Thursday, November 10, 2016

New York City Marathon 2016 Race Recap

Hello dear friends. I know it's been a while. Great things are happening. We've been busy building From Fat to Finish Line into a business to help runners get to their finish lines and it's been awesome. I owe you a blog about all that but this post is all about The TCS New York City Marathon, baby!

Once again I had another imperfect (OK pretty pathetic) training regime going into the New York City marathon. But I managed to get in my long runs (more or less)  and while not ideally trained, I was super excited anyway. Thanks to the generous support of so many friends and family I reached my goal of raising $3000 for Organization of Autism Research and this race wasn't just about me.

The week of the event came and I was eerily not nervous or experiencing the "what if" fear and dread that I experienced before any really big race. Instead I was downright giddy and excited. While not normally a Taylor Swift fan her "Welcome to New York" song seemed to be on-loop on my playlist (which at times annoyed the crap out of me and other times moved me in a very corny way to being a little weepy) - It wasn't lost on me how special and momentous this was. I didn't have to run - I GET to run the greatest city in the world... I felt psyched all week.

On Thursday I made my way to the expo, enjoyed kicking around, getting my bib and reuniting with Bart Yasso.

Sunday came and I was awake for hours before my alarm went off - by 3:45 am I was getting dressed and ready. By 5:00 am I was on a bus from the Meadowlands and heading out towards the start in Staten Island! On the bus, I ran into a new FFTFL friend, Walter. It was a great gift to have company on the bus and at the village for the next few hours until the rest of the gang showed up. Once at the village, we rested a bit, drank some free Dunkin' Donuts coffee, took a few pictures and waited. Ann, who I trained with, Megan, friend Jeanine and Dominic all made their ways to the village.

While wandering about, Ann, Jeanine, Megan and myself got a special treat of seeing the one and only MEB who was the grand marshal of the race! Ann asked for a picture and he said yes! What a great way to kick off the day.

So after the long wait - it was finally 11 AM and time to run! Megan and Jeanine had started earlier and Walter was in another corral. Domenic, Ann and myself headed to our place on the bridge.

The gun went off and instead of the traditional Frank Sinatra's New York, New York song, they cut it about 5 seconds in and played "I Want to Dance with Somebody" from Whitney Houston instead. I was a little disappointed because the Frank Sinatra song is sentimental for me (it was my Grandmother's favorite song) but shook it away and got down to business!

We decided to try to keep the pace comfortable. Domenic had been doing a walk 30 second / run 1:30 second thing in training and I thought that sounded like a good approach. Domenic and I did that along with Ann for the first mile or two. We got a few miles in and of course I had to stop to potty. We waved Ann off and she was on her way.

Domenic and I soaked in Brooklyn which is just such a great place to run. All the cultures, all the people, the support amazing. Domenic saw his wife and mother-in-law out there and I got to see my friend Joe and Jess at mile 8 again which is such a blessing and treat. Once again they didn't let me down Their smiles, enthusiasm, and big-ass sign with my name on it - was just soooooooo uplifting. Words can't describe how much it meant to me. Loved that so much.

While out there, a few people recognized the film from my shirt. I heard a few times, "I saw you in that movie and loved it!" one even said "Oh my God, Jennifer Roe! Love you, love your movie!" That was very exciting and cool!

Right after seeing Joe and Jess (about 8 miles in) my legs already were starting to feel a little tight. Ugh. Lack of training on hills and in general was beginning to catch up and there was still 18 ahead. This was the type of  feeling that shouldn't have been happening until at least 14 in. But I had to just shake it off. There was no way I was going to quit or give up only way home was though the finish line.

Around mile 13 we caught up with Domenic's brother. He was a little younger and had a spring in his step. Domenic started to run a little faster (and I a little slower by this point) so the next few miles I was trailing them. I tried to keep up but I was tired and getting sorer and sorer. They were sweet, they would check up on me, encourage me on and tried to keep me in the game. Finally, around mile 17, I really fell behind on them. I was tired of trying to keep up the pace and felt it might be better if I just did this race my own way and at my own pace.

