-mail from a colleague the other day that stated "And by the way, I saw you were named as C Magazine's "blogs we love" - congratulations!"

What?  SuzySaid was mentioned in C Magazine?  That's awesome!

I had actually picked up a copy of C Magazine (C-Ville Weekly's quarterly style supplement) that day but I hadn't had a chance to look at it. I immediately tore it open to find that it wasn't SuzySaid, but rather Finding Amy...Again - this blog - that they were talking about!  I was floored.

My childhood friends like to tease me about my "celebrity status" in Charlottesville.   I remind them that while Charlottesville might be nationally known because we're home to things like UVA and Monticello, it's actually fairly small. Being a "celebrity" is kind of like being WBLAHS Homecoming Queen (which I was not, btw). 

But I have to admit that getting noted in C Magazine - a trendy, hip publication - felt pretty cool.

Thanks, Caite White - you made my day.

Back to Reality

Getting back to reality after visiting my parents is always hard.  I feel so incredibly relaxed when I'm home that I even manage to sleep well (when I don't wear five layers of running clothes and my shoes to bed).  I'm blessed with really easy going parents we don't have those stereotypical stress-laden family holidays.  Even when we're really busy (as we were this past trip) it still feels really relaxing. (Starting cocktail hour at 3pm always helps, too).

Unfortunately the Spicy Chicken and I both wound up with killer chest colds upon our return.  Neither of us could breath well enough on Monday morning to run up the stairs to wake the girls, let alone make it through an hour with Hyam.  Fortunately for us (unfortunately for her) she also caught some crud over the holidays so we got off easy.

If you've been reading this blog fairly regularly you might be thinking "This girl's a freakin' hypochondriac!" But I swear I'm not.  Somehow I've had more stupid colds in the past 3 months than I've had in the past 3 years! It's frustrating because missing that many days (the week I was in MN plus a few extra since I've been home) sets you back a few steps, whether you realize it or nor. 

And let me tell you - I realized it Friday when I finally got back in the studio.  W-O-W - it was tough.  On the other hand, Saturday morning's cycling class felt so good I was almost disappointed when she said it was our last song...Almost.

Breakfast Is Back

A week or so ago I posted that I was struggling with eating in the morning and therefore, struggling through my workout.  I got some great feedback both here and on my Facebook Page about how others rev themselves up in the morning, and it really rejuvenated me.  I have a tendency to get stuck in a rut when it comes to eating healthy, so a few new ideas (or reminding me of old ideas) helped me get back on track.

The first thing I embraced was oatmeal. I'd forgotten how much I like oatmeal and just how filling it is. For extra nutrition and the protein I really need to sustain a killer session at Clay I add in a handful of nuts (I prefer almonds) and some blueberries.  Berries are pretty expensive this time of year so I'm probably going to have to go to frozen soon, but KK and M love them too and they pack so much nutrition into a small package that it seems worth the expense for now.

I also renewed my love for greek yogurt this week.  Apparently eating the same thing every day for months will tire you of it - who knew?  But after a few weeks vacation yogurt and I are back on good terms.  On workout days I get crazy and add in a little granola. It's pretty high in fat and calories, but a little goes a long way so I don't feel too guilty.  My favorite is Bear Naked's Fit Vanilla Almond Crunch.  One serving (1/4 cup) has 120 calories, 2.5 g of fat, 2 g of fiber and just 4 g of sugar.  I stir about an 1/8 cup in and it fuels me for the morning.  Hyam would prefer that I eat the plain and sweeten it with honey, but I haven't quite come around to that taste yet

Finally, I decided to take the bagel off the "Devil List".  Don't get excited - I realize these days most bagels could feed an entire small country for a week.  They can, however, also be a decent source for breakfast if you do it right.  No super-sized shmear of cream cheese  here - just a half a whole wheat bagel topped with a tablespoon of peanut butter and banana slices.  It's a good start to the day - and you've got your carb craving curbed before 9am!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

So Long Sugar

An interesting thing happened tonight when the girls and I were shopping for and working on their gingerbread houses for the Virginia Gingerbread Christmas contest  (we bought the pre-made houses but decorated them with our own stuff). The sugar, frosting, candy, cookies -  even the pretzels - did not appeal to me.  Nothing about any of it made me want to eat it. Nothing.  It actually nauseated me.

