Thanksgiving in a Torn City

This has been a wonderful weekend for me but a tragic time for our city here in St. Louis.

I started off Thanksgiving with “The Hungry Turkey” 5k.

The Hungry Turkey
The Hungry Turkey

And with everything going on here in St. Louis re: Ferguson has been stressful on this city. The long tradition of the Thanksgiving Parade was canceled but Hungry Turkey 5k was not. I was happy about that. This city needs some togetherness right now.

I went to my son’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.

I cooked a few things but my son and daughter in law were making the rest. I enjoyed not being the one who stressed over everything so I could just enjoy it. I did most of what I did cook in Columbia and brought it to St. Louis. Eli stayed in the kitchen all day while I was cooking!

You Gonna Eat That?
You Gonna Eat That?

They made an incredible Thanksgiving meal and I don’t compliment them much but this may have been my best Thanksgiving meal. I ate too much of course but I didn’t have to have the food sitting in my frig for days so that’s a plus.

They made a turkey, andouille cornbread stuffing, roasted root veggies (which is one of my favorites), arugula/goat cheese/cranberry salad, brie-cranberry puff pastries and a wonderful ginger pumpkin pie! I made homemade cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, mac and cheese (per Daniel’s request) and a black walnut bundt cake.

My Plate! HA!
My Plate! HA!
Ginger Pumpkin Pie
Ginger Pumpkin Pie Made by James and Daniel
Black Walnut Cake
Black Walnut Cake Made by Me

We ate good….argued a bit as usual. My son and I are opposite on the political spectrum! I really try to never talk about that with him because I don’t need convincing and he thinks he doesn’t! haha

Daniel and Sadie spent the night last night so that gave James and Allison a night alone. Sadie is 21 months old and that was the first time she has spent the night with us. Daniel always does. She did well and slept with her brother on the sofa bed. It was fun spending time with her and of course Daniel as always.

My Girl Sadie
My Girl Sadie
My Kiddies!
My Kiddies!

There has been so much destruction of properties and businesses in a city that I have loved since I was 14 years old when my daddy first brought me here from Tennessee to see a Cardinals game.

Seeing the protesters, riots, burning, looting, crying, shutting down businesses and just sadness all around has been surreal.

Then entire thing is so tragic no matter how you come down on what happened in Ferguson.

I have another 5k in the morning and I am so excited about it! It takes place in my favorite part of St. Louis. A place call “The Hill.” It is a beautiful, blue-collar Italian community. It is also the boyhood home of Joe Garagiola and Yogi Berra. The 5k route will go right by their homes which are still beautifully maintained by the current owners.

Chill on the Hill
Chill on the Hill

So many italian supermarkets, restaurants, bakeries….the smells are always incredible. Afterwards, I’ll have some breakfast in one of the many places there.

I have never run on any street on the hill so this will be so exciting.

I so thankful for so much. I am thankful that I found my soul mate (Kevin) after a shitty first marriage. I’m thankful for my son who has turned out to be a wonderful man, husband and father. I am thankful for Allison. My son got lucky when he met her. I am thankful beyond any words to have Daniel and Sadie in my life. My real life began when I  had my first grandchild. I am thankful for Peyton and Eli. They make me feel special every single day. I am thankful for my brothers and sisters. I don’t see them often but we had great times together as kids. I am thankful that Kevin and I have good jobs, good health insurance, our dream home in Columbia, an apartment in St. Louis. I am thankful that I am in good health….and I am aware that could change in a heartbeat. I’m thankful I discovered running….I could go on and on. I am fortunate.

I hope all my WordPress friends had a peaceful and Happy Thanksgiving. I do appreciate all of you who follow my blog and comment on my posts. 🙂

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr

 

Charlotte Get’s Her Groove Back

It’s too early to tell but I may be getting back into my running groove!

The early darkness does mess up much of my weekly running but I have managed to get my runs in.

I need to add more miles to my Saturday and Sunday but for now, that’s only 6 miles…but hey, it’s something!

I’ve registered for a few 5ks. I have one early on Thanksgiving morning “The Hungry Turkey” in downtown St. Louis.

