Thursday, November 11, 2010
This is less of a blog and more of a general inquiry because I am definitely experiencing different things every month. Please respond with personal experience, what you know to be true, and medical research if you've gone so far as to look into it.
How has losing weight (a lot of weight) affected your monthly schedule? Is it lighter? Heavier? More painful? Less? What about PMS?
I really believe that my weight loss at such a quick rate is affecting my body's reactions to my menstrual cycle - but I really never know what to expect. Last month I was a raging B*TCH for 5 days and it was about 4 days late. This month I had no PMS besides being tired yesterday (which I believe was more situational and less hormonal) and today it arrived a day early. I am one of those women who can feel ovulation - I get terrible mittelschmerz mid month - but since I've lost weight, that actually seems to be getting better. Again - it depends on the month. Cramping - sometimes is light, other times it is cripplingly painful. I've tried various remedies, adjusting my diet, removing milk, adding caffeine. Nothing seems to really make that much of a difference because the symptoms are different every month.
Anyone out there lost 100 pounds and can speak to what I have to look forward to? I know we're all different, but this really has me scratching my head! (And reaching for my heating pad).
Help! Time to dish about TOM for reals :) Mother Nature has a wry sense of humour if you ask me.
Monday, November 08, 2010
It's called "The Sweetest Race In Chicago" and for my first venture into the world of "competitive running" it honestly could not have been a better day.
The festivities began on Friday evening with race packet pick-up at Union Station in Chicago. I planned to meet Kathy (LOTUSFLOWER, and the instigator of this whole journey for me) downtown with her sisters after work. To my surprise, I also got a call from Jen (JENJESS48) and her husband Patrick who were flying in from D.C. for the race saying that they had arrived in town and would meet me at the pick-up area. The excitement started. Not only was I going to be running my very first 5K the next morning, but I was meeting a bunch of Sparkfriends for the first time as well. I couldn't tell which I was more nervous/excited about!
After a bunch of phone calling and messaging back and forth we all found one another in the Great Hall of Union Station. Hugs were had all round and we browsed the fun running goods (i.e Bondi Bands!). Jen and Pat and I were all hungry, so we parted ways with Kathy and her crew and agreed to meet them in the morning at our planned meet-up place. We headed to The Berghoff - a Chicago institution - for dinner (a first for me even though I have lived in the city for 7 years now!). Jen had been there before on a school trip and is also of German heritage so she wanted to revisit an old stomping ground. I enjoyed a wonderful chicken, zucchini and potato galette dish, and one potato perogi - just enough carbs to consider myself "loaded" for the next morning - hehe. We called it a night early and all left to go try to catch some zzzs. Unfortunately, I got all the way to the train before I realized I had left my brand new tech jacket in the restaurant and had to go back just before they locked the doors to grab it. Minor set-back. I was home within 45 minutes and on my way to bed.
Surprisingly enough for all the nervous excitement of the day before, I slept pretty well. I awoke to my alarm at 6am, quite literally smiled to myself, and jumped out of bed, raring to go. I dressed quickly in the tech clothes I had laid out the night before and put on the kettle for tea. By 6:30am I was out the door into the pitch dark and freezing cold. Good lord - runners are CRAZY PEOPLE! The bus was at the corner and I didn't want to miss it so I jogged to make it on - we'll consider that a warm-up run. A quick look around told me I was not alone - lots of tech gear, lots of brown "Will Run For Chocolate" jackets. And here we go! By the time we got to the train I had finished my tea and was actually quite warm despite the temperature outside. I only waited momentarily for the Red Line to the city with about 40 other people on the platform all headed in the same direction. When the train finally arrived I had to laugh. This is what 30,000 runners looks like on public transportation! It was not even 7am and the train was PACKED with athletes of all colours, shapes and sizes, all gearing up for the big race. And I was one of them. I was so proud.
