Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Good morning everyone!
Well, in the spirit of full disclosure I haven't tracked anything that has gone into my mouth since March. Yeah, I know.. I know.. I know.
I mean, I really know. Because if there is anything that stuck with me from last night's group meeting it is that those who track their intake, even in a small way, are more likely to be successful than those who don't. Me, I've been fab at training and meeting my fitness goals; but, although I'm getting more physically fit and mentally tough, I'm sucking big time at losing weight. There are a lot of reasons and excuses for that; but, I'm proud to say I'm back on the tracking bandwagon. Not for now. Not until XX - but, until the weight is off.
I've also revised a couple of things. First, I edited my overall goal weight from 155 to 165. I haven't changed the date, I want to be there, or nearly there by Septmber. That's 20 pounds in four months. That's a little over a pound a week. It's going to take some diligence; but, just like learning to run I can do this. I just have to keep telling myself that I can and I will.
Today I'm off to a mediocre start. Luckily for me I ate a banana before leaving the house because I left my proper breakfast (oatmeal) and my lunch (canned soup) in the car. So, I've had three mini candies (130 calories) which will carry me on until my Chipotle burrito bowl (500 calories with the options I choose.) Dinner tonight is going to be a sandwhich (wheat roll, ham, and cheese) for 400 calories and a pudding cup for desert (70 calories). I've mentally prepared myself for three more mini candies out of the dish at work.
You see, I'd set this unrealistic expectation that I could just pretend like the candy dish was dead to me. That I could just ignore it. Oh, what a silly thing to do!
So, I'm going to be more realistic. I'm going to allow myself to take one candy at a time. If I take three, I'll eat three. If I take one.. well, you get the picture. Instead of eating twelve of these puppies a day I'm hoping to get down to between four and six (topping out around 200 calories at the high end.) And I'm going to track them (something I've greatly resisted in the past.)
I guess I should also mention why I've changed my tracker - I think I needed and deserved a little perspective. After all, I've come really far. Starting at a size 18-20 and getting to a 12-14 is amazing. dropping from 220/230 to 185 deserves LOTS of celebrating. I was losing the forest for the trees reseting it like I did at the beginning of the year. Never again.
In other news I'm going up to the city county building to get my pool pass. Swimming practice starts this coming week! Need to get used to it before the Triathlon!
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
So, contrary to what you may have thought I did not actually die following the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I know, I promised an update right after; but, well I had a tough time finding a few minutes to get my head on straight and to really process the race.
The day started at 5:00AM with leaving my poor dog to hang out and wait for me to come home. I got to the office around 5:30, parked like a real jerk, and then waited. Come 6:30 I realized I needed to leave a few things in my car and went down to find I was taking up two spaces. Oops. I really must have been on auto-pilot that morning.
So, after apologizing profusely to the parking lot attendee (who got there after I did), I sprinted up to get my keys before then having to sprint to catch up to my coworker who was on his way to our starting corral. You see, we both thought we had until 7 or so to get there. Not true, we had to be there for 6:45 - d'oh!
So, we pack in like cattle into the corral. I won't lie, given recent events I not only felt claustrophobic in the fenced off cages; but, the unmarked white vans and U-hauls parked beside them made me even more twitchy. It's sad, I don't like thinking that Boston effected me (outside of profound sadness for those affected); but, it has. I think it actually affected me more than 9-11 did. I can see myself being in a race, I never saw myself working in an NYC skyscraper.
By 7:30 the Anthem had been sung, silence had been observed (somewhere farther up the course, you can't hear much in the back of the pack which for all intents and purposes is literally on the other side of the city), and the starting gun had shot. We started to move, slowly, toward the starting mat. All told it took 20 minutes or so to get there. The excitement was palpable. I've done a lot of races (I'd say); but, none as big as this one. None with such nervous, excited energy out of everyone. It was astounding.
Once the race started? My gosh, I don't think I stopped smiling for three miles. The first mile took us into the Strip district. We'd already passed two or three bands before we hit the first amazing cheering group and the first bridge of the course. Before I knew it we were up to mile 5 and the first relay exchange. Sure, those relayers came in with fresh legs; but, I didn't let them get me down!
