I admit it. Last night we had one of those nights...we had an event to go to at 5:00 and I rushed through dinner, which was: a sesame bagel (toasted with butter), 3 donut holes, a frozen custard (saved in our freezer from the night before-the flavor was double fudge marshmallow oreo).  Yep, no veggies, no fruits, no organics, no whole grains.

I felt like junk. 

When we got home, I just wanted to chill out (that's what junk food does to you!).  But, Greg and I have been on a roll with our P90x program and I couldn't miss a day.  I'm doing the lean program and decided to substitute Plyometrics for Kenpo. 

Now, in the P90x program, Plyometrics is known as the 'Mother of All Workouts.'  I wasn't scared.   Greg and I were doing it together, and Mojo loves to hang out while we workout - for moral support.
So, we turned on the TV and there was Tony Horton to push me through it.
I also had my trusty water bottle filled with ice-cold water for those blissful 30 second breaks.
Little did I know that by the end I'd be loathing one and loving the other (can you guess which?).  It was, by far, the best - but hardest - workout I've ever had.  At times, I just wanted to stop, but I didn't (and who could ever really loathe Tony?).

I've finally found the one workout program that I look forward to doing.  I noticed huge differences in my body in only 3 weeks and it's fun to do.

A few months ago, I could have eaten that dinner and sat on my rear end for the evening.  But now, it feels so strange to do that and NOT work it off. 

Greg even made an evening run to the store to get salad fixings!  A few months ago, that would have been a licorice run!

It's an indescribable feeling to push your body further than you think it can be pushed.  After the cool down and after the shower, you can't believe you just accomplished what you did. 

Awesome.  Here's to health!
(c) publicdomainpictures.net
Joe Jackson sang it:

Everything gives you cancer
There's no cure, there's no answer
Everything gives you cancer

And, when I heard that most cosmetics contain carcinogens, I started to believe it.

I've been researching this topic. I don't wear a lot of make-up, but I do wear it.  Ella gets all my old make-up to play with too. 


You would not believe the stuff they put in cosmetics! I went to cosmeticdatabase.com and looked up all of my daily cosmetics....I was shocked, disgusted and in the I'm-throwing-it-all-away zone.

So, you can look up all of your cosmetics in the database and it tells you if the products contains ingredients that have been shown to lead to:
-Developmental/reproductive toxicity
-Miscellanous contamination (sounds nice, huh?)

They rank products this way:
A ranking of 0-2 means the product is a low hazard
A ranking of 3-6 means the product is a moderate hazard
A ranking of 7-10 means the product is a high hazard

Here's how my make-up bag ranked (and, by the way, I used to be so good at buying "natural," animal-friendly cosmetics, but when our budget became so strict, I stopped.  No excuses now....read on):

St. Ives Moisurizer - 7
Maybelline Mascara - 6
Maybelline Foundation (mineral powder) - 4
CoverGirl Blush - 8
CoverGirl Concealer - 5
Almay Eyeshadow - 7
Revlon Eyeshadow - 5

Total: 42   My make-up bag has an average rating of 6 - meaning that everyday, I'm exposing my skin to products that are on the high-end of being a 'Moderate Hazard'.
So, last night, I talked to Ella about it.  I thank my lucky stars that she understands how important this stuff is (case in point: She boycotted all fast food (going on a year now) when she found out that they put ammonia in their burgers.)

We were getting ready for bed last night and talking about how we're going to throw all of these products out and replace them with natural products from companies who don't test on animals and WHO CARE MORE ABOUT PEOPLE THAN PROFITS.
She picked up her eye-shadow kit from Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boutique at Walt Disney World and her eyes started to fill up with tears. I know it's not easy.  I told her she could keep it and use it on her dolls, just not her beautiful face.

Can you tell how upset I am about this? I don't get how companies can continually put products on the shelf that are killing us.


Here's what:
-Call your local Senator/House Rep and tell him/her that you support the current bill going through Congress to elimate toxins in cosmetics.

-Shop here for your make-up:
Rejuva  (I just restocked my make-up bag here)
Coastal Classic

(there's more on the database (link above) - just click on "makeup" and it will show you healthy products.)

