Sometimes we screw up, but we move on…

This is quite an embarrassing post, but it’s part of my journey so I’m sharing.  Today is Day 81 that I’ve been on my journey/plan.

I’ve had a couple bladder issues during this time that causes me to bloat, hold water, have abdominal pain, and basically feel miserable.  The diagnosis has been Cystitis.  I think I’ve finally found the culprit and can prevent it.  Here’s the story.

On my meal plan, Ruben has had a wonderful homemade Pumpkin Latte that I have every morning as a pre-workout “meal”.  It’s got protein, good fat and of course, coffee.  I’m not a regular coffee drinker by nature so if I wasn’t on plan, I’d have one cup of coffee once a week when we’d go out for family breakfast on Sundays.  So since being on plan, I’ve been drinking coffee every day, no big deal.  Latte recipe calls for 10 oz of coffee.  That’s not very much.  But me, well I never measured what 10 oz was, and was estimating based on the measurements of my coffee pot…

So after this second bout of Cystitis, I started looking up what triggers it, and coffee was the only thing I could find that applied to me.  So I told Ruben, and he gave me a concoction made with water, apple cider vinegar and some other things that would help alkalize my system from the acid of the coffee.  This recipe called for 10 oz of water.  So I decided to measure the water.  After doing this, a lightbulb came on in my head and something told me to measure the coffee amount.  WELL, when I did this, I realized I had been drinking more than 25 oz of coffee per day every day for the past 70+ days!!!  OMG!  (I know this is nothing for you regular coffee drinkers, but this is a LOT for me).

So of course, I cut the amount down to the 10 oz and guess what happened?  I went into Caffeine Withdrawal!  I have never had a headache so bad and for so long!  This started on Wednesday and it’s Sunday and I still have it.  I have been nauseous and just not able to concentrate or much of anything for the past few days.  I missed my first workout on Friday and haven’t worked out since yet.  I’m hoping to get back to the gym tomorrow as today is the best I’ve felt since Wednesday, and the headache is still there but a little less intense and not much nausea today.  I’ve been off plan as I haven’t been able to eat very much.

Image result for caffeine withdrawal headache

I start running again in early October, and I can finally say I miss running.  I’m happy I’m missing the bulk of the heat and humidity though!  I’m feeling very optimistic about the next few months!  Thanks for coming on this journey with me.  And it’s totally okay if you laugh at me, I know I had to laugh at myself when I’d realized what I had done!!!




I Will Be My Own Motivation!

Today I went to a bodybuilding competition to cheer on some peeps from my local gym doing Bikini (Go Christina Martin!) and Figure.


I hadn’t been to one in a year (since meeting Miriam Jenkins at Michelle’s event in Orlando).  You see I had my jacket on so as not to show how out of shape I was compared to others (bad self thought!)  And so funny that Miriam started working with Ruben and did her first show soon after that, and still kicking butt competing in Bikini!  Pic from when we met!20150815_104552

So going to this competition today, I wasn’t sure if going to this would be torture or motivation for my fitness goals. It turned out to be pure motivation.  Seeing all those lean, toned bodies just made me realize I’ve done it and I can do it again.  It took hard work and discipline but when I have a firm goal, those two things aren’t a problem.

While I’m not training for a Figure competition or anything like that, my goal is to get somewhat close to where I was then.  I know if I’m lean, I’ll be smaller, so less to carry for 26.2 miles!  So far, Ruben is pleased with my progress and so am I.

So I’m using my pics from 2010 to be my motivation. This is from end of May 2010 while doing an outdoor workout, and is an action shot that I didn’t know was being taken. The best compliment I received about this pic was from someone who asked if it was photo-shopped lol. Nope, all me. I DID have a 6-pack and I can have one again.  To be continued…

6 pack

Gotta Brag on My Nutrition Coach Ruben! (And sharing recipes!)

