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Au Revoir Slender Seekers

So it’s mid-September. Half Marathon season has officially begun and I have completed two of the eleven half marathons that I have scheduled for this season.

One might think that with the experience of having over thirty half marathons under my belt I wouldn’t get nervous about running a half marathon anymore. But if you made that assumption you’d be dead wrong.

Let me tell you why…

unnamed-5When you run as much as I do, you run higher risks of overuse injuries. Anytime you exercise there is a chance that you might get hurt. That doesn’t stop us from doing it because usually the risk of injury is far outweighed by the benefits of exercise, but sometimes that’s not the case. It’s rare – but it does happen.

I have been running for just over four years now. Each year I have run more than the year before. I love to run. Around this time last year, I started dealing with an overuse injury – Achilles tendinitis (chronic inflammation of the Achilles tendon) which for me is caused by excessive overpronation and the ankles rolling in constantly trying to correct it. As a result calcium deposits forming extra bones on the backs of my heels which rub against the Achilles tendon make it very sore and very angry on pretty much a regular basis.

The treatment for it, as prescribed by my foot and ankle specialist, has included warming up the tendons correctly before each run, icing the tendons after each run, daily stretches, an air splint that aims to help stretch the tendon to control the pain and making sure that I have slight heel lifts in my shoes.

This was all working great! And then… I got new shoes.

I got new shoes. That has to be one of the scariest words for an avid runner who is successfully coping with a chronic foot problem. The slightest change in your foot strike, foot fall or stride can be the difference between successfully coping or sitting on the bench.

I didn’t want new shoes. I’d run in the same shoes for the rest of my running career if they lasted that long. But shoes wear out, and unfortunately, shoes change. Like every year. I’ll never understand why they can’t leave the design of a shoe the same for more than a year, but apparently new technology is always better… except when it’s not.

So now here I am, just a day away from getting on a plane to Paris where I am participating in the RunDisney Inaugural Disneyland® Paris – Val d’Europe Half Marathon Weekend and as I pack my suitcase my biggest debacle is…

Do I wear my old running shoes that are worn out and make my feet hurt?

Do I wear the new version of my old running shoes that make my feet hurt?

Do I wear the new completely different style running shoe that I just got to try to stop my feet from hurting as much as they have lately?

Because there doesn’t seem to be a good answer right now.

So here is what I am going to do… 

unnamed-3I am going to keep doing everything that I have been doing and this coming Sunday, the morning of the race, I am going to make the decision I think is the lesser of all evils and the most likely to make sure that I make it across the finish line.

In other words. I am going to put all three of those shoes in my suitcase, not stress out about trying to make up my mind right now, and instead focus on getting the rest of my suitcase packed for Paris.

Because I am going to Paris! In less than 24 hours I will be on a plane heading to Paris, France to run my first international half marathon!

unnamed-2I’ve got clothes to pack! My event day running shirt just arrived from my sponsor BariLife Vitamins today and have to decide what I am going to wear with it! I have to get all my running gear together and make sure that it is all packed in my carry on bag just in case something happens to my suitcase.

I’ve got snacks to pack! I’ve got stuff to organize! The last thing I need right now is stressing out about shoes…. Right?

unnamed-1Yup. But I am stressing out about shoes and I will tell you why… because I am traveling all the way to Paris to run this half marathon and to bring home the Castle to Chateau medal that comes along with completing a half marathon at either Walt Disney World or Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. They key word there is completing.

I have never not finished a half I started, and although I know that mentally I could handle not being able to finish, I’m just not sure I can handle it on this particular event. I know I would be very disappointed. Not disappointed in myself, just disappointed in general.

But there is nothing I can do to change this right now. All I can do is put all three pairs of shoes in this suitcase and hope that come Sunday morning, no matter what shoes I have on at the start line, adrenaline, determination (and some pixie dust!) get me to the finish line.

I can guarantee you one thing… you’ll definitely be seeing some really cool photos from the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon course. You’ll be seeing mile marker selfies and smiles as I run through the happiest place on earth in France!