-Don't believe all you hear...I used to love the Body Shop products - too bad they're made by Loreal and have just as many toxins as the rest....

You know...when life gets busy, you can really lose track of simple things...like what's going on with your body.

I just got off of 7 months of training for a half marathon. You'd think I'd be extremely fit (I did!).  But, it takes more than running three times a week to be fit.  I had a body-fat composition test done in November for work...I had another one 2 weeks ago.  THE SAME PERCENTAGE. How does that happen? I know I gained muscle! So, I also gained fat.  Together the new fat and muscle added about 10 pounds to my "small frame."   Ugh.

Then, I looked around at my family. 

We all need to get a little fitter.  Ella is a string bean of course, but she has even said to me that she wants to be more active.  So, we're doing it - an 8 week family fitness challenge.  We each have our own goals, but mine is to drop that added weight from running.  (I still can't get that through my head).

And, it's not about the pounds only - I just want to fit back into my pants!

Here's the thing though - we want this to truly be a lifestyle change - not just some "DIET."  I refuse to diet!

So, we are approaching this in a very healthy way and going by the guidelines of the real Mayo Clinic 'Diet.'
Ok, so the first 2 weeks are a bit of a diet - but it's more of a detox. It is cleansing your body of chemicals found in processed food and simple carbs found in 'white' food (white flour, sugar, etc.).

So, here's our 2 week plan, according to the Mayo Clinic Diet:

Adopt 5 habits:
1.Eat a healthy breakfast
2.Eat vegetables and fruits
3.Eat whole grains
4.Eat healthy fats
5. Move!!

Break 5 habits:
1.No TV while eating
2. No sugar (including honey)
3. No snacks other than raw fruits and veggies
4. Only moderate meat and dairy
5. No eating at restaurants (unless it complies with the habits).

Adopt 5 'bonus' habits (so, aren't we really adopting 10 habits??)
1. Keep food records
2. Keep exerise records
3. Move More! (only watch as much TV as you've been active).
4. Eat 'real' food. No more processed food.
5. Write daily goals.

So, you are supposed to either adopt or break as many of these goals as possible. 

After the first 2 weeks, it moves more into real-world eating.  I really like the Mayo Cinic DIet book - it just seems healthy and achievable in our daily lives. 

We're also following an 8 week fitness program written by the doctors who wrote "Supersized Kids" - to prevent obesity in kids.  Each week it encourages family activities that get us all moving together.

So, here we go. Getting back to that normal weight I was before training for a half marathon.  I guess running just increased my appetite more than my muscle.  How unfair is that!!?!?   Oh well, this will be a great thing for my family!
It seemed like it took forever to get there, and it was over in 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Even the Friday before seemed to take forever.

We were all set for the road trip up to Traverse City.

The kid was settled in...
and the dog was doing ok too.
We took one highway...
after another...
after another...
We finally made it to Traverse City... my stomach in knots.  So, we picked up my packet and drove the course.  This is what the start of the half marathon looked like the night before:
While driving the course, Ella got to preview the facilities.  She was very impressed.
The next morning was race day. It was beautiful. My running buddy Mike stayed with me the entire time and pushed me through the rough spots. It was awesome - brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

When I saw the finish line, I found some energy that I didn't know existed.  It was incredible. It was awesome.
A few people have asked me if I feel let down or disappointed now that it's done. I've even read running articles about it.  It's now a few days later and I'm still smiling. No let down here.  Now, I'm still having trouble walking up and down stairs, but I'm glad I did it.  I'm also I'm glad it's over!
Yeah....it's a race. 13.1 miles.  I know, it's not a fashion show.  But, I'm not a hardcore runner.  I'm not what you'd call an elite athlete....ha! Not even close....

So, I need to make this race fun.  And one way to do that is ....  SHOPPING!

I mean, it's a big event, and most big events require a new outfit.  Plus, I didn't even own a real pair of running shorts, so that needed to be fixed.

