I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.


Sometimes I hit the nail right on the bloody head without trying. 

I’ve been thinking about how little i wrote in 2017. This is not a reflection of the amount I’ve had to say about the year.  Please. I’m a newlywed and a Democrat. I’ve got thoughts. What I have not had is motivation, and not just about writing. I feel like I haven’t been able to get myself to commit and stick with much of anything. I walked out of the gym a few days ago and spoke aloud to myself, as I often do. 

I’m like Matilda when she went to high school. I lost my powers when I went to the advanced level. 

My commute has literally quintupled and I’ve chosen to take on more work because, well, I like making money. That being said, while I suppose anything is possible and I can do anything I put my mind to and insert third encouraging platitude here, my abilities are not limitless. Adjusting to my new life is sucking up my discipline. I do not want to plan meals. I don’t want learn recital programs. I don’t want to plan to PR a race. That doesn’t mean I don’t wish to eat healthily, play the piano, or run races. I simply need the space right now to do so in a more casual manner. 

Sometimes, that’s okay. 

It has to be, otherwise, I just suck. This is my story, and no one is the villain in her own story, right?

What isn’t okay, at any time, is choosing to give up. In a conversation with a close friend, the following exited my mouth – 

Eating is the new dating.

Only a statement like that could be more loaded than my average 2017 plate. Literal and figurative. Going straight to the drive through from the gym gives me a sick thrill. Spontaneous and rebellious.  I have to plan so many things. It’s nice to not to have everything written down, kinda like single Joan didn’t know how the next date was going to go!

Alas, sometimes, I should reckon with the fact that I am a grown ass adult. Anticipating how my blood work will be is not quite as thrilling as the drive through decision. My doctor has already told me I need to do better, and I’ve taken action the best way I feel I can right now. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am not in a place where I am willing to prep my food, so I’m trying a meal delivery service. It feels exorbitant, but let’s be real – so is eating out, as is buying vegetables that I don’t end up eating, not to mention the health care costs down the line if I don’t clean up my act. Someone is gonna get this cash – I may as well get the best results from it. 

Sometimes, you have to start over. 

Sometimes, you find an ideal quote for a post but hate that there is a comma splice. Sometimes, one must settle.


As you are fully aware, cancer sucks. The many volunteers behind One Step Closer to the Cure are tirelessly working so that no one else’s Auntie has to be taken prematurely by ovarian cancer. Collectively, my family did our part contributing about 100,000 literal steps. Here is how my 6,000 went: 

1. 1-2,000

If you want to know how I think I’m going to do during a race, all you must do is check my playlist. Did I set it to shuffle? I’m just here for the cause. Perhaps I spent significant time carefully crafting both the sequence and length of the list. That means the next 33 (Lord willing) minutes are not a drill. When the horn sounds, I’m feeling great out of the gate, man. I’m gonna run this bad boy all the way through. Early on, I experienced the runner’s high that keeps me coming back. Seeing so many teams and friends coming together always helps to add to my gooey feelings. Everyone’s a champ so far, even me! 

2. 2,001 – 4,000

It’s…it’s kind of hot out here. I wanted to push but – eh. I have noticed recently that there’s something about turning in races that is a mental drag for me. It used to exhilarate me, as I would focus on the fact that I am progressing, but right now I deem to be in a place where I think to myself “ugghhhh there’s more!” and my pace drops accordingly. I started running some, then walking some, but still trying to meet my goal. Plus, running whenever I saw my family. 

3. 4,001 – finish 

Okay so maybe my goal was a *tad* ambitious based on my current fitness level. I blame the stress and snacks that Hurricane Irma swept in! She was a big heffa, you ‘member? I was moving forward but “Imma own this!” had devolved into “Ugh let’s finish and get breakfast.” Then the most amazing thing happened. 

“Hi Daphne! You’re beautiful! You’re doing great, keep going!” 

Several different waves of emotion came over me. Thankfulness for being Daphne’s niece. Humbled by the fact that she can still touch lives, 7 years after her death. GUILT! For whining about a slow pace in a healthy body. This woman who God brought to me at just the right time was cheering ME on – the girl who is fighting 5k while she is fighting ovarian cancer.  I learned later that she also Auntie Daph serves on the board of the foundation that puts on the race. Man. I suck for thinking that I suck. I started running a bit more and digging until the end. 

I need to pray for the spirit of people like that amazing lady and Auntie Daph to fill me, not just when I run but in my every day life. Every step God gives us is a blessing and it’s my prayer that I start to act like it! 

