Saturday, April 30, 2011

How Did I Get Here?

I think anyone who has ever struggled with a weight problem has had those moments in front of a mirror where they look at themselves and think: "How did I let this happen?"

Everyone's story is different, but I think we share some similar experiences. For me, the cycle of fat-to-thin has always involved having a totally unrealistic view of how I actually look. What do I mean by that? I mean that I've been fighting with my weight for so long and starting from such a young age, that no matter what size I am, I see myself as fat.

At my thinnest ever I was a size 6/8. I'm only 5' 1.5" tall, so according to BMI and height/weight charts, I'm supposed to weight between 95-121 pounds. I've never gotten close. When I was at a size 6/8 (which I'd LOVE to be now), I would literally break down and cry over my weight. I was eating well and working hard to achieve a 'healthy' weight and I seemed unable to do so. I look back now and see pictures of myself and wonder what was I thinking? I looked GREAT. I was eating well, I was active. I was healthy.

While I was at my thinnest, I traveled to New York to see my musician brother play a couple of concerts. I walked into a restaurant to meet him and his friends and he didn't recognize me, which I attributed to my new haircut. It took me months to realize he didn't recognize me because I was so thin. I look at pictures from that trip and wonder how that was ever me. And then I remember how I cried in the hotel because I was embarrassed to have been hanging out with his friends while I was so fat. Writing this down, I sound kind of crazy and unstable, but I think anyone who has gone through the dieting yo-yo understands what I'm trying to say. I showed pictures of the trip to Emily (the same Emily who is writing here!) and she echoed my brother's sentiment: she wouldn't have recognized me had she seen me then.

And then there is the flip side-- Even thought I couldn't properly understand and celebrate when I looked good and lived a healthy lifestyle, I also couldn't see when I was getting honestly fat again. It's like somehow this median view of how I was at one specific point gets burned into my retinas and it's all I can see when I look in the mirror. Sure, the number on the scale changes and I have to buy new, bigger, pants, but I never truly see how I look. So I get bigger. And bigger. And bigger. And eating and not exercising is fun, because it means more time to eat and hang out with friends, who also eat (but somehow don't get bigger). And I get bigger. And bigger. Until I'm here.

What snaps me out of it? In this case-- one photo. This photo:


You can't see it here because I cropped the others people out for their privacy, but I LITERALLY took up half that couch. I know some of you are saying, "It's not that bad, Julie." But it is. And not because of how I look, but because I let myself get out of control and become so unhealthy and, yes, fat.

I have a lot of excuses, some of them are even pretty good. But, the bottom line is that I have to do something, and this is why I'm running now.

Because of the allergies and being officially diagnosed with the 'short end of the metabolic stick', I may not lose a ton of weight. I've been told to expect that and I'm trying to be ok with that. I'm not yet, but I'm trying to be. Most days, if I'm being honest, I totally freak out before I walk into the gym because I'm not sure I can do this. I'm not sure I want to spend the time if I'm never going to look any better than I do now. I'm not sure I want to risk the public failure.

The bottom line? If I'm going to look like the girl in this picture, I at least have to know I can do whatever I want to do physically by being in shape.

That's how I got here. That's why I'm doing this. And this time I want to install some sort of backup default so I don't get here again.

Friday, April 29, 2011

What is a Latex Allergy: Part Two- Latex and Food (Latex-Fruit Syndrome)

(In my best announcer voice) Welcome to What is a Latex Allergy, Part Two, Latex and Food!

I wrote in Defining a Latex Allergy: Part One about places and things that contain latex, but as I’ve mentioned before, a latex allergy is two-fold, the second part involving a cross-reactive relationship with food. This cross-reactive relationship is often called 'latex-fruit syndrome.'

The science behind all this gets wordy and complicated, and is described well here. Put simply—some foods share a structural similarity with one or many of the latex proteins. Because of this, someone with a moderate to server latex allergy will react to a number of foods. This reaction can range from gastrointestinal discomfort to hives and swelling to anaphylaxis. Because there is still so much research to be done on latex allergies, and so much going on currently, the list of foods differs slightly depending on the source of the list.