So, I went to a local sporting goods store.
Just so you know that I haven't lost all common sense, I knew whatever I purchased had to be practical. I mean, duh! But, I just needed to feel prepared.  So, I tried on a few things....
Now, this was a first. I have never brought a camera into a dressing room.  The things I do for this blog! It's actually not a bad idea for future reference. The camera does not lie.
So, it was fun and it felt great. A little pre-reward for putting all that effort in.....runs in below zero temps, dehydrated runs, time away from my true fans, feet injuries and calf injuries.  Yep, I might sound cocky, but I deserved it.

So, no, I guess it's not a fashion show....but there's nothing wrong with looking your best while your sweating your guts out with your face beet-red and ready to vomit.

Bring it on Bayshore.
Yep. I found it. If I could bottle it, I would.

If I could package it, and sell it, I would.

But I can't.

I can only share it with you.  I'm not worried that you'll tell everyone.  You probably won't even believe me. . . but it's true.

You see, it's counterintuitive...that's the trick. You would never expect it to work.  In fact you would probably avoid it....you would think, "There is NO way I'm doing that before a big run...it'll just slow me down."  Well, you're wrong.

You might also wonder why no running experts have recommended it. Well, I'd say it's the renegade method - the pioneer way.

Yep, I'm all about blazing new trails.  It really does work though, and if something helps me get through 10, 11, 12 miles, don't you think I'm gonna do it?

You bet your knee band I will.

Ok, so, I'm ready to spill the beans...or rice.

Here it is:
It's our local Chinese buffet.  You can get all the carbs you want and even a little fat and protein to get you through your run and help you recover afterward. 

We never eat at these places...we avoid them. It's only that we leave feeling 15 pounds heavier than when we entered!  I think it works for me, because I typically watch what I eat all the time. You're just not supposed to do that when you're "putting your body through Hell."  (that is a weekly quote from my doc/hubby).

So, bring it on Chinese buffet....I only have a week and a half left.
Two more weeks.  Two more weeks from this very moment (6:35 am), I'll be on a shuttle heading to the starting line of the half marathon.

It's been so hard, starting with runs in snow and ice and below zero temperatures.  Then, I had to deal with whatever funk I was in for two weeks.

And, now I haven't been running for over a week because of a muscle injury.

So, here I am. Early in the morning...sitting here in my running clothes, dreading the run.  Again. Time off just isn't good for training.

Because I took the week off (I had to; couldn't run because of the pain), I won't be able to get an 11 mile run in as I had planned. That's messed up my whole mental strategy. Now I'm completely freaked out about it.  I only did 10, can I do 13.1??

My friend Mark told me to enjoy my accomplishments so far and just have fun with the rest of it. Fun vs. Freaking Out....yeah, he's right. Life would be easier.  But, I'm a natural freaker.

I'm really trying to enjoy it. I thought I was up for this run. Until I woke up and went outside to let the dog out. I thought I was ready to get back on the wagon.

Two more weeks. I have to hang in there.  This is one of the hardest things I've ever done, and that's a little embarrassing since I have many full-marathon running friends!

Ok, deep breath.  PUT THE COMPUTER DOWN Kristen. It's time to run 6 miles.


Fine. See you Monday.
10:15 a.m. on Sunday....I made it. I'm a member of the 10 mile club.
I know hardcore runners won't think it's a huge deal.  I have friends who ran 20 miles this weekend! 

But for me, it's a first. When I trained for a half marathon last time, I only trained up to 9 miles. (Refresher: I trained for a half three years ago and then couldn't run it due to gall bladder surgery). 

It's been a struggle - I started in December.  I hadn't run in over three years. When I started, I couldn't even run a mile without walking a few times during it. 

Now, 5 months later and 2 pant-sizes larger (don't even get me started on my growing rear and thighs....I thought running would slim me down, not bulk me up), I can run 10 miles.  I do still walk - just around every mile - to get a drink of water or a sports gel. 

I'm so happy with this success, but it certainly has its downside. 

