Monday, December 22, 2014


So Saturday was my first Christmas run ever.  It was a ton of fun and I got to run through the Christmas lights at the ocean front.  I am a huge fan of them and I love Christmas, so it was a bonus.  +Lori and Avery came with me for this race.  That was exciting because they haven't seen me race since my half.  It was also nice because it finished inside at the Convention Center.  I had a solid goal time of breaking the 9 minute average barrier.  I didn't do it but that was alright.  It was a tough start due to the amount of people in each Corral.  But I still had fun and killed my PR time.  I ran my fastest 5 mile run ever.  I ran a 9:07 pace.  I was really happy with that.

As I was thinking about my times,. I decided to look back at my times and I was blown away by how much I have taken off my times.  I ran my first race in March at the Shamrock, ran another 8k in June, and this race this weekend.  So here is my breakdown of my running paces this year.

March: Shamrock 8k - 12:18
June: CHKD 8k - 11:38
October: Anthem 10k - 9: 51
November: Turkey Trot - 9:04
December: Surf N Santa 5 Miler - 9:07

I can't believe I have taken off over 3 minutes off my average race.  I guess that is what happens when you get in shape and lose over 100 pounds.  As always, J & A does a great job and the after party was fun.

I look forward to the race next year.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

When the Cold Wind Blows..........Stay Inside.

I remember in Michigan never being cold.  Not ever.  I used to laugh at people down here all bundled up when it is 40 degrees out.  Now I am that person.  Mostly because I have lost over 100 pounds and I don't have that hibernation warmth.  But I am always cold.  I am cold when I run.  I am cold when I go outside to my car.  It's funny because when you are really fat, you become accustomed to being fat and warm.  I haven't been this weight, really, ever in my adult life.  Dang, I even asked for a fancy wind proof, rain proof jacket.  I never even owned one in Michigan.  Not even my double husky fancy $160 North Face fleece can't even defend me from the cold crisp air of the mid Atlantic.  It's terrible.  I always have to have gloves on too.  And in my office, last winter I made fun of all my coworkers being cold.  But at the end of the day, I would rather be cold or wearing really baggy clothes.

This is just one of the prime examples of new feelings in my life.  Another one was this past weekend at a holiday party.  I was a bit overwhelmed with all the flattering remarks from the people who haven't seen me in a long time.  I also needed to go out and buy a nice casual dress shirt for functions because I literally have no clothes left in that department.  Most the new clothes I have are either for exercise or work.  No social event clothes.  But again, it makes me feel good.

You know, there is no code, book, idea, or story anyone can tell you when you lose weight.  No one ever told me how much it would change me emotionally and physically.  No one ever told me how people would react.  No one ever told me I would hear a bunch of naysayers.  It's funny when you hear people say, "you have lost too much weight".  Like really, I am still clinically obese.  My doctor will tell me that.  Any medical professional would.  As I struggled two weeks ago about what I should do at Weight Watchers I reminded myself of why I am doing what I do.  My doctor had written me a note that I can be at lifetime weight at 230 pounds (which I have already surpassed).  After kind of getting the cold shoulder from my coordinator, I went home and thought long and hard.  I decided that I am not at my lifetime weight.  No way of cheating.  I haven't weighed in since I last weighed in but I know I am still going to lose pretty easily.  So I need to regroup, meet with my doctor and figure out a good goal weight.  I am scared to have to maintain.  I am also scared of not having a low enough goal weight.  But I want something that I can accomplish.  And MAINTAIN.  I am probably going to go with 210.  I need to meet with my doctor but I think that would be a good weight.  My dad was always around that weight.

Another funny story is when I went shopping Monday before my movie. I sent a picture to my wife with a top I found.  It was sweet.  But it wasn't something I would normally wear.
It was a large.  Which blew me away too.  But I liked it.  Last night i am talking to my wife and she says, "That's not something I have ever seen you wear".  I was like, "I know, that's because I was never able to fit into normal size clothes and they never sell cool things for fatties."  I learned this week that a positive of being thinner is being able to buy clothes that are more fashionable or hip.  use whatever you want to call it.  But it felt great.

Everyday I struggle with my new identity.  I know people around me do to.  But it is here to stay.
This shirt is pimp

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


For a long time.  My dream weight loss goal was 100 pounds.  It was crazy to think I would even get here.  I didn't expect to actually hit it.  I guess I was just not ready to handle it.  And I am not.  I have been pretty stressed out since I hit the 100 pound mark.  This past weekend I had a conversation with my Weight Watchers leader and we talked about maintenance.  Quite frankly, it scares me.  I have never been in a place in my life where i just need to maintain.  Either I need to lose weight or, oh, wait, that's all I have ever needed to do.

I am scared if I don't lose, I will gain.  I am also scared that I will just gain it all back.  It's just new territory.  I have never been here.  I also don't know where I need to go.  Should I go lower?  How much lower?  It is hard because so many people think I have lost too much weight.  Which annoys me.  It's not the thing you want to hear when you worked so hard at losing weight.

Overall though, I am happy I am here and I know what it took.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

VB Turkey Trot 10k Recap

So I finally got home from hunting camp.  I didn't shoot anything.  But I can say that i am very happy with my weight loss.  It made hunting and all the hard work so much easier.  Anyways,  I ran the Turkey Trot 10k in Virginia Beach.  it went really well.  Actually my fastest time ever.  It definitely doesn't have the tradition and feeling of the Turkey Trot in Detroit, but it will have to suffice for the rest of my life.  I ran fantastic.  It was my fastest pace ever.  I ran a 56:20.  Which is faster than the last 8k I did.  I also ran past a coworker of mine.  He was pretty surprised that i passed him.

I am just proud of how much faster I have been and how much healthier I have been.  I am looking forward to my 2015 goals.

Monday, November 24, 2014

100 pounds

This weekend was a bit crazy.  A lot of stuff is going on personally but a lot of things are going on with the family.  It is that time of year.  But the best thing happened.  After 14 months of hard work and making healthier decisions, I finally hit the century mark for weight  loss.  I LOST 100 POUNDS.  Actually, I have lost 103.  Its crazy, the last few weeks have been pretty stressful leading up to this.  It's just a huge number.  It's a significant marker in life.

It has been a whirlwind weekend.  A lot of ups and downs.  We had our unveiling of our Christmas lights Saturday.  We had some friends and family over.  We also decorated the inside yesterday before our big hunting trip.

