April’s 3-day Experience – The Hard Part

When you walk 52 miles in 3 days, you expect to lose weight.

Before the 3-day breast cancer event began, I recall having a conversation with my sister and our 3-day alumni team mate, Aubrey. As my sister and I joked about how much weight we should lose despite all the snacking we would do, Aubrey sat with a big smile on her face ready to burst our bubbles. “Actually,” Aubrey said, “Unfortunately most people gain weight on the 3-day because it basically is a 3-day buffet.”

Aubrey was so right. After three days of continuous munching mile after mile, I ended up gaining six pounds. SIX POUNDS OF PURE MUSCLE. Hah. Or six pounds of calluses.

While accepting my weight gain and dealing with my calluses were some of the less positive moments revolving around the 3-day event, they certainly were not the hardest part of it.

One of the hardest parts of  being part of  this walk was dealing with the people who chose to use the opportunity of  my eager participation to quickly bash Susan G. Komen for whatever reason they had previously heard before.  From the very moment I started to share my involvement with the 3-day with other people, I constantly found myself in a debate over the controversies that have faced Komen over the past years. Friends and random people I would interact with in public found it easy to quickly turn my attempt at doing something positive into a chance to completely make me feel like crap for what I was doing. Yes, Komen has dealt with some pretty gnarly accusations and on another blog, I might be comfortable enough to open up the debate but my overall feeling is this:

If an organization exists and successfully helps a massive amount of people, then why is it OK for someone to verbally  tear apart a person for being involved?

I also found it interesting that all the people (as far as I knew) had never themselves tried to do some sort of major fundraising challenge. Yet it was so easy for them to instantly bring up all the negativity around something that I was just trying to be optimistic about.

But through all the controversy and debates, the real hard part was the reason I was there.  After losing friends and family over the past few years to an assortment of types of cancer, I was walking because I wanted to walk and honor the people that had been effected by cancer in the past.

I had made a simple banner that said “Always in our heart” and on the last day during lunch, my three teammates and I circled around it armed with a Sharpee and way too many names to write down.

Standing proud.

The Double Chin Divas standing with honor and love.

When we were done we had over 100 names of people we were walking for who had battled cancer.

As Monique, Aubrey, Alyssa and I walked into the closing ceremony at Petco Park in San Diego, we carried the banner with so much love for the names on that pink piece of fabric. It was definitely one of the saddest but most uplifting moments of my life as I walked with my eyes full of tears towards the finish line. Behind the thousands of us in our white-for-walker Komen shirts, a group of beaming breast cancer survivors stood ready in their special pink shirts for their moment to walk across the finish line. Finally, when all of us in our walker-whites were across the line, we were asked to lift one shoe for the “One Shoe Salute” as the survivors crossed the finish line.

As soon as that group of women (and some men) started across that line, a flash of memories stored in my mind came over me as fast as my eyes were pouring out tears. Like every single person there at the event, we all came to honor someone who has faced cancer. The 3-day walk was EASY compared to what people face through cancer. All the pain I was feeling in my feet didn’t matter as my brain shifted into an extreme moment of reflection of why I participated in the first place.

Lucas in the snow of Germany.

Memories of blog posts that my friend Lucas Brooks had written about his colon cancer treatments…Happy smiles of him in the snow in Germany during his last couple months alive…The sunset our town had the night he passed…

Flashes of  my friend Scott Schipper playing his saxophone with one of his favorite bands, Less Than Jake, months before he died… The impact Scott was able to make by starting  the cancer organization “Thrive!”…

The moment my family was told that Alyssa’s mother-in-law Shirley had liver cancer… The way she smiled months later as she told us that her perfect blonde hair was actually a wig during a night we had dinner.. and then the way she was glowing the night I said goodbye to her before she left us for the heavens above.

Smiling Shirley and her son, Matt (Alyssa’s Husband)

The 3-day walk was such an incredibly fun experience and through all the blisters and tears, the absolute hardest past of the event was the overall reason it exists in the first place.

Cancer has taken millions of peoples lives and continues to be the second leading cause of death after heart disease.

According to medicalnewstoday.com, “In 2014, about 585,720 American are expected to die of cancer – almost 1,600 people per day.”

With so many people hurt by cancer, besides hoping and fighting towards a cure, the best we can do for the people we love who are facing cancer today, or to those of you who may be battling cancer right now, is to use every single day as a gift. We are fortunate to be here. We are fortunate to be able to wake up every morning, hopefully in good health, and to be able to see the sky show off its daily sunrise and sunset. We are fortunate to have friends and family to hold our hands and keep the faith strong, even when our own faith has dwindled.

For everyone we have lost, their memory lives on in all of us who are still here today.

 

A gift from Lucas Brooks.