For most people this wouldn't be such a big deal but for a big girl with a sweet tooth like mine it's  a pretty major thing.  I didn't get to where I was by eating enormous meals or tons of fast food - I got there by sneaking little bites of sugar here, there and well, everywhere

While they created their masterpieces (and popped candy corn, gum drops and jelly beans into their mouths when they thought I wasn't looking) I actually ate tomato soup and carrots with hummus.  

Who say you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Frozen 5K

This is what I would've called the post I wrote after the "Fast Before The Feast" on Thanksgiving morning had I not chickened out

The weather forecasters were calling for "the coldest Thanksgiving Day in a decade" in White Bear Lake, Minnesota that day.  The  HIGH was supposed to be 12 degrees - and yes, that's Farenheit! Seriously? In Charlottesville I start running indoors when it gets below 40! At first I was I was determined to not let a little cold get me down. The chill in the air when we stepped off the airplane, however, quickly reminded me that even though in my heart I will always be a Minnesota Girl, the rest of  my body is not quite as convinced.  

I met my friends at a bar the night before the race completely convinced that it was too cold to run and figured they'd be on board.  Guess what?  They actually thought it would be FUN!  I should've known better than to think Jess, my long-time buddy Chris's adorable, size zero, runner girlfriend and my tiny, super woman, marathoner BFF Jenny would wimp out.  But Chris?  He's a professional golfer who dislikes the cold almost as much as I do. I thought for sure I could talk him into bloody mary's in the warm confines of a local bar.  But even he was on the "freezing your ass off bandwagon".  What was I going to do?  

After an evening of taking a lot of grief for being a wimp (and several other unrelated inadequacies) I was actually starting to believe I could do it.  Jess gave me a guilt-ridden speech about how she signed up for the race to support me and my journey (yes, I almost cried) and my friend Beth's husband had me writing victory blog posts in my head and visualizing myself coming across the finish line wearing a Charlottesville T-shirt with frozen tears of pride dripping down my face (though in my mind I kept seeing snot icicles instead).  

I went back to my parents house that night and changed directly into every layer of running clothes I had packed - shoes included (why didn't I invest in those SmartWool socks???).  It was nearly 1:30am and I had gone out that night thinking I wasn't going to do this race so I hadn't exactly prepped properly (my pre-race meal does not usually include bloody mary's). I figured I'd need to be ultra-prepared and even threw on my shoes. I set the alarm for 6:30am (a mere 5 hours away!) and settled into bed with visions of frostbite dancing in my head.

When alarm went off the next morning I wearily rose from the bed, walked straight out the back door onto my parents deck, took one slow, frozen breath in, and returned promptly to my warm, cozy, down comforter-covered bed with every intention of getting back up in "just a few minutes".  

And that was the end of my Frozen 5 K dreams.  I awoke a few hours later feeling refreshed and completely guilt ridden.  Chris, Jess, and Jenny (with her two sons!) all completed the race with great times and minimal effects from the hypothermia.  Jess managed to come in 40th overall out of 380 (yes, there are that many crazy people out there!) - and 6th for females with a time of 23:43!  And my buddy Chris (who, though a star hockey goalie in his youth had never run more than 1.5 miles prior to this race) followed not too far behind her at 28:27. Jen and the boys all averaged about an 8 minute mile, too.  I was clearly out of my league! 

While I left Minnesota on Sunday sans souvenir race tee and my pride, I did come away from  with a few valuable lessons learned.  1) I do not like the cold.  2) My friends are really awesome runners,  3)  I should not commit to something I cannot complete, and 4) Some traditions - like the one where we spend Thanksgiving at the condo in Hilton Head - are really good ones!  Join me there in 2011 for the The Hilton Head Bridge Run - where temperature will not be an excuse!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Note to Self:

It is a bad idea to sit on your ass for five hours straight the day after a big workout with Hyam.  Doing so apparently allows the lactic acid to build up in amounts so great you may not be able to get up.


Morning Sickness


But I got your attention, didn't I? 

I didn't title this "Morning Sickness" just for that reason though. I am honestly struggling with feeling ill in the morning.  This isn't caused by pregnancy, however, but by my diet and exercise. Go figure.  

Most people have experienced that feeling like you're going to throw up when you work out extremely hard or run super fast or whatever it is you choose to do for exercise.  So you'd think that after working out with Hyam for 6 months I'd be past that, right? Wrong.  Well, kind of wrong.  I was doing great until recently when changes in my appetite have thrown everything off.  I suddenly cannot eat in the mornings.  

