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.