Dear Tara…

20 02 2011

Dear 270 Tara;

We don’t know each other very well. In fact, we’ve never met. I mean, I know who you are. You’re famous round these parts. Everyone knows you. Everyone knows you were struggling to enjoy life. You didn’t think very much of yourself and had gotten yourself in a dark space and had little hope that it was going to get any better. Everyone remembers the day you decided that the life you were living was no where near your potential and you were going to make a difference, even if it was the smallest of changes.

I heard the stories.

The 260’s didn’t take any pictures because they remember you were too embarrassed to even make a public statement about how much you weighed. But with small changes and moving even just a little bit you lost enough weight to think that this journey might be a possibility. They remember how you used to walk up a flight of stairs and had to take a break in between each floor because it hurt to breath. But they remember how you kept at it until you could walk up three flights of stairs without stopping. They remember how you cried when you wanted a diet coke but instead drank a glass of crystal light or how you used to say “my stomach doesn’t care what I put in it, it’s my brain that needs to be retrained” during your lunch break in order to get through those 30 minutes without shoving chocolate or a random doughnut in your mouth.

The 250’s tells me that this is when you started running. They remember that crazy day when you were walking the dogs (and I think by this time you were up to walking 2 miles a day with them – congratulations!) and for some reason you decided to move a little faster. It was early enough in the morning and not a soul was around. You ran for half a block and by the end of it you were so out of breath you actually got sick. We get a good laugh out of that around the water cooler.  They were pretty sure you wouldn’t last long in the running department but you showed them. You found this thing called couch to 5k and began running before the sun came up because you were sure everyone was staring at you. It was slow going but damn if you didn’t keep at it.

The 240’s have a lot of stories to share. They say this picture was taken when you got yourself down to about 245 pounds and this was the first time you actually ran for 5 minutes straight. There was talk that this journey might be serious but there was still some trepidation. They fondly remember the day you decided to go public with your weight loss and was born. P.S. Happy belated blogiversary.



The 230’s say this is really when you planted your feet firmly in the ground and proclaimed this LCJ was for real and not going any where any time soon. You did something you never thought you do: You signed up for your first 5k! Then you went and did something even more crazy: You joined a gym. Yhea we didn’t see that coming




The 220’s celebrated a milestone: 50 pounds lost. Hard to believe that 5 months previous to this picture being taken you weighed 270 pounds. You didn’t see much of a change in your body but you started to notice that your neck was smaller and I think I remember them saying this is where you discovered your collar bone again. They say this was also about the time you realized that this journey wasn’t just about losing the physical weight but that you had to really look to your past to get to your future


The 2teens remember the day you signed up for this 5k. It wasn’t the original one you signed up for (that was coming in June) but you couldn’t pass up the opportunity when it was offered by your friend Elizabeth. It was super scary. But you crossed that finish line and that was the day you called yourself a runner. But that wasn’t all you did in your 2teens. You walked your first half Marathon and then you went and did something down right crazy: You signed up for your first triathlon! They fondly remember you thinking that you might actually like being an athlete and couldn’t wait to see what you came up with next! But it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. This was by far the most stressful time during your journey. The 2teens remember the day you got the call that your brother was in the hospital due to his alcoholism. This would mark the first time there was a gain in your journey. You started to realize that stress was a big factor. You pushed too hard physically, you were too hard on yourself emotionally and you got hurt.




The 210’s remember you coming to many crossroads during their time with you. You took your first trip away from home. It was good but it came with a few emotional bumps and bruises. You were fired from your job (and saw the second gain on this journey) and learned that staying in the moment was harder than you ever imagined. But the 210’s also remember when you ran your first solo 5k, learned the importance of NSV and met The Godfather for the first time.



The 190’s are really proud of the stories they have to share. They like to reminisce they day you almost DIDN’T run your first 10k because you were scared. They like to tell the rest of us about the day you decided that building an army behind you was just as important as building a strong body. The best story they like share is when you decided to join Team in Training and begin training for a HALF MARATHON. Yhea, they didn’t see that one coming either. Way to pull the carpet out from under them (by the way they are very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this journey during the summer months!)

The 180’s think this is your shining time. You spent a lot of time looking in the mirror. You were really getting used to the body you were living in. It was 90 pounds smaller. NINETY POUNDS!! It wasn’t always easy to look at the the person looking back at you. You were still fighting your demons (and still do today) but even your 270 pound mentality couldn’t deny that you were happier and healthier than you’ve ever been not only in your adult life but in your ENTIRE LIFE. This is the time you began to call yourself an athlete and knew it to be a true label.