We've all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  This goes double for those trying to lose weight that food gets your metabolism going.  When you sleep (and therefore fast) your metabolism slows down. If it goes too long without food your body starts to think it's in starvation mode and slows down even more - NOT what a dieter wants.  So, eating is essential to losing weight.  Counterintuitive, but true.  

When I was overweight (or more overweight than I am now) I had a horrible habit of eating in the middle of the night.  I've never been a good sleeper so waking up 3-4 times a night was pretty normal for me and  I'd eventually find my way to the kitchen (sound familiar, dad?).  So instead of being in fasting mode my metabolism was kicking in in the middle of the night.  By the time I got up for breakfast I was ravenous. Needless to say, I've always been a good breakfast eater. Until now.  

For the past few weeks my usual routine - make coffee, start a load of laundry, get the kids out of bed, fix breakfast and send kids off to school - has been thrown off.  Usually once the kids are out the door I sit down with a Greek yogurt or scrambled egg whites. Lately, however, even the thought of repulses me.  So I grab a piece of toast, an extra cup 'o joe and "go" to work (in the next room).  

Before I know it's 9:10. I need to be out the door in 4 minutes to get to Clay on time and I still have an empty stomach.  My body has now been fasting for 12-15 hours and though it is trying to tell me that it's not happy about it, I can neither find anything that appeals to me nor that I have time to digest before the workout.  

On average I expend about 500 calories per one hour workout at Clay.  It doesn't take a genius to figure that attempting to do a workout like this on a 15 hour fast is NOT a good idea. Even if I don't puke (which I haven't yet) I won't have a good workout, so I throw a banana down while driving and hope for the best.

I'm not stupid.  I know I need to eat.  But the balance of eating enough to sustain your body while trying to lose weight isn't as easy as it sounds.  This time I'm not actually trying to starve myself - I'm just not hungry the way I used to be.  But the fact remains that food is fuel for the body and if you are going to expect it to perform at a certain level you have to fuel it to do so.

So what do you eat to fuel your body before workouts?

Monday, November 15, 2010

As Seen on TV

Every once and awhile I mention my job as Editor and Owner of SuzySaid Charlottesville and the news segment Jason Hull and I do on CBS19 -  C'ville Plugged In.  I don't post about it a lot, however, because that really isn't the purpose behind this blog and I don't want to seem like a shameless self-promoter (which I guess is ironic, as what else is a blog about yourself if it's not shameless self-promoting!?!).  Earlier this week, however, I was reminded of how connected this "journey" is with the rest of my world.

A few weeks back I was interviewed on WINA's Real Life with Jennifer Till radio show.  When asked about how I maintain balance with such a busy life I naturally stated that exercise was key.  I couldn't say this without mentioning Hyam, of course, and even went so far as to say "It's totally changed my life."  (being on the spot like that isn't as easy as it's seems). I texted Hyam after the show and said I hoped she didn't mind the dramatic nature of that statement because it sounds like one of those things that people just say, but I really meant it.

Being stronger and thinner has done so much more for me than make my clothes fit better (or worse, as they are now too big!).  It's changed the way I carry myself, my self-esteem, my relationships with people and even the way I do my job. 

As I was leaving the the Newsplex the other night Jim Hanchett remarked that I was doing a great job with the segment.  This meant a lot to me because, as you all know, television work is not my regular thing, and I admittedly started out a little shaky on camera (okay, a lot shaky).  This was partially because it was new to me - I'm a writter, not a tv reporter - but mostly it was the result of my fear of having to be seen.  Being behind the computer the past few years made it easy for me to hide my weight issues.  When Marijean asked if I'd consider taking her spot when she stepped down I was honored, thrilled at what a great opportunity it would be and scared out of my mind.  Not so much because I didn't think I could handle it, but rather because I'd have to come out from hiding behind the computer now.  What if people saw me and thought "That fat cow is SuzySaid???"  What if they were disappointed? 

For the first few months I never watched myself because it hurt to see how big I was (and yes, the camera really does add 10 pounds - you'd be amazed at how skinny those reporters are in real life!).  Recently, however, I decided I needed to dedicate a little more of my time to making those 3 minutes I have on screen as good as they can be - and that meant facing myself. 

It's not easy to see yourself on tv.  Even watching last week's segment was difficult and it was one of my better one's to date.  I've lost 20 pounds since I started the show, however, though my confidence is nowhere near it's peak, it's much higher than it was 6 months ago. Even my posture exudes a feeling that wasn't there in the beginning.  I still look like disheveled cow sitting next to Tiffani Sargent, of course, but there aren't too many people who wouldn't look bad next to her. 

