Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It's getting close...

I feel so mentally scattered right now.  The school year is ending so there's all that goes along with that plus there is getting our summer schedule lined up.  Camps, VBS, lessons, maybe a vacation tossed in there somewhere.  Yet every moment my mind is taken up by what is to happen 12 days from today.  TWELVE DAYS!!!!!  It seems so unreal that I could be ready for a Half Marathon that is happening in twelve days and yet I do feel that I will be able to finish which is the goal that I have going into this.

A week ago I couldn't have said the same thing.  Last week in what was to be my 2nd to last long, slow run I was supposed to go 11 miles.  Instead I got a pain in my left foot and wound up cutting it short at 7 miles.  My pace for that day was 17:08 minutes per mile.  I felt so discouraged and wondered what I had been thinking even trying to do a Half at this point.  Would I be able to finish?  

Thankfully this past weekend I had a different experience.  Saturday was my birthday so it was a happy weekend anyway.  Saturday morning my son's cub scout pack volunteered at a 5k.  I really enjoyed that.  The boys handed out water to the runners and I had fun cheering for them as they went by.  My 4-year-old even got into it and handed water out as well.  The best part is that my 8-year-old said that he would like to volunteer at more races.  I had been wanting to do that myself so this will be a great opportunity to spend time together doing something we both enjoy.

Saturday evening we sent the children to a Parent's Night Out that is held at a local fitness center and we went out.  Since it was my birthday I got to choose what we did so we went to see The Hunger Games.  I've just recently read the first book and was really wanting to see this movie.  My husband hadn't read the book but was a good sport and went anyway without complaint, lol.  I thought the movie was great!  I usually complain about movie adaptations but this one was really true to the book.  My husband enjoyed the movie as well.  

Since Saturday was so busy my long run of the week got pushed back to Sunday.  It's been getting warm here lately and they were predicting a high in the 90's for Sunday (YUCK!) so I got up really early to go.  I left the house around 5:30 am.  It wasn't too bad then - a bit humid but not overly hot.  It also wasn't very bright out then so I made what I soon learned was a mistake and put my sunglasses on top of my head.  Why was this a mistake?  Because by the time I did need them there was so much condensation on the lenses that I couldn't see out of them!  

I planned my route out so that I would be going past a convenience store a little less than halfway through and then again on the way back.  I did this so that I'd be able to use the restroom and buy a drink.  Since it was going to be hot I knew I'd go through my water fast and I *always* need to use the restroom during a long run.  While I was buying my Gatorade the woman ringing me up was asking me about running.  She said that she had wanted to run but hadn't been able to.  I told her about Couch to 5K and how I had never been able to run - even as a kid - and that it helped me work up to long distance running. 

After the convenience store I ran through a neighborhood and went to a park.  The park that I went to has about a 2 mile route through it.  Turns out it's really busy on Sunday mornings.  There were several soccer games going on while I was there.  The sun was also starting to get higher in the sky and I was getting HOT! When I finished the park loop I used the restroom again.  I had also finished my Gatorade so I filled my water bottle from the fountain.  Now this water is unfiltered and tends to be lukewarm.  As a bit of a water snob I usually won't drink our local water if it's unfiltered (tastes nasty!) and I usually insist on my water being cold.  But let me tell you, on that hot Sunday morning as I was running down the street with the sun beating down on my face that unfiltered, lukewarm water tasted like sweet, sweet nectar from Heaven!  :-P

My return trip was uneventful.  In addition to the water and Gatorade I also had some "chomps" and some GU gel.  I don't know if it helps my performance any but it does ward off the low blood sugar issues that I sometimes have so I'll keep using them.

When I got home I forgot to have my husband take a picture.  I can't believe it!  My last "long run" distance and I didn't get a picture afterwards.  I guess the excitement was too much, lol.  I made a sign and took a picture today just so I'd have something to post.  :-P

When I mapped it out after I got home it turns out that I went 12.43 miles in 3 hours 11 minutes which gives me a pace of 15:22!  That's the fastest "long, slow distance" pace I've had in a long time and I really felt like I was going at a very comfortable pace.  

I have a few more short runs to do before the Half but my long runs for my training are done.  Now I'm going into my "taper."  

This coming Saturday is the Fat Ass 5K so I'll be writing a full report on that next week.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Crazy Few Weeks and a Major Milestone...

Hi, everyone! It's been a crazy few weeks. I'm going to start out by saying that I've been in a bit of a funk since the midnight run. I need a *good* race to bring me out of it. Luckily for me the Fat Ass 5K is coming up in just a few weeks! 

The Fat Ass is also going to be part of my "taper" for the half that is a week later. Since I'm doing the 5K for the experience, not the time, so it'll probably be a run/walk race. I can't wait, though! It's supposed to be a great time!

 I realized yesterday that my half was FOUR WEEKS AWAY!!! :-O It's so weird to think about it being so close. Training is going pretty decent with just a few bumps along the way...

 I've been fitting in my weekday "short" runs as best as I can and have been able to do them as scheduled most of the time.

 As far as my long runs go, on Easter I did 8 miles:

**Happy running 8 guy courtesy of my 8-year-old.**

And there's me in my shirt that matches my skin tone almost exactly. I didn't realize just how close they were until I saw the picture, lol.  As you can also see, I am now a redhead. :-P

Then the craziest thing happened the Wednesday after Easter. I wound up with a nasty infection under my thumb nail. Yikes!

 I guess something got pushed under there and separated the skin from the nail and bacteria got in there. It was awful. It was swollen, red, and warm to the touch. It also hurt like I've never felt before! I've had surgery before and now I know what they mean when they say to watch out for excessive pain afterwards.

 I went to the doctor that Thursday and was given antibiotics and a list of things to watch out for that required immediate medical attention. Thankfully none of those "immediate medical attention" things happened and things seem to have cleared up just fine. My thumb is still tender and healing but everything is on the mend.

 While this was going on I couldn't move my arm without causing excruciating pain. In fact, the only thing that made it at all bearable was to be laying down with my hand elevated on pillows. Needless to say I did not get my 2nd short run or my long run in that week. :-(

Since I missed a week I decided to move along with my training. This past week I was able to do my 2 short runs and my long run which was...drumroll please...10 MILES!!!!!

My first double digit run! It was so exciting! It took me 2 hours and 44 minutes to do it but by golly I did it!

I can't believe I've actually done a double digit run. If someone had told me 7 months ago that in the spring I would go out one morning and run 10 miles I would have thought they were crazy!

 It just goes to show you that anything is possible!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Midnight 5K

A.K.A "The race I'll never be doing again."

So sometime in December I heard about this race in honor of April Fools Day that was to take place at Midnight on March 30th.  It sounded like a *great* idea so I went ahead and signed up.

Fast forward to March.  It turned out that the local YMCA 5K/10K/15K - the whole reason I had started running in the first place - was on March 31st.  Since I had already signed up for the midnight run the YMCA run was out of the question.

