Saturday, August 31, 2013

My 90 day gluten free trial

I haven't mentioned this much (if at all) on my blog, but my real life friends have been forced to listen to me complain about my really weird symptoms for the past year or so. I have gone down a few different avenues to try to pinpoint exactly *what* is wrong with me with no luck.

There have been quite a few troubling symptoms but the worst is.... Well, I'm not going to go into tons of detail on my blog but let's just say ummmm...stomach issues and move on.

As a back story, I am one of 7 kids. Of those 7 kids, only myself and my sister, Erica, have been gluten eaters lately. The others seem to have "inherited" Celiac or a form of gluten intolerance from my dad. In fact, when we camped together this past Summer, we separated ourselves into 2 cabins : The Glutens and the Gluten Frees. And the gluten free cabin was filled to the brim!

During that week, I learned a lot about the symptoms they all experienced prior to diagnosis and in the back of my head, I was checking things off my list. Ugh, I thought, I do not want to go gluten free. I love gluten!


I had gotten a blood test for Celiac Disease a few years ago at my dad's insistence and it was negative. After returning from camping, I went back to the doctor and told her about some of my newer symptoms. Right away, she asked if I had explored the possibility of Celiac. Darn it, she is thinking the same thing as me.... I told her that I had already been tested and she mentioned that a negative test from a few years ago wasn't exactly proof positive that I was safe from it. She wanted to perform an endoscopy with biopsy but just the sound of that freaked me out, so we settled on me doing a 90 day trial of being gluten free to see if my symptoms *magically* went away.

So, here I am. September 1st begins my 90 day journey of cutting all gluten from my diet. The idea of it freaks me out but the more I think about it, it probably won't be as big a deal as I think. I already eat about 90% non-processed and organic food. The biggest issue, I think, will be attending parties where I won't know who made each food item.  

I'll be blogging about it as much as I can. Someone hold me to that, k?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Well, it happened....

This past Saturday, I ran the Ghost Town Trail 7K in Dilltown, PA. It is a smaller race that starts on a road (rolling hills) and ends on a limestone trail. It is a favorite of my running club and has been on my to do list for a couple of years now. This year, I learned that my sister, Colleen, would be in town for it and so would one of her best friends, Jodi.

Colleen and Jodi took first and second place in my 100 day challenge, and I was excited that they would be racing in Dilltown as well. We decided that we would each run our own race rather than stick together. Colleen and I are both marathon training, and our Sunday plans included a long run (18 for her and 10 for me), but we figured we would still be able to race as long as we kept the next day's run at a comfortable pace.

We arrived early for the race and hung out together.  I was thrilled to see the changes in Jodi and Colleen. They look like a completely different people now!

JODI - before

COLLEEN - before

Jodi, Colleen, and me : Pre-race

Isn't the difference so striking?!?!?! I am so happy to have played a small role in those transformations though as I tell them, *they* are the ones who did it - not me.

I digress. So, we hung out for a bit and then headed for the start. I knew Jodi was speedy because toward the end of the 100 day Challenge, she started talking about her paces and I was impressed right away. She is a natural runner. As we walked to the start, I jokingly said to her "Hmmmm...if you beat me, it would make for a pretty interesting blog post. Maybe I'll let you win." She laughed and we talked about what pace we hoped to accomplish. We both agreed that an 8 minute pace was within our grasp.

The race started, and Jodi and I were running quite close to each other. I didn't see Colleen but I knew she was hoping for closer to a 9 minute pace. I wasn't sure how Jodi was going to handle the hills because I had gone on and on about it being a trail course and how flat it would be. Believe me, I was as shocked as she was when we saw that it started on a hilly road!

At the half mile mark, Jodi pulled ahead, and I glanced down at my watch. She was FLYING! At the first mile marker, the time keeper called out "7 minutes and 30 seconds" and I could only see the lightning bolt wearing a blue tank top if I squinted. That was the last time I caught sight of Jodi.

At the turn around, I caught up to John, who is the head of my running club and kept pace right behind him for most of the last couple of miles. As I finished, I saw that my kids as well as some of my nieces and nephews were lined up for a high five so I threw in a few of those, to their delight, and then crossed the line.

I. Got. Beat. Though I can be fiercely competitive, I was so happy for Jodi that it didn't bother me at all. She worked hard and ran a better race than I did. And she is 5 years younger, but who's counting...