Foods are classified by their degree of similarity to latex (the degree of prevalence of the latex/latex similar proteins). The following list is from the American Latex Allergy Association (ALAA):

Degree of Association or Prevalence:

High (4)
Banana
Avocado
Chestnut
Kiwi

Moderate (7)
Apple
Carrot
Celery
Papaya
Potato
Tomato
Melons

Low or undetermined (33)
Pear, Mango, Sweet Pepper,
Peach, Rye, Cayenne Pepper,
Plum, Wheat, Shellfish,
Cherry, Hazelnut, Sunflower Seed,
Pineapple, Walnut, Citrus Fruits,
Strawberry, Soybean, Coconut,
Fig, Peanut, Chick Pea,
Grape, Buckwheat, Castor Bean,
Apricot, Dill, Lychee,
Passion Fruit, Oregano, Zucchini,
Nectarine, Sage, Persimmon

Now—let’s make things even more complicated. Because different people react to different proteins in latex, which foods someone with a latex allergy will react to differs by individual. Furthermore, sometimes reactions occur when a certain combination of foods is consumed even though, individually, the foods do not cause a reaction.

As I’ve stated before, everyone’s allergy and reactions are different, so for now I’m going to talk about the latex cross reactions with food as they apply to my particular situation.

Since the onset of my latex allergy, there are some foods I cannot eat or even allow to touch my food—those are pineapple, strawberries, kiwi and citrus fruits. Pineapple is the only food to ever cause me to have shortness of breath, but many have caused my face to swell and some serious gastrointestinal distress. There are more that I cannot eat, but I can pick them out of my food and I can handle/clean/prepare them without a problem. And there are others, including apples, chick peas and peanuts that I don’t react to at all.

The best description of allergies I’ve ever gotten was from an allergist that described allergic responses as being like a big bowl. When the bowl is empty, you can drip in it five, ten or even a hundred times and nothing will happen. But, when the bowl is full, one drip will send it overflowing, and then you have to drain the bowl before you can add to it again.This is very much the case for me and my reactions to food. Some days I can get away with eating any number of things off the list above, and others they will immediately cause a problem. The problem is this: there is no way of knowing what drip is going to overflow the bowl. So, the best plan is to avoid foods I know cause problems at all times, even when I really want to cheat and eat them. Also, as I’ve discovered, you never really know when one of these foods might trigger for the first time. I had never had a problem with zucchini until all of the sudden I had a sever reaction.

EVEN MORE FUN--- the metaphorical ‘allergy bowl’ is not exclusive to one allergy. It’s not like you get a separate bowl for a pollen allergy and a peanut allergy and a whatever allergy; they all drip in one place. For me, this has meant that allergies I had prior to developing the latex allergy have become more severe. Since I was a kid, I’ve had allergies to dust, mold, ragweed, cats and some medications. They were a problem when I was a little girl, but were not very prominent through my teens/early 20s. Now, because latex is so common in everyday life and ‘drips into the bowl’ daily, I react to dust, cats and mold with far more severity. Mold has also added to the food allergy list, as it is prominent in some cheeses, red-wine, beer, vinegar, condiments, and a number of other foods.

What has helped me navigate the food allergens has been a combination of writing down what I eat so I have a reference point if/when I react, and talking to others. Many allergies, including latex, can be genetic. Or, in my case, the predisposition to the allergy can be genetic—there are members of my family that exhibit some traits of the allergy, but I’m the first (that we know of) lucky girl to trigger the full-blown allergy. For example—my mom is allergic to strawberries and has, over the past several years, developed reactions to a few other latex-related fruits. We were discussing this at a family function and suddenly, it seemed everyone had a random fruit to add, all of which are in the same category. This has helped us all know what we may have difficulty with in the future.

Talking also helped me discover things that I didn’t know were allergic and have just always assumed were normal—like, I guess I’ve always had a problem with pineapple and strawberries and I didn’t really know it. I made some comment to friend one night about how I don’t really miss pineapple or strawberries because they make your mouth hurt when you eat them. I thought this was normal—I chalked it up to the acidity of the fruit. It wasn’t until they all started at me funny that I realized it wasn’t.

