Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Spandex is a Privilege Not A Right - Repost

So, I was looking at my stats on my blogger dashboard, and noticed that my Vitamin Water Ad post is my most popular post. But, since it's just a picture with a "hey look at the tag line" people don't know the story behind it, so I am reposting both posts combined, in their entirey for everyone to revisit. The ad has since been taken down and replaced with something else (not vitamin water related, I forget who is paying for that advertising space in the gym now)...

Anyhow, with no further adeiu and nothing more pithy to add- my Vitamin Water rants

Post 1:

So, this morning, started off a bit rocky anyhow. Usually I'm up at about five thirty-ish (well that's when my alarm goes off anyhow) Then, I spent five minutes saying "five more minutes, five more minutes contemplating whether or not I can afford to skip the morning swim because I'm so warm and comfy in my bed, five minutes yelling at myself telling myself of course I can't afford to skip the morning workout- do I not realize there are ONLY 14 weeks left until the Triathlon. Then I usually lay in bed for about a minute or so more, and I'm up and out by 6:00.

One of my idiot dogs, who is getting older but seems to think he can still eat common household items and digest them with no problem (Think- Marley and Me and you have my dog) got into a bag of peas that I threw in the garbage because they were freezer burned, and ate them- all. This was a very large frozen pea bag might I add. So, the ahole was up all night panting and whining needing to be let out every half hour or so, to expel said peas. Needless to say, I did not get a lot of sleep. Usually, the dog wakes my husband up, and I can continue to sleep in a blissful unaware state until said husband tells me about the evenings goings on the next morning. However, over the past few weeks I seem to be a lighter and lighter sleeper. Who knows.

So, the alarm went off- I turned it off and said five more minutes, which turned into twenty. So, late start- plus traffic (for what reason I have no clue) plus empty gas- I got into the pool very late this morning.

You know how yesterday I said that the pool is relatively empty in the morning so it is a very fast swim- yeah today, the pool was packed. Apparently word got out how empty it is in the morning and everyone flocked to the pool. Grr.

All of these things already put in me a quasi-bad mood when in the ladies locker room is a gigundo poster from Vitamin Water that reads "Spandex is not a right, it's a privilege"

I took a look at it, immediately thinking "Oh, really?" and it reminded me of a post I made a few months back regarding seeing myself, in spandex (well, cotton stretchy pants but same idea) and how spandex is not my friend, regardless of what Slow Fat Triathlete said. Well Guess what, I changed my mind.

BS posters like this made me change my mind. Who is Vitamin Water to say who deserves to wear spandex? I know, its only an ad campaign but this stupid poster points to the same bs that society has been putting in womens head for decades. Sadly, fat seems to be the only acceptable discrimination left. I understand now, why SFT put an entire chapter in her book regarding spandex, because with posters like that- heavier people do feel ashamed to have something skin tight exposing all of their pudge and jiggles. But you know what, it makes running or biking a whole lot easier than if you were doing it in regular shorts or pants.

So, everyone, pudgy or super skinny should embrace their spandex pants while working out- who cares what you look like. You're working out right? Youre doing something to change yourself right? Clearly any hater that you may be afraid will comment has no brick to stand on since you are actually out there trying to make a change, right?

Heck- I do a walk of shame every day from the lockeroom to the pool in nothing but a bathing suit, with all my pudge, rumples and divits out there for the world to see. I used to, when I first started swimming again, about three years ago- walk out to the pool area with a towel wrapped around me- but I soon realized I would still have to get out of the pool and walk over to the towel area- so what did it matter if I hid behind a towel coming in- when going out I wouldn't be able to hide. I told myself, at least I'm doing something to change the way I look so who cares if the little hamsters on their treadmills and ellipticals that are looking into the pool area can see me- I'm here for the same reason they are.

You should adopt this attitude too. If you are comfortable rocking the spandex- do it. Who gives a crap what Vitamin Water or the world thinks about it. Screw them and their "privileges"

Post 2:

So, Ive been meaning to take a picture of the Vitamin Water ad that is hanging in my locker room... but I tried taking it today and was informed that camera phones are strictly forbidden in the locker room.. ok- tell that to the lady who chats on her IPhone while getting dressed every flipping day.

Anyhow, I googled it and was able to find the same ad.

Here is what it looks like

Its really hard to see the tag line, you have to look closely but it is there - in the parentheses ...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

What It Takes to Tri

So- in the upcoming weeks, I'm going to be working on a way to get a group together to compete with me in the Womens Sprint Triathlon in June. I'm hoping to get a Logo designed and some T-Shirts printed up for my "Team M-Power" triathlon Team.

I hope that many of you will join me. Or, if you are reading this from a different state, considering participating in a Triathlon near you.

What does it take to do a Triathlon? Well, first of all, I hear a lot "I want to but, I work a full time job" - my response, ... I work a full time job, go to school 3/4 time, and still find time to work out. It's just about setting the intention and pursuing it. Granted, as we get closer to Tri Day, you will pretty much be eating sleeping and breathing Swim Bike Run, but only you can decide if you truly don't have time to do it, or you're just saying that you don't have time.

Now, I'm no expert, so I am only speaking based on what I did last year to get ready for my first Triathlon.

If you are going from totally sedintary to Triathlon, I'd make January 1st your target day to start working out.

In the first couple of months, I'd start with 30 minutes of activity and work from there.

For me, I will be swimming for 45-hour in the morning (45 to start out, maybe even thirty, because I haven't swum in months and it's going to hurt... a lot.)

Before actually Tri Training Starts (in March) you can swim one day, take a day off, bike the next day, take the next day off, run the next day, take a day off... and repeat.

Once we get into the thick of things, you will pretty much be working out everyday in some form or another. And, as we move into the last month before the Triathlon, you will need an hour and a half block once a week to work on your Bricks.

You can find awesome information in books like "Triathlon for Dummies" and "Slow Fat Triathlete"- I highly recommend these for the begining Triathlete.

I will begin my training at the start of the new year. I will also be incorporating "Strength Training for Triathletes" into my workout.

You can buy these books used on Amazon, if you don't want to drop fifty plus dollars on books to start.

As we go along, I'll post tidbits on things Ive learned or read, and also give you progress updates on my training.

If you are on Facebook, I encourage you to find See Millie Tri on Facebook, that way, if you are planning on training for a Tri - we can interact through there.

I truly hope to have many being part of Team M-Power this upcoming Tri Season!

Til Next Time
~Millie :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Hiatus

On Saturday, between Christmas present stops, the ball and chain and I decided to take a rest at Barnes and Noble. I bought the current issue of Triathlete magazine, and there was an Ad in there for something I can't remember of a guy on a couch with his swim gear next to him, his running shoes on, and a bike behind him (snow in the window) and in brief summary suggested that one should not allow themselves to get fat and lazy over the wintertime, when weather may prevent them from training as they want to. All I could do is laugh, because if that wasn't the sign-i-est sign on the planet I don't know what is. So I bought the magazine (it had some great other articles in there as well- and NOTE- if you need help on your flip turn, there is an excellent article giving you the breakdown of a flip turn- I highly recommend checking it out.

Anyhow, school is over for a bit woohoo! So, it's time to refocus. I'm currently only registered for one class next semester- because funds are ridiculously low right now, and well, in all honesty it's all I can afford to take considering all the dough were spending on the ball and chain for his classes next semester. I'm hoping to at least get one or two more in, but I have to wait and see how funds develop post Christmas. Ive decided to invest in myself for this upcoming year. I know in the previous breath I just said our school funds are low, and I should really be spending my holiday bonus for another class, but I decided that buying a BodyMedia monitoring system would in the long run be very beneficial to every goal that I have.

If you haven't seen them (most noticed on the contestants in the Biggest Loser) they are essentially a little mini computer you wear on your arm twenty four hours a day, that calculates how many calories your burn, how many calories you are eating, how well you are sleeping and overall body chemistry. And, if you remember last summer when I said "I wish I could figure out exactly how much I should be eating while training... well after doing a whole lot of research, it looks like this is what I have been looking for. So, I'm excited to try it. I haven't ordered it yet, I'm going to wait until just after Christmas, in all honesty I'm hoping its going to go on sale- because spending $300 on myself has me riddled with guilt. Anyhow, I will let you all know when I get it and the updates on how well it is working.

Christmas is only a few days away, I still have a whole heck of a lot to do before the holiday. Thankfully Amazon has been my best friend this Christmas. And the Amazon Student Prime is seriously, the best thing since sliced bread (2 day shipping for $3.99 the BEST! I love it) Ninety percent of my holiday shopping was done online this semester, so yay for Amazon.

I'm hoping to start working out again next week. My body is seriously falling apart. And I don't know if its from lack of exercise, lack of sleep or poor sleep, spending so many hours in front of computers either at work or at home and rotating between using the main computer in my office or using my laptop - but pretty much everything on my left side of my body hurts in some way shape or form. It started with my elbow pre-triathlon. Then it sort of got better (more like spread to my shoulder) and now I have flaming hot flashes of pain in the muscles on the back side of my collarbone (I dont remember what muscle group that is) and it happens inexplicably and totally at random.

If that isn't bad enough, my ankle got hurt running the 5k which healed, but now I have almost like sciatica in my left side lower back- and if I walk too long, I get knots in the muscles of my lower back/upper butt. Only on my left side. So, as a result of that, Im pretty sure my gait has changed which has now resulted in hurting my knee on my right side of my body. Seriously I;m not kidding my whole body is falling apart. Im hoping that it's just that my joints are all creaky and rusty from not working out (I read something somewhere that constant exercise lubes the joints) - lets hope thats all it is.

