Thursday, October 20, 2016

Having a negative body image day today? Read this...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016



I am at the point in writing my book, A Beautiful Work in Progress, that requires me to live, eat, and breathe it every single hour of the day...of course, while managing work, being a mom..etc, and doing events. My manuscript is due on November 1, and that is just around the corner!

So I am taking a short break from blogging both here and on my Women's Running Magazine Page. I'll be back though!

In the meantime, come and say hi if you're at either of these events--message me on Insta or on my Facebook page!

October 23: Tough Mudder Dallas

October 30: Marine Corps Marathon

November 6: New York City Marathon

Can't wait to be back blogging regularly! It's been too long....


Friday, September 23, 2016

The Fat Activism Conference

I'll be speaking at the ONLINE Fat Activism conference starting TODAY September 23 and ending SUNDAY Sept 25! Please sign up and listen to the great variety of speakers on all different subjects.  

My talk is entitled The FATASS BADASS ATHLETE and will be presented from 8:30-9AM Pacific Time on Saturday September 24.

Really hope you can join in!

Register for this ONLINE conference HERE


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Secret is Out

Well it's not really a secret anymore, but this big writing project that I've been working on and alluding to every now and then...I can finally announce! The contracts have been signed and I have already started on the journey.

I'm writing a book.
In none of my wildest dreams did I ever think all the good things could happen all at once.

I've been on TV a few times
I've been written about in a number of publications
I've had the opportunity to participate in a bunch of amazing events all over the country
I did a FASHION PHOTO SHOOT (Remember? Wildest dreams...)
I have a couple of high profile sponsorship/ambassadorship opportunities.

This one right hyeah, y'all. RIGHT HERE.

I'm over the moon again and now I get to WRITE MY VERY OWN BOOK. 

I've always been a writer, but I never imagined that I would be writing about my running life, or that ANYONE would ever be interested in it. I always thought I'd be writing a book of personal essays at some point after I had experienced some life. 


I hope that my experiences, fledgling wisdom and knowledge that I have accumulated over the past few years will be helpful to people considering becoming and embodying the athletes they already are. 

A Beautiful Work in Progress is scheduled to be published in October of 2017 which seems far away, but I know that in the blink of an eye that date will be here, staring me in the face as I await whatever is to come next. It's also my birthday month and the older I get, the shorter the years are so yeah basically this is tomorrow.

I took this title from a talk I gave to some middle school students at the Latin School of Chicago in January and thought that in terms of who I am and what I hope I represent, this phrase best describes all of the things that I endeavor for in my life's work, both in process and product, never allowing myself to forget the progress that I have made, and the fact that our raw humanity is indeed beautiful.

I am forever thankful to my literary agents Jane and Miriam at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management in NYC for believing in my writing and in my story, and for their extraordinarily conscientious and generous editing of the many drafts of my proposal. I am also thankful to Tanya Mckinnon of Mckinnon Mckintyre for having that initial conversation with my completely green self back in September of last year. I am also elated to have on my team, Margaux Nissen Gray, my publicist.who has been at my side since I started not being able to handle all of the requests for interviews, writing, appearances, etc. all by myself.  

And finally, I am grateful for the opportunity to be an author because acquisitions editor, Erin Calligan Mooney at Grand Harbor Press believed that I could actually bring this book to fruition and that it might be remotely interesting to some!

This is so exciting, friends. As I say a lot when I'm having a difficult time on the trail and I forget that I have the exquisite privilege of running that not everyone has, I AM LIVING THE DREAM! I have the exquisite privilege of writing a book This is my dream, and I am living it. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Updated on June 1, 2016: GLOBAL RUNNING DAY

If you're not a runner yet, you can become one today !
It's easy to become a FATRUNNER. Here's how:

1. Embrace the name.

  • Many times, nomenclature makes decisions for us. It's time to take the name and do something with it. Use it as a weapon, a sign to let people know who you are and what awesomeness you are about to achieve. LIVE IT. Be proud. Be active. And even though many of us are trying to lose the fat for health and wellness reasons, EMBRACE it and LOVE it. 

2. Decide to run. 

Tammi Nowack Photography

3. Look in the mirror and smile, even if it doesn't feel genuine. Sometimes, we have to fake it until we make it.

  • Thank your body for how it has supported you thus far. Make a promise to your body that you will honor and nourish it, as it has you. 
  • Have a favorite mantra? Now is the time to repeat it several times. I like this one from Christiane Northrup, MD:  "I love myself unconditionally right now."

4. Put on your running clothes

  • Do you only have sweats or jeans? Yoga pants or cargo pants? Have a favorite t-shirt that makes you feel and act fabulous? WHATEVER, they're running clothes so put them on.

5. Put on your sneakers, kicks, tennis shoes, gym shoes, wedges, stilettos, sandals, Doc Martens. Or not. You can run barefoot too. 

  • Shoes tattered and falling apart? Totally fine, because that's why duct-tape and Crazy-Glue were invented. 