One thing that I’ve learned from all this is that it’s important to determine why you don’t like something when you eat it. I’ve never liked vinegar or condiments, which my doctors now attribute to a natural defense mechanism in my body. I’ve naturally been averted to some foods that are now serious problems for me; I just didn’t always recognize the signs. In fact, in the few months leading up to the full onset of my latex allergy, I was practically living on Rolaids for a constantly upset stomach, which I attributed to stress from my job. It turns out I was just eating a high percentage of foods that I didn’t know I was allergic to, yet. I think this is most relevant when dealing with kids and food allergies and I urge parents to talk to your kids about the foods they don’t like. Sure, getting a ‘real’ answer from a kid as to why they hate spinach might be difficult, but I believe that starting the dialogue is important. If your kid tells you that something makes their tummy hurt, take them seriously. As adults we sometimes assume that kids are scamming their way out of eating healthy things, when, in reality, some of them may be trying to let us know that something is wrong.

Helpful tips for I've picked up along the way:


- If you have kids, watch them for reactions to food. This could be a gastrointestinal reaction, hives/skip reactions or something as simple as redness around the lips and face. A sever reaction is easy to spot, but a less sever reaction may not be as obvious. As stated above, have a dialogue with your kids about what they like and don't like and why.

-Don't be afraid to feed someone with a food allergy.If you want to have someone with a food allergy over for a meal, don't be afraid! It is a good precaution to ask whoever it is if there is anything they absolutely cannot have near their food. If your guest offers to bring a dish, please allow them to do so, even if you have the meal under control. Often, if I'm going to someone's home, I'll offer to bring a dish so that I'm sure there is something I can eat without being totally rude. Don't be offended if your guest declines to eat something or asks for exact ingredients; he/she isn't trying to be rude, it's most likely and attempt to avoid a problem!

-Don't be afraid to ask questions. This goes for people with allergies and those without, alike! If you have allergies, do not be afraid to ask what ingredients are in food, whether it is at friend's house, a party, or in a restaurant. I often phrase my question like, "I have sever allergies, can you please let me know the full list of ingredients in this?" It is rarely a problem and, as long as you do it nicely, most waiter/waitresses are happy to help. If you don't have allergies, don't be afraid to ask questions of your friends that do. Most of us will never be offended and are happy to help explain why we can/cannot eat certain things. We appreciate that you want to know and that you are trying to feed us without killing us.

- Chain Restaurants May Not Be Your Friend: There are a number of chain restaurants that have their food pre-prepared. It arrives to the restaurant already ready to cook, and often cannot be altered to meet dietary needs. I have discovered that there are certain places I just can't eat for this reason.

So, it’s taken two very long post to explain how this works, but hopefully now you understand a bit about how I ended up living off bread, pasta, and cake for the past several years, and how getting back onto a healthy diet is going to be a feat. I really hope that you’ll decide to follow here and share your experiences with trying to get fit and healthy, even if they are totally different from mine and Emily’s.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Running while well-endowed

So, what does someone need when they start running? One of our first commenters suggested that all a new runner needs is “shoes and a good sports bra.”

Even though we see many commercials for performance-enhancing shoes of all types, I have never had a hard time finding shoes that fit and serve their purpose.

Bras on the other hand… ugh.

What is a girl to do when she’s… ahem… well-endowed? Running without the right bra is AWFUL. (Heck, doing ANYTHING without the right bra is awful.) And what is the right bra? If you do a quick search online, you can see that the statistics vary on how many women are currently wearing the incorrect size bra, but it’s a staggering number (over 50%)!

I do NOT have the luxury of running in to any store and picking out the cutest and cheapest bras.I think the cheapest bra I ever purchased (that fit me correctly) was on sale for $30, and I was super excited to find that price. I used to go to a specialty store, where I got a professional fitting for all of my bras. There should be someone at every department store that is trained in bra fittings and I would totally recommend taking an advantage of that if you can!

