Archive | March 2014

Weight Loss, Vanity Sizing, and Fugly “Fashions”

**Fair warning: this post contains a copious amount of snark and swearing.**

For various reasons, in August 2013 I decided to try to eat healthier, exercise more, and just generally be more active. Although health and not necessarily weight loss is my ultimate goal, seeing excess pounds slowly drop away is nice side effect, and I am happy to report that I am rapidly closing in on getting rid of 25 pounds from my frame. While I would like to lose a few more than just the 25, this milestone indicates the time has come to shop for new (smaller) clothes. Not only do the clothes I currently own fit my body like an army poncho from the WPAFB Exchange, no pair of pants in my closet will sit correctly on my hips. In fact, my last few days at work have been an exercise in me covertly hitching up my sliding pants…that is NOT good when your profession involves walking around a classroom and frequently alternating between sitting and standing as you help students understand the enigma known as mathematics.

I was initially excited to shop for new clothes (SHOPPING!), and possibly a cute pair of sandals for the upcoming summer, but I was also a little irritated. Shopping for new clothes means I have to make a whole day of it or spread out my shopping time over several days. Why? Well, because of vanity sizing, of course. I’ve made no secret of my hatred of vanity sizing; not because of the psychological issues, but because I don’t feel I should have to try on EVERY. SINGLE. PIECE. OF. FUCKING. CLOTHING. IN. EVERY. SINGLE. DAMN. STORE. to find something that fits. A ladies shirt size large should be standard across all stores and all brands. A ladies size 10 pant/short/skirt should conform to standard measurements. If you outgrow it, either get comfortable with the next size up or lose weight. Clothing should not grow with you. I should not have to take the entire rack of a single style of shirt or pants into the dressing room because I have literally no fucking idea what the hell size I am. Am I a size 10? Size 6? Size 14? WHO THE HELL KNOWS? IT SURE ISN’T ME THAT KNOWS! AFTER ALL, WHY SHOULD I KNOW MY OWN CLOTHING SIZE?


This was all I could find to try on. Note how many different sizes there are in just 7 items. They ALL fit. ::headdesk::

*rant continues* Additionally, not only should *I* not have to schlep all those damn clothes into the dressing room, store employees should not have to reshelve all those damn items BECAUSE I HAD NO IDEA WHAT SIZE I AM DUE TO SOME DOUCHE-IDIOT CLOTHING MANUFACTURER WHO DECIDED THAT MY WEAK LITTLE FEMALE BRAIN WILL BUY CLOTHES ONLY WHEN THE NUMBER ON THE TAG IS SMALL!  That is not how I buy clothes…I buy clothes I look good in, regardless of the tag number. No one else knows what the tag reads; I don’t go around with a giant red symbol on my chest ala Hester Prynne! The only thing other people see is how the clothes look on me. STAHP WITH THE VANITY SIZING! I DON’T HAVE 20 HOURS TO SHOP SO I CAN FIND A SINGLE PAIR OF PANTS! GET IT TOGETHER, CLOTHING MANUFACTURERS! **deep breaths**

Okay, back to topic…I lost weight. I need new clothes. So, I head on the first of what I know will be multiple shopping trips. I decide to start with Dillard’s; I needed to go out to the “Massive Waste of Land Mall” anyway. I enter the ladies department only to find that 1970’s fabrics have vomited themselves onto 1980’s clothing styles. WHAT THE HELL? The first item I saw is what can only be described as paisley print on what I consider to be pajama pants, but according to the tag, they’re supposed to be dress pants. AND. THEY. ARE HIGH. WAISTED. VOMIT.  NO. NO. NOT OKAY.

And there were jumpsuits and rompers.  For women. Not for children—-for women. Are you kidding me?

I’m not even sure what all this flouncy-ness is across the bodice of this dress. Is it some kind of shield to help ensure my nipples stay warm? All dresses are apparently required to have it. Nipple Shield Dress at the end of this link.

After enduring rack after rack of horror, I called it a day. If you’d like to embrace the fullness of what Dillard’s is offering for spring 2014, feel free to follow this link. Come back before your eyeballs melt. Sobbing.

Okay, now you’re back. I hope your eyeballs are okay. After a day of reeling with both disappointment and amazement (disappointment, because clearly the buyer for Dillard’s is going to be fired! UGH. Amazement because someone thought central Iowans would buy this garbage. Have you been here? Have you seen what we wear? Jeans. Solid color sweaters. Cardigans. Fun t-shirt tops. No one is going to buy $79 paisley pajama/work/yoga pants!), I decided to give clothes shopping another go. This time I was ready to take pictures of any fugly-ness I encountered. THERE WAS SO MUCH FUGLY-NESS. Here is just a sample of what I saw at various IOWA clothing retailers this week:

This is fairly innocuous. It makes the slideshow because it is a white jean jacket. It has a popped collar and TIGHT ROLLED SLEEVES.