The week of the midnight 5K came and I started wondering what I was thinking signing up for such a late race.  I have young children so sleep time is precious - why was I intentionally missing out on it?  I don't even like it when I have to run in the evenings instead of morning because it messes up my sleep.

The day of the race came and I spent much of it in a state of fatigue.  I guess I was preparing for what was to come!  I drank some extra coffee throughout the day.  Once the kids were in bed I spent the next few hours just trying to stay awake.  There was a lot of chocolate consumed.

It was close to time so I got dressed and headed over to the park.  Because there was no information sent (bad!) and no packet pick-up before the race (very bad!!!)  I had no number and also had no idea where I was supposed to go in this park.  If you happened to read my 10K report you'll know that I don't like waiting until the last minute to find things out so I was already unhappy about this race before I even got there.

I found where people were going and it turns out there was a window to pick up our race packets.  I got my packet, put my number on, and put the rest of the stuff in my car.  I went back to the pick up area and ran into someone that I knew who was also doing the race.  Soon it was time to head over to the starting line.

When the race started I started out running but soon lost any energy that I had.  I wound up walking a lot of the race.  I don't even remember too much about it because I was so tired.  I do remember that I was able to start running again when I got close to the finish line.

I finished with a time of 42:13.  Not a horrible time but a lot slower than I've ever done a 5K before.

It was one of those races that seemed like it *should* have been fun but because of my own internal clock it would up being not so much fun after all.  Not only that but I didn't even feel fully 'recovered' from this race until the following Thursday which is much longer than it usually takes me for a 5K.  I have to say that I did met some nice people there and tried to make the most of it.  But I've decided that I did enough "sucking it up and dealing with it" when my children were up all night as babies.  I don't need to be intentionally doing it to myself.  :-P

Next year I'll go with the Y race.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My first 10K!!!

I did it! I ran my first 10K!

This race was 5K/10K/10 mile race and was held at a small, local university. They hold several races throughout the year and they are VERY well organized. The Tuesday before the race they sent out an email with information on packet pick up, directions to the campus, and some important information about the race itself. Anyone who knows me knows that when I am going to be doing something new I like to read the information over and over so that I know what to expect, so this race has already won my favor simply by providing us with information so early. They also provided a list of people who were registered and which race they were registered for. This turned out to be pretty cool because it turned out there were a few people that I knew that were going to be doing this race as well.

Packet pick up was the day before the race (or the day of, but I don't like to do that) so my older son and I went to the campus to pick it up. On our way into the building we ran into a man from church who was also doing the race, and while picking up my packet we ran into a mom from my younger son's preschool who was going to be doing the 5K (her very first race ever - YAY Kelly!!!!!)

In the packet was my race t-shirt (a really nice, long sleeved shirt), my race bib (726 - RED numbers on a white bib to signify the 10K - the 5K was black on white and the 10 mile was black on yellow) and my timing chip:

The forecast called for temperatures in the low 50's and rain so I was having a lot of trouble trying to decide what to wear.  I knew that I wanted to wear my knee-length capris so that was taken care of - but which shirt?  I went back and forth between short sleeved/long sleeved/short sleeved with long sleeved over it...  Finally I settled on a short sleeved shirt with a hoodie, which would be nice to have in case it rained.

Saturday morning arrived overcast but dry.  I wound up getting up a bit later than I intended so I spent the time at home hurrying around trying to get dressed, eat breakfast, have my coffee (we will NOT skip the coffee!!!) and getting my things together to go.  Since I knew that I would be running for more than an hour I packed some Honey Stinger Chews and some GU Gels.  I also brought a bottle of water to wear on my belt.  I knew there would be water stations on the course but I had this nagging cough that was hanging on from a chest cold that I had 2 weeks before and water helps turn off the cough reflex for me when I have this type of cough so I wanted to have it available for when I needed it.

On the way to the campus I had a caffeinated GU.  I normally eat the ones without caffeine but before a race I tend to go for the caffeinated variety.  I had left the house later than I intended so I missed the first part of the course briefing in the gym.  BTW, this race gets a thumbs up for even offering a course briefing in the first place.

When it was getting close to the start of the race we walked down the street a bit to the starting line.  As I tend to have a bit slower pace, I like to line up towards the back.  Finally, it was time and we were off!

The start of the race was uphill.  It turns out I was behind several walkers so it took a minute or so for me to be able to start running.  When I got to the top of the hill I noticed someone with a camera but didn't think much of it.  It turns out he was taking picture after picture after picture after picture...  Here's one that you can see me really well in:

That smile wasn't for the camera - that's really how I look most of the time that I'm running.

The race continued through the small town. The first street that we ran down was the brick "main" street through the historic area of town. It's a really well maintained road so the bricks lay nice and flat...no hazard there. Around the time we turned off that road We made a few more turns through town and before I knew it we were at the turn-around area for the 5K.

The 5K turn around area was just before the 2 mile mark and was at the edge of town so the majority of the 10K and 10-mile race took place out in the country.  This was a really nice change of pace from what I am used to.  The only problem was that the road was higher in the middle than at the sides and this caused more stress for my feet than they are used to.  Also, the farm land in this area is hilly.  Very, very hilly.  And although I know it is a geographical impossibility I still say that it is hilly BOTH WAYS!!!

Once we passed the 2 mile mark I started chanting "2 down, 4 to go" to the beat of my steps.  I kept this up through the rest of the race.

Soon after I passed the 2 mile mark I saw some of the 10K runners returning.  How do they go so fast?????  Impressive!

I tried to take in every moment and notice as much as I could about my surroundings.  One thing I noticed was the smell of wild onions growing along side the road.  It's a very mile onion smell only sweeter.  Not an annoying smell - just really noticeable.

I had a little bit of coughing so I needed to stop and take a drink every so often.  For the most part, though, having been sick wasn't affecting me as much as I thought it would.

More and more of the 10K runners were returning.  I had several tell me "you're doing great!" and "keep going!" which was really cool.  I mean, here are people who are averaging anywhere from a 5 to a 10 minute mile and they're taking the time to encourage me - the runner plugging along at a 13:30 minute mile pace.

Soon I made it to another turn and the 3-mile marker.  "3 down, 3 to go!"

I saw a few yellow bibs mingled with the red numbered white bibs...some of the 10-mile runners were returning!

A little more than 1/2 mile after the turn, one of the returning runners told me that I just had to go over the next hill and then I'd be at the turn-around point.  Sure enough, when I reached the top of the hill I could see the volunteers and cones at the bottom!

I could have given those 2 men a big kiss simply for the turn-around spot being right where it was!

I turned around and was heading back!  I was over half way done!!!  I kept going and soon reached the 4 mile mark.  "4 down, 2 to go!"  I also realized that I really needed to pee.  There were porta-potties at the next turn but I decided not to use them.  Not my wisest decision but live and learn.  There was also a water station so I decided to go ahead and grab a cup since most of the water in my bottle was gone.

