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Where I’ve Been: Now with more Big News!

Since Fitbloggin, I have been MIA when it comes to all things social media.

It wasn’t the conference– I had a BLAST.

My break had alot to do with my personal life and now that alot of the issues are resolved, I am finally ready to come back.

Lots of stuff has been happening…. Here is a little bit of this and that….

First, some news on the fitness front– I am signed up for my FIRST 1/2 MARATHON!!!! A 1/2 marathon is on my bucket list, and when my friend Loren told me about the training program that helps support the AIDS Foundation of Chicago along with giving me world-class training, I was IN! I don’t want my first real post back to be a pitch for money, but if you would like to support me on my journey to 13.1 miles, please click here for more information and a secure donation area. So far my training has been good: This is in part what I wrote as an update to my friends and family this morning:

Yesterday, I did my timing/pacing group 3 mile walk for the AIDS Foundation 1/2 Marathon. I “slogged” my way through it– “slogged” is a word I stole from amerrylife that means “slow jogging” — and did OK– 16:30 minute miles. Not the best time I have done in a race, but good enough. Because there is a time limit for the Marathon, I was put in the 14:00 minute mile group with my friend Loren. Atleast I will have a friend to help me on my journey to 13.1 miles! :-) I am still a bit sore today, but know the more I train the faster my recovery will be.

If you have trained for a 1/2 marathon and have any tips or tricks, please let me know. I can use all the support i can get! :-)

Second big news- and I am kinda burying the lead here-

I AM FINALLY GAINFULLY EMPLOYED!!!!

Cue the confetti and get out the party hats!

A big reason I have been gone from the blog is hat I have spent many a sleepless night worrying about not having a job. The past 6 months have been rough. Ok, the past 3 months have been rough. I actually enjoyed having “time” to do things I wanted to do and not have to worry about meetings, deadlines and waking up at 6 am. Without being laid off, I would never have been able to be an assistant coach for Girls on the Run. Or babysit for a great mom’s group. Or take 4pm naps!

But after a few months it got old sending out resumes and never getting a call back.

In early March, I heard about a program here in Chicago that allows people who already have a B.A. to train to become an urban teacher through “residency-style” program. The competition is stiff- out of 1000 people who apply, only around 100 people are asked to join the program. I was late in hearing about the program (they start taking applications in September and close applications April 1) but decided that I would apply and see what happened.

After a crazy application process, rigorous testing (and by rigorous I mean two 5 hour entrance tests in one day–ack!), 2 strenuous interviews and countless nights spent worrying I wouldn’t get in, I found out Friday at Noon that I have been accepted!!

I am humbled, honored and am still pinching myself.

I will begin graduate classes toward a Masters in Elementary Education in downtown Chicago on June 14th. I won’t know for a while which grade I will teach, though I applied to be a K-3rd grade teacher. My hope is for 1st grade.

Here is an issue– I may not be able to go to BlogHer now. I will be in class on Friday that weekend and I am not sure if I can miss any days of class. I will find out June 14, but if I do miss BlogHer this year, I know that I will be missing it for a good cause. :-)

—-

3rd big news:

During the time I was going through my first and second interviews for the graduate program, I was bitten by a (spider? some sort of bug? not sure) on my left shoulder. Overnight it went from a bite to the circumference of a baseball- sized infection. It was hot to the touch, blood red and I was only able partially lift my arm.

Of course.

I went to urgent care, where they put me on a SUPER strong antibiotic and Rx strength Motrin for the swelling. I was tired, not sleeping more than 2 hours a night and feeling crappy for days after starting the meds, though my infection seemed to be healing nicely. Then I had my final interview for grad school last Tuesday — that’s when I started having numbness in my left arm and pains in my chest on the left side of my body.

I figured I was having a panic attack/stressed out from what I thought was a horrible job I did at the interview, and tried to just shrug the pain and discomfort off.

but when I woke up Wednesday morning, I was still having the same feelings. I called urgent care back, and they told me to go to the ER.

So I went.

I will spare you the details, but in short, the infection that was in my shoulder was deeper than they thought, and it was pressing on a nerve in my arm causing it to go numb. I was also having a nasty reaction to the antibiotic, which caused my blood pressure to soar to 188/66. They got me up to the observation deck, got me fluids and some kind of meds, and got an X-ray of my shoulder, just in case. I came home with a muscle relaxer and a blood pressure of 118/47. MUCH BETTER.