By this time we'd been out there for hours. I was nervous about how things were going, I was now on my own and I was FREEZING. I decided to run off course and go into a Dollar Store. I was hoping to buy a blanket or something I was just so cold. Well, the store was heavenly warm, and then I found fleece gloves. There were five people on line and the wait was annoying but I wasn't winning anyway, so I waited. The gloves truly made a difference.  So I guess this might've been 17.5 miles in or so. It was starting to get dark and I still had at least 8 miles to go. I figured I could drag my ass, freeze to death and be miserable or just put my head down, make the best of things and push. I hadn't come to New York to not give it my best!

So, I pulled out my music (Before even starting the race I only had 16% battery so I had kept it on airplane mode the whole race - I pulled it out and thought to myself, "well, I will get at least a little music out of this. If I'm lucky a song or two." By some miracle it hung onto 16% battery until the end of the race so I had music when I needed it!)

It was tough and I was slow but from miles 17.5 - 22 or 23 I pretty much ran and felt a new sense of purpose in the race. I listened to T-Swift's "Welcome to New York" a few times and "Raise You Up" from Kinky Boots which always puts me in a good mood. I was physically hurting and it was hard but I was determined. I repeated mantras, I told myself, "this might be hard but Autism is harder" I told myself that, "this is supposed to be hard - that's why you get a medal" and I thanked the universe and God for giving me the strength, the body, the legs and the courage to carry me to the finish line. Even though I struggled, I was proud of myself for moving forward.  I made a commitment to myself to get to that finish line even if it took me all night.

A big part of what really kept me going out there was all of you. I knew that so many of my friends and family not only supported me and autism to get there but I knew you guys were tracking me. From my parents, hubby and sister to my From Fat to Finish Line and Weight Watcher's families I knew I was supported. I thought of you guys looking at that app and seeing me cross miles and rooting me on from home.

There were some great spectators still on the course and hearing my name and encouragement also kept me going.

Finally, I was in the last mile and coming close to the finish line. I had done it. Once again, I became emotional as I approached the finish. It took 7 hours and 22 minutes. I arrived at the start line in the dark and I was finishing, once again, in the dark. I was so tired, so sore, but so proud.

You would think it would end there - huh? Well. After crossing the finish line - I still had to walk a good 3/4th of a mile to get my cape and get out of the park. It was then a journey across town by cab (got out when we weren't moving and I began cramping) subway and NJ train home. The NJ train home was a shit show of people! Gimme a break! lol - There was a lot of post-marathon walking. I really missed not wearing my fitbit that day! Ha.

Anyway so that was that. NYC Marathon 2016 in the books. While I swore in the weeks leading up to the race and during every minute of the race, that I would never do another full marathon again -- well. Let's just say never, say never. For now I'm sitting on my hands so I don't enter the 2017 lottery but that's all I can promise to for now.

Thank you for your love and support - without you, I would never get to the finish line.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

From Fat to Finish Line Film: Pinch Me!!

Holy crap, people.

This is happening.

The film is out, people are watching it and they like it. They really, really like it.

 Amazon Five Stars! 

It's so incredibly humbling and exhilarating all at the same time.

I am still in awe of all of it. It seems like just yesterday where I was grossly obese, out of control, hopeless and desperate. I still sometimes struggle with food, motivation to run, temptation to over-eat, and the desire to be lazy rather than work out. But yet, I find myself in this place of having a film out there, in the universe, about running and making it to the finish line. I am so blessed.

I am even lucky that people like it enough to try to steal! We had to alert YouTube no less than five times this week of people trying to pirate the movie.

And that's not all. We have made it to the top ten ( top 7 as a matter of fact) of all documentaries on iTunes! OMG!! We were featured in the main banner on iTunes and are sitting side by side with heavy hitters - folks who have won OSCARS, folks supported and made by major movie companies... Little 'ol us. Pinch me.

Top banner on iTunes and under News & Newsworthy! 

#7 on iTunes for ALL documentaries! What!?

So here's the deal. If you want to get it, you can get it here on iTunes and here on Amazon.

If you watch it. Let me know what you think!