Really, the most amazing group (in terms of energy and support) came from the Western PA Humane Society. They were all out there with dogs and water and music. They made me feel like a million bucks. I was so amazed by them. Of course, after this came my first enemy of the course - the West End Bridge. That puppy is steep when you're running up it; but, can I tell you how amazing the view is? When you're not stuck in a steel cage and can really look at where three rivers meet up and feel nothing but the sky over your head - I swear, it was like heaven.
I powered past the West End Bridge and into the West End poper. This was where my knee decided I shouldn't run downhill and I concurred. I'd already stopped twice on the course to stretch out my knee so I did the same here. What's fifteen seconds of stretching and finishing without pain in comparison to having to walk the rest of the course?
At this point, once I got my legs back under me, I was cooking with gas again. Out of the West End and up West Carson Street on my way to the South Side was my second favorite group. A bunch of Junior ROTC cadets cheering on runners up the second most ridiculous hill. I loved these kids because, well, I used to be one of them. They were full of energy even if they were probably 'ordered' to be there ;)
There was a nice, subtle downhill after the cadets and on the left was a cheering group for the club I'm in. They were cheering for 'team awesome' - which a bunch of my friends are apart of. They were with a coach who was targeting 2:30 half marathon times - and I think they all made it. I signed up for the 'I just want to finish!' group so I had a different coach than they did. The group also had SCRRC sign and a cowbell. They were fun and made me grin for another mile or two.
Truthfully, I don't remember much from the Southside aside from sticky pavement. Lots of Gatorade and Gu was wasted that day, I assure you. Ahead, though, all I could think of was making it to the Birmingham bridge before it closed. Ah, yes, my final and greatest nemesis. In my last blog I wrote about the total mindfrak I had going on when it came to that bridge. I mean, I knew I had something like three hours to get there and I knew I'd run 13 miles in that amount of time; but, I kept thinking of 'what if...'
Well, I made it to the bridge. I made it in about two hours.
This is where I have a moment of regret. I'd pushed really hard to that point - I wanted to be -sure- that I'd get there in time. Ten miles in a little over two hours, for me, is awesome. Of course, it was at this point that I felt like I could relax. I started giving myself permission. Around me, everyone else was walking up the bridge because it was steep. Well, I stopped and stretched my knee. I stopped and walked.
I was nowhere near running on E. I was nowhere near tired. In fact, when I hit the bridge I had this CRAZY thought that I could run the whole course again. CRAZY. That's how good I felt, though.
And yet I walked.
I probably lost ten minutes between how I crawled up the bridge and following hill to get up onto the parkway. (That's right, they closed down a mile of the parkway for us to run on...) I hate thinking about that. I had more in the tank and more in my heart but I let my mind soften up.
I got to the top of the hill and onto the parkway and I started running again. At this point I was -PASSING- people. People who had put it all out there and people who were saving up for the final mile push to the finish. After all, you have a nice, gradual downhill from the parkway into town and then a coast along past an amazing crowd to the finish line. Well, I wanted to be sure I'd do better than my last run time. I wanted to be sure I'd look strong as I ran past my family.
I had a pretty good idea where my family would be and when I found them I can't describe the joy. They came out. It was awesome. I stopped to give my mom a hug (because, what's ten seconds when you can have an awesome hug from your mom?) and then I was off again. Problem was, well, I was gasping for breath. Not because I was tired or weak - but because I could feel choked up sobs. I was just so proud. I may not have run as hard as I though I could; but, in that moment it didn't matter. I finished. I did something that a year ago sounded impossible. Hell, it sounded CRAZY.
And I did it.
I crossed the finish line at 2:52. That's Seven minutes faster than my previous half time. Seven minutes faster on a more difficult course. Some people run the entire full marathon in that time; but, it doesn't matter. I finished. I did the crazy, impossible thing.
I got my medal.
And now I have so much more confidence.
Tonight I have a follow up meeting at the study. I think I've lost 2-3 pounds since I last saw them. If not? Well, that's okay. I'm getting back on plan this week after having to eat the world last week. I'm excited to see my friends there. I'm bringing my medal. I'm going to thank these people because they have no idea what they've enabled me to achieve.