I’m excited. I’m a Disney Fanatic! I’ve been to Disneyland hundreds and hundreds of times, I’ve ran the Tinker Bell Half Marathon for the last three years. I’ve been to Walt Disney World four times now since I started running. But this is my first time at Disneyland Paris and I am super excited to take in this new-to-me Disney Park!

I’m about to embark on a brand new NSV ( Non Scale Victory ) for me! 

Six years ago when I started this journey getting on a plane, traveling to another country, walking around a theme park, riding rides and running thirteen miles would have all been a physical impossibility for me. At 420 lb., with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and severe edema, this trip would never have even been a consideration for me! But thanks to my choice to take back my life from obesity, my choice to have bariatric surgery and my successful weight maintenance this is all possible.

unnamedAnd even though this running shoe debacle has me thinking that I need to rename my blog Desperately Seeking Comfortable Running Shoes or Desperately Seeking Sanity, what I need to remember is that, in the big scheme of things, this shoe stress and tendinitis travesty is really a very small thing to have to worry about and there are much bigger things to be celebrating.

So with that said. It is time for me to grab my passport, pack my big girl panties in my suitcase and put a little faith in myself and my journey and say Au Revoir Slender Seekers! The next time we talk I will be telling you all about how amazing Paris was and showing you what a Castle to Chateau medal looks like around this WLS Runner’s neck!

Have you been following my guest blogs on the Bari Life website? If not you can check them out here.


Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

Please Support My Sponsor! Visit the BariLife Website for all your Post Operative WLS Protein and Vitamin Needs!

Suivez-moi à Paris pour mon prochain demi-marathon

FullSizeRender25 years ago I had the opportunity to go to Paris. 

I had taken several years of French classes at the high school level and two of my favorite teachers were leading a group of their students on a 14 day educational trip to France.

Traveling internationally was something my Father dreamed of doing but other than the travel that his service in the war afforded him he never really had the opportunity to do that. Having five kids from his first marriage and a wife and new baby to take care of when he started life over at fifty sort of ensured that he always worked hard and provided for us instead.

But providing for us and making sure we had the opportunities he wanted us to have made him happy. My Father was that type of man.

So as a teenager I packed my bags, got on a plane and I went to France. I spent two weeks traveling around different parts of France and seeing different things.

I went to Versailles, a royal chateau in the Ile-de-France region of France. I went to the Louvre. I saw the Mona Lisa. I visited the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe. I walked around Montmartre and took pictures at the base of Sacre Coeur. I visited the Champs-Elysées and the Musee d’Orsay. I saw Napoleon’s Tomb and I visited the Centre Pompidou. I did all things touristy and educational.

I was an overweight teenager. I struggled to keep up with the crowd. 

Everywhere we went my feet hurt and I found it hard to keep up. But the opportunity to go to France, to experience another country and to travel internationally was an opportunity that a lot of people would never get. One I should savor every moment of and grab memories that I would hang on to for the rest of my life. My Dad had taught me that. So I spent my two weeks taking in every little detail I could. Taking as many photos as possible and collecting as many memories as I could.

I’ve never had the opportunity to travel out of the county again. Travel is so expensive and when you are starting life over after weight loss in your late 30’s, jumping on a plane to travel the world just really isn’t in the cards. There is adulting to do and bills to pay.

But recently the opportunity to do just that fell in my lap. When RunDisney announced the Inaugural Paris Half Marathon in Disneyland Paris (which by the way was originally Euro Disneyland and opened in April of 1992 while I was in France) I silently rued that I wouldn’t be able to do it. RunDisney events are already so expensive, but doing one in Paris France was out of the question.

Until BariLife came along and my friends came along.

It just so happened that I had a good friend and fellow RunDisney fanatic that was going to the event to earn the first ever “Coast to Chateau” medal. The medal is a commemoration of the achievement of completing a half marathon in either Walt Disney World or Disneyland and completing the half marathon in Disneyland Paris. Jess, a friend that I am blessed to have thanks to my attendance of the OAC (Obesity Action Coalition) Conventions, offered me a place to stay if I could get myself to Paris.