In other news outside the whole exciting movie thing and all, I've had a last few months of ups and downs weight wise. I finally decided to do something a little radical and do a few week of really clean, VEGAN eating.

beans, quinoa, avocado, onions, peppers and tomato - delish

The vegan thing is super edgy for me because I have always heavily relied on meat-based protein at every meal but it's been a better than expected experiment. I'm about a week and a half in and while it's been a little challenging it's been very interesting to note that I can be satisfied without animal protein. It definitely takes effort but I'm doing it. I should also tell you that since I'm on Weight Watchers, I am counting points. Even plan based foods can add up quickly and I could easily be an overweight vegan. ;)

As far as running is concerned, I'm getting my groove back. I've been struggling to get in miles when I can (we've been super busy and I've been traveling a lot) and I'm super nervous about being prepared for the NYC Marathon. I'm not where I would like to be for that. But you know, what can you do? I'm going to just keep on trying the best I can and fighting to keep my head in the game.

How are you guys doing?

Any veggie based dishes I should be trying?

Have you seen the movie?


Friday, July 22, 2016

From Fat to Finish Line Documentary Film Nears Finish Line!

Who would've thunk all those years ago when I first made the incredulous, ridiculous decision to "start running" that the journey would've led me here.

I've had ups and downs. The scale has been kind and evil. Through the years I've had set-backs, injuries, weight gain, and fall-downs. I've also experienced victories, incredible moments, experiences, inspiration, motivation and have gained friends for life.

It took me a long time to say the words, "I am a runner." And now I get to say, "I am a runner... in a movie!"

And this weekend you can own the film via iTunes for only $6.99!  GET IT HERE

You can view the trailer at iTunes too!

From Fat to Finish Line documents the journey of 12 formerly obese people who all lost about 100 pounds each through running. The 12 come from all over the country and team up to run a challenging 200 mile Ragnar Relay Race to celebrate their success and test their limits.

I'm so proud that this film has happened. It's funny, inspirational, entertaining and drives home the point that whether you are losing weight or running 200 miles, if you take one step at a time you can get to your finish line.

Thank you for being a part of this journey of mine. 


Thursday, May 12, 2016

San Diego Screening of From Fat to Finish Line Documentary and other stuff

Hi all!

I've become such a bad blogger but that's only because we are kicking booty and working so hard in many other areas.

Just thought I'd do a drive by and update you on some good stuff:

1. It's been slow and not-so-steady but the weight is slowly coming off. I'm back at WW and also using some of the tools at SparkPeople. Since December 27 I'm down 15 pounds and I'm about 7 pounds from my goal weight. I'm feeling good and my clothes are fitting better.

2. I've completed 30 days of no alcohol and super hydrating. I gave up the alcohol because I was drinking too much. Nearly every day I would look forward to a glass of wine (or if the day was particularly stressful) a martini. The fact that I was starting to 'count down' the minutes until wine-o'clock scared me and I just felt like it was undermining all the healthy things I've done. I have read that it takes 21 days to make a habit and 30 to really cement it. I'm at 31 days and feel really great. I don't miss the drinking and I think it's sped up my weight loss. I sleep better and wake up better. The super hydrating has been a win for me too. This has always been a place where I've struggled. My weight loss has been much better since incorporating both of these things. For the hydration, I've been using an app called Plant Nanny. Every time you drink water you 'water' your plant and it grows. Forget to water it and it gets sicks and dies. That's a lot of pressure. LOL.

3. We are having a special From Fat to Finish Line Documentary screening in San Diego!  On May 23, 2016 we will be having a pre-release sneak preview screening at the Green Flash Brew Co.! I will be there, alongside our director Angela Lee and a few of the runners from the film. It will be a night of beer and cheer you won't want to miss. :) Please find all the details here!

4. The film will be released world-wide this summer! I will update with an official announcement as soon as I can.  If you don't know what the movie is about it's basically about 12 runners (moi included) that have all lost a lot of weight and team up to run a 200 mile Ragnar Relay Race from Miami to Key West. It's funny, emotional, and inspirational (if I do say so myself). We are proud of it.

5. Don't forget to sign up here to get updates and news on the film, soon to be released running app, and more. :) 

Hope all is well with you!

Do you have any special apps you use to help you drink water or get to your health goals? 


