Meet Natalie and Olivia

11 09 2010

Today’s run is dedicated to Natalie and her niece Olivia!

Olivia was diagnosed with Leukemia when she was 2 years old. It was a scary time for all of us, but most especially for my brother and my sister-in-law. Olivia is their youngest child. As a baby she was a very vivacious happy baby and the spitting image of her sister Anna. Then she started getting sick. She was taken to the doctor and after a battery of tests they diagnosed her with Leukemia.

After that followed a long course of treatment. Even at her young age, she took it like a trooper. My brother once described her as stoic when she went for her treatments. she didn’t fuss or cry, even with all the needle sticks she was subjected to. She has developed some food intolerance as a result of her treatments as well as some cravings. She is not a big sweet eater, but she does like salty things.

Last year after much coaxing from friends, my brother sent in a request for Olivia to the Make-a-Wish foundation. Olivia’s wish was to meet the Princesses. So Make-a-Wish sent the entire family to Disney where Olivia got to have lunch with the Disney princesses. She was in her glory. She even had a tiara and wand.

Olivia is currently doing well and is as about as normal as any other ten-year old.

This run will be week number 7 out of 19. Only 12 more weeks to go!!!! If you  or someone you know has been afflicted by Leukemia/Lymphoma I would be honored to share your story and dedicate a Saturday run to you. Please leave a comment on this post and let’s plan a dedication!

Tara’s Team In Training Page

$1586 / $1800 raised!


Better or Worse

9 09 2010

One of the great things about having Godfather as a trainer is just when you feel like giving in, he says something that just clicks. On Wednesday I walked into the gym thinking I was going to have a somewhat mellow hour. I was super exhausted and pretty sore after a Tuesday filled with an hour session with him and then returning that evening for my first ever Boot Camp with my friend Jessi (who by the way has her own blog HERE and you should totally go over and give her some love). Godfather pushes me to the limit each and every time. Add to that boot camp and Tara = TORE UP! I had planned on just doing something totally mindless for an hour and getting the hell out of there. Godfather had a different idea. He invited me to work out with another one of his clients. I love working out with this particular person and when he asks you to participate…

you don’t refuse

So here I am, exhausted and feeling physically like I’m at the end of my rope but I warm up and off we go. About 30 minutes into the session I begin to have a mental breakdown. There’s something about being in the gym super early in the morning, having so much sweat and snot on your face that you can’t tell what’s what and being told to move faster that makes you feel like sitting down on the floor and refusing to move until someone brings you a blanket and a teddy bear. That’s where I was. I needed that blanket. I needed that Teddy Bear. I needed for Godfather to give me a break. Since I wasn’t going to get any of the fore mentioned I just started crying. But I was moving. In fact I was running. Running in between two cones. I don’t know if he saw me crying. I don’t really care. I just want to keep moving. I want my body to get stronger. I want my body to get fitter. I want my body to get leaner. It’s not going to happen by giving up. It’s not going to happen by asking Godfather for a break. As I’m having an internal conversation with myself (more like begging my body to not give up) I hear the following words come out of his mouth:

“In any situation, you’re either getting worse or you’re getting better”

I’ve never heard a truer statement than what I heard at that exact moment. Yes, I was a sweaty snotty mess. My shirt didn’t have one dry place on it for me to wipe my face. My legs hurt from the TRX sequence, my arms hurt from weighted push-ups and my lungs were about to collapse from the one minute sprints (and still trying to recover from boot camp) but I was making myself better.

Everything we do we’re either making the situation worse or we’re making it better. Every decision, every choice and every conscious effort as we move forward and take control of a life we once thought was lost forever. This is how I need to look at my life. No, this is how WE need to look at OUR lives. No matter where you on this journey you can always asks yourself: does this help me to be better or does this hinder and lead me towards being worse? If you’re stuck in a binge, if you can’t muster up the energy to break a sweat or you just happen to pull up to your nearest Jack in the Box stop and ask yourself:

Will this make me better?

Will this make me worse?

I didn’t stop crying as soon as he bestowed this wisdom on me. In fact, I continued to cry pretty much right up to end of our time together. But what I did begin to do was say to myself, (and out loud I might add) I am getting better. All the exhaustion, all the struggle to keep moving and all effort I put into this journey is making me better. A better athlete. A better mentor. A better person.