6. Look in the mirror AGAIN and admire yourself for being a badass fatrunner.  

  • Repeat your mantra again, several times until you start believing it or until you start feeling crazy. Either totally works.

7. Leave your house. Lock the door if you're in Brooklyn.

8. Take a breath, or several if you're asthmatic. (Maybe you should take your inhaler too...)

  • Seriously, there are a lot of people out there with asthma and sometimes this makes us scared. Talk to your doctor about exercising beforehand. If they discourage you from exercising without trying to find a safe balance for exercising, find another doctor. Our bodies were meant to move and there are tons of successful athletes dealing with asthma.

9. Take a selfie to record this momentous occasion--YOU KNOW YOU WANNA POST THIS ON INSTAGRAM!

10. Run. 

  • Run-walk. Walk-run. Run to the lamppost. Breathe. Take another selfie. Run. Again.
Originally posted in March 2015

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Haters Gonna Hate: A Rant

Here's a little glimpse into my head from March 3, 2014

I'm fat and I'm a little bit angry.

I'm pretty much in love with my body. It can do so much that it couldn't do years ago.  And if I am able to continue what I am doing now for years, it will continue to surprise me and reciprocate the love that I have given it over my lifetime. Sometimes, I get disappointed or angry with it, but like any long-term, committed relationship, it usually comes right back to love and respect.

Also, and thank goodness for this, I didn't grow up in a body-dysmorphic family culture where girls are encouraged not to eat too much, or to worry so much about their appearance that it blocks them from being who they are. I am so thankful for this.

So this post is for all you haters out there. And let me apologize on BEHALF OF YOU to YOUR BODY, for you projecting your own insecurity and feeling of inadequacy on others. I don't typically waste mental energy caring about what other people think of me or other fat people. But sometimes, the hating comes in waves and it has to be dealt with. I don't always have a snarky comeback, but some level of snark is definitely deserved, even if it comes days or weeks later.  Here are some things that people have said to me, either to my face or behind my back, or to others along with some of my actual or imagined responses:

For as much as you work out you should be thinner, don't you think?
No, why?
Because you have some preconceived notion and idea of what it means to be fit and flippin' fabulous?
Because you haven't bothered to get off the couch?
Don't get me started.

You run too much. All you do is run. You run in the woods. You run in the rain. You run in ALASKA. Do you ever think about doing anything else? 
Yeah. Like, I work. I raise my kid (along with my hubby.) I read. I write. I travel. And yeah, I run because I like doing it. Have you not found something that you love doing whenever possible? Something that nourishes you and renews you? No? Sorry but not sorry.

You might wanna stop running so much. For a big girl like you, you may be better off on the elliptical or like, playing tennis.
Why are you so concerned? Last time I checked, getting any exercise is better than getting no exercise. Do you know what's more dangerous on the knees and heart? Not doing anything. And by the way, my joints are just fine. But my brain hurts trying to explain basic shit to you.

Wait. You're black. 
Not this again, and yep, I am.
Guess what black folk? White people don't own the outdoors. No one does, in fact, except for Mother Nature. No one owns your health and well-being, except for you. I'm really sick and tired of black people from ALL socioeconomic strata saying to me or to others who spend considerable time outdoors, "WE don't run in the woods. You know, because of..." Because of WHAT? Have we forgotten who our ancestors were and how they lived?

What part of health are we not understanding? Have you looked around lately and noticed that we are DROPPING LIKE FLIES (and I mean dropping dead) because of heart attacks, complications with diabetes, hypertension, and general obesity related illnesses? So why berate ANYONE who is out there doing their thing, fighting preconceived notions about what it is to be black and to be healthy? Let's get out of this mindset. It's not only hurting us, it's killing us.

Read this for further commentary.

Don't you feel weird going into a gym-you know, cuz everyone's a size zero and you're not?
Thanks for pointing out the obvious. So perceptive of you.
What gym do YOU go to? That apparently is not my gym because although my gym has its share of meat-heads, there are tons of different body types, goals, people, sizes. Dud/ette, get out of your house. And another thing, when I walk into the gym, I OWN IT. I rock those machines. I have a good time and don't EVER worry about haters like you.

Wow, you're really hungry.
Yep. That would be because I just ran 20 miles. What did YOU do today? Right.
Also, I love food, and I'm not going to let you make me feel bad about enjoying and partaking in nourishment. Unlike a lot of people, I don't starve myself to fool people into believing that I care about what they think about my body. Never been a part of who I am, and sorry for you, never will be. Next topic.

And this:

Have you gained weight? 
Let me say this: It is never a good idea, in fact it's downright inappropriate to ask someone IF THEY'VE GAINED WEIGHT unless you're their WEIGHT LOSS SPECIALIST. Or someone who has embarked on a weight-loss mission with them. It is never your right to ask something so personal or potentially devastating no matter what your relationship. And also, comments about what a person eats. Same rules apply. 

You run really slowly
Yep. But have you done a marathon? Yeah, didn't think so. Next comment. (Even if you have run a marathon, why are you concerned about my pace? How does it affect your life? It doesn't, right? Moving on...)