I don't really have another Weight Watchers goal.  Which scares the hell out of me but I know I am in a happy place.  I just need to pick a new one.

I never thought I would be in the 220's again.  But I am very happy.

Monday, November 17, 2014

0.8 pounds

Saturday i weighed in for the first time wondering if I was really going to realize my goal weight loss of one hundred pounds.  I needed 3.2 to lose.  The week before I had lost that amount so I knew it was possible.  I also did really good during the week even with all the stress.  I was really hoping I would hit it.  My goal was to get the one hundred pound weight loss before thanksgiving.  It was key to my success because I wouldn't be weighing in for a few more weeks due to hunting.

I lost 2.4 pounds and I am 0.8 away from hitting 100 POUNDS.  As much as 2.4 is a great week and I shouldn't be complaining, I was pissed.  But I knew it was fine.  I was going to have another great week and hit this Saturday.  It's crazy, it's been 1 year, 1 month and 25 days since I started this weight loss journey.  I am basically at a weight where I haven't been other than when I was in prime Lacrosse shape in High School.  It's the only time I have been this low as an adult.

As annoyed as i was, I am still proud of myself.  I keep killing it week after week and it hasn't let up.  I do work hard at it.  More than most people do.  As I have mentioned before, I work out hard and eat healthy.  it is the simplest method to losing weight.  Weight Watchers has also taught me to be honest with myself and be honest about what you eat. I track everyday.  I think it's funny when people don't.  it is so simple with the WW app.  And they actually remind you to everyday and congratulate you if you do it.  I can't remember when was the last time I had either of those reminders.  But I do know I remind myself everyday that I don't want to go back to what I was because I look at the pictures of my wedding day or any other picture and I am so thankful I am here.

So, today, my motivation is the next 0.8.  It isn't a lot but it is all I need to be proud of myself.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Light It Up Blue Moon Harbor Lights Course Preview Run

So Sunday was the preview run for the new half marathon in Hampton Roads sponsored by J & A.  I really wanted to do this race in a few weeks but it just doesn't fit in my schedule due to family obligations, the holidays and hunting.  But family is more important than running a race.  One of my fellow ambassadors is a pacer for the half and he asked me to run the preview run with him.  It was a lot of un.  The Running Etc. Ambassadors were asked to be pacers for the race.  I wanted to do that but I wasn't sure how I would feel about doing it after my first half.  So I met up with Randy yesterday and it was fun to see all the ambassadors with our new singlets on.  They look great.  Pretty cool to know we have a custom singlet that is based of off Nike's Oregon singlets.

For the preview run, I followed Randy Cook and we paced at about 10:16.  Good enough for me.  We talked the whole way and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him.  He is a local running legend in these parts.  he was one of the best runners back in the day around Hampton Roads.  he is also a history buff who lives in Norfolk which made the run even more fun.  It was fun having conversation most the run.  It was also nice to run in new territory in and around downtown Norfolk.  Really cool city, nice area, and a lot of history.

I am glad he forced me to come out and run with him.  I had some physical issues after the race but I will make sure I take care of that next time.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Running Gear 2014

So I was thinking of doing this post for a while.  I remember starting this thing called "jogging (I think the J is silent)" in January.  At that time I had just dropped below the 300 pound mark and I knew I needed the next step in exercise to get me where I wanted to be.  (It worked.  Almost 100 pounds down now).  I always had running shoes because that's what I used when I worked out.  I had a pair of worn out Brooks Beasts from 2013.  Even though my dad was a runner my whole life and he repeatedly reminded me to never run in worn out shoes and to buy the right shoes, I started with a pair of worn out shoes.  The last time I had had my gait checked was at Hanson's Running Shop in Michigan, probably in 2005.  I had gain a ton of weight since then and my body had changed a ton due to age.  I just decided to run.  I started running one lap around my local spot.  It was 1.7 miles.  I wanted to do the Shamrock 8k in March (I was scared shitless to run that far and I kicked ass).  I learned right before that race my shoes were way too worn out and I needed different ones.  I ordered new Brooks Beasts because thats what I knew.  Came to find out after finally checking out the local running store that the Beasts were the wrong shoes for my feet.  LOL.  Anyways.  So I started running with just whatever I had.  I used my baseball dad pullovers and my old running socks from long ago.  Now, almost a year into running, I have a whole selection of running gear.  Things I made fun of people for.  Some I had no clue about.  I took a picture of the most important things I use on a regular basis.  This does not include my Compression Socks.  Which are AMAZING.  Best running invention ever.  So here it goes.

Shoes: Brooks Glycerin 12 12 EE  - I have always loved Brooks but this are like giant magic clouds.

Head Phones: Motorola S11 Headphones - Greatest invention ever.  Bluetooth Wireless Headphones.  Water resistance.  Not perfect sound quality.  But the usefulness and quality outweighs the little minute sound complaints from hardcore music lovers.  But who expects perfection in sports headphones.

Visor: Running Etc. Head Sweats Visor - Man.  From 2003 to 2014, the running equipment technology has drastically improved.  This visor was a godsend during the summer in the South.  I hate running hats and visors.  But with this, I am not only repping my local running store (I am an ambassador) but this brand makes awesome products.  I love the bright yellow with reflective materials.  I have learned running in a rural area that the brightest colors and most reflective materials are very helpful from oncoming vehicles.

Running Belt: Amphipod running belt.  This also saved my ass for those long summer runs in the South.  Also purchased at Running Etc.

Foam Roller: Trigger Point Foam Roller - Enough said.  this thing is amazing.  Best purchase ever.  Use it daily or at least try to.  Every runner should have this.  Don't need to explain where I got it.

Arm Phone Case:  I am not a big fan of buying a $300 watch for my running.  I would like one but it is not a top priority.  Since I have unlimited data with Verizon still, I will stick to my phone as my go to music player and running app. I found this arm band on Amazon and there is no need to tell you which one because there are about one trillion arm bands out there for phones.  They are inexpensive.  So buy one and try it out.

Race Belt: J & A, the local big race company sells an awesome race belt that you can put your race bib on without pins.  It's great.  it is cheap and it is perfect for what you need.  Very minimalist.  You can order it here.  Race belt

Safety Lights: So I went to the local running store last week because I needed some kind of lighting to help me while I run on the back roads.  Since the time change, It is very dark at night.  So I purchased these.  DuraVisionPro Safety lights are amazing.  They have 2500+ feet visibility.  I have used them twice now and love them.