And while I'm sure you all watch my segment ritualistically here it is just in case you missed one when it changed from Tuesday to Wednesday last night.  Who knows, you might even learn something!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

50% Off

First I'd like to report that I'm over my whining back to my spunky self. Whew!

I got on the scale this morning and am pleased to report that I am back to 20!  Yep - 50% off just in time for Black Friday.  This means that I have about 20 (give or take a few) left to go and I'm back to where I want to be.  Wow!  

I recognize that heading into the holidays moving down the scale isn't going to be easy, but I'm ready to take it one day at a time. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Right Now

I started writing a post about how I missed class Monday (which I will be making up on Friday) due to work and how I'm struggling to find balance...blah - blah - blah

I changed my mind on posting it, however, because one of my goals for this blog was to be real and honest.  While that post was both of those things, it's not how I'm feeling right now.  Right now I'm grumpy, frustrated and in pain because in the middle of a great workout this morning I f'd up my hip flexor again.  I hoped maybe it was just a little twinge, but by the time we were done I was in a lot of pain and I knew it wasn't good. 

Don't feel too sorry for me - it's nothing that a lot of ice and a little rest won't fix. It does, however, really piss me off because I feel like every time I get momentum I end up hurting something and it pushes me back down. I know that what I need to do - have to do - is just jump back up again, but sometimes it's okay to just sit and pout, right?  Okay, maybe not.

It's actually been awhile since I've had an injury, so I probably should've expected this would happen, but it doesn't come at a welcome time.  The holidays are around the corner and exercise such a key stress reducer for me, not to mention all the necessary calorie burning (egg nog, anyone?). And I'm heading home to White Bear in less than two weeks.  I was kind of hoping to drop a few extra lbs before then.  Silly, I know, but true.

I also came to the conclusion this week that my body is just not ready for the 10K I was planning on doing on Thanksgiving Day.  I'll still be running that morning, but only a 5K.  M, my dad are going to run/walk it.  My BFF (the beautiful, skinny marathoner!) and her family are joining in and so is another childhood friend, so it will be  a blast.  But I still can't tell you how much I hate that I had to back off one of my goals.   

Monday, November 8, 2010


I write a lot on here about physical strength, but I think emotional strength and strength of character are extremely important aspects of a person's make up, too.  I was blessed this weekend with the opportunity to honor a very good friend whose strength I admire, and it got me thinking about my own.

We spent Saturday evening at the American Cancer Society Pavilion Ball, where my friend Chrissy was honored for her tremendous strength during her fight against breast cancer this past year.  We were all pretty dumbfounded when we got the news of her diagnosis.  She was only 39 years old, had three young kids and was a strong, active person.  Chrissy is the kind of person who does more in a day than most people do in a week.  This certainly couldn't be true.  But it was.  And within a few days the words mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation became a part of our every day lives.  

True to her self, she took the disease head on and fought it off with extreme toughness and dignity.  She barely slowed down through hundreds of appointments, chemo, radiation, and the regular craziness of running her family's daily life.  We lectured her about taking it easy sometimes, but knew also that keeping busy was something she needed to do for herself.  

When her hair started to fall out she didn't mourn the loss - she threw a head shaving party instead!  In support her husband shaved his too.  (And she kindly requested he not do that ever again).  At a birthday party one night while dancing with friends Chrissy took off her wig because it was getting so hot.  She remained without it the rest of the night.  I remember thinking how gorgeous she looked - and how courageous she was. I couldn't help but wonder if I was in her position, would I be able to be that strong?

Below are a few pics from Saturday night.  As you can see, Chrissy is doing fabulous and looking even more beautiful than ever. We had a fabulous time celebrating her strength, courage and her life!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I'd like to be able to say that all that Halloween didn't have a negative effect on me but I'd be lying - something I'm not so good at.  It's actually not all the crap in the girls trick-or-treat baskets that's killing me (they got a lot of stuff!) but rather the bowl full sugar on the dining room table that's killing me.  

You see, we didn't actually get one "official" trick-or-treater on Halloween night. We live in a neighborhood full of kid that is actually inundated with "drop-off trick-or-treaters".  Though this is the 3rd year we've lived here and we've had very few in the past, I somehow thought this year would be different so despite my initial attempt to steer clear of things that I knew I'd eat by buying non-chocolate containing treats - I not only purchased the Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids I thought I'd never eat (but realized I LOVED!) but also a few small bags of Snickers and Milky Ways.  What a mistake.

