Hello world! I cannot believe we are already 8 weeks into Honolulu marathon training. It always feels SO FAR in the future when you register for a marathon lol. We’ve had really great runs for the most part but a couple of really bad ones too. The heat has not let up all summer and we’ve been struggling to start early enough to be able to finish before the sun hits - like a brick wall. Technically it’s good for us to be training in the heat because it will be hot and humid in Hawaii, but even just a little break will be welcome. So far no sign of that!
When I hit the half marathon part of full training it’s really weird because it makes me realize that I’ll be doing that, and much more, every weekend, until DECEMBER!!
Tomorrow we do 14 miles which is David’s longest run yet. I love to celebrate new miles and we are as prepared as we can be. Look for us out there on the mean streets of the ATL. If you see us, please wave (or give us mimosas!)
Want to hear some really cool news?????????????
I’ve been chosen as one of 9 people to be a StART representative for the Olympic marathon trials coming to Atlanta in February. This stands for Strategic Athlete Response Team and I have a list of 57 amazing women athletes who I’m in charge of communicating with through the event. ME. Former fat ME! This is a huge honor and a big job and I’m already LOVING it. I’m looking up all the people on my list (except SHALANE!!!! because I already know who she is!) and just being even more inspired by their stories. Some have struggled with weight. Some have had great comebacks from injury. Several were pregnant when they qualified. Everyone is so unique and so utterly bad ASS. Not to mention really nice. Their response has been truly surprising. Almost human lol. And the nice things they have to say about the Atlanta Track Club gives me the confidence that we can pull this off and show them how awesome “Running City USA” is!!
As if that weren’t amazing enough, I’m OFFICIALLY pacing my first race next saturday as the back of the pack. Again, I can’t believe I was picked for such a high honor and I’m going to give it my all. The cutoff time is 3:30 and I’ll be celebrating with the party in the back when we cross that finish line together!
THEN I found out I got picked for the Thanksgiving Half as well. Same deal. Party in the back. I’m nervous about being responsible for everyone hitting their goal but I have a lot of experts to learn from and I’m really looking forward to giving it a shot.
So yeah, this whole post was about running but I’m still doing my yoga and my weights and spin but it gets harder and harder to fit it in as the mileage goes up. But, that’s how marathoners are born!
Not that I’ve been keeping this a secret or anything but SURPRISE! I’m running marathon #4. Is it the best idea ever? Probably not but come on y’all – it’s ON my 50th birthday – in HONOLULU and how could I not?
Training starts this week and I had a mid week knee shot* which makes this saturday my first official training run. We will do 7 miles which is what we’ve been doing most weekends post Peachtree. Oh and the WE is David – he’s doing it with me and it will be his first full! We have a few other friends joining us and of course I HAD to do a team logo so…. I’m very pleased to introduce Team Banana Shark! Anyone is welcome to join – you just have to get to Honolulu! Oh and run a marathon!
The knee REALLY feels so much better already just from the one shot and I have 2 more coming. It’s basically a joint lubricant for arthritis which they can’t fix with surgery. I blame myself entirely for putting my body through carrying that weight all those years but I’m glad I did it when I did or it may have been past the point of no return.
SO back to point. Marathon training. It’s serious business and it’s hard AF. “Respect the distance” is what I tell people I help train. It’s not like running two half marathons – It’s a different beast altogether. Honolulu is a little different in that it starts really early (5am) and has a generous 8 hour cutoff time which makes it walking friendly but it’s still 26.2 miles and it will be hot and humid as the day goes on. I’m excited for the challenge and to take it on with David by my side. I’ll be even more excited when it’s over and we get to enjoy Honolulu and Kauai and 50 years of me :)
I promise to respect the distance. I promise to do my midweek workouts. I promise to stay hydrated. I promise to stretch. I promise to not be mean. I promise to fuel properly and not eat crap all week as a reward for one run. I promise to enjoy the process. I promise to run the mile I’m in. (if I say it on the internet I have to do it)
Tina (I don’t have a problem and I can stop anytime) Tait
*Disclaimer: The knee shot actually only requires 24 hours rest but I used that as a big fat excuse to not run a single mile this week or do any other workouts. I’m going to yoga tonight which will not make up for missing weekday runs and Saturday will be miserable but I did that to myself!
Today is a hard day. It always will be. More than the actual day. Today is the day I want to cherish and never let go. Tomorrow is the day that changed everything forever. The one I want to forget.