Last Saturday I went clothes shopping again. I'm almost down to a size 12. I'm officially a size Large in women's athletic gear. I'm seeing changes in my body even if the scale isn't quite showing them.
I'm feeling good, Sparklers. I'm feeling proud.
Thursday, May 02, 2013
We are officially three wake-ups away from what will be my first Pittsburgh Half Marathon. It was originally planned to be my FIRST half marathon, but I'm impulsive and decided to go the distance beforehand so I knew I could do it.
So, yeah, I know I can do it.
So why, exactly, am I freaking out?
We're going to say that my last Half Marathon took me three hours. I have three and a half hours to make it to the ten mile point. If I don't make it to the ten mile point in that time I will be unable to finish because a bridge will be re-opened to traffic and I won't have anywhere to complete the course.
I'm freaking out.
Well, I was freaking out.
Thanks to friends, family, and coworkers I'm coming down off my ledge. I'm breathing and I'm trying to be rational.
In other news I get to hang out for most of the weekend at the expo. I'm going to be at my office's booth. It's going to be fun just to pick up the vibe. To be excited with everyone else. It's going to be absolutely awesome.
I haven't decided what I'm going to wear on race day yet. I'll figure it out tomorrow, I guess.
There's no escaping the jitters on this one. My family is coming out to see me finish - it feels like a BIG deal. They haven't come to any of my other races - and this is very likely to be the only race they come to. It's special and important.
I'm very rational and I know in this moment I'm not being particularly rational.
The next time you guys will see a blog from me it'll be a PIttsburgh Half-Marathon re-cap!
Keep on sparking!
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Well, I've pretty much managed to set my race schedule for the rest of the year. With the exception of August, November, and December I have a race at least every month. Big races. Half Marathons and Marathon!
In the most stupendous news, I've signed up for my very first Triathlon! I'm going to compete in the Sprint level distance - mostly because I'm not very confident in my swimming ability. The Triathlon is on July so I have plenty of time to build up some swimming muscles. Sprint Distance is a 500m swim, 20K bike ride and a 5K run. I feel really confident about the biking and the running - but, as much as I like to swim I'm not very fast.
It's going to be an adventure!
I also wanted to share with you guys the first photo I've had taken in a while where I didn't fool with any angles.
I feel completely happy with how I look (well, I'm in desperate need of a haircut...) You have no idea how complete this makes me feel. I just keep looking at it.
Speaking of photos, here's the photo I bought from the finish of my first Half. Behind me you can see those amazing club people I wrote about. Look at them! There are no words for how awesome they are!
In terms of weight and food I'm stuck. I'm hoping to find some weight loss mojo after the Half - just in time to start training for the Triathlon and the Rachel Carson 17mile challenge.
Man, I keep signing up for things. I love it. It takes me back to high school when I had a chest full of ribbons and medals. Not gonna lie, I have my 1/2 marathon medal hanging in my office right now. It'll live there until my display comes.
That's really it from here - I hope you guys are doing amazing things, too!
9 days until I'm a Runner of Steel!
Monday, April 22, 2013
My goodness, guys, I've been brewing on this blog!
Before I get to the meat and potatoes referenced in my title I figure I should cover a couple of quick things. First and foremost, Dad is out of the hospital. He's home and doing well. Second, the scale graced me with 183 again this weekend. My weight loss might be slow; but, it's still happening. I'm okay with the slowness, it just means it's going to be more likely to stay away in the long term!
Now, as to the title of my blog - my very first Half Marathon was this past weekend. All 13.1 miles. All of it. Mine. I did it.
Race Recap is as follows:
First and foremost I got to registration at 7AM sharp. That's right, the race didn't start until 9AM but I was so worried I wouldn't be able to transfer my friend's registration that I wanted to be sure to get one of the race-day registrations. Unfortunately they wouldn't allow the transfer; fortunately, I still got a race-day bib. Whew. However, that meant I got to spend about an hour stewing in my car. I played a lot of Candy Crush Saga before making a dash to the porta potties and meeting up with my friends from the SCRRC.
