About Karen

I am a woman who loves eating, drinking, playing with my dogs, tending to my chickens, running, swimming and cycling. I am confronting my inner couch potato on my quest to become more fit and healthy.

Playing Catch Up – Part 2

Ok, so I’ve gotten up to speed with the Photo Challenge. I’ve put my winter clothes in the attic (finally!). I’ve hiked to the twin peaks of Mt. Piles o’Mail, and Piles o’Laundry and now it is Friday and I am feeling back in control of my house. I know it’s a fleeting feeling. What with the never ending doggie detritus, dust, fur, pollen, muddy paws, toys, etc.

So no time like the present to recap my running workouts. I have neglected lots of things as I mentioned, but not my running. I have been making an effort to get out there and pound the pavement at least 3 times per week. I am on week 10 of my 10K training plan, and my 10K is on Sunday! I’m feeling as prepared as can be. And I must admit I’m just a smidge proud of myself for making it this far.

My long runs the past 3 weekends have been at least 60 minutes. Last Sunday I did 75 minutes. Not fast, mind you, but I don’t really care about that right now. I’m more concerned with my endurance. And because of all this running, my foam roller has become my new best friend. It hurts so good.

Side note – This week I started using a great new app: Road ID. I just type in the length of my workout and it sends Bobby (or whomever – up to 5 people) a text letting him know I’ve gone for a run. He can then see where I am by following eCrumbs. It makes us both feel a bit better to know that someone knows where I am in case I fall and break my ankle. Or worse.

I’m also still into my kettle bells and made up a killer workout this week:


kettlebell workout (#innercouchpotato)

kettlebell workout (#innercouchpotato)

It’s a pretty good one – sore muscles guaranteed.

Today’s P.O.D. is to clean out my spare bedroom and return it from its current state of laundry way station to the workout room it used to be. Go for an easy-breezy 20 minute jog. Help Bobby with some yard work. Make some sort of sweet concoction to bring to my parents’ since my sister is in town this weekend. I’m thinking strawberry-cheesecake monkey bread…

And here’s today photo:

Day 27 (shorts) #shrinkingjeans

Day 27 (shorts) #shrinkingjeans

There’s all my running clothes drying on the line, and Dio, who is never far from me. You didn’t think I’d post a photo of me in those shorts, did you??

Playing Catch Up

So many things left undone. My last day of school was June 19th and I am just now starting to feel like I am on vacation (sort of). I have neglected many things in the mad dash to the finish line of the school year: my house cleaning, laundry, the photo challenge, and generally organizing/getting my sh*t together.

So, while I was certainly taking lots of photos, they didn’t make it to the page. Without further ado here are the photos from where I left off:

Day 10 (#shrinkingjeans)

Day 10 (Water bottle) #shrinkingjeans

Day 11 - Tracker (#shrinkingjeans)

Day 11 – Tracker (#shrinkingjeans)

Day 12 - In My Bag (#shrinkingjeans)

Days 12 and 15 (In My Bag and Workout Gear) #shrinkingjeans


Day 13 (How I Feel) #shrinkingjeans

Day 13 (Smoothie) #shrinkingjeans

Day 14 (Meal Plan) #shrinkingjeans

Day 14 (Meal Plan) #shrinkingjeans

Day 16 (How I Feel) #shrinkingjeans

Day 16 (How I Feel) #shrinkingjeans

Day 17 – Biceps. Please. We will not go there.

Day 18 (Playlist) #shrinkingjeans

Day 18 (Playlist) #shrinkingjeans

Day 19 (Throwback) #shrinkingjeans

Day 19 (Throwback) #shrinkingjeans

Day 20 (Guilty Pleasure) #shrinkingjeans

Day 20 (Guilty Pleasure) #shrinkingjeans

Day 21 (On My Feet) #shrinkingjeans

Day 21 (On My Feet) #shrinkingjeans

Day 22 (Sunshine) #shrinkingjeans

Day 22 (Sunshine) #shrinkingjeans

Day 23 – Triceps. Fugeddaboutit


Day 24 (Steps) #shrinkingjeans

Day 24 (Steps) #shrinkingjeans

Day 25 (Sweaty Hair) #shrinkingjeans

Day 25 (Sweaty Hair) #shrinkingjeans

Day 26 (Every Day) #shrinkingjeans

Day 26 (Every Day) #shrinkingjeans



Photo Challenge and Running Update


Hello Hello!

Hope all of y’all had a lovely weekend. It was picture-perfect here where I am, and I did take a photo or 2 for my June Photo Challenge. I realize I haven’t posted a pic since last Thursday, so I have some catching up to do…couch potato strikes again.