My arm is still a bit numb, but I am feeling much better. The meds that made me so sick are done now, and the infection seems to be gone. Thank goodness.

I have to say, the nurses and doctors at the Northwestern ER were great, but I hope to never see them again.

It has been a crazy mixed up life the past few months, but I am glad I was along for the ride.

I am not sure how my blog will change now that I am going to be training for and then teaching. I of course will continue to blog about my 1/2 marathon training, and I have short and long term goals to continue on my weight loss journey. I just have to be a bit censored now that some know my real name (though some still don’t) and I don’t want to be penalized for what I say on this blog.

Wordless Wednesday: Fitbloggin 10 – Run/Walk picture

[caption id="attachment_1432" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo thanks to @carriedphotography's Flikr page"]participants of the Fitbloggin 10 run/walk[/caption]

I’m in the photo behind the man in the front row in the white shirt, behind the gal in the green shirt (mizfit) and in front of the gal in the yellow shirt. I have a black coat on and a peek of yellow shirt on. I am kinda in the shadows! :)

Fitbloggin Giveaway #2

Giveaway # 2 is JELLO COUPONS!!!

The first 5 people to leave me a comment will each win a 1.00 off coupon for a six-pack of JELLO!

Jello Coupon

Jello Coupons

Fitbloggin Giveaway #1

Are you ready for a week of giveaways?!?!?!?

Up first is a really cool workout video set. I was able to meet the star in the video, Jessica Smith, at Fitbloggin. She is down to earth, really sweet, and will kick your body if you want her too! :-)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         10 Minute Solution’s KNOCKOUT BODY is one of the easiest way to get around the problem of time when it comes to working out. This kit includes a full-length DVD featuring 5 different 10 minute workouts and a pair of weighted gloves. Let me tell you, the “Fat Attack” 10 minute workout will kick your butt—it is my favorite! The workout s are great when you have just a few minutes to sweat– and sweat you will do. I was lucky enough to snag a copy of this workout to give to YOU!

3 ways to enter (up to 3 total entries per person):

1. Leave me a comment telling me your favorite workout song/artist.

2. Tweet this “Win it! Visit http://bit.ly/cTYBtl to win a copy of 10 Minute Solution’s Knockout Body! ” then come back and leave a seperate comment telling me your twitter name.

3. Write about this giveaway on your blog– come back and leave a comment here with the URL.

Comments close on Friday at 5pm. Winner will be chosen with Random.org on Saturday.

GOOD LUCK!

Disclaimer: I received the video I am giving away at Fitbloggin 10. I was asked to review the product, but was asking to give my honest review of the product- good or bad. I have not received any compensation (other than a copy of the video).

True Lemon at Fitbloggin 2010

[caption id="attachment_1401" align="aligncenter" width="162" caption="True Lemon"]True Lemon packets[/caption]

A HUGE thank you to my sponsor TRUE LEMON for a fantastic time at Fitbloggin 2010!

If you were at the conference and you received a sample of True Lemon, True Lime, True Orange or the True Lemonade, please let me know what you think about it by posting a comment here or by “at-ing” me on Twitter @ajlovestolose. Some of you have already told me how much you are loving the little packets of gold, and how cool you think they are. I was so excited to be able to share them with you, as True Lemon is one of my favorite things.

If you want to order more or for more information, please visit www.truelemon.com

Pictures from Fitbloggin 2010

Fitbloggin ’10 and a trip to the ER- A Recap

What a fantastic weekend.

I knew Fitness and healthy living bloggers were cool, but who knew I would meet so many amazing people in just 2 short days!?!

The weather was AMAZING– Baltimore was sunny and in the high 60′s low 70′ the whole weekend. The hotel location was amazing– 5 steps from the harbor and pretty nice, considering I usually go on the cheap for hotel stays. :-)

I know I have said this 100 thousand times already, but Roni and the other volunteers really outdid themselves. They made this conference the best it could be and they deserve all the kudos they get. Plus 100 more.

Even though I was still really stuffed up from my rotten head cold and had a horribly plugged left ear from the flight, I got up at 6am on Saturday to do the 1K walk/run (sponsored by New Balance) with my roommate Mary. There were about 70 runners and walkers– some of them did the 5K, some did the 1K. I walked with Workoutmommy and FatFighterTV. While I am glad I got up and did it, I was really congested and didn’t walk very fast.

Saturday’s breakfast was yummy with Quaker sponsoring the oatmeal– I had oatmeal with dried cranberries and brown sugar, 1/2 a banana and 1/2 a Pom Drink. YUMMO!

