Fat Mommy

Oh, hi. Did I grab your attention? That phrase hit me figuratively and literally as the Angry Toddler (our four-year-old daughter, Delaney) said it to me the other night during our nighttime book/songs/potty/songs/potty/drink/POTTY (sheesh) routine. I cuddled up close to her, with my husband on the other side, as we sang “Delaney Talks to Statues” by Jimmy Buffett. She hugged and prodded my arm as that phrase flew out from the mouth of babes. Can you hear the tires in my head screeching like a banshee yet?

Now, I know I’ve talked a bit about this before, but I’m an eating disorder survivor (because it really was hell, and it still is at times) of over a decade. My self-esteem isn’t where it should be, despite my amazing husband telling me that he loves me every day and that I’m beautiful or despite my mom and sister telling me that I rock (thanks, guys!). I don’t know how to describe it except to say you know how it feels if you’ve had an eating disorder. (I pray you’re never part of THAT cool kids club.) There’s always going to be that voice inside your head that rejects the positives about yourself. It spews hateful words to counteract your PMA (positive mental attitude) no matter how chipper you may be on any given day.

Tom and I have been trying to teach the Angry Toddler not to use the F-A-T word toward people. We try to gently and wisely explain that it can be a descriptive word for, y’know, cute, cuddly puppies or the like. I don’t know. But just not people, OK? And I think she truly does understand that for the most part. But in that moment, all she felt was literal fat on my arm. I get that. It is nice and pillowy. I really can’t fault her for it, but those words were like a tiny cocktail dagger in my heart for a split second. I quickly explained (as did Tom) that all people have that on their arms, as I slipped in, “And Mommy’s working on it, right?”

Slow down, killer. Hold the phone. Why did I feel the need to add that last bit? It wasn’t necessary. She doesn’t really understand why I lift our little five-pound weights while watching Doctor Who or The Leftovers. Why isn’t it enough that I just, well, am what I am?!

That was a huge mind bender for me as I thought about it later that night. As she grows and matures, I’m not always going to be able to side step my real reactions around her without her noticing. I need to come to grips with my body and realize that I’m so much stronger than I think I am.

All I can do is fuel my body with real foods, keep my running game alive, and show her how to properly take care of her body. I hope I’ve done a fairly decent job of that so far, but I know it’s only going to get harder as she grows up.


Race Recap: Inaugural Blue Earl 5K Shuffle Run/Walk & 1-Mile Fun Walk

bMy running club—the Smyrna Clayton Running Club—hosted the Inaugural Blue Earl 5K Shuffle Run/Walk & 1-Mile Fun Walk on Sunday, April 9, 2017. The weather was gorgeous that day—sunny and in the upper 60s if I remember correctly. I hadn’t been to this particular race location before, but I immediately knew where we were, because it started in an industrial complex next to a kids’ jump/bounce place called Leaping Lizards.

Thankfully, as moms of toddlers know, the race started at 10 a.m., which wasn’t too phenomenally early like other races. It’s hard to get out the door with the Angry Toddler sometimes. My amazing husband Tom got us to the race location with about 15 minutes to spare, which was perfect timing.

delI grabbed my bib, said hi to a few SCRC members, and we also got a balloon unicorn from Snippy Doodles the clown!

The race started just about on time, and I tried to line up closer to the front of the pack. I’m not a fast runner, but I wanted to try and get a sub-30 5K, so I thought I should move up toward the front to bypass the walkers or strollers.

As the race began, I fumbled with my Nike+ Run Club app. For some reason it wasn’t working correctly, so I shut it off and focused on getting the Amazon Prime Music app to start so that I could listen to the Hamilton soundtrack. After Kelly Roberts (Run, Selfie, Repeat) talked about it in one of her podcast episodes, I’ve been hooked and obsessed! It’s intellectually stimulating and has just the right beat.

The course itself wasn’t all that interesting, because it started and ended in the industrial park. I was hoping that we would be running in downtown Smyrna, which has a lot of local flavor, but I didn’t mind all that much. I love racing for the comradery and cheering fellow runners on.  I’m the crazy runner who cheers on the race leaders as they’re heading back to the starting line while I haven’t even hit the half-way point yet. I’m the runner who cheers on people who look like they’re struggling and thanks police officers for blocking traffic for racers.

At some point during a 5K race, I inevitably think, “This is silly. I feel like I’m dying. Maybe I should just start to walk. I can’t do this.” But then I look around at everyone else, become a psychic vampire, and pull energy from the crowd. I visualize the next sign post or runner that I want to catch up to, and I just keep going.