Three weeks of reprieve before the demands of school start again (well, hopefully the demands of school lol the lonely little one class I have now wont be very demanding - it would be a cake walk compared to these past few semesters, but we all know thats not how I roll lol)

I hope you all have a Very Merry Christmas!

~MIllie :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm A Rockstar- RockTape Said So!!!

A little over a week ago, I was contacted via my blog email : millie@seemillietri.com by RockTape. In case you dont know what ROCKTAPE is- you can check out their website www.rocktape.com but simply- it's athletic tape (the technical term is kinseology tape) that can be used in place of wearing support braces on your joints. I talked about using them at the Hot Chocolate 5k and apparently, someone from Rocktape was reading because they sent me a "You Are A Rockstar!" package !!!

I am so humbled, and honored that anyone (let alone someone at a huge company like Rocktape) reads my musings.

So, they provided me with SO much Rocktape that I'm going to have a little contest. My spin bike is sharing a room with Gustav, my masochistic treadmill... and Gustav requires that all pieces of exercise equipment that share a room with him, must have a name. So, my Spin Bike needs a name. For a while, he's been Dieter but he doesn't seem like a Dieter. I called him Adolf for a while, but Adolf doesn't seem fitting either.

Give me some suggestions via my Facebook page (See Millie Tri) my email millie@seemillietri.com or Twitter @seemillietri

I'll send some Rocktape Samples to whomever sends me the winning name :) The contest will go through next Tuesday the 14th. One can't properly be abused by a piece of equipment without a good name!

Til next time!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Perfect Example Of "Anything Is Possible"

When you buy a bike from a speciality bike store, you typically get a free subscription to some form of bicycling magazine as well. I get a physical copy of Bike Magazine every month, and my dad gets the Digital Copy of Bicycling Magazine. So, he forwards me his issue every month. I just checked my email a few minutes ago, and was looking for a brief distraction from working, and found this article


If this doesn't prove that anyone is capable of so much more than they believe themselves to be, I don't know what does. To briefly summarzie (but I HIGHLY suggest you read the article, because it is just THAT inspirational) this man was Five Hundred Pounds and practically immobile, looking out his window one day and sees a middle aged man riding a bicycle and decides that he wants to try it. But, because of his weight, he can't ride a standard bike, so he finds someone to craft one to hold up to his five hundred pound frame.

After finding a bike, he begins the slow and steady journey, one bike mile at a time, towards getting healthy. Now, four or so years later, he weighs an astonishing 180 something pounds and logs more than TWENTY THOUSAND miles on his bike every year.

If a man who weighs five hundred pounds can start such an amazing journey, surely you can too. Maybe it's a five k, maybe it's to join a volleyball league, or perhaps even try a Triathlon! Whatever it is, you are FULLY CAPABLE of achieving it, you just need to believe that you can!

'Til Next Time,


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Why A Triathlon?

Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone! Hopefully your Thanksgiving was full of everything you love and enjoy. The bulk of my weekend so far unfortunately has been dealing with a broken car (still no diagnosis on what is wrong with it) and homework. Being an almost full time student and working full time, has forced me into an almost completely sedentary lifestyle since the Hot Chocolate 5K, but in a week, once all these projects and papers are turned in and I have closed the book on another semester, that will change. However, I get asked a lot "why of all things, did you choose a Triathlon"

The reason is multi-tiered. I am a self-admitted reality show junkie. Though, my frenetic daily schedule has forced me to scale back to almost nothing (I just can't seem to let go of America's Next Top Model, The Apprentice or Project Runway- thank God for TIVO) this weekend, while resting my brain I caught some episodes of Giuliana and Bill ( if you are scratching your head on this one.. Giuliana is a host on E! and Bill Rancic was the winner of the 1st season of The Apprentice now they are married and live in Chicago (most of the time)

Anyhow, this season chronicles their struggles to conceive and all the procedures that she has gone through (failed IUI and an IVF that resulted in a miscarriage) - in a recent episode she decided that she wanted to participate in the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Chicago. And when people asked her why she did it, she wanted to do something that she was in control of, after having gone through so many procedures where you are at the mercy of doctors, your body, and Mother Nature.

I could relate 100% to what she was saying and for me, that was part of it. I am just so sick of people telling me that I can't do something.

I can't get pregnant because I have an Endocrine Disorder which has put my hormones so out of whack that it makes it near impossible to lose weight. But in order for my hormones to try and rebalance themselves, I need to lose weight. And if I want any hope of having a successful IVF (especially since now I have to shell out twenty thousand dollars of my own money to do it- don't even get me started on Health Insurance Catch 22's) I need to lose weight. - I am so wrapped up in Catch 22's and impossibilities and big fat NO signs everywhere I turn, that I just reached a boiling point. My life has been filled with so many "I Can't"s that I wanted to take life by the balls, spit in its face and scream at it that I WILL!

I needed to get into shape and lose weight anyway and after having been inspired by the participants in the 2009 Women's Triathlon, I figured- why not? I'm a good swimmer, Ive been swimming on a team since I was a kid. I figured that biking would be something easily attainable, so the only crux for me would be the run. And from that little seed of inspiration grew a tree, and that tree dug its roots in firmly, and is ready to continue to grow.

Now, I just need to pass along those seeds of inspiration, and together we can build and inspiration forrest. People email me or tell me in person "don't be offended (these have become my least favorite words in the whole world) - but after hearing that YOU did a triathlon, I figured, well if she can do it, so can I"

And, it doesn't offend me... well, ok maybe it hurts my feelings a little bit, but it's more the whole "dont be offended, but Im going to say something offensive but I really mean something nice by it" mentality. To clarify, I want people to be inspired to do a triathlon (or whatever goal they have- 5k, joining a gym, or even taking a walk around the block after dinner) because they realize what can come from taking the first step. Not thinking "well if that tub can do a triathlon surely I can" - but, if that's whats gonna inspire you, so be it, but the judgement does sting a bit... so if this is the case, perhaps soften the delivery :)

But, my purpose for the blog isn't for fame, or to become the next "Julie & Julia" (though I totally would Not pass up the opportunity to meet Matt Lauer <3 :o) <3 <--- that's me, swooning...

The purpose of the blog is to inspire. I want you to know that you are capable of so many things that you think are unacheivable. If you set your sights on a target, and you work towards that goal with honest intention and determination, you will NEVER be a failure.

What is thought to be IMpossible, IS POSSIBLE.

So, what goals are you going to set your sights on today?


Thursday, November 18, 2010

What To Do In The "Off Season"

:Throws Confetti:

This is my 100th Post on this blog! Wow- too bad its not something more exciting than more of the same. I guess I could make something up and be all like "Hey everyone, in honor of my hundredth post, I ran a MARATHON, Barefoot, UPHILL, In the SNOW"..how bout THEM apples.

But alas, when you were done laughing hysterically and wiping the tears from your eyes picturing me, the huffy puffer who can't even run a 5K without getting injured, doing a full Marathon- yes it is quite a funny thought.. I'll briefly pause so you can recompose yourselves before continuing on with my point.

Good.. got it out of your system now? yeah thought so...

So, since clearly pretending to do something phenomenal just to make the milestone more memorable doesn't do anyone any good. So, no pomp and circumstance here, just more of the same.

The OFFSEASON.... technically, we've been in the "Off season" since September... except instead of "off season" mine has turned into "sit on your lazy bum and get fat season"

Ok, not entirely, I *did* do a 5K.. but I'm certainly not doing what I should be in the off season, which is continuing to train.

According to a great Triathlete website called Tri Fuel (here is a link to the article: http://www.trifuel.com/training/strength-training/three-reasons-triathletes-should-strength-train-in-the-offseason)

We should be doing strength training and developing our core muscles over the winter to prepare ourselves for what lies ahead.

Since Training will begin again in just a few short months, I am grossly behind in my "off season" training.

Some time ago, I researched Strength Training workouts for budding Triathletes such as myself, and this book :

Srength Training for Triathles by Patrick Hagermann

I actually own this book (with now has a gorgeous about 2 cm thick coating of dust on it, and hasn't moved from it's sacred spot on my dining room table- thus simultaneously also demonstrating just how much use the diniing room table gets for activities other than storing, stacking, and sorting)

I do have it though, and intend to use it in the upcoming few weeks. At that time, I will be happy to provide you with my opinion.

I am also on the lookout for a Spin DVD that I can use with my Indoor Spin Bike in the winter months and would love to hear some suggestions. I will purchase whatever is suggested to me, and will willingly be the guinea pig for anyone else in the market for indoor spin DVD's.

So- Happy 100 posts to me... wish it was a more exciting post!

To the next 100 !


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Swimming- My Neglected Red-Headed Stepchild

I received an email a few minutes ago from Swimplan asking me why I haven't logged in and updated my work outs lately (um, lets try like more than 3 months-.... thanks for staying on top of that Swimplan) actually though, in all honesty, they may have kept on top of it,but had I seen the emails I would have deleted them anyway. It's not Swimplans fault that Im neglecting my swimming.

