Party Down Peachtree

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.

Sweaty hugs

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?”

Full-assed February

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.


Moving forward

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.

Enter you - the man that came after.

You stepped into my novel in a slow and gentle manner. You showed grace towards my grief. You were patient with my uncertainty. You showed a quiet understanding, an ability to listen, and allowed for space where it was necessary.

You are not him and for that I’m thankful.

You are your own amazing self and we are creating our own amazing story.

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).

1 year epic repost

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!

Just eat the fu#*ing english muffin

October 06, 2016

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.

Greetings from outside the comfort zone

I'm officially recovered from back surgery and have been pretty much in non-stop motion ever since. I have a half marathon in two weeks and I really needed to catch up on some miles but with a promise to myself that I will not skip strength and cross training! That is what is going to keep my back strong enough to keep running - hopefully forever.

Over the weekend I took part in a 24 hour adventure race called Questival. I was worried about hanging with my younger friends for this one and it turned out to be one of the best things I've ever done. Our team page is here if you want to see all of the shenanigans!

There were crazy challenges all over the city at all times of day. So so so SO far out of my comfort zone. It was all unknown and completely out of my control. (Oh and we had half marathon training during it all!)

But it was also was a big step in my physical recovery and a huge step in my mental recovery. I felt comfortable being out and about in the city again. I was excited about the unknown and I was only really anxious a few times. I truly had a blast and that has not happened very often in the last 7 months.

I'm going to try to live here for a while outside the zone. Just to see what happens. Less control and more going with the flow. I'll keep you posted!

Speaking of going with the flow, New York Marathon lottery is tomorrow. We will know if I'm running a marathon or not this year in less than 24 hours. Kind of exciting!!


Imperfect balance

I got an email from someone who found my blog today and it inspired me to check in and write - even when things aren't perfect.

I just had "one of those weeks". Full of fire drills, emergencies, drama and a roller coaster ride of emotions. Personally and professionally. Throw in some construction and plumbing and you end up here for lunch by Thursday.

Because of the surgery I can only fit not quite half of this most delicious cheesesteak in the world in my stomach. It went great with 2 beers.

I was supposed to go to yoga that evening but the tile guy was still here and I was about to lose my damn mind so I took the dogs for a walk. Of course it's "one of those walks" where they get all tangled up in their leashes and eat garbage while I try to pick up poop walking 140 pounds of dog by myself. I'm dragging them back up the street in tears when neighborhood crazy guy comes out and asks me if I'm okay. (bless his heart) Yes, I was that much of a disaster.

I woke up this morning feeling better and more clear headed (TGIF!) after a really good nights sleep and I realized that I didn't really turn to food at any point during all of the ups and downs. The trip to Fred's Meat and Bread was planned and not an emotional reaction to anything. Don't get me wrong, I was really looking forward to it but I had balanced out that decision during the rest of the week without even really realizing it. I'm proud of myself for that.

I drank too much, I ate too little. When I did eat it wasn't nutritious. I didn't work out and take care of myself. Shit happens and I kinda don't feel guilty for any of my decisions. I will run 11 miles tomorrow and consciously make it better week next week. 

Shoutout to Kathleen who inspired me to write about this today. I told her that the advice I usually give people who ask is:
"Just stick to it. No matter how much crap/life/work gets in the way you owe it to yourself. Your decisions are the only thing in this life you have control of and if you keep them 90% good it’s possible to find that balance (I think?!!??!) :) "



Nope, sure don't!

I had the chance to talk to a friend yesterday who's a seriously accomplished runner about 10 years older than me that has had the same back surgery as me. He said he had to set the reset button a few times in his life - basically adjusting his expectations and checking in on the reality of aging. My inner brat whined about how I didn't want to start over again and that I had lived enough lives already and just wanted something to stay the same. He laughed and said I was right and that while I get a gold star, that's how it is.

There's so much truth to that. I don't want to start over. I've had my Minnesota life, my Florida life, my college life, my professional life, my married life, my fat life and my skinny life and now I have to accept whatever this next life is going to be. I have no clue.

This weekend, with the help of my sister, I cleaned out my husbands closet. 13ish years of his clothes. His work clothes were easy. His football (aka SOCCER) stuff is never ending but I've managed to give most of it away to people who will appreciate it. His music t-shirts were 2 drawers full and that's when it got really hard.

This is about all that remains of the most incredible person I've ever met in the best life I've ever had. How is that even possible? It doesn't make any sense. Not even a little.

I'm 47 and starting a new life that I never wanted. I can't run from it (for now) and I can't eat my way out of it. I can't drink my way out of it (I've tried and it's a really bad idea). I don't know what to do with it but it's still my job to make it a success story, not a sad story.

I'm so glad I talked to my friend. If he can make it without running for 6 weeks so can I. I've got no choice in this matter or any of it. Maybe this next life is about accepting just that.  

I see the doctor again on Wednesday but still have 4 weeks to go before I can run again. Once I can do that again or ANYTHING for that matter I'm sure it will get a little more upbeat around here but for now it's the honest ramblings from the depths of my (very) confused mind.