Shirt-Only
I like the shirt!

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And another one on Saturday morning “The Chill on the Hill” which is in a beautiful little Italian borough of St. Louis.

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I’m also registered for my favorite…”Run for Your Beads” in Soulard of St. Louis.

A fun race!
A fun race!

I’m starting to read more running blogs which I have avoided lately so just maybe, I’m back in the groove.

My daughter is law is cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year at her house. I’ll make a black walnut cake (favorite of my daddy..and mine), mac and cheeses, rolls, homemade cranberry sauce, deviled eggs and she is making the rest!

I am hoping that Daniel will join me on in the Hungry Turkey 5k on Thanksgiving morning but it’s going to be very cold so I don’t see that happening! Kids run free but I did buy him a shirt…just in case. 🙂

The Christmas/Thanksgiving parade will happen right after the 5k in downtown St. Louis so I suspect the traffic will be bad and streets closed all over but I like being able to run to help with the overeating guilt that I often experience on Thanksgiving. 🙂

I need more winter running clothes…maybe Santa can bring me some things.

In case you just don’t know what to get the “runner girl” in your life….here are some suggestions for stocking stuffers.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide for Runners: Stocking Stuffers

You better be good to your runner this year…….

“The woman who starts the race is not the same woman who finishes the race.” – Sign at the Nike Women’s Marathon

Fine Tuning a Ferrari

Dec 09, 2013….

I started this blog because I wanted to talk about and chronicle the major plastic (reconstructive) surgery that I was about to have that was scheduled for Dec 19, 2013.  Just saying the words are still scary: circumferential body lift (extensive tummy tuck plus) and brachioplasty (arm lift).

It’s a gruesome procedure and I remember watching so many videos on it. I read everything I could. I knew that I had chosen one of the best plastic surgeons to do those procedures. But I was so scared of the unknown.

When I think back on how I was feeling last year, I was so scared and excited. I didn’t know how the surgery would go, how I would look, if it be a waste of money, would I recover well. But I mostly worried that I could die on the table or never be healthy again because of it. I really believed that I may not get back into running or that it might take a long time. I worried that Daniel would miss me. Sadie was so young that she would not.

I remember talking to Daniel before the surgery to explain. I even explained what I was having done in a simple way he could understand. He told me to think about him hugging me while I was in surgery. I had tears in my eyes because that was the sweetest thing I’ve ever had said to me by anyone. And also, without him knowing…I was making sure he knew how much I loved him and how had he changed my life in an awesome way. Just in case… Of course, I wasn’t expecting to die but you can’t not think about that. …It’s that “what if” that happens.

That entire month run up to the day was nerve wrecking.

At first I intended to use this blog to post before and after pictures but I later decided that I did not want to do that. I have some on my initial posts back in December. I do appreciate the ones who did post their pictures and experiences with the surgery because it really helped me to understand what I would go through.

I am reflecting on all of that to get to my real post…..

In Sept of 2009, I weighed 288 lbs and at some points I was even heavier.

I lost weight: 288-161 = 127 lbs lighter. I want to be between 154-157 lbs.

I counted calories and started exercising.

I don’t put down people who have weight loss surgery but I did not want to go that route. I considered it. But I feared that it would make my health worse. I knew people who had it and they never looked healthy to me. That’s my personal feeling.

I wanted to change my lifestyle on my terms and not be forced to change my lifestyle by surgery. I counted calories and exercised. This was the most disciplined that I had ever been in my life. After I lost several pounds, I started exercising and tried running again the first time since I was 16 years old.

I fell in love with running because it challenged my body like I had never experienced. I loved how I felt when I met those challenges. I loved pushing myself (another thing I had never done).  I loved that euphoric feeling that I had afterwards. It also kicked my weight loss into gear.10245549_10152449806655505_2833190106778249596_n

I loved how I looked in the mirror…at first.

Before After

But with my age and that much weight loss, I had a lot of loose skin around my mid section. I could buy and wear small clothes but I looked awful in them….to me. My arms were a big embarrassment so the sleeveless style was out. So as women do….I became even more embarrassed of my body.