The 170’s has a lot of bragging rights. They should. This is where you spent the most time. You spent a couple of months here. But you didn’t just sit around and wait for 170 to come knocking on your door. You went after it like a wild fire. You have the Triathlon medal to prove it. You also realized to reach that goal you not only had to drop the physical weight, you had to drop the emotional weight. You realized there was fear in making goal weight and when you began to listen to your heart, you realized that it was time to take that physically fit body back to church. For a little over two months you pushed forward. Slowly watching the numbers on the scale move downward. The day you started this journey you were medically labeled Morbidly Obese. Finally in the middle of November you stepped on the scale and became medically labeled as Normal.

Yep, that’s you. Yep, that’s a half marathon. Yep, you did it 103 pounds lighter. You’ve continued to work harder than you ever give yourself credit for. Over the last year, you’ve ended some relationships, started some awe inspiring relationships. You made a birthday wish come true and set up some serious goals for the next coming year. The one important thing you learned while living through these stories is that life isn’t going to change unless you change. You didn’t want to be depressed or reliant on medication to get you through the day. You didn’t want to sit around wondering what it would be like to be an athlete, you went out and made yourself more of an athlete than you ever dreamed. Even on days you feel like giving in and giving up you realize there is perfection in your imperfections.

You’re probably wondering who I am.

I mean I’ve written you this long letter and I didn’t even introduce myself. I’m the one you NEVER thought you’d see. I’m the one that’s writing the new stories from here on out. The stories that are not only going to continue to change your life but the lives of those that you touch. I’m the one that has been waiting patiently. I’m the one that has been cheering for you for the last 14 months waiting so that I can wrap my arms around you and tell you that you are loved. You are strong. You are beautiful.

I’m the one here to tell you…


My name?

My name is 160.

It’s nice to meet you.









The official graduation / Superman / and blah blah blah.

1 04 2010

It’s official.

I can now buy this beautiful shirt. I’ve worked nine long weeks to be able to say I can wear this shirt and know it to be true. I woke up early this morning with that “runner’s anticipation” in my stomach. That nervousness in the pit of your stomach that starts to wonder how far, how long and how in the world?

For a fleeting moment I prayed for another downpour. It was only fleeting. I wanted to do this run. I wanted to get outside before sun rise, pop in my earphones and let Robert Ullrey lull me into what would be my final run of the c25k program.

It was a little surreal, this run. Normally during my last run of the week, my mind wanders to what in store for me. For nine weeks I was focused on what coolrunnings thought I could do and would do. I constantly thought about whether or not I should repeat a week or just go and trust they knew what they were talking about.

I went with the trust factor.

They were right. Maybe not so much on the length portion. Today’s 30 minute run put me at about 2.25 miles, .85 miles short of 3.1. But they were right about the duration goal. If you had come to me nine weeks ago and said “Tara, you’re going to do this running program and in nine weeks you’re going to get up and run 2.25 miles without stopping“, I would have gaffawed at you. If I was drinking milk at the same time I would have accidentally spit it in your face at your unbelievable statement.

Not so unbelievable anymore.

This run, there was no thinking about what am I doing next week with coolrunnings. It was a little nerve wracking. Now what? You mean I have to do this on my own? Whose going to tell me when to run. Whose going to tell me when to stop?

Then I realized it was going to be me. I have the freedom now to figure out what exactly this running thing means to me. No more worrying about whether or not I’m going to be able to do a certain duration. No more freaking out about what’s coming up the next week, or the week after that.

Now I can just run.



Yesterday was my first meeting with Kent the trainer. It was mostly just talking, getting to know one another. Actually it was more him crunching numbers to get my BMI, RHR and any other TLA he could find.

Oh you don’t know what TLA means?

Three Letter Acronym

A little digression – There are companies out that have committees that sit around thinking of TLA, thinking it makes life easier than saying the words each time. Seriously!

Wonder what my Superman looks like?

Here’s his philosophy (thank goodness for copy and paste): “I have the training and experience to lead anyone to their fitness goals, whether you are training to improve your quality of life or to increase performance in a specific sport. Everyone should have a fitness assessment prior to an exercise program. The assessment will determine the optimal starting point for your program and is a great tool to measure the gains you have made during you program. When you are able to quantify the improvements you have made this will motivate you to continue to set and reach loftier goals. Your training should continually progress eventually landing you in the free weight area. Nothing burns calories like resistance training both during the work out and during the recovery days that follow. Additionally, it’s my goal to educate you on fitness, I will explain what and why we are doing certain exercises, the effects and why it is beneficial for the body. Your body will thank you each and every day by feeling better with a tremendous amount of energy.