This is fairly innocuous. It makes the post because it is a white jean jacket. It has a popped collar and TIGHT ROLLED SLEEVES.

FAME called. They'd like their ugly, over-sized, off-the-shoulder sweater back. *shudder*

FAME called. They’d like their ugly, over-sized, off-the-shoulder sweater back. *shudder*

This poor poor crepe confection never even saw that attack doily coming.

This poor, poor crepe confection top…it never even saw that attack doily coming right for its throat.  RIP, crepe confection top.

Mom shorts. Kill them. Kill them with fire.

Mom shorts. Kill them. Kill them with fire.

WTH is this? Is it a dress? Is it a shirt? *NO ONE KNOWS*

WTH is this? Is it a dress? Is it a shirt? *NO ONE KNOWS*

On the left is a sweater? I think. Your FAME dance partner can wear it! On the right is a sweatshirt. With lace sleeves.

On the left is a sweater? I think. Your FAME dance partner can wear it! On the right is a sweatshirt. With lace sleeves. Yes, you read that correctly. A sweatshirt with lace sleeves. For your FANCY yard-work!

AI-YI-YI! This...well, this is a shirt (it comes in two colors). The back of each color is on the left and the front is on the right. The front is cotton. The back is a crepe-y polyester blend.

AI-YI-YI! This…well, this is a shirt (it comes in two colors). The back of each color is on the left and the front is on the right. The front is cotton. The back is a crepe-y polyester blend. It fits tightly in the front and loosely in the back. JUST HOW WOMEN LIKE.

Stripes? Check. Flowers? Check. Lacy Panel on the Back? Check. Vomit? Check.

Stripes? Check. Flowers? Check. Oddly placed and largely useless buttons? Check. Lacy panel on the Back? Check. Vomit? Check.

At least they're on clearance?

Zipper earrings. At least they’re on clearance?

Dressy shirts should NOT have a Daisy Duke at the bottom. Why not just get me a t-shirt clip?

Dressy shirts should NOT have a Daisy Duke tie at the bottom. Why not just get me a t-shirt clip and be done with it?

They made a matching set. They thought this fabric (polyester) and pattern was THAT good.

They made a matching set. They thought this fabric (polyester) and pattern was THAT good.

Elastic bands at the bottom of shirts look good on NO ONE. Not even the hanger.

Elastic bands at the bottom of shirts look good on NO ONE. Not even the poor defenseless hanger.

Great for a seamless transition from work to your after work golf game!

These pants allow you to seamlessly transition from work to your after work golf game or second job as a birthday party clown!

Perfect for your date with Edward Scissorhands! There will be no need to worry about your clothes being randomly cut because YOU BOUGHT THEM THAT WAY.

Any of these are perfect for your date with Edward Scissorhands! There will be no need to worry about your clothes being randomly cut when you make out because YOU BOUGHT THEM THAT WAY.

Random Ugliness bookended by a 1970's embroidered hippie-like shirt and a paisley mu-mu.

Random Ugliness bookended by a 1970’s linen and embroidered hippie-like shirt on the left and a paisley mu-mu on the right.

Dishonorable mention. The only thing even remotely fashionable here is the necklace on the middle model. It costs $50 and is plastic. NOPE.

Dishonorable mention. The only thing even remotely fashionable here is the necklace on the middle model. It costs $50 and is plastic. NOPE.

I couldn't decide if this belonged in this Hall of Shame or not. It looks like a great outfit to go boating in the 1970's or early 1980's. It also makes me look pregnant. I am NOT pregnant. This is not the 1970's or the early 1980's. I am not going boating.

I couldn’t decide if this belonged in this Hall of Shame or not. It looks like a great outfit in which to go boating in the 1970’s or early 1980’s. It also makes me look pregnant. I am NOT pregnant. This is NOT the 1970’s. This is NOT the early 1980’s. I am NOT going boating.

Well, so what should I do? After all, I still need clothes that at least stay on my body! Shall I embrace this rebirth of terrible fashions in terrible fabrics that were awful the first time they passed through stores? Because that’s all there is out there, ladies! This meme sums it up:

Who’s with me?  Wine and yoga pants are always in fashion.



Today is my birthday! At 36 years old (today!) birthdays no longer hold the extreme excitement that they did during child and early adulthood, but even though I bemoan getting older, it’s still a day for celebration. After all, who doesn’t enjoy guilt-free cake? (There are no calories in cake eaten on yourImage birthday-that’s just a scientific fact.) One of the best things about being born in Iowa on March 23rd is that you almost NEVER have to go to school on your birthday because of spring break …and since I also grew up to be a teacher, I also never have to work on my birthday either! WIN!