I’ve told the story before - how it was a crazy fun weekend and we passed out in the guest room on that Saturday night. The next day, this day 3 years ago, it was simply a great day. I woke up before dawn to hike stone mountain with my friends. He told me I was crazy and went back to sleep. We met up after for some brunch and a trip to REI to buy him his first REAL bicycle commuter backpack . We randomly ran into our dear friend Stephanie in the store and had a few laughs and then carried on with our day.
I will never forget that fucking backpack. (Sorry mom) The paramedics cut it off of him the next day. It probably made it 2 miles before he died.
This was his last Facebook post and I’m glad I went to find it because I finally took the time to read all the messages that were left - the ones that were too painful to read at the time. The great stories and pictures have eased the pain a little today because he was SO loved and SO special. More than most and that’s not just me being biased.
Live every day like it’s your last. Love everyone like it’s their last. Cherish it all.
Holy moly that was a fun one. And we WON the t-shirt design contest!
I found out at mile 2.36 (as noted by David) when I just randomly looked up and saw someone walking back wearing it. I was just pointing and yelling at the poor guy. Now it was REALLY time to party :)
We did really well and had a BLAST despite finishing to find I had missed all the media coverage and shirt celebration at the finish. I had already sent David off to the after party and truth be told, once I realized, I had a total fat girl left behind moment. That anxiety crept up in a flash and made me sick to my stomach and I almost sat down in the middle of the park. BUT I’m stronger than that now. I stood up straight, swallowed that demon whole and walked up to get my shirt. MY SHIRT. I told the volunteer ladies in the size small line (still can’t get enough of that) I was the winner and we all jumped around and took pictures. I’ve never been more thankful for our cheerful, wonderful volunteers.
I couldn’t wait to get back to David and all my incredible friends at the after party - especially since I had invited 50 of them to my house for what we were hoping would be an epic victory party. THAT it was!!!! On SO MANY LEVELS.
Hello world! I have a million excuses for not writing anything in months and none of them are valid so here’s what’s been up…
I have been doing everything in my power (and my wallet) to rehab my knee and it’s finally better! After my knee scope surgery, I ended up having a stem cell shot (currently not covered by insurance, barf) BUT then I found the magic with the best duo ever - a pilates/running form instructor and a physical therapist only 10 minutes from home. BUT with all the PT exercises, pilates, yoga, weight training, running drills and walking, It has seriously been a ton of hard work. I’ve sucked it up like a good buttercup and it has paid off. I even got to do a 5k trail race in a severe thunderstorm with my mom who just turned 70 and it was FUN!!
Saturdays are my long run days which are currently my “super fast long walk days” getting ready for the worlds largest 10k, my favorite, the Peachtree Road Race. I have the privilege of leading a group of runners and walkers every year through the Atlanta Track Club training program and year after year, I commit every Saturday to them and it’s one of the greatest joys of my life. There are those that come back year after year and those that are brand new and have never done anything like this in their lives. We just did our longest run of the program – 8 miles – which was the longest distance for some of my group! Even though the race is only 6.2 we have to prepare them for the mileage AND the logistics of a race that involves running with 60,000 people in the hot sun on the 4th of July in Atlanta.
I come home every Saturday with a huge smile on my face. I’ve accomplished those miles plenty of times on my own but it’s even more rewarding to help other people reach their goals. And it’s not just this training group but the running community as a whole. Monumental relationships have been formed – even a boyfriend! It’s a wonderful place to have landed.
I still have a lot of work to do this summer with some big goals on the horizon, but I know that everyone is there for me and that’s what keeps me going – lots and LOTS of sweaty hugs!
**Stay tuned for answers such as “Did she win the t-shirt contest?” and “I thought she said no more marathons?”
I used to wonder A LOT during the time I was in my peak running shape what would happen if I got injured and couldn’t run away from my fatness and my food addiction. Well now we know!
Last July, during a super fun, happy 8 mile Peachtree training run, my left knee just stopped working at mile 6. We stopped for water halfway up cardiac hill and I couldn’t pick up my leg anymore. I walked the 2 miles back to home base thinking it was a strain or something and that I could walk it off. Then I thought it was runners knee, treated it as such and managed to interval run through Peachtree. And it just wouldn’t get better.
I finally had an MRI which revealed a loose piece of bone that was digging a little trench between my bones and was never going to get better without surgery. And so I gave in and scheduled it for right after Thanksgiving.
I really didn’t think it was going to be a big deal. The surgeon said a few days on crutches and no need for painkillers. Ummmmm….yeah…no.
I was on crutches for more like 2 weeks including a trip to ER with blood clot symptoms where I shocked my boyfriend by admitting to the nurse that my pain was a level 10. I’m a MARATHONER. I’m not a baby and this beat the crap out of me.
