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~

Running is Mental; Sleeping is Healing

It's great running toward the Arch with the sun coming up
It’s great running toward the Arch with the sun coming up

A couple of quotes that I like:

“Running is a mental sport…we’re all insane.” – Seen on a runner’s T-shirt

“Long distance running is 90% mental and the other half is physical.” -Rich Davis

When your body is exhausted and you want to walk, rest or quit, it’s the mental that takes over. I think running long distances teaches you more about who you are than what you can do. That’s possibly why it is so satisfying to me. I’ve never pushed myself mentally in my entire life…I don’t think. Maybe in college but it’s not the same. But when I run, some other woman takes over! I have pushed through pain, rain, snow, tears, heat and hills. When I can’t go any more, I go further.

I found so much to be inspired about during my 13.1 miles. I saw all kinds of people…all races, sizes, sexes all doing what I was doing. I think group running is a wonderful motivator. When I thought I was ready to stop, some 70-year-old lady or a man in a wheelchair blaze past me. I see people obviously struggling. The crowds who cheer add extra motivation. I found myself smiling quite a bit at some of their signs.

It can be something very small such as a little kid on the side holding our his burger for people to take or elderly people handing out hard candy. I saw one man in several spots along the course with a huge afro (wig) playing some kind of bells and a sign that says “Doubters Can Suck It” 🙂 “Don’t Worry, My Crotch is Sweaty, Too!” 🙂

One water station was manned by military in uniform. That was very cool. 🙂

Not to mention how beautiful the architecture is in St. Louis and how running through the streets give an intimate view of the city. You feel like you are part of it and at the same time you have never noticed it. I drive by these places many times and never appreciate how beautiful they are.

I am so proud of a city, St. Louis for one, that comes together for the health of it’s people and especially it’s children and do those extra things that make those kids care about fitness. Go! St. Louis is a year around running and health event. It does many runs, marathons and relays. The family participation in phenomenal.

St. Louis is a city of baseball lovers, beer makers and runners…

And “Holy Hill” (as it is lovingly called) has the most beautiful, old buildings in St. Louis.

“If the hill has its own name, then it’s probably a pretty tough hill.” – Marty Stern

I will be attempting the full marathon in October. I am even more inspired to do that after seeing the marathoners yesterday. Kevin and I were back in our area of St. Louis enjoying a nice lunch and the marathoners were still running through our neighborhood. I have such admiration for marathoners because I know what it feels like to do a half.

“Any idiot can run, but it takes a special kind of idiot to run a marathon.” – Unknown (love this quote)

You know you are a runner when you are in pain after running 13.1 miles, and all you can think about the next day is running and you finally sign up for that Rock ‘n Roll Marathon in St. Louis, MO! 🙂

Last night when I went to bed, I could hardly walk or move. All through the night I could still feel the effects of running 13.1 miles. I really thought I’d be calling into work today because I could hardly walk. But, I also remember feeling that way after my last 2 half marathons last year and always go to work the day after.

Sleep is a miracle healer. That’s my conclusion.

I woke up a bit stiff and a bit of lower back pain but feeling great otherwise! I wrote a few days ago about the miracle of power naps and sleep tops the naps!

Tonight is day #21 of the Squat Challenge ~ 150 big ones!

One more rambling thing before I sign off. M&M makes a Carrot Cake M&M! Mary, Holy Mother of Jesus! I’m off sweets but maybe I can get a bag of these for Daniel ;-)~~~

How can these not be good?
How can these not be good?

~Adios~

13.1 Easy Peasy

Charlotte's Medal
Charlotte’s Medal

After signing up for the 5k, we got switched to the 13.1 in Go! St. Louis Family Fitness Weekend.

After my surgery in December, I had not put in enough road time to think I could run the half. So with time running out, I registered for the 5k. It disappointed me to do that because I ran the half last year and I felt like it was a step back. It’s a huge event about 25,000 strong runners for all events. Today was the half, full and relay.

I made better time than last year and ran the entire 13.1 miles! Holy Hill was Holy Hell! And I was even doused by the priest this year. The 2 mile incline was hard. My right knee started hurting at about mile 8 which was at the finish of Holy Hill. Some needed declines helped me out. I changed and experimented with running techniques to help the knee. The pain subsided and I did well but at 11 miles, I was spent but finished with a nice sprint to the finish!

Now, I can barely walk. I’m home in Columbia and the drive from St. Louis was not easy and not easy to get out of the car! But it’s the kind of hurt that I love! I usually recover well, we’ll see tomorrow when I head to work. Toenail is achy like before and will like turn black like before..another thing I kinda like -)

We are good doggie owners…when we got home, we took our sweet and patient dogs on a nice long walk and then to Tortillaria to replenish some of the 2400 calories that I burned!