It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be.

Isn’t it what we all want to be?

This week has been about as physically demanding as I’ve ever experienced. By the end of the week I’ll have seen Godfather five times, done boot camp twice and run about 12 miles.  I’ll have cried and prayed my way through multiple hours of movement despite being tired and my muscles will seize up after sitting for a even the shortest periods of time. But when I ask myself if these situations are making me better or worse…

I know the answer.

What’s your answer?

Drop Dead Gorgeous by December Week #3

8 09 2010

Goals to accomplish by December:
Finish trek tri in under 2 hours
Dead lift 150 pounds  – DONE!!!!
Consistently run 10 minute mile
Get into size 12 pants
Make my bed everyday

The Goals are plugging along very nicely. Godfather made sure that I get that dead lift goal out of the way right quick. I dead lifted 185 pounds the day before going to San Francisco. Now shooting for 200!!

Proud moment:
I haven’t stepped on the scale in a week and ran some serious hills in San francisco.

Need to work on the following:
I spent a lot of time obsessing about food while on vacation. I need to work on that this week. (Even though I did think a lot about my food, I didn’t purge and that is a big deal in my neck of the woods).

San Francisco (aka putting my life into action)

6 09 2010

A funny thing happened while on this LCJ.

I’ve learned how to live.

One of the most amazing things about waking up one morning and deciding that weighing 263 pounds was not where I wanted to be any longer is figuring out  that this stopped being about ONLY losing weight fairly quickly and became more about just living life.

The last time I went on vacation it was to Ohio to visit my friend Michelle back in June. I’d been on this journey for about 5 months and down 50 pounds. I thought I was ready. I thought I was prepared. I did the best I could with the tools that I had provided myself but in the end I had a major freak out (all internally of course) and ended up purging after one particularly heavy meal. I felt out really out of control after that and was super disappointed in myself. It took a long time to not feel defeated and wondering if I would ever get it right and an even longer time to forgive myself. I came home and vowed never to go anywhere on vacation again.

This week I went to San Francisco.

I was really scared nervous freaked out. I didn’t want to repeat Ohio. I didn’t want to obsess about everything I put in my mouth. I didn’t want to feel like I had to spend hours and hours sweating off some preconceived notion that I was going to come back weighing 263 pounds because I put something in my mouth that I didn’t know the exact calorie / sodium / fat / protein count. I wanted to spend the week just living in my body the way it was meant to be lived in.

Without fear.

Without guilt.

Without self loathing.

And you know what? I did it. Yes I thought about food choices, but I ate everything I wanted. I also pushed my plate away when I was full. I ate things that 3 months ago I never even would have allowed myself to THINK about eating.

Holy Smokes! Is that a keilbasa in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

I did sweat a lot while there but not because I told myself I had to in order to maintain some level of control over the course of the next 5 days. I ran because I wanted too. It was something I was looking forward to when I got up in the morning. Just me and the streets of San Francisco. No pressure. No set distance. No “oh my god I have to run off the (insert food item) I ate last night”. I got to challenge myself running up hills and feeling pretty much like a rock star because the last time I was in San Fran I looked like this:

I ran the streets looking like this:

Yes, that is the "Full House" Back drop.

The best part about sweating while in San Francisco is it only happened while I was running. It didn’t happen just because I was out moving. I walked like a mad man over the course of the five days. I walked up hills. I walked up stairs. I walked block after block after block and it didn’t even phase me. Let me repeat that: IT DIDN’T EVEN PHASE ME.

Don’t get me wrong. There were a few minor bumps in the road. But they were just that: minor. One small panic attack over something non food related was the worst thing that happened. It didn’t even last more than 5 minutes before I was moving on to the next awesome part of my trip. For the first time in my adult life I was out participating in my vacation instead of dreading it.

Obviously Mickey Mouse plays for the Giants (only 4 fingers)

SF Giants (2) vs. Colorado Rockies (1)

Golden Gate Bridge on my way BalsaMan (yep, I went to a beach party of sorts!)

The things you see when you walk to your destination instead of driving.

Random buffalo I saw while running at 630a. So awesome!