This one was from a woman I sat next too on the Super Shuttle to the cruise terminal in Seattle. We had started up a conversation about what cruises we were doing, etc...

Well, how many marathons have you done? (I have now done 7 marathons and 7 ultras as of May 2016)
Four so far, plus an ultramarathon. I'm hoping to do many more. I really like marathons.

Well I've run over 150 marathons all over the world. You'll get tired of them soon enough. So what else are you doing to lose weight?
Um, I'm not really trying to lose weight. I just love to run.

I really have no comment for this, except for, it made me a little sad.

 One more thing. I'll let the screen-shot speak for itself:

Here's my final commentary to all you haters out there:

There are many of us dealing with the repercussions of a fat-shaming society. We don't need YOU to remind us that we

1) are not an idealized version of what a human is supposed to look like according to unattainable and simply unrealistic beauty/being standards.

2) don't look like the Nike models or the Fit Magazine models when we are working out and doing our thang. We don't care, but why do you care so much?

Just because we're working out, running, or god forbid doing Zumba, it does not mean that we have a problem with our body image. When you allude to that in your thinly veiled criticism masquerading as compliments, it simply means that YOU have a problem with YOUR body image. Get some help.

In the end, we love ourselves and our bodies. Maybe not all of us are fully aware of this, but we do. If we didn't love our bodies, we wouldn't be doing this.

That's all.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Slow And Steady Does NOT Win The Race

Flashback Friday
This was originally posted on September 5, 2011, two years into my running renaissance:

First Marathon: Marine Corps 2011
I'm all about being positive in general (actually, most of my friends would probably disagree heartily), but the old adage "slow and steady wins the race" just ain't true. For me, that is.

For every time someone asks me if I won the race I just did, I should actually get a medal.
I won my age group in one race last year--I was the only one in the age group, but it was an accomplishment nonetheless!

I run at a pace that many very fit people can walk at. Some people might call it a jog but I specifically remember someone, it may be John "The Penguin" Bingham, saying something to the effect of "if it's not a walk, then it's running." I may be grossly oversimplifying what he did or didn't say, but I'm pretty sure he was confident that his own slow pace qualified as running.

I'm not always last, although I tend to be last when the number of participants is under say, a thousand. Yesterday, as I completed the Charm City 20 Miler with an amazing pace of 15:30 (I managed to pump out solid 13 minute miles the first 7 or 8 miles then slowed down MAJORLY after the 14-mile marker), I chatted with myself (internally, that is): I know I'm going to be last and that's OK! No it's not OK to be last. Didn't I pass that girl at mile 5? Did she pass me while I was in the port-a-potty? Really, it doesn't matter if I'm last-at least I'll have finished. I just hate having all those people at the finish waiting for my slow butt! That's what they're there for-for you, silly! But what are they thinking? This fat girl had better hurry, I wanna go home.

I was worried that there wouldn't be any FOOD left after the race. I have a friend (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) who is much faster than I am, so she gets to the finish, picks up a hot dog and Gatorade for me (brats and Zico, if it's a fancy race...), and waits and waits and waits for me. Good thing or I wouldn't get any of the post-race refreshments. At a 10K in Upstate New York last year (a pretty well-known Turkey Trot, that's all I'll say) I was dead last. So last in fact, that as soon as I stepped off the timing mat, they rolled it up, almost tripping me in the the process. And then I walked through the finisher's area. There were no oranges, bananas (except for the very, very green, not-edible-unless-they're-boiled ones), no potato chips, no Fig Newtons, no Nutri-Grain Bars, no anything, except for a couple of liters of Saratoga Springs water. I was so angry, I contemplated taking an entire case. Alas, my car was about a half mile away and it was cold as hell...

There are race organizers who WILL wait for you, however, no matter how long it takes (I know this from personal experience). The NJ Trail Series ( was founded and organized by Rick and Jennifer McNulty, a couple whose goal is to "make running fun again". The first time I went out for one of their events, I DNFed. It was a 10 mile trail run in 2 loops. It took me so long to do the first one that I quit half-way. I distinctly remember Rick asking me if I was going for the second loop-I may have looked at him as though he had three heads (AM I GOING TO DO ANOTHER LOOP SO YOU CAN WAIT ANOTHER HOUR AND FORTY FIVE MINUTES? HA!)-No, I think I'm done. We'll wait, whatever you decide, he said. Wow, I was tempted to do another loop, but the anxiety of having people wait for me in the woods, no less, was too much to bear, so I declined. But, I've learned that they really will wait! One particularly grueling 13.1, I was last by at least 20 minutes from the penultimate person, but they were still out there, watermelon, snacks and all! Thanks, NJ Trail Series- You have made running fun again. Race directors have a lot to learn from you!

So no, I have not won any races, and I don't expect to, EVER. But that's OK by me. I'm not in it to win it-sorry for the cliché but it's true. I have no desire or physical capacity to even try to win--I'm in it for the thrill, the workout, the friends, the running community. And if you don't quite understand, sign-up for a local 5K and see what I'm talking about. You'll get hooked, and you'll only care that you're out there.