However, for any swimmer, novice to advanced, Swimplan is a great resource to use. It gives you customized swimming plans (you can use them weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) however long it takes you to "conquer" the plan (ie when it stops beating the crap out of you everytime you're in the pool)

My email offered me premium membership (temporarily) for my non-paying membership. I don't know if this is special to me because Ive been ignoring them, or if everyone gets this current deal. But, it's worth checking out. In regards to swimming, yes I have been avoiding it like I would be annual women's doctor appointment.. but it's not because I don't love it.

I'm honestly considering changing gyms - to a place where childrens swimming classes and swim teams don't take precendence in lap swimming lanes, and where the pool doesn't feel like someone filled it with ice cubes the night previous, and where the people aren't always trying to up sell you. Of course, researching new gyms takes time- of which, I don't currently have. And waking up at 5:30 in the morning to get into a freezing cold pool because this is the only time the little kiddles aren't in the pool, doesn't really work with my current frenetic schedule.

December 8th is my yellow brick road of hope. The last day of classes until the end of January (do you hear the choir of angels singing Hallelujah?) That is when I will make my decision on whether or not to move to a new gym.

Schedules are begining to show up for the 2011 Triathlon Season. I really hope to inspire many, many people to dust off those running shoes, put air in the tires of the old bike hanging in the garage, and get out there and TRI this season. Wouldnt it be great to have a whole contingent of people running and passing along that inspiration.

The hampsters in the old brain have been working overtime churning the idea wheel... more to come as the weeks progress... but I want everyone over the next few months to start thinking about it.... "What if *I* TRI-ed"

Til next time!

~Millie :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oh, What A Feeling

Yesterday was the day. About 4:45 in the morning, I grudgingly got out of my warm bed at my Dad's house, and prepared for what I feared was going to be the biggest humiliation in my life. The night before around a game of cards, we had discussed what would happen if they in fact did enforce the 15/min mile stipulation- and had decided if in fact that was the case, and we were forced off the course, we could at least say "oh well, we tried" and head back to the finish line for some hot chocolate and fondue.

We arrived in the city at about ten minutes to six, parked and headed towards the event area. Now, being that the race was held in the heart of the downtown area of the third biggest city in the country, we pracitically needed to walk a 5K just to get to the race. Okay, maybe I'm over-exaggerating a bit... we needed to walk a four k ;-)

It was a hike though. No big deal at the beginning of the race, when you are all hopped up on adrenaline, on new morning muscles, full of promise and expectation- an entirely different story after the race, when you are sore, dejected, and spent. - More on that later.

It was as cold as Mr WeatherMan promised it would be- a balmy 28 degrees at post time- Im sure colder when we arrived down there pre-sunrise. So, in lieu of standing around and freezing our rears off, we snuck into the volunteer tent and stood around trying to look inconspicuous for an hour or so.

I must say- some of these runner folk- are hard core. Like gazelle's to the nth degree. The pack was seperated into 5K runners ( the casual joggers) and the 15K runners (read: hard core)- so hard core in fact that some were even running in shorts and running tank tops - yes, you read that right- shorts and tank tops in 28 degree weather. They scoffed at cold weather, flipped their chins at the mere thought of being cold. They knew their superiorly toned bodies and agile quickness would warm them as they went. They'd be running so fast, the cold would have to try and keep up with them.

And then there was me. In three layers of shirts, plus a Polar Teck zip up trying to focus on the race instead of how cold I was becoming. Thankfully. my dad gave me his hat (it apparently hadn't dawned on me prior to leaving my house that I may want to keep my head or at the very least my ears warm)- with the promise that I would warm up as the race progressed.

Throughout the Pre Race Mr Microphone- whomever he was- kept telling us that "even the 5K racers were expected to maintain a 15 minute mile" I was panicked. What were they going to do to me? How would they know I wasn't maintaining that pace? As I knew there was no way in heck I was going to maintain that pace.

Post time came, and my dad headed off to run with the rest of the gazelles, and my stepmom and I headed off to the back of the pack. Slight problem though- thirty thousand people sandwiched into three blocks made little room for maneuvering. Therefore, we ended up mingled into the 12 minute mile racers. The race started and we got jostled big time. I felt like I was in the game Frogger trying to dodge all the gazelles whizzing past me. At the half mile mark, we started to run down a hill, and not being so confident on my Rocktape wrapped knee and ankle, I was afraid to really do more than walk gingerly down, and this is where my stepmom and I separated.

Mile marker one is where the flat part of the course began, and I confidently picked up speed ( -side note- I'm starting to rethink the Triathlon in Lake Geneva--- if I can't even handle a teensy weensy hill on a paved street how the heck do I think I can handle an entire bike and running route of them) at Mile Marker one and a half I was starting to feel fairly good, I was alternating walking and jogging at about a 2 or 2 1/2 minute pace (-side note- it was so cold outside, that at the water station, the cups of water and gatorade actually had little frozen bits of liquid in them- a nice shock to the old system )

My dad was right, around this time I was actually getting quite warm, but I didn'nt want to stop and remove anything or switch stuff around, as I was afraid if I stopped, I wouldn't be able to get moving again.

Mile Marker two, I started to feel a tightening in my achilles tendon. Ive experienced those problems before, my podiatrist had said the reason I had these problems were because of the pronation in my ankle due to the weakened tendons from the previous foot turning problems I had as a kid. But I had taped it in Rocktape that morning, so I ignored the tightening figuring it would loosen itself up and kept pushing. Mile Marker two snaked down the Lakefront and then into Grant Park, under Lake Shore drive and back towards the finishing line. It was about MM two and a half. when we tranistioned from paved ground of the shoreline bike path up onto a grass path and then onto the Grant Park trail. It was at this time (transitioning up the grassy knoll) that I hear a pop followed by hot searing pain in my left foot. I slowed to slower than a walk - more like a hobble- and tried to stretch it and walk it off a bit. No such luck. I pull off the course as more people pass me by, and try stretching it against a tree. The pain just gets worse and worse. At this point my dad calls my cell phone wondering where on the course I am- he, like the rest of the gazelles, had finished a long time ago- but thinking back on it, it must have been about forty five minutes after the start of the race, which means, I was probably sub-twenty minute miles which in the book of this huffy puffer, I had actually managed a fairly good pace then for my first 2 miles.

I tell him my location, that I did something to my ankle, but I'm going to try to push through. I make it to about 2 and 3 quarter miles, and I could feel my foot swelling, so I hobbled over to a bench to try and assess the situation. There was a medic shooting the bull with one of the volunteers and he asked me if I wanted to drop out of the race. I told him no, I was fine, I was just removing my tape and I'd be moving along. There was no way I was going to show up shamefacedly ridining on the back of a medic-mobile. What would I tell everyone? How would I even be able to tell so many people that I couldn't even complete a Five K. I removed the Rocktape wrapped around my ankle.. and it provided enough relief for me to keep going. I passed under the photo's who take the final picture before heading towards Mile Marker three and into the finish chute. I honestly think they didn't even bother to take a picture- though my Dad says that there were four up there, so he's sure one of them did. I personally think they saw me pop a squat on the bench and figured "heh- shes probably quitting, why waste my time"

I made it to Mile Marker three, received another phone call from my Dad telling me that I should meet him at Buckingham Fountain that way he could bring the car around to get me. Maybe he knew that Buckingham Fountain was past the finish line and that would motivate me to keep going, but I wasn't planning on quitting anyhow. I saw mile marker three and I have not seen anything so good ever. Mile Marker three meant I was almost there... only a few hundred more feet and I would be finished.

I hobbled down the chute trying to hobble/jog/walk/limp my way to the finish line as 15K runners ran on my heels- yup--- you read that right- fifteen k runners managed to finish their entire race faster than I did my 5K... no, that wasn't humiliating at all. Neither was the fact that Mr. Microphone was announcing names as they came to the finish line and he saw me, and walked right past me not even bothering to announce me. BUt there it was, the finish line... a few more hobbles and I was across it, and done. Thank the Lord I was done.

I'm sure my finish line pictures will be more than entertaining once they are finally posted. Because I was anything but smiling,but I remember thinking oh wait, Im finished, I should look happy and try to at least smile.

I skipped the fondue and hot chocolate post finish (too far to walk to the fondue tent) and thankfully my Dad and Stepmom walked back and got the car so I wouldn't have to hobble all the way back.

But- I finished, and that is all that matters. And, previous to said problem with my foot I think I was doing pretty good. I'm going to continue working on my running through the winter and I still have my eye on the "run the entire 5K" prize by the time Tri Season starts up again in June.

I also learned a few other things:

1. I am far more capable of doing things than I ever give myself credit for.

2. I really loathe crowds more than I thought I did... I really think that the Chicago Triathlon is going to be removed from my list. I can't imagine trying to share the lake/bike roads/ run paths with that many people for a triathlon.

3. Inspiration and motivation keeps you going when your own head tells you to quit. I can not even find the words to explain how much the emails, texts, facebook posts and messages meant to me... I carried everyone of you with me through my race. So, a big thank you to all of you for your encouragement. :)

Til next time!

~Millie : )

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Upon the suggestion of a few, I am going to try running with Rocktape, instead of my traditional Cho-Pat Knee and Ankle supports. The main reason for the switch - though Cho Pat gives my knee the support that I need, it doesn't like to stay in place, so I'm constantly having to stop to pull it up and/or adjust it. Additionally, unless I pull it so tight that my leg practically tingles, the velcro continues to loosen the longer I use it.