Call me George

Remember when I was saying 2017 was gonna be about fitness and halves? Here’s the update as of the close of July: 

Weight lost: -1.5 lbs

Half-marathons completed: 0.5 

Pretty underwhelming, wouldn’t you say? Especially the pound of weight GAIN! Ugh. I get so tired of myself, to be frank. I suppose half of a half isn’t too bad, considering I have been running shorter distances, but as much as I enjoy the epic feeling of that distance, my brain and body are not allowing me to focus. I am not saying that as a cop-out, because Lord knows I hate that, but I am simply not there right now. Not only did I underestimate how long a 15k is, but I believe I did not take into account that I would want some time before really digging deep again after finishing my marathon in December. I always have a tough time with my health after life transitions. Who could have anticipated that it would be taxing to 

  1. Get married
  2. Move in with my husband
  3. Become a stepmom 

Tell me WHO could have seen that coming? 

I am at the point again where I need help and accountability to get fit again and it makes me so sad. Embarrassed. I should know better. I definitely didn’t spend my summer doing that and I could and should have. How many times can tomorrow be another day? Until there are no more tomorrows? It’s tiring. That being said, if I am to be obedient, I am to love myself, which means taking care of my body. THAT being said, it is difficult for me to be hopeful for the future. How can I get excited about going up when I’m just going to come down again? 

Four More Years! 

Happy Raceaversary to me, from me! 

That’s right. I’m the one (via God’s grace, naturalmente) who is the cause for the celebration! I have been running for FOUR years, like the consummate politician! So, since I’m the one who decides every day whether I am a runner, I shall outline here why I believe I should continue to support my racing and thus my overall well-being. 

1. There are fewer more glorious feelings than crossing a finish line. 

It doesn’t matter if I see a finish line and feel relief or triumph. I have never been disappointed when I reach it, even if I think I could have had a better day on the course. Every one means that I started something, committed to it, and saw it to fruition. 

2. I know how I can improve. 

While I am not at my peak of fitness currently, I know there is hope for me to become a better runner than I ever have been. I may not be a beginner, but I pray that I have just seen the beginning of my running career. I can learn to be both more disciplined in some areas and more forgiving in others. Let’s be real – there’s nothing else that motivates me to be physically healthy. 

3. It has made me a more open person. 

I have run (rimshot!) into people who have changed my life. Granted, I knew The Mentor before I started running, but I likely wouldn’t have started without her. I’ve gotten to know countless amazing people, like Blonde Oprah and 3M. Because of running, I am open to meeting more people and both learning from them and giving to them. 

Every step I take in a race is a gift from God. May He grant me at least another 4 more years! A vote for running is a vote for Joanie! 

I don’t think I’ve seen a truer race sign.

Evidently, training for a marathon has made me a stronger runner – who could have anticipated that, right? According to the same plan I used to train, I am now within striking distance of setting a half marathon PR. Obviously, that means I have to put in the time to make that happen. The training gods have set out a 9 mile long run for me on my 15 week path to glory. Me: “Let’s find a 15K! Free PR!” 
Having run a quarter marathon 3 weeks earlier and a full marathon 2 months ago, I thought to myself, ‘9 miles isn’t really that much! I’ll have a big bowl of oatmeal and I’ll hydrate along the course. I don’t need to take any gel with me!’ Sigh. I know you’re already shaking your head at me if you are an endurance athlete of any kind. Don’t get ahead of me, although I’ll be the first to admit that with insufficient fuel before and during the race that not getting ahead of me is no small feat. See what I did there? 

I showed up at the starting line feeling confident, nonetheless. The plan: an 11 minute mile pace. Approximately an hour and forty minutes of my life. No big deal. Within the first two miles of the race, I heard someone call my name. “Joanie?” I turned to see Sweetness, this cool chick who also comes to boot camp. I smiled as we caught and kept up with another (I did it again, see?). I told her I was trying to do an 11 minute mile, and she said that was cool. I groaned inwardly, not because running with Sweetness was lame but because I saw the 2 mile marker and was thinking, “Damn. It’s only been 2 miles?” Not a good sign. Hah! I wish I were as good at racing as I am at making witty puns. I digress. 

After about mile 4, I was tasting Sweetness’s candied dust. If only it had been caloric, because that was sure what I needed! As the race continued, my pace continued to slow. I had to switch to run/walk intervals, which I personally don’t frown upon as a matter of course, but I sure don’t like it when it’s a matter of poor planning! I am quite sure I looked like death because a man along the course saw me and said, “Keep going! You look great!” I needed it, though. I wasn’t actually dying, and let’s be real – I wasn’t getting back to my car unless I finished the race. 