We did get two "unofficial" doorbell rings, of which I gave out a handful or two to, of course.  There was KK - who managed to fool me despite the fact that she lives in this very house - and M and her BFF who came all the way from her house on the opposite end of the neighborhood where they were having a birthday party.  I figured that since I'm so elated that her BFF moved in to our neighborhood last week I had to reward that a little.  As I am related to both ringers, however, I can't actually consider either part of the "official" count.  

So, as of today it's Halloween 1 - Amy - 0.   

Monday, November 1, 2010

Swim, Bike, Sleep

It's Monday, which means I got my butt kicked on the bike this morning.  I was a few minutes late to class because the kids didn't have school today and I actually had a wake KK up at 9:15 - which never happens (post-Halloween sugar coma?). I almost skipped class to let her sleep, but then I thought better of it.  Damn me and my public promises.

Then this afternoon I took the girls and a few friends to the new Smith Aquatic Center.  It's a nice pool with a great kids area, two water slides and a decent diving well.  One of the bonuses of having swimmers for kids is that they don't need (or want) me to watch them, let alone hang out with them in the pool.  But they are only 8 & 10 so I have to be there. So, what do you do when you're in you swimsuit at the pool, you don't need to be chasing little kids anymore and cocktails aren't an option?  Here's a crazy idea - how about swimming?  

I won't lie.  Even after all the miles I've logged running and biking over the past few months swimming laps wasn't easy.  Truthfully it was hard. I was winded after my first 6 laps.  I continued on, however, and completed 34 (with periodic breaks to check that the kids were still alive - I did have the neighbor kids, too, afterall) which is about 1/2 a mile.    

What are the chances that Hyam's kids, who happened to be at the pool at a birthday party, remember to tell her not only that they saw me there but that I was actually swimming? Because the way I see it that was a bonus workout - I deserve a little extra credit for it.

And as for the third leg of today's triathlon - [[sleep]] - I just swallowed my Lunesta and hope to be accomplishing it very soon too.  Good night!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wonder Woman

During our workout yesterday something very strange happened - Hyam's elbow dislocated.  Right there in front of us, while doing an inverted plank it just popped right out.  Thank God she was leaning on both arms because without that stability it surely would've popped right out of her skin.  Yes, it was that bad.

I'd like to say that we all reacted calmly and helpfully, but truthfully most of us had no clue what to do.  The lone guy in our group (who is obviously an amazing person because he puts up with us twice a week and is always in good spirits) pulled it together quickly enough to ask "What do you need us to do?"  while the rest of us stared in horror.

What did she need us to do?  Nothing, of course, because she's Hyam and she's not just another pretty face with rock hard abs.  She's a frickin' rockstar.  She somehow, despite the pain, mustered up the strength pop her elbow back in on her own (while the rest of of gawked).  Push - POP - and then "okay everyone -  feet on the quad for tricep push ups."  Ummmmm....okay.....

She finished the class with just a little less than her normal gusto and a lot of  "Are you sure"s and "Hyam, don't do that!"s.  We could all tell she was in pain - not to mention that we could see her elbow swelling like a balloon -  but we stood by our fearless leader lunging, squatting, curling and wondering - "who the hell is this woman anyway? Wonder Woman?  She-Ra?" Nope - she's better than that -  she's Hyam. 

And yes, I want to be as awesome as her when I grow up.

Feed a Fever & Sweat a Cold?

I could feel it coming on a few nights ago - a stupid, stinkin' cold.  Not the kind of cold that knocks you on your butt, but rather the kind that makes you feel just bad enough to pout but not bad enough to miss work.  There it was - creeping it's way into my body.

I tossed, turned, coughed, and sniffed throughout the night, finally retreating to the guest bedroom so the Spicy Chicken wouldn't have to suffer too (he needs his beauty sleep, you know).  After a few hours of fitful sleep the sun rose and I was moving, albeit slowly, into my day.

It was Wednesday which, as you know, means a morning workout at Clay, followed by an afternoon at Leadership Charlottesville. I'll admit I considered "calling in sick" but thought better of it seeing as I just vowed to y'all that I wouldn't miss any more classes.  Besides, it was just a little cold.

