Run, Daryl, Run

Two years ago as part of my journey to becoming a happier and healthier (post menopausal) girl, I started running.

Let me rephrase that. I started taking running seriously. From time to time in the past, I had toyed with the idea of “going out for a run” — a turkey trot with my Dad, trying to impress a “new guy” that I thought could be “the one” and when George and I first moved in together, the romantic notion of a Sunday morning run along the lakefront. I hated every minute of every run. Seriously.

But, this time, I didn’t just lace up my sneakers and take off. I downloaded the Couch25K app, I bought good running shoes and comfortable running clothes, I set a goal date for my first officially timed 5K and I ran the LM 5K to set a baseline (44:03), which for the record, I just barely finished. I wasn’t dressed to run, it was hot, my earbuds didn’t stay in my ears…it was all around miserable. But look at that smile. The endorphins had started to work their magic and I was hooked.


I’m not going to lie, starting a running program in June in the DMV is probably not the easiest start; but I persevered. I ran 4 days a week in combo with strength training and yoga. Couch25K uses the walk/run method, gradually shortening the walks and lengthening the runs – I still remember the first day the app wanted me to run 10 minutes straight, I panicked. But when the bing bong signaled that I finished the 25 minute workout I admit that I was pretty proud of myself.

And just like that, it was August 8th and the Crimesolvers 5K, the day I had set as my first officially timed race. I was still about 25 pounds away from my weight goal and had only finished the program 3 days before, but I finished and I set my first PR (37:15). I loved it.

Two years later, I have newer sneakers, fancier running clothes and a dozen 5Ks and a couple 10Ks under my belt. My current 5K PR is 29:55 set last year at the Old Busthead Brewery 5K. The 3rd annual 5K to benefit Finley’s Green Leap Forward Fund takes place October 29th – join me Old Busthead Benefit 5K

I continue to evolve as a runner and am in training right now for my first half marathon (Annapolis Running Classic November 19). I ran the ARC 10K last year and had a bit of a snafu and ran about 7 miles instead of 6 after missing the 10K turnoff!


This time, I’m just going for it with the goal of finishing all 13.1 miles in less than 2:30 hours (As an incentive, George said I could add a special charm to my Tiffany charm bracelet if I finish)! I’ve also signed up to be a community coach for the Girls on the Run program at a local elementary school.

Also, this past year, George and I joined a running (and drinking/socializing) club! Wait…what? Yep, we’re called the Trottin’ Oxen (in homage to the Ashburn-based Old Ox Brewery that serves as our start/finish host and hang out). Join us some Saturday morning or Tuesday evening – Trottin Oxen. We run the WO&D trail and “rehydrate” after! We’ve even done some local runs together.


And, of course we “represent” when we’re running out and about!


Next month, I’ll be riding along and blogging as the Golden Malts and Alpha Hops compete in the team’s first Reebok Ragnar DC!

I’ll be right there with the Trottin Oxen runners from the van decorating party at the brewery on September 15th through all 206.7 miles of the relay! From the 5am start September 16th in Cumberland, MD, through forest trails, scenic paths, charming historic towns, in the shadows of the Lincoln and Washington monuments and across the finish line at DC’s Yards Park sometime September 17th and I can’t wait! I hope you will all follow along on the new Trottin Oxen blog!

I guarantee it’s going to be epic! Who knows, maybe next year, I’ll be a Ragnarian, too! MAYBE.

Does it get any better than this?

Today is August 2, the day I use as my annual reality check.

Two years ago today in the picture on the left, I ran my first official 5K (my first “first” 5K 2 months earlier was a spontaneous burst of energy that was actually the catalyst for change). I weighed about 143.5 pounds and had been working with a strength coach and following the Couch25K app for 8 weeks. And, I had just quit smoking (a filthy habit I gave up over 30 years ago and picked up again when I moved in with George).

I was on my way after havimg pretty much given up on yoga and regular exercise the previous Fall, after a bout with frozen shoulder and the woes that come along with menopause.

Fast forward to today. I am a transformed “work in progress.”

On the right was my 54th birthday (July 11, 2016). Transformed through two long years of basically recreating the wheel in terms of diet and exercise. Today, I weighed 108.3, I have a daily yoga practice and am in the last 2 weeks of becoming a RYT-200 certified yoga instructor. I run a 5K in just under 30 minutes and am training for the Army 10 Miler in October and the Annapolis Half Marathon in November. I watch my caloric intake very carefully, one might say obsessively.

Work in progress because I don’t know where I go from here. I no longer need to lose weight or put on additional muscle. So, my challenge is how to motivate myself without a weight related or physical goal.

After I had started to write this morning, I went to practice – 2 different classes, 2 different teachers, 2 different studios and 2 different intentions. Ironically, both classes helped me to work through my goals for the next year. The first class (C1 at Merrifield with Lynn) offered the intention of pride. I am enormously proud of how much I have accomplished over the past two years. Not only my physical changes, but how these changes have effected me emotionally and psychologically. I need to remember to celebrate this success every day, by living life to its fullest. During the second class (C1.5 at Fairfax Corner), Diana offered finding the strength and the beauty in our practice; where do you need more strength, where do you need more beauty. Taking both of these messages in, I have come up with the following goals for next year….