Seriously, though I’ve been thinking a lot lately about getting older. At 36, I am not really old or even to the middle of my life as of yet. Some days I feel old, though. I possess an entire retinue of stories that start with “when I was your age…” and end with no real connection to the original thought. I have gray hair that needs coloring or touching up at least every 8 weeks. I have the beginnings of crow’s feet and other wrinkles as well as skin that could probably use tightening. When someone says 10 years ago, I think they’re talking about the 1990’s and I probably always will. I no longer recognize some of today’s “celebrities.” After a hard training run, I don’t bounce back like I did when I was 26. Such is the aging process.

Getting older also brings some benefits. I’ve become more confident in myself and who I am. Take me or leave me; that’s up to you. I no longer obsess so much about my perceived flaws; I earned those wrinkles, dammit! I’ve made big mistakes and small mistakes and ImageI’ve tried to learn from those errors. I can now discuss my accomplishments without sounding like an egotistical ass. My real friends are still around; those who weren’t my real friends have long since flown the coop. I’ve experienced many every day and unique situations and learned how to deal with them effectively. I have the knowledge that no matter what today brings, a good night’s sleep will improve my outlook on that situation. I’ve also learned that all of life’s big problems are solved in the shower while I am washing my hair.

I celebrate today. I celebrate my wrinkles and my crazy stories. I celebrate my accomplishments and mistakes thus far. I celebrate my occasionally creaky knees and fast friends. I celebrate the final day of spring break and the opportunity to teach my class tomorrow. I celebrate. 


Well, I clearly fell off the radar of the blogosphere. I had started this blog years ago with the intention of posting a new entry every couple of weeks, and that obviously did not happen. As I now have more time on my hands, I see no reason I cannot pick up right where I left off. 🙂


My Philosophy

During my time in hibernation, I gained quite a bit of weight for various reasons that will be the topics of upcoming posts. Everyone in my life was nice enough to not mention the sudden increase in my weight, but in August of 2013, I decided to take off the weight for good. As a part of that goal, I again picked up running-mostly because it was summer and all it required was that I buy was a nice pair of shoes–cheap and accessible is always a WIN! I doinked about my neighborhood, probably horrifying neighbors as I went jogging about in my shorts and running bra glory (hey, it was 90+ degrees out after the sun went down, you just have to deal with my stretch marks), and I found that I LIKED running. I felt free. It seemed to be the only 45 minutes of my day where I wasn’t someone’s mother or wife or daughter or teacher; there were no demands on me, no one asking me questions, and no expectations. I was just me. Just Juliane. It has been a long time since I was Just Juliane. It was my Just Juliane Time (JJT). I also found that when I finished my run, I was a better and more patient mother, wife, daughter, and teacher-and I started losing the extra weight. It was wonderful. I finished out the nice weather part of the year with a fun little 5k in October 2013. Of course, as I am wont to do, once the 5K was over, I stopped running…the weather changed, school took up a lot of my time, I was working at a job I loathed (more on that in another post), the kids needed me, blah blah blah excuse excuse excuse.

Fast forward to January of 2014. I regained about 5 pounds of the 20 pounds I’d lost. BOO! I’d worked way too hard to let that stand! I joined a gym (January in Iowa is not outdoor running temperature, no matter what those hardcore nuts say!), and I started running again as well as training on the weight machines. I thought about running in a race; I felt like I needed a goal. The next race coming up near my location was a 10k. In March. Questionable outdoor running conditions as March in Iowa can be anything from 10 degrees below zero with snow and ice on the ground to 60 degrees and sunny. The charity sponsor was one that I have mixed feelings on, but as they overall probably do more good than harm, I decided to be okay with that. The distance required would be a challenge…I’d NEVER run more than 4 miles at a stretch, let alone 6.2 miles. I felt like I was up for it…after all, the only thing I really had to lose was the $37 race registration fee.  I found a nice little 10k training plan online at Women’s Health and began trying to find time to train on the schedule. It was very difficult, not only time-wise, but also endurance-wise: Not only easy runs of 3 miles or so, but also speed training runs and distance runs of up to 7 miles. 7 miles on a treadmill? Really? Yes—and I did it and I didn’t die! I also got faster and stronger throughout the 8 week plan, going from a 14:00 minute mile to hovering around 11:30 per mile. Amazing! Although I did have to sit out a week in February due to a nasty stomach bug, I managed to complete most of the program and I felt ready for the big day. 


7 miles on the treadmill.


Race Day!