Off the train and headed to the meeting place to meet-up with the rest of my Sparkies! Kathy is already there, as is Shelley (FARLEY_GIRL) and Mel (MELMEI) who was running with her work team but waiting to give me a quick hug before she dashed off to be with them. We were joined shortly by Andrea (ANDREA963) and Jen & Pat. A couple of girls that we were expecting didn't show, but I didn't have real contact info for everyone so we had to move on. (I found out later that JESSSPARK's hotel alarm clock had failed her and she almost didn't make the race and JMEPAYNE woke up with a bad fever and chills - poor girl). A quick stop in a hotel bathroom to pull off my warm-up jacket and put on my Spark shirt and my bib and we were off. A little later than I wanted to be, we walked over the bridge to the massive crowd of people. I ran off to gear check to get rid of my bag and coats just as I heard them playing the national anthem and getting ready to race. My pulse quickened. I had lost Kathy already and Jen, Pat & Shelley were walking the race so I promised to meet up with them post-race in front of the fondue tents. I nearly threw my stuff at the poor guy in the gear check tent and hustled my butt to the large crowd of people who had now just started to move. I reminded myself to breathe as I squeezed through the fence at the 13 minute mile marker. I looked around - people as far as the eye could see, but no sign of any of my friends. This is where I have to go it alone. I put my iPod headphones in my ears, cranked my warm-up tunes, and started walking forward with the group towards the start line willing the tears to just hold off a little while longer. I was overcome with emotion. "Just run your own race, and take it all in".
I made sure to get in front of a couple of the official photographers - just in case, I needed to make sure that this moment was documented.
All of a sudden I heard a huge group of people around me cheering and I looked over to see Dr. Oz waving at all of us. Once again I had to fight back tears. How awesome is it that he would come to the race and wish us all well. We walked for about another 4 minutes getting just to the 9 minute per mile marker when I heard the crowd cheer again. I looked to my left at the finish line to see the elite male runners FINISHING the 5K!!! At a 5 minute per mile pace these guys just ran the whole thing in about 15 minutes. Holy crap! It definitely gave me a burst of energy to see them come across the finish line as I looked ahead of me at the start line. I selected my running mix on my iPod, took a deep breath, and started running!
I felt really good for the first mile except that my nervous energy had sapped every single ounce of spit from my body so my mouth was insanely dry. Since the water station wasn't until mile 2, there was nothing I could really do about it but keep running. It was tough dodging through the slower runners and walkers at the beginning, but it definitely kept things interesting so I wasn't actually thinking much about pain, or breathing, or worrying that I wasn't going to make it. In fact, I didn't even see the first mile marker, so I have no idea what my time was going into mile 2. At that point, we were all herded under and underpass and the going got a little dicey for a bit, so I was more concerned about keeping my footing and running on the pavement instead of grass or the road median for about half a mile anyway. Unfortunately, the race coordinators decided to put the water station for the 5K at the narrowest part of the path, so the bottleneck it caused forced everyone to slow to almost a complete walk. I was getting a little frustrated at this point because I desperately wanted to keep my pace which was impossible, but I did my best to dodge around as many people as I could and kept running. The second half of mile 2 has consistently been my weakest point, so to slow down right there when I was already fighting to keep running was so difficult. But I pushed through as best I could, ran past the water station and rounded the bend past the Shedd Aquarium.
The third mile of the run was changed at the last minute to be a short run up the Lakeshore trail with a hairpin turn and a run back along the upper section of the same path. In my books, this was the worst part of the race. Everyone was already coming out of a bottleneck (I actually almost tripped over a woman that was walking the race with a cane) and picking up speed to attempt a good time for the last mile. The hairpin turn was literally a straight climb up a grass hill to the upper part of the trail which completely killed my momentum. I was beat by the time I got to the top and turned around to run back the distance I had just come. I let my defeatist attitude win only momentarily at the top of the hill as I slowed to a walk for about 5 seconds to catch my breath before I pushed myself harder than I have ever done before and willed my legs to just keep running. Thankfully at that point the way ahead of me cleared. Too many people still stuck back at the water station I guess. Also could have been because the path finally widened to a double lane road and I smiled for the cameras as I ran towards the home stretch. Everything in me wanted to stop running. The finish line was further away than the starting line, so we had to cross over the starting line again at the 3 mile mark and keep running for that last point one of a mile. Just keep running, just keep running. I could hear my regular running music come to an end. My cool down song came on as the finish line got closer and closer. 39 minutes, 30 seconds. That's how long my running mix is. If I can just finish this race in the next 30 seconds I might be able to still pull this in under 40 minutes. Push. Do it! It was all I had left in me to throw my arms in the air as I crossed the finish line.