Beautiful day and now I’m showered and relaxed on the couch for the rest of the night.

That sweet tempurpedic bed will feel so awesome tonight!

~Run On~

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Nighlocks & Broken Windows

Today was a very good and relaxing day except for one thing….

We slept until 7am this morning. Kevin made breakfast for Daniel, Peyton, Eli and me. We took the dogs on a long walk in Forest Park. Things are getting green and full of life, finally.

For people who don’t know, Forest Park in St. Louis is larger than Central Park in NYC. It is beautiful beyond belief and has so many free things to do such as the zoo, art museums, history museums, science center with IMAX and planetarium, Muny (huge outdoor play venue), golf, tennis, and the most beautiful bridges, nature etc. I love it. The 1904 World’s Fair was here there and the pavilion is still there.

Daniel had a great time exploring and climbing trees. He found a huge clam shell, picked flowers, talked to strangers, skipped rocks and fought Nighlock’s (Evil creatures who fight Power Rangers). As usual, my day is always better with him in it.

Daniel found a huge clam shell on the water's edge.
Daniel found a huge clam shell on the water’s edge.

We then went and ate lunch at his new house with his mommy and baby sister, Sadie. We even took Peyton and Eli to visit with their dog, Pepper.

But…as with all things with Daniel, some bad with the good. Before we left for lunch at his house, he picked up a rock and before I could get it out of my mouth, he threw it and busted a car window in front of our apartment. It popped and crackled and scattered and fell out. Daniel was scared and afraid. We had to leave a note on the window because we did not know who the car belonged to.

Daniel asked Popeye (Kevin) if we had to tell his parents. Popeye said yes. When I got in the car after leaving the note, he told he would probably be grounded and was trying to persuade how bad it would be for me if he was grounded….such as he wouldn’t get to play Pokemon with me! It was amusing to hear him trying to con me out of telling his parents…but I didn’t give in. I was tempted. I told him he had to tell them. He did tell his mom and his mom called his dad….I haven’t heard from my buddy since! 🙂

It’s a good lesson for him. I told him I couldn’t buy anymore Pokemon or any toys for a while because we are having to pay for the window. That will hurt! 🙂

We have walked a lot in the park. Ate healthy today and well rested for the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon at 7:00 in the morning. I’m surprisingly not nervous and well rested and relaxed.

I even shaved my legs and it’s been a while! HA!

~Gone~

Daniel's favorite Nighlock, of course! lol
Daniel’s favorite Nighlock, of course! lol

Holy Hill Batman!

We managed to switch our Go! St. Louis entry from the 5k to the Half Marathon. Even Kevin switched with me which I didn’t think he would do.

We went to the runner’s expo at the Chaifetz center and I could have spent a fortune. It’s a runner’s paradise. I did buy a new running belt from a company called “Hippie Runner” and some GU. I like the salted caramel taste and bought the peanut butter one. Kevin bought a new runner’s sweat wicking cap. The shirts look great.

Shirt and Runner Goodies
Shirt and Runner Goodies

I’m a bit nervous and especially since when I was doing my squats tonight, my right knee feels tweaked. I’ll take it easy tomorrow and just have a casual day. I ate bad today.

St. Louis University Billiken. You rub his tummy for luck.
St. Louis University Billiken. You rub his tummy for luck.

We ate lunch at Sweet Tomatoes and a salad bar is NEVER low-calorie for me! I ate greek yogurt for dinner just to get the protein.

We went to visit my son and daughter in law tonight for a while tonight and Daniel is spending the night tonight. We surprised him and picked him up at school. I got to visit and play with Sadie for a while then back to the apartment for some rest.

Tomorrow will be a relaxed day and maybe some walk with the dogs and playing at Forest Park with Daniel. I’ll eat healthy and leave off alcohol until the cold beer I finish after the race. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can finish. I feel like I’ll make better time than last year but you never know. “Holy Hill” might defeat me! It’s a 2 mile incline and it does wear on the quads. You get to Holy Hill into the 6th mile after quads are already burning! 🙂

~Sayanora~

Daniel (my heart)
Daniel (my heart)
My sweet Sadie
My sweet Sadie

Tight Jeans and Blues Music

My “goal” jeans fit comfortably today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I feel great in them and no muffin top hanging over. They are still a bit tight on my butt but maybe that because of all the squats that I do daily! 🙂

Last night I did 130 squats after kettlebells. My bottom half was exhausted!

Storms and dogs scared of storms woke me up at 3 am this morning. It was a good thing because tornado warnings were going off in our neighborhood. After they stopped, Peyton (our most scared dog) got in bed with us and I got a few more minutes sleep and then the work alarm went off at 4:45am.