I had a couple free consultations with plastic surgeons and NEVER intended to go through with it. I knew the cost would be astounding and I knew insurance would not pay for it.

And even though I didn’t think I would do it, I only considered having my arms done (brachioplasty). That was all I wanted the consultation for.

But when Dr. Boswell analyzed my body and showed me what could be done, I couldn’t get that out of my mind.  I couldn’t sleep because I wanted it so bad. But $20,000…..

Kevin was so good as he always is. I don’t know how I got so lucky to find him later in my life after having such a bad marriage my first go around. He knew how bad I wanted that surgery. He told me the decision was mine and he would support whatever I wanted to do. But he was also very sweet to tell me that he loved how I looked without the surgery and to do it only for me….if that was what I wanted.

I suffered much more than I imagined after the surgery. I even regretted it….for a few weeks. But after the drainage tubes came out and I put on my regular clothes…..I cried the first time I looked at myself in nice, skinny clothes.

I’ve always had a somewhat negative opinion of people who have plastic surgery. I was wrong to be that judgemental. How people look to themselves is very important.

I love having a flat stomach, no muffin top, no flabby arms……it really was like a dream come true for me.

And what was even better…..I started running again as soon as I was permitted. I ran a half marathon full through with no walk breaks 4 months after the surgery. And in a few weeks from that, I signed up for my first marathon.

My journey has been incredible and surreal to me.

I don’t know why I wanted to blog about it today. I think I am feeling sentimental because 1 year ago…….my emotions were so screwed about the upcoming surgery and the status of my health.

Today, I am a marathoner at a normal weight with a flat stomach and nice arms and an awesome husband who truly is the best thing that has happened to me! 🙂

~Self-Confidence is Sexy~

Dexter and Me

I have not posted in a while! I’m a busy girl and not with things that I enjoy so much.

I’ve had a work project that has kept me crazy busy at work. I enjoy project work more than listening to people piss and moan so there’s that.

I ran 6.2 miles on Saturday and my speed is getting better. I’ve registered for a few upcoming 5ks to keep me motivated but I have not run since Saturday. “Chill on the Hill” and “Run for Your Beads.”  Run for your Beads is a Mardi Gras run Feb 7 and my all time favorite.

“Boots and Badges” is a great cause for a 5k (Cops and Firemen) but it’s on a weekend I don’t plan on going to St. Louis. But I’d love to do it. 😦

I have heard about “Virtual Races” and have never done that. Maybe I should sign up for a few to stay motivated. I’m lost without training….apparently.

My husband thinks I’m bored with him but maybe I’m just bored. He’s says I’m better when I run. I agree.

I’m binge watching “Dexter” and I am in love with him! I’m in the middle of Season 7 of 8.. I even have dreams of being married to a serial killer. I think I have issues! 🙂

I’m not running…I haven’t even wanted too. It’s dark when I go to work and dark when I get home. I’m tired and its damn cold. We had snow yesterday but it didn’t hang around.

I’m still not very disciplined on my eating. I have days where I do very well and then donuts or something pops up on my desk! HA!

I did join our United Way “Biggest Loser” contest so maybe having to be accountable might help me lose weight.

I gained a couple of pounds during marathon training but that’s gone, I’m happy to say. I am feeling good and when I run, I feel incredible but I find myself making excuses and dark is a good one for me.

I went to the gym on Sunday and I just can’t take those people! It’s a great gym with awesome equipment. $50 a month down the drain but I keep it for cold weather, ice and snow times as a back-up.

I have been so busy this week that I haven’t had time to even read blogs. I work 12 hour days and come home preparing reports and presentations. Next week should be back to normal.

I just did not have any fuck off time at work like I usually do! 🙂

It was 18 degrees this morning when I left for work. We are heading to St. Louis tonight. I’ll get in a 5 or 6 mile run in the morning. I’ll see Daniel and Sadie. My son’s birthday is tomorrow.

It’s Christmas Tree time for me. I’ll put up one in my Columbia home and one in my St. Louis apartment. I’ve had a tradition of putting up my tree on my son’s birthday since he was born. I love Christmas…everything about it. It makes me feel good. I see people complaining that it comes too soon in the stores. That always makes me happy and I don’t see why people bitch about that.