And his experience:

  • 7 Years Personal Trainer
  • Cancer Survivor exercise development
  • 20 years military training
  • Wrote and monitored physical fitness programs for military units specifically to enhance combat effectiveness

Now go back and read that last bullet…


I’m hoping he’ll teach me some cool MacGyver move where I paralyze someone with a shoelace and a small towel.

He explained to me about not needing to do Cardio everyday. My running was probably going to be sufficient (less elliptical – even though I love it. I think I love it because of the t.v. that is attached to the machine – cause seriously who doesn’t love watching Law & Order while ellipticalling) (did I just make that word up – ellipticalling?) (am I using too many parenthesis?)

He explained to me about weight training to burn more calories. “Damaging” the muscles so that you burn more calories while healing. Ooooooooh. I have no idea what any of this means, but it makes sense.

He was impressed with my 3 month progress and pleased to hear my commitment. I was honest with him about my goals (70 pounds left to lose, working toward 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon, triathlon, ironman, taking over the world). He understood my absolute ineptitude for what I’m about to embark on and while he wanted to get right down to business I told him I was a slow and steady kind of gal.

He showed me two weight bearing machines. Not the kind with counter weights but the kind you actually put free weights onto. Nothing major, just sit and have a look see. Push here, pull here…

Even without the weights it was harder than I thought.

I may be able to run for 30 minutes, swim 50 laps and go 45 minutes on the elliptical but I couldn’t go 2 minutes on those weight machines. This is going to be cool as all get out!

Our hour came and went. I made my first “real” appointment for next Tuesday at 6:30am. As we parted way, he patted me on the back and said “prepare to be sore”.

If only he knew how long I’ve been waiting to here that…


A few things to point out here before I close for the night and catch up on all the wonderful bloggers and CKers that keep me determined to fight this fight.

  • I’m about to begin another category: 229-220. I don’t know when I’m going to hit the 220’s but this morning when I got on the scale it said 229. Since I don’t do official weigh in until Saturday I am only taking this number at face value. But it sure is a pretty number.
  • I’m going to start recording my total mileage run starting today. I’m also going to count swim laps cause swimming is pretty hardcore. RAWR.
  • I’ve got some new guns starting to show themselves. Not guns, like colt 45 or 30 aught 6 (how’s that for gun speak? I blame Blake Shelton’s “Hillbilly Bone”), I’m talking about biceps…Woot Woot Baby!

That’s all there is for today folks. I’ll be taking a pass on breaking a sweat tomorrow. I’ve worked a seriously long day today and there is too much construction on the interstate to get me home at a decent hour (I started work this morning at 8. Will finish at 11p. Word on the street my normal 30 minute commute is taking about 90 minutes with road closures). Saturday is my first official “non c25k” run day. Sunday I’m ellipticalling/swimming laps and sending out positive vibes to my movemates!

Did I just make up another word: Movemates???

Will you be my movemate?

Last run for c25k…

1 04 2010

It’s super early in the morning 5:49am.

The weather seems to have given me a break.

Today is my last run.

I’m nervous.

9 weeks ago = 60 secs, one block.

Out of breath.


Not sure what to do next.

Today = 2+ miles, 30 minutes non-stop.

5k on the list

1/2 marathon walk on the list.




I’ve dedicated many runs to you.

Today I dedicate this run to me.

Two 30 minute runs: A comparison.

30 03 2010

As most of you know I am finishing up my c25k program this week. I have one more session…

One more.

Then I’m on my own to figure out where I want to take this whole running thing. I’m a little nervous that once the program is over I’ll lose my drive to continue.  There are other running programs out there 5k-8k and 5k-10k that I’ll probably download to my trusty little shuffle and give it a go. With that being said I have run the 30 minute portion twice. Once outside. Once on the treadmill. Now a comparison.


There is something to be said about knowing you’re coming down the pike to a finish that makes you look forward to doing something that is physically challenging. My first attempt was last Saturday. I decided to go out by where the gym was so that I could run and then meet with Kent (The trainer) afterwards (From here on out I’m going to call Kent “Superman” cause he’s built like Clark Kent on the outside but you just know there is something spectacular inside).

