Another Year, Another Birthday

Last week was my birthday, and as always, it was a time to reflect and ponder.

Am I where I want to be?  Not at all.  I had hoped to reach my weight goal by my birthday, but I am not there yet.  I have maintained my weight for the last year.  I still would like to lose 50 pounds.  I have a plan, and it is working, so I’m going to stick with it.

To look on the bright side of things, I have never felt better or been in better shape.  I’m exercising five days a week or so.  There’s always room for improvement, and my biggest competitor is myself.  I’m running with my running group three days a week.  That will come to an end in about a month, so I am trying to plan now how I will proceed after that.

Getting older doesn’t have to mean getting old!

Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.  Isaiah 46:4


What If . . .

What if . . .

there weren’t roofers at my house that day which caused me to park my car several houses down the street?

What if . . .

I hadn’t left my bluetooth headset in my car and had to walk several houses down to go get it?

What if . . .

the Dam Road was open and I ran the route I had planned?

Then . . .

I would’ve never heard as I passed a house in my neighborhood,


I stopped and saw a young mom putting her toddler in the car.

I’ve been watching you for a long time, and you look amazing!

I had just started a 4-mile run and hadn’t run anything over two miles for a couple of weeks, so these were good words to hear.

The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.  Proverbs 16:9

305 lbs. 5 People, 5 Tons of Baby Paraphernalia

Once the Couch to 5K program was over, it was over.  It was up to each one of us as to whether we were going to continue any kind of running or exercise regimen.

One of the ladies in the group, Marie, wanted to continue to run regularly, so several of us continued to meet once a week.  We met on Tuesday nights and would run an out and back that was about a two and a half mile run.  My daughter and I also started running together even though she runs at a much faster pace than I do.  She literally ran circles around me.

We continued to run in the evening because that fit our schedule.  As winter approached and Daylight Savings time came to an end, we began running in the dark.  Darkness was what brought my running to and end the winter before.  However, my daughter and Marie were determined that we were going to keep on keeping on, so we did.

We soon discovered how treacherous running on the sidewalks at night can be.  If there was an uneven spot in the sidewalk, I would find it and trip.  A few times my daughter caught me, a few times I fell palms down with my phone in my hand.  After a few incidents, I was blessed with a running belt as a gift.

Running at night was almost like it’s own little sport with it’s own equipment.  The year prior I had bought a reflective vest but hadn’t used it much.  It was now a necessity for every run.  I tried to wear bright-colored clothing along with a light–not only for my benefit, but for the benefit of oncoming traffic as well.  I eventually fell and got scraped up enough times on the sidewalk, that I started running in the street to avoid injury.

In October we did the Pumpkin Run at a farm.  It was my first off-road race, and it was tough going.  It was still a fun day with perfect running weather.

October also brought us a new granddaughter, this one belonging to my son and his wife.

It had come to the point that my job was detrimental to my health.  I gained a few pounds and was not feeling up to par.  I left in the morning before anyone else was up, and often came home after dark when everyone was winding down for bed.  I might as well have packed my bags and left for two days every week.  It was adding a lot of stress to the family, and they weren’t handling it very well.

Worse yet, I watched the drivers.  They were all battling diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and the list goes on.  Some were battling the physical that they’re required to take every two years.  To sum things up, their job was killing them.

I took a weekend off in October so we could take a trip.  My oldest daughter and granddaughter also went with us.  It was five people and five tons of baby paraphernalia, but we had a great time.  My daughter and I even did some hiking/walking on the trails where we stayed.

When we returned from our trip, I handed in my resignation.  I agreed to stay until the end of November if they were willing to let me stay.  I was very saddened because I liked my job and the people that I worked with.  My reasons for leaving had nothing to do with the job, but 100% to do with my personal life.

In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.  What can man do to me?  Psalm 56:11

4 Miles on the 4th

We celebrated July and Independence Day with the CRMC 4-Mile run.  This was a 4 mile run in a small community, and the funds raised went to support their local hospital.

Packet pickup was on Monday.  Cinderella and I made a day of it by getting a haircut and then heading up to packet pick up.  We got our packets and then went to attempt to find the route for the race.  I had a map of the route of the race, the only problem was that it did not indicate the direction.  It did not take long to find the arrows already marked on the road indicating where to turn and for me to realize that we were going backwards.  I turned around and we then drove what we thought was the route of the race in the correct direction.

