Happy Thanksgiving from the Double Chin Diary!

Wow – I can’t believe it’s Thanksgiving. 2014 has been a year of learning, and I’ll reflect on that in a month, but here are some things I’m grateful for today, yesterday, and always.

  • I’m grateful for YOU. Sometimes I feel like this blog is just a creaky old soap box I step up on that nobody reads, but I know that’s not true when I get an email from somebody who says I inspired them to go kayaking even though they’re plus sized, or that they’re newly diagnosed with PCOS and looking for information. A blog is just a diary if it doesn’t have readers, and I’m proud to say the Double Chin Diary is actually a bonified blog. Also, you readers help bring me opportunities – like attending Fitbloggin’ 2015 as one of their social media managers. Hooray! Thank you!

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  • I’m grateful for my health. Sure, sure, I have terrible allergies, PCOS, and the occasional case of anxiety – but for the most part I am healthy, capable, and getting closer every day to this whole being fit thing. Our health is genuinely a gift we take for granted until it’s too late, so I’m glad I can recognize my body, though imperfect, is just fine.

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  • I’m grateful for my family. I’ve been blessed with cool parents, siblings I’m super close with, awesome in-laws, and my sweet husband. They make me a better person every day, and I’m proud to be a Lofgren Curran.

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  • I’m grateful for closure. This year, we lost my mother in law to cancer. Around this time last year, we learned of her diagnosis, and it’s awful that just one year later she’s no longer with us. One of the only positive parts of losing her is that we were able to spend time with her before she passed, to tell her how much we loved her, and how we knew we’d see her again. Many people don’t have this opportunity, so this year, I’m grateful for the fact that no words were left unsaid. I still feel her all around me, like in this amazing rainbow that arched over us as we walked the 3-Day this past weekend.

    Photo via Susan G. Komen 3-Day Facebook

    Photo via Susan G. Komen 3-Day Facebook

  • I’m grateful for the 3-Day. What may have started as an exciting new job managing social media for the 3-Day has turned into a life-changing experience. Not only do I adore my co-workers and job duties (AND I get to work from home), I feel like what I do has real value in giving back. I walked my first 3-Day this year, raised over $3,300, and saw first hand the impact that this walk has on people facing cancer.

    This is why I walk.

    This is why I walk.

  • I’m grateful for a cozy home. Matt and I have lived in our little bungalow for six years, and while it’s not perfect (who designed a bathroom with the light switch behind the door?!), it’s warm, cozy, and holds our vibrant little family of two adults and two fur babies.560538_10100449850528036_1856930000_n
  • I’m grateful for my friends. There’s friends in my life that have been around since I was a spunky little spitfire (Hey beek!), to friends I met at work (Hi Jason and Juan!), to friends I met in grad school when simultaneously crying and laughing was the norm (Hi Julie, Virginia, Em), to new friends (Aubrey, the Erins, Jenn… the list goes on), to friends I work out with (Hey Susannah!). I have so many awesome friends, way too many to list here, and I’m grateful for each and every one of them and their many endearing quirks.

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  • I’m grateful for travel. This year, thanks to work, I got to see Michigan, Twin Cities, Seattle, Philadelphia, and New York City. Next week, I’ll be on my way to Costa Rica. In March I’ll be going to the Bahamas. Matt and I pinch pennies all year to afford travel, and it’s one of my favorite things. Exploring the world is a great way to relax, rest, and reflect on all these amazing things that make life life.

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    Whereever you are today, I hope you take a quick moment (or a long one!) to reflect on what you’re thankful for. No matter what crappy hand life has currently dealt you, there are people out there who have it much, much worse. Sending you love and light for a wonderful Thanksgiving, and thanks for being YOU.

On the Move: Fitting in Fitness for Fun

Hello everyone! I’m writing to you with sore calves and quads, and for once, the soreness is for good reason rather than “Oh yeah, I work fulltime from home and forget to get up and sometimes six hours goes past and I haven’t moved.” I’m preparing for my big walk this weekend (EEEEK! But I’m not nervous, more just excited!), so I really have been trying to kick up the physical activity this week.