 

With so much love,

AprilSignatur

 

 

 

PS: Special thanks to the awesome people at Chia Warrior for graciously providing us with delicious chia fuel through out our 3-Day journey!

 

 

 

What’s up, Wednesday?

VROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM.

There, that’s better. I just vacuumed up the spider webs and dust from the Double Chin Diary for your viewing pleasure. Oh man, seriously. I’ve been away from the blog for two weeks! April has also been away. Hopefully we’ll get back to a regular schedule soon. Unfortunately, I was away for a sad reason, as I lost a very special family member two weeks ago to cancer. I was in my hometown in Northern California for almost two weeks.  I’ll share more when I feel ready, but I can say that grief has a powerful effect on eating. For some people it causes them to lose their appetite, and for others, it makes them want to eat everything in sight.  This time around, I was the latter. But now I’m back home and back into the routine, having logged a good workout and healthy meals like 15-bean soup. Gotta get back on track! Since I’ve been away for so long I figured I’d just ramble on about a couple different things. Yup!

1) This isn’t my first rodeo with trying to lose weight, but one thing’s for sure: activity is good. It doesn’t have to be an hour long sweat sesh for me to feel the benefits of exercise on my body. I took some long walks (one was 5.36 miles — working my way up to 60 miles for the 3-Day!) while I was away, and all of those walks left me feeling better. My body gets awfully tense and creaky when I’m not keeping it in motion. A good reminder for the future. (Also, how cute is my Katie K. Active  top? Score 15% off and free shipping with code ALYSSA15 — more formal review to come!)

Strolling through Schollenberger Park in Petaluma

Strolling through Schollenberger Park in Petaluma

2) I’m a telecommuter, and I gotta say, dogs make good coworkers. Can you guys help convince my landlord that I need a dog now?! This is Sadie, my inlaw’s beautiful retriever. Apparently she likes lemons.

golden retriever lemons

Pucker up, Sadie!

3) I’m super happy that Summer is almost here! Summer is my favorite season (followed by Fall, then Spring, then Winter). I got to spend the first part of Memorial Day weekend hanging around my friend Susie’s beautiful pool. I’ve gotten a lot more serious now about sunscreen, thanks to a pre-cancerous mole I had to have sheared off not once, but twice. WEAR SUNSCREEN, people! That’s your PSA for the day. Hence my stylish Havana Hat and shades. But beyond sunscreen, summer means that FITBLOGGIN is right around the corner! I’ll be headin’ to Savannah at the end of June, and I can’t wait. Any must-sees in Savannah?

Cover up in the sun!

Cover up in the sun!

4) Being back in Northern California meant I got to spend some time with my awesome boss and coworker who also live in the bay. I stopped on my way home from lunch with them to stretch my legs at Vista Point, a beautiful scenic overlook at the Golden Gate Bridge. How amazing is this? I live in such a beautiful place.

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Vista Point, San Francisco

5) Lastly, I’m thinking about cancelling my Total Woman gym membership. I’ve been doing a ton of walk training lately, and I’m not happy with Total Woman’s super packed classes. They tried to set up a system where you sign in for a class before it starts and that will determine maximum capacity, but tonight was one time to many where I arrived 20 minutes early for a class and it was already past capacity. Then, the classes I do manage to get into are so packed you can’t comfortably move around. Is this a problem I just need to get used to, or does anyone have any other gym suggestions? I want to check out LA Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, Curves, and my local YMCA. Let me know if you have any suggestions! The most important thing to me are flexible hours and a variety of classes.

That’s all I got. What’s happenin’ with you? 🙂

 

I’m walkin’

I am so stoked to announce that I am going to be joining Alyssa and the rest of the Double Chin Divas for the Susan G. Komen 3-day walk!  Alyssa, Aubrey, Monique, and myself are going to be taking on sixty miles at the end of November in the beautiful city of San Diego. I’ve got this vision in my head of thousands of people in pink walking together, laughing, crying, and sharing all sorts of experiences as well as making new ones.   I picture myself walking into a tent city as the evening sun paints the sky with pink and yellow, a reminder to me of the people who are looking down from the skies above.   I can see the neatly arranged rows of pink triangle tents, ready to take in their weary guests after a long day of walking.   I envision myself waking up in the morning as soon as the sun begins to beat down on our tent and laughing with Alyssa at how once again, while sleeping next to each other, we woke up “butt-to-butt.”

With all these visions I can see for myself in my future, there is no guarantee that I will make it. That’s the thing about life, there are no guarantees that anyone will make it to what they envision for their future.  And that is exactly why I want to walk.  None of us know exactly how long we have here on this gorgeous earth.  Some people live for 100 years, some for 75 years, some for just 75 days.  The point is that while I’m here in this capable body, I will do whatever I can do to make life a little easier for someone else, whether it is simply holding the door open for someone or by walking sixty miles.