At one point I noticed that I could see THE WATER TOWER!!!  The water tower was where the finish line was located.  Now I knew that I still had a ways to go but it was really encouraging to be able to see where I was going to wind up.

I was being passed to several 10-mile racers at this point.  Once again, I was being reminded of how supportive runners are to one another.  I got more encouraging words and some pats on the back.

I reached the 5 mile point.  "5 down, 1 to go!"  I was also realizing that I actually had 1.2 miles to go but "1 to go" worked for the chant.  :-P

We were back in town.

I don't remember much about the time in town other than it was mostly uphill and I really wanted to get to the finish.

Soon I could hear cheering so I knew it couldn't be too far.

I ran up the last hill which was very steep and, at the top, there were people that had already finished the race who had stayed to cheer on those of us who were still running.

There was a volunteer standing in the road pointing to the grassy area where the finish line was.  I turned off the road and ran to the finish line!

I could hear the announcer saying "#726, Cindi P from *mytown, mystate*" which was unexpected and kind of cool.

I stopped to give my bib tag to the volunteers collecting them and accepted a bottle of water from the volunteer who was handing them out.

Kelly was at the finish line and gave me a high five. We congratulated each other on finishing our races and I immediately asked where the nearest open restroom was.  She pointed out the building it was in and I told her I'd see her in a few minutes as I ran off to take care of business that I should have taken care of on the course.

There was a line!!!!!!!  :-O

I was able to wait my turn and then returned outside.  At that point Kelly, her husband, and their friend were heading to the parking lot.  I walked with them so that we could chat more about the race.  She told me that she had enjoyed it and finished with a good time.  I said that I wasn't sure of my finish time (I didn't stop my timer until I was walking into the building) but that I thought it was under 1:30.  She said that she had looked at the clock when I started walking towards the building and that it was still under 1:30 so I had finished in under that time.  I was very happy to hear that since I thought it would take me at least 1:40.

When I got home I asked Rex to take a picture of me since I didn't realize that someone there had been taking pictures.

Now I'll talk about some of the mistakes that I made in this race.

One is that I had my shoelace too tight on my right foot and wound up getting a big blister on my arch.

Ouch!  That sucker was huge!  Rex went and bought me some moleskin that day since I had heard it would protect the blister and make walking much more comfortable..  I cut it into a ring to surround the blister and had to put a band-aid on top to keep it on but the blister was almost completely healed in 2 days!

The other mistake is that I didn't ice my foot when I got home.  I have plantar fasciitis that tends to flare up at times so I always ice my foot on my long run days which helps keep it from flaring.  I also forgot to wear my night splint (keeps my toes from pointing while I sleep) so the combination of the two meant that I did wind up with a flare up the next day.

I wrapped my foot with a compression bandage and wore my splint for the next 2 nights.  It healed up almost immediately.  Me being me though, I had to take a picture of my foot in the bandage:

This also gives me the chance to show off my green glitter toenail polish and the colorful afghan that I made for my son.  :-P  The very same son, btw, that laughs about how I "have to" take pictures of food and my feet and everything else.

That night the results were emailed and my official time was 1:24:54.3.  I am so happy with that time!  I thought for sure that having been sick and only being able to run once in the previous two weeks would really impact my time.  I was 2nd to last for the 10K distance and I'm ok with that.  In fact, I went into this race knowing that it was a real possibility that I would come in last and was fine with that as well.  I read a quote somewhere that said "Coming in last is better than Did Not Finish and Did Not Finish is better than Did Not Start."

All in all this was a great race.  In fact, it's my favorite that I've done so far.  It was so well organized and the announcer at the end and the professional photographer added such a nice touch.  I will definitely do this race again next year.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Something Exciting Happened and Some Exciting News...

Quick post to share something wonderful that happened this week and also to make a really exciting announcement.

Yesterday was weigh-in day at Weight Watchers. It had been 2 weeks since I had been there because I was fighting a really nasty chest cold last week. It had also been a while since I had lost any weight. So yesterday I went in and weighed in at 180.0!!!!! Do you know what this means? This means that after 12 years I am finally NO LONGER OBESE!!!

Let me tell you, I was so happy to see that number! I clapped and said "I'm overweight!!!" At this point my WW leader looked at me like I had 3 heads but then I explained to her that I was just so happy to get out of the obese range after being there for over a decade. She seemed to understand that I wasn't completely insand at that point, lol. I also got my 35 lb star yesterday since I've lost just over 35 lb since I joined in September.

Now on to my exciting announcement!

As you know, my (first) ultimate goal has been to run a half marathon. I am signed up for the Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon in October and had been planning on that being my first half...until about 2 days ago...

There is a local Half Marathon that really appeals to me because it's much smaller and I think it would be a good first one as opposed to the RnR, which is huge. So now my first Half Marathon is going to be on MAY 20th!!! That's right, in 8 WEEKS I will be doing my first HALF MARATHON!!!!!

Ok, so maybe I am completely insane after all... :-P

My 2nd 5K!

Last Sunday (3/11) I ran my 2nd 5K. This one was done by a local running store. It was also the morning that Daylight Savings Time started. D'Oh!

I had the time wrong and thought it was to start at 8:00 so I arrived around 7:30. On the way there I had a packet of GU Gel. I normally get the kind without caffeine but, since it was so early and Daylight Savings Time robbed me of sleep, I decided to use the full caffeine variety. I parked and walked around for a bit and then ran into a friend from the local running group. We walked a bit - what I thought was going to be my warm-up since I was still off on the time - and then stood near the starting area and chatted. I also met someone new there and chatted with her as well.

I checked the time and it was a few minutes after 8:00. I figured they were running a bit late. Finally at 8:10 I asked when it was supposed to start. They told me 8:30. Oops! My husband was going to be bringing the kids up around 8:30 so I knew he'd be waiting around longer than he intended.

When it was almost 8:30 we went over to the starting area. I try to get towards the back of the crowd since I'm not that fast and it's race etiquette to do so. There were just over 1000 people in this race so it was a LONG starting line. This was also a "chip timed" event - and in this one timing didn't start until I crossed the start line. I was really excited about that since I wanted to see what my true time would be.

And we were off! It's always a bit crowded at first. We ran through the parking lot and behind the local Target. Then we got to the main road that we would be spending the majority of the race on. Did I mention that we were on the UPHILL part of this road? It was so cool, though, running down this particular street. This tends to be a very busy road and I've driven it thousands of times before. But on this day I was running right down the middle of the road with about 1000 of my fellow runners. It was awesome!

Being uphill, my hamstrings did start to tighten up a bit. I found myself needing a walk break before I got to the 1 mile mark. I've learned, though, that if I take walk breaks when I need them then my overall time is actually faster than if I insist on muddling through and running the whole time. So I picked a spot in the near distance and told myself that if I still felt like I needed to walk when I got there then I would. I still felt like I did so I got over on the side of the road and started walking.