Starting last weekend, I flew up to San Francisco to see my friend Sarah and Emily. Sarah and I decided to walk the Define Brave 5k together, and we grabbed her adorable Westies and hit the trails early on a Sunday morning. (Well, I thought it was early at 8:30 but in Sarah’s terms, at that point we had ‘slept the day away!’) Check out the Define Brave 5k if you’d like to participate in a fun virtual 5k — you get a cute shirt, awesome empowerment bracelet, special medal, bib, and a portion of the proceeds go to charity.

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Then, this weekend, I met up with a quarter of the Double Chin Divas, Monique, to do a nice long training walk. Our walk ended up being more of a hike, and we hoofed it about five miles through the beautiful Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks. We climbed up into an Indian cave, jumped across stepping stones, sat in a teepee, and challenged ourselves with hills. I definitely felt the burn and am hoping my walk in San Diego is less hill and more… flat.

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Lastly, tonight Matt and I ventured to an ice rink! I was offered complimentary admission to Woodland Hills Ice in exchange for coverage on my blog, so Matt and I bundled up and headed to the rink. I used to be a good ice skater but let’s just say my talents now lie elsewhere. However, we had a blast teetering around the ice (I may have had to hold the wall the whole time) and dancing to the music. It’s also humbling to see little six year old kids whiz past you like pros.

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Admission is $15 for adults and includes skate rental for a two hour session. Kid’s prices are $13 though kids under 3 get in free with a paid adult. The rink also sells pizza, burgers, and hot chocolate and is right in the Westfield Mall parking lot — perfect if you want to squeeze in some holiday shopping. Even though I may have fallen flat on my butt right after this photo was taken, I loved the immediate calorie burn I felt from just a few minutes on the ice.

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They’re open late, sometimes as late as 11 p.m., so if the urge strikes you, get thee too Woodland Hills Ice to lace up and skate!

So, that’s how I’ve been keeping active lately, in addition to nice long walks. I can’t believe come Friday I’ll be lacing up for my first part of my 60-mile journey. I’m feeling a little bit undertrained, but I know if I do the best I can, it will be great!

Now: if you and I had to exercise together, what would you want to do: Walk, Hike, or Skate?

 

Don’t fence me in.

Two weeks from today I’ll be joining the Double Chin Divas (Alyssa, Monique, and Aubrey) in San Diego to spend our last day with all of our toenails, haha! Though maybe we’ll be lucky and none of us will lose any toenails as we attempt to walk sixty miles in three days, but I’m aware that it could happen and accept it.

;)

I’ve been walking A TON and am grateful that my body seems to be handling it mostly pretty well. The most I have done in a day is eleven miles but ideally this weekend I’ll be hitting at least fifteen. I’m taking a risk over whether or not I will be truly prepared for this challenge but after hearing my many other 3-day walkers, they said as long as you can by on at least ten miles then you should be able to do the twenty. Plus, we’ve got practically the whole day to get it done.

I’ll ENDURE.

But if you’d like to send me some mail by MONDAY that I’ll pick up during my walk, I bet your letters will help me get through the walk with a little bit more faith in myself.

Susan G. Komen 3-Day
Attn: April Lofgren
PO Box 4560
Carlsbad, CA 92018
*Must be postmarked by November 10th.*

 

Anyway, the best part of all this walking hasn’t been the weight loss (down twenty pounds!) or the incredibly firm calves or the simple fact in knowing that I CAN walk eleven miles in a day…It has been that I am fortunate enough to be able to do my training in some incredibly gorgeous places. I’ve done some major walking at Crater Lake in Oregon, Yosemite and Mono Lake  in California, Burning Man and the Red Rock Canyon in Nevada… not the mention the more frequent walks through places like the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, the hills of Sonoma and Marin County, and the redwood forests all over the fog-belt of Northern California.

I’m spoiled, I know it. I send gratitude out into the universe every single day that I get to spend my life here. I haven’t walked a mile on a treadmill in over a year and I’m so appreciative that I have been able to prepare for this event outdoors. The song “Don’t fence me in” (the Ella version) is constantly playing in the back of my mind. Sometimes, if I’m completely alone, I’ll sing it as I stroll along happily under the trees. It makes me happy to be free and out in  the open. <3

“Let me wander over yonder till I see the mountains rise.. I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences and gaze at the moon till I lose my senses… And I can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences…. Don’t fence me in”

 

And now for your visual pleasure… a collage of photos taken during some of my walking adventures. <3

Red Rock Canyon - 11 miles... Crater Lake - 3 miles... Alemeda Beach - 1 mile morning walk... Yosemite - 4 miles.... Mono Lake - 2 miles...