It isn't cheap (about twenty bucks) but if it works (and it says it's water proof so that would be great for Tri Season) then it will be well worth the investment. I've watched a few videos on RockTapes website on how to apply the tape, so lets hope I do it right- because if there is a way to totally screw it up in application, I will somehow find the way. I'm not 100% comfortable with switching to something entirely new on race day, as I like to stay set in what I typically use... but it came highly recommended by a trainer friend of mine- so I'm going to roll with it.

Less than a day left. My bib and cool swag were picked up for me today by my Dad, so I am race ready (in the technical participant aspect)... the physically fit aspect, yeah... I am fairly certain that I will be in a world of hurt come Saturday morning. But hey, at least if personal success, accomplishing my goals, sticking to it and not giving up aren't motivation enough for me race day,... perhaps the promise of delicious chocolate will be :)

'Til next time!

~Millie :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

D-Day is Fast Approaching

I am so screwed. And seriously. I’m not even kidding in any way shape or form this time. This isn’t the typical, couple days before the big race freak-out under valuing my abilities. No… I am Pucked- with a capital F.

I received my bib confirmation and all the rest of the information necessary for packet pickup. Within all that information parking, start time, etc etc was a little teensy thorn in my proverbial side. Fifteen Minute Mile- Maximum.

Um, fifteen minutes? To all you runners out there, I’m sure you’re like “jeez you can walk a fifteen minute mile” but to a huffy puffer like me… a fifteen minute mile is as practically unattainable as a pair of 7 Jeans. (Neither can be achieved without massive amounts of weight loss- for the non-fashionistas that didn’t quite connect the two)

When I run for running club, we just run and walk for an hour. Once finished, we head back to the store, stretch, and go home. She never says “ok, what we did tonight was at a x mile/minute pace” And, considering that the rest of the running group could have showered, changed, and put a roast in the oven, between the time they arrive back at the store and the time I arrive back at the store. I know my pace is much much slower than a fifteen minute mile. The OTHER reason I know this.. is that on “off” days (before my school schedule derailed me anyhow) I was working on the Elliptical Machine to increase my stamina.

I worked on it for thirty minutes. And in that thirty-minute time span, I went a mile and a half. So, I have a TWENTY-minute mile pace. What’s going to happen? Are the fifteen-minute mile police going to come out, guns drawn, whistles blowing, and force me off the course? Is there going to be a blaring siren screaming “Move it or lose it tub” Or, is the fifteen minute mile merely a “suggestion” and not quite enforced?

I guess, I’ll be able to provide this answer to you in less than 2 days. and D day fast approaches. Have I mentioned how much I hate running?

IN other news… I’m thinking of cancelling my membership to Lifetime (the freezing cold pool just does not appeal to me whatsoever with the winter months fast approaching) and considering joining the fitness center at the hospital. I hear their lap lanes are less crowded and *da daaa da daaaaaa * they have an indoor running track! So, all winter long, I could go around that track at my own pace, without feeling like the lonely loser that everyone leaves behid on running outings. I just need to find the time to go over there and meet with someone and figure out how much it costs – Big gulp- because Ive heard it’s expensive.

I really hate to blog and dash, but this Gumby is being pulled in far too many directions these days, and I have miles and miles to go before I wake… not literal miles today anyway (thank God) just literary miles.

Til next time!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Cut and Callous of Words

I don't want to harp on the subject of Fat Sensitivy any longer- the media has thankfully, picked up on the firestorm resulting from the blogger on that Magazine site, whom I am refraining from mentioning, because they are reveling in the publicity. After all, there is no "bad" publicity when it comes to getting your name out there.

What I had wanted to say though, before this spawns into another tangent, is that words hold amazing power. They can inspire, cause our hearts to swell, or tear up in empathy.

Words also have the power to cut with razor sharp precision, inflicting pain, and forever imprinting themselves in our memory. These cuts, though they may heal, don't ever really go away. They callous and scar, always there, laying in wait to remind ourselves of their presence. Therapists, Life Coaches, touchy-feeling Self Help books, they all try to help "overcome" those scars in order to make them disappear, but they don't disappear. What you learn in therapy or in self help books, is merely to recognize the trigger point... but the words and their scars - they don't ever go away- you always remember them, triggered or not. They may not always have the same affect, and you may learn how to deal with the triggers once recognized..but the words and the pain that was inflicted always sticks around.

The problem with what was said by the insensitive blogger, wasn't that she was expressing her opinion, because as it is said "opinions are like a-holes, everyone's got one, and they all stink" But rather, that her opinion only reinforces feelings of worthlessness amongst people who haven't been accepted. And, this isn;t just about accepting the overweight- it goes deeper than that... it could have been an insensitive comment about a gay person, or a minority, but whomever the comment is directed at- it will trigger some suppressed feeling from some time in their past, when they felt that way.

People who have been told they are worthless if by one person or a gaggle of people, has an easier time believing others when they are told them same thing again, because they already believe that about themselves. And, this isn't some veiled post about me and my feelings... I'm just trying to help people to see how heavy insensitive words are.

Ive been told before that my posts tend to the long side, and that people lose interest with them after only reading half of them.. so I will try to say this in fewer words... but I wanted to give you an example of the power of words.

I've said before, that I had heard through the grapevine, that some of the people I had gone to school with, had questioned another person about my training for a triathlon and laughing about the fact that I was even attempting it. I used those words to fuel me, to keep me inspired as I trained, to be the motivation that got me out of bed at 5:30 in the morning and into a cold pool on snowy days.

When I completed my triathlon, I was on cloud nine, I had DONE it. I set a goal, put my mind to it, and DID it. VALIDATION! !! ...

Or, so I thought. The same girls, commented to eachother via facebook (whether they remembered I could see their comments back and forth to each other in my feed [since we were friends on facebook] or not, was never anything I ever bothered to pursue) in short truncaed sentances might I add.. its not like anyone ever said "damn, that Millie is HUGE! I would never post pictures of myself in a bathing suit looking like that" it would be less obvious, like "I didn't know creatures that large frequented our lakes" or " some pictures are not meant for facebook"

The argument could be made that they weren't actually talking about me, and that they could have been having entirely different inside joke kind of conversations, but the point is that I saw them, assumed they were about me, as they were made in a fairly short time span after my Tri pics going up- and perhaps that would be the correct argument to make. But, it still goes into the same point I'm making about the power of words, and scars.

The point is, I saw those comments, and the wind was pulled completely from my sails. I was crushed. I looked at my pictures, looked at my time, reflected on my struggles and no longer felt pride, but instead felt shame. And that shame stuck with me all summer long... I couldn't even think about my Triathlon without a sense of embarrassment coming over me. I stopped talking about it, I put my scrapbook away, my medal- which had been a sense of pride hanging from my rearview mirror in my car, became a jumbled knot in the bottom of my purse.

I saw myself through their eyes, instead of continuing to see myself through my own. All those weeks of starting to feel good about myself, were stripped away in a matter of days.

Yes, I know, I gave them that power. I handed over my pride and allowed them to replace it with shame and embarrassment. But that is also the power of words, and deeply imbedded scars. Instead of seeking validation from the ONE person who really matters (Myself)- I put my own self worth in the validation of naysayers.

Now, a few months removed from the situation, I think to myself "yeah, but that beached whale, FINISHED a TRIATHLON" ,,,
that Large, Flabby, inner tube gut completed something that some attempt and fail, and some never attempt at all.

I did that.


And they can all go eff themselves, because my Sprint Tri, regardless of how short the distances, requires dedication, perserverence, and faith in ones self- something that clearly they do not have, or else they wouldn't hate on someone who did. Oh yeah, and they were all cut from friends list a long time ago. It felt good to let it (and them) go. They weren't ever really my "friends"- just people that I reconnected with when Facebook exploded. But, we've caught up, clearly they never left high school and are still bitches, so I cast them off into the "have a nice life" ocean a long time ago.

But words have power. That was the point.

So, my word, right this very second, that gives me power... TRIATHLETE.

Thats me. I did it. And right now, today, I am going to reconnect with the TRIATHLETE once again. No more of this half assing it as Ive been doing the past few months.

I have a 5K that I'm running next Saturday, the 6th (or maybe its the 7th) regardless, it's next weekend. Sadly, I am grossly under prepared for it. And I don't mean in the same neurotic "Oh Im afraid im underprepared for the Triathlon" thing I did back in May.. no I'm really truly like "Last Saturday was my birthday, the saturday previous I was in South Bend, the Saturday previous I decided to sleep in" UNDER prepared for my 5K.

It's going to be laughable. But I'm going to do it, to show myself what happens when training goes to the wayside. Its time to buckle down, and refocus. My eye is once again on the prize, and the prize is the 2011 Triathlon season.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Big People, Sizist Society

I have all of these half started blogs saved that I have meant to go back and finish, but time is a slippery snake these days that always evades me. However, this morning, I am fired up and pissed off enough that I need to say something about some really ridiculous crap that is going on of late.

First of all, I had wanted, last week, to address the issue of bullying and discuss how bullying affects everyone, how it’s not right, how I’ve had to face my own series of “mean girls” growing up… and though my tangent right now is fueled by a different emotion, and one that will not really project empathy in regards to bullying, I do still feel it has somewhat to do with what I want to say.