The first session started after some brief announcements from Roni and a perusal of the sponsor tables where I was able to pick up a bathroom scale, awesome food scale (I think by Eat Right — They are in a box on the way home from fitbloggin now– I will change this and link to them when I get them) and signed up for a new cool product at the New Balance booth (more on that as soon as I get them!) I can’t wait to try everything I am grateful for receiving and excited to review them here so you can both hear about the product, and in some cases, sign up to win the product! :-)

My first panel of the day was the SEO Myths panel– and I really needed it! Scott Stawarz was a fabulous speaker and gave alot of good tips about what to and NOT to do when optimizing your blog. I think the best piece of advise he gave was:

Scott Stawarz speaking at Fitbloggin Conference

How to get people to link to your blog:

  • Be controversial
  • Be first
  • Be unique
  • Be creative
  • Be useful
  • Be yourself

It is really hard to remember some of those things when you are just starting to spread the word about your blog. Staying true to YOU is the easiest way to keep readers.

As the session wrapped up, I spotted a tweet from my roomie Mary: Going to the Hospital- Anybody wanna come? That totally freaked me out and I immediately DM’ed (Direct Message her for all those non-tweeters out there) her back to ask her what was wrong and why she was going. Earlier as we were getting ready after the 1K she had mentioned that she was a bit crampy, but she seemed to feel a little better after a bit (and some Motrin, I think).

Well, she got worse. By the time she tweeted that she was in the conference main hall, and I got to her, she was green and not doing very good. I asked Mary if she wanted/needed someone to go with her– and she was OK with me going along. There was no way I was going to let her go to the hospital alone in all that pain. She is a grown-up, of course, but I am a firm believer that people need not only a friendly face but and advocate when they are that sick. Someone who can help make choices when you are too sick to make them yourself.

Anyway,  A kind and very cool local blogger, Kate, offered to drive Mary to the ER. She drove to what I thought she was calling “Baby” John Hopkins (remember my ear is still plugged up at this time ;-0) but is was really “BAYVIEW” John Hopkins Hospital. It was farther than the “closest” hospital, but I am so glad she took Mary to a JH affiliate. Seriously, they were awesome. mary was in A TON of pain and was pale and clamy and not able to keep anything down by the time we got to the ER. Gerri, Roni’s mom, is a nurse, and she had guessed Mary might be trying to pass a kidney stone.

For those of you who don’t know, the pain is compared frequently to giving birth to a baby. A BIG one. After about 15 minutes (but seemed like 60 min) of waiting in the general waiting room (which was pretty empty), a nurse came out to get Mary and take he back for the initial assessment. Kate and I stayed in the waiting room with a colorful cast of (what seemed to be regular) characters waiting to be helped. I didn’t want to whip out my DSLR in the waiting room so, sorry, no pictures. :) While we were waiting, I sent updates on twitter to make sure people knew she was doing OK. I didn’t want to liveblog Mary’s ER visit, so I didn’t, but there were a lot of worried people back at the conference that wanted to know she was doing OK.

At one point, the nurse said we could go back and see Mary in the temporary holding room, and she was not doing so hot. I think everything- the pain, the cost, being sick- caught up to her. She was teary, but was holding it together better than I ever would have.  They had just placed the IV and Kate joked that Mary would have an AWESOME blog post from this– and that is when I pulled out the DSLR and took a photo of the IV so Mary could have it for all posterity. She has a post up now with her “side” of the saga, but I didn’t send her my pictures until a few minutes ago.

Since she looked upset (not at me taking a picture- I asked before I did- but just sick and teary) I asked her if she wanted to be alone for a bit. She took me up on my offer to leave the room. I know sometimes when you are sick a hug and company help, and sometimes you just wanna be alone. I really wanted to make sure I was respecting her wishes. :)

Kate and I hung out in the lobby for about 20-30 min longer gabbing and swapping info before the nurse took us to Mary’s new “room” in the ER.  When we got there, she was getting the IV pain meds– Hallelujah! After about 10 minutes I could tell they kicked in. She wasn’t so squirmy and she could sit much easier. The PA called for a ultrasound and a CAT scan. Kate and I stayed for the ultrasound and talked the poor doctor’s ear off about what he was doing and why, It was a great nephrology lesson! :)

Kate and I had not eaten lunch and my cell died just after Kepa called it from NZ to talk to Mary (her cell had bad reception in the room). Kate also needed to get back and let the gal who rode up with her that she was at the hospital. About 2:10, we drove back to the conference and wolfed down some food and I charged up my cell. I wasn’t feeling the best– my headcold was really bothering me– but we were able to give Roni and the other volunteers that had helped Mary an update on her condition. About an hour later, my cell rang and it was the hospital letting us know that Mary was being discharged, so we drove back and picked her up. She looked about 80 percent better and had a diagnosis of Kidney stones. That’s right — not 1 but 3! One one was being passed, but she might have to worry about the other two in the future.