This was a run that was not very well planned out. I didn’t know how far I could get in 30 minutes, if there was a round about circular path I should follow that would put me close to the starting point, or what the traffic would be like on an early Saturday morning. I just started out and hoped for the best.

I got the best I could have hoped for. Too early for traffic so no problem there. I quickly figured out the best route to take so that even if I passed my original starting point I could easily fill in the rest of the time without going to far. What I didn’t think about were the two hills that I would encounter. One in the middle of my run and one at the very end. 4 weeks ago I would have dreaded those hills. Sunday I looked forward to conquering them. Both times I told myself I didn’t care how slow I took them but they had to be taken at a run, not a walk and without stopping. Both times were a success.

It was a slow run.

I didn’t care.

I ran up two hills.

The treadmill:

On Monday I woke up to find a torrential down pour happening in my city.  Not the kind of rain that you muster up the determination to just get out and do it. This was the kind of rain that 10 feet from my house I would be soaked  and it would make for an awful running experience, not to mention it was the first day of  going back to work at the community college and time was not on my side.

So I did the only thing I could think off.

I took my run to the gym.

And this is what I thought of it:

It pretty much sucked. I tried my best to not watch the time and at one point even put a towel over it to cover the damn thing. Unfortunately my running is so haphazard that I vibrated it off and it fell on the belt, under my feet and then landed behind me.


I kept grabbing the bar and then quickly shaking a mental finger at myself to let go. The treadmills are in front of a long ass mirror and I kept watching myself. One thing fat people shouldn’t do is watch themselves in the mirror. It leads to stinkin thinking:

“That person next to you looks so much better”

“Seriously, you’re never going to be a runner”

“You don’t look like you’ve lost 30 pounds”

“Are your legs rubbing together…gross”

“All that sweat is disgusting”

“Look at how fat you look”

“You’ll never run that 5k”

“Give up already”

“You suck”



You get the picture.

Not to mention “snot rockets” don’t work well while running indoors.

The only good thing about the treadmill experience is that the last minute I pushed myself and got the speed up to 4.5 and didn’t fall off like the towel did 25 minutes early.

So there you have folks, treadmill running is not for me.

Tomorrow would officially be my last day to run the c25k program but I’m going to postpone it until Thursday. I really want my last session to be outside and the Wappler Doppler says it’s going to be another bucket tipping downpour.


So instead I’ll be meeting with Superman tomorrow. It will be the first of two free sessions and if he gives me what I’m looking for (which I have yet to figure out) then this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. I mean seriously, who doesn’t want to be a part of this 100+ weight loss life changing journey?

Don’t you?

Whoa there 28! and a new gym member in town.

22 03 2010

Is it a coincidence that as I’m coming up on the -30 pound mark, I’m also coming up to the 30 minute running mark on c25k?

No improvement on speed during this last run. In fact, I’m pretty sure I was going slower but I blame that on the elements (wind, rain) and on the fact that I was too occupied with the idea of having to use the restroom and too far away from anything even if I did stop. 28 minutes came and went and then I hit the first half of the North 30th street hill. This is no easy hill for sure..I think it’s about 6 blocks long with a serious incline. A SERIOUS INCLINE!!! Before I do my 5k in June I will run up this beast of burden. First I’ll start by walking the first half  🙂

5 more sessions…

I am coming to the end of c25k in mere days. I almost want to run everyday for the next 5 days just to get to the end. However, I wouldn’t be slow and steady anymore…I’d be speedy and haphazard! I am concentrating on really pushing that last minute. Running until I’m just about out of breath, since I know it’s the last minute. A few times I’ve surprised myself at how fast I felt like I was running, even after 25/28 minutes.

I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish before June 12th.


I did something yesterday that I’ve never done before.

I walked into a gym.

I told myself that when I got the first 30 pounds off (by myself) I was going to get a gym membership and begin the second part of my weight loss journey. Part of me thought I would never even get to that number so there was no point in being stressed about taking my weight loss even more public.

Until yesterday. The scale hit 233 early in the morning. Will it continue to be that number until Saturday’s weigh in?


But I made a promise that at 30 pounds I would pick a gym.

So that’s what I did.

I’ve had one in mind for a while.

Allstar Fitness.

No lie, I picked it because they advertise a great playroom for kids while moms work out. Seemed logical. Moms with kids + Tacoma = probably overweight like me. I go in and ask for a tour.

