Dec 22, 2013

My Running Journey!

I wanted to write this post to encourage all of you who are not runners, to become runners.  But, before we start, let's define running.  I am not a fast runner.  You don't have to be a RUNner.  But, you do have to do more than sitting on the couch and walking on a treadmill.  You do need to at least put a little oomph in your step to gain some momentum.  I am a rujoger.  I run when I feel adventurous, but most of time, I'm jogging at a quicker pace than I walk.

I never knew what a quick pace was, but starting this journey with Megan, I didn't really have a chance.  And here is where my journey began...

In December 2012, I told Megan that I wanted to start running with her.  I knew I was nuts and I knew she was a crazy half-marathon runner and she was a die-hard-stick-to-it runner.  But, I went for it.  The first week of January 2013 we met at a local park and I believe it was like 41 degrees outside.  It was cold.  I really thought I had lost my mind.  She said, "I'll just set my time and we will run for 30 minutes."  Okay... easy enough, right?  Wrong.  We ended up doing almost 2.5 miles in that 30 minutes!  HELLO, this was my FIRST time to run!  Megan let me take TWO walking breaks for ONE minute each.  I thought I was going to die.  She even tried carrying on a CONVERSATION?!  Who the heck tries to TALK while RUNNING?  I just smiled and nodded and tried not to die.

After that morning, I began running after school and around my neighborhood on the weekends.  I was hooked.  I was maintaining about a 10:50 minute/mile and had no idea if that was fast or slow.  It was the only pace I had known, which was about the pace Megan had set for me from the beginning.

By Feb. I had signed up for my first 5k scheduled in late March, but then decided that was too far away.  So, I signed myself up for a 10k at the beginning of March.

The last weekend of February, I was in the middle of a great run and stepped off some uneven pavement/curb and twisted my ankle.  I was two weeks out from my 10k and KNEW I was in bad shape.  It swelled and it was UGLY.  I rested it, took a break from running for a week, and braced it.  I knew it was just a sprain and it needed time to rest.

 After two weeks of resting, I was ready for my 10k!  I had my brace on, I was pumped on adrenaline and I DID it!

I cannot even begin to describe the joy, happiness, pride, etc. that I felt.  I had only been running 8 weeks, had hurt my ankle, and had just ran 6 miles.  I felt like I was on top of the world.  I didn't care that 6 miles is an easy, short run for many... I didn't care at all.  I had DONE it!!  I knew from there I was hooked.  I didn't finish first, frankly, I was pretty close to finishing last.  Did I care?  No.  A race is about you.  If you are running a race to be in first place, you probably don't need to be reading this post, haha.  I walked and I jogged.  I walked more than I thought I would, but in the end, it didn't matter to me at all.

Two weeks later, I ran my first 5k and it was a fun glow run.  I loved it and still couldn't get over the adrenaline I felt.  This was the first race I ran where I only walked one time for 1 minute.  The rest of the time I was rujogging. :)

After the 5k, I was still bracing and wrapping my ankle.  I was still having discomfort.  I had pushed through it long enough.  I decided to head to the doctor.  I was sent for an MRI where I learned I had actually fractured my ankle.  There was a small piece of bone that was fractured and my lovely doctor informed me that had I continued to run on it, it would have broken off and I'd been in a cast.  Oops.  So, instead of a cast, I got to ride a lovely scooter for 4 weeks.  I was not to walk on the foot, put pressure on the foot, etc.  Only the scooter.  It was terrible.  At least the kid thought it was fun.

After 4 weeks of the scooter, I had to spend 4 weeks in a walking boot, and THEN I had to do 4 weeks in my brace.  I was still not cleared to run or do any extraneous exercise.  (Read: I didn't exercise at all and became a huge lump.)

At the very end of July (When it is now 103 degrees in Texas) I started running again.  It was extremely slow for what I was used to.  I had always maintained a 10:50-11:50 minute mile and now I was running a 13 minute mile.  Is this unacceptable?  No.  Is it slow?  No.  Was it slow for me?  Yes.  You find your own pace.  Not everyone runs the same nor WANTS to run the same.  Running isn't about speed for me, it is more about distance.  In August I ran a total of 3 times.. yeah, all month.  It was hot and I was NOT feeling it.  But, somewhere in that month, I signed up for another 10k.