Many of you know I’m working with Ruben Sandoval of Fit To Be In Your Kitchen for my nutrition and workouts as I work towards my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
I’ve been posting some pics of my meal prep and many of you have asked me for recipes.  I’m a paying client so it would not be right or respectful to post all his recipes on social media or even share with a bunch of people.  Many of his recipes are his own personal ones, since he’s a professionally trained chef.  He’s given me permission to post a couple recipes.  I hope you’ll Like his page on Facebook: and even check out his website:
If you’ve been struggling to lose weight and need some guidance or have plateaued and not sure how to get un-stuck, give him a chance.  He’s not “cheap”, but I was once told that price is only an issue in the absence of value.  I was going out to eat a lot and now I cook very quick and easy meals (lots of crock pot recipes) and am actually saving money because my grocery shopping is focused.  Another advantage is that Johnny can enjoy the same food I do.  I don’t have to make something different for him.  For what he gives you and the results you get, he’s a great value!
Over the 6+ years I’ve known Ruben, I’ve referred either directly or indirectly, over 100 clients to him and I think that speaks volumes.  He takes the time to truly customize your plan for you and because of that, he constantly has a 3-4 week waiting list.  And keep in mind, he does everything through pictures.  When I trained for my Figure Competition, I had not met Ruben in person yet.  I met him 3 months AFTER my competition when he visited family in Florida.
I see many people wanting to lose weight and they’re starving themselves.  With Ruben, when you get the plan, your first thought is: “How am I get to eat all this food???”  But he knows how to turn on your metabolism so you are ready for each meal.
As I mentioned, with Ruben’s permission, I’m sharing two recipes that are part of my current meal plan.  Whether someone is a Bodybuilder, Figure or Bikini Competitor or just someone like me wanting to get in my best shape, this is the type of food you get eat!
PizzaMeatballs LF – These are to die for!!!
Clean Pho – Haven’t tried it yet but I can already tell it’s going to be good!
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Thanks for all you do Ruben, excited about the last 5 weeks and looking forward to the next several ahead!

I’ve Picked A Race!

I’m so excited to have found a race to run my Boston Qualifying Marathon!  Initially I was looking at a January race so the temps would be cooler.  But after working with Ruben the last month, I realize that I want more time to lean out before starting to run again.  I was reminded of an article Ruben posted over 6 years ago that I dug up.  It makes so much sense to allow myself a little more time.  (Article:

With that said, I started looking at races.  I don’t want to travel far or change time zones (been there, done that, too much for me).  Johnny is registered for the Celebration Marathon on Jan. 29th but I want the chance for cooler temps.  I found a great website (thanks Craig Levan), that will allow you to compare marathons side by side.  It shows everything you need: Average, high and low temps, field size, type of course (i.e., mostly flat, pancake flat, rolling hills, etc.), even shows whether the course is out and back, loop, etc.  Once you see the side by side, they score each race and show which as a better course and PR score.  They even show the elevation charts.  Here’s a screenshot of how you can search for a race.  Once you find one, you can compare it to another.

Find My Marathon

So after looking at a few options, I’ve decided on (drum roll please…) the MYRTLE BEACH MARATHON on March 4th.  The date, I realized, is very significant, along with other factors.  I ran the Myrtle Beach Mini last October and it was my fastest time for 2015 without really training (1:55 with a potty break).  This is part of the marathon course, though it’s a different race completely.  But at least I know it’s a fast course.  And we had wind but it wasn’t too bad.  I realize with every race, there is a possible negative (higher winds, unseasonable warmer temps, snow, etc.), but I also know everything could be perfect and it’s just not your day.  But I’m going for it!

Hotels are cheap for the off-season, so I’ve booked a 3 BD/2 BA Hilton Condo oceanfront with the hopes of having not only Johnny and Mom there but also Grandma with us as an early 95th Birthday present.

What makes the date significant is March 4th, 2017 will mark 20 years sine my Father passed away.  It will also be the 20th anniversary of the race.  So when I realized these two things and that it’s close enough for Grandma to be there, I knew I had to do this race.  What a great way to remember my Dad.  And bonus: Johnny’s decided to run this race with me to also qualify for Boston!