Strive to be less dependent (obsessive) about monitoring; use fewer apps and wearables;

Continue to deepen my personal yoga practice as I transition from trainee to teacher;

Use the good habits I’ve learned to continue eating with good health and nutrition in mind;

Set a weekly running goal rather than training for the next distance race;

Accept that I am not perfect and that every day is different;

and perhaps most importantly,

If I don’t hit my goals today than tomorrow will be better!🙏🏼


I’m feeling extra inspired this morning. Perhaps it’s because I believe in signs; maybe it’s bits and pieces from the obscene amount of web surfing I do. Maybe it’s the voices from the past that are always whispering in my ear. Whatever, wherever or whomever, my Monday is definitely starting off with a dose of motivation to reach higher, work harder and be more focused on “the prize.”

First and foremost, Happy Birthday to my Daddy! 😘🎂🍾🍷🍻🌹🎉👑 You would have been 79 years old today if Pancreatic Cancer hadn’t taken you away too young and too early. That really pissed you off having to leave the party too soon. You were a very young 72-1/2 year old and you had just found the secret to truly enjoying the life you had worked so hard to afford. I remember when you told me you were going to die – you never said you were sick or you had cancer; it was ALWAYS “I’m going to die in the next 2 years.” You understood your diagnosis and you died exactly how you lived; in charge, strong and in control of your destiny. You were (are) the strongest man I’ve ever known and there is no question, I am who I am because you created, molded and guided me. I’m grateful for that and I miss you every day. Also, thank you for creating #birthdaymonth; it will always be “our thing!” 🎂

Back to the present. Another source of motivation came from a lesson in delivery and tone that happened at the start of our PYTT class yesterday. Sitting on my mat waiting for class to start with my fellow trainees. As usual, we’re a chatty bunch of new found friends and the room was filled with a sort of electricity; the kind that crackles from the mixture of nerves, anticipation and physical exhaustion. Our instructors entered and instead of the tone we had expected – the light, happy greeting and playful start to class we experienced in the first 2 classes – it was down to business and an admonishment that we were unprepared to begin class because we weren’t sitting quietly on our mats with our notebooks put away. In the moment (and really, for a few hours after class), I was mad and disappointed. I felt it was a very “downer” start to a class that should be fun. I immediately blamed the delivery for my response.  I couldn’t focus on my intention because my mind kept returning to my feelings of embarrassment. In hindsight though, it’s made me much more aware how everything I do or say sets the tone. That I have the power to make or break someone’s experience as well as the focus they bring to their mat. A valuable lesson I will remember when it’s my turn to guide. In fact, it was a perfect demonstration of the actual intention of the class – using every opportunity for growth. Well played teacher, whether or not it was on purpose.

And speaking of the intention of using every opportunity for growth, another bit of #mondaymotivation came from a quote posted by another friend (and master yogi).

“Your journey has molded you for the greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think that you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.”

This quote personally resonates in so many ways, but it also describes all the other women in my training class though. As we’ve come to know each other our journeys are as similar as they are unique. We range in age from 15 to mid 50’s; we’re working and retired, self employed and employed, single moms, step moms and moms to be,    a mix of ethnicities and a broad range of experience. The bottom line is we all are using the opportunity of PYTT for personal growth.

Finally, I’m feeling very motivated that I’ve reached a personal health goal – my June weigh in was 110 lbs!   That’s officially 25 lbs less than I weighed in June 2014. More importantly, it marks the beginning of what I’m calling my “lifetime fitness” mark. At Weight Watchers we were allowed a monthly +/- of 2 lbs; I’m not sure I can go to weighing myself monthly yet; I think the lack of control would be too hard for me. However,

I am going to allow myself that monthly 2 lb +/- and be happy with an end of month weight of 110-114 lbs. I am also going to strive to not have a daily at length conversation with George about my weight, calorie intake or size. Another growth opportunity 🙏🏼

Class Notes:

C1 with Joe – 6/26 12pm

Joe welcomed the group and seemed very excited to have so many trainees taking his class before PYTT, though he warned us to pace ourselves for the day to come! I love the flow of Joe’s class. While he takes the time to do the appropriate demos, he does them very succinctly and doesn’t disrupt the pace of class. He also does additional demos throughout class especially in terms of proper alignment. I also appreciate his alternatives to crow. Joe demonstrated the way Baron Baptiste sets up crow on the cover of his book – knees wider and resting on the outside rather inside of triceps. This is a little easier for me, even though I’m still not holding the posture for 5 breaths. Another growth opportunity!


Practicing mindful gratitude

Last night, I came to my mat for C1 with Jewels fully frustrated and in a rage over my customer service fiasco with Fabletics (Resolved….After 3 phone calls, 2 tweets and 2 live chats the defective capris are going back for full credit. Thank you Melanie, whoever you are).