And then an emotion came over me that I didn't expect. I was actually a little bit angry. I was angry for having to slow down during the race. I was angry that the crowd in front of me wasn't moving fast enough. I was angry that the first station was Gatorade when all I really wanted was a bottle of water. I finally made it to the water, grabbed a bottle and squeezed through the fence. Freedom. I walked a lap around Buckingham Fountain - the skyline and the sunshine and the lake in the distance. I walked to a park bench, all alone for the throngs of people behind me. I listened to my favorite cool down song as I stretched on the park bench. And THEN it hit me. I did it. I finished. I ran the whole thing (except for those 5 seconds which we'll never mention again, which had everything to do with the trail and nothing to do with me being incapable of running). I had just completed my first 5K!
I turned back to look at the crowd and the world clicked back into motion. I needed to get to the gear tent so that I could get to my cell phone and find out how Kathy did and where she was. On the way back I stopped to have my finisher's photo taken.
That felt good. Really good. I made it to the gear tent and apologized to the guy I threw my stuff at earlier. And thankfully - he returned all of it to me unscathed (which was a concern earlier). I grabbed my phone and immediately called Kathy. She was already in the fondue line, so I walked over to find her and ran into another friend of mine who had just run. We hung out and chatted for a bit and posed for the cameras that were milling around. Kathy finally found us and we headed through the tents to pick up our fondue.
Kathy, Me and my friend Ashley
Me and Kathy's family
Kathy & Me :)
Let me tell you - chocolate never tasted SO good. Here's a pic of what we got in the fondue tray - apples, banana, a pretzel rod, marshmallows and pound cake. Yum! I wanted to stick my face in that vat of warm, melty goodness.
By the time we were finished with our snack we were all pretty cold. Though the sun did manage to come out, the temperature was still frigid. Kathy's family left and we went to find Jen & Pat so that we could go out for breakfast. We walked back over to Buckingham Fountain for a few photos and to have our official finisher's photos taken with the group.
Pat, Kathy, Jen & myself
Spark Girls together in Grant Park
Charlie's Angel Style!
Jen & Pat by the fountain
Then we headed to Yolk for a very SEXY breakfast. Seems that everyone at the race had the same brilliant idea that we did, so the wait was a little long because the restaurant was PACKED.
Waiting outside Yolk for a table
But they were working that room like pros and had us in and out amazingly efficiently and never made us feel rushed. We deserved every ounce of that food by the time it got to the table. I had Zamboni Crepes (eggs, ham & spinach rolled into a crepe) with a side of potatoes and Hollandaise sauce. So delicious I took half of it home to enjoy again the next day!
My Sexy Breakfast
Jen & Pat with their Sexy Breakfasts
Kathy and I with our Sexy Breakfasts
The tiredness was really kicking in by the time we were done with breakfast and Kathy had to catch a train back to the suburbs. I walked Jen & Pat back to their hotel and we parted ways. Such a great group of people. I am so happy that my first race was with SparkPeople and with those particular SparkPeople! They are all so wonderful. I can't wait to do it again!
Any frustration or anger I felt after the race has completely washed away. Though MANY people had the same experience, I do believe that the race next year will have a separate corral for the walkers, which seemed to cause the biggest hiccups this year. Also - the race was completely sold out at 30,000 people! Last year was only half of that. So while the whole event was VERY well organized from start to finish, the sheer number of participants were bound to cause slow zones on that tiny of a path. I'm looking forward to running again next year. Maybe by then I will show up to do the 15K! I'd say this was a really great first race for me. My official time was 40:16. I was aiming for under 40, but given the slow zones it still means that I was running at just under a 13 minute mile. I'll take it. Here are my official stats:
If anyone wants to see my official race photos, they are at www.marathonfoto.com - you just have to type in my bib number (10948) and my last name (Kincaid).