I’ve heard of women with large chests wearing a double layer of sports bras, which I admit is something I have never tried. However, I decided to bite the bullet and shell out the money for some Enell bras. I forget where I first saw that brand, but it’s quite possible I first saw it on Oprah (I know she did a special on bra fitting). I have two of them right now and I’ve been quite pleased with them over the past few years. I have felt much more stable in secure in these bras than in anything else I’ve tried. They do come with a “more than average” price tag, but for the quality and stability, I have found them worth every penny!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for creating this post, these bras are just the only product I have found to work for me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What is a Latex Allergy: Part One

I’ve been working for a while to do a really great post on exactly what a latex allergy is and how it can effect someone’s (or a family’s ) daily life. I’ve decided the best way to do this is to break this into two posts—a post about the latex allergy and products that contain latex, and a separate post about its cross reactions with food.

To start- the American Latex Allergy Association (ALAA) defines a latex allergy as an allergy to one or more of the proteins in the natural rubber latex. There are two types of latex allergies, the Type I and the Type IV. They are defined by ALAA as:

Type I (immediate-type) hypersensitivity
Natural Rubber Latex Allergy (NRL) is an IgE-mediated, immediate type hypersensitivity reaction to one or more proteins in natural rubber latex (Hevea brasiliensis). Histamine is release causing symptoms. This reaction is systemic.

Type IV (delayed-type) hypersensitivity is a T cell-mediated, delayed response, and typically occurs 48 to 96 hours after exposure. This is frequently a reaction to the processing chemicals used in manufacturing natural rubber latex (NRL). This reaction is generally localized to the area of contact. This reaction is also referred to as allergic contact dermatitis, T-cell-mediated allergy, or chemical allergy.

They also mention a third type, which is not technically an allergy, but deserves to be mentioned here, as it is not uncommon:

Irritant Contact Dermatitis is a non-allergic reaction. Symptoms typically are dry, irritated, and/or fissured lesions.

So—what does this all mean in normal person speak? Basically, it’s saying there are three ways you can react to latex—one is not technically an allergy, but a sensitivity that causes skin irritation (Irritant Contact Dermatitis). Another is a Type I allergy. Someone with a Type I allergy will react immediately to contact with latex, including spores in the air, and may have respiratory reactions. Finlay, there is the Type IV, which involves having a delayed response to contact, including spores in the air, and the reaction is generally localized and non-respiratory. Both Type I and Type IV, to the best of my knowledge, are cross reactive with food, which, in addition to the symptoms already listed, can cause gastrointestinal distress.

Even more simply put: There are varying degrees of reactions to latex, just like any allergy. Latex, like peanuts or bee stings (or any other allergen), can send some people into anaphylaxis, whereas some people may just experience discomfort.

Where do I fit on this scale? Somewhere in the middle. For the most part, I fit the profile of a Type IV, however, a few things have caused shortness of breath. (Hence, I carry an epi-pen.) My most common reaction is swollen lips, hives on my face and on the site of contact, and gastrointestinal distress.
How much latex can there be in everyday life? Before I developed this allergy, I would have guessed only a few places: gloves, condoms, balloons, maybe medical equipment. What I’ve learned? It’s EVERYWHERE. Latex is commonly found in…
- shoes
- pillows
- mattresses
- Elastic
- Clothing, especially undergarments and socks
- Cell phone and remote control buttons
- Dental products used in fillings, sealants and root canals
- Contraceptive devices
- Blood pressure cuffs, stethoscope tubing, and other medical equipment
- Spandex
- Bandages (like Band-Aids)
- Gym equipment (including mats, resistance bands, balls, and some cardio machines)
- Office equipment, such as mouse pads, keyboards, and rubber-gripped pens
- Feminine sanitary products
- Diapers
- Pacifies and baby-bottle nipples
- Rubber toys
- Sporting equipment, especially swim caps and bathing suits
- Toothbrushes with rubber grips or handles
- Rubber Sink Stoppers and bathmats
- Electrical cords and water hoses
- Eye pieces on cameras, telescopes, or binoculars

The list goes on, but you get the idea—it’s kind of everywhere. And, since, for many people, a latex allergy is sudden onset (like me!), you have to totally re-think your home to get rid of items that literally make you sick. I spent six months sleeping on a latex pillow and waking up feeling sluggish and with a swollen face every morning, and totally unaware of the culprit! Even more tricky? Allergy-free or hypoallergenic alternatives to many products are made of latex, as latex can often be easier to clean to remove dust and mold allergens.