This LCJ isn’t about just losing weight for me. Yes of course it’s still a major part of my everyday existence but I can be thin and still be depressed and isolated. This journey is about learning to step outside of something I once found comforting (being alone) and doing something I was afraid to do for so long: LIVE!


2 09 2010

Last week I did my first guest post over at SeattleRunnerGirl and wrote about never giving up. It seems on a daily basis (actually multiple times per day) I am faced with the decision to either give up or move forward. It can be as simple as making the choice to have a green tea from Starbucks instead of a latte; to as complex as how do I prepare myself for my week-long vacation to San Francisco when I won’t have access to a gym, Godfather, and the comforts of home to keep me on track.

When I took my first steps into this 100+ pound LCJ it was scary. It was intimidating. I had no idea what I was doing. I was pretty much going blindly as I learned about calorie intake vs calories burned. I didn’t make extravagant decisions. I started so small it was kind of a joke to me. I started by taking the stairs up one floor, catching my breath and then taking the elevator up to the next floor. I gave up one diet coke for a glass of water but then drank an extra diet coke at night. I portioned out my food on a scale but when it was little more than a “portion” I ate the rest instead of putting it back. I was making decisions but I wasn’t really committing to them.

Commitment is so hard.

We want to succeed. We want the weight to come off. We want to look in the mirror and love the person looking back at us.  We can’t “kind of” make a decision to eat better and then wonder why we ended up eating that third slice of cake at our best friend’s wedding. We can’t “kind of” make a decision to exercise and then wonder why the scale isn’t moving after 10 minutes on the elliptical. We can’t “kind of” make the decision to start again tomorrow and then wonder why tomorrow never seems to come.

At some point in this journey I decided to commit whole heartedly to fight for my life. I didn’t just “kind of” make the decision. I made the decision that a life of depression, isolation and topping the scales at 270 was no longer an option for me. I knew that if I didn’t stand up at the age of 40 and take control of a life that was so full of sadness, loneliness and fear I was never going to stand up.

Every choice I make is about fighting for my life.

It hasn’t been easy. In fact if I knew it was going to be as hard as it has been at some points I might have re-thought this whole journey. I cry on a daily basis because most days I wake up tired and don’t even have the energy to put in my contacts so I can get to the gym. But I commit. I get frustrated every time I go food shopping because right next to the salsa I love to eat with my hard boiled eggs are the delicious doritos that I want to shove in my pie hole. But I commit. I’ve made some choices that led to binging/purging and have more than once had a hard time looking at myself in the mirror but even in those choices I commit. I commit to learning about myself. I commit to being absolutely honest with myself and those that share this journey with me. I commit to taking another step forward so that old behaviors are left to the wayside as I become healthier not only physically but mentally and emotionally.

Where is your commitment today? Are you “kind of” making the decision to move more and eat less. Are you “kind of” waiting for tomorrow to come so that you can start over. “Kind of(s)” don’t work. Period. Only commitment. Commitment to change. Commitment to move. Commitment to stand up and take that first step and never look back. I didn’t think my life was worth it making that commitment…

I proved myself wrong.

Getting rid of the “est”(s) and embracing the “er”(s)

31 08 2010

Some Most days I am afraid to try.

I am afraid to try because I want to be the best at everything. I am an overachiever. Anyone that has lived as a fat person knows what I’m talking about. Fat is our one failure that we can never seem to shed. So we over compensate by either being the smartest student, the hardest worker, the funniest person or the one that will drop everything at any given time and be there to lend a helping hand. We think by being the best at something (or everything) it will hide what we’re really feeling: I am a failure at everything because I am fat.

I tried in the past to let go of the fat but I forgot about letting go of the most important part – the “est”(s). If I couldn’t be the thinnEST, the fastEST, the strongEST, the fittEST then there was no point. I used to walk around aimlessly looking at other people and thinking “oh look at him, he looks so strong. I’ll never be that strong <insert food into pie hole>” or “look at her, I’ll never be that thin<insert food into pie hole AND turn on World of Warcraft> or “look at that runner, I’ll never be that fast” <insert food into pie hole AND turn on World of Warcraft AND sink farther into my depression>.

As a morbidly obese person I was so focused on what I wasn’t doing.

Being the bEST.

That I didn’t see what I was doing.

Being bettER.