Perhaps you have heard there is a lot of hubbub about this show entitled “Mike and Molly” which airs on CBS. The show, about two heavy people who meet and fall in love at Overeaters Anonymous (a fact in the story I was really peeved at when I heard about this show… why couldn’t the main characters meet at a Barnes and Noble, or at a Bar like the rest of the population? Is taking a pot shot about OA really necessary- but I digress). Anyhow, the bones of the story though, were still hopeful. It was nice to see that someone in Hollywood had decided that not every main character in the world needs to be a size 2. But apparently, an Op-Ed writer at Marie Claire seems to feel differently…
She has written and I quote “"I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair."

Apparently though, the inability to spell or string intelligible sentences together doesn’t matter to the people at Marie Claire, as long as their writers are Cacomorphobic (that’s the fear of becoming fat) for those who aren’t a walking dictionary- don’t worry I had to Google it too.

Apparently, not just Marie Claire is on this anti fat band wagon. CNN also decided to “weigh in” (pun, intended) on the subject of viewer discomfort watching fat people fall in love.

It stuns and amazes me that in a society where people expend energies about equality in races, equality in sexes, equality amongst alternative lifestyles' and the list goes on ad infinitum on what we should be “accepting of” and you find the everyone from the President, Newscasters, and a slew of impassioned friends proselytizing on these days, it’s still o.k. in mainstream America to hate fat people? These same people (like Ms. Maura Kelly of Marie Claire Magazine) would scream and rant about inequalities if someone said that she shouldn’t be able to write for a magazine because she was a woman. It’s been forgotten I guess, that just a few decades ago, that is exactly what occurred in this country. Or if someone told Neil Patrick Harris, or Ellen, that their shows were being cancelled because seeing homosexuals on TV grosses someone out. Apparently, we’ve forgotten the decade of the 1990’s too, when this very thing was discussed.

I am dumbfounded that in 2010, and after all kinds of “accepting each others differences” and “diversity sensitivity training” we’ve received, and all this love and flowers that has been preached to us that people can honestly laugh and poke fun at people because they look different. Would people be making jokes about a blogger who commented on a person’s race? No, people would be up in arms screaming and yelling and every news outlet in the country would be calling for her dismissal. So, why on earth is it okay for someone to make comments about how disgusting someone is because they are fat, and no one even bats an eye- and it was barely a whisper in the news.

This is NOT Ok. And it’s this kind of attitude that also propagates the acceptance of bullying and a bullyistic (I'm Sure that’s not a word, but whatever) tendencies in kids. The kind of close-minded hateful but not outwardly so opinions, like “oh man that kid is really dorky and never talks, I’m going to pick on him because he’s weak” or “hey look at that fat kid that can’t run, I’ll pick on him because I'm better than him” or “look at that kid wearing a veil over her head, I’m going to pick on her because she looks different than I do” None of this is okay- and if we are going to be a society that says love everyone regardless of race,sex or creed= we also have to start buying into the mentality to love everyone no matter what they look like too. We as a society can not be a walking hypocrisy.

Also on my shit list- Old Navy, owned by the Gap company. Now, originally when Old Navy announced they were going to be selling plus sizes I was over the moon thrilled, because well, Old Navy clothes are very reasonably priced…and for a wanna be fashionista as myself, and has a streak of vanity in never wanting to repeat an outfit when going out, lest it get published on Facebook… Old Navy was the affordable answer to cute tops for outings.

One tiny problem. Apparently, Old Navy wants our Plus Size dollars, but not our fat asses in the stores. Plus sized clothing from Old Navy can ONLY be purchased online. At first, I didn’t care, it was still Old Navy clothes, so I could still fit in with the rest of the known universe wearing Old Navy’s clothes. However, the kicker came when they STOPPED accepting returns in-store (see again my comment about not wanting our fat asses in the store) and made us return everything by mail. Then, as a double kicker--- the cost of the return is deducted from your refund. So, essentially, I’M Paying Old Navy $5.99 for the “HONOR” of TRYING ON their clothing? What crap.

So- until things change - and believe you me, strongly worded letters are going out to both Marie Claire and to Old Navy-

I am asking that you join me in a boycott of both of these companies. If you are so inspired, perhaps you too will be motivated to send them letters of complaint as well.

Gap Online
100 Gap Online Drive
Grove City, Ohio 43123-8605


Marie Claire- Editor in Chief : Joanna Coles

If nothing else, let's keep in mind that we are all people just trying to navigate through our lives... and hopefully think twice before making an insensitive comment about someone.
Until next time,

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Best Laid Plans....

Well, after a crazy fun weekend spent with the Fighting Irish in South Bend... we arrived back home to the realization that our weekend of freedom came with a price- and we both find ourselves buried under the mountain of homework that we neglected all weekend. Which, word to the wise, if you're ever in South Bend and the sun comes out to bring a surprising heat wave to a fall afternoon, shop the perimeter whilst in Hammes Bookstore. I literally was trampled by two very determined men who made a bee-line for the $10 Game Day Tshirts. In this process of said bee-line, they trampled directly across my foot, and seriously I think they broke my toes. Just two of them, but still, toes for the most part are necessary to propel oneself forward.
Damn toes.

So, on the way home today, in place of running I went grocery shopping. Sure, there's only 3 weeks until the 5K but seriously, the toes are a cryin'. Tomorrow should be interesting... especially since a. I missed Saturday due to said Notre Dame game. b. we have descended from slightly torturous to full on satanic workouts in which by the time we are done I am red in the face and soaked with sweat. This 5K is going to fun with a capital F!

As promised, I planned out my weeks worth of dinners, wrote my list and shopped for non-pizza food. Here is my list of dinners for the week. Considering it's the first week of attempting this, and i have a new class that starts on Wednesday I am falling back on some staples instead of making a foray into my "Vegetarian Times Cookbook" and "The Thirty Minute Vegetarian" So- dinners for the week

Califlower Pasta
Black Bean Enchiladas
Mushroom Barley Soup
Vegetarian Chili
and since Wenesday neither of us will be here.. I have some Q'orn Chik'n patties that I will be chopping up and making a Low Fat Chicken Salad sandwich.

I come home and lo and behold my husband beat me home (he usually doesn't make it home until at least 8:00 of late and on nights he has class he isn't home until 11)

So for him to be home by 6:30 was a nice surprise...and of course he decided to "be nice" and "Pick up dinner" (read high sodium unhealthy Chinese food.)

So, tonight is Vegetable Lo Mein.... the rest of the week is my healthy plans.

And, a plan still needs to be figured out for working out and finding time for that. I'm pretty sure that if you look back in last October's blogs, I pretty much said the exact same things "oh I dont have time I don't have time" and I literally have no time.. but just as last year, come November Im sure the noose will loosen.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Time Keeps Slipping Away

Wow, I can't believe it's almost been a complete month since the last time that I posted. Once school starts, the rest of my life flies past at warp speed. :(

Not much new to report sadly. I still suck at running- though I'm including Elliptical workouts on off days (well, I use that loosely because as of today I "used" the Elliptical for a week like 2 weeks ago.. last week I fell completely off the wagon and by completely off the wagon I mean, no run club, no working out (AT ALL) -and- I had Taco Bell for dinner last Wednesday night. Had this been a literal wagon, I'd be covered in bumps, scrapes and bruises. Why is it so hard to stay on that damn thing anyway (I'm still referring to the hypothetical wagon) seriously, I need a seat belt, or some tape, or Velcro. Apparently, I must have something against said wagon, or else it would be much easier to stay on it.

When I was using the elliptical it was helping (at least I think). The second I would step on the thing I'd sweat like a menopausal woman in the midst of a hot flash, in Arizona, at the height of summer, so it had to have been working. Granted, even on the elliptical machine, this huffy puffer couldn't complete a mile in less than 20 minutes, but I think if nothing else it helped my form. I'm still not a gazelle, and I'm still a huffy puffer, but every once in a while, I can feel my inner Nigerian trying to break out.

It still sucks though- running that is. I loathe running almost as much as I loathe the hypothetical wagon I keep falling off of. I'm sure, eventually running will (hopefully) get easier, and then perhaps I wont hate it so much... but right now, Running and I are not on speaking terms.

The other thing that has spun totally out of control are my husband and my eating habits. They aren't bad, as in "I run to McDonalds every day and order a super sized meal" bad... but we are not on a schedule, its pretty much every man for themselves because our schedules have become so bipolar. He works late or is at school, I'm at the gym or at school, or at home but pressed for time because of studying- so neither of us ever have time to cook. So our dinners usually involve a sandwich, a microwave meal, or a frozen Pizza (Whole Grain from Kashi) but a frozen pizza nonetheless.

So, inspired by my older sisters amazing blog (if you haven't checked it out, you should www.plantfoodfabulous.com ) I have decided to buckle down and make some plans this weekend.

My intention :

Find easy, fairly cheap (I'm not kidding a lot of these vegetarian recipes, you have to take a 2nd out on the house just to pay the grocery bill), appropriately proportioned (I am a germaphobe and am physically incapable of eating leftovers) healthy and satisfying vegetarian dinners.

I have subscriptions to both Vegetarian Times as well as Eating Well Magazine, so if I plan out my meals and grocery shop accordingly- perhaps we can actually start eating normal meals instead of pizza and freezer food.

So- that will be coming up next week. Don't expect anything half as detailed as my sisters recipes, as a Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray I am not... but I'm sure I can figure out my way around my kitchen enough to make something fairly decent for dinner.