What would I recommend, based on my experiences, for anyone who is diagnosed with a latex allergy? 
  • Walk through you house and literally touch/look at every item. (Only if it is safe for you to do so! If you have respiratory reactions or sever reactions of any kind, recruit someone else to do this.)Think in your head, “what is this made out of?” We sometimes forget about items in our everyday lives because they are so mundane—it’s those items (like pillows!) that can be secretly poisoning us.
  • Ask questions before you buy a product.I email or call companies before I buy or use a lot of things. Companies are generally really receptive and quick in their responses.This includes food companies, which I'll discuss more in my post on how latex relates to food.
  • Write things down and take pictures.Allergies are often hard to treat. I went to several doctors before figuring mine out. The problem is that you generally aren’t having a reaction in the doctor’s office. I started taking pictures of my reactions and keeping a detailed diary of where I went and what I ate. This helped me talk to the doctor, and it also helped me figure out where and what to change in my daily life.
  • Talk. A lot. Talking to others with the same allergy is beneficial not only for tips on what to buy and not buy, but also it can help you find support. Anyone with any allergy knows that sometimes you feel frustrated and isolated, and finding others is key to feeling supported. Also, talking helped me discover more about my own allergy, its genetic roots in my family tree, and how it affects me.You also learn that things you thought were normal (like something making you feel tired or sick), is not normal.
 
Stay tuned for What is a Latex Allergy: Part Two- Latex Allergies and Food.

Sources:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Favorite snacks

Hey again, it's Emily!

As (some/most/all?) of you know, I’m a graduate student. Due to my schedule, I actually have to eat lunch during my class on Mondays and Wednesdays, and I'm generally just busy. My homework load varies wildly, and there are days where I can’t plan how late I’ll be staying up finishing work or how much time I'll have to prepare food. I have outside extracurricular responsibilities that I’m passionate about, but take my time away from other work I need to do. So what's a girl to do?


Not only is it necessary that I maintain my food budget (it's no good for my wallet to hit vending machines for the mid-afternoon munchies!), but it’s also necessary that I have food on hand that I can cook easily, snacks that are healthy that I can eat at home and grab on the go.

Here are some of my favorite healthy snacks:


Grab and Go:
  • Carrot sticks
  • Sweet pepper strips
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Raw almonds
  • Cheese
  • Granola bars (although these can contain a ton of calories and sugar, so I try not to eat these all the time!)
Eat at Home:
  • Plain yogurt with honey
  • Smoothies (made with various ingredients, but usually milk, frozen strawberries, and plain yogurt, sometimes with the addition of fresh spinach or honey)

What are some other healthy and budget-friendly snacks that you enjoy?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Anatomy of My Workout

Subtitled: Worst Picture of Julie Ever
Also Subtitled: Julie is the creepy lady in the gym with a camera.

Hi - it's Julie here!

I am working on a couple of posts that really detail how a latex allergy (and other allergies) work, but they aren't ready yet, so I thought it would be fun to start my showing you what exactly my workout looks like right now, including what gear I'm using. I have an appointment with a trainer at my gym next week, so it will be interesting to see what she changes. I'll update you with her report!

So- when I joined the gym, I had to buy new workout clothes because I was too big for the stuff I had. I hadn't been to a gym or on a workout in almost four years. My original workout was 30 min. 3-4 times a week on the elliptical and then about 20 min of weights 2-3 times a week. I've now changed to to 30 min of running/walking according to the Couch to 5K plan, which I do 3-4 times per week (I'm on Week 2, Day 3). I've kept my weights the same.

Weight wise, I wanted to focus on toning up my arms and my core. I have disproportionally large arms that have always been a source of discontent for me, regardless of my size, so I really want to tone them up. I put my weight plan together based on things that I'd been taught in the past by various friends and fitness professionals. For my core, I have been doing machines that build ab and back muscles. For my arms, I've been doing machines that work on biceps, triceps and shoulders. I also do the leg press, two hip machines, and the chest press. I'm curious to see how the trainer alters this.