Now please indulge me while I go off on a bit of a tangent here. Notice how I said I went over to the SIDE of the road to walk? That is proper race etiquette. I was surprised at how many people don't seem to realize this. There was a group of 3 that spent some time right in front of me and they would all stop to walk at once without looking to see if someone was running directly behind them. I was not pleased.

Tangent over.

I walked for a few feet and, when I got to my predetermined "start running again" spot I started running again. It was around this time that we passed the 1 mile mark.

It was also around this time that we could see that the pace car was on the way back which meant that we all needed to move over to one side of the road instead of being spread across both lanes like we had been. Right after the pace car was the guy that was in first place. Now let me just say that he is quite possibly the fastest person I've ever seen run in real life. Later on I found out that he finished the 5K in 17:42 which is a pace of 5:43. Amazing!

At least 30 seconds after he passed us, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. place runners came along. I spent the rest of the first half looking for people that I know that would be ahead of me. I saw a few and we waved as we passed by.

Soon I could see the stop lights where we would be turning around at. One thing I really liked about this race is that I know the area really well so I knew about how far I had gone and how far I had to go at any given time. We got to the turning area and there was a timing clock there. It was at about 20 minutes.

Soon I was on my way back in the 2nd half of the race. Now remember, the entire first half was UPHILL which meant that the 2nd half would be DOWNHILL!!! Woo-hoo!!! Now the really good part about that is that it's not such a steep hill that I really had to work hard at controlling myself and, in the process, winding up going even slower. No, it was a slight, steady decline. The perfect area for picking up some speed which I decided to take full advantage of.

At one point on the way back we passed a really nice, enthusiastic volunteer. We went back and forth with the pleasantries. He asked how I was and I said "Great, how are you?" He, too, said he was doing very well. It's things like that that really pick me up and put a smile on my face.

Soon we were off the main road and back in the parking area. Now this is a really big parking lot and the store is on the opposite side of it so I'd say there was probably close to a half a mile left.

As I was getting close to the store I could see that my husband and 2 sons were there watching. My husband got this picture of me:

My older son was waving and smiling and my younger was saying "Mommy!" and waving. Let me tell you, it was all I could do not to burst into tears at the sight of them, it was so sweet!

So now I was getting close to the finish line which meant it was time to MOVE! I could see by the timer that I was going to be in at under 40 minutes! I ran as fast as I could and stopped my stopwatch as soon as I crossed the line. I stopped at the place where they were cutting the timing chips off our shoes and then gratefully accepted a bottle of water from the guy who was handing them out. By my stopwatch I was in at about 38:30. This time the tears really did come to my eyes. I walked around looking for my family and, when I found them, very excitedly showed Rex my timer. He congratulated me and said that he had seen me cross before 40.

We stood around for a while waiting for all the rest of the racers to finish. My older son was registered to run in the 1/2 mile kid's run.

Soon it was time for him to start. You can see how quickly and enthusiastically he started the race:

He moseyed along like that for the first several seconds after he crossed the starting line. :-P

Then he started running:

And, since it was 1/2 mile run, they were soon on their way back:

And I was able to snap this picture of the timing clock about 10 seconds after he crossed the finish line.

Afterwards we took a picture of the two of us together:

Oh, and the shirts for this race are really cool! The adults got a green, long sleeved tech shirt and the kids got a green, long sleeved cotton t-shirt.

My official "Chip Time" was 38:11 - a PR!!! My "Clock Time" was 39:03 so there was almost a full minute difference between them. It definitely makes sense to use the timing chips in a larger race like this one!

It was such a fun day! I'm also thrilled that my son has decided that he wants to run in a 5K! We'll be signing up for one to do together and starting our training really soon!

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Stressful Week, A Long Run...

Happy Monday everyone!

Here in the lovely state of Illinois we are "celebrating" Casimir Pulaski day. And to show off my amazing history skills I'm going to tell you that I have no idea who that is or why we celebrate it. I just know that it gives the kids a day off of school so in between being referee to my sons' "he's taking my stuff/touching me/looking at me/breathing in the same room as me" fighting I decided to sneak off and get a couple posts here since I'm so behind.

Last week was one of the roughest that I've had so far - other than the week I spent recovering from my chest cold. After 2 weeks of birthdays and then last week spent making a huge (think 100 people)cake for an event that my son was involved in,I am DONE with having cake around me. These past few weeks have also reminded me why I quit doing cakes for other people. It's so hard to be around the sweets without eating them and I gave in a LOT more than I should have. I also find that my overall healthful eating goes downhill when I'm making cakes. Not only that but my younger son tore into one of the cakes as it was cooling and I had to re-bake the next day. So yeah, after this week I KNOW I made the right decision in only making cakes for family or for extremely special occasion events that my family is directly involved in.

On Tuesday I decided to stick to the neighborhood. My calves were very tight so I thought the steep hills might be a problem. I ran 3.89 very tired miles in 1 hour for a pace of 15:24. Slower than my long, slow distance pace was the previous Saturday! I've not been sleeping like I should. I find myself staying awake too late watching TV and I think that had a lot to do with it. I need to force myself to go to sleep at a more reasonable hour because morning comes and the kids get up when they get up regardless of how much sleep I didn't get the night before.

Thursday I missed my run. :-( I decided to stay home and re-bake the cake that my son had torn up the afternoon before. Turns out missing my run is not a good thing emotion-wise. I was not fun to be around on Thursday.

Saturday morning - the cake was DONE and we went to deliver it early so that it would be out of the house and away from little fingers. I was much more relaxed once that was done but exhausted from being up so late finishing it the night before. My run wound up being around lunch time and I ran...

6 MILES!!!!! Hitting this distance is a really big deal for me because it means that I will be able to finish the 10K that I'm registered for in 3 weeks. I ran a total of 6.25 miles in 1 hour 36 minutes for a pace of 15:44.

I also have to admit that this picture was not taken as soon as I got home like the other ones were. When I got home I had lunch immediately and you would have thought that I had never seen food before! It's crazy how hungry these long runs make me. I need to figure out a way to get a handle on it though. Like they say, you can't outrun a bad diet!

I decided to stick to my neighborhood and the one attached to it because in order to go anywhere else I would have to cross the highway and I just wasn't in the mood that day. As you can imagine figuring out a 6 mile route while staying in the same neighborhood is not an easy task but the neighborhood attached to ours has cul de sacs. LOTS of cul de sacs. Some of those cul de sacs have their own offshoot cul de sacs attached to them. What I did was go down and around every single one of them and then, on the way back, repeated one of them. It's a slightly hilly route as well.

For this run I brought along Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews in cherry blossom. I didn't think I would like these because the texture is really soft (think Gerber toddler fruit snacks) but it tuns out they are great for an easy snack that can be eaten quickly. The thing I like about these over GU Gel is that I can eat half of them and save the other half for later in the run. The gel, on the other hand, is an eat it all at once type thing. I also discovered that I probably need to bring more water with me. I had been filling my bottle up only half way to keep it light but I ran out around mile 5. From a physical standpoint it wasn't a big deal but from a psychological standpoint it made me very uncomfortable. I guess that water is my 'security blanket.'