Waiting for the race to start was uneventful. Just the usual jitters. Of course you start off thinking about your pace and planned finish time. 2:45 was my hope. I decided that 3:00 would be respectable.
The first mile or so was pretty uneventful. I settled into my pace and got comfortable. It was me and the usual crowd of Galloway run-walkers, amazing older people (Really, I genuinely think they're amazing - can you imagine being older than 60 or even 70 and doing a Half Marathon? In my mind, they're flipping incredible), and the sag-wagon. (For those who aren't runners, the sag-wagon is what picks up people unwilling or unable to complete the race. But, something magical started happening; I couldn't stop smiling. Even among the cold (39 degrees!), the snow (ugh), the rain (Double ugh) and the sunshine - I just couldn't stop feeling, well, blessed.
Around mile five I started having one of the most amazing experiences of my life. You see, it was an out and back course. You ran out about six and a half miles and then turned around to come back. At first it was the uber athletes - and you could tell they were very serious about their times. They were 'in the zone' - staring hard at the trail and looking like they could run a hole through the sun. However, once those lonely, really fast runners got away, I started seeing small clusters. And these people? These people carried me for a couple of miles.
Strangers telling me things like "Good job!" and "Keep it up!" and "You're doing amazing!" Strangers. More than strangers, fellow runners. People who do this sport better than I hope to and they were cheering me on. I can't even articulate what it feels like. I also got to run by the rest of the club. High-Fives all around - and those were even more amazing.
I have to say, though - the six miles back on my own were the loneliest and hardest I've ever done. You see, this was on a trail - an old rail-trail of flat, crushed limestone that's running past the Youghegany River. It's beautiful; but, the only other souls I got to see in that time were the people manning the water stations. Believe me, I was counting the two miles in between them.
Around mile eight I started feeling a twinge in my knee. Around mile nine when I slowed to walk and drink I realized I was in trouble. My knee felt wobbily and weak; hell, it hurt. I tried to start running again; but, I have to admit, for the first time in my life I had to limp. It was heartbreaking. Usually the saying goes "The body is willing but the mind is weak." Let me tell you, my mind was more than willing, my body otherwise felt strong; but, my knee was not happy. Up until this point I had kept between a 12:00 and 12:45 pace. After all, I was treating the day as a race-distance, training pace kind of day. In fact, at the half-way mark I was turning around to go back at 1:22. I was on track to hit my 2:45 goal.
Deciding to be bold I found that the pikes they put up to keep trucks and carts off the trail were an asset - I balanced myself between them, put ankle to knee and did a sit-stretch. It felt amazing. At mile 11 or 11.5 I started jogging again. It was sore; but it wasn't as terrible pain as I'd felt before. By the time I got to mile 12.5 I was having some pretty ridiculous thoughts. What if the finish line was gone? Surely the rest of the club had drank all the chocolate milk and taken off for all their plans. There probably weren't any medals left at all.
Yeah, my brain imploded.
And then, by the grace of God I swear, I happened to see a couple of my friends headed up the trail. They probably have no idea how much I needed to see them. I posted on my Facebook how they carried me that last tenth of a mile; and they really did.
I was coming around the corner - and then even more magic happened. The club was there. No crap. I didn't believe it. There are photos on the race website and I'm totally buying them. Short of my family I never would have expected these kinds of cheers. Really, I get all sappy thinking about it.
It was amazing.
I got over the finish line at 2:59 - a respectable time for a 185lb girl who never thought it was possible to want to run more than a 5K a year ago. I'm so very proud - I worked hard for this and trained, too. But, I was carried by friends, family, and strangers.
I have another half in two weeks. I just can't wait. I'm hoping that I'll have all of my hips and knees stretched out real good before the PIttsburgh Half Marathon and that I'll be able to get my time more in line with my pace. After all, I can do ten miles in 2:08; there's no reason I can't do another 5K in 40 minutes.
In terms of this race, I don't know if I'd recommend it as a first Half-Marathon. It gets lonely on the trail by yourself. However, for my first half marathon, it was perfect.
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