I am introduced to the Manager (and Muay Thai/Boxing trainer) who looks over my initial information. We sit down and he got right to the point: “Why did you come through those doors today Tara?

Well isn’t it obvious?

Then I realize it’s not obvious. What I want to attain isn’t obvious because I don’t look like I still need to lose 70 pounds. I never looked like I needed to lose 100 pounds. So what do I do? Do I fib and say “oh I’m looking to tone up”? Do I say “Oh I’m just looking to lose a few pounds”?…

I think to myself: Please don’t cry. Don’t be ashamed. You’ve already lost the first 30 pounds. You’re here not because you’re fat and lazy. You’re here because you want to lose even more weight. This isn’t about defeat, it’s about success.

I look him in the eyes.

“Well, I’m here because at the end of December, I weighed 264 pounds” (here I think I paused to see the look of shock on his face that someone that fat could actually even think about joining a gym…but I got nothing so I continued) “When I got on the scale this morning it said 233 pounds. I made a promise that after I lost the first 30 pounds by myself, I’d join a gym and lose the other 70”

He didn’t flinch at the numbers. He didn’t laugh at me or tell me to leave. He just said “I like it when people come in with a specific goal…let’s take the tour”

I liked what I saw. Main lobby has a 3 story rock climbing station. Main room (with all the cardio goodies and free weights) was open and lots of room to move around. There is a space separate from the main room (on the second floor) for women only. That was a big selling point for me. But the best part was the pool…

7 lanes dedicated to laps. All laps, all the time!

I am the newest member of Allstar Fitness. I got up bright and early (still trying to adjust my sleep schedule) and put that main room of cardio goodness to use.




Am I running too slow?

15 03 2010

What an interesting question to ponder.

Am I running too slow?

Today I diverged from my usual running spots (water front and the park) and ran on of the routes I normally walk my dogs. This way I could map it on gmap-pedometer and get a rough estimate on my speed. Last Friday I ran the track during my first 25 minute trial and it put me at about 1.5 miles but there was so much wind and rain that I didn’t really trust that to be accurate. So today I took it too the streets.

After calculations from gmap, it says I ran 1.75 miles in 25 minutes. That equates to 4.2 mph. That puts me at about a 15 minute  mile. Is that slow? Or is that pretty normal for someone who has never run before in their adult life.  I know over time (with practice) it will get faster but today I just feel like it’s too damn slow.

I felt a little frustrated and a little over exposed because I ran on a main street and with today being Monday, it was pretty dang busy. It also didn’t help that my normal podcast (Robert Ullrey) seems to be on the fritz at the iTunes store and I had to improvise with a new podcast. I found some other “podcasts” that I liked on personal weblogs but am too technologically inept that I couldn’t figure out how to move them from my pc to my ipod…

So my choices from the iTunes store was some mash up of techno or Indie Christian. I chose to go with the techno as I believe Indie Christian is both an oxy-moron and just not something I can get into. So Techno it was and it did the job just fine but I missed Robert’s voice for sure.

As an extra added bonus I took my dogs on the same route I ran, I pulled out my new jump rope (black and red just like when I was a kid) and did 100 jumps (25 reps x 4), worked on the Wii for 50 minutes for a total of about 700 calories burned.

Now to just figure out how to eat those back!

Weigh in #11…A new catergory!

13 03 2010

I have posts set up by certain catergories…one of which is weight. The first catergory was set for all the posts during my 249 – 240 weight loss. I’m happy to report that as of today I’m officially putting the next set up posts into the 239 – 230 weight loss portion of this journey!

I’ve left the 240’s!

 This is just about the best news of the day for me. It was a little lower yesterday but again Friday’s are not my weigh in days and I have to learn to commit to what it says in the moment and not what is said in the past…how’s that for therapy!

So here are the numbers since December 29th, 2010:

  • Week 0 = 263.5 (-0.0)
  • Week 1 = 257.4 (-6.1)
  • Week 2 = 255.0 (-2.4)
  • Week 3 = 254.6 (-.4)
  • Week 4 = 253.8 (-.8) *I started c25k
  • Week 5 = 248.2 (-5.6)
  • Week 6 = 247.2 (-1.0)
  • Week 7 = 246.2 (-1.0)
  • Week 8 = 244.4 (-1.8)
  • Week 9 = 241.0 (-3.4)
  • Week 10 = 240.6  (-.4)
  • Week 11 = 238.0 (-2.6)

In case you’re wondering how my 25 minute run with c25k week 6 day 3 went…