When I go to the gym-- here is a look at what I'm bringing. I usually also have my ipod, but I dropped the headphones in the toilet at the gym last night (NO JOKE, I do dumb stuff like this more than I'd like to admit). Here is what the 'dashboard' of my treadmill looks like. (Right now, all my running is on a treadmill-- I plan to take it outside when I finish the Couch to 5K and can handle a move vigorous run).


First, I printed out the treadmill times for the daily Couch to 5K program in big print so it's easy to read and follow while I'm working out. This has been a big help for me. Not having to think about the timing and just being able to follow it and visually see on the sheet that I'm half way done, etc., is very helpful for me. Second, I always carry my epi-pen, emergency contact card, and topical Bendaryl. The gym is full of latex based things and I don't ever want to be in a situation where I don't have my epi-pen. Luckily, I've never needed to use mine, but I don't want the day to come where I do need it and I don't have it. The topical Benadryl is great for me because most the reactions I have start as hives or discomfort on the skin. Keeping the travel size spray bottle handy helps me keep a reaction under control once it starts. I do use that one quite a bit while at the gym. Finally, you see my sweat towel, because I sweat like a man. No joke. I just use a kitchen towel because it's a good size. I'm not sure if there is any particular benefit to getting a sport towel or not. So far, this works for me!

So that take us to what I'm wearing during a workout.This pic was taken post workout, just to prove I'm actually trying to run. :-)



So, I mentioned I had to buy all new gear-- what you are seeing here is $20 at work! I bought both the carpi pants and the shirt, as well as a package of cotton socks for $20 on the sale rack.The shirt is from the men's department. (Yes, I just admitted that on the internet.) As any lady with larger than normal arms knows, girl workout shirts are just SO tiny! I was not comfortable in something so tight as a lady's shirt, so I opted for a man's size. What I like about it is the wicking fabric. What I don't like is, now that I'm running, the extra fabric in the arm-pits chafes a little bit. The capri's are just 100% cotton, drawstring workout pants. I tend to opt for the 100% cotton, elastic free stuff because of my latex allergy.

What's on my workout wish list?

- New shoes. I know how important it is to have the right shoes to run. I'm still researching the best latex free options.
- Clothes made for running to prevent chafing.
- A water bottle with a straw or squeeze top so that I can drink while running.
- An MP3 player that clips to my clothes
- A running watch.

Runners out there: What's your workout look like? What's your favorite gear?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Introducing Emily

Hi there! I’m Emily!

I never thought of myself as athletic. Ever. I played recreational soccer from age 5 to 16, but I loathed going to practice. I loved the competition, but the training always irked me. Running drills? No thanks - I’d rather just play the games on Saturdays! Running the mile? It was my least favorite part of elementary school gym!

So, why am I going to train for a half marathon? I have started fitness regimens with great gusto – even going so far as to hire a personal trainer for a few months on a very tight budget – and then I go back to my old habits just as soon as I face a setback. In the last 7 years, my weight has fluctuated almost 40 pounds… and I’m seeing the highest numbers on the scales that I’ve ever seen.

I need to get fit. I want to be a healthy weight. I want to feel confident in my clothes. I want to set a goal – a big goal like a half marathon – and accomplish it.

My parents trained for a marathon (the whole 26.2 mile shebang) over 10 years ago and while I was impressed, I didn’t understand just how much of a commitment that was! But I’m ready for this. I have great companions along the way and I’m going to go for this half marathon. Oh, and I will be wearing a tiara and a tutu during those 13.1 miles.

Why the blog? I want the accountability and, as Julie said, we need support and sponsors to do this. Since I don’t have the allergies that Julie does, my focus on the blog will be on healthy eating on a budget, finding the time to work out with a busy schedule, and, well, anything else that I feel like talking about!