Things I forgot to take pictures of:
Running shorts - Nike Running.
Running shirts - Running Etc Brooks long sleeve
Running outside layer - Target Brand Running gear
Running Socks - Compression Socks.  get with it.  It's the greatest technology.

Thoughts: As I was typing this, I thought about how important it is for your community to buy local.  Shop local.  My running store is Great.  If you go to the Running Etc. Virginia Beach store, ask for Drew.  The kid is awesome and helpful.  I learned from my dad that the local running store is the key and champion for runners and races in your area.  Buy local.  These stores not only can help you, but they support the community, your local schools and many other things.  Plus the employees eat, sleep and live in your area.

As I keep running and start training for a full marathon, I will re-do this next year.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wicked 10k Recap and Running lull........

So I ran the Wicked 10k this past weekend.  it was a lot of fun.  I ran my fastest ever average pace even with a 3.5 minute bathroom stop just past the first mile.  I was pretty nervous for this race because I wanted to do really good and I wanted to break an hour time.  That I didn't do but I still did really good and I was super happy with my time.  I wish I could run more races and I know my body can handle it.  I really want to be able to run the new half in Norfolk in November but I don't think I can afford to do it.  My next big race scheduled is the Shamrock Dolphin challenge, which is the half and 8k.

Anyways.  So the race went well.  I didn't get to really hydrate real well the day before.  I was at Howl-O-Scream the whole day and night and couldn't keep up with water intake.  So I chugged a big bottle of water right before the race and it ended up biting me in the ass.  I had to pee right of the bat and I couldn't find a port-o-potty and when I did, I totally regretted it.  First off, there was a ginormous line.  A ton of people had to poop.  Then a bunch of disrespectful runners think it is okay to just cut in front of the line.  When I finally got in, the seat was covered with diarrhea.  I felt bad for all the women.  Anyways, it took me over 3 minutes.

So the rest of the race I hauled it so I could try to break my goal.  Which I didn't but I still kicked ass.  I can't wait to take my daughter to races like that because they are so much fun.  I look forward to it next year.I also met some cool people at the race.  Some really inspiring people who have been on the same journey as me and I hope I can meet more people to run with and meet up at races like this.

On the weight loss journey.  I am doing good.  have been hitting a wall personally but I am still losing weight.  I am down 93 pounds.  So that is good.  My wife started Weight Watchers this week and she is doing good.  My cousin, Dylan, is also doing it and my mother in law, Pickles.  i am glad I can inspire so many people.  They inspire me.

Running wise I am bored.  need a big race to motivate me.  I guess 6 miles isn't enough.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Male Bloggers

I didn't know what to write about today so i decided to write about how there are not enough male bloggers out there.  As I have lost all this weight, I keep trying to find more men out there talking about their journey.  I have only found a few.  I think it is funny because if I had boobs, I probably would have hundreds of followers.  Instead I have none.  Only a few people who read my posts when I put them on Facebook or Google Plus.  I think it is disappointing that there is this double standard that men can't talk about weight loss and exercise like women can.  I also works in the Weight Watchers world.  Every time a new guy shows up at our meetings, the few guys get excited, we introduce ourselves and welcome them to the club.  I can tell you this.  My Saturday morning meeting has two consistent guys.  The other is a lifetime member.  We do have one other guy in the earlier meeting.  Other than that, it is a bunch of women.  Part of it is I think men don't think they should do Weight Watchers and some don't want to talk about their journey.  Instead, the only time you read about men and weight loss is either on Biggest Loser or some famous dude getting some sort of stomach surgery.  Nobody ever wants to talk about the guy who loses a hundred pounds by eating right and working out.  Women don't want to hear it because some get jealous.  Men don't want to hear it because the world is so gendered that men can be fat and sexy but women can't.

It saddens me that i am out here as a lonely voice.  More men should be going to Weight Watchers.  More men should me talking about the struggles with weight loss.  Instead, I am basically writing this as a journal for myself.  I am fine with that.  Because I am happy where I am at and where I want to be.  I read another bloggers response to a mean email from a follower.  It saddens me that people think it's wrong for a beautiful woman who has worked her ass off to get to the point she is at that she finally tells everyone her weight and how she is competing in a body bikini contest.  The woman works her ass off.  She has gone from an over weight mother of two to a rock hard woman.  It's awesome.  Just like myself, I went from being so fat i couldn't run a mile to being able to run a half marathon.  But because I don't have boobs, nobody follows me.

Again, I am fine with that.  I know that at least a few people read my blog and if they do, i hope it helps them or motivates them.  Because these other people motivate me.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Self Assessment: The Before and The During

This week has gone on so long. Haven't run.  I took this week of to reflect and rest.  the only thing that is sore on me is my left arch.  But it isn't anything to complain about.  But the time I have had to occupy my mind is killing me.  But it has also been a good thing.  I have been able to reflect on my life, my journey, my family and how I want my future to be.

I was thinking this morning how six years ago, when I got in my accident, I never even imagined that I would be where I am at.  I never thought I would be healthy enough to even exercise let alone run a half marathon.  Never thought I would be Virginia Beach with two kids and an awesome wife, an awesome house and awesome family.  I never thought I would be 90 pounds lighter then my biggest.  At one point, I thought I was going to die from obesity.

Five years ago, I would of never thought I would be where I am at personally.  I have so much to be thankful for.  My mom is moving down here because she got a job.  My life and family isn't what it used to be but it is better.  I have more people who care about me now and I have the important people in my life.  It is also great because my mom will be able to be close to one of her kids and enjoy being a grandparent.

What do you do after you finish your goal race?  A huge race?  How do you respond?  I took this week off from running to let my body heal.  It needed it.  it hasn't been pushed like that since high school.  But my mind enjoyed it.  My mind needs a competition.  It needs something to starve it, push it to its limits.

So as I scale back my thoughts, I just need to remind myself that I am stick working towards my broader goals.  My lifetime weight loss, a marathon, push my body and mind further.  That's my next steps.

Tomorrow is chapter 2 of my running journey.  Have one year to hit my goal race.