Stop looking around you and seeing what everyone else is doing. You don’t know their history. You don’t know their demons. You don’t know what brought them to where they are today. There is only one person you need to be better than and that’s the you that you’re leaving behind.

I may never be as fast as her...


I am getting faster!

I may never be as strong as her...


I am getting strongER (185 pounds deadlift!)


strongER (500 pound leg press!)

I may never be as thin as her...


instead of looking like this (263 pounds)

I look like this (183 pounds).

It’s hard to come to the realization that I can’t be the bEST at something. I don’t know how to not look at that as complete failure. I won’t lie to you, I struggle every day thinking about how I let myself go for so long. How for so many years I was complacent in my life. Weighing close to 270 pounds was okay for me because why think any different if I can’t be thinnEST. Not being able to walk up a flight of stairs was okay for me because why think any different if I can’t run the fastEST. Not getting my heart pumping and my muscles moving was okay for me because why think any different if I can’t be the strongEST.

Talk about a fucked up way of thinking.

I was afraid to stand up and take control of my life because I was looking at what other people were doing and comparing myself to them before I even started. It’s true, I’ll never be the fastEST, or the fittEST, or the strongEST or even the thinnEST. Today and for the rest of my life I will struggle to let go of the “est”(s) and begin to embrace the “er”(s) because there is only one person I need to be better than…

And it's me. September 2009

August 31st 2010 (and getting happiER every day)

A letter…

30 08 2010

It high time I wrote a letter to the Head Trainer at All Star  Fitness so I sat down with some tea at Starbucks and hand wrote the following:


This letter is long in coming. I spent hours wondering how to put down in words the life changing experience I’ve had since walking through the doors of Allstar Fitness back in april of this year. The beginning is probably the best place to start. December 29th 2009 I decided I had had enough of living the life laid out before me. I weighed 263.5 pounds. I was depressed and my life had come to a screeching halt. I had just celebrated my 40th birthday and I realized if I didn’t start to move and move with purpose, I wasn’t going to have too many more chances to get my life back.

December 30th I began to move. It wasn’t much, but it was more than I was used to. I took stairs instead of elevators. I parked as far away as possible from buildings and began walking on my lunch breaks. I began to eat consciously and slowly the weight came off. This was a fight to save my life. I promised myself that I would take the first 30 pounds off myself, then join a gym. The day the scale said 233.5 I walked into Allstar. I’ve never been a  card-carrying member of a gym before and to say I was intimidated would be an underestimation of how I really felt.

With the membership came the free assessment with the trainers and after acclimating myself for a few weeks I took the plunge and set my first appointment with Kent (Superman). I hear stories about people having bad experiences with trainers and having to try a few out before finding the right match. I never had that problem. Kent and I hit it off right away. He saw something in my that I never saw in myself: Potential. Kent is very much a “get down to business” kind of trainer. I am very much a “get down to business” kind of person. We made a great team and over the course of two months he helped me lose an additional 20+ pounds. He set a fire inside of me to become what I was born to be: an athlete.

Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond both of our control I had to transfer my remaining sessions to another trainer in June. Kent had set the standards pretty high so I had to be firm with my choice. I’d been watching trainers for a few weeks knowing a choice had to be made. One particular trainer caught my eye: Chuck Carone (Godfather). Every morning I would watch him with his clients and I knew I needed to be a part of his team. By the end of our first session together I knew I wouldn’t need to keep looking for a new trainer. Kent set the fire to become an athlete. Chuck has made me an athlete.

Chuck sees in me things I never knew possible. He sees strength and determination. He sees me as a stronger, fitter, faster person. I’ve been with Chuck for close to 2 months. When we first started training together I weighed 213 pounds. As of this letter I weigh 183 pounds. I am stronger today than I have ever been. When I didn’t believe in myself, Chuck believed in me. When my thoughts are full of “I can’t”, Chuck shows me that I can. When I am tired and cranky and dragging my feet into the gym at 6am for our session, he is full of energy and has a smile and enthusiasm that is contagious. I don’t know how other people feel about Chuck, but he has become an extremely important person in my life. A coach. A trainer. A mentor and a friend.

In all honesty he not only makes me want to become a better athlete; he makes me want to become a better person.

There are very few people who I look to as role models and even fewer people I aspire to be. Chuck is easily on the top of both of those lists.

~ Tara Martin