I looked to my right and saw Tampa General Hospital. ‘I should check myself into the psych ward.’ I may be out of glycogen but dammit the wit is still here. I pressed on until I crossed the finish line, where Sweetness had been for God only knows how long. She thanked me for pacing her and I had to laugh. 

Finishing is always sweet.

Today’s lesson? 9.3 miles is not short, and it sure isn’t long enough to shed any weight. Eat up. 

Still booty-ful.

Fat and Happy? 

It’s February and I’m afraid to weigh myself. 

I hate to say that I’m one of those people, but I started the year really well on a detox. I lost my marathon weight and was feeling better. I won’t post all the details here, but I went to the doctor one day and left feeling fat and frustrated, so I’ve been slowly but surely returning to my habits. 

I am seeing that it isn’t so much the taste of unhealthy food that I crave, but I have allowed my life to become so busy that I prefer the “liberation” of not planning workouts or meals. Of course, the word of the Lord proves true for me – I am not at peace when I do not keep the law, or healthy living, in this case. 
I must say, however, that there is much hope in my most recent race performances. Shortly after the marathon, I was concerned that I was permanently slower than I have been. I see now that this is not the case. I am coming close to some of my best times – and I am fat. That is AWESOME. That means if I get it together and get my vision back, the best shape of my life could still be ahead of me. 

Some dilemma, no? I could be healthier and faster but I don’t feel like planning my meals and doing tough workouts right now. Joan. Seriously? What if Baby J comes on the scene in 2018 and it’s game over for the time being? What if life just happens and I get an injury that sets me back? I am happy that my body seems to have bounced back from my marathon, but Lord knows I will be truly happy only when I place some restraint on myself and work toward the best body I can. He gave it to me! Can’t have all the cupcakes! 

Girl Power: Race Report 

It’s a nice feeling to go to bed the night before a race, having eaten without a goal in mind aside from surviving. I had a nice, leisurely dinner with Adonis, excited about sharing a 5k with several girls from school who would be running their first. My colleague, Running for Two, and I have been training the Girl Power Running Club since August, helping them with their stamina and pacing. In the beginning, I ran with the slower ones and she with the faster; as she became more pregnant and my marathon training ended, we switched roles. At our last practice, our first finishers came in between 33 and 36 minutes, so I was expecting a relatively chill morning. As I walked to the starting line with RFT, 14 girls, and their parents, I was feeling nervous, but it wasn’t for me. I just wanted my girls to pace themselves and be happy. 

That changed. Quickly. Literally! 

My speedy girls took off and I ran with them, slightly behind. I checked my watch. I saw an 8 – and it wasn’t in the seconds place. Blast you, youthful adrenaline! I found myself hoping that the girls actually couldn’t maintain their pace because I knew that I couldn’t. Thankfully, that 8 became a 9 within a reasonable amount of time. I saw that the two girls ahead of me were using me as motivation to keep going. Each time they slowed to a walk, one would look for me. “Don’t let me catch you!” I shouted, knowing that I probably couldn’t, heh. 

After about half the race, I did end up catching up, but only because as I had thought (and hoped, for my sake!), they started too fast. I was still running with a girl, who went a bit ahead of me. I don’t know if she knew she was pacing me. She would walk sometimes and I yelled at her to keep going. By the last mile, I remembered why I don’t enjoy short races as much. I had to make the choice between swallowing and slowing down. I checked my heart rate. 145. Lies. I was hauling, but it’s good to know that I can smile like I’m enjoying every moment. 

We made the last turn for the finish line. I looked at my watch – under 30 minutes. I knew she was on track to probably get a prize for her age group. “RUN!” I screamed. Whoa. Was I going to finish under 30 minutes too? Aaaaaaaand no. But she did! I crossed the timing mat at 30:06, feeling pleased at my best 5k performance in a long time and thankful that I wasn’t left in the dust. 

I reminded Speedy to keep walking to bring her heart rate down, then we walked over to cheer in the rest of our runners. Most of the girls looked really strong as they crossed. I ran in with several of them, as did Speedy. They all were really excited to get their medals. RFT crossed with the last of the girls. We took a group picture, looking notably more fatigued than we had an hour earlier, but surely the bling made up for it! 

We stuck around for the awards ceremony. I was chatting with some parents when I heard the most insane thing. 

My name. Whaaaaaaaaat?! 

I squealed and ran up to dj’s booth. “Where do I go?!” I got another medal and met Berry! 

I thanked Speedy, who had placed 2nd in her AG (!) profusely. I knew I couldn’t have done it without her motivating me. It’s amazing how by doing your best, you can help people without your knowing it, no matter how old you are. Most of the girls said that they couldn’t wait to run again next year! Winning! 

Girl Power Is Legit. 

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