Monday, October 6, 2014

1st Half Marathon: Crawlin Crab 2014

Well that went fast. I remember when I decided to train for a half like it was yesterday.  But I guess when you have a 5 month old, time does fly.  Anyways, what an experience.

Race Weekend:

My Uncle Dan (My dad's brother), Aunt Nancy, cousins Eric and Mike decided to run with me for my first half marathon.  They were going to run a half in Greensboro when my aunt invited me to join her.  I told her that there was no way I could do that race because it was so much hillier than I can even train here.  So they decided to come to Hampton Roads and run the race with me.  It was good to see them and spend some time with them.  Saturday night they invited us to their rental cottage in Ocean View for dinner.  It was great getting us all together for a great dinner before the big day.  Sunday we had them over for tacos and brews.  A weekend is never enough but it was a lot of fun catching up with my cousins.  When we were kids, we spent a few vacations together. 

Race Recap:

I was a bit jittery the night before the race but I expected that.  Since I have lost so much weight, I have been much healthier and I didn't get pre-race jitters.  We met up at the convention center and got a few pictures together.  We all separated to our different corrals.  I was in the back (All my cousins are pretty good runners). +Lori Lambert and family got their right before the start.  It's always good to have the reasons you are doing these crazy things for being there.  The race started well. The family was cheering me on at mile 4.  Which it really pumped me up.  I also called my grandfather, my brother +Scott Lambert  and my best friend +Chuck Tickhill .  They got a kick out of me calling them during the race. LOL.  I decided to do this a long time ago because I really wanted to call the people who are always there for me.  I decided to follow the 2:30 pacer to keep a pace and go from there.  I knew if I felt good half way I could leave them and if I didn't I would just stay behind.  My last few paces were much faster than this but I needed to stay paced for the first half.  I left the pacers around mile 7.  From there on, I was passing people left and right.  It felt good picking up the pace and feeling so good.  At mile 9, I ran into one of my #googleplus friends +Christine Bodden .  She was suppose to run too but hurt her foot a few weeks ago.  So she waited for me, rooted me on with her #dmb hoodie (Clearly she is awesome because she runs and loves #dmb).  We got a selfie in there too.  Had to.

The last few miles were great.  I felt good.  There were a few too many bridges for me.  My calves were sore but nothing too bad.  My last training run in Pittsburgh helped (maybe it was the reason I was sore still.  Who knows).  Drew from Running Etc. ran with me for a mile and a half.  I appreciated his support.  Got to love the Ambassador team support.  

Coming down the stretch was exciting.  I remember running a marathon relay almost ten years ago feeling so enthusiastic about it.  I never thought I would get healthy enough to even attempt this.  But I did and I did it so much faster than expected.  As I came to the finish line, I saw my cousins, aunt and uncle.  As I crossed the finish line, I saw my wife and daughter.  It felt so good to finish.  I was so stiff after though.  It was the perfect race for my first half. I finished at 2:21:57.  I finished 8 minutes faster than my goal. My slowest mile was when I stopped to pee.  The race was so much more fun with family there and family running with you.  

Overall, I was super happy.  Couldn't of had a better first half marathon experience.  

Next Goal:

Shamrock 8k and Half in the same weekend
Detroit Free Press Marathon 2015

Bring it.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Clothes Shopping During the Change

It has been over a year since I started this weight loss journey.  I didn't really think i would do this good.  I am so happy I have.  With the change, there are a lot of obstacles people losing weight have.  People don't often talk about as an obstacle and a lot of guys really don't talk about.  But the biggest obstacle I have seen for myself is shopping.  During the summer at home, I don't really wear anything fancy.  I wear my everyday t-shirts, sports shorts and flip flops mostly.  I have been so heavy for so long that I forgot to listen to my instructor at weight watchers and actually buy some clothes during the process.  Instead, outside of work, I wore baggy shirts and shorts.  Most my t-shirts are XXXL and are way too big.  Even XXL have been to big.  At work, I have been accumulating a few new polos during the summer thanks to my wife +Lori Lambert .  I have such a huge selection of work clothes that I didn't want to admit that all my clothes was too big.  My dress pants were all 46 waist and were cinched at the front and were super super baggy.  I just dealt with it and pretended it didn't look too bad.  Even though it did.  My sports coats got so big that they fell off my shoulders at least two inches and the chest was crisscrossing.  Working in a business environment didn't make it better.  I have to always be prepared to be pulled into a meeting and have a sports coat.  All mine were way too big.  On top of that, my favorite suit and my wedding suit were both too big to even get tailored.

I went to the tailor shop this week and she basically told me it isn't worth it and its better to spend my money on new stuff.  So, fifteen pairs of really nice dress pants, three sports coats and two suits (one Ralph Lauren) are all unusable (this doesn't include about a half a dozen dress shirts and probably many more I am going to have to throw out too).  All of these were from Men's Warehouse and Dillards.  I am both happy and sad.  Sad that I got this fat that I can't even wear them now and happy that they are way too big.  I have had mixed feelings about this.  I know, Boo Hoo.  Well, to me, they all mean things to me.  My Ralph Lauren suit was the last gift from my parents for my graduation from my Master's degree.  It's funny because that suit was only purchased because my previous suit didn't fit me because I became to fat then.The other suit was my wedding suit.  it wasn't anything fancy or high price but it was the suit I wore on my wedding day.  I always wanted to use it for special occasions.  Hopefully, I can buy a new one at Kohl's with my new sizes.  As you lose weight, you have to grasp on to the fact that things are changing.  You are changing.  And it is all for the positive.  I was so embarrassed that my work clothes got so big on me.  I was embarrassed at work.  I was also stressed about money.

Last night, I went to the mall with my wife.  I purchased two sports coats, two dress pants and three dress shirts.  I have a bunch of dress shirts that fit from before.  Just have to go through them all and confirm.  I also bought a 38 waist belt.  I know, in the 30s.  lol.  My pant sizes went from 46 to 38 and my sports coat size went from 56 to 48.  I could fit in a 46 but it was too tight around my shoulders.  I was really nervous wearing my new dress pants to work today.  It has been a long time I haven't worn form fitting dress pants.  But I did it.  Even though I am not at my final weight, I know I need to buy new clothes.  I really can't remember when I last wore size 38 waist pants.