Nancy G. Brinker, the sister of Susan G. Komen, promised Susan that she would do whatever she could to find a cure for this disease.   With dedication and the help of millions of supporters, Susan G. Komen has provided over $800 million dollars in research and nearly $1.7 billion dollars in funding for screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs that serves millions of people in more than 30 different countries.

If you can help me make it to November 21st, the Double Chin Diva’s day to shine like the sun that will be above the sea of pink, please donate to my personal fundraising page.  If you can not donate, even just sending out happy thoughts for myself and my team mates to reach our goals would be lovely as well!  I’m so happy that I have the opportunity to do this walk and look forward to seeing what sorts of fundraising ideas I can do.

Click the heart to visit my fundraising page! Thank you!

Do you have any fundraising ideas for me?

Thank you and enjoy your Thursday!

Love,

AprilSignatur

 

 

What’s up, Wednesday?

I've been nomming on my garden grown Kale ... carb-free!

I’ve been nomming on my garden grown Kale … carb-free!

Hello, hello. I hope your day is off to a nice start, or if you’re reading this in the afternoon/evening, that it’s been AWESOME so far! I have a mish-mash of randomness to chat about today. The first is, results of my weekly Weight Watchers weigh-in. I was having trouble with motivation this week, even though I’ve been cutting carbs like a champ. As outlined in several PCOS/Low Glycemic diet guide books, I’m trying to stick to 100 carb grams or less per day. It’s actually a very doable amount, in that you can still have bites here and there of yummy carbs like red potatoes, it’s just the “empty carbs” that have to go. I just wasn’t feeling the whole “constantly trying to lose weight” thing, especially since I found an old journal from five years ago where I weighed exactly one pound less than I do now. That sent me into this whole “Why do I even bother?” type mindset, making me think things like “Maybe this is just who I am. Maybe I just need to accept that this is my weight, forever.” However, common sense spoke, as it often eventually does, and my friend who’s also dieting reminded me that we’re not getting any younger, and there’s the whole health thing to worry about. I ate the chip off my shoulder, and moved on. I forced myself to weigh in today, and while I dreaded stepping on the scale even though I knew I had done alright, I was rewarded with a 1.5 pound loss, making my total weight loss hover around 22 pounds. That was a good reminder for me that sometimes you just need to SHOW UP to find new inspiration. I have a semi-goal of trying to shed 8 more pounds before my Cabo San Lucas vacation in May. I say semi-goal because as I’ve learned with PCOS, setting up a numerical goal is sometimes a bad idea, because my body bloats like a sponge in water, and jeans/measurements are a much more reliable factor for me. But you get the drift. I’m tryin’ to be good. Enough of that, let’s talk about VIKINGS!

I'll refrain from making a bad Helga/Olga joke, but you know what I'm thinking about singing!

I’ll refrain from making a bad Helga/Olga joke, but you know what I’m thinking about singing!

Remember how I wrote a post about how I’m not fat, I’m just a viking? On Sunday, the husband and my mom and I trekked up to California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks for the Scandinavian Festival! We got to hear stories, lore and historical facts (like the fact that nobody likes Lutefisk), and there were all sorts of cool crafts for kids, like making floral wreaths and butter knifes. I, for one, most enjoyed the dress up, as you can see by the photo above. We enjoyed traditional Swedish fare of roasted corn (Yeah, not really traditional Swedish fare), curly fries, and fresh berries with cream, and spent some time shopping at all the little Norwegian/Swedish vendors. I got a cute blue and yellow horse that says ‘Vilkommen’ to hang on my front door. Here’s me in a traditional Swedish kitchen, feeling right at home amongst the cabbages.

Scandinavian Festival

Sweet Swedes in a traditional Swedish kitchen

Lastly, I have some good stuff to tell you guys about in the next few days! In the “I’m becoming a hippie” vein, I’ve stumbled upon some really cool natural healing/wellness products from a brand called Bio-Ray. Using some of their herbal detox products in conjunction with now weekly acupuncture has helped some of the ongoing health issues I’ve been having. I’ll have more details for you soon. I am also excited to share a low-calorie banana split recipe in the next few days, courtesy of some amazing light, all natural ice-cream from my friends at Halo Top Creamery. I’ll be spending some time in Palm Springs over the next few days, and when I’m not hanging with my desert tortoise friends or logging training miles walking around the living desert, I hope to be catching up on writing some more posts. Ok, I lied, I have one more thing to tell you about…

Woohoo! Let's keep fundraising and walking!

Woohoo! Let’s keep fundraising and walking!