But first! I must recount my workouts for the week (#7 of the 10K training plan). It was a week full of errands and obligations that totally messed up my training schedule, but somehow I did manage to squeeze in a treadmill run on Tuesday (2 miles). Then this past Saturday I ran 3 miles and Sunday I dominated a 60 minute run! Oh yes I did! Ok, dominated may be too strong a word. How about – I didn’t pass out or hobble my way to the end? I totally forgot to bring my phone, so I wasn’t able to track my mileage, but I guesstimate it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 5.5 miles. Sh*t yeah! I’m proud. Pat on the back. Can I run for an hour? Why yes. Yes I can. That’s a pretty decent accomplishment and I’d like to bask in that for a moment…Ok thanks. Moving on…

Photo challenge catch up! Last week I left off on Friday June 6th. That just so happened to also be high school graduation night, so I was a bit busy with all kinds of celebration and merry-making. I snapped this photo at the beginning of the day. I should have snapped another at the end because all that craptastickness was crossed off! Booyah!!

Day 6 (List) #shrinkingjeans

Day 6 (List) #shrinkingjeans

These are my new favorite weights. I just started learning how to use a kettle bell and it is a serious cardio and strength workout. I love that I can get a good, sweaty workout done in just a few minutes with these babies.

Day 7 (Weights) #shrinkingjeans

Day 7 (Weights) #shrinkingjeans

Here’s a great quote that I have totally been living by recently. Since running 4  miles and now 60 minutes (holla!), I have a new appreciation and respect for my legs. They’ve always been something I’ve been self-conscious of, but now I’m beginning to love them. My legs are strong and healthy and will carry me through that 10K in a couple of weeks. I just know it. (Of course they are also covered in itchy mosquito bites, but that’s just ‘cuz I’m so sweet. Or something.)

Day 8 (Fitspiration) #shrinkingjeans

Day 8 (Fitspiration) #shrinkingjeans

And today’s photo is of my peanut. My baby girl. My monkey. This is Lotus acting like the maniac that she is. She is a girl who cannot resist the lure of the hose. I just love this picture of her.

Day 9 (Movement) #shrinkingjeans

Day 9 (Movement) #shrinkingjeans

That’s it for now. I’m off to play connect the mosquito bites…


June Photo Challenge – Day 5

Today’s theme is “My View”, and I could have taken this photo any number of places: my counseling office where I meet with students, the waiting room at the dentist’s office – where I wiled away 2 and a half hours of my life that I will never get back – but my student did follow through on something he was deathly afraid of, so…there’s that. But honestly I wanted to take a photo of my happy place. The place I look forward to coming to at the end of every exhausting school day.

Day 5 (My View) #shrinkingjeans.net

Day 5 (My View) #shrinkingjeans.net

This is my back yard and my elder dog, Lotus. She’s probably rolling in something dead, but doesn’t she look cute?? My dogs crack me up on a daily basis. I love to sit and watch them play. Except for today when I could only sit outside for all the time it took to snap this photo because the effing mosquitoes were biting my fingers. I kid you not. My fingers. It’s absolutely ridic.

And I would also like to give a shout-out to my Gram who’s 98 today. Happy Birthday Gram! You’re the cat’s pajamas!!

And now I’m off to slather myself in calamine lotion because I’m oh-so-itchy…

Photo Challenge – Day 4

Yum. I love breakfast and never, ever skip it. Or I become crankier and more obnoxous than usual, and no one within 100 yards of me wants that to happen.

My usual weekday breakfast is oatmeal with cranberries, banana, and peanutbutter, eaten out of Tupperware on my way to school. Plus a gallon of coffee. That aint gonna make a pretty picture, though, so instead I thought I’d share what I typically enjoy before my weekend runs:

Breakfast (Day 4)

Breakfast (Day 4) #shrinkingjeans

Now that it’s starting to warm up around New England I’m trying to be more mindful of being well-hydrated prior to my run. It worked out pretty well to drink some water and coconut water before the big 4 mile run this past Sunday. And I love peanutbutter and banana on a whole wheat English muffin. It’s a no-fail combo pre-run meal.

Annnnd now I’m hungry…

June Photo Challenge – Day 3

The topic today is “New Challenge”. Hmmm… so many possibilities! Which one to choose?? My first thought naturally went to running, but I quickly ruled that out because: a) that’s not new, and b) I’m not going to take another picture of my calendar or training program, and c) I’ve got more going on than that.