Red Rock Canyon – 11 miles… Crater Lake – 3 miles… Alemeda Beach – 1 mile morning walk… Yosemite – 4 miles…. Mono Lake – 2 miles…

 

Burning Man - 10 miles... Redwood Tree in Cotati (next town over) - 10 miles... Golden Gate Bridge - 3.2 miles... Petaluma walking trail - 8 miles

Burning Man – 10 miles… Redwood Tree in Cotati (next town over) – 10 miles… Golden Gate Bridge – 3.2 miles… Petaluma walking trail – 8 miles

 

Oh, and now  that I have hit AND surpassed my $2,300 fundraising goal – I’ve gone ALL PINK! (and a bit of purple) Check it out! If you live in the Bay area, you can hit up my buddy Ashley Blanchard for your own style. 

Colorful at Red Rock Canyon!

Colorful at Red Rock Canyon!

 

Lots of love,

AprilSignatur

Tuesday Tidbits

Happy Tuesday! Sure, it’s still Monday while I’m writing this, but by the time you read it, it will be Tuesday. Here are some random things on my mind at the start of this lovely week.

1) November signifies the start of two pledges I am making to myself; the first, I am calling NoCANDYvember, and will be my pledge to not eat anymore Halloween candy for the rest of the month. I got a little too friendly with the cauldron of treats in our house, and too many sourpatch kids crossed my lips. I really never have issues with eating candy, but I ate enough of it this past weekend that I don’t want to see anything other than a small square of dark chocolate. The second pledge, will be called Milevember, just so I can keep with the snappy naming conventions. Each day, I’ll walk at least one mile, which shouldn’t be a problem as I gear up for my final training weeks for the 3-Day. My activity is too sporadic in that I’ll have a day where I’m a slug, and then the next day where I’m a hiking, walking, weed-pulling, car-washing machine, so setting a one mile per day goal is a good incentive for me to move.

2) I am sadly realizing that I am likely undertrained for the 3-Day. My longest walk so far was about 12 miles, and it was tough. However, I’ll be curious what my experience is as I know several seasoned 3-Dayers who say they never train, and some who train constantly and often. I wish I had trained more up to the 18 mile mark, but I feel great already about being able to walk 10 miles without passing out! That’s a big accomplishment for someone like me, the fitness averse. I’m also so proud of the fact that I raised over $2,700 to help women and men with breast cancer. You’re a big part of that; thank you so much for your support.

3) This weekend I’ll be walking in the Katie K. Active 5k. You can walk or run the 5k at any time of your choice in the next few weeks, and when you register, you’ll get a medal, a shirt, and a bracelet. I’ll actually be out of town, so I’m lucky in that I get to walk it with Sarah and Emily! Check out the Katie K 5k if you want to virtually join us – $5 of your registration fee goes to charity.

4) This weekend I had brunch at The Whaler in Venice with my friend AJ at Confessions of a Fat Girl. You want a delicious, boozy new brunch drink? Their watermelon bellini, made with fresh watermelon juice, was out of this world.

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5) I love the time change in that today felt like sleeping in, but I don’t like it in that by the time I finish work for the day, it’s dark outside and I don’t want to leave my cozy house! Do you guys like DST? Do you wish we were like Arizona and Hawaii and would give it up?

That’s all I got. What are your Tuesday tidbits for me?

Alyssa’s first mud run: Muckfest MS Los Angeles!

Do you remember when you were a kid and you got to play in the mud? Maybe your parents didn’t let you, but you did it anyway, finding that stray mud puddle on your way home from school. You delighted in the joyful sensation of sticky, wet, mud squishing around your toes, making mud pies, trying to slog your feet out of the quicksand as you splashed around in. Now, there’s a way for grown ups to play in the mud — and not just any mud — mud that’s for a cause, more specifically, fighting MS, or Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that affects over 2 million people worldwide. Women are 2 to 3 times more likely to get MS, and I can think of three female friends of mine who bravely fight MS. Muckfest MS was in Chino this past week, about an hour and 20 minute drive from where I live. I knew I would walk this 5k rather than run it, because running’s not my jam. I walked, I mucked, I conquered. Here are five reasons why the Muckfest MS was mucking rad.