 

Lastly (for real this time) thank you SO MUCH for your support of me and the 3-Day! In my first day of fundraising I raised $469, which is 20% of my total goal of $2,300. I am humbled and overwhelmed by the amazing encouragement you all have given me. Thank you, thank you, thank you! $2,300 will allow me to walk 60 miles in San Diego with my team, the Double Chin Divas. Can anybody out there make a $31 donation and help me reach my first mini goal of $500? Once I’ve met $500, we don’t have to stop there — keep those donations coming! One $60 donation funds a walker for the whole 3 days, and a $35 donation funds transportation costs for a patient undergoing chemotherapy. If you can’t make a donation, consider registering for the 3-Day and walking with the Double Chin Divas! (Don’t worry – if you’re a dude and would prefer not to be a diva, we’ll make a concession and make your shirt say Double Chin Dude 😉 ) Using the code TEAM20 at The3Day.org through April 16 will save you $20 off your registration, making it $50. We’ll have a blast training together, walking together, and kicking cancer’s butt.

That’s all I got for today. Keep on rockin’!

 

I’m walking 60 miles in 3 days.

Remember how a few weeks ago, I teased that I had an announcement to make? This is it! I’ve decided that this November, I’ll be walking 60 miles over three days in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. I’ll be walking alongside my friend Aubrey, and hopefully some of you, with the Double Chin Divas — a team made up solely of people who are invested in not only their health, but the health of women and men worldwide. While the 3-Day is specifically an event to help end breast cancer, I’m walking these miles not only against breast cancer; but against liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, brain cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, and every other type of cancer that’s ever touched the lives of anyone you and I have ever loved. (And sadly, I know that cancer has touched and taken many lives.)

This year, an old classmate of mine, Scott Schipper, passed away after a courageous fight against colon cancer. He was 29 years old, just a few months older than I am. 29. I turn 29 in a month. Think about that. There’s so much I want to do, to be, to see. I’m only 29. Scott was only 29. Scott was an incredibly enigmatic person. I first met him in high school marching band, and that kid never left home without his saxophone. He was a class clown, but the friendly kind, never somebody to bully or taunt, but leave you with that goofy perma-grin that only a true comedian can. When I heard that he had passed, I was filled with an overwhelming sadness, but also, a rage. Scott’s passing is just one too many. Cancer has touched far too many lives. This year has brought a long and unfortunate list to mind of those fighting cancer. Their bravery stuns me, amazes me, touches me, and above all, propels me into action. I can’t directly cure cancer. But what I can do is donate my time and energy to a cause that I care about deeply.

DoubleChinDiary_SusanGKomen_The3day_60miles_alyssacurran_breastcancer

3 Days. 60 Miles. $2,300.

While I train to walk 60 miles, I will also be fundraising. I need to raise $2,300 to participate in the walk, and 100% of the net proceeds raised by participants in the 3-Day are invested in community-based breast health programs and breast cancer research. $2,300 is a big number. It’s intimidating. But, it’s a lot more intimidating to think about twiddling my thumbs and remaining passive about the fact that cancer is effing with the wrong group of people. I’d like to ask for your help as I prepare for this amazing journey. Can you spare something to help fight cancer?

A $75 donation will help two breast cancer patients get to and from their treatment sessions. A $120 donation will fund the cost of one life-saving mammogram. With your donation, please share the name of a person you’d like me to walk in memory of, or in honor of. I will gladly carry their name with me every step of my journey. You will see a lot about my 3-Day journey in the coming months on this blog. I will be selling ad space to help me fundraise, and I’m hoping to host fun events like a “Boob-b-q”.

Beyond fundraising and kicking cancer’s butt, I’m looking forward to the satisfying physical effects that long distance walking will help with; increased energy, toning, stamina, stress reduction, and above all, weight loss! The 3-Day is a win-win for me. I’ll be fighting breast cancer, getting fit, helping others, and making a difference. And above all, that’s what this blog has always been about. Making a difference in the way I viewed my own body. Making a difference in the way I approach weight loss, and ultimately, making a difference in my health. I invite you today to make a difference not only in your health, but in the health of the estimated 232,000 women who will receive a breast cancer diagnosis this year. Together, we can impact change, and create hope. Won’t you join me?

Please help me kick off my fundraising with a donation today.

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day

Are you interesting in joining the Double Chin Divas team? Click here for more information about the San Diego 3-Day. You can use code TEAM20 now through April 16 to save $20 on your registration. Aubrey and I would love to have you! Besides the walking and fundraising, there’s a ton of cool stuff that happens on the actual event — camping in PINK tents, dance parties, trail mix, delicious food pitstops every couple miles, entertainment… it’s basically a giant party for three days. Sounds good to me! To see more of what it’s going to be like, check out this board on Pinterest.

Do you have any advice for me, either about fundraising, walking long distance, or anything else? You know I always love to hear what you have to say. 🙂

Love,

The Double Chin Diary Siggy