I got up this morning and felt rested and skinny so decided to put those jeans on. I was very happy with how I looked in them. I’m glad the managers at my work can wear jeans so I wore them to work.

But I had to fight for that right to wear jeans at work.

I am the only woman manager in my company and I used to wear khaki pants etc but noticed that manager men wore jeans and not even very nice ones sometimes. I gave it a try to was kinda reprimanded a bit by “Mr Tall Poppy” and I told him to look around at the other managers including himself wearing jeans. That shut his pie hole.

He also doesn’t like that I have tattoos and show them occasionally. Now I wear tight clothes and exposed tattoos just to piss him off!

Ok, back to my tight jeans. I said when I fit comfortably in these jeans, that is where I want to stay. I’m re-thinking that of course and maybe when the scale shows what I want, I’ll be there. I’m never satisfied.

My lover and playmate and I are going out tonight for drinks and to see Tab Benoit. Kevin and I share a love for blues music. It’s how and why we met back in 1999. Check out some tunes of Tab if you love blues.

(I'm his groupie) Tab Benoit from Houma, Louisiana
(I’m his groupie) Tab Benoit from Houma, Louisiana

No running today or kettlebells but I do still have to find some time tonight for 135 squats. I’m almost finished with that challenge when I get to the 200 mark. Then I will have my J-Lo butt for sure.

I think all the dancing that I will do tonight will burn calories…and maybe when my baby and me get home, I’ll burn a few more 🙂

Then in the morning…off to The Lou for Go! St. Louis expo and and 5k or maybe that half marathon..who knows…then the added bonus of seeing Daniel and Sadie.

~ Bonswè ~

Tall Poppies

tall-poppy

When I was in Australia, aussies taught me the word “Tall Poppies”. That refers to people that believe they are smarter, richer, better looking, more stylish, has more money than anyone else they’ve ever met. My co-worker/friend calls them “High Horsers”.

Australians use this term to cut people down or put them in their place but I use it as for a person who thinks he stands above all on all things especially intelligence and forward thinking. This person cuts people down.

You know those type people. They generally are shallow and as my dad called it “a mile wide and an inch deep”. They are the kind of person who know a bit about anything he hears people talking about and pretends to know a lot. Once you engage that person into something deeper about the subject, they look like a deer in the headlights and change the subject to something else they know very little about.

For instance, they may claim they are the biggest Dallas Cowboy fans ever. Don’t laugh. If you engage this person about the game last night (for instance), you can tell right away that person didn’t watch that game. He may be able to recap a highlight or 2 and will direct you to that part the game that he either saw on Mike & Mike or read a highlight of.

These people are surface people and all about appearances. If you talking the newest pop song “Happy”, he would quickly state his name “Pharrell” just so you would think he’s hip.

They are the “Cliff Notes” of every subject.

I work for this man.

I have felt tired and hungry all day. It’s raining and chilly. 130 squats tonight and maybe a bit of kettlebells in lieu of running.

Tomorrow night Kevin and I are going out to the “Blue Note” to listen to our all time favorite Blues singer “Tab Benoit” and off to St. Louis on Friday morning for the Runner’s Expo and Go! St. Louis. I still haven’t decided if I want to stay with the 5k or try to switch to the half marathon.

~G’Day~

Apple Fritter vs Charlotte

Apple Fritter with my name on it
Apple Fritter with my name on it

I’m feeling very guilty today and disappointed with myself. After a good, healthy day yesterday, I hit the bottom today!

One of our suppliers brought in donuts, fritters, cruellers, long johns, cinnamon rolls…you name it! I cursed them a bit and quietly grabbed an apple fritter…my all time favorite. Estimated at 450 calories.

So basically after my lunch that I brought, I have eaten my entire days calories and I haven’t eaten dinner yet. Normally, I wouldn’t mind so much but I did not plan to do any cardio today at all and today is even a rest day for squats.

Now I must decide to skip dinner or burn some calories. My first inclination is to go home and put on pajamas and sit on the couch. I am tired and I know it is from the fritter. But it was so good and I almost went for the 2nd one but gained my senses. Those type of behaviors is what blowed me up to 288 lbs. I could feel the old Charlotte trying to take over again.

For the most part, I do think I am very different from the over eater that I used to be. I count calories every single day no matter how bad or high the count gets. I never eat something without thinking of the calories or if it gives me some nutritional benefit. I don’t always do the right thing but I am always conscious of what I eat and what I do to burn the calories off.

I think I’ll do a kettlebell routine on my patio today since it is a nice day. That gives me cardio plus squats!

I know that I obsess more than I should sometimes and maybe people who say that are right. I still have an overwhelming fear of getting fat again. I know I am not that same person but it would be so easy sometimes to say “to hell with it” and eat what I want as much as I want. I know that I am a strong person….