1) You get to get muddy. Absolutely, fantastically mucking muddy. Covered. Soaked. Saturated. It’s fun. (And maybe, exfoliating. Think of it as a fitness spa treatment.)

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2) You can take the obstacles at your own pace, and that might mean skipping ones that just don’t feel like your style. I did, and didn’t feel self conscious at all – a really nice change from some of the other fun runs I’ve been on where the spirit is more competitive. However, you can also take on obstacles that challenge you in a good way – like the Spider Web. I was sure I’d have to be rescued like a kitten from a tree halfway up this giant rope jungle gym, but instead I scurried like a Mountain Goat to the top, and was super proud of my climbing skillz. You also get to do obstacles with names like BIG BALLS. The description? ‘When one big, swinging pair is not enough. How about 9 gigantic balls swinging over 4 mucky trenches?’

Photo from Muckfestms.org.

Me at the top of the Spider Web. Photo by Mike Murphy.

Me at the top of the Spider Web. Photo by Mike Murphy.

3) You get free beer at the end. And snacks. And professional photos. And a super cute t-shirt!

Photo from Muckfest MS Facebook page

Photo from Muckfest MS Facebook page

4) You get to walk on water! I tried really hard to be graceful on this one, and not take a tumble, and I made it across unscathed. If you don’t want to walk on water, you can jump in and swim like a duck. Either way, you’ll be encountering some muck.

I'm walkin on sunshine, heeeeeyyy ooooh... Oh, I mean water. Photos via Muckfest MS, facebook.com/muckfestms

I’m walkin on sunshine, heeeeeyyy ooooh… Oh, I mean water. Photos via Muckfest MS, facebook.com/muckfestms

5) You get to have a mucking blast, while knowing that money raised goes to fight MS, a disease that affects over 2 million people worldwide.

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We mucking rock.

Now – who’s doing it in 2015 with me? You can find out more information and the cities near you at MuckfestMS.org.

Have you done a mud run? Would you?

Alyssa’s 3-Day Fundraising: THANK YOU!!!

Hello you guys! I am back from my awesome tour of the U.S. for work, and the past two months I’ve been lucky enough to see the Michigan 3-Day, the Twin Cities 3-Day, the Philadelphia 3-Day, and lastly, the Seattle 3-Day. I had a great time meeting all kinds of participants and being able to tell their stories, and also, learning some training tips for myself. After Philadelphia, Matt and I went to NYC (my first time!), and while I was there, I was shocked to learn I had gotten more donations and was only $71 away from my goal of $2,300. I posted on Facebook, and the next morning, I had surpassed $2,400. Now, a week later, thanks to the generosity of family and friends, I have now reached $2,721! THANK YOU SO MUCH. I am humbled and so grateful for all of your help and support. Your donations make a huge impact, and I know that money will be helping to save somebody’s life.

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One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to eat like the locals do. Above, I’m at Pat’s Steaks, which is a famous Philly Cheese Steak eatery right across the street from Geno’s. The two restaurants have a friendly competition going, and it was fun to compare the line lengths every few minutes. I’m the weirdo that always loves to go in local grocery stores and compare the goods. I can’t wait to share more details about my NY trip with you, because it included a New York Food Tour! I definitely indulged more than I probably should have the last few weeks, but I was also walking mass amounts and pulling some long hours, so I’m hoping it all “weighs out” in the end.

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If you’re interested in making a donation to help fight breast cancer, please support April or Monique, who are both a little over their halfway marks. You can donate to both of them by clicking here. Now that I’ve seen the 3-Day, I can honestly say that it has given me a new appreciation for every minute I have to live on this Earth. The stories of loss are heartbreaking, and having recently just experienced the passing of my mother-in-law, I know the hurt that comes from losing a loved one too soon. However, these painful stories are parallelled by an unwavering sense of HOPE, of dedication, of commitment, of endurance, and above all, of positivity — in knowing that together, we can all work to find a cure. This is why this November I will walk. I walk for my mother-in-law, the stranger in the grocery store with a scarf tied around her head, my neighbor, and for YOU. I walk because we don’t have the luxury of knowing who cancer will choose next. I walk because I believe in the power of positivity. I walk because my health is a gift I can’t take for granted.

I walk because everyone deserves a lifetime.

Every3Minutes