Such as: kicking sugar out of my diet, cleaning my closets (yikes! The bags. The shoes! All that I can’t bear to part with is now spilling into and all over my office), getting rid of those bastard carpenter bees that are eating my house (I will get you, emmeneffers. Mark my words…), or how about not dying of EEE due to the 5 billion plus mosquitoes in my yard?

I could go on, but Couch Potato is looking for some attention, so I’m gonna make this short and sweet. If anyone out there knows how to help me with a rascally puppydog who gets into all sorts of non-edibles that he should definitely not get into, then let me know.

This is what I came home to today. Dio seems to be getting ready for Christmas a tad early. I also could have posted the photos of half-eaten mail, the stack of photos that “disappeared” but he left the bag as evidence, or the shredded dollar bill (we call him “fiftycent” now).

New Challenges (Day 3)

New Challenges (Day 3)

He’s on the naughty list for sure this year.

But the truth is, he’ll eat the coal too.

Workouts and a Photo Challenge

This week’s post is a two-parter. First let’s focus on the workouts, cuz I’m feeling pretty good about my 10k training so far. I’ve been progressing through my training program, following it pretty closely, but not perfectly. Life gets in the way, ya know how that goes… This past week I was able to get out and run 3 times – a 3 miler, a 40 minute (3.5 miler), with the longest run yesterday. I dominated 4 whole miles! Well, if by dominated I mean I ran at a snail’s pace, then yes! That’s what I did! In addition to that awesomeness, I also did this strength workout twice:

courtesy of carrotsncake.com

courtesy of carrotsncake.com

I used a 15 pound kettle bell and it kicked my ass. Holy smoking quads, Batman! I was able to do 10 rounds (that’s 100 reps, folks).

And on another completely random topic. No decent segue here I guess…

I enjoy taking photos, although you couldn’t really tell from this blog. But my Facebook and Instagram accounts are chock-full of more pictures of my pups than anyone wants to see. By some stroke of fortuitousness (huh?) good luck today I received 2 different photo challenges. If anyone wants to join in go to www.shrinkingjeans.net and/or www.carrotsncake.com. Perfect timing, I thought. I may follow one plan or I may pick and choose. Who knows?! I’m wild and crazy like that!

Since it’s June 2nd, I’ll post 2 photos and be all caught up.

Here’s the first, taken yesterday, June 1st: Morning Me


Morning Me (Day 1)

Morning Me (Day 1)

This was taken right after my 4 mile run. And it just goes to show what a complete dork I am. I have no idea how to take a decent selfie, obvs. You didn’t think I was going to post my morning hair did you?? Or anything prior to coffee, because that would be horrifying for all involved.

Moving on to today: June Goals

Photo Challenge June 2014

June Goals (Day 2)

Yes, my big goal for the month is the 10K on the 29th. I am determined to run it from start to finish. I am not concerned about time, because for me it’s all endurance and proving to myself that I can. do. this.

And I am doing this. I just banged out 4 miles like, well, like it was running 4 miles. It wasn’t easy is what I’m saying. But I’m feeling proud and determined. And really thankful that my body and my legs are healthy and strong.

That is all. Peace out.


Last Week’s Workouts – Week 5

Last week’s workouts (week 4) were impressive for a couch potato like me. This past week’s, however left something to be desired. I had another 4 runs scheduled but only completed 2. Whomp whomp. But I added a strength workout as well, so that doesn’t suck.
The truth is that my week was self-induced stress with IEP meetings, difficult parents (not mine. Mine are beautiful. Love you!) and a death in the family. A good workout would have alleviated some of the stress, and I know that. But knowing and doing are two different things. Plus wakes and funerals and visiting with family takes time. Time away from exercise.

Despite all of that…here’s what I accomplished:

  • Monday – strength
  • Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday – dog walks and stress eating
  • Saturday – 3 miles/35 minute training run
  • Sunday – 4 mile/45 minute training run

My strength routine was something I made up:

  • 50 reps or seconds of each exercise with 15 pound weights:
  1. squats
  2. lunges
  3. plank
  4. mountain climbers
  5. pushups
  6. wall sit
  7. triceps
  8. biceps
  9. step ups
  10. balancing dead lifts

It was an ass-kicker; much tougher than I thought.