That's about it for now peeps- I'm once again up to my elbows in homework...and my frozen pizza (today is actually targets version of the Kashi Mediterranean pizza) is almost done.

~Millie :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm Staring at the (Wo)Man in the Mirror, I'm asking (Her) to Change (Her) Ways

Yesterday should have been a run club day. But, it wasn't. Late nights, too much homework and not enough sleep have made me scatterbrained and it wasn't until I got to work that I realized I had forgotten all of my gear at home. Unfortunatley, because where I live pretty much sucks at rush hour, and it takes me an hour to make the eight mile journey between where I work and where I live, I would have never made it home and then to running club before it started.
Anyhow, the old me would have said : dramatically snapping fingers : oh, shucks....forgot my gear and can't participate.... oh, man....:dramatic pause whilst looking disappointed:... guess today is a "rest day"... who wants ice cream? But new me, while chiding myself the entire ride home for being so stupid as to forget my running gear, bolted into my house, changed clothes and charged over to the park so that I could run on my own. (which, incendentally is not nearly as enjoyable) I find, as I have mentioned before, that I am not really good at pushing myself out of my comfort zone. In swimming, no problem, I can push myself harder and harder, but its because I KNOW that I am a good swimmer and that my body will respond properly. With running, I still can't push myself. Maybe it comes with more running experience. Yesterday, as I walked briskly around the bike path, (up hills and not on flat land like we do with run club) just the walking part exhausted me. We were supposed to do 4 mins of running according to our sheet, I only did one and a half. Including the overall feeling of exhaustion, I also was having a hard time running and looking at the stop watch on my IPOD to see how long Id been running for. (Mental note, program heart rate monitor/watch when you get home tonight) I also think that maybe tricking myself will work better. Now that I know my way around Garage Band on my Mac, I think I'm going to record a workout for myself with audio cues so I know when to run and when to walk. I'm not so sure about this whole 5K thing... from where I stand right now, with half of September over and the run coming up at the 6 week horizon, I'm not so sure that I'm going to be able to do this thing.

I think that maybe I just need to grit my teeth and on the days that I'm not running with running club, do more running than walking- I know that goes off program and probably will end up hurting me and not helping me... but I'm thinking if I can go and do maybe five minute walk five minute run five minute walk this week and then maybe next week to that times two, maybe I might actually be able to run at least half of this 5K.
I wanted to take a brief moment

:prepare for soapbox tangent:

to talk to my plus size huffy puffer friends for a minute. If you are not one of these people you can skip to the end of the tangent, as this really only applies to them.

:Begin Tangent:

Yesterday, I received a shipment of pants from Lane Bryant. In case you didn't know they are having a pants sale right now $29.99 on all pants. - so cool. Anyhow, I'm always leery about ordering pants from Lane Bryant because none of them are the same size. But, thats not the only problem with them. All of us plus sized huffy puffers need to take a good hard look at ourselves and really, truly find out what our true size is. Plus sized stores sell clothing in combined sizes so as to nab a larger share of us, and make us feel better about ourselves. They sell most clothes in 14/16 18/20 22/24 26/28 etc. The other issue with plus sized stores - Poly/cotton lycra/spandex blends. As much as you think these are your friends, they are NOT. They only allow you to continue to live in a fantasy world of sizing. They allow you to fool yourself into believing you are a size that you actually aren't. All of these fabrics stretch, which allow a lot of women who have well exceeded the larger end of that sizing spectrum to still squeeze themselves into them and believe that they actually fit. If this were the case, then according to my favorite University of Iowa Tshirt- I'm a double extra large... which would mean I'm an 18/20 - and there is no way in holy hell I would ever squeeze my jiggle into an actual pair of 18/20 pants. No way. Maybe if they were a spandex/cotton blend, but a true pair of pants- nope not a prayer. So- everyone (as much as it is going to hurt to rip the bandaid of disbelief off) needs to walk into a store, and pick up an item in your size that does not have any form of stretch in it (no cottons, spandexes, poly blends, etc) and find a pair of pants with no elastic in them, that are made of an unforgiving fabric (and read the labels ladies, because even your denim has spandex(or its other forms in it) march into that dressing room and figure out your true size.
And, for those of you at the top of the sizing chart, who are still forcing yourselves to believe you are a size 28 because all of your pants are made of stretchy material- you may need to take waist and hip measurements and compare them against a sizing chart.

We are not going to win the wage against our waistlines if we keep fooling ourselves into believing we are a size that we aren't. True transformation begins with honesty and accepting what we are... and that includes accepting the fact that we may not actually be the size that Lane Bryant tells us we are. They say in Weight Watchers that for every 12 pounds you lose, you lose one pant size. This is not the case for Plus Sizers, and especially the Super Plus Sizers. There is about a FORTY pound range in inclusion sizing (ie 22/24 pants) if you are at the very far end of the 24 - (ie you are technically a size 26 but you can still squeeze into those 24s)
All that said, I was THRILLED-- and I mean THRILLED to try on my pants from Lane Bryant yesterday. They are all dress pants (so made of materials that DONT give and have NO stretch in them) and :sound the trumpets: the pants I ordered FIT like honest to goodness FIT - not "I can lay on my bed, suck it all in and squeeze them shut so it looks like I have a butt in the front as well as in the back" no.... they FIT and that is the BEST feeling in the world. But - before I could make it here, I had to be honest with myself and stop allowing myself to believe I was a size that I wasn't. Back before the triathlon I was wearing some pants in a size larger than these, and some pants in the same size as Im wearing... but the pants that I wore were mostly pants that had some give in them. Jeans, Khakis and dress pants I had to order in a size up, but I made all kinds of excuses as to why that was necessary- it was never that I was lying to myself about what size I was. But now, I am finally and truly in this size-- and it's only downhill sizing from here on out.

I truly hope that you all do the same.

:end tangent:

I hope you all have a fabulous day!
~One Pant Size Smaller, Millie :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Its The Eye of The Tiger, It's the Thrill of the Fight

Saturday morning was my 2nd meeting with my Walk to Run club. And the whole morning was just a comedy of error upon error that one can only look back and laugh. This previous week, school wise has been a killer. Taking the summer off was a big mistake, because I am finding it extraordinarily difficult to get back into the swing of things and refocus my brain on school. I find that every time I go to open one of my books (and seriously, why did I decide to take three really brainiac courses in one semester... I totally should have taken at least ONE bird course.. damn that over-achiever in me) I read three pages, my eyes start to cross, and I decide that Project Runway is a much more interesting endeavor, and shut my books, only to start feeling guilty around nine o'clock and start working again. Or, I come home, exhausted from work, brain not wanting to cooperate, decide that having some coffee will give me focus, and then I'm amped on coffee until midnight or one in the morning.

I promise, this crazy tangent will find it's home soon. So Friday at work, I'm thinking "thank God its Friday and I can sleep in tomorrow"...only to have that dream crushed by the realization that I in fact can NOT sleep in on Saturday because -sound the trumpets- I have RUNNING club on Saturday morning. Cover me in honey and call me sweetness, JUST what I want to do is wake up with the non-existent crows and beat my legs and feet into a bloody pulp trying to keep up with the bouncy gazelles.

Friday night, I drift off, cursing the fact that I had to set my alarm to get up earlier than I would on a work day, so that I can arrive bright and early to running club. (We use the local college's track on Saturday mornings, hence the early start)

At five in the morning, I am ripped from blissful slumber, not by Vivaldi's Spring (I love that your IPOD can act as an alarm clock) but by an incessant high pitched bleep coming from a direction that is no where near my alarm clock. My husband and I play a half roused game of "who's on first" discussing where the beeping is coming from, and realize that it is HIS alarm clock that has violated our auditory senses. A (read:ten) slap to the alarm clock finally launches our bedroom back into silence, and I once again attempt to fall back into slumber. At 5:30, just as I am on the precipice of sleep, his normal alarm clock goes off (sleeping bear must have activated that one his half awake paw went to silence the previous). Fully awake now, and totally pissed off, I gave up on trying to sleep since I had to be up in thirty minutes anyway.

As I sat there, stewing in the fact that while HE would be able to remain in bed as long as he wanted (and sidebar:he was still sleeping when I came home) I would be outside working my tail off. That's when I heard it. At first, I though, no... can't be, I must be imagining it. Maybe there are chestnuts falling on my roof .. which lead me to wonder if in fact any of the trees in the surrounding yards are, in fact, chestnuts... and if they actually sounded like raindrops when they fell on said roof.

But, just maybe, I dared to hope, they cancel running club if it's raining. Suddenly full of energy provided by this hope, I shot out of bed and ran (I love to use that word, but we all should know by now that clearly, I never actually "run") to my cell phone to see if just maybe I had a voicemail from my coach telling me that run club was cancelled. No. Such. Luck.

Annoyed, I finished dressing, and headed to the college. At least it's really just a mist... I told myself as I made my way to the football field (which is surrounded by the track).

The gazelles had already assembled, drinking their Starbucks, chatting amicably with one another, clearly not even phased by the mist - turned- drizzle. Which only made their hair shinier and gave their skin a dewy refreshed look. Figures those gazelles would look good even fresh out of bed at quarter to seven in the morning.

Then, as if being the frumpy huffy puffer, barely awake with puffy eyes and messy hair standing next to the gazelles wasn't bad enough, the clouds open and God laughed at me until he cried...big, fat, cold raindrops.