But getting to Paris is no cheap feat. You’ve got outrageous airfare to get there, not to mention luggage fees, passport fees and the cost of the race registration itself. Even with Jess’s help, this opportunity wasn’t in the cards for me.

But when Derek and Guinn over at BariLife approached me about writing some guest blogs for the BariLife website a light bulb went off in my head. When I talked to Guinn about this adventure at the WLSFA event in Nashville this year I told her how much it would mean to me and how important it would be to my Father that if this was a possibility for me. Knowing it would be important to my Father made it really important to me.

A couple of months later we were solidifying plans, purchasing airline tickets, scheduling guest blogs and I was standing at the passport office turning in my passport application.

Thanks to a wonderful opportunity presented to me from BariLife in a partnership to write guest blogs for them in return for a sponsorship to the Inaugural RunDisney Disney Paris Half Marathon I am about to take my running adventures international.

It’s been a few minutes… or I should say months since the last time I wrote a blog. Since May when this all started to come together life has been a series of events that tends to keep me going for twelve to thirteen hours a day and makes finding the time to write blogs a bit more difficult.

But the guest blogs for BariLife have started and you can read the first several in the series over on their website.

paris_training_PDF copy

Pandora Goes to Paris!

Despite what life has been throwing at me I have still managed to get all of my training runs in. I am currently in week 7 of my 13 week to Paris Training Schedule and I have a 10 mile long run on the agenda next week.

When I first wrote this blog for you 7 weeks ago, I was just about to design that training schedule and promise you that…

You can be expecting to hear lots from me as I develop what will be my training program from the RunDisney Disneyland Paris Half Marathon event and document how things are going along the way. This entire adventure has me super excited and eager to share the whole thing with you.

Sometimes the daily grind of life can start to make it feel like there isn’t much new to write about. I work two jobs, workout, spend time with my partner in crime and my dog and then get up and do it all over again. But now I have an exciting new adventure to share with you and it motivates me to write more because I actually feel like I have something out of the ordinary to share with you again.

Maybe the Universe heard me talking about how ordinary life was starting to get and decided to spice it up for me. I am a firm believer in you get what you asked for in mysterious ways. The last 7 weeks of my life have been far from boring. But that is a whole different blog and one I need a few more hours to write and currently I just don’t have those sort of hours in the day.

Currently I am getting ready to attend the #YWM2016 National Convention in Washington DC in a couple of weeks, spending my day working two jobs, walking the dog in between, training for Paris and writing for BariLife. All in all, even with everything that is going on, other than my time in a check stand to make extra money, I am still doing things I love throughout most of my day.

If you are attending the #YWM2016 National Convention there are a few places you can expect to find me if you want to get your fit on with me. I will be attending the morning walk on Saturday morning and running a 5k as part of my Paris training schedule and as a way to celebrate my birthday. I heard that Jeff Newell over at has a few birthday celebration medals to give out to people who come out to celebrate with us. So if you like bling join me out there with the walk/run organizers Saturday morning at 6:30am and wish me a happy birthday by getting your fit on with us and take home a medal as a souvenir.

You can also find me doing the Guided Fitness Coaching in the Gaylord National Gym exercise session at 5:30pm on Saturday night.

Make sure you stop by the BariLife booth at the convention. Say hello and tell them that you are following Pandora to Paris! I am sure you will find me hanging out there as well.

But if I don’t see you in Washington DC, you’ll find me here writing when I can and sharing life after weight loss with you.

Until next time. Be good to yourself. Follow your dreams and go get your fit on.


Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

Please Support My Sponsor! Visit the BariLife Website for all your Post Operative WLS Protein and Vitamin Needs!

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

This is #MyBariLife

BariLife has decided to send me back to Paris to represent the WLS Community as I attempt to find my love of running again.
Please take the time to visit their website and check them out!

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