I didn’t feel like I was giving 100%, but I was close to it. I knew I was pushing myself, but I also felt more energized than I have at previous 5Ks, which was a new feeling for me.

I hit the 3-mile marker and rounded the corner to the final stretch. I was sucking in air like nobody’s business, but I also felt strong. Strong?! That’s new. I looked at the time clock to see 28-something minutes.

“Hmm…well, that’s just the gun time,” I thought. That can’t be my actual chip time.

Lo and behold, I ended up pulling off a 28:36 total time with a 9:14 average pace. There’s something to be said for “running naked” without a watch or app to tell you your pace.

I’m very proud of myself for this new 5K PR. What’s next?

I’ll be running the Discover Bank Delaware Marathon Running Festival for the half marathon distance thanks to my sponsor, PlowOn Gum. I’m so overjoyed and humbled to be able to run in Plow’s honor. It would be amazing if I could attain a new half marathon PR there, but I know it’ll be a hot day, and the course is not flat. I don’t challenge myself as a runner like I should do with hill repeats or tempo runs, so this will be interesting. I ran the relay option a few years ago, so I am somewhat used to the course.

I’ll also be running in honor of Joh’Nya Lewis, a nine-year-old girl who has a synovial sarcoma (tumor) on her wrist. Her mom, Juaniece, and I talked on the phone late last week, and she and her entire family are so strong and inspiring. This started out in early March as just a bump on Joh’Nya’s wrist from what they thought was jumping on a trampoline with her siblings. No one in Joh’Nya’s family had ever had cancer before or really any major illness to speak of. She’s receiving radiation until May 31, and her doctors will see what the status of the tumor is then. I’m raising funds via the Snowdrop Foundation at my Team Miles for Smiles fundraising page here for Joh’Nya and pediatric patients nationwide.

Please consider taking a minute to look at our team page and potentially donate. It would mean the word to me and my entire Team Miles for Smiles group!


Change Is in the Wind

CaptureIt’s been a little while since I’ve mentioned IRun4Ultra on my blog or on social media, and that’s because I left my ambassadorship for the group. Without going into too much detail, I didn’t feel like my running was making an impact, and I didn’t like the way the group was run or represented. I’ve never resigned from an ambassadorship before, and I didn’t take the decision lightly, but it was something that in my heart of hearts I knew was the right thing to do for me.

Since then, I’ve joined forces with an amazing group of people to form Team Miles for Smiles via a nonprofit organization called the Snowdrop Foundation. This is their mission statement: The Snowdrop Foundation provides scholarships for college-bound pediatric cancer patients and childhood cancer survivors while raising awareness and funding for continued research to cure childhood cancer.

I’ve experienced a lot of cancer in my family. My aunt passed away from breast cancer, my grandpa passed away from lung cancer, my grandma passed away from ovarian cancer, and my dad passed away from kidney cancer. This cause is near and dear to my heart, and the folks at Snowdrop have been so incredibly responsive and informative. Oh, and professional! The way a nonprofit portrays itself is very important to me.

I love Team Miles for Smiles, because literally anyone can join. If you walk, hike, bike, run, swim, or move in any way, shape, or form, you can join! You don’t have to be an ultrarunner or go to the gym every day. You can even join with your children if you’d like! You just have to want to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients.

The Snowdrop Foundation will assign Team Miles for Smiles a child and his or her family to represent. Since we just formed as a group, it generally takes about two weeks for Snowdrop to assign a child/family to a team, and we’re waiting patiently.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in joining our team, please join our Facebook group or email us at teammiles4smiles@gmail.com. We’ve put together a preliminary team roster and are still collecting pictures to create a team collage.


Not a Joke

Every new month I struggle with negative thoughts. As some of you know, I had an eating disorder (ED-NOS) for roughly a decade, and the effects are ever-lasting. That mantra of “a new month, new you” wreaks havoc on my brain. I think that that gives me a pass to eat whatever I want on the last day of a month and to start fresh on the first day of a new month, like today. But that instantly leads/translates to thoughts like, “Eat as little as you can,” to start off a new month with a bang, which is still disordered and downright impossible. I used to go hours, sometimes days without eating, but I just can’t do that anymore—nor should I! I’m the epitome of getting “hangry” if I’ve gone too long without eating. I get anxious, grumpy, and short-tempered.

I’ve been listening a lot to the Run, Selfie, Repeat podcast lately, and the mantra that comes across in nearly every episode encompasses the word strong. So I think my thoughts should be “strong and lean” for this month. What do you think? Can those two descriptions live in the same head space?
As a runner, I have a chance of improving my pace a bit if I’m at a more optimal weight, so ideally I’d like to drop ~10 pounds. But I also want to do it the right/smart way, and in a way that my daughter can understand as Mommy becoming strong and not deprivating.
I want to be a good role model to the Angry Toddler, but I also want to feel comfortable in my own skin. It’s a never-ending battle. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you make yourself a positive role model for your children!