And, we ran, ala Rocky, in the pouring rain. Thankfully, the "running" portion is still intermittent, but I think the fact that we mainly walked in the pouring rain was perhaps worse than had we run in it, because it just prolonged the suffering.

I did however, learn not to be afraid of running in the rain. As the footing along the track was fairly solid, even in the rain ( I had been afraid I would slip and hurt myself). And, running on a smooth track is SO much easier than running the path through the downtown area that we do on Tuesdays. I was virtually pain free (as in pain in my heel, Achilles and knee) the pain from being out of shape, I fear has taken up a permanent residence with me. The out-of-shape pain, is going to be like that annoying cousin that stayed "just for a bit, until I get back on my feet" and still hasn't left four months later.

We've also been assigned core workouts and ab workouts. ( better known as torture and water-boarding in huffy puffy slang). Today, thankfully was a rest day. Tomorrow, will be a water boarding day coupled with twenty minutes of walk/run. And, Tuesday will once again, be time to run with the gazelles.

There's no where to go but up, from here!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Gazelles of the Serengetti

Last night was my first experience with my Walk- To - Run- Club. I didn't die, clearly, but seriously, I just barely didn't die. Granted, its been a few "weeks"(read: months) since I have worked "running" (read:walking) into my workout routine. As I had been focusing solely on swimming since the last triathlon. But, I seriously hadn’t expected to be as bad as I was.

The program only has 12 people in it. One would think great, only twelve people, all the better to get more individualized attention. True, but definitely not enough people to blend into a group either… like when you want to die and slow down for a second and hope they don’t notice. Not like an oversized huffy puffer in a pee yellow tshirt (the one from the previous triathlon- it’s the only one long enough to cover up the jiggle in my wiggle when wearing spandex pants) really “blends” into a group anyway. Of the twelve of us, there are only 3 newcomers. The other 9 did this same program in the summer session also, so even the huffy puffers of the first group, have a leg up on me.

For some perspective… if the twelve of us were a pack of gazelles on the Serengetti …. I’d be the one that got eaten. Maybe I’d get lucky and the lioness would pass me by because she knew I wouldn’t be gamey and tender enough to her liking… but most likely, I’d be dinner. And while the lioness dined on me all the other beautiful gazelles with their long legs and perfect gaits would just keep bouncing along, their gorgeous manes flapping gracefully behind them as they effortlessly made it across the plain.

Damn gazelles. Who am I kidding, I’m not a gazelle. I’m a platypus, at best. A platypus? You wonder. I’m awkward, don’t really fit in on the land, love the water, but not entirely equipped for a life completely submerged, either.

I’m in over my head. As I "run" (read: walk/shuffle/gimp), every fiber of my body tells me to quit. The whole workout last night, all I could think was “I’m sure I could get my $75 bucks back… it’s only the first session. And then “yeah, I don’t really need to do the Hot Chocolate 5K, I mean, Triathlon season is a year away… do I really need to start working on running now” But as I pushed through the pain of being an out of shape huffy puffer, and made it back to the running store, and all the really nice gazelles told me what a great job I did, and how I just need to keep coming back, that its hard but eventually I will get there… I know that no matter how much it hurts, and how much I currently loathe it… it will get easier. Perhaps I’ll never be a beautiful lean gazelle, but maybe I can work my way up to like a Clydesdale.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hello.... Is It Me You're Looking For....

And so I'm back, from outer space!

Ok, so maybe I'm just back from Mexico, but it certainly feels like Ive been forever gone. Mexico was gorgeous. Hot, but gorgeous. A very welcome week of relaxation. We were so relaxed in fact, that when we returned to the Cancun airport for the flight back home, we apparently forgot that we were in Mexico, and somehow either from the table side guacamole we ordered at the airport restaurant, or our drinks, contracted a Parasite. Lovely, I know. So we arrived back home with more than just our purchased souveniers. Hence why a one week vacation has turned into a two week hiatus from my blogging (and who am I kidding from my exercising, training, dieting, weight watchers, and well anything else that was keeping me on a healthy track). But, fear not.. the inability to eat for the past week has afforded me a ten pound weight loss. Woohoo! I need to contract intestinal parasites more often. Kidding, totally kidding. I'm sure now that I can stomach solid food again that ten pounds will vanish faster than the sweet table at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

Anyhow, other than just a "yep I'm alive" check in. I did also want to let everyone know that in the "off season" I don't plan to just lay around and well get lazy again. I was serious about my off season goals. I joined a running club through my local running store. It is a walk to run club, on Tuesdays and Saturdays. By November, I *should* be able to run a 5K thats my hope anyhow. I have also decided NOT to allow myself to rest on my laurels. The Walk to Run program automatically comes with an entrance into the Turkey Trot- which I may or may not be able to attend given its Thanksgiving Morning. But I have signed up for the Hot Chocolate 5K the first weekend in November. So regardless of whether or not I do the Turkey Trot, there is a 5K in my future.

I also have, in the distance, my sights on the Shamrock Shuffle. Which, is an 8K and not a 5K, but all of my friends will be doing it, so hopefully if I can run 3.2 miles by November, I'm hoping to be able to do 5 by March. Running was my weakest even this past Tri season, I am hoping that even though it will probably never be my strongest even, to at least not suck at it :)

Aside from that, my husband bought a Spin Bike for us to use in the winter months when the actual bikes will be collecting dust in our garage. That way, I can stay in biking form over the winter months as well. And of course, there will always be my morning swims. Next years Tri season, I'm not kidding you about wanting to rock it. My goal is to finish in 2 hours. That would mean taking 40 minutes off my time. Which if I work on my biking and my running should be doable. By spring Im hoping to be able to do the bike in an hour and the run in 45... if I work on my transitions a bit and keep my swimming where its at or even get a little better, I should be able to finish right around 2 hours.

That's the plan. Formulating plans is the easy part- sticking to them an entirely different story. :)

Til next time!


Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm Leaving, On A Jet Plane

Hey All!

Well, vacation time has FINALLY arrived! I leave tomorrow for my week long- and SO needed- relaxing beach vacation!

I wanted though, to post a few things before I left!

First of all- I want to wish my friend Shelly GOOD LUCK in her FIRST OLYMPIC triathlon this coming weekend! Everyone who reads my blog, please keep her in your thoughts this Sunday as she ROCKS it. I know she's going to do an awesome job, and having you holding her up in your thoughts will keep her motivated to push on through this amazing feat!

Secondly, in the true spirit of Triathlon- and encouraging and motivating others to push past their own doubts and insecurities, my friend Dina (whom I met when competing in the Sprint Triathlon in Naperville) has graciously permitted me to share her Triathlon story with all of you.

I hope you enjoy it.

Have a great week everyone! And I'll post when I return.


Dina's Story:
Max and Me
A journey to the finish line

When I was just about 18 years old I was diagnosed with PCOS. What is that? Polycystic ovary syndrome: Abbreviated PCOS. Polcystic ovary syndrome is a condition in women characterized by irregular or no menstrual periods, acne, obesity, and excess hair growth. PCOS is a disorder of chronically abnormal ovarian function and hyperandrogenism (abnormally elevated androgen levels). It affects 5-10% of women of reproductive age.
I have been struggling with this for 10 years and have gained over 100 lbs. I wasn’t always the fat girl. I was an athlete; I was a gymnast, a tennis and soccer player. I even taught step aerobics in high school. When I was in school and we had to run the mile I was cruising along with ease and I saw the overweight girl struggling and just about ready to give up. I felt terrible for her, so I went back, ran with her and we finished together.
So what happened that I went from a so fit to so fat? But more importantly how would I change? My mom who is my inspiration and mentor encouraged me to do a 5 k with her. It was pretty miserable the whole time, you can tell by my face in my finishing photo. So when she told me that she joined a team called Max Multisport to do a triathlon I figured she was nuts! None the less I would support her; I mean she gave birth to me and all. I guess the least I could do was take a few hours out of a Saturday to cheer her on; I even had a tee shirt made that said “my mom rocks” with her picture on it. I would ask how she was going to do the tri, she would tell me about the practices with the Max team and the encouragement and the support she was receiving from them. She was so proud and confident of what she was doing. She finished her first triathlon and I was there tee shirt and all to be her support and cheerleader. Little did I realize how strong her support system was from Max coaches and teammates. When she crossed the finish line my eyes welled up, it was a bittersweet moment. Sweet because at 50 years old my mom was able to accomplish something that most people will never do- a triathlon. And bitter because I sat there 100 lbs overweight, legs tired from standing at 27 thinking- wow I could never do that.
My mom was hooked on triathlons and when the next season came around she had become a Max workout leader. Next thing I know, I am sitting at the Max informational, quiet as mouse looking like a deer in headlights. All I could think was what am I doing here; I can’t even do a 5k. I don’t even have a bike and the last time I rode one I crashed into a fence. But I listened and Laurie, the coach said “this is your race- no one else’s. Everyone has different reasons for being here. We will work with each woman at her level.” Ok so I have to admit at this point I am feeling a tiny bit empowered. The first practice came and that nagging feeling of doubt and fear whooshed over me. I started running my first few laps and all of a sudden the girls on my team were saying “go Dina, good job Dina.” Hey that’s me! They are cheering for me, they’re not judging me or saying look at that fat girl… they want me to succeed. I forgot how much I missed the comradely between team mates, and I was starting to feel that again. The coaches Laurie and Katie, as well as the work out leaders, Maria, Pam and Diane (my mom) became my biggest supporters. I put everything I had into my team practices, but a lot of the time I would fall behind my team mates but no matter what one of the coaches or workout leaders were there right by my side to support, drive and encourage me to the finish. These ladies were not just Max coaches but they became my friends. I finished my first triathlon on June 13, 2010 in 2 hours and 54 minutes which was about an hour longer than most. But as I was pulling every last bit on energy to cross that finish line my coaches Katie and Laurie, ran by my side until I crossed the finish. They were cheering me on the whole time. It took everything I had to not breakdown and cry from joy.
At 28 years old, 25lbs lighter with over 20 new teammates and friends- I did it!
Just a few weeks later in Wisconsin I finished my 2nd tri. I could have never gone through this journey without the knowledge, support and dedication of my Max family! I will continue to train with Max all year round!
Thank you to Renee for staring an organization that empowers women and shows that we can do anything! Thank you to my coaches Laurie and Katie, as well as the work out leaders, Maria, Pam and Diane! Thank you to my team mates; you were my guiding light to the finish!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Family Who Tri's Together

