Weigh-In Wednesday: Week 17

WIW graphic for post
Weigh-In Wednesday Weekly Stats

Weight Watchers Week Number: 17

Lbs Lost this Week: + 1.2

Lbs Lost Total: – 15.4

WW Stars Earned this Week: None

Food of the Week

salad and spaghetti

I made homeade spaghetti and meatballs this week (gluten-free), which was a real treat! I made sure to include a fresh salad with fresh tomatoes and peppers from the garden. I bought a gigantic tub of spinach and baby lettuce leaves so we are having a salad with dinner about every night now. It has also served as lunch for me during the day with some tuna or other vegetables added in.

Activity of the Week

grace at wagfest

While my ankle is healing, it is still tender to the touch, which means I have been easy on it the past three weeks now. We were at Wagfest (a festival for dogs) all day Saturday and while I wasn’t exercising per say, I was moving around and got a lot of fresh air on a short dog walk Saturday and again on Sunday (Monday was National Dog Day in case you missed it). Being outside in nature definitely helped improve my mood, but I am sure a lack of regular physical activity for this much time now has contributed to my gain this week.

Personal Weight Loss Goals (crossed off when reached)

I want to lose…

10 lbs

20 lbs

30 lbs

35 lbs

40 lbs

45 lbs

50 lbs

55 lbs

60 lbs

65 lbs

70 lbs

Personal Fitness Goals (crossed off when reached)

I will…

Run a 5K  Read all about it here.

Run a Mud/Obstacle Race (Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run 5K; Columbus, Ohio September 14, 2013)

Run a Quarter Marathon or 10K

Run a Half Marathon

Start Strength Training (again)

Backpack (more)

Start Biking

Reflections

So my 31st birthday is THIS Friday and THIS is happening this weekend in Troy, Ohio. It’s really all I can think about (other than I wish my ankle would heal so I can exercise again and I think I heal slower on blood thinners for some reason). I cannot wait, I cannot wait, I cannot wait, but I will wait! Stay tuned for my post on Friday about why Mumford and Sons means so much to me. Many have asked and now I will tell!

Reader’s Recap

my article

I’m really excited to have had the opportunity this past week to do some writing outside of this blog. Don’t miss my published article in the premier issue of Fit Columbus, a new fitness and healthy lifestyle magazine now available in Columbus, Ohio. You can read my article here. Also, head on over to This Crazy Life of Mine by my fellow blogger Nanci and read my guest post.

Question of the Week

me collage

I’ve been feeling creative (not necessarily good!) with my camera lately. What do you think of weekly posts that are just photographs and maybe a caption? Yay or nay? Should I do that or continue including photos in the Weekly Weigh-In Post? Do you view photograph-only posts on other blogs or breeze by? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

Until the next mile marker,

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Writer for Hire: Why I Need a Blog School Scholarship

Writer for Hire

I feel like the last two years of my life have been mostly a nightmare. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some good times, but for the most part, I wish to declare a do-over and wake up in a different reality. I wish I could open my eyes one morning and find out that Mom isn’t really gone – just returning from her four mile run at the park and sending me an excited text to tell me how it went. That the pain in my calf and then side wasn’t a blood clot that broke lose, traveled though my heart and lodged in my lung almost costing me my life – just plantar fasciitis and out of shape lungs. That the job I had tried for two years to land wasn’t the one I also lost less than three months after being discharged from the hospital due to my inability to handle what had happened to me and an intense career – just a trial run in what would be the real thing down the line after I was on my way to recovery. Now here I am, almost a year after losing my job, trying to find my path not only in a career, but in life – a writer for hire, which is why I need a Blog Genie Blog School Scholarship.

I’ve been blogging since 2009 when I first started running. I remember my first post (click if you dare) vividly. It was a welcome-to-my-life post and I fervently refreshed the page every five seconds waiting for someone to read it. No one did. For a long time. I read blog after blog after blog that impressed me with its style, design, content and comments. I would comment when I read something I liked, that inspired me or made me think. And then one day, one of those bloggers commented on my post and I felt like a million dollars. Slowly, my blog began to grow and I gained a small but loyal group of followers. These people, who are still with me today, are the ones that helped shape my blog into what you see now.

I’ve earned ambassadorships like that of FitFluential where I learned on a near daily basis (and continue to learn) how to be a better blogger and influential fitness leader – even when I feel anything less than that. I’ve earned several blogging awards, which have all helped my blog to grow over the years. I have received numerous products and books to review as well as developed some amazing relationships with brands, race directors, and fellow runners and bloggers. I remember when I used to think none of these things would happen on my blog.

I’ve gone through a transfer to Word Press and two design changes, all thanks to Rita at Blog Genie who brought my blog out of the bland, flat, cookie-cutter look that so many blogs have in the beginning. She helped capture the essence of Words to Run By and built a beautiful site where I could continue to talk about running, writing and remembering, part of my re-brand with my most recent design change. I began to focus on writing good content – without a full-time job to consume my time, I could write freely and compose posts with greater attention to detail and composition.