I think I am more stressed about this is because I am worried that i am going to fall back into my old weight and won't be able to fit in any of these clothes I just bought.  I don't like wasting money and don't want to fail.  I want to stay healthy the rest of my life.

It's like I am back out of college.  Starting my wardrobe with two dress pants, two sports coats, and ten days of different dress shirts.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Three Rivers Water Trail, 12 mile run, family, and everything in between

What a weekend.  Sometimes you plan a trip and you can't wait for it.  This was one of them.  Since my grandparents decided to move back to their hometown, Lori and I knew we needed to visit them this fall so they could meet their newest great grand kid.  Anybody that knows me knows that my Pap is my idol.  Him and my dad are the two most influential people in my life.  So we decided to pack up and drive to Pittsburgh, spend time with my cousins and grandparents, and give my wife and Tim a tour of where I spent most my summers.  So much went on this weekend so I will go from the boring parts to the amazing parts.


I had my last weekend of training for my half this weekend.  It was pretty stressful to figure out where I was going to get 12 miles in a place I am not familiar with for running.  I do know Pittsburgh is very hilly.  So i kept Google-ing places to run.  My cousin recommended me run nearby his place on an extended shoulder.  I said, "hell no".  I found a rail-to-trail in Pittsburgh.  I was a little nervous because I didn't know the area real well but it was somewhat flat (on the river bank).  So I went with it.  I wrote down my start point, the bridges I was crossing, and key places so Lori knew where I was.  I got there right as the sun came up.  It was beautiful looking at the city skyline as the sun came it.  The course i went was amazing.  If you are ever in Pittsburgh and want to go for a bike ride or a run.  Check out the 3 Rivers Trail.  It was fantastic.  It even had a pedestrian bridge across the Monongahela (which as a pedestrian planner makes me smile.  It can be done folks).  I got my 12 mile run in and it was awesome.  It was a bit hillier then I am use to but I lived.  My calves are mad at me but I am fine.  Well worth the 20 minute drive.  It was a great way to see Pittsburgh too.  Completely different than driving.  It is one of my favorite cities too.

The Rest

The weekend was so much fun.  I got to see my brother +Scott Lambert, my mom +Debbie Lambert , my cousins and grandparents.  I am so thankful for my amazing family and that my grandparents got to meet Avery.  I got to show +Lori Lambert  and Tim where my grandparents use to live, where my Pap grew up and where I spent a ton of time in my childhood.  Even though it was only 3 days it was well worth it.  Just having my brother come in too from Pittsburgh was great.  I actually got to see him Twice in the past few months.  Avery had a blast spending time with her extended family.  I sometimes get jealous because to visit all of Lori's family, I just have to walk next door.  For mine, we have to drive 8 hours.  Anyways.  Great weekend.  Amazing family.  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Two Year Anniversary

My life has changed so much since I moved south.  Sometimes I think about how my life was and is and I am just blown away.  5 years ago I would of never thought I was a husband, a parent, and an employee of one of the biggest city's in Virginia.  Sometimes, you hear about people in the past and go, "wow, glad i don't talk to them".  This week that happened to me.  Which is kind of funny because on the eve of my wedding, this said person was emailing me about a damn shot glass. I digress.  I remember leaving Michigan and saying, "What the hell am I doing?".  I didn't have a future, all I had was a U-haul with a bunch of crap.  I still have a lot of that crap but now  it means something.  I remember three Halloweens ago I was having a blast, being single, and just enjoying a friends of a friends party.  I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would of met the woman of my dreams.  But I did.  It's funny too because in all my years, all the parties, all the friends I had who were female, this is the only person I truly chased.  Maybe it was because she was beautiful.  Maybe it was just because she was funny and just had a lot going for her.  If you were to look on paper, we would of never been a match.  Here it is in a nut shell.

Divorced, older, single parent, elementary age son, works night, Southern, loves country music

SINGLE, younger, scared of kids, Damn Yankee, From the City, Loves Hip Hop

But we met, fell in love within months.  We had to plan our wedding before we had even dated a year.  But a few things happened.  I fell in love with her, loved being around her son, and enjoyed her lifestyle.  I enjoyed meeting her extended family on our first date.  

Two years ago, I got to throw the funnest party I have ever been to and it was my wedding.  We had an awesome site; outdoors, only a few miles away from our house, in beautiful Pungo.  We had an amazing DJ.  We had an eclectic group of family and friends.  I had some non drinkers, from friends from Michigan and close family.  Lori had half of Pungo there.  The party was awesome.  My best friend didn't even leave until midnight.  The best part was that I had the hottest date there, my beautiful wife, +Lori Lambert .  She looked drop dead gorgeous and still does to this day.  

Two years has past.  We have a bigger family.  We have baby Avery in our lives now.  We have a great group of friends and family.  I couldn't be any happier.  Lori and I have had our trials and tribulations before we met each other but sometimes fate just hits in you in the face.  We have both had heartache and pain.  But the difference now is we will have each other to lean on during those times.  

It might be only two years but it has been the best two years of my life.  Marriage, new job, weight loss, new baby and let's not forget, Lori has been going to school during this whole time.  But one thing hasn't changed.  Just like two years ago when I saw her for the first time in her wedding dress, I am still madly in love with her.

Happy Anniversary Lori. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Weight Watchers: A Year in Review

Last summer I decided I wanted to change my lifestyle.  I never thought I would be where I would be today though.  But I knew I wanted to be a healthier dad and husband.  I didn't want to be the biggest guy in the room.  Which I still am but definitely smaller.    I also didn't want to be like my family.  I wanted to live an active lifestyle and be able to do things I really want to do.  I decided I was going to join Weight Watchers again.  This was going to be my third attempt.  The first time went alright but I quit a few months in.  I remember I went from 290 pounds to 270 o somewhere around that.  Then I tried again a year or so later when I wasn't really ready emotionally or physically due to my life and all the things going on.  I do remember I weighed in over 300 pounds.  It was the first time I acknowledged that.  I was really embarrassed and disappointed.  I didn't last long in the program (I remember my mom breaking down and telling me my dad was cheating on her right before one meeting).