Today is the start of a new week (#6 of the training plan) and tougher workouts. I’ve got longer runs (buh-bye 2 milers…you’re my warm up now). But I am ready. Even though I only did 2 of the 4 scheduled runs, I purposely did the 2 toughest. I didn’t wimp out. My mantra was “finish strong” and I ended up picking up the pace for the last 1/4 mile of both runs. Pat on the back…

And today being Memorial Day means we have a picnic to attend. Bob’s been smoking brisket since yesterday and our whole neighborhood smells like smoked meat (in the best possible way). I’m looking forward to playing with my nieces and nephews, avoiding the chips and dip, and remembering Tom Coogan: family friend, godfather/grandfather, Marine, World War II and Korea veteran, and beautiful soul. You will be missed.

Hope everyone has a lovely day.

Last Week’s Workouts


I am training for my first ever 10K in June, and so I intend to stick to my training plan like peanut butter to a bagel. I just completed Week 4 of the plan I’m currently using (courtesy of http://www.marathonrookie.com) and it went as follows:

  • Monday: Run 35 minutes (2.76 miles)
    Tuesday: Run 2 miles (in 22 minutes)
  • Wednesday Thursday Friday (rest? What happened???)
    Saturday: Run 30 minutes (2.64 miles)
    Sunday: Run 3 miles (in 34 min)

In addition, every morning before school I walked/got dragged by my dogs.  And I planned to get to a yoga class and do some strength training, but somehow that didn’t happen. Whomp whomp. Excuses, galore if you’re interested. But ultimately I got my 4 – count ’em! – 4 runs in last week and that feels pretty effing excellent.

I did invest in a new pair of kicks last week too. Back when I first started this running thang I went to a running store and had my gait evaluated and my first pair of shoes ended up being Asics. I loved them but replaced them with lots of other brands since then. All in the name of saving a few dollars. The fact is that Asics are the best running shoe I’ve tried to date. When I started to feel pain on the outside of my foot the other day (running in Sauconys I bought on super sale at TJ Maxx), I realized I have to go back to what works. So I ordered the Asics Gel Nimbus 15 from zappos.com and got them in 2 days. And my two runs this past weekend were great.

Lest you think my inner couch potato has been neglected, I’ll have you know I also finished watching seasons 3 of Downton Abbey (Matthew! Really?!?!), and started season 1 of Grimm (so far so good), finished the Divergent trilogy (meh). I guess I don’t really understand why those books are so popular because they didn’t really do it for me.  And The Fault in Our Stars (Love. So clever. So witty. So sad. So lovely. Read it. Please.). So I guess I’m looking for a new book too. For when I’m resting my hard-working legs after my runs. Or something.

BOOM! Bring on week 5 baby!


An Open Letter To My Nemesis: Fear

Dear Fear:

Since I signed up for the 10K and the half marathon, I have been running regularly two-three times per week (yay!), which is more than I’ve run in several weeks months. But I have also been FREAKING OUT. What have I done???? Who do I think I am? I can’t run a half marathon. I’m not a runner. I’m certainly not an athlete. AAAHHHHH!!!!! What makes me think that I, lowly couch potato-like human, can actually follow through and run 13.1 miles? I’m too old, too weak, too lazy, too _____.

And then…I took a breath and I got over myself.

I banish thee foul thoughts! And while it is true I cannot run a half marathon at this time, that’s why I have a training plan. Can I do the training run scheduled for today? Why yes I can. So does that make me a runner? Why yes it does. Does it make me an athlete? Welp, we’ll have to wait and see. I want to think so. If only being an athlete was just a state of mind…

As for the foul thoughts about my age, my strength, and my willpower…I can’t do anything about my age. I’ll be 44 when I step into the corral to run the half marathon in October. I could quit, give up, not bother to try because I think I’m too old. But I am running now (at 43 and 3/4), and there are lots of people a lot older than I who run marathons and ultras and all kinds of things. I did not see an age limit listed when I signed up for the race, and I know I won’t be oldest person there. There was no box to check that said “If you are over the age of 43 and 3/4 then go sit on your couch because you are TOO OLD”. They wanted my credit card info mostly. And another thing…if I chicken out now that will make me even older when I summon up the courage to try again. As for the strength and willpower…those are skills. I am improving – getting stronger both mentally and physically. I’m working on the willpower not to eat an entire pizza in one sitting, for instance. Then BOOM! Look at me! I am kicking ass and taking names.

So, Fear, this letter is part thank you for the gift of being afraid and part middle finger because I will not bow down to you. I believe that this insecurity, this anxiety, this temporary freak-out will only help me. I am not paralyzed with fear of failure (or success?) I am motivated by it. I have to focus on the mile I am running, not on the whole. I can do that. And maybe stick to two slices of pizza.

run the mile

So thank you Fear, but with all due respect go eff youself. I gotta run.