After that, Cinderella and I found a local diner, and we both had a delicious and inexpensive meal.

I was a little apprehensive about this race because I had not been consistently running distances over two miles.  My last race was a 6K (3.8 miles) and I had walked a lot of it.  My goal for this race was to run a majority of it and to finish in at least the same time as the last race even though it was a longer distance.

On the morning of the fourth, we had typical summer weather (hot and humid) but we were blessed that it was cloudy and overcast.  When we lined up for the race, we lined up going in the opposition direction I thought we’d be going, so I didn’t know what to expect.  I had told my daughter that it was a pretty flat course, and she’d be fine.  The first thing we did was run up a big hill!

Evidently, I had somehow missed the first leg of the race.  I was not mentally prepared for the two big hills that were in that leg.  I decided I wasn’t going to wear myself out on the first mile and then be pooped out the rest of the race, so I did go ahead and walk some of the hills in the race.

I was about the same pace as a guy that told me he had been running for 30 years, hadn’t done any running in the last 11 years, and was starting to run again.  After I told him I had just started running two years ago, it seemed like he was trying to be an encourager.  Evidently, we had opposite strategies, so we kept passing each other.

The race was exhausting, and I definitely felt like I had reached my max.  However, not only did I reach my goal, I actually finished over a minute under my last race which was a shorter distance!

Afterwards, we hung around for the awards and then went back to the same local diner for breakfast.  It was a great way to kick off the Fourth and enjoy the freedoms we have thanks to so many that have gone before us and made many, many sacrifices.

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.  John 8:36


305 lbs. Making Progress

The summer went by very, very quickly.  I did the Couch to 5K program again in hopes of improving my running abilities.  Running was still hard.  There were days that I struggled.  I was still towards the back of the pack, but I was no longer the very last person.  Doing it with a group of friends was what made it fun, and I was determined to run every step we were to run.

I liked running very much, but I wasn’t in love with it yet.  It was still difficult at times.  There were times when our group met or when we had a race, that I dreaded it and didn’t want to do it.  I always made myself do it because I always felt so much better afterwards.  But, before we started, there were often thoughts of dread going through my mind.

I was relieved when August and my birthday rolled around.  Knowing that the eights stink, I was very glad to no longer be 48.  I was determined that life was going to be better.

August also meant that it was time to start getting serious about school again.  God led me to an organizing system for homeschoolers that I was sure was going to be the answer I was looking for.  It was a compact, easy way to organize our school and also encouraged Cinderella to do what she could on her own.  I was really expecting this system to be a miracle worker for us.

August was also an eventful month in that my oldest daughter and her husband bought a house just down the street from us.  Hopefully, this would mean more time with them and our granddaughter.  Is there ever enough?

Now that school was in session, my schedule was even tighter.  All the errands and chores that I used to do during the day now had to be done in the evening.  Our Couch to 5K group was still meeting three nights a week, so most of my grocery shopping and errands were done on my way home from running.  There was no such thing as spare time.

When September rolled around, the Couch to 5K program came to an end.  The big finale this year was a different race in a nearby city, hence a different route.  We made the mistake of not previewing the route before the race, so we did not know what to expect.  It was an out and back, so at least we knew what to expect on the way back!

This race was on a Saturday, so I had to get the day off.  Cinderella wanted to run in the race so I signed her up for the one mile fun run.  This race included a one mile fun run, a 5K, and a 10K.  All the races started at the same time, they just had a different turn around point.  The only problem with this is that Cinderella didn’t turn around at the one-mile mark.  She kept running, and I was afraid she would end up in the next county or something.  Thankfully, she stayed with people she knew, and ended up running the 5K.  Unfortunately, the one mile fun run was not timed, so she did not have a bib and there was no record of her time.  Otherwise, she would’ve gotten a medal simply because she was the only one in her age group.

This was a small race with few people in each age group, so many in our group received medals.  After watching my teammates work so hard all summer, it was great to see them receive medals at their very first race.  Cinderella was very disappointed that she didn’t get a medal, so my son-in-law gave her his–which she still has to this day.

In the end, I was glad that I did the program again.  I tried to be an encouragement to my friends that were new to the program, but they ended up being a great encouragement to me.  I always hoped that some lightbulb would come on and I would suddenly realize what I needed to change to become a much faster runner.  That never happened and still hasn’t happened.  Still, my endurance was way up, and my speed was increasing with each race I ran.  I was making progress, and I was content with that.