Next week there will be no long run as I will be doing a 5K on Sunday. I'm really excited about it and look forward to sharing the experience with you.

A Milestone Run

The miles are building up! The week of Feb 20-26 was a much more relaxed week around our house. We were done with the birthday parties and our next event to get ready for wasn't going to be until the following week. Tuesday and Thursday runs were 3.1 miles and 2 miles. Saturday was the long run day and I ran:

5 MILES!!!!!

My son's artwork this week was to turn the 5 into somebody running. :-)

The week before my husband took the kids to the store while I ran and they bought me a hydration belt. It's one that has one bottle on it and a zippered pouch to carry what I might need. I figure that since I'm out for more than an hour at a time now I need to carry some water and an energy source. I've been prone to blood sugar crashes and I certainly don't want to have one while I'm on the road. For this run I took "Sport Beans" - made by Jelly Bellies. I found them to be difficult to chew (it was cold out so they hardened) and they took too much time. I'm going to keep experimenting to see what works for me.

I took a new route on this run. I enjoy mixing things up a bit as running the same route all the time gets boring.

I ran the 5.1 miles in 1 hour 16 minutes which gave me a pace of 14:54.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Still Getting the Hang of This...Feb 13-18

I'm about a week behind in my posting. I guess I'm still getting the hang of this blogging thing.

Ok, so last week I told you about my new shoes and all the "drama" (self-inflicted, of coarse!) surrounding that.

Tuesday I went to meet some people from one of the local running clubs. I had been checking out the facebook pages of a couple clubs in the area and I saw that there were some people who did a Tuesday morning run. Perfect! Both children are in school then and Tuesday is my regular running day. So last Tuesday I met a few women for some hill running. I didn't want to have issues with my feet while I did that so I wore my old shoes. This would also tell me if the issue was my feet or the shoes.

So we met up and ran on the hills. And when I say hills I mean HILLS!!! These things are steep - at least compared to what I'm used to. The training on the hills will do me a lot of good though because the Half that I am doing is rumored to be pretty hilly. There were several walk breaks - I could usually only make it half way up the hill running - and some chatting along the way. I ran 3 miles in 43 minutes for a pace of 14:18. I had no pain in my feet so this told me that there was something going on with the shoes.

Thursday was Y day again. I decided to experiment with my shoes. I typically wear orthotics in my shoes so I decided to try them without. The pain I had been having wasn't my typical plantar fasciitis pain. It felt more like deep bruising in my foot. I thought maybe there was too much arch with the orthotics since the shoes are really supportive.

The pain had been in my left foot. While I was still in the locker room I started having pain in my right foot. Hmmmmm...that was odd. I was still worried since I hadn't figured out a solution and now it seemed to be in my other foot. My left foot felt great without the orthotic though.

I decided to try my right foot *with* the orthotic. See, my arches are uneven. Noticeably so. My right arch is a lot higher than my left. So I thought maybe I needed more height in the arch in my right shoe than I do in my left.

I used the treadmill that day so that I would be close to the locker room if I needed to change anything about my shoes. I keep it slow on the treadmill - anyone who knows me knows how clumsy I am and a speedy treadmill is just asking for trouble. I ran pain-free!!!!! Woo-hoo!!!!! Now I know what to do. Left shoe - factory insole...right shoe - custom orthotic. This means that my right orthotic is going to wear out faster than my left but that's a small price to pay to be pain-free. I ran 2.5 miles in 35 miutes for a 14:00 pace.

Saturday was my long run day. We had family over for my son's birthday so I ran later than usual. It was a sunset run. It was a nice change. I ran...drum roll, please...

FOUR AND A HALF MILES!!!!! This is my longest run to date. My older son took the picture. In case you're wondering those things sticking up from the numbers are balloons. He drew those too. He thought we should celebrate. I felt like celebrating too, heeheehee.

I have to say I love the long run. I find myself looking forward to it all week. :-)

As I said earlier, we had family over for my son's birthday. This is the cake that I made:

Angry Birds! We're really big fans of the game in this house. He was thrilled to see it when he got up that morning (I decorate after the kids go to bed.)

And this Queen Pig on the top of the cake:

Good bye for now. I hope that you have a wonderful weekend and I can't wait to share the next week's training with you!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Feb 6-11 The week's training...and some other stuff...

I've decided that at least once a week I'm going to do a post about the week's training and how I'm feeling about it at that time. It may be the *only* post I wind up doing that week but it's going to be there every week.

As of now I am running 3 times a week. Tuesday - which tends to be about 3-4 miles, Thursday - which is however far I can go in the time I have since that is our crazy, busy morning, and Saturday - which is my "long run," the one that will help me build my endurance and increase the number of miles that I am able to go at a time. My current training is for a 10K that will be on March 24th.

Tuesday - I ran around town on a route I tend to take quite a bit since I know the mileage and I also know how the sidewalks and crosswalks are on this route. I went 3.61 miles in 52 minutes which gave me a 14:15 pace.

Wednesday - I bought some new running shoes! I went on my own and picked them out (I know, I know, you're supposed to be fitted) because, well, honestly I cringe at the thought of spending $100 or more on one item. Also because whenever I've had someone helping me with shoes I haven't been happy with them. I had done quite a bit of research. I have low arches and overpronate. I know some people say overpronating isn't a problem but it hurts when I do it. A few years ago I could barely walk due to the pain so I had some orthotics made by the podiatrist. I knew that I needed stability shoes to help with this. I wound up buying the ASICS Phoenix.

Thursday - I went to the Y and ran on the track. I go to the Y on Thursdays because my younger son doesn't have school that day and I need the child care. I ran 2.51 miles in 34 minutes which gave me a 13:23 pace. This was the first time that I had worn my new shoes and I did have some pain in my right arch. I was worried that I had made a mistake. I did some calf stretches about 10 minutes into my run and that seemed to help.

Saturday - Long run day!!! This one is my favorite. My husband is home with the children so I don't need to worry about them. It's all my time to run and clear my head. Once again I went on a familiar route. My total for Saturday:

4 miles! Oh, I've also decided that every Saturday (or Sunday if I need to change long run day that week) I will be having my husband take a picture of me immediately after my run with the number of miles that I ran. I also have to add that my older son wrote "miles" on the paper - he seemed pretty impressed by his old mom that day, lol.

So I went for a total of 4.15 miles (which I had only done once before) in 59 minutes (faster than last time!) which gave me a pace of 14:19.