I knew I needed to get my mileage back up to par in order to complete the 6 miles again.  I ran a lot in September.  I pushed through the pain and the heat and found that love again.  I found the oomph that started it all in the beginning.

The race ended up only being 5.2 miles because the officer had us turn too soon, nonetheless, it was fun and they offered beer at the end!

By this time, I had done the unimaginable... I signed up for my first half marathon.  Megan and Oliver were going to run with me and I was scared as heck.  From the point forward of that last race, I just added a mile each week.  If someone would have told me a year ago that I would be running a half marathon by the end of the year, I would have laughed in their face.

I am a firm believer in taking pictures all the time.  You never know when one will become your 'before' photo.

I trained and I trained and I trained.  Many of the long runs were done with Megan and Oliver which made them much more bearable.

On November 9, my 30th birthday, I ran a 5k in memory of my grandparents.  They both lost their lives ti cancer and this was the Pancreatic Cancer run.  It was my fastest 5k and I felt like I was on FIRE.  It was so amazing.

Once I started running more than 8 miles at a time, I started using these to help push through.

Three days before the Dallas Half Marathon, a horrible ice storm hit Dallas.  It was still unclear whether or not the race would take place.  Unfortunately, they canceled the race Friday afternoon.  There was ice and slush everywhere.  The race course included the huge white bridge posted below and it was covered in ice.  It was definitely a good call, but crushed so many.

I had made the decision that I WAS going to run a half marathon and I WAS going to do it before 2014.  Megan was now 27 weeks pregnant and it was a do it now or never situation before she stopped running her long distances.  So, last Sunday, it was time.  It wasn't going to be a race, I didn't have a bib number, I wasn't going to be awarded a medal, but by golly, I was going to DO IT.


My sister finished her run before me, so she went to the nearest gas station to grab some toilet paper.  I got to cross a finish line!!!  My name is not listed in history anywhere, my time is not recorded in anyone's logs, but I earned that 13.1 that day!!!  Once again, the pride and the joy is just indescribable. 

I wrote this post to encourage you.  To help YOU get off your couch.  To help YOU realize that this year is YOUR year!  Don't get discouraged, don't think you have to do huge amounts of running or mileage, just get out there.  Get some workout clothes you feel amazing in, get some awesome music, and get out there.  Start walking, then wogging, then bouncing, hopping, skipping, whatever the heck it takes.  You'll be so proud of yourself when you hit that first mile, and then that 3rd, etc.  Sign up for a 5k and stick with it.  Who cares if you finish last... those cones will stay out till you're done!  Just do it!

Nov 26, 2013

My Measurements

So, I found that in May I did my measurements - you can find those here.

Today I was curious and had Megan measure me at the gym this morning.

Here are the results:
May 2013
Waist - 33"
Hips - 38"
Chest - 38"
Arm - 13"
Thigh - 25" 
Weight: Somewhere around 150-153
Pant Size: 8
November 2013
Waist: 34 1/2" (What happened here?!) (+1.5")
Hips: 39" (UGH!) (+1")
Chest: 36 3/4" (-1.25")
Arm: 11 3/4" (-1.25")
Thigh: 21" (-4") HALLELUJAH!
Weight: The exact same
Pant Size: The exact same (Although I do have my one pair of size 6 jeans in eyesight...)

April 2013 - Arms were not toned at all.
I am not too sure what happened in the waist and hips (well, I am... it was darn good food, and not much dieting (clean eating)) but now know I have some target areas to hit and some dieting to clean up.  However, I have ALWAYS been thigh-heavy.  Losing those inches on my thighs is pretty impressive and I owe it all to RUNNING and LIFTING HEAVY.  I had an ankle fracture in March that kept me from walking/running from April-June.  I wasn't cleared for any type of running until July.  But, I will do a complete running blog post in December after my first half marathon...OMG 12 days!

This was taken May 2013.  I need to take another
to compare.

Moral of this post: Always measure, always take pictures.  People on Facebook get very crabby when you post gym updates, workout selfies, etc.  NEWS FLASH: I chalk it up to jealousy.  To each their own.  However, the wonderful Instagram world is all devoted to PICTURES.  And there are people on there that I don't even know; giving me such great feedback, positive vibes, and overall good mojo!!  So, if you want some great motivation, some great feedback, and some great pictures to look at ... get yourself on Instagram!  You can find me @mneatherlin.  I love looking at people's results to help motivate me and I hope that my own pictures/results help motivate someone else.