So here we are and it’s February already. Almost 8 months since my injury. I had a wonderful holiday season celebrating with my friends and making new memories with Davids family. One of the best Christmases I’ve ever had. And all that fun and no exercise comes at a price. I’m up TWENTY POUNDS and I’m pretty freaking depressed about it.
Sure, this recovery has been a bitch but frankly, I’ve been half-assing it. One or two workouts a week is not a comeback. I just had my 6 year surgiversery and I’m not going to eff that up by keeping this extra baggage on my body and in my brain.
So, I’m going full-ass on February. I feel like I’m starting over but when I really REALLY dig deep, I can tell myself what would tell someone else in the same situation…like actually practice what I preach. I’ve scheduled all my workouts and planned our meals. I’m dusting off my (way too tight) workout gear. Getting myself in the right mindset is crucial for this.
So, Ms. Tait, You are not starting over. You have 20 pounds to lose not 130. You can already walk a 5k again. You have a great fitness base and a rockstar support staff. You can still do things you never dreamed possible. In fact, as @wellnesswithJenn would say, you’re a bad-ass unicorn. Just stick with that for now.
Another year has gone by since that Monday morning. July 25th. The suckiest date on the planet. The day Alistair Tait died on his way to work.
I just watched the sunset on the 2 year anniversary of the last night I spent with my husband and I'm not sure where I imagined I'd be at this point, but I'm pretty certain it wasn't here. As I type this I have Penelope Pitstop - an emaciated pitbull foster puppy in my lap. And in even bigger news....
.............I have a David.
I've kept our relationship pretty private. Partly because I wanted to be sure and not jinx anything and mostly because people are judgy.
He is a gift I will never take for granted. The light at the end of a really dark tunnel. He's a runner, we go to yoga, we travel and generally have a blast. He's kind, sweet, funny, talented, smart and somehow he can love me through all the grief. From happy days to hot-mess. (Bonus points added for great pets and fabulous folk art collection).
On our last road trip, driving through central Florida in his little red Mercedes, I was looking at a line of trees after the sun had just gone down and I realized something huge. I was seeing beauty for the first time in what felt like a million years. Hmmm. Isn't that a symptom of happiness?
David knew Ali and of course, thought he was cool as shit. Which he was. We talk about him all the time together and I know beyond all doubt that he would have wanted me to tell endless stories about him :) More than anything, he would want me to be happy and now I have my second chance.
Tomorrow is going to be a long day so I'm ending with this. A quote from the single best blog post I've ever read. One that saved me when everything was uncertain and gave me courage to open my heart to someone again. I sent it to David one night after a pretty epic breakdown. Luckily, I had been saving it for an emergency.
P.S. I finally feel like writing again (another symptom of happiness) so stay tuned for the exciting adventures of the middle aged as they attempt to run injury free and not gain weight (yeah, that's a thing I'll get into).
I can't bring myself to write about how I'm feeling right now but I promise that I will in the coming days. In the meantime, I do know that I'm proud of myself for keeping my job and not gaining back 130 pounds. Alistair would have been proud of that too. I'm resposting this because it's important to me. People ask me what they can do and my answer is: find the balance, take care of yourselves and each other and for Gods sake stop smoking!
It's been a long LONG time since I've posted and I've been putting it off for months now but the time has come to write about the day that everything changed.
On July 25th, I woke to a phone call at 6:30 am from a random person telling me my husband had been in a bicycle accident. As I got dressed in a haze I packed my laptop thinking it would probably be a long day in the ER but everything would be fine. I kept saying "please be okay. Please be okay." Over and over. When I got to the desk they sent me through a door and that's when I saw the ER full of people and 2 people on top of him doing CPR. I knew right away that it had been over an hour and I just collapsed into the arms of the doctor.
There was no accident. He just died of a heart attack right then and there on his bicycle on his way to work. Just like that the love of my life was gone forever at 51 years old and suddenly I'm a 46 year old widow. I can't even believe this is my life.
In the weeks leading up to this, I was experimenting with the whole 30 diet after gaining 15 pounds training for my first marathon. It was SO hard. My brain missed dairy and alcohol the most. My body missed grains. My heart missed having fun and being social. Whole 30 is not recommended during training or intense physical activity but at this point I was "only" doing 10 mile runs at that point ramping up to my 2nd marathon. On July 23rd, after that 10 mile run, I finished in cold sweats and saw black spots and headed to the nearest breakfast restaurant to say goodbye to the whole 30 and eat an english muffin.