Why the Disney Princess Half Marathon? We want to do it because their whole weekend promotes health and fitness for women and we love the magic of Disney. We want to celebrate our journey to a healthy lifestyle by running like princesses. Time to run like a girl!

It's time to Run Like A Girl.

Hi, I'm Julie and I'm allergic to latex. (yes, you can giggle)

Why does this matter? Why is this the first post in a blog about running?

Because latex is everywhere and in everything. It is in shoes, bras, clothing, gym equipment, and is related to many fruits and veggies. What does this mean for a girl like me? It means that in the five years since the onset of my allergy, I've gotten fat.

For someone like me who has struggled with he weight since I was 10 years old, a latex allergy was a license to eat junk and sit on the couch. Exercise has never been my thing, but cupcakes for SURE have-- mix this with being allergic to latex? BAD NEWS.

But now, I'm determined to get fit again.

At the time I developed my allergy, I was the thinnest I'd ever been and in the best shape of my life. I'm determined to get that back! Even if I'm never as thin as I was then, I want to know I can physically do anything demanded of me. Most simply? I want to go up the stairs to my apartment without feeling like my lungs are going to explode.

So here's what I've done: I re-worked my budget and scrounged up come cash to join a gym. I even had a special epi-pen pouch made so I can holster it onto my water bottle due to the ubiquity of latex in a gym setting. I was pretty content to settle for a few days a week on the elliptical machine...but......

My cousin proposed to me an idea that got me thinking......

She wants to run the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon. It's a half marathon through the Disney Parks in Florida where you dress up like a princess.

At first I laughed.

Then.....

I thought a little bit.......

And though: WHY NOT???

And then I saw the price tag on the event...anyone ever looked at the cost of a trip to Disney that requires 2-4 nights in (they suggest) a Disney hotel during an event weekend? The registration fee alone is over $100 (last published fee was $120, but I haven't found the updated 2012 cost). Anyone looked at the cost of latex free sports gear? YEAH....it's sad and scary and makes my bank account cry itself to sleep.

So- this is my plan. I'm going to train like I'm going to run the race. I started the couch to 5K program (which I'll blog about soon!) as soon as we hatched this idea, and I have 10 months to get from zero to 13.1 miles. Can I do it? WHO KNOWS. But I sure am going to try.

I'm also going to look for sponsors who want to help make this happen. Looking for a fat to fit poster girl to advertise for you? I'm your girl. Do you make latex-free products and want a really loud mouthpiece to shout about them? I'm your girl.

I own an etsy shop with an accompanying blog and a twitter account with 400+ followers, and I'm happy to take part in any of your advertising.

So-- all you companies out there-- GIVE US YOUR MONEY. :-)

On this blog, Emily (my cousin), possibly another friend who may be training with us, and I will discuss:
- Who we are, why we want to do this, etc.
- Our training (none of us are runners, this is new to us!)
- Our eating - we will focus on healthy eating while cooking for one. We are both single ladies and all you single people out there know how hard it can be to cook healthy things for yourself, especially while staying on a budget!
- Budget friendly fitness and eating (I work admin, Emily is a grad student-- budget friendly is a very big deal. Especially considering my student loans *shudder*)
- Anything else that might happen along the way.

There are several ways you can help us reach our goal of running the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon, 2012:

- You can sponsor us financially. If you are interested, please contact me at julievisiondesigns (at) gmail (dot) com.

- You can give us some gear, which we will use and review here on this blog.

-  You can advertise with us! See that sad, empty space in the side bar and footer?? IT COULD BE YOURS! Contact me at julievisiondesigns (at) gmail (dot) com for prices and info!

- You can make this blog look better. Clearly, blog design is not our game. If you can make this blog look more appealing to potential sponsors, that would be amazing!

- Got a better idea? I'm all ears. Comment or email me! I started the blog because I can't run without sponsors. I brought the other girls in to write because it's more fun that way! If you have ideas or suggestions for one or all of us to obtain advertisers or sponsorship, give us a shout!

Most of all, we hope you'll offer us moral support as we get off the couch and try to run. We don't know a lot about this, but we do know that it's about time for us to get fit. It's time we felt strong. It's time for us to RUN LIKE GIRLS.