I remember talking to my wife last summer and telling her that after the summer was over, I was fully going into Weight Watchers.  I found the local site and meetings and decided to go.  September 18, 2013 was my first meeting.  I weighed in at a whopping 330 pounds.    Way more than I thought and way more than everybody around me thought.  But that number scared the shit out of me.  I had just found out my wife was pregnant and there I was, clinically extremely obese and about to be a father to a newborn.  I couldn't be that.  So I stuck to it.  I had assistance from my wonderful wife +Lori Lambert .  We transitioned easily to making healthier dinners, helping me not look for bad snacks and organizing our fridge and cupboards better.  I never thought I would make a year, but I never thought I would be that fat.

Here is me right before I signed up.  Lori had this picture while we were looking back and it doesn't even look like me.

I took one week at a time, one pound at a time.  I concentrated on just eating better.  It was tough in the start.  I don't recommend starting to diet right before Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years but I did it.  I made adjustments on the fly.  We tried different meals.  I learned what I needed to make me happy and full in the morning.  I learned how important fruits and veggies were.  I learned that eating better doesn't always make you not be able to enjoy the good things like beer, ice cream and pizza.  But you do need moderation.  You do need to pick your poison.  

This past year has been so much fun.  I remember my first 25 pounds, my 10%, my 50 pound, my 75 pound.  I am now actually having the conversation about making lifetime goal weight.  In one year I lost over 82 pounds.  I basically lost a quarter of myself.  But I like to think I basically lost all the beer and food I ate from high school until now.  I am officially ate my high school weight.  Which is crazy and great at the same time.  Oh yeah, in the last year, we also had our beautiful daughter, Avery.  Which by itself is pretty awesome.

I couldn't have done it without my wife +Lori Lambert  and our two wonderful kids.  Without them I wouldn't of been motivated to do this.  I still have work to do but I am much better than a year ago.  I am just one of the great stories of people who have done Weight Watchers.  I hope I can keep it up and keep doing what I am doing.  

In a year I went from not being able to run a mile to training for a half marathon.  I went from running 13 minute miles to running my average of ten years ago of 10 minute miles.  I have run numerous races and have scheduled more.  I am more confident.  Most importantly, I am so much happier.  I am also much more energetic.  I love it.  I need it with a 4 month old.

So, one day, when you read this Avery, I am doing this for you and me.  So I can play with you when your crawling, when you running around our yard, when your playing spots or dancing or cheer leading.  I am doing this for you, your big brother and your mom.  Because I want to live long and enjoy my life with you all.

Thank you all for the support and love.  I look forward to my second year in Weight Watchers (AA for fatties).

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Freedom Run 9.11 Mile 9-13-14

I didn't really know what to expect for this race since it was the first I have ever done with Mettle Events.  I was impressed with the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail. It's nice to see work I am doing happen in real life.  The race was for a good cause.

But overall it was okay.  The sign up website sucked.  Didn't tell which park entrance to go to, especially for locals who don't go to the Swamp often. I heard all this while waiting for the bathroom.  They also didn't have it mapped out to see where the water stations are.  Which is annoying when you are training for a race and want to practice spreading your water breaks.  I loved the distance.  It was perfect for a practice race for a half.  Other than that it is nothing to brag about. I know it is about a fundraiser but for $50 it isn't really worth it. The medal was cheesy and I can say since I was 55 out of half of the runners, when I finished, it was a dead zone.  Nobody cheering, nobody watching.  I felt bad for the back half of people who weren't close to finishing.

I expected more I guess but I also have expectations of an enjoyable race for $50.  Will I do it again?  Yes.  Good cause, good distance.

Friday, September 12, 2014

September 2009

September is kind of a big month for me.  If there were two months that stand out as influential moments in my life, September is one of them.  January is the other.  But the reason September stands out is I had some really big moments in my life; moved across country, married my love of my life +Lori Lambert , and started my weight loss journey with +Weight Watchers last year.  So I will probably talk about each one of these individually because they mean so much to me.  But the first and most important one I will write about this morning.  Without this crazy event in my life, none of the other great things in my life would of happened.

2009 was a crazy year for me.  My life changed dramatically.  My parents divorced after 32 years, the economy fell apart (In Michigan it was effected extremely at the time), and I had no plans of what I was going to do after I finished LISC- AmeriCorps (Happy 20th Anniversary today by the way).  The whole year was pretty painful for me.  I didn't which side was up or down.  I knew I had to find a job outside the state so i decided on Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.  I applied for a bunch of jobs.  I had two different jobs call me for interviews.  The first one that called, I booked a flight and went down.  I didn't know what I was doing, where I was going, or where I really was.  I flew to Raleigh and drove this endless drive to Hertford (Which I thought was the end of the world).  I got hired and had to start in September.

My last month in Michigan was difficult.  I was living in my parents house while they were trying to sell it.  The Realtor was a complete Bitch and both my parents were fighting over why the house wouldn't sell (It was clearly the economy).  I was blamed for a dirty house and would get calls from both my parents since they couldn't communicate CLEARLY.  If you ever want to be in the worst position you could for your family, go live with your parents while they are divorcing.  It only made me stronger though.  I also knew that September would be rolling around and I would have to leave my childhood home forever, my friends, my hometown and all the great memories I had.  I also realized i was going to be moving 14 hours away from everything I knew.  I also was letting go of the last good memories I had of my family complete (I always thought it was so hard to leave, especially leaving my big brother since he had a young daughter without any of his family around).  It's probably one of the weirdest things to ever do being the last person to say good bye to your house.  It was really eerie walking the rooms remembering when we first looked at the house when I was 13 and picking the bedroom in the basement.  That house I had a lot of firsts.  More then I can even share publicly.  But most of all I grew up in that house.  I had my graduation parties (HS to Grad School), prom, homecoming, first GF, everything).

Another tough part in life is knowing when things change and seeing who is there to help.  I learned real quick who were my real friends and family were.  Nobody in my family helped me move.  It was pretty disappointing since I was always there for my family to help them.  But at least I had some really good friends who helped me pack dishes, the u-haul, my car, everything.  I literally packed everything I had which included snow skis, shit my parents left behind and all kinds of things.  I also had some really good friends to enjoy my last week of life in Michigan.  I got to go to one more Tigers game, enjoyed my last night out with friends, and I spent some time with my brother and niece.