Anyway…I’m complainy today.

It is coming close to one year since I had my circumferential body lift and brachioplasty. I could not be more happy. I know it was costly but it’s the best thing I have ever done for myself besides losing 131 lbs. 🙂 I have my one year follow-up with my plastic surgeon in a few weeks.

I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving with my kiddies.

That’s all 🙂

“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.”  ~ George Carlin

From Marathon to Couch

I am in a funk of sorts and not sure when it might end. I think it’s the time change.

At first after the marathon, I wanted to get right back on the road. After 5 days of rest, I started running again. I looked forward to it and enjoyed running for fitness and pleasure again…..but

Now, I go to work in the dark and when I get home it’s dark so I am finding it hard to find time to run. I am not afraid of running in the dark but I worry about tripping etc.

I did bring my running bag to work and ran on Tuesday during my lunch but I don’t think that’s going to work. First, I’m sweaty and no place for a  shower and second, there is no good place here to run. The run I ran Tuesday at lunch break has so many hills that it was gruelling and not what I wanted.

I could run on my treadmill or go to the gym but I just don’t want to.

And…my desire to eat everything in the house has not gone away. It’s not quite as bad as during training but still bad.

No exercise + eating like a small horse = fat Charlotte

I hope I adjust to the time change and learn how to get back on track.

The truth is, I miss marathon training. I guess not having a rigid schedule (to me) is like not having to exercise. I miss having a goal. I might even be a little depressed about not training…yes, I’m nuts!

I think I will put together a schedule to try to run to. Not marathon type training but a schedule and that might help keep me accountable.

I will be running another marathon. I think about it all time. I need to lose about 15 more lbs for my next one. I realized that during this one. I am close to my goal weight but I need to go lower to do a better job on my next 26.2 miles.

I did spend $80 dollars for my marathon photos. They were not very flattering but it was my first one and I had to have the pictures.

As I Crossed the Finish Line - RnR Marathon STL Oct 19, 2014
As I Crossed the Finish Line – RnR Marathon STL Oct 19, 2014

This picture is not flattering…I guess no race pics are but this one shows that I crossed that line upright, strong, injury free and with a smile on my face….and I had stated that those were my goals. I did it. 🙂

I have plans to do a long run on Saturday. I’d at least like to keep that as part of my habit.

I’ll get it together. I still love running. I still think about it all the time but this week has been lazy!

“We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.” – Emil Zatopek

Stop Getting Dogs, Dammit!

It is no secret for anyone who knows me but I love dogs. I mean I “LOVE” dogs. I love my 2 like they are my children and that is no exaggeration.

Peyton (R) and Eli (L)
Peyton (L) and Eli (R)

The best part of my day is opening my door after I get off of work to be greeted by dogs who seem to think I am special.  Opening that door is like Christmas everyday to me.

When I came home this past Saturday after being away from my dogs (and husband) for 9 days, those dogs gave me 20+ minutes of the best loving that I have had in a long time. Dog kisses, jumping up leaving the ground to get in my face, finding presents to give me, excitement in their eyes….it was a reunion like I’ve never had with a human. They must have thought I was gone forever. I still smile thinking about that day. Kevin and I were laughing at them. I wish he had recorded it! 🙂

This is my bed every night
This is my bed every night

I think dogs are superior creatures. I do. I don’t care who thinks I’m weird for loving those dogs the way I do. They are idiots!

I kiss dogs more than I kiss humans…yes, this is true! Ask my husband! 🙂

I want to rant this morning about people who get dogs who have no fucking business doing that!

I will admit with much shame and regret that I have not always practiced what I preached. I have had dogs that I didn’t pay attention or love and even sadly neglected. That was many years ago but that still haunts me to this day.

My mother loved dogs and used to believe that I was one of those above people “who have no fucking business getting a dog” kind of person. She was right……then.

When I see dogs on chains or penned up outside, I do not understand that. I get angry. Why do people get pets that they don’t care about?