Today was our Family Relay Tri event. I can not even begin to tell you how proud I am of my Dad and Sister. They truly competed their hearts out today, and we finished with an amazing One Hour and Forty Four Minute total time! My sister ran a 5k in 33 minutes and my dad did his bike leg in 53 minutes! Personal bests for both of them. I am still just so unbelievably impressed with both of them and how hard their trained for this event. I unfortunately probably could have done better if I'm really being honest with my self. Start to finish in the POOL was nine minutes... the Chip time says 11 minutes - so I'm assuming that it took me two minutes to get from the pool to the timing pad that started the transition time. Considering it took me fifteen minutes to swim a 750 it should have taken me 7 1/2 to do a 400 since it's just under half the distance. I should have trained harder and not been so lax- I'm always the first one to tell you that you're swimming stamina falters quickly - I know I should still be proud of my nine minute time, but somehow I feel like I was the half flat wheel on the truck - moving along but not at it's most efficient pace.

I will say though, that this Triathlon was so much different from the one in June. My dad and sister had to stay in the transition area. Once the first group was in the water- all relay participants that weren't swimming had to hang out in transition and weren't allowed to watch the race. - which was a bit odd-

Then, this race was self-paced so you could pretty much just decide where to seed yourself based on how fast you thought you could finish. I put myself in the 10-12 minute group, because I wanted to delay as much as possible, since we had people coming to watch us. They released swimmers in groups of four every 20 seconds or so. I think that doing it this way made the water much, much choppier than it was during the women's tri. One of the ladies in the transition area (who did a half iron man in Minnesota last weekend) and was part of another relay group that became besties with my sister and dad while they hung out in transition, told my sister that the water was much choppier than any of the other races she had done there (at Centennial Beach)

So, while I'm not making excuses for my 9 minutes, I think it may at least be a contributing factor. :-/

The other thing totally not the same as the Women's Tri: the people that did this race laid out their run much different than the run for the womens Tri- and apparently by laying out a different path, shortened (unintentionally) the run course by .2 so it was 3 miles instead of 3.2 - that .2 was added onto the swim leg (in my head I though "Running!?! Me- But I'm here for the SWIM- I didn't practice RUNNING"

So, when I exited the water and made my way to the transition area, I had a nice little jog that needed to be completed before making it to transition. I "jogged" enough to make it to the timing mat- then, I walked

After mulling on these things all day, and accepting that this was my first year of "Tri"ing - I have laid out my goals for next year.

Goal 1. Finish the Women's Tri at or under the 2 hour mark.
I plan to accomplish this by doing the following:
a.) joining a walk to run club through a local running company- and making it my personal goal to RUN the entire 5k next year
b.) Taking Spin Classes in the Winter Months, to strengthen my leg muscles and increase my biking stamina
c.) Obviously, lose weight- the more I lose, the lighter I am, the lighter I am the faster I travel.

I had a "sponsor" provide me with the funds to get the Metabolic Calorie point test done- so I will soon be armed at least with the calorie information that I need. The Cardio Point Test will have to wait until next month- as this Triathlete's funds have been depleted with 2 tuition bills and books for both myself and the husband (see last years rant on the cost of books - same goes for this semester)

I think I am going to have a large group competing with me for either the Naperville Tri or the Naperville Women's Tri as there are many people who have expressed a desire to compete next year- which thrills me! It still hasn't quite sunk in that anyone would draw inspiration from me but I will be glad to have the company participating with me!

The following races have made my shortlist for next year- I wont make an actual decision on which ones Im doing until we get closer:

1. Naperville Women's Tri
2. Naperville Tri
3. Chicago Triathlon - I'm hoping to do this one.. open water swim, lots of running in the sand, and hills- three things that may work against me- but it is on my radar
4. Minnesota's Sharkfest - 1 mile open water swim
5. Bangs Lake Sprint Triathlon - Wauconda Illinois
6. Big Foot Triathlon Lake Geneva Wisconsin

So- those are my shortlist contenders.. Obviously doing all six would be impossible but they are the ones I will be considering next year. 1 and 2 are obvious musts- 3-6 we'll have to be wait and see's.

Anyhow, I sincerely hope from here forward to next summer will be truly transformative. Hopefully, you will stick around for the ride

~Millie :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Just wanted to post a quick thank you

I wanted you guys to know that I do see your comments, for some reason the way Blogger is set up, I can't comment back or acknowledge that something has been posted.
Over the winter months I'm going to be revamping my blog and moving it over to one I can design myself, but everyone's outpouring of support is appreciated, even if I can't comment back personally and say thank you.

But- the emails, the comments, the guest book responses- are all very appreciated!

~Mille :-D <3

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Unsolicited Unkind Advice

I had an office party tonight. There were generous amounts of wine flowing, and someone that I work with decided to take it upon themselves to "suggest" that I should meet with a doctor to discuss Lap Band Surgery. I was totally floored that someone a.) in a professional setting and b.) totally unsolicited would even suggest something like that to someone they only barely know.

I mean, I'm sure it had something to do with the Wine - but still- what the hell. I mean yeah- I competed in a triathlon, and Im doing another one, and who knows maybe people expect me to walk through a magic changing machine or just unzip out of my body and suddenly be a ripped muscle woman. But it doesn't flipping happen like that.

Truly, there is no one more frustrated than myself at how S-L-O-W-L-Y weight comes off- especially when it goes on SO much faster than it comes off. So, I decided that I'm going to bite the bullet and plunk down the dough (a ridiculous amount of dough might I add) on the Calorie and Cardio point tests. - It's been so long since Ive posted that I should probably explain how the whole journey to the Calorie Point occurred.

A Group of my friends also belong to Lifetime Fitness like I do. They are having this 90 day weight loss challenge thingie right now and asked me to join then. I was like "sure why not" its 25 bucks and I'm already doing everything with WW anyways and having the advice from a Personal Trainer will be cool.

So I signed up last week, after my morning swim- and I get cornered by the Nutritionist who is all like "The problem with WW is that the points are general and not specifically tailored to each individual person and a lot of the time you are in calorie deprivation without even realizing it. And since you are doing Triathlon training I'm positive you aren't consuming enough calories for the exercise you are doing etc etc" I told her that I have additional "activity points" that I get for all the exercise that I am doing and she said that even that isn't giving a "realistic" idea to me specifically of how much I need to eat because even the activity points are just generalizations.

SO she told me I hsould get a metabolic test and some other test (through the club - at almost $2oo bucks a pop) and tried to sell me on the nutritional consultations through them instead.

Some of what she said makes sense- because as I said before Ive been training for these triathlons since last summer and I only lost 4 pounds so maybe the metabolic testing would be beneficial. I'm so torn though, because I just hate not knowing if she is genuinely trying to help or just trying to earn her commission for the week.

But after my crap day, Im kind of to the point that I don't really care where her motivation was- maybe it really will help. Especially since once school starts, I'll have to cut my workouts down to accommodate my school schedule, the nutrition information might be helpful.

I just don't get it though - it infuriates me that people seem to think that it's OK to get all in people's business. I mean, I wouldn't walk up to someone with a big wart on their nose and suggest they visit a dermatologist, or tell someone who is mentally unstable to go and see a shrink- why does anyone think its OK to come up to a heavy person and say "hey, you should get lap band surgery"

My response was "Um, I competed in a Triathlon you know, and Im doing another one on Sunday" To which they had no response to- but it's just ridiculous. People seriously amazing.

I really thought writing about it would make me feel better- but it's actually only worked to make me more upset :-/ Oy vey.

Anyhow- we have our family Tri on Sunday. I'm actually really excited for it, because for one, there's no real pressure because it's a relay, and I'll be competing in my strongest event- swimming. Plus I get to introduce the world of Triathlon to my Dad and Sister and show them how much fun, how friendly and inspiring it is. Who knows, maybe next year we'll have a whole gaggle of people doing a full tri.

This Triathlon this weekend closes the book on the Triathlon season for me, but I plan on training all throughout the winter, because I have a long list of Triathlons I want to compete in next year (Ok- not a "LONG" list- Four actually... plus a 1.5 mile open water swim in Minnesota.) This winter I hope will be totally transformative for me. Only time will tell of course, but that is the goal.

Of course, I will continue posting (even if it has become a bit sporadic)

Alright, have a great day everyone!