Nobody can ever understand what it is really like to drop everything you know for something completely foreign without any assistance or support.  I remember the morning I left and it was really terrible.  I remember one of my close friends, +Nicole Klepadlo made me a CD full of Ryan Adams.  I loved the CD but it was terribly depressing for my drive out of the D.  LOL.  It was so sad leaving my hometown, pulling out of my subdivision, driving past my high school, the D, and crossing the border to Ohio.  Nobody can really tell you how that is and I don't know if I am even verbalizing how had it was.  But it was.  But I had nothing left in Michigan.  I only had a clean slate for my future.  I had a job that I wanted really bad (Best thing you can have) and I had nothing to stop me from starting a new life.

Now, I can probably spend about twenty hours typing up the whole story from that day until now but it is really pointless.  I had a lot of down days, wanting to just pack up and go back home but thee was a day where my life completely changed.  When I began to make friends, enjoy where I lived, adventuring the region, and beginning a new life.  If I could recommend anything to any young adult, it is to move far away from your original surroundings.  You can come back but the emotional and mental strength you get that from that makes you unbeatable.  It's funny because the first 2 years of my life down here felt like an eternity but when something great happens life moves so fast.  

So today I am very thankful for what I have now.  Without moving 5 years ago to North Carolina I wouldn't have any of the great things I have below.  I wouldn't be married my to love of my life, I wouldn't have two amazing kids, an amazing family, an amazing home, and amazing friends.  5 years ago in September I left Michigan alone, no family, no friends, no home and now I have all those things again.  Without the help from my mom, +Debbie Lambert , and all the great friends I had in Michigan who did support me, I wouldn't be here.  The people who supported me during 2009 don't know how thankful I am.  I wouldn't have anything I have now without them.

So today, this post is really about thanking all the great people you have.  Thank you!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Half Marathon Training Stats

So I reading another blog today and was reading about their training was going.  She posted a bunch a stats that I thought was a really cool idea.  So here goes my version. (PS - I ran 10 miles on Sunday and it went great).  My training started in May (2014).  May 17 exactly.

Total Distance: 252 Miles
Average Weekly Mileage Total: 15.4
Total # of Runs: 61
Average Distance: 4 Miles
Total Calories Burned:  I don't know but my RunKeeper App says I burned over 16,000 in August.
Longest Run: 11 Miles so far (Have a 12 miler coming up)
Shortest Run: 1.75.  Have to start some where.
# of races: 2 (8k and 5k..... I also have a 9.11 mile race this weekend and a 8K the weekend before the race).
Favorite Run:  Just being about to run over ten miles.  It was also pretty awesome to run to the beach.  Great view.

Total Weight Loss Doing Weight Watchers and Training: 24.2

Note: My Daughter is up to 13.5 pounds.  She is the reason I am doing this.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Count Down: 32 days til the Crawling Crab Half Marathon

Man, it is getting closer and closer.  Starting to get a little nervous.  I have been working my ass off for this race.  I have ran over 220 miles for this race.  I have spent a ton of hours away from m wife and kids to train.  I have done his all so I can be healthier.  So I can be a better dad.  A better husband.  Be able to live longer.  It's funny when you look at life and people and typically speaking, except for the outliers, most people who are active live longer.  That is what i want to be.  I don't want to be stuck in a wheel chair because I am too fat o old when I am retired.  I want to be able to walk the beach with my wife when we are old.  I want to be able to be active with my grand kids and maybe great grand kids.

Anyways, I am only a month away from the race.  Pretty scary.  I think every week I get a new pain or injury that makes me worried.  I just need to keep pushing and remind myself that unless I can't push forward that i am fine.  My foot is healing up.  I guess a few days in flip flops and flat running has helped.  Maybe it was hurting due to the fact that all my roads around my house are curved due to the ditches.  It would make sense since it is on the outside of the foot.  I ran my longest run yesterday..... EVER!!!  I am glad my wife +Lori Lambert didn't allow me to run the RnR race here in Virginia Beach.  It was the toughest run I ever had.  Partly because the weather was so cool the past month that I haven't really been training in 80s and 80% humidity.  But when the run was over, I was really dehydrated.  First time I have probably felt that since High School Football.  it took me a long time to get going home from the park.  I didn't pee until like 4 PM.  Which I finished my run at 9:30 AM.  I ran pretty good.  The first  miles I was averaging a 10:40 pace.  The last 4 miles I probably averaged 12:30 minute miles.  I had basically a sip of water left for each mile and I was dripping a ton of sweat off of me.  I felt like I was cooking.  I can only imagine what it was like at the race on Sunday with 10k people.  I would of died.  But I finished with a 11:08 average which is still amazing.  My goal is 12:00 minute miles.

I had a blast running down in Hatteras. I love that island.  I miss being able to go to the OBX like I use to with my old job.  It was a great perk.  Don't miss the travel.  The family had a great time this weekend spending it with our friends at a beach house.  last year we stayed the whole week but this year we couldn't because of time off.  It was relaxing but was difficult with Avery.  newborns do not like really hot temperatures.  But we made the best of it.  her limit was like 82 degrees.  She was great on Friday but was grumpy Saturday.  No big deal.  I still love her to death.

Weight Watchers has been doing good.  I went over my extra points last week due to vacation but I also earned 96 activity points.  I told myself it is alright.  I did good when we went to Myrtle Beach even though I used all my points.  It has been pretty difficult for me the past 4 weeks because I went from 57 points a day to 52.  My app didn't update my daily points for some reason and I was using the same.  It is probably the reasons I was only losing a half a pound a week and the reason I have loss a bunch since.  I missed this weekends weigh-in so I will find out how much I weigh this weekend.  

I am doing good this week.  So there is that.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Half Marathon Training

A few months ago I was researching a training plan for my half marathon.  Thank god for J & A racing and their amazing races and websites.  For each big race, they have a training plan to follow to guide you.  I had a difficult time between choosing the beginner and intermediate. Since I was way ahead of the beginner due to my current running schedule at the time, I chose the intermediate.  Even though it was a bit more push on higher mileage runs, I wanted to make sure I was fully ready.  I also didn't want to back down on my running.   Since then I have ran my long runs on consecutive Sundays with an 8, 9, 10, 9, and 10 mile run.  Each time I run I keep getting faster.  I noticed the training schedule basically ramps up the mileage for two weeks and goes back down a mile or two o re-ramp up to the next longest distances.  I am scheduled for a 11 mile run followed by a 10, 11, 12 mile run before the big day.  I feel pretty good that I have done this much so far and I feel like I could probably run the Rock and Roll marathon in Virginia Beach this weekend.  I chose not to because A.  It's too damn hot to be running a half this early; B. My cousins and Aunt are running with me for the Crawling Crab; and C. I wanted to make sure i was prepared.