Saturday was a very enjoyable run and it was also a very COLD run. The temperature was in the low 20's with a wind chill factor of around 5. I had bought a balaclava but had not worn it on that day. My face was freezing - especially when the wind blew. At one point I unzipped my fleece jacket part way and lifted it up to cover my face. Lest you think that the cold chapped my cheeks and is the reason for my red face in the picture let me assure that my face looks like that all the time, especially after exercising or when it is hot out. To protect my skin from drying out in the cold air I put a layer of Vasaline on before I run in the winter.

I wore my new shoes on this run and had a bit of foot pain as well. I was really starting to worry about having bought the wrong shoes. I'll have to wait until the training post for this week to tell you how that situation turned out. ;-)

Now on to the "other stuff." Sunday was my older son's 8th birthday. This is the cake that I made for him:

He decided that for his birthday he wanted to go ice skating. He had gone once before and had taken to it really quickly. Unfortunately with all the chaos and trying to tag-team track our 3-year-old neither my husband nor I were able to get a picture of the birthday boy on the ice.

We did manage to get one of our 3-year-old leaving the ice:

And here's one of me on the ice:

It was a lot of fun. I have to say, though, that ice skating is really hard on my feet. I was tempted to put my orthotics in the skates but ewwwwww...putting them in rented skates? No thank you!

One of his favorite gifts was a hula hoop that lights up. Here's a picture of me showing off my "abilities." I think I got the hoop around maybe 5 or 6 times.

My husband was, unfortunately, not at a very good angle to get the picture (he had to be quick, lol) so you get treated to a bit of tummy in this shot. :-P

I'm making another cake this week because family is coming this weekend. I have to say that between the cake, cookies taken to school for a birthday treat, and all the Valentine's candy that my son brought home I'm having a lot of trouble resisting. I was actually up one pound this week! I can resist on Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas but when birthday/Valentine's time rolls around I'm just not as strong. I'm just glad that I'm doing WW and have set running goals that require me to eat right in order to reach my goals.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My First 5K!!!

The past 2 weeks have been pretty exciting for me in my training and weight loss.

First, look to the top right-hand side of this page at my Daily Mile Widget. Those are all the miles that I've logged since I started running in Mid-October. It's in the triple digits!!!

Second, I weighed in this week at Weight Watchers and my weight was 185.6. I hit the 30 LB mark!!! That's what I've lost since I started WW in early September. Add it to what I lost before and my grand total is somewhere near 70 LB or so. I also used one of those online BMI calculators and discovered that I am ONE TENTH of a POUND away from being OVERWEIGHT!!!

Today I went shopping and although I wasn't there for jeans, I decided to try on a pair just to see if I could fit into the size below the one I'm wearing right now. I grabbed a size 10 and headed for the dressing room - telling myself the whole time to not expect it to fit and to not be too disappointed when it didn't. I pulled the jeans on and THEY FIT!!!!! I didn't buy them but I'm thrilled that I was able to get them on. For the past 8 years my goal has been to get to a size 12-14, which was where I was before my first pregnancy. I hadn't even thought about going beyond that!

Now, on to the race!
This year our area, along with much of the country, has been experiencing a very mild winter. There haven't been many days with temperatures below freezing but race day did happen to be one of them.

The night before the race it rained which meant ice. It wasn't a really heavy rain though so the car didn't need to much by the way of scraping. I had trouble deciding what to wear though. I had picked out my shirt and pinned my number on it the night before. I also knew I'd be wearing my running tights and shorts over. I just couldn't decide if I needed to wear anything under my long-sleeved shirt. Since the temperature was supposed to be in the low 20's, and that's a bit cooler temp than I had run in before, I decided to go ahead and wear a sleeveless tech shirt under.

So, after eating breakfast and getting dressed I was ready to go!

I was excited and nervous all at the same time.

As I was leaving my husband said the nicest thing to me. He said "I'd tell you 'good luck' but you don't need it. You've got this." Even just typing that out makes me choke up a little.

I drove to the race location and got there almost an hour before the race started. Thankfully there was an indoor area that we could wait and we could also use the indoor restrooms. All that was left to do was wait until start time.

About 20 minutes before the start I decided to go ahead and use the restroom and go to the starting line. I was worried that it was a bit early but I am so glad I picked that time. The line for the women's restroom was out the door and down the hall! Luckily I was able to make it to the start line in time.

We all gathered in the starting area.

That blow up arch served as both the starting line and the finish line.

And where I took the picture was about as far back as I was when the race officially started.

So the race starts and, with the crowd, we walked up to the starting line. One we got past that we were able to spread out more and I was able to start running. I remembered to start the stopwatch on my phone as well.

Now, with the rain the night before I was concerned about ice on the street. But I have to say that they did a very good job salting the roads. There were only a couple small patches of ice where there had been puddles.

I don't remember too many specifics of the race other than there were a LOT of turns on the route. There were also a lot of hills but, since one of the streets that I run on has a lot of hills I was pretty well prepared for them. There were also race volunteers cheering us on along the route.

At about the 1 mile mark we saw the leaders on their way back to the finish line. I knew it was the 1 mile mark because I heard someone behind me saying it was and someone else saying "We've only gone one mile??? %&*#!!!!!" Naturally this made me laugh. Hey, it's the little things, you know?

After several more turns and hills we came to the area where they were handing out water. Now, this being my first race I had never done the water hand off thing before. I was able to slow down and take the water with no problem. It was drinking it that was difficult. I didn't want to stop running because I was afraid it would be hard to start again. But yeah, I should have stopped. The water went down the wrong pipe and I spent the next few seconds coughing. I also got it all over my face and the front of my shirt. I'm sure I was a sight! Luckily the coughing didn't last long and I was able to get back to running.

One thing about running in an unfamiliar area is having no idea how far I've gone or how far I have to go. As I was running I thought I was nearing the finish line because I heard a LOT of cheering. Turns out it was a couple of really enthusiastic volunteers at one of the turns. So we still had a bit of a ways to go.

Finally I get close to the finish line. I decided to give it my ALL in crossing. I crossed the line and looked at my stopwatch. 40 minutes!!!!! Now this may seem slow to some but it's the fastest that I've ever run that time. I walked to the first finish line volunteer and gave her my race tag. Then I went to the second volunteer and...

I got leid!!!!!

Since this was the "Winter Luau" they had leis for all the finishers. It was kind of cool.

I was really excited that I finally had earned the right to wear this:

From what I hear it's a race etiquette thing that you don't wear the shirt until after you've finished the race. I'm glad I read that before my first race, lol.

The official times were posted the following day. Mine was 40:30. This race was "gun time," meaning that when the starting gun went off the time started no matter where you are or how long it takes you to get to the starting line and there is someone at the end with a clicker tracking when each participant crosses the finish. Other races are "chip timed" which means that you get a timing chip to tie to your shoe and your time starts when you cross the start line. It'll be interesting to see the difference in times when I participate in a chip timed race as opposed to a gun timed race.

All in all this was a wonderful experience and I look forward to participating in many more!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Tasty, Healthy Recipe...