My most treasured accomplishments are those I have made in writing, including guest posting on other sites and a (albeit small) paid writing opportunity involving blood clot awareness. I felt like my content suddenly mattered, which inspired me to begin a second blog totally devoted to blood clot awareness – Blood Clot Recovery Network.

I’ve put countless hours, sleepless nights, significant amounts of money (self-hosted is not free after all) and even tears (okay, a lot of tears sometimes) into making Words to Run By what it is today.

And yet, I know it can still be better, which is why I am applying to Blog Genie’s Blog School’s Scholarship Giveaway. Blog School is an intensive six month program designed by Rita to make your blog the best it can be – and it starts soon! This is the part where I am completely transparent with you – and even now, that’s not always easy – I want this scholarship because no, I do not have a job yet and let’s face it, life is expensive. Blog School is a luxury I can’t afford right now, but would love to participate in the program to build even better content, improve SEO marketing, gain readers, page views and comments and maybe even make money writing on my blog or through my blog.

Even more important than needing the scholarship due to financial hardships, though, is what I believe Blog School can do for my blog. I want to make my writing – and I write primarily on my blog – my business. I believe I can do it, I want to do it, but I also know I need the tools to be successful in building an even better blog. And, I also know I just don’t have them on my own, which is why blog school is of vital importance in helping me reach my blogging goals. What I do have is the time, the commitment, the devotion and the passion to get the most out of what Blog School has to offer. I’m not afraid to work hard and at this point, there’s nowhere to go but up right?! I’ve had a lot of setbacks – and I believe Blog School can be the launching pad into what will be the next – and hopefully greatest – chapter in my life.

Until the next mile marker,

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You CAN Build A Remarkable Blog

As bloggers, it is only natural to compare ourselves to other bloggers. And, if you’re anything like me, you strive to make your blog better. Whether it be increasing comments, generating unique page views, creating better content, redesigning your graphics or making money from your site, you can build a remarkable blog.  And, you can do these things without blogging consuming your life.

Are you ready to find out how?

If you have the passion to make your blogging dream happen, then all you need is the knowledge and tools to get there and now you can take advantage of that knowledge with a free, 3 part training series: Build Your Remarkable Blog. The series is part of Blog School, designed by Blog Genie and is all you need to get started building your remarkable blog.

The three-part training series will be delivered over 3 weeks, one lesson & worksheet every Tuesday, starting July 23 – that’s tomorrow.

The topics of the training are:

  1. Are You Blogging In the Right Niche? – Release date July 23 – that’s tomorrow!
  2. The Art of Getting Things Done – Release date July 30
  3. Believe You Can – Release date August 6

The goal of this program is to give you, my readers, something of great value to improve your blog even if you do not attend blog school. I have invested in Blog Genie to build this website and also Blood Clot Recovery Network for me and I am continually impressed by the service I have received. It is definitely worth signing up for the training series, plus it doesn’t cost you anything!

It’s free and it starts tomorrow – sign up HERE. What are you waiting for to build your remarkable blog?

Until the next mile marker,

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Your Photos Made Easy with Easy Canvas Prints

Framed front view edited with text and c

As a blogger, I get pretty excited about photos, especially if they are ones I like (or have taken) and can share to enhance the story I want to tell or my blog’s appearance in general. And, now with Instagram and Pinterest, it is even more fun to share the photos we take on a moment’s notice with the rest of the world. Once in a while, I even capture a shot that I wouldn’t mind hanging up in my house – one might even consider it a work of art. Easy Canvas Prints lets everyone turn their treasured photos into works of art. In an easy four step process you can have your photos printed on high quality canvas, professionally stretched and gallery wrapped for a stunning look that anyone would be proud to display.

I recently captured this photo, which I love because the cardinal was my mom’s favorite bird and they will always remind me of her, as they reminded her of her mother, my grandmother.

Orig Cardinal Photo

When Easy Canvas Prints contacted me about reviewing a canvas, I was really excited to give it a try with a photo. Last time I worked with Easy Canvas Prints, I made a text canvas, which I love and it is still hanging on my ‘wall of inspiration’ today.

The Design Studio is really simple to use and you can now upload your photos directly from Facebook or Instagram-

Design studio uploading

And the art gallery style wrapping options are definitely the most fun to select-

Design studio image wrapping

Here is what I decided to create using the Easy Canvas Prints Design Studio-

Front view of canvas edited with logo and text

I’m really happy with how my photo turned out-

Canvas with crochet heart 2 FAV orig

Side-Bottom view of canvas orig

Back of canvas orig

The only thing I would caution you is to select an image that is of high quality (the Design Studio will help you with this too). I chose an image that I had blurred for effect on my phone and I was not able to undo the edit so I had to choose a smaller canvas. Mine is an 8 X 8, which fits nicely on an otherwise crowded office wall. The customer service representatives at Easy Canvas Prints are very helpful and patient, and actually contacted me by email before my canvas went into production to let me know 8 X 8 was the largest I should go without losing image quality based on my original photo.