Product Review: Munk Pack Maple Pear Quinoa

IMG_8505Guys, seriously. How have you not tried Munk Pack oatmeal fruit squeezes yet?! I’ve been keeping this Maple Pear Quinoa pack in my cupboard for a few weeks now, because I wanted to savor it at the exact perfect moment. Y’know, when you’ve just completed a run and you’re so hungry that you could eat your arm, but you’re too tired to lift a finger?

That moment actually struck me out of the blue after work yesterday before picking up the Angry Toddler from preschool. The feeling of hunger overtook me, and I didn’t know what to shove in my mouth first. I knew I wanted to make a wise decision, so cue Munk Pack to the rescue! Pear is one of my favorite flavors, and it paired with the hint of maple was out of this world. The quinoa tone wasn’t overbearing, as I suspected it might be.

I was also impressed with how much came in one pack. I figured I’d slurp it down in thirty seconds or less, but I kept squeezing the bottom of the pack, because it kept on coming!

Next, I’d like to try the Munk Pack Sampler. These handy-dandy packets would be a great choice for parents and kids on the go. I know I go a little loco when the Angry Toddler’s asking for her millionth baby doll in the middle of Target, late in the afternoon on a Saturday or Sunday, when all I can think about is how hungry I feel! Thanks for being a lifesaver, Munk Pack!

Recipe Review: Serena Marie, RD’s Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Serena Marie, RD, has finally found the secret to a good-tasting, well-made pancake trifecta—lower in carbs, high in protein, and gluetn free. I’ve tried different pancake recipes over the years that involve protein powder or Shakeology, and they’re vomit inducing and not toddler approved.

A few weekends ago I felt crafty, so I asked the Angry Toddler if she wanted pancakes for breakfast. She of course said yes, so I set out to gather a few simple ingredients for Serena’s recipe.


I didn’t have any stevia, so I simply went without. I didn’t think it would affect the taste of the pancakes so much, especially since the Angry  Toddler likes to drown hers in pure maple syrup.


I’m always nervous with nontraditional pancake recipes, because they tend to be very watery and don’t make actual solid pancakes.


The recipe says to cook on one side for about a minute before flipping, but I found I had to cook them for a lot longer (at least three minutes) in order for them to solidify and become easy to flip. Yes,  I did burn them slightly, but I’m impatient and had the heat on too high. (Whoops.)


I drizzled mine with a little pure maple syrup, because I didn’t have frozen berries on hand. They were actually delicious, and the Angry Toddler ate all of hers. She has a BS detector when it comes to weird foods that we try to pass off as normal, so these get an A+ in my book! Next time, I’ll definitely add some frozen blueberries or strawberries to the top, because it would make these pancakes even more heavenly!

Product Review: HOTSHOT

Courtesy of my IRUN4ULTRA ambassadorship, I was given two bottles of HOTSHOT to test for muscle cramping. The origin story of HOTSHOT is thrilling, but let’s get to what it is first.

According to the HOTSHOT site, it is “the proprietary formulation that controls your Neuro Muscular Performance (NMP) and stops muscle cramps where they really start. At the nerve.”

The ingredients are as follows:

Filtered Water, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Gum Arabic, Organic Lime Juice Concentrate, Pectin, Sea Salt, Natural Flavor, Organic Stevia Extract, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Capsaicin

I like the fact that it’s a fairly small list of organic ingredients. I’m not sure why it has both cane sugar and stevia, because I sure didn’t taste sugar. But we’ll get to that in a second!

HOTSHOT’s origin story is unique to say the least. “After surviving life-threatening muscle cramps while deep-sea kayaking off the coast of Cape Cod, [Dr. Rod MacKinnon] discovered that existing cramp remedies—that target the muscle—didn’t work. Calling upon his Nobel Prize-winning expertise on ion channels, Rod reasoned that preventing and treating cramps began with focusing on the nerve, not the muscle.”

I wasn’t sure when to use HOTSHOT, because I typically don’t suffer from muscle cramps while running. Last night, however, I was hit with the most random hamstring cramps imaginable while doing the bridge pose from a free Amazon Prime yoga video. Holy mother of all-get-out, it was painful.

I immediately ran upstairs to grab my HOTSHOT to see if I could continue on with twenty more minutes of yoga cramp free.