The last two weekends I have ran on general Booth to the Beach and ran on the boardwalk.  The boardwalk is a lot of fun to run during the summer because it's just so crazy.  It's very similar to running on it during a race because you have to dodge people all the time.  The last few weeks has been the East Coast Surfing Championship.  This Sunday it was packed.  Perfect waves for the competition.  Beautiful bodies playing volleyball and roaming the beaches even early in the morning.

I have been fighting some kind of foot injury.  During my long runs, I noticed a bone spur, sort of, sticking out and rubbing pretty good on the back outside of my foot.  I noticed last Monday after my long run that my foot was hurting.  It's crazy because i can put pressure on the ball of my foot and the front of my foot without it hurting and it doesn't really bother me too much when I run.  But it is sore when I wear my work shoes.  it feels like its more from putting pressure on the side of my foot.  I hope it's not broken o anything because my body has responded so good to the training.  I need to really keep an eye on it.  it does hurt when I try to cut on my left foot.  I need to do some research and figure out what it is.  No matter what, I will finish this race.  I have worked too damn hard not to.  I know I need to ice it everyday until it feels better.

Other then my running, Weight loss has been doing good.  I hit my 80 pound goal for the race.  So maybe I need to amp it to 90.  We shall see.

Friday, August 15, 2014


Some people know that I am a huge movie fan.  I have always been addicted to watching movies in the theater or at home.  Growing up my brother and I always had vivid imaginations.  If it wasn't building magical wolds with Legos, or watching cartoons, seeing Jurassic Park in the theater or what else, we also were thinking or imagining some magical place.  For my brother, books was always his thing.  I was way too active for reading a bunch of books until I got older (aka college).  But for me, I LOVED movies.  Some people might not know this but this blog was going to be for a short time a blog about movie reviews.  I am lucky enough my wife lets me sneak out sometimes to see one by myself (even with the our baby).  But watching movies was always something I purely enjoyed.  Even to this day, my brother and I talk about new movies and movies from our childhood.  One of our favorites we always joked about was, The wizard. But one movie in particular was one of both of our favorites.

It was Hook.  It was a sad week hearing about the death of Robin Williams.  I remember as a young kid watching re-runs of Mork and Mindy, Taxi, and Happy Days.  I loved Jumanji.  I mean who didn't.  I think my biggest hopes are that my daughter has the imagination that I had as a child.  It made things so wonderful and beautiful.  It also magically teaches you the good and bad in the world is different ways.  One thing I wish I had with Tim is that he had an imagination like I did.  His is more of just imagining baseball plays.  Which I love but we don't connect like m brother and I did. So anyways, back to Hook.

I remember when Hook came out.  It was amazing.  Steven Speilberg is a super genius and he did such a terrific job on this.  My brother's favorite composer, John Williams, was part of it too.  But the whole movie was just fantastic.  Robin Williams did such an amazing job being an adult version of Peter Pan.  Watching the movie, you just felt that could be you, all grown up, forgetting about the magical things in life.  Then you get whisked away to Neverland and you have to get your imagination back to save your kids.  I never wanted to be Peter Pan but I always wanted to be a lost boy.  I always wished Disney would of built a Neverland like the one in the movie so I could go visit and play just like you can pretend while watching the movie.  Hook is probabl one of my five most favorite movies.  It's one of the few movies I still own on DVD.  I also owned it on VHS.  I purchased it digitally this week so i can watch it with Avery when she is old enough.

Robin Williams was an amazing actor.  His imagination was something that the world couldn't even keep up with.  I can only imagine what it was like to be raised by him.  I can imagine some amazing couch tents, castle building, and other great adventures.  I will surely miss his incredible talent.  Thee will never be another Robin Williams nor will there ever be the talent that he was.  But we will always have his movies.  Hopefully, one day, I can show them to Avery and she can imagine a world just like mine except with her own funny ideas.  I can only hope that she laughs as hard as I did watching his jokes or is as amazed as I was as the moment Robin Williams flies into Neverland and how beautiful it looked on the television (I still purely enjoy the North Arrow in the water.  I am a planner and mapper by trade).  I hope that we someday have someone as amazing as he was to make Avery imagine and laugh.  because without those two things, we as humans wouldn't be so much fun.

So instead of thinking about how sad it is, I like to think about how amazing it is to be able to imagine with him how wonderful life is.  To the Peter Pans of the world, keep having an imagination. RUFIO!!!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Achievement: Awesome

Sometimes I don't know what my headline should be.  I know what I am writing about but most the time I think it's about the same stuff; family, health, and exercise.  Well, anyways.

Another great week.  It is amazing how wonderful things can be when you have everything you dreamed of.  Our lives have definitely changed this past few months but we have settled in pretty good.  You just really need to be patient when you have a baby.  I don't know how my buddy did it with three young ones.  We have really settled in with Lori going back to work.  I have been enjoying the three hours I get with Avery while we wait for Lori to get home from work.  I think Avery enjoys it too.
This week went well I guess.  Last weekend I got in my 9 mile run and yesterday I got in my first double digit run.  Felt great.  I really felt good running. I averaged around 11:41.  I only had two mile intervals where I went above my 12 minute mile goal.  I was pretty happy with that.  I got my run on late.  Avery slept in (clearly she didn't this morning).  But on the weekends, we just wake up with her.  Which is typically pretty early.  I was pretty dehydrated and hungry.  Clearly Orange Crushes and Sushi didn't help me on my run from the night before.  But overall, pretty happy. My body is handling the mileage well. Only 7 more weeks until my half marathon.

Weight Watchers has been doing great.  I kicked ass this weekend.  I lost 2.8. The Weight Watchers app even told me I was losing weight too fast.  Clearly it doesn't know that I am exercising more on the extreme side.  I was pretty happy.  I got my 75 pound anchor. Which is really important to me.  We were talking with our friends last night about our vacation last year and how much weight I loss. We were all blown away by pictures of me from last August (right before I started WW). I was shocked myself because until I really hit the 60 pound loss mark, I didn't really notice it that much.  But most of that is a mental thing.  Anyways, felt good.  On to the next steps.