As I lay there I was sure my intention for this practice would be something on the lines of forgiveness or compassion or releasing my feelings of frustration. But then, Jewels offered gratitude and that was PERFECT.

In the grand scheme of things, I lost a few hours of my life to the incompetence of a few call center employees and the inconsistency of technology. Big deal. I have so much to be grateful for! Who wouldn’t rather spend an hour focused on their blessings?

Sun Salutation A – I’m grateful to have a husband who “gets me,” who knows that even when I seem to have gone off the rails, it’s only temporary and when he travels he always says “just for now,” when I say bye 😪

Sun Salutation B – I’m grateful for social media and the ability to share news and information at the speed of light, even when it looks like your beloved university is imploding.

Core – I’m grateful that in my 50’s I feel stronger and healthier than any other time in my life. I am grateful that I found running and I have built the endurance and strength to run alongside George. Who knew running produced such awesome endorphins!

Twisting Series – I’m grateful for my workout girlfriends. My Badass Bitches and the support we give one another in and out of the gym. Having someone to say good morning and good night to every day and to share everything in between is amazing.

Balance Series –  I’m grateful that I learned the lesson that it’s important to be kind and respectful to all those you pass going “up the ladder,” because you will surely need their help on your way back down.

Spine Series – I’m grateful that my brother considers me a resource and sounding board and friend, not just his pain in the ass sister. Even when some of his questions become annoying, I love that he asks me. I am also grateful for our endless Words with Friends marathon.

Hip Opening Series – I’m grateful that even though I call myself Ashley’s stepmom, I know I’m really more than that.

Release – I’m grateful that I saw the movie Risky Business. As Miles said to Joel, “sometimes you just have to say what the fuck. What the fuck gives you freedom and freedom gives you opportunity.”

Surrender  – I’m grateful for Boogie. He’s a pain in the ass, stubborn and willful but he loves me 100% unconditionally. He also loves his Daddy, food, endless walks, his new bone, his Otto the Orange stuffie and the plaid blanket I stole from our first Celebrity Cruise (shhhhhhh).

Savasana –  I’m grateful for my time on the mat and that I have the opportunity to focus on me and to think about my blessings. I’m grateful for the knowledge that no matter what challenges I face from time to time, I have the strength and the support to overcome almost anything.

Just like that, 60 minutes was over. But wait, I have so much more to be grateful for; so many more people I love and admire. So many more memories to reflect upon. And I’m especially grateful to know that. 🙏🏻

Class Notes: I’m taking more classes than I can keep up with!

Hot Power Fusion on 5/10 at 6pm w/Liv – this class is most definitely my favorite of the ones offered at Corepower. I love the pace and the challenge of going to greater depths in postures I already know well. And the added humidity is like getting a facial for free lol.




Keeping it real…by the numbers

I’ve got 2 Fitbits – one for walking around and one for working out. I’ve got a Withings wifi scale. And, I use ALL of the apps, plus My Fitness Pal! I’m a tracking WIZARD! Over the past 2 years, I’ve lost and kept off over 30 pounds! 27% of my body weight 😎

In February, I challenged myself to break the once a day weigh in and go to once a week – give my natural OCD tendencies a break. But over the past month, I’ve noticed a little weight creeping back, and to tell the truth, I’m a little freaked out. Especially, since this week the fitness and health news and blogs have been flooded with information about the struggle experienced by Biggest Loser contestants to keep their weight off!

So, I’ve been doing a little soul searching and number crunching. I’ve gone back over my workout and food logs and here’s the deal.

I’ve become a little, shall we say SLOPPY with my calorie deficit. Pretty much it’s a well known fact that if you want to maintain weight you need to burn as many calories as you eat. For instance, if I’m burning 1250 calories a day working out, my food intake needs to also equal 1250 calories! Easy math, right? But, if you want to lose weight, you need to move more and eat less! I know this. I also know to lose 1/2 a pound a week, the DAILY calorie deficit needs to be 250 calories, a pound a week = 500 calories a day and if you have a super special event and you need to fit into that awesome dress that’s maybe half a size too tight, the daily calorie deficit needs to be 750 to 1000 calories (this is really tough and probably borderline unhealthy and should only be used in extreme narcissistic conditions!

So here’s my reality check. Despite my 2 a day workouts – yoga + strength/HIIT or running, I’ve gained 2.5 pounds since March 30th. My weigh in today was 113.7 lbs and my goal weight is 112 lbs. So for the next 30 days, I am going to make a concerted effort to stick to my 250 daily calorie deficit with a goal of 112 when we leave for our Napa vacation (June 5).

Just keeping it real..and literally, sweating the small stuff!! 😉


Class Notes: C1 with Meng – she is a brand new teacher who completed PYTT this past session. I stayed after class to ask her about the process, her past yoga experiences and what brought her to PYTT at Core. I’m super excited to start the process!