When I got home I broke the rules again and jumped on the scale and was delighted to have lost 15 pounds in the 17 days I made it on the program. Of course in my brain that means "let's celebrate and and have fun and drink all weekend now wooohooo!!"
I had A LOT of fun and A LOT to drink that day. So much so that we woke up the next morning in the guest room to my 5:30 alarm. I was confused but got up as I remembered I was supposed to go on a sunrise hike. He asked where I was going and I said "hiking stone mountain!" He said "You're crazy!" I said "I know!" and I kissed him and walked out the door. That morning while I was out hiking, he completed a huge personal challenge of his own which was 10,000 miles on his new bike on map my ride.
Later that day we spent the afternoon in our local pub laughing about the night before and how we ended up in the guest room ;). It was SUCH a fun weekend. More fun that people should be having as I would say about some of our weekends together.
The next morning he left for work and never came back. I'm sure he kissed me. In fact I know he did but I don't remember. What I am thankful for is that I ate the english muffin which led to a weekend of fun which was to be our last.
To me the moral of the story is about balance. Something I'm always seeking. I was obsessed with my weight gain and took a drastic measure to change it but lost myself in the battle once again. Health and maintaining my weight loss is important. Happiness, love and fun are important too.
People ask how I'm doing and I say okay but really I'm not sure. I'm still going to run the NYC marathon which is a former fat girls dream come true. In 2010 I wrote about doing it one day for Al Roker but now I'm doing it for Ali too. He was supposed to have come with me on this trip in 28 days.
Stay strong, hug your loved ones and find the balance. You just never know. You will always be the love of my life Alistair Tait.
Why? Because I can!
I'm probably going to keep doing it too. Why? Because it makes me happy.
There are people that don't think I should run marathons for various reasons. I understand there is a risk of injury and yes, distance running can lead to problems that could make me unable to run in the future but I don't want to live my life afraid of that. Everything we know can change in a second and I'm not willing to miss out on any of it.
Seriously though, I was feeling a little lost and not training for anything specific aside from a few half marathons so the universe gave me this little gem. I'm officially running Chicago for the American Heart Association thanks to a generous gift from a friend of my late husband. It was exactly what I needed to get back in the groove.
So I started on week 3 of the official training plan and so far so good except for a back strain and some random knee pain that turned out to be calf tightness. I REALLY need to do what I tell all the people I coach - stretch more!
In other news, I don't weigh myself very often anymore but my miles were getting faster and my clothes were falling off so I decided to check in with the chunk of metal that used to occupy 98% of my brain and wouldn't you know it - I've lost 5 POUNDS! AWESOME considering I gained 10 lbs marathon training last year. I weigh 125 and I'm totally fine with that. I'm not sure I've ever said that. Aside from working out 8 days a week (Mondays are 2 workouts) I attribute the weight loss to the FUEL plan from Good Measure Meals. I knew I needed to eat more for the amount of calories I was burning and as hard as that is to wrap my head around it's true. (Top tip: nutritionists know what they are talking about LOL) Because of my surgically smaller stomach, I'm only able to eat half of the meal (which is 600 calories) but the combination of the high protein and the healthy carbs is keeping me full and energized and satisfied. I was eating salads for lunch and once I started eating real food, I've stopped snacking except for the occasional piece of dark chocolate or skinny pop! So yes, it's true. It works and it's delicious and I'm not tearing through cabinets trying to find a leftover cracker or any type of carb I can find ;)
Sorry, it's only in Atlanta but if you're interested use this link http://www.goodmeasuremeals.com/fuel?utm_source=BRAND_REP&utm_campaign=FUEL&utm_content=TINA and the code TINA for 15% off.
Things have been going relatively well otherwise but the year mark (since Alistair died) is creeping up on me and I'm thinking about it a lot more than usual. There aren't as many long, sad days but more sudden moments that stop me in my tracks. It's like he's forcing me to face it. My role in my job has grown and I've been working out so much that I tend to sweep it under the rug and deal with it later. I still can't think about him without crying which is why I'm at the bar in the middle of the day as I type this. it's also the reason I haven't been writing as much. It's hard to dredge it up when I'm feeling okay. I feel like if I can just make it through July 25th it will be okay and there won't be any more first things. The last day we spent together was one I will never forget and it seems like it was yesterday.
On a happier note, Peachtree is almost here, I have an amazing half marathon in Vermont the week after and lots and lots more running on tap for the summer. Chicago is October 8th -the day before what would have been my 13th wedding anniversary. I will be with 50 or so of my closest friends from the Atlanta Track Club and I couldn't be happier. Yay Marathonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!