305 lbs. I Will not be Afraid

It was good to be employed again.  What money I made was our safety net.  It was a good, secure feeling.

I also enjoyed seeing the drivers that I worked with on a weekly basis.  When I worked from home, I talked to them a lot on the phone, but rarely actually saw them.  It was good to see them face to face and many of them would come in and talk to me for a few minutes during shift change.

The question of the day became, “Have you talked to Mr. G?”  I nearly strangled the last driver that asked me that question, and no one ever asked me that question again.

It didn’t take long before working on Friday and Saturday cramped my style so to speak.  We often went to the pool on Friday nights.  In the past, I could take my work stuff with me and work poolside.  I was not able to do that this time around.

My oldest daughter came up with the idea that we should run a 5K a month.  That meant we had to find 5Ks that were on Sunday.  They were out there, and we were able to do it, but it very much limited our choices.

In June we did the SuperDad 5K.  I don’t think we were able to find a race to do in July.  August was a race called Run by the River.  It was the same course as the SuperDad 5K, but the weather made a huge difference.

Saturday was also a time that my daughter and her husband wanted to go out.  It was a time that they needed a babysitter, and I was not able to do it.  There were also plenty of local events and summer activities that I simply wasn’t able to go to because I was working.

I was trying to cram seven days of household duties into five, so I soon found that I had come up with a strict schedule of what had to be done each and every day to get everything done every week.  On Saturdays while I was at work, I would often order a few groceries and schedule pick up for Sunday after church.  Sunday was my day to pay bills and do paperwork.  Monday was my day to stay home and clean house.  I don’t remember what Tuesday was.  Wednesday was my day to go grocery shopping and run errands.  Thursday was my day to stay home, do laundry, and meal prep for the next several days. It was hectic and demanding, but I was able to make it work.

I was very concerned that working would mean eating more, being less active, and gaining weight.  I would drink a smoothie for breakfast on my way to work.  I brought a salad in a jar to have later in the day as a meal, and various snacks of fruit, vegetables, and cheese for any other time I needed something to eat.  I didn’t want to be eating out or eating from a vending machine, so having more than what I would probably need with me was my solution.

As far as activity, I had to walk about 50 yards up to another building several times a day, so I would turn that trip into a brisk walk around the parking lot.  I tried running a few times and thought that I could at least work on my pace or do some sprints, but I soon found that it was not an option without being properly attired.  During the summer, I was also able to go for a walk after work.  I would often walk down to the end of the street and back which is about a mile and a half.

In June the Couch to 5K program started again.  I decided to join the program again in hopes of getting better at running.  My speed improved a little each race, but I was still very, very slow.  Also, it would put running on my calendar three days a week.

This time around, I was able to get five of my friends to join the program with me.  One of those being my closest friend who was also on her own weight-loss journey and another being my oldest daughter.  It was great to do the program with people that I knew and to share something that I loved and enjoyed.

The summer was a time of adjustment that went by quickly.  I felt very alone, but I kept telling myself that this too, shall pass.


Stopping the Binge

Monday was a day to get up early and get Cinderella to her gardening class.  I’ll have to admit that her little garden plot looks better than anything I have growing around the house.

My running has shifted to evenings now that our running group is meeting.  We meet at 7:00 pm, so I have also shifted all of my meals.  I cannot eat a meal more than three hours before running.  Breakfast has now become brunch.  Lunch and dinner are now “linner,” and I eat a very late supper somewhere around 8:30 or 9:00 pm.

Since Cinderella had her class and we often don’t get back until after lunch, I fixed my breakfast and took it with me.  I waited as long as I could stand to eat it, but I woke up hungry Monday morning–most likely because I went to bed hungry Sunday night.

We stopped at the grocery store on the way home to get groceries.  The refrigerator was completely empty after going out of town the week before, so it was a big haul.  And, of course, I let Cinderella talk me into buying a few things I normally wouldn’t.

I was starting to get hungry again by the time we got home right after noon.  I knew this was bad news since my next meal wasn’t scheduled until 4:00 pm.  Cinderella opened the treats I let her pick out–a few chocolate covered raisins from the bulk section of the store and a bag of Pirate’s Booty we found in the clearance section.