For example, this was my Sunday:

7:00am wake up and wait for the rain to lighten up
8:00am take energy jelly beans
8:20 head out in the drizzle and count down the miles....10, 9, 8, 7, 6....
10:15 arrive back home and climb into the bath
10:45 eat some cereal with protein-powder induced milk
11:00 take a nap
12:30 try to eat lunch....not ready yet
12:45 watch Grease with Ella
2:30 take another nap
4:30 wake up
5:00 upload pictures for this blog
6:00 eat dinner
7:00 bath time for Ella
8:00 eat rice krispy treats
8:30 yay! time for bed!! I'm exhausted

As you can see..not very productive. It takes SO much out of me and (as Ella says) I walk around like a grandma....not like any of Ella's grandmas, but more like a great-great-great grandma. 

I'll be so glad when this race is over - only 3 more weekends of training runs. Well, at least I'm part of the club and no one can take that away. I'm just glad membership doesn't require annual renewal. 
My loyal readers know that I'm training for a half marathon. It's in 7 weeks.  That's s-e-v-e-n.  Gulp.

I was really into it for the first few months.  In fact I was ahead of schedule.  I ran 7 when 6 was on the schedule. I felt great.

Then, I got sick. Then I had migraines. 10 days without a run and it hasn't been the same since.

I was inspired last weekend. I went up to my dad's where I LOVE to run.  He's right next to Lake Huron and there's no traffic to worry about - except the wild turkeys, but I'm not afraid of them.

So, I ran the first day I was there. Four miles. Ugh. It was hard. Then, about an hour afterward, I got really sick and didn't feel better until I woke up the next day.  I was extremely dehydrated.

So, I hydrated. Majorly.

I tried again and ran 5.  Five long and hard and painful (mentally and physically) miles. 

Why is this so hard now???

I came home and ran 3. Greg had to push me out the door to do it (thanks hon).

Every morning, my shoes stare at me as I come down the stairs.
Oh no...now don't you start too...
Ugh.  I have all of the things that make running enjoyable.  They used to work...
I have cool music on my ipod...
I have my Garmin that helps me keep track of mileage and pace...
And, my loyal knee strap...my pain-preventer.
I've been talking to other runners and getting great advice (thanks Lu Ann and Yu Xie!), but I'm hitting a wall that I just can't break through. I'm not used to this. I mean, I can talk myself into anything!!

I'll get out there and run again. I have to. I only have 7 weeks left! I will force my mind and body to get out there and do the miles.....the question is...when will my heart join us?
before our run a couple of weeks ago
Who ever thought getting up early and heading out in wintry West Michigan weather on Saturdays could be so rewarding?

My weekdays start at 5:45 when I get up and get ready for work.  Ella and Greg get up while I'm in the shower. I head to work and then pick up Ella afterward.  Ella and I hang out until we fall asleep. 

Since I started training for this half marathon, I'm forced to train.  And...I'm really enjoying it.  While out running recently, I realized it's the only thing I do that is 100% for me. 

On most Saturdays I meet my friend Mike and we keep each other motivated and accountable.  It's perfect.  We can't sleep in if the other one is waiting.

During the first two miles, I'm basically asking myself why in the HECK I am doing this....But, usually, once I hit 2.5, I'm feeling great.  Sometimes, I feel like I could run forever.

Last Saturday, I was without my running buddy.  Ugh. I did NOT want to venture out. I was recovering from a cold and the roads and sidewalks were icy and snow-covered. I set my course.  My goal was 4.5 miles.

The first two (as usual) were hard. Really hard.  SIdewalks weren't shoveled and the roads were too busy.  Then, I hit two miles and didn't care.  I just kept running and running.  I ended up doing 4.75 and feeling GREAT.  I even did a strength training workout afterward.

So, doing this thing for me feels great.  The best part is that I don't feel like I'm taking time away from my family to do it.  By the time I get back from my runs, they usually haven't even eaten breakfast!

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    My name is Kristen Porter ~ I am a corporate attorney by day, and a writer/artist/renaissance-woman wanna-be by night. 

    This is my blog...my summary of life and attempt to capture small moments forever while appreciating their impermanence.  Those small moments are what make life so wonderful!

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