But today, an apple fritter “brung” me down. Yeah, I meant brung…I do think that should be a word. 🙂

~Tootles~

Go Take a Nap!

The older I get, the more I appreciate a short nap. Short meaning less than 20 minutes.

Some people think a nap is 60 minutes or more…no, that’s sleeping. 🙂

Naps started for me when I was in college. I went back to school as an adult with a family and full time job. So I had to figure something out.

I had always thought if I didn’t sleep for an hour or two, it was a bad idea to nap. I worked a full time job from 3ish until midnight and went to college full-time during the day. So I quickly learned how to catch 10 or 15 minute naps in my car in between classes.

To this day, naps (15 minutes or less) renew me tremendously! 2 or 3 times a week, I leave work and drive to a local park, park in the same parking place, lock my doors, keep heat running if it’s cold, turn radio on low, lay the seat back, put my feet on the dash, cover with a blanket that I keep in the and go off to dreamland for 10 minutes or less. I get rested and energetic from that short nap.

NapsPoster-783775

It is said in “10 Benefits from Power Napping” that naps are good for your heart, increase memory, reduce stress and so many more great benefits.

Today, it was raining so I thought I’d really enjoy my nap today. I couldn’t even close my eyes. Someone playing that frisbee golf game in the rain, hit my car with his frisbee. He apologized and I tried to return to my nap but it just wouldn’t happen. I really needed that power nap today! But most days, I get a nice rest. 🙂

Only on a rare occasion do I get to take that nap when I get home with 2 big dogs breathing in my face or licking my feet…wanting to go on a walk or just play. I kinda like the licking my feet part! Eli loves doing that.

On the matter of sleeping, except for those 6 weeks after my surgery, I may very well be the best sleeper in the world! In 2005 I bought a Tempurpedic bed and it’s the best $$$ I’ve ever spent. I don’t dream, I don’t toss or turn, I don’t wake up a lot and wake usually feeling rested. I don’t always get enough hours of sleep. I get to sleep at about 11pm each night and wake at 4:45 am (work days) but that seems to be enough for me.

People who sleep too much annoy me. Do they not know what they miss? Again, maybe that goes back to age and wanting to take in all of life that I can, but that does bother me. Maybe I associate too much sleeping with laziness or being unhappy with your life. I think I slept a lot more when I was 300 lbs. Maybe I did that because I was unhappy….plus lazy.

If something unnecessarily interrupts my night’s sleep such as dogs barking, husband snoring or farting, text alerts.. etc….I get pissed off and I am not above throwing a pillow and screaming obscenities.

I am still regretting that bacon burger concoction that I shared with Daniel and Kevin yesterday at Budweiser Brew House at the Grand Opening in St. Louis.

I'm not keen about fried egg on my burger...Kevin loved it but Daniel and I, not so much.
I’m not keen about fried egg on my burger…Kevin loved it but Daniel and I, not so much.

I’m back on target with good, lower calorie eating and tonight is a 110 squat night and a quick run.

~Sweet Dreams~

Daniel and Flat Stanley

Squats at the Arch
Squats at the Arch

Today has been a really fun day. First of all, I spent it with Daniel so that always makes it better.

Daniel got in on our squat challenge last night and has been doing squats all day and every place we went! And, he has pretty good form. 🙂 He said he’s going for the world record of 1000 squats but admitted he made that record up and has no idea what the record is. He possibly did 500 or 600 of them today!

This year is the 250 birthday of St. Louis and 250 artist made cakes (not real) are all over the city so we went and hunted and found many of them. Flat Stanley helped.

One of the 250 Birthday Cakes Around St. Louis (St. Louis Art Museum)
One of the 250 Birthday Cakes Around St. Louis (St. Louis Art Museum)

My niece, Maggie mailed us a Flat Stanley to take around St. Louis so Stanley went with us. If you don’t know what a Flat Stanley is, check out the link. He visited the St. Louis Arch, Busch Stadium, Forest Park, The Muny….and many other places.

Flat Stanley at the St. Louis Arch
Flat Stanley at the St. Louis Arch

I got a lot of exercise this weekend but I did not eat very well and I did fall off the wagon on “No Sweets” challenge. I helped Daniel eat his frozen yogurt with goodies piled on the top. I’ll get back on the horse tomorrow.

We spend 5 hours out in the sunshine with my favorite person in the world, Daniel.

As a warning for those who don’t know, when you take a 6 year old boy to an Art Museum, be prepared for him to point out (sometimes loudly) all the butts and boobs he sees. 🙂

It was good to see Daniel and Sadie this weekend. That always makes my week better.

~Good Night~

Rembrandt, Daniel and Flat Stanley at the St. Louis Art Museum
Rembrandt, Daniel and Flat Stanley at the St. Louis Art Museum