No, I am not a blogger.  No, I am not a dietician.  No, I am not someone who has always been severely obese nor do I pretend I once was.  My highest weight was 196 the day I delievered my daughter 5.5 years ago. I stayed around 176 for 3 years after that before I decided to join Weight Watchers.  I did not join a gym or start lifting weights until February of 2011.  And then it was not consistent; more so when I had vacations, birthdays, summer, etc. coming up (i.e. excuses).  I started going to the gym three days a week and running once/twice a week hard core in August 2013, just to give you some sort of reference.

There are lots of people I can't connect with and that feel they can't connect with me because I've never been a certain size or weight; that is OKAY.  Find the people who HAVE been in your shoes.  Find the people who share your stats.  Find the people who MOTIVATE YOU! 

July 2013 - Cleared to run

June - Notice you don't see the
back view!

It is all about running, lifting heavy, and
Helping Megan with an ab video
Can you see my baby ab? ;)

Nov 8, 2013

Countdown to 30: It's Here!

Today is my very last day in my 20s.  I don't remember my last day in my teens, so I am glad to be writing today so that I can remember forever.  These last 10 days have shown you (and myself) my journey over the last decade.  Man, it has been a rough ride.  I am stronger than ever before and I am happier than ever before.  I want to start with saying thank you to my husband, my daughter, my mom and dad, and my sister and her family.  I am only who I am because they are behind me every step of the way.  I could not go on without their love, compassion, and support.

The year 2013 did not disappoint.  I'm secretly hoping 2014 is C.A.L.M.

November 2012 - My Granny was to go into a hospice facility so she could get a bit stronger and get through the holidays without added illness.

The entire family came together for Thanksgiving and it was unbelievable.  We knew the end was near and we all held each other up.

The days before she went into hospice care.  Melt my heart.

The family my Granny and Grandpa created.

Spending Thanksgiving eating popcorn. :)

December 2011 -

Mommy was getting healthier, one plank at a time!

My little Diva!

Love her pretty smile!
We spent the first part of December in Texas, but Andrea and I loaded the kids and headed to Oklahoma as soon as school was out.  We were going to stay through Christmas day and then head home.  The next day it began to snow.  We stayed.  Well, actually God had other plans for us.

December 28, 2012 my beautiful, caring, strong, and compassionate Granny, Bonnie Rose, earned her wings.  I remember the day it happened.  Mom and Joyce needed some rest so I headed up to hospice.  At this point Granny was already unresponsive.  We were keeping her comfortable and just waiting.  I spent three hours with her that morning.  I talked and cried, talked and cried.  I held her hand.  I told her it was time to go and be with my Grandpa and all her family.  They were waiting.    That same evening, with my mom and Aunt Joyce by her side, she crossed into those pearly gates.  Not a day goes by where I don't think about it, want to call her for a recipe, or just think about how she would have handled a situation.  She was a beautiful woman that we had to let go way too soon.

Another special sidenote: Andrea was pregnant with Astoria when my Grandfather passed in 2008.  She was able to find out the gender before he passed... it was bittersweet.  This time, Andrea was pregnant with Asher.  We didn't yet know his gender, but we do know that Granny got to meet him before we ever did.  He was blessed from the beginning.

January 2013 I decided I wanted to become a runner.  I was healthy, I was getting stronger and more fit, it was time!

(In December I am going to do a whole-year recap on my running and fitness journey!)

In February I sat out to run 7 miles.  I had been preparing, prepping, etc. and I was going to do it.  Well, around 7:30am and around mile 3.5 I slipped off the sidewalk into a hole.  I fractured my ankle.  I was devastated.  I had signed up for my first 10k (6.2) miles and it was in 2 weeks!!!  I was determined to run that race, and I did!  (I did not know I fractured my ankle until May...)

This was after 2 weeks.. oh man, it hurt.
I ran those glorious 6.2 miles in 1:11 and it was UNBELIEVABLE!
 So in March, I decided to do it again!  This time it was a night race where everyone was decked out in glow sticks, etc.  It was a 5k and I finished in 34 minutes.  Running is such a high!

5k - 34 minutes
April 2013 - Life was great and the school year was coming to an end!