So I’m doing well with Ruben, going on 5 weeks.  I haven’t lost much in weight (2lbs) but I’ve been able to fit in a pair of jeans I couldn’t wear for a year, so that’s what I call progress.  I could care less what the scale says!  I’ve already lost some inches.  I haven’t run since my 100th Half on my birthday June 12th, and honestly, I’m not missing it.  I’m enjoying being in the gym almost every day lifting heavy and just minimal cardio!  I’ll start training in October, yay, no summer running lol!


So onward we go!  I am thankful to my God Yahweh for the health and strength I have. (Ephesians 5:20). Thanks for reading!


Week 1 Complete!

Finished my first seven days on my new meal and exercise plan and I feel great.  Sore from my strength training workouts, but overall great!  I haven’t had one craving or been hungry.  Maybe because I feel like I’m eating all the time lol. I’m enjoying the food and very much enjoying being back in the gym.  I’m doing minimal cardio and focusing on weights, per my Coach Ruben of Fit To Be In Your Kitchen.  Looking forward to this coming week and continuing to get stronger and into a routine.  Picture from my Power Walk this morning.


My Journey to the 2018 Boston Marathon

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

I never thought I’d do a real blog, but this is just as much for myself as for anyone who reads it.  I’m learning the blogging ropes, so apologize for any crazy formatting.  I’ll get better.  🙂 I wanted to document this journey, as it will encompass more than running.  My goal is to keep each blog short and sweet, as you probably have a lot more to read and do. This first one will be the longest.  Below is a little history of why this goal is important to me.

In Nov. 2009, I completed my first Half Marathon in 2:19 (2 hours, 19 minutes). Feb. 2010, I completed my first marathon in 4:46.  About a week later, my Personal Trainer Stefanie, somehow talked me into doing my first (and only) Figure Competition, see photos below.

I trained for 18 weeks, thanks to Ruben Sandoval of Fit To Be In Your Kitchen, and during most of this time, I didn’t run.  I placed 3rd in the Over 40 Division (trophy, woohoo!).  I thought it would be challenging to start running again, since I hadn’t been running for so long.  However, when I ran my 2nd Half Marathon in Nov. 2010, I ran a 1:52.  Wow, from 2:19 to 1:52 without any additional running training!  I was so much lighter and leaner than before!  Because of this, I realized I wasn’t too far from what I needed to qualify for Boston (needed a 3:45), so I went for it at my next Marathon, the Disney Marathon Jan. 2011.  I didn’t have a clue as to how to train and simply re-used my Hal Higdon Novice Plan from my first marathon which had no speedwork, tempo or anything else other than number of miles to run (this IS a great novice plan though). At Disney, I was on pace running with the 3:45 pace group until Mile 22.  At this point it was like my body said “You’re done!”  I was in so much pain and ended walking most of the rest of the race.  I finished in 4:02, which is my current Personal Record for a Marathon.  So I know it is within me to achieve this goal.

My husband ran the Boston Marathon in 2012, and after being there, I knew it was still something I had to do one day!

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My husband after running the 2012 Boston Marathon.

In June 2014, I went for a BQ again at Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN.  Having an age group change, I now need 3:55. Training went great, I was totally on pace until Mile 21, when I started getting painful muscle spasms in both of my quads.  I ended up having to walk a lot of the rest of the race.  Finished in 4:13.

I took 2015 and half of 2016 off from any real training and just had fun running races.  Completed my 100th Half Marathon on my 48th Birthday a couple weeks ago, and now, I’m ready to focus and prepare to run a qualifying race in early 2017.  I call the first half of this year my “All You Can Eat Half Marathon Tour” because I really wasn’t focused on what I was eating like I could have been.

I want to run Boston the year of my 50th Birthday in 2018 (hmm, if I wait one more year, I get an extra 5 minutes…nah!)

So it begins.  I need to drop at least 15lbs to get to where I was in 2011.  So this is where I’m at.  I’m working with Ruben again and excited about this journey!  Ready to start.

So I’ll be sharing my successes and challenges along the way.  Thanks for joining me!

My 100th Half Marathon on June 12, 2016.