Before we start talking about the recipe I have 2 things I'd like to share about my training this week:

1. I have changed my 10K training program. I had been doing the Bridge to 10K and I still think that it is a good program. I just don't think it was the right fit for me. My pace is pretty slow and since Bto10K goes by time I wasn't putting in the miles that I had been. I noticed that my stamina was decreasing and, as someone who strives to be a long distance runner, this is NOT something that I want to happen. So now I'm doing a training plan that I found at about.com. I chose the "advanced beginner" because it goes by distance, not time, and it has one long run per week which is the run that you build up your mileage in. It's very similar to the half and full marathon training programs out there.

2. I have my first 5K on Saturday!!!!! I'm so excited. I'm also a bit nervous. Not about the running because these events aren't about "beating" the other people. It's more about the social aspect. I'd really like to meet other runners in my area and love to spend time with other people. I'm just not very good at going into a new situation and becoming chummy with others even though I'd really like to. BUT part of the big change that I want to make in my life is living without the fear that has held me back for so long.

Now on to the recipe! As promised when I find a recipe that is healthy and delicious I will pass it on. They'll also be relatively easy to make as we have busy evenings so dinner is on a very tight schedule.

This recipe is for Quinoa with Black Beans. I got the recipe from this blog and then modified it to suite my tastes and also with what we tend to have on hand. If you've never heard of quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah“) before (I hadn't) it is a seed that can be cooked and eaten like a whole grain. It provides all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It is also gluten free. Here is an article all about quinoa and the health benefits it provides.

And this is what it looks like before it is rinsed or cooked:

Quinoa with Black Beans:

1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic salt
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn
2 cans black beans, rinsed & drained
1 cup Mexican 4 Cheese Blend

Heat oil on medium. Saute onion & garlic until soft.

Rinse & drain quinoa. I lined a strainer with a kitchen towel and used that to rinse the quinoa. I was then able to lift the towel out of the strainer and squeeze it to make sure most of the water was out before I put it in a bowl.

This is what the quinoa looks like when it has been rinsed:

Add quinoa & vegetable broth to the pan. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Add corn. Simmer 5 minutes.

Mix in black beans and cheese.


Serving size - 1 cup
Servings - 6

PointsPlus value - 7

Calories - 378
Total Fat - 9.7g
Saturated - 4.3
Polyunsaturated - .5
Monounsaturated - .7
Cholesterol - 6.7
Carb - 56.2g
Fiber - 4.6g
Sugar - 2.5g
Protein - 20.5g

The great thing about this recipe is that you can modify it to fit your tastes or even what you have on hand. No vegetable broth? Chicken or beef will work just fine.

If you want a dairy-free/vegan dish you can leave out the cheese.

If you prefer not to eat meatless meals you can add some cooked chicken.

This is going to become a staple in our home. I loved it Monday night for dinner and I loved it just as much today for lunch. I'm not sure how often Rex will want to have it but I can always make a batch and keep it in the house for lunch.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm Back in the Saddle Again...

Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again...

Oh, sorry, got a little carried away there!  :-P

I'm back to where I was before I got sick!  Woo-hoo!

Since this was my first illness since I've started running I didn't know what to expect as far as recovery time goes.  Some friends at Daily Mile said for a chest cold it would probably be 2 weeks or so before I was able to go the distance that I had been going and they were right.  This has unfortunately set me back a bit in my Bridge to 10K program.  I was on week , which is 4 10-minute intervals with a 1-minute walk between each one - when I got sick.  When I was able to start running again - after about a week off - I was only able to do 2 of those 10-minute intervals.  Yesterday I was able to do all 4 of the intervals!

Speaking of yesterday's run, I found myself in somewhat of a debate in my own mind as to where I should run.  We had winds averaging about 28mph yesterday.  In the morning the temperatures were in the 40's but the wind did make it feel cooler than that.  Our YMCA has an indoor track that I use when I need the childcare but, whenever possible, I prefer to run outside.

Those of you who have known me for a long time, stop laughing!  I do so like to go outside!   I know that before this past October you would have NEVER heard me say that but, once this running bug hit, I realized that running outside in nature is pretty much my favorite thing to do.

 Since I did not need the childcare yesterday I really wanted to run outside, so run outside I did.  I wore my usual outdoor running tights, shorts, long sleeved wicking shirt, wicking hat and gloves and on top of that I added my new zip-up wicking fleece jacket that I got from Old Navy at 40% off. 

That's right, 40% off!  Score!  I'm so glad we went shopping the day before because, with that wind, the jacket really came in handy.  It protected me from the wind and when I got a bit warm I was able to unzip it yet keep it together at the bottom which allowed me to cool down just enough.

Running straight into the wind slowed me down from my usual pace of 13:45 to around 15:05 but that's ok. It felt great!  I was running outside for the first time in weeks and did I ever feel lucky to be able to do so!

Once again it was weigh-in day today.  I weighed 188.0 this week.  That was up a pound from last week which wasn't too big of a surprise.  Last week I had my 2nd week in a row with a loss of around 2 1/2 lb so I was expecting to maintain or go up a bit this week.  Even sticking to the program and staying within my PointsPlus range I find myself in a pattern of big loss - no loss - no loss - big loss - no loss - no loss...so last week's big loss was a really pleasant surprise.  Even with today's gain I'm still ahead of where I would be in a typical 3-week period so I'm happy.

One thing we've been talking about lately at our Weight Watchers meetings is planning ahead what we will eat.  I find this really helps - especially with dinner.  Breakfast and Lunch usually consist of a few choices that I rotate through that are around the same points values.  But dinner can be tricky especially since it involves more than just me.  If I don't have anything planned then I'm tempted to have my husband pick up fast food or take-out which isn't usually the healthiest option.

We've also been taking a class at our church called Financial Peace University to help us out with learning to budget and save money so this "learning to plan meals in advance" thing couldn't have come at a better time.  We all know that, along with not being healthy for our waistlines, fast food and take-out aren't exactly healthy for our pocketbooks either.  So this week we planned most of our dinners out on Sunday and I went to the store to get exactly what we would need for the week.  So far so good...

Here's where I'm going to ask you for a little help.  If you have any great recipes or links to any great recipes please share them in the comments section.  I'm looking for main dishes, sides, new and interesting ways to fix vegetables...anything!  I'm also going to try a few recipes that I've found online and some from my Weight Watchers weekly pamphlet and I'll share those with you in future posts.

Let's make 2012 our most active AND healthiest year!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Word of Caution...

No pain, no gain, right?  WRONG!!!  I want you to throw that mindset out the window before you ever start running.

It is important to ease into any exercise program slowly.  This is especially true with running as it is a higher impact sport.  And, of course, make sure that you have the ok of your doctor.  And if anything hurts while you're exercising it's important to stop and figure out what's going on.  Pain is our body's way of telling us that something is wrong.  Listen to your body!

My favorite beginning program is Couch to 5K.  This program alternates walking and running, increasing the time spent running every week.  It is to be done 3 times a week and 3 times ONLY!!!