My photo shipped promptly within a week and was well packaged so there was no risk of damage in the mail. It also came with wall mounts so I wasted no time in hanging it!

Easy Canvas Prints are really affordable beginning at around $30 and make great gifts, especially with Mother’s Day, graduations, and weddings coming up this spring and summer. Be sure to connect with Easy Canvas Prints on Facebook  to take advantage of frequent specials and discounts they offer. You can also give back with Easy Canvas Prints Canvas for a Cause. By ordering through Canvas for a Cause, a percentage of the retail value of your order will be donated to the non-profit partner of your choice.

Happy designing!

Until the next mile marker,

*Please note, I was not compensated in any way to write this review, and I was not asked to write a positive one. The opinions and image appearing in this post are expressly my own. I was contacted by Easy Canvas Prints and asked if I would like to review a canvas of my choice. Thank you to Easy Canvas Prints for this opportunity.    

If You’re a Runner and it Hurts, See a Doctor

Maybe it is because I am studying to achieve my RRCA Coaching Certification or because of my personal experiencing coaching sometimes less experienced runners, that it becomes a very big (not to mention personal) issue when I see others not only giving bad advice, but actually discouraging individuals who may be injured from seeing a medical professional. This is a huge concern and major problem in my opinion. If you’re a runner and it hurts, see a doctor.

see a doctor graphic

As you may know, I’ve been having trouble sleeping. I know I shouldn’t (because then it makes it nearly impossible to fall back to sleep), but I tend to get online when I am awake at night and write, check email or work on this blog. In the early hours of Saturday, I woke up to a Facebook message from a friend asking me to check out a post in a popular running forum. His concern was that one of the people looking for advice may have been experiencing a blood clot.

I immediately found it (Please note, names have been concealed to protect the not-so-innocent). My main concern is highlighted in red (and no, it is not the glaring typo, because I make those too).

Forum concern don't see a doc original edited

If it hurts, see a doctor.

It says, “don’t see a doctor, they might just advise you not run at all.” And there are Likes after it. I think something in my brain exploded. And, even though I was furious and it would have been easy to tag this one particular person in regards to what I see as a grave error, I responded with a link to Could You Have a Blood Clot? and advised that Jennifer please see a doctor just to be sure, especially if she was continually experiencing intense pain.

WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU ADVISE SOMEONE NOT TO SEE A DOCTOR? Because you might not be able to run. Because you might have to take a break. Because you might hear what you don’t want to hear. Because it very well could impact your training. Because the months and months you spent training could have to take a back burner to a bigger flame. Because no one, not even myself, thinks it could happen to them.

I understand. Really, I do.

BUT IT IS NOT WORTH IT. No race, no training schedule, no event is worth what I went through. Jennifer describes “experiencing intense pain in [her] calf. [That had been] hurting since [her] last run on Wednesday which was 6 miles.” This post was three days later.

I ran two miles on a Saturday and by Sunday night I was in the hospital with blood clots in my leg and lung that nearly claimed my life. I had intense calf pain. I was convinced it was a muscle pull due to an extended break or laziness or anything else. I couldn’t have been more wrong. In 25% of the people who experience a pulmonary embolism (or blood clot in the lung), the first symptom is sudden death. A pulmonary embolism comes from a blood clot, most often in your calf. This is serious, people. And I am outraged.

Sure, Jennifer could be experiencing muscle soreness. She could have pulled or torn a muscle. Her body could be fatigued or dehydrated.

Or it could be a blood clot.

I realize I don’t know any other thing about Jennifer’s training or injuries or well, anything. But just what if. Even if it’s not a blood clot, even if it’s nothing, I will always, always recommend my runners, my friends, my family; my acquaintances get it checked out. Listen to your body. It won’t lie to you. It tells you when something is wrong, sometimes gravely and sometimes not. Take the time to find out. You can always decide not to do what the doctor recommends if you believe your training is more important. You can’t just bounce back from a blood clot or something worse.

I don’t know what happened in Jennifer’s case. Maybe her doctor would have encouraged her to rest, not to run or to walk it off. Maybe her doctor would have ordered an imaging scan to rule out clots. Maybe her doctor would have determined it was nothing. Maybe her pain is gone now. Maybe none of this would even make a difference. Who knows? I do know most people wrongly assume athletes or runners or active people do not suffer from blood clots. And that simply is not true. 

I do know many, many posts in this forum centered around injuries and please don’t misunderstand me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with engaging in a forum or website to find out about potential injuries, but always, always follow up with a trained medical professional. It could save your life.

What about you? What do you think about the advice given in this case? Do you tend to seek professional medical advice or shrug it off if you can until the pain is unbearable (we’ve all been there)? Do you see bad advice being given in running forums, especially pertaining to medical issues? Does this type of advice make you angry like it does me?

Until the next mile marker,