Oklahoma Wedding - April

In May, my sweet girl turned 5 years old!  She wanted a Spongebob Birthday and her Daddy did everything he could to make it happen!  Including making this beautiful and amazing cake.  She (and we) are truly blessed!
Special girl!
Also in May, I GRADUATED!  I officially was finished with my Master's Degree!  Having never stepped on the campus for classes, I decided I wanted to take a mini-vacation to Beaumont to walk across that stage!  It was an amazing time and I am, once again, blessed to have my family by my side.

Also in May, Olivia graduated from Pre-K!  She would be starting Kindergarten in August and it was time to say goodbye to the school where it all started.  I wasn't ready for Kindergarten!

Olivia's Graduation

2013 Graduates!
Lake time!
 May also proved to be a month of sadness and a true test of my strength.  Olivia's biological father, my ex-husband, passed away suddenly.  Up until this point Olivia did not know of Tony.  She had met him several times, but only knew him of Tony.  I decided right then that my 5 year old daughter was about to learn her family history.

You can read the entire story of my early life and how I handled his death here.
I drew Olivia a family tree and tried to explain everyone the best I could.  She had lots of questions, but none that I felt I couldn't handle or explain.  She still brings him up and asks why he had to die, why he didn't come to her birthday parties, etc.  She is still trying to learn why we call Tim daddy even though he isn't her "real" daddy.  She is learning.  We are learning.  We are all in this together and as long as she knows she is loved more than anything in the world; we have succeeded.

June - Tim and I finally got to take our honeymoon!  We spent almost a week in Mexico soaking up the rays getting sunburnt horribly, getting food poisoning and it was amazing!
Pops and his girls.

Nana and her girls.
 June 20, 2013 - Asher James entered the world!  I am so glad Andrea kept him cookin' until I got back from Mexico.  It was close!  This little boy is a blessing, is an easy baby, and is OH SO CUTE!  Olivia adores him and STILL wants to hold him any time she can. :) And no, she does not need a little brother...

In July, Olivia had her nose vessels cauterized.  She had always suffered from intermittent nose bleeds, but they would bleed heavily and cause her discomfort.  The surgery was a success and we have not had any more nosebleeds!

She keeps me on my toes!
Once my Granny passed, my Mom and Dad moved into her home.  I wouldn't have had this any way; this is where my Mom belonged.  This is where my family belongs.  But, this meant my parents had to sell the only house Andrea and I have ever known.  This picture was taken in that house before we said goodbye for the last time.

 In July I got a new job.  I was no longer going to be teaching as a regular classroom teacher, but as an Interventionist.  I serve students in Kindergarten through 5th Grade who are At-Risk and falling below grade level.  The job is challenging, but I was glad to be putting my time in somewhere outside of the classroom.
July 2013
In August, I was able to travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to take part in the Pure Romance National Conference.  I had joined the Pure Romance family in December 2012 and it has provided my family with great supplemental income.  I love the job!  I love getting to meet new people, make people laugh, as well as educate women on their bodies. 

 Olivia and I also started new schools!  Olivia was beginning Kindergarten at a Math, Science, and Technology school.  She had to test to be accepted and we were thrilled for this opportunity for her.  I was terrified of starting my new school, but was glad I already knew some of the teachers!
September - I had been going to the gym regularly at 5am/3 days a week and running one day on the weekends.  I love going to the gym and have an amazing MOTIVATOR.
Getting stronger one day at a time!
October - How was it already possible we had reached our 1st Wedding Anniversary?  My husband is amazing.  I couldn't have picked a better choice for me and my craziness, not to mention my crazy daughter!

One year later and the dress still fits: SUCCESS!

Pure Happiness!
I also hit a HUGE milestone and ran 11 miles!!!  I am training for a half marathon in December and this was SO amazing to me.  I still can't believe I did it.

Tomorrow is my 30th Birthday.  I have an AMAZING day planned with family and friends.  Before the celebrations begin, I will be running in a 5k to honor Pancreatic Awareness.  This race will be very emotional.  Andrea, Tim, Rex, Mom, the girls, and I will be running to honor both of our Parents/Grandparents/Great-Grandparents who were taken too soon by cancer.
Shirt made by Ruffles With Love
I can't say enough about this last decade.  It has been the hardest and the best.  There have been ups and there have been downs.  There have been tears and there has been laughter.  But most of all, there have been memories.

See you in the next decade!!!!

November 8, 2013


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