I saw "Lightning" right away and congratulated her on an amazing finish and then headed back toward the crowd just in time to see Colleen come in. I seriously had to hold back some tears, watching my sister finish a 7K in under 40 minutes. She has come so far!

Here are the final results:

Jodi placed first in her age (30-34) and I was second in mine (35-39). In lieu of medals, this race gives out metal railroad spikes as prizes (in "gold", "silver" and "bronze", to boot) Such a creative gesture - love it!

Congrats to Jodi and Colleen on a wonderful race and I hope we can do it again sometime!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

In my oven currently....

Tonight, I am grilling some chicken breasts outside and serving it with Zucchini Casserole. My friend, Heather, brought this to my house a couple of Summers ago when I had a "Real Food Picnic" and I fell in love!

And the best news about this dish is that it is just 72 calories a serving! And those are GENEROUS servings (9x13 pan into 8 portions).

My stomach is growling just thinking about it....

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Presenting Mt. Lebanon Magazine's newest blogger!

I'm very excited to announce that I am now blogging over at Mt. Lebanon Magazine's site. Check our my first post here. No worries though for my faithful readers - I'll still be here as well.

And now, on to some daily ramblings....

Tennis. I have now missed the first 3 lessons. The first was canceled for weather. I was away for my second lesson. The third was the same night as the MLJWC board meeting, and it was my turn to speak, just as the clock hit "go get changed into your tennis clothes" o'clock.  I emailed last night to let them know that I will have to join the next class instead. <patting self on back for knowing when to say no>

Juniper Grille. I am heading there tonight and can't stop thinking about the yummy food that I'll be ordering and enjoying. I am beyond grateful for the group of ladies I will be meeting there as well. Seriously, I am too lucky!

Running. Today calls for 5 miles at race pace. Yippee Skippy!

Marathon. This is different than running in that not everyone who runs is crazy enough to do it for 26.2 miles. And yes, I don't even like to *drive* that distance.... A few of my friends who are at the same point as me in training are running more miles per week and that is freaking me out. Gotta learn to trust my plan....

Kids. It's Vacation Bible School week for us and it starts in 5 minutes, so.....ummmmm, GOTTA GO!

Monday, August 5, 2013

The 4 F's.

Q: What do these four words have in common: 


A: They were what I did on my family vacation.

On Saturday morning, we stuffed the back of our Swaggerwagon with as much as it would possibly hold and headed to Catholic Familyland.  This family camp has been one of my Summer destinations since I was 16, so this was year number 20...errrrrr, ummmm, I mean 10 for me. *wink* 

Amazingly enough, my shoulder and neck felt completely fine as we arrived at the park and unpacked. If I were my husband, I would have been a bit skeptical about this injury especially since I had been in too much pain to pack the van, but I'm calling it a miracle. 
One of my commitments for the week was to never drive the van or accept a ride. The two sections of the park are connected by a trail that is just a little over a mile long, so I knew I'd be in for quite a bit of walking. And I was right! 

According to my FitBit...

Saturday - 13,226 steps (total slacker on the first day, I guess, but I was still nursing my injury)
Sunday -  31,142 steps
Monday - 30,016 steps
Tuesday - 30,020 steps
Wednesday - 8,268 steps (Note: I, along with a few others, had a little stomach thing going on...)
Thursday - 20,880 steps 

And during that time, I only accepted a ride ONE TIME and that was because it was just about to rain (meaning the trail would be a muddy mess), everyone was anxious to get lunch started because a few of my nephews were scheduled for a trail ride, and my stomach wasn't feeling all that happy.

After close to a week away from civilization, I realized a few things:

  • I am incredibly blessed to be with a man who supports me in every way. Nick has always been there for me and is incredibly proud of everything I do. And, I hope that he realizes that I am proud of him too.

  • I have and will continue to inspire other people. This is one of my sisters (and also my best friend). She has never been active but after participating in a few of my challenges, she made some life changes and was actually excited for our hike together.

  • If you move more, you can eat more. Ok, this is not the most flattering picture of me, but see that S'more I am eating? I earned every single bite of it!

One of my friends posted something on her Facebook page and I am stealing it because I think it truly captures my thoughts on the week. "

"I don't believe that I am any more blessed than I was a week ago, I just think I slowed down enough to remember what is right in front of me."


Friday, August 2, 2013

Maybe you didn't miss me but....

I sure did miss YOU! I've been camping for the past week and for the couple of days before that, I was dying. I'll catch y'all up tomorrow.

Until then,