I was curious about our unexpected purchases, so I gave them a taste.  And then I mindlessly ate another, and another, and another.  I was putting food away in more ways than one.

Then my mind said, “STOP!  What are you doing?  You’d be better off eating a whole other meal instead of binging on this junk!”  I immediately stopped and fixed myself a healthy snack that would hold me over until 4:00.

This, my friends, is monumental!  Why?  Because never before has my mind reacted in such a way.  Never before have I been mindlessly stuffing my pie hole only to have my brain wake up and yell, “STOP!”

What do I think precipitated this?  I have only made one change to my eating habits.  I am following a food plan, planning all of my meals ahead of time, and weighing my food.  This sounds like a lot of work, but it’s really not.  This has taken a load off of my mind as far as thinking about food, what I’m going to eat, when, was it the right amount, etc.  I have been eating three meals a day, so I think that eating outside of this framework made red flags start popping up.

We have to have food to survive.  It’s everywhere, and marketers are intentionally manufacturing foods that are addictive and appeal to all of our senses.  We can give up certain foods, but we can’t give up eating all together to break the addiction.  It’s easy to see why controlling our food intake (at least in this country) may be one of the most difficult hurdles for a large portion of the population.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
I Corinthians 10:31

Walking Down Memory Lane

June 10th was the Get Outdoors Day 6K.  This race benefited the Watkins Mill Association.  This one was close to heart and home.  I grew up two miles from the lake that we would soon run around.  It holds a lot of memories.

As has been our practice with previous races, we ran the course a couple of times before the race so we knew what we were getting ourselves into.  This race was on a paved trail that circles the lake.  Originally, the trail was about 4.1 miles, but it has been modified on the north end so that it is now only 3.8 miles.

Technically, the trail was much shorter in the beginning.  It started at the north end of the park where there was a picnic and playground area.  You could park there and then ride your bike or walk along the west side of the lake and across the dam where the trail came to an abrupt halt.

In what seemed to be 100 years to this little girl, the trail was finally completed so that it circled the lake.  At that time, it was about 4.1 miles and still began and ended at the picnic/playground area.

As a teenager, several of us would ride our bikes up and down a few enormous hills, past the old church and octagon schoolhouse, and then down the gravel road and across the wooden bridge to the beginning of the trail.  We would then race around the trail four times and then ride home for a total of about 20 miles.  If it was extremely hot, we came prepared, and often did, take a dip in the lake.

As a younger child, I remember the church and schoolhouse being restored.  One day while out garage saling with my mother, we went by the church to find that it was open and there were men working on it.  We stopped and asked if we could take a look inside, and they obliged.

I rode across that wooden bridge every day on the school bus.  We would hang on tight to the back of the seat in front of us in hopes that the driver would fly across the bridge at just the right speed and angle as to send us bouncing up out of our seats.  There were many picnics at the picnic area with church, 4-H, and other groups.  This always involved playing in the creek and under the bridge itself.  We also found the creek to be a great place to work on our rock-skipping skills.

The forecast for race time was sunny and 72 degrees, so I did not wear the heavy t-shirt we were given.  Instead, I wore a tech-shirt that I received at Tortoise and the Hare 5K.  The race started near the parking lot for the swim beach–something else that has changed over the years.  We ran in a counter-clockwise direction, which to me is the “right” direction after spending years riding my bike mostly in that direction.

We ran up and down a few shady hills and then out into the sun and across the dam.  The same dam that I spent many hours fishing, but never really catching anything, with my dad.  I remember one night going fishing with my dad and a neighbor.  I couldn’t have been more than 8 years old.  A thunderstorm suddenly rolled in and we had to quickly pack up our things and head to the truck.  We packed our things up and walked across the dam as fast as we could with me in the middle, my dad holding one hand, the neighbor the other.  It was so windy, that I thought I was going to blow away.  There were times that I would take a step and I knew that neither one of my feet were touching the ground.

Turkey vultures making breakfast out of what last night’s fishermen left behind.

This race was not chip timed and it was 3.8 miles.  I hadn’t done any 4 mile runs for a while, so I wasn’t feeling real confident about it–especially with it being as warm as it was.  Also, my friend Velma was there who I hadn’t seen for a few weeks, so we spent a good part of the race walking and talking.  It was all good.  We had a great time, and I got to take a walk (literally) down memory lane.