I see people constantly getting their little kids dogs. Oh, she/he loves puppies…etc bullshit!

And then a few months later…they have another puppy for that kid. Never hearing about that other puppy (dog) that their kids loved! What happened to that dog? Dead? Run away? Did it growl or snap and a kid who was pulling its tail? ????? Dogs are not toys, goddammit!

They need love, food, water, medical care, walking, attention, discipline…..shit!

I am angry typing this. I see the horror that many dogs go through. I have worked with and follow a place in St. Louis called “Stray Rescue.”  That is a wonderful place that has saved many dogs. Dogs in dumpsters, dogs with paw pads cute off, shot, starving, mange,…God, I get mad just typing that. Dogs boarded into abandoned buildings left to starve and die. Why do people mutilate dogs? Why???? What the fuck is wrong with these humans???

St. Louis is loaded with criminals who fight pit bulls. I won’t even get on that subject…right now.

But because of Randy Grim of Stray Rescue, dog abusers in St. Louis actually do get prosecuted! One woman set a dog on fire because it was barking and bragged about it on Facebook. She’s in jail now…bitch!

I’m angry, can you tell?

That’s all!

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” ~ Will Rogers 

Kids, Candy and Hoka One One

I am home back in Columbia as of yesterday. I was so happy to see Kevin, Peyton and Eli.

As always, I hate leaving Daniel and Sadie.

I went out Friday night with them to Trick or Treat. There is a borough of St. Louis called South Hampton (SoHa for locals) where the streets shut down, get barricaded so no cars can get through and the people in the neighborhood decorate there house with scary things, dress up, build bonfires, break out the liquor and kids come from all over to trick or treat. And those people don’t give out crappy candy either.

I was impressed with this place because I thought the fun of kids dressing up trick or treating was passe. I had so much fun walking around with James, Allison, Daniel (Ash Ketchem) and Sadie (A Minion) trick or treating that my face hurt from smiling so much.

It was fairly cold that night but that didn’t stop the hundreds of kids in that neighborhood. The cute thing is that the people ask the kids to tell a joke before getting candy. I had Daniel loaded up with hokey Halloween jokes.

Why is there no food left after the Monster’s Party?” “Because they were a goblin!” HA! Many like this courtesy of me. Daniel was a hit and he loves being in the limelight and getting attention.

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Sadie was so cute and would not wear her minion goggles correctly and insisted in wearing them backwards the entire time.

They ended up with 2 big backpacks full of candy. We all had a good time and I especially did.

I was wondering while Sadie strolled along with that heavy candy bucket and what she must be thinking of such a tradition.

Kids dressed up like characters that they like, walking around getting candy must be nirvana. 🙂 I am satisfied that at least in SoHa, this tradition is still important.

Peyton and Eli gave me a 20 minute heroe’s welcome home yesterday. Kevin said the boys have been confused and restless while I was gone for 9 days. They are happy now and won’t leave my side.

My new shoes came in while I was away so I tried out my new Hoka One One Stinson Tarmac running shoes today and at least as far as I can tell from 3 miles…I love them!

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Shoe Porn (My current shoe rotation)
Shoe Porn (My current shoe rotation)

My feet felt great which is the first thing I look for. Another thing was how light the shoes are. They look heavy, yes…but they are light as a feather. Another thing I noticed and haven’t really heard anyone else speak of this in their reviews was that my upper abs stayed engaged the entire run. I’ve never noticed that happening before. So at first run, I love them.

I ordered them from runningwarehouse.com and got such great discounts that it made it worth trying. The shoes were at my house in 2 days, no shipping cost and a no fuss 90 day return. It’s hard to beat that.

We had a pleasant surprise today. Allison, Daniel and Sadie visited us in Columbia and we had a great time with them. We had a late lunch at Shakespeare’s Pizza…of course. 🙂 A great end to my weekend.

It’s back to regular work tomorrow. I’m sad my training in St. Louis is over but very glad to be home.

I know I’ve gained weight so I have to hit the discipline trail this week.

"Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. 
Attitude is how well you do it." -Lou Holtz, U of S. Carolina football