For this race, I decided to pursue three reasonable goals:

  1. Finish.
  2. Try not to finish last in any category (overall, gender, age group).
  3. Finish in 80 minutes or less.

6:30 am on race day

Early weather reports showed March 15, 2014, to be 55 degrees and sunny, but as the day got closer, the prediction changed to 40 degrees and cloudy with a brisk Easterly wind at 15 mph. Great. Still, I woke up feeling positive.


Feeling better right before we left

After my mom arrived to take care of our boys (thanks, Mommy!), I put on my awesome race tutu and my hubby drove us to the venue.

There is nothing like the feeling/excitement/vibes in the air right before a race. Although most of us knew those elite runners (women who can run a 10k in about 39 minutes and men who can do it in about 39 minutes) would cross the finish line far before any of us, there is still a feeling of anticipation and camaraderie. For lack of a better description, it is a “We’re all in this together,” kind of feeling. It’s the culmination of 8-10 weeks of preparation to race against yourself and the official timing clock to try to set a new personal best (PB). If you haven’t ever been to a race as a participant or even as a spectator, I highly recommend it. It’s VERY addicting. At 5 minutes until the gun, the organizers had us line up according to our average mile times–jack rabbits in the front, turtles in the back. Clearly, I was lined up with the turtles as Imagemy best training mile had me at about 10:56 per mile. For me, being lined up so far back from the starting line made the beginning of the race a little anti-climactic; it took about 2 minutes to get from where I was to the actual start line after the gun went off due to the sheer number of people in attendance.






Mile 4.5

The race route called for us to travel from Principal Park towards Fleur Drive and through Gray’s Lake Park, and then circle to the Principal River Walk and back into Principal Park. The Des Moines Police Department closed off W MLK Parkway, but the rest of the streets around the route remained open and we received many honks of encouragement from passing motorists. Although we runners were being officially timed using the chips in our bib numbers, I still activated my Runkeeper App prior to the start of time 10k so I could keep track of my mile times, as well as the overall distance I’d traveled and my total time. Even though I just wanted to finish the trek, and hopefully not dead last in any of the categories, I did really want to come in under 80 minutes, which was my fastest training time. Mile 1 to mile 3 was relatively easy…in fact, I was shocked when my app told me I passed the 5k mark at about 30 minutes. I’d NEVER been that fast; not in training, not in my last 5k, not EVER. I was barely sweating thanks to the 15mph breeze and I was not really winded or tired. The back half of the 10k, though, was significantly more difficult for me. For one thing, as we turned into Gray’s Lake Park, we were straight into the wind. Although I would have liked to have continued on my pace, it was simply impossible for me as breathing in the whipping wind froze my lungs and just generally made it hard to operate. And breathing is relatively important in both life and a foot race. Unfortunately, we remained into the wind off and on throughout the second 5k. My muscles were beginning to get sore and tired and I could feel my legs starting to flag in spite of my strength training. My most difficult mile was 4 into 5. Not only did I have the wind with which to contend, but we were to run through Gray’s Lake Park and then backtrack, which is always somehow disheartening to me. I just ran that stretch and now I have to turn around and run it again? WHY??? Better route planning needed! Once I hit mile marker #5, though, I felt a little better. I could see the River Walk, the state capital building, and, about a half-mile later, Principal Park…the locale of the finish line! As soon as we came out of the slight tree cover onto the River Walk, we were again running directly into the wind. There is nothing so refreshing as the smell of the Des Moines River in March (this is sarcasm—all rivers smell like sewage to me). At least as we turned onto the bridge over the river and headed toward home, we were no longer into the wind and I could no longer smell the wonderful river. Small victories.


Principal Park and the last leg of the 10k

The Finish Line:

Although Al tried to snap some pics of me crossing the finish line, they just didn’t turn out. Fortunately, the folks at JMS Racing Services have a nice YouTube video of me coming over…I’m in the blue shirt and awesome tutu (obviously). Start the link at time mark 35:10.

Finish stats: Juliane finished the Leprechaun Chase 10K – Iowa in a Chip time of 01:10:19, a gun time of 01:12:14, overall place 884, gender place 538, division place 86.

I was in shock to see my time: 1:10:18.9 with an average pace of 11:18 per mile. In spite of the wind challenges, the muscle soreness and tiredness, I was able to make all three of my goals, and come in significantly under 80 minutes, as well as maintain a good average mile time throughout the 10k.  I am very pleased with myself. (Race Results)

So now what? I finished my 10k and set a new PR. Well, on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014, I start training for my upcoming 5k’s and a potential 10k in the fall. I’d love some company if anyone is interested! 

Run or Dye

The Glow Run

The Color Run