Monday, March 21, 2016

Checking out The Oprah & Deepak 21 Day Meditation Experience

My first time doing Yoga 2011 with Cynthia 

There are a few things I've been saying to myself I need to do for years and kind of never achieve for one reason or another. As annoying as it is to keep trying and failing at some of these things, I'm a big believer in never giving up.

The "I should will do list" includes:

1. Strength train more.
2. Consistently drink 8 glasses of water a day.
3. Take daily vitamin.
4. Yoga
5. Meditation

Just writing this list out has just made me refill my glass of water and pop a vitamin so there's that - so far so good!

The one thing I've never actually have given a good try to though is meditation. I've read in many a self-help book how powerful and transformative meditating can be but just never knew where to start.

About a week ago, my friend Cynthia sent me this link. (Cynthia is also the first person to teach me some yoga moves.) The link is for "The Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience." I didn't even think twice about it at first. I knew I should try meditation but, really, who has time? And like yoga and strength training, I would probably not really follow through on it anyway. But still, something about it made me click the link and I signed up. (It's free, so why not?)

Today was day one. Today's centering thought was: "My struggle has ended. I am in harmony with myself" and the mantra was: Om Laghu Bhavam. Of course half way through, my mind wandered for all of 5 seconds and I couldn't quite remember the mantra or the centering thought but I did my best. By the way,"Om Laghu Bhavam" means "I am lightness itself" which I forgot as soon as Deepak said it and just had to re-look it up for this blog post. Oy. I mean, Om. 

The centering thought really resonated with me. "My struggle has ended. I am in harmony with myself." I've been struggling with the scale. Ironically, I feel strong, healthy and a recent physical has proven that my healthy eating and consistent running has me in optimal health. But. I'm still up about 13 pounds from my goal weight and the A student in me is on fire about it. And I've been frustrated because I've been following the Weight Watchers Program to the "T." Dutifully weighing and measuring my food and logging it. I actually enjoy the process of all of that. I adore the women in my meeting and my leader, and I personally do much better when I'm following a regiment vs just "winging it." Yet the scale barely budges. If the scale didn't matter I'd be very happy, but the scale does matter in a way, and I've allowed it to get the best of me lately.

The centering thought has me rethinking the scale though. I am happy. I am in harmony with myself. I am strong and healthy, I have so much to be grateful for and everyday I want to wake up and thank the universe for my strong healthy body. It's such a blessing to be able to run! To move! To not be on medication to not face disease because of poor habits. So I'm ending my struggle with the scale. My body might want to be healthy at this weight or something will kick in at some point but either way, I am going to believe that I am in harmony with myself.  I will continue to go to WW because I love the friendship and it provides me the tools and balance I need to keep moving forward but I'm truly going to work at letting go of the numbers. 

This 21 day meditation journey is literally about "shedding weight" in every sense of the word. Most importantly the heavy stuff weighing on your heart, soul and mind. Who can't use a little lightening up? 

By the way, shortly after my first time meditating this morning, as if to confirm that I am on the right path, I saw this NY Times Article, Meditation Plus Running as a Treatment for Depression pop up on my FB newsfeed. Running has definitely helped to ease my depression so this was a particularly interesting read for me. 

I'm pretty sure you can still sign up for The Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience if you want to give it a shot. If you do, let me know what you think!

Have you ever meditated before? What are your thoughts? 


PS: I'm still raising money for Autism by running the NYC Marathon this November. I have a goal of $3000 and it's going to take a lot of help to get there! If you are so moved, please consider supporting the cause - You can donate here:

PSS: If you want to check out the cool, FREE From Fat to Finish Line Running App click here to sign up to get on the list! I promise it's not going to be your average running app :) 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Start Spreading the News I'm running the NYC Marathon again!

Pre-run selfie with my pink NYC marathon hat

It was that day of the year again. The day of refreshing email, calling the credit card for "latest activity" and stalking the New York Road Runners page for any and all updates regarding the TCS New York City Marathon lottery. Honestly, I wasn't quite as obsessed this year. I was actually OK with the idea of not getting in. There is sooooo much going on with the From Fat to Finish Line film release coming this year, and building the From Fat to Finish Line app and business - I figured time to train for a marathon would be ridiculous, so if I don't get in, all is fine. Right?

Er. Well.