You see, one of the biggest pitfalls for new runners is doing too much too soon.  After a few weeks your cardiovascular health improves dramatically and you feel like you could go for miles and miles.  Unfortunately it takes longer for your muscles to catch up.  And even longer still for your bones and tendons to be strong enough to handle daily running and double-digit miles.  Do too much too soon and you risk injury that will keep you away from running for an extended period of time.

Right now I'm at the Bridge to 10K step.  It is still an interval program that is easing me up to the 10K distance.  I'm not even thinking of starting Half training until the middle of April at the EARLIEST.  Why is this?  Because you should only take on Half training after you've been running regularly for 6 months.  If you'd like to learn more about easing into training and why it's so important I recommend the book "Running for Mortals: A Commonsense Plan for Changing Your Life With Running."
by John Bingham (of the quote from my last post) and Jenny Hadfield.  They go into detail of what goes on in your body as you become a runner.

Another thing I want to talk about is illness and running.  As we are now entering the height of cold and flu season we'll probably all be dealing with this sooner or later.  Generally speaking, if symptoms are from the neck up (basically nasal congestion, sneezing, that sort of thing) then it's ok to keep doing what you're doing as long as you feel up to it.  The exception to this would be a sinus infection - strenuous exercise with an active sinus infection can make you even sicker.  If symptoms are neck down (chest cough/congestion, fever, body aches) then rest, rest, rest!  You can do so much damage to your body if you exercise with this type of illness.

Right now I have a nasty chest cold so I'm not liking this advice very much.  Who am I kidding, though?  I don't think I'd even make it past my driveway without hacking up a lung.

But it's hard to make myself stay home when it's supposed to be a running day.  I'm supposed to be at Week 1 Day 3 right now!  And I'll admit that missing a day scares me.  It scares me because I fear that I will fall back into my sedentary lifestyle.  That I'll fall off the exercise and healthy eating wagon.  The logical side of me knows that one "off" week is not going to make a difference in my overall training.  But the emotional side has a hard time accepting that.  It's something that I need to work through though.  Things are going to come up that are out of my control and it's important to learn how to deal with them and continue towards my goal rather than letting them stop me like I've done in the past.

So let's raise our orange juice glasses and toast to a healthier next week!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Courage to Start

How in the world did I ever get into this situation in the first place? 245 lbs...at 5'6" tall - that gave me a BMI of 39.5. Severe obesity. If my BMI had been just .5 higher I would have been morbidly obese.

Why am I telling you all my numbers? Because I want to lay it all out here. I want you to know exactly where I came from. I want other people to know that they, too, can lose weight. They can become fit. Never think that it is too late.

I wish I had taken a picture of myself the day I started losing weight but I didn't. I don't have a picture of myself at my peak weight but this is of me when I weighed 231 lb:

That striped sweater - it's maternity. And I was NOT pregnant.

This is another one at about the same weight:

I felt unhealthy. I had a lot of aches and pains. My fasting blood sugar was over 100 - usually around 110. I couldn't do all the things that I wanted to do. I couldn't keep up with my children. Even taking a walk left me very winded. I had yo-yo'd back and forth in the past. I know that I needed to get the weight off. I wanted to get the weight off. I was determined to get the weight off.

I started out at Sparkpeople.com . It's a free online program where you can record your food and activity every day. You are given a calorie range to try to stay in every day based on your current weight. It is a good program and I started to lose weight.
This is me at 215:

After about 6 months I was down around 200 lb:

Then I stalled out. I just didn't have the drive or motivation anymore. I used Summer as an excuse. "I don't like summer, I don't feel well when it's hot, when it's cooler I'll buckle down and start losing again."

This went on for about a year.

I was happy with my loss so far but knew that it was not where I wanted to stay.

Eventually the numbers started creeping back up. When I realized that I had gained 10 lb I knew I needed to do something different. I needed to get my motivation back. I was NOT going to gain the weight back. I had friends who were losing weight with Weight Watchers. I had gone to WW in the past but had always quit and gained the weight back when I went back to my binging ways. I wasn't crazy about the 'points' system - I had liked the old exchange system - and I wasn't crazy about the idea of paying.

But I also knew that I wanted to have a place to get support from others who were going through the same thing. My youngest was about to start preschool and I thought that would be a perfect opportunity to go to meetings. I had also heard that there was a new Points Plus program and that it placed a much bigger emphasis on balance and healthy choices than the old program did. One day, a few days before school started, I got a flyer in the mail that said for the next few weeks if I bought a Monthly Pass I would get the 2nd month for free. I took it as a sign. On September 7, 2011 I walked into the local WW center and bought a monthly pass. I weighed in. 216.2 lb.

I followed the program and went to the meetings. I found that I like the new Points Plus program. I also found out that I really like going to the meetings. The weight started coming off again. 5lb...10lb...5%...

Then in October I got the idea that I would like to run in a 5K. Our local YMCA has these 5/10/15K events throughout the year and it looked like fun but I never thought I'd be able to participate. I don't run. I can't run. I hate running. But I decided that I wanted to be able to run a 5K.

I had heard good things about the Couch to 5K program. It's a 3 day per week program that alternates running and walking to gradually ease you in to running 5K. On October 18, 2011 I became a runner. I did the Week 1 Day 1 training which was alternating 60 seconds running, 90 seconds walking for 20 minutes. It was amazing! I felt wonderful! I found myself looking forward to my running days.  Me!  The girl who had always HATED running!  The girl who "couldn't" run! I joined Daily Mile and posted on the newbie board asking for friend requests. I became friends with several wonderful people on there and have received so much support.

Meanwhile, the weight was still coming off. 15lb...20lb...

This is me this past Thanksgiving at 195.4lb:

That's right! I made it to "Onederland!" I had not weighed under 200lb since my first pregnancy so this was a BIG deal!

As I got more and more into running I realized that I did not want to stop at 5K. I set a new goal to run a 10K sometime in the spring of 2012 and to run a Half Marathon in October 2012. I graduated from Couch to 5K on December 17th and started Bridge to 10K on January 2nd. I registered for a Half Marathon that is on October 21, 2112.  It's going to be a lot of hard work but I am ready to take on the challenge!

So here I am today. It was weigh-in day at WW. My weight this morning was 189.4!!! I'm getting there. I'm about 5lb away from being overweight. I never though I'd be so happy about/looking forward to being 'overweight'.

I am so excited about this new phase in my life!

If you have ever had an interest in running I say go for it! Even if you have never run a step in your life, do it! Couch to 5K is a wonderful program. Believe me, it has to be if it got me running! I also recommend Daily Mile - you can track your workouts and get support from some wonderful people. If you do decide to check it out, look me up, CindiP. I always love meeting new people!

I hope that you enjoy reading about my Road to 13.1. Now I want to leave you with some words from John "The Penguin" Binghan: "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."

May you have your own miracle.