“Good morning,” says the cardinal to the owl.

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Luke 12:27

Heart and Sole 5k

On Saturday, May 6, my oldest daughter and I (and a few other friends) ran the Tri County Heart and Sole 5K.  This race benefits local children with mental health issues.

Last year, this race was my first race of 2016 and the second race of my life.  I had taken the winter off and was just starting to get back into running again.  Not only was it wet and rainy the morning of the race, we had had torrential downpours a few days before.  There were patches where the trail was covered in one inch deep mud.  I had never ran the race route before, so I had no idea what to expect.

This year was completely different.  It was sunny and warm the morning of race day.  We had not had a lot of rain beforehand, so the trail was dry and clean.  My daughter and I had gone out a few times before the race and ran the course, so we knew what to expect.  Also, we did not take the winter off.  In essence, we were much more prepared this year.

This was not just a race, it was an event!  Before the race, there was a Zumba warm up by my favorite Zumba instructor, Shertoine.


After singing the Star Spangled Banner, it was off to the race where we had great trail support!  This is the stuff that makes you smile and run a little harder.  Thank you to whoever got up early to do all of this!


Then it was time for the kids fun dash.  My granddaughter ran her first race and got her first finisher’s medal!


After that, we got to test drive this awesome vehicle!  (Wishful thinking.)


Vroom, vroom!

 This was a fun morning with family and friends.  Like I said, this was not just a race, but an event–all for a great cause.

Indeed, may you see your children’s children.  Psalm 128:6a

First Place Runner!

One evening during a meeting, I received a phone call.  I recognized the number as coming from the family that I grew up next door to.  My first thought was that something horrible had happened.  Instead, I was asked if I wanted to run a 5K–in two weeks.  A business had purchased bibs and had two that were unclaimed.  My daughter and I could have them for free if we wanted.  No runner is going to turn that offer down!

April 22 was my second 5K for April, and one that was not planned.  The money for this 5K went to support a local Christian school.  This school is attached to a church that many, many years ago my two older kids took co op classes at.  So, I was familiar with the church and school and felt like it was a worthwhile cause.

At packet pick up we got some cool swag.  Lots of local coupons including $5 off at a local grocery store.  We also got red t-shirts and glittery headbands that aren’t supposed to slide on your head.

The race itself was at a local park with a trail.  We were somewhat familiar with the park but not the trail in particular.  We had to drive by it to get to packet pick up, so we took a drive through the park and looked over the trail the best we could.  Upon leaving we noticed a big hill with a monstrous grade.  The only question was, were we going to be running up it or down it tomorrow?

The forecast for the race was 45 degrees and a light rain.  The only race I’ve had to run in the rain was warm enough that it wasn’t cold.  I didn’t know how I would handle this one.  I’ve been told by veteran runners that the secret is to stay dry.  How to do that, I wasn’t sure.

As Friday progressed, I kept checking the weather forecast for Saturday morning at race time.  The temperature kept going up and the chance of rain kept going down.  By the time I went to bed, the forecast was 53 degrees, windy and cloudy, but no rain.  I was thankful and dressed for the forecasted weather.

Saturday morning arrived and it was 53 degrees, very windy, and the sun was shining.  I was thankful not to be running in the rain, but I was also a bit overdressed since I was expecting it to be cloudy.

The race course was interesting.  We were told that last year the course was a bit short, so we had a little out and back we had to do before running on the paved trail.  We had to do two laps around the trail.  It didn’t take long to realize that we had to go up that gnarly hill twice!

Other than the hill, it was a nice course.  I mostly ran up the hill the first time around and did more walking up the hill the second time around.  I knew it wasn’t worth it to wear myself out running up this hill.

I crossed the finish line huffing and puffing.  Then, when I saw my time I was very disappointed.  It was the worst I had done in a very long time.  Once I caught up with my daughter (literally), she told me that she was also disappointed with her time.  We blamed the wind, we blamed the hill, we blamed everything except ourselves!  Then, I looked at the stats on my Fitbit.  We had actually run 3.3 miles–nearly a quarter of a mile further.

I’ve been telling people that I’d get first place as soon as I found a race small enough.  As far as participants go, this was probably the smallest race I’ve ever run.  In fact, it was small enough that I was probably the only runner in my age group.  Which, of course, put me in first place!  Yah, check out that white ribbon around my neck that says “1st Place.”