Then this email came through:

Whadda ya mean I didn't get selected!?
And somehow, despite being "totally OK with not getting in" and actually "totally OK with never running another marathon ever again," I got bummed. 

So I had some wine. Not a lot. But enough. And after finding out Angela was going to run it (my BFF and biz partner) AND finding out that Ann my training and running buddy from last year got in. Well...

Let's just put it this way. Some people drunk text, some drunk Facebook. Me? I drunk sign up to run 26.2 miles for charity. 

I began researching my different options for all of the different charities. I knew I wanted to raise money for autism and after careful consideration, I confidently chose "Run For Autism" For OAR (Organization for Autism Research). I looked them up on Charity Navigator and not only did they have a good rating but after reading about their missions and work, I had a deep desire to run for them. As you might know, I have an autistic son and while we've had our challenges I'm very, very lucky. I have amazing resources and services available for him. Not all families are so lucky. I have been feeling this need to give back and I'm proud to be able to do so for OAR. 

It's exciting to be on another running journey. I never really wanted to fundraise. I hate asking people for money and I have to raise a lot - $3000. But this is different. I want to fundraise for these folks. They are a smaller organization making big differences for people like my son and my family. So the only thing that stands between me and this finish line is 26.2 miles and $3000 - piece of cake! ;) 

Have you ever raised money for a charity through running? 


PS: Hey! By the way, if you want to sign up early for our FREE From Fat to Finish Line App - CLICK HERE to get on the list! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

From Fat to Finish Line the Continually Amazing Journey

Hello all -

It's been a few months since my last big race The New York City Marathon and I haven't really blogged since.

I thought I would just check in and let ya all know what's been going down.

Week after NYC marathon ran the Vegas Rock N Roll Half.  Cool Race
(left to right - Carly, Angela, Michele and me - all wearing cool team FFTFL shirts!)


I am still running! I'm at a nice little place in my running - getting in runs of between 2 and 4 miles most days of the week. I'm going to start training for my next race pretty soon (The NJ Half Marathon) but it's been nice not worrying about really long runs. (Though I did throw my name back into the pool for the NYC marathon so we'll see what happens.)

I am back at Weight Watchers.

I have managed to keep most of my weight off but about 20 pounds have crept back on over the course of the last few years (particularly post marathon where I continued to eat like I was training). And decided to go back because my twin was going. I figured I could support her and she could support me. Plus it's a nice way to make sure we see each other at least once a week.. I am enjoying the new program and being back in a meeting. I am an old lady at heart and look forward to 'shooting the shit' with others about healthy recipes and the highs and lows of weight loss.

I've lost a little weight and am about 12 pounds from goal.


Very exciting news. For those who don't know, I produced a documentary also called "From Fat to Finish Line" (not about me or this blog - you can read about it and see the trailer if you click the film tab above) and things are going great. The film looks so good and we landed a major distribution deal! We are wrapping up details but it seems that we'll be releasing it someplace between mid-May and mid-June 2016! I will keep you posted.

We are in the process of developing a From Fat to Finish Line app that will be geared towards runners who really like to connect with a community as they run and train. More to come on that too. Drop me an email if you want to be added to the list to try the app for free when we're testing it. If you email via the "contact me" button here, please make sure to include your email address in the body of the message or I won't be able to get back in touch with you or add you to the list.

We are also going to be doing team "From Fat to Finish Line" Races. We are working with our friends at Road Runner Sports and will be at their inaugural races which are scheduled for San Diego on July 17, Atlanta on September 10th and Phoenix on October 16th.  We are securing lots of goodies for our "FFTFL" friends and team including discount codes and special swag. You can learn more about the race series itself here. We will also have a team race at Rock N Roll Virginia Beach on Sept. 4th. If you want to be counted as a team From Fat to Finish Line person you can check out our race events here: From Fat to Finish Line Facebook group

So there's some of the scoop. I feel so blessed that my decisions to lose weight and start running took me on this path. I'm so lucky that my business partner and BFF, Angela was also a runner and saw a vision in all this. Never in my wildest dreams could I have envisioned where this journey would lead me! A movie! An app! Team races.

How are things with you? What unexpected gifts and moments has running given you?