When I first opened the bottle, it almost looked like bubbles to me, and I was surprised to see that it was clear (although it’s hard to tell, since it’s in a black bottle). I’ve heard from other IRUN4ULTRA ambassadors that it tastes like cinnamon Red Hots hard candy, so I figured it had to be red in color. I took a whiff, and it definitely smelled hot.

I made sure to double check the directions before consuming, because they seem oddly specific to me: Drink a 1.7-ounce HOTSHOT 15–30 minutes before exercise to boost your Neuro Muscular Performance and prevent muscle cramps. For best results, avoid food or beverages that may coat your mouth—such as peanut butter, protein shakes or dairy—10 minutes before, and a few minutes after drinking HOTSHOT. A clean palate allows HOTSHOT to activate TRP channels in the sensory nerves in your mouth. Tastes even better cold.

I hadn’t had any dairy or food that would coat my mouth that night, so I figured it was a go. (I was doing this yoga video at 10 p.m., mind you.) Here goes nothin’ . . . !


Here’s a picture of my reaction right after taking the shot.


I’m not going to lie—it has quite the kick! It wasn’t quite as spicy as I thought it would be, but my tongue was definitely on fire for about thirty seconds or so. I didn’t take it chilled as recommended to dampen the bite/kick, but it really wasn’t nearly as bad as I had anticipated.

I continued on with twenty more minutes of yoga, and although I experienced one foot cramp while trying to do a ridiculous split, I didn’t experience any more hamstring cramps, which is praise worthy.

I took HOTSHOT at the first sign of cramping, while the directions say to take it 15–30 minutes before exercise if possible or at the first sign of cramps. I’m curious to see what happens when I take the second bottle before doing yoga this week.

All in all, I would definitely use HOTSHOT again, although I don’t think I need it in my running arsenal in regular rotation. If you experience muscle cramps frequently, I would say to definitely give it a shot (get it?!)!

Product Review: LaceLocker


I received a pair of LaceLockers® (which retail for $7.95) in my IRUN4ULTRA swag bag the other day and instantly began to sweat and have horrific flashbacks to a similar product that I’ve used before.

I had been meaning to take my Lock Laces® (which retail for $7.99) off of my old shoes to put onto my current Brooks, but they were so hard to originally put on that taking them off seemed like a daunting task that I’d rather avoid—oh, hey, is that a pile of laundry that needs folding?!

Clearly I’m a weakling when it comes to shutting that darn little plastic clasp on the Lock Laces, so putting my Lock Laces on my shoes was a nightmare. I also reused them on various pairs of shoes (which I’m sure isn’t the intent), so taking them off one pair and putting them on another required some imagination. (Think a knife, a lighter, my husband’s help, and lots of swearing.)

I love the ease of being able to pull my sneakers on and off without re-tieing, and I hate stopping to tie my shoes during a run or race, so I figured I should suck it up and put on my new LackLockers.

The instructions were incredibly easy to follow (with pictures for us visual learners, yay!), and I even enlisted the help of the Angry Toddler at one point, although I really didn’t need help.

LaceLockers are basically Velco-wraps of goodness that envelop your tied shoe laces so they won’t get in your way. It took me all of three seconds to apply to each shoe, and I’m diggin’ the fact that I can remove them with ease and put them on my next pair of shoes. Now there’s some bang for your buck!

I would highly recommend LaceLockers to any runner, and they even come in different varieties that include reflective material and colors!

If that weren’t enough to entice you, did you know that all net proceeds from your LaceLocker purchase provide underprivileged young women the opportunity to attend college? How’s that for a worthy cause!

Mini Race Recap: Angela Ivory Memorial 50K

On a whim, I decided to sign up for the Angela Ivory Memorial 50K/50-Miler at Killen’s Pond State Park in Felton, DE. I knew that I wouldn’t be trained for a 50K, plus I had a toddler’s superhero birthday party to attend at 11 a.m. that day, but I figured I would get my feet wet in terms of an ultra experience and a trail race.

Prior to the race, I made plans to meet up and say hi to fellow IRUN4ULTRA ambassador, Martha. She had never run an ultra before either, but little did I know she’s fast as all get out and ended up winning the damn thing on the women’s side.

Hubs and I decided that I would go to this race alone, since the start time was around 8 a.m. I say around that time, because the UltraSignUp.com information said 8 a.m., but the Drive to Run site said it was an 8:30 a.m. start. I’m a Type A, so it bothered me that I didn’t know the exact start time of the race.

I’m also a hopelessly bad driver and have no sense of direction, so getting there was a wee bit of a challenge. I was greeted by this awesome sign on the passenger-side seat when I got in the car:


I was fine until my GPS took me right, when the written directions on the Drive to Run site that I had printed out (how’s that for old school?) said to go left. I ended up making some weird loop on an access road next to some farmlands, but eventually I found my way to the Killen’s Pond State Park entrance.