When I got to class I made a bee-line for Hyam, making sure to let her know that I was a little under the weather.  I didn't want her to think I was slacking off (or call me out in the middle of class for doing so!).  I won't lie - it kind of sucked.  This cold had made it's home not in it's usual place - my sinuses - but was rattling around in my chest making breathing somewhat of a chore.  I tend to find breathing in class difficult anyway, so this was particularly challenging.  I took a few extra breathers, coughed out a little phlegm while everyone else was doing lunges, and slacked off a little on some of the cardio, but I survived.

Actutally, I did more than survive.  By the time the hour was up I actually felt pretty good.  My chest had almost cleared, my headache was gone and I was starting to feel human again.  Had all that sweating cured my cold?  It felt like it.

For years the Spicy Chicken has swore to me that when he got a cold that "sweating it out" made him feel better. I thought he was crazy, though it often seemed to work - at least temporarily - for him.  I did a little research (emphasis on little) to see if there was any basis to the "sweating it out" theory and didn't find much to substantiate it.  Ironically, however, I did open my Real Simple magazine last night to find an article on dealing with colds that suggested "cardio" as a remedy.

At the end of the class one of my classmates said "You are either going to feel much better tonight - or much, much worse."  And she was right.  If you watched my C'ville Plugged In segment tonight you know which one came true.  Is it bad to sleep with a bottle of Nyquil?

In hindsight I realize that it wasn't smart to put my own needs ahead of the health of my classmates and I would've been better off to keep my germs at home. So my apologies to them for my lack of discretion on this matter.  Hope to see you all happy and healthy on Monday!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Down Side of Up

There are times when being bipolar works to my advantage.  For instance, last Friday I ran about 10 errands, managed to clean the house, walk the dog, write 5 articles for SuzySaid, finish a draft for a magazine, draft 3 blog posts, bake cookies, make dinner and cart the kids around to their activities all before 5pm and was rearing to go that night.  It also worked great in college when I needed to stay up all night to study (yes dad, I did that occasionally) and definitely worked to my advantage when I had two kids under the age of two - neither who slept through the night - and a husband who traveled every week. 

One of the disadvantages, however, is that I have no choice about when these "ups" are going to hit.  Last night, for instance, was not great timing. I slept for maybe a total of 2 hours - none of which was uninterrupted. I sat up, wide awake until 3:30am.  Once I laid down  it wasn't working so switched from bed to couch to guest bed to guest couch without ever falling into a deep sleep.  Sometimes I even eat during these periods of wakefulness, something I've almost managed to mitigate in the past few months (last night I ate two granola bars, however). I have no idea how long this will last or when I will crash, but I know eventually I will.  In the mean time, however, I have to figure out ways to both use this unbelievable amount of energy, as well as contain it when necessary (like during my 4 hour Leadership Charlottesville session this afternoon, for instance).  

Of course there are ways to treat these manic episodes pharmacologically.  Through the years, because I'm not truly diagnosed as bi-polar, but rather cyclyothymic, we've determined it works best for me to be solely on an anti-depressant.  I'm thankful for this, as mood stabilizers, quite frankly, scare the hell out of me (lithium? no thank you).  I've been dealing with this for many years so I've learned to keep my episodes in check fairly well, but occasionally I find myself talking too much and too fast (even more than usual), buying a few more pairs of shoes than I should, or, of course, eating uncontrollably.  

And if I don't catch myself I can always count on the Spicy Chicken to say something "helpful" like "Are you feeling a little manic today?" which always pisses me off....because he's right.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Nothing tastes as good... skinny feels."  This quote was made famous by Kate Moss a few years back.  I'm not up for debating Kate Moss but I would argue that it's not so much being skinny that feels so good, but rather being healthy and being strong.  

(Plus, I'm fairly sure if given a few minutes I could come up with a list of things that come pretty close to tasting as good, if not better, than being skinny).  

This is what feeling good looks like to me!
Healthy, strong and thin! 

I got up this morning with a renewed sense of what I needed to do and how I needed to get there (making a public promise to get back on track is a fairly strong  motivator).  Still, I found myself calculating the time it would take me to get everything I needed to get done before I could  crawl back into bed. That desire, however, disappeared quickly while at Clay this morning.  

I'm not going to lie - getting back on that bike wasn't easy.  I struggled through some of the challenges, but it felt great.  I worked off over 500 calories and walked out of there ready to start checking things off my list.  

Here's the crazy part - what made me feel so great wasn't  a Diet Coke (I haven't had one) or the leftover donut from Carter Mountain (it's still there) or a few extra hours of sleep (though I could still use those) - but rather eating a healthy breakfast and exercising. Go figure.

Who feels good now, Kate Moss?