We arrived back at the conference about 10 minuted before the closing remarks were done. I was bummed I missed most of the sessions, but glad I was able to help a friend in need.

I went to dinner with Yum Yucky, WorkoutMommy, FatFighterTV and (for the life of me I cannot remember her Twitter Name right now). It was a nice mellow fun dinner– just what I needed after a long day.  I went back to the room to pack up before dark, and by 9PM was ready to sleep, but was pursuaded by others to come down to the bar to hang out. One thing led to another and I ended up in Fitarella and Fitinmyheart’s room went down to the bar to meet with Mary, JulieJulie, someone who will not be named, and Jeninreallife. I had a blast and seriously– almost peed myself a few times laughing. They are a great bunch of people. I didn’t get back to my room until 12:30.

Sunday was busy running to the pharmacy to get Mary her pills (she was not feeling well again Sunday morning), finding out they wrote out the Rx wrong, and finding someone (Jeninreallife) to drive us back to the hospital to get the new Rx. It was a bit of a hassle to be honest, but it had to be done.

I made back the hotel just in time to make the shuttle to the airport (Thanks for the awesome driving Jen!!!). When I got on, who should be there but Hope (WindyCitySocial) and it turned out we were on the same flight! We gabbed the whole way to the airport, and really had fun talking while waiting for our (Delayed) flight. I am so glad I got to meet her in person and we are planning to meet up sometime next week to compare notes on the conference.

I brought alot of stuff back to giveaway on the blog and I am so exited to share it with you! The box doesn’t arrive from Baltimore until Wednesday, but be on the lookout starting next Monday for the reviews and giveaways to start!

I am already planning and saving for Fitbloggin 11! ;-)

Fitbloggin day 1

Oh. My. God.

I am so freakin tired.

But I am having so much fun!!

I woke at 330am cdt, and am beat. It is now 11pm edt.

The plane ride was uneventful, but it was cool to meet up unexpectedly in the shuttle with one of the other blogger’s Rebecca. ( am on iPhone– will link to her blog tomorrow)

The hotel is beautiful– and our room has amazing views. See pics below of the lobby, the view from the room and of fitbloggers going crazy waiting for food.

I am beat– better recap, photos and other stuff coming tomorrow after the 5k run/walk when I am on my laptop.

Night from fitbloggin!!

Fitbloggin starts tomorrow!!!

Fitbloggin is finally here!! I am busy trying to get over nasty headcold/start of allergy season crap. And trying to make sure I have everything for the conference.

Business cards? Check
PJs? Check
Fun bloggie tees? Check

Everything is packed and ready for my 6am flight to Baltimore tomorrow morning. I am taking ‘the good camera’ so I hope to get some great shots to share.

I need to send a shoutout to true lemon for making awesome products that I love and for sponsoring part of my trip to the conference. If you are a going to be at fitbloggin, be sure to find me to get a free sample of True Lemon, and follow me on Twitter @ajlovestolose for your change to win a few cool prizes. :)

Ok, off to run a bazillion errands before I leave tomorrow!!

FITBLOGGIN OR BUST!!

Mamavation Motivation Monday

I used my walking poles today and I am SOOOOO sore already– FEEL THE BURN! The weather is finally starting to warm up (almost 50 today!) and I enjoyed getting out to feel the warmth of the sun (through the fog!) on my face. I was hesitant to walk in my new neighborhood (wasn’t sure how safe it is, I have only been here 4 months and it has been cold and snowy the whole time) but it is actually very safe with lots of dog walkers and nannies out for afternoon walks. While it is supposed to rain tomorrow, I think I will get out and do another walk early.

I ate healthy today( finally) enjoying a BIG salad and a few whole wheat veggie ravioli for lunch. Dinner will be fish and veggies again. I am PUMPED for Fitbloggin and can’t wait to see everyone. I may have already started packing…. :-) I have plans to hit the treadmill after dinner and get another good walk in…. :-)

So what did you do to move today?