Martha had texted me before I got to the entrance saying that the gate wasn’t open yet and that cars were just sitting there waiting for someone to open the park.


Thankfully, I only sat for a minute or two before someone came to open the gate. Since I have zero sense of direction, I was very nervous the night before about actually finding the meeting area for the race. The directions on the Driven to Run site were simply to “make a right turn into large parking lot (just past water park); rendezvous at picnic tables.” I had only been to Killen’s once  before, and hubs was driving, so I didn’t pay any attention to where we were actually going. Luckily, I just followed the long line of cars into the park, so I had no trouble finding the picnic tables.

As I got out of my car, I noticed that it was still drizzling a little, but at least it wasn’t an all-out downpour like it had been the few days before the race. I walked over to the picnic tables, sheepishly realizing my rookie mistake of not bringing any sort of fuel to share with my fellow runners (Learning Experience #1!). I said hi to Martha and her mom, and we chatted for a few minutes before we all took a group picture and the race director got up on a picnic table to give us a few words of advice. He told us to follow the orange markers (pay attention here, this is important for later in the recap), where there were a few tricky spots where you had to pay attention in order to stay on the trail, and to just start whenever you wanted. (So there goes my 8 versus 8:30 start-time theory.) I was super nervous about staying on the darn trail, but I figured I’d just follow someone, anyone and make it through. It seemed like there were maybe ten, fifteen runners total, so I figured I’d see someone out on the trails.

Martha’s mom noted that Martha started at 8:08 a.m., and I was only a minute or so behind her, because I stopped to say hi to my friend Ryan who had gotten there a few minutes late (or right on time, depending on what start time you went with, hah!).

Literally less than five minutes into the race, I see Martha turn around and motion with her hands up in a quizzical look as if to say, “Which way do I go?” The guy in front of me pointed her in the right direction, and I followed suit. I had hoped to run my usual 10:30 pace, but I quickly threw that out the window, since duh, trail running was a lot more technical, and I had to pay more attention to not falling flat on my face. I thought the trails would be a lot more muddy, but overall they were fairly dry in most areas.

Not even two miles into the race, the guy in front of me made a sharp left turn, but I honestly thought he was going to squat in the woods. The race director said that there were no bathrooms available, except that he motioned to the entire woods and said that what you see is what you get! So I kept going straight on the trail along my merry way.

Then I came to two areas that just didn’t look right to me. I had been following the orange spray paint on the ground that I thought was either orange markers or just to signify that there were roots/rocks on the trail that folks should avoid. (Learning Experience #2!)

I came to a clearing with a paved road with ZERO markers. I backtracked, found two nice women, and together we set out to figure out where the hell we were. The one woman, Lara, was from New York and was a very experience ultra runner. She was super nice, and I had a great time running and chatting with her. Maybe ten minutes or so into running with her and this other woman (I’m so sorry that I didn’t catch your name!), we hear someone yelling at us. It’s the race director saying that we’re going the wrong way. He yells, “Follow the yellow markers!” Screeeeech. Haulllllllt. What the what? I know for a fact that he said ORANGE markers before the race started. He laughed, apologized sheepishly, and we course corrected. Before we parted ways with the RD, he told us that the yellow marker loop was about 3.1 miles, and the orange marker loop was only about 3.3 miles or so, so we hadn’t veered too far off course.

Lara and I finally came across the picnic-table start and surmised that we ran maybe 3.4 miles or so instead of the 3.1-mile loop of the course, but that was OK. We started out for Loop 2, and this time the course made a lot more sense. I thought all along that we were supposed to be running around Killen’s Pond, and indeed we were this time!


Lara regaled me with her harrowing ultra tales, and it helped to pass the time, along with the neat scenery. I’m used to running around paved neighborhoods, so it was such a nice change of pace out in the woods. I even saw this abandoned car frame (I think?).


Since I only had until around 10 a.m. to run, I stopped after Loop 2 to see how far I’d gone. I was just over 6.5 miles, and also quite defeated pace-wise. How was I running this slowly?! I know of course some of it was walking around lost in the woods, and some of it was just taking my time to look at the sights, but man. I really had hoped to squeeze 10 miles in at least. I had daydreamed of even doing 15 if possible, but that just wasn’t going to happen. That’s OK though, because it was still an awesome time, I had a blast, and I know others did too.

All in all, I absolutely loved my experience at this race, I got a taste of what trail running is like (and I LOVE it), and I got to meet some really nice runners! I would definitely recommend doing this FREE race in 2018, and I’ll be there for sure!