Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Twelve Pounds

Twelve pounds.  As in the number of pounds I've gained since arriving in Egypt.

As in the number pounds it took to crumple my self-esteem.  Put on in a mere five months.

I suppose I could blame it on the stress.  A new country, a new culture, a new school for the kids, a new job for me, new...new...new.  Chocolate helps.  So does a sweet yummy latte.  Sometimes I'd wallow in cookies.  I've got lots of other excuses.  No place to run safely.  Don't like the gym.  Working long hours.  No time to work out.  Just had baby #3 a little over a year ago.

But I've dealt with stress in the past.  I know the best ways to handle it.  I know exercising and healthy eating are essential.

But the more I gained, the worse I felt, and the less I worked to fix the issue.

I used to be a runner.
I used to be in shape.
I used to eat healthy.
I used to feel good about myself.

I don't want to be those things.  I don't want the best run I ever did to be over with already.  I used to be a runner.  It tears at the very definition of myself.  Was a runner.

So what am I now? I ignored that voice in my head.

Unable to fit in my jeans, I found myself wearing stretchy yoga pants and slouchy shirts at home.  Baggy clothes to work, trying to hide the pounds that seemed to pile on so easily.

Ignoring my health for what?

I used to be am a runner.
This is from my favorite 10K ever.
Santa Monica, CA - Fall 2009
I'm the chick in the "I *heart* LA shirt.
I am angry.  I miss running and I hate that I can't find my stride here in Egypt.  Can't run safely in the streets.  Can't make it to the Wadi as often as I thought.  And honestly, I feel uncomfortable there by myself.  It feels so desolate. So unsafe.  I admit it.

But it's not a good enough excuse.

I have an elliptical in my living room.  It was gathering dust.  I have free weights in my living room.  They were tucked away in a cabinet.

Choices.  Poor choices to be honest.  Feeling trapped by my choices.  And the weight piled on.

::Deep Breath::

That's the thing about life.  So many choices.  I have choices.  New choices.

The embassy is currently sponsoring a 'Biggest Loser' contest.  I signed up and it began two weeks ago with some friends (and the fab hubby) - and we're dedicated to losing 10% of our body weight.  It feels good.  Having a goal.  Having a support group.

It was HORRIBLE stepping on that scale the first day.  Having to admit all those choices I've made over the last five months.  But I was tired of it owning me.  Tired of the weight following me around and dictating who I was.

I work out.
I eat healthier.
I know what I want to be.

Two weeks later, I'm six pounds lighter.  And I know I have so much more to do, more to lose.  But I was able to button my jeans again this week.  Building that self-esteem back up.

The elliptical and those free weights are no longer covered in dust.  I run at the kid's school track.  I hit the treadmill at work.  I absolutely loathe the treadmill.  But it's what I've got.

It's not the kind of running I love, but it's the running I can do right now.  Because I am a runner.

Next July, we'll be in the U.S. for four weeks.  And of those four weeks, I'll spend two of them in Colorado Springs for my Army Reserves Annual Training.  I love Colorado Springs.  I love running Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. [I went back and looked at my blog from when I ran Garden of the Gods last year.  It's really a beautiful place to run.  Here's the blog entry if you'd like to read about it.]

Garden of the Gods is some of the greatest running I've ever done.  If I don't run now, I won't be able to run then.  The altitude is killer and I have to be in good shape to run those trails.  I won't let that happen.

Two weeks down, and fourteen weeks left to go in the Biggest Loser.  10% of my body weight to be shed.  Miles to run.  Good food to eat.  Skinny jeans to wear.  These are the choices I make now.

The 1/2 Marathon I ran in 2010.
Almost 2 Years to the date of starting
the Biggest Loser Contest I'm in now.

That's me in the 1/2 Marathon.
I'll be that again soon.


  1. YES YOU WILL! Woo-hoo! Go Heather!!! So damn proud of you for getting back into shape and working out on the dreaded treadmill I could burst. I love reading about your journey. It is SOOOO hard for me; I love knowing I'm not alone. That is one cool plaque!

    Don't run alone on the riverbed. Could you get your husband to go with you every single weekend? Then you'd at least have that to look forward to during the week? And have you thought about an exercise video or two? I really found Tae Bo to be helpful back in the day when I did exercise videos. And my final thought - what about putting up a message on the embassy board to see if anyone could run with you during the week on your days off?


    1. It's now a week later, and I'm looking over my blog and the comments and reminding myself that I CAN do this. I've run twice at the wadi this week - and I sucked it up and went by myself. The hubby is ok with it (and he's all over security issues), so I should be, too. I've worked out every day this week. No more sitting around eating chocolate and feeling sorry for myself for what I've become.

      Thanks for your support. Your comment really meant so much to me!!

  2. So proud of you :) You ARE a runner! And you WILL make your goal! You are like the rest of us mamas, always putting everyone else first. I am doing a water aerobics class twice a week and feel SO guilty every time I walk out the door. Ug. And I used to be a runner... a long time ago... but I loved that part of me and SHOULD find it again.

    Good good good for you!

    1. You know, I didn't even explore the "mama" connection - the whole idea of always putting everyone else first. But yes, I was doing that! I'm really committed to making some time for myself - no matter how little (sometimes it's just 20 minutes on the elliptical, but it's more than I was doing before!).

      Good for your for going to aerobics! Try not to feel too guilty (haha, I know, right!?). When we take good care of ourselves, we're better able to take care of others.

  3. You are doing fantastic! You are an inspiration - it is so easy to blame the stress, the long workdays, the lack of workout space or time.

    I'll be about ready to start running again when we move. You'll have to teach me what you learned when I get there.

    1. I can't wait to meet you! We're going to have a lot of fun running together!