All in all - I'm happy. I'm a runner and I ran my first 5K with SparkPeople. And 6 months ago - I couldn't say any of that!
Thursday, November 04, 2010
You ever have one of those nights where EVERYTHING goes wrong? Tonight was that night for me. It's Wednesday, which means it's swim night. The day went relatively well and so I was looking forward to the pool. I stay late at work on Wednesdays so I can go right from work to the Rec. Center, so when 6:30pm rolled around I started packing up. Not so fast - a company came in for rehearsal that was supposed to have a tech of their show tonight. My tech guy is nowhere to be found. Crap - it must have slipped my mind to remind him to be in tonight. No worries - I'll just go up to the theatre and set a quick light and sound cue for them. It will be fine. ONE HOUR later after a phone call to 2 different people to try to get help with the control boards in the space I was finally able to give the company what they needed for tonight. I made a mad dash for the door, just as I heard what sounded like a heard of elephants crashing on the second floor. It's 7:35pm so I yelled at my House Manager to deal with it and ran down the street to catch my bus. Traffic is heavy, so I don't get to the pool until 8:05pm (swim time starts at 8). By this point my stomach is seriously growling. Usually on swim nights I leave around 7pm and grab a latte to get me through my exercise before I get dinner when I'm done. No time for a latte tonight, but I've done it without before, so I just power through it. I throw on my suit and get into the pool by 8:15pm. OK - 45 minutes to swim. I can do this. The only problem now is that one of the synchronized swim team members who practice at the same time is in my lane doing his buoyancy exercises. Fine - I go one lane over and start my routine. But I'm SO used to swimming in the same lane I keep wandering and hitting the rope with my hands as I'm doing front crawl. Just push through it - tonight is about dealing with challenges. Lap 7 - I'M TIRED. I really needed that latte. Shut up and swim - talk to me again when you hit Lap 20. Lap 18 - I'M REALLY TIRED. Nope - talk to me again when you hit Lap 30. Now pool-boy is wandering over to MY side of the line and he actually just hit me. Ignore it. Just keep swimming. You're running out of time. Lap 46 - a kid decides to race her friend across the pool in the opposite direction of the lanes and slams into me. Not even an apology! Ok - clearly my blood sugar is low because now I'm CRANKY and tired. Lap 50 - seven minutes left to do 5 crawl laps and 5 breast stroke. Crap - breast stroke take me a full minute per lap. Just swim. Fight the challenges. You can do this. But you're not going to have time to stretch in the pool. That's fine - you can stretch in the shower. Yes! 60 laps - 45 minutes. I did it. I jumped out of the pool right at the hour mark and headed for the showers...oh jeez - really should have eaten something. I'm really faint, can't catch my breath. I wager that eating is more important than showering completely at this point so I stretched out quickly, washed my hair and got out of the steam before I passed out. I was really weak putting on my clothes, but I managed to get packed up and by the time I got out the door and grabbed a drink of water I was feeling a bit better. Alright - on to Subway. The toughest part of the night is over. I walked up the street to my usual Wednesday fine-dining experience...a full footlong turkey & ham sub from Subway - cause I deserve it at this point. Yet as I near the door I can see that something isn't right. A huge sign in the window greets me "Will Re-Open on Nov 4". WHAT???? NOOOOOOOOO!!! Now what? Jimmy John's across the street still has lights on. I hurry over. Also closed. I take a quick look around - McDonalds, or walking all the way back down past the pool to Potbelly's and risk that being closed as well. Nope. Just head to Walgreen's. I need toilet paper anyway and I can grab a small snack until I can get home. So I head into the store and proceed to wander the aisles for a full 10 minutes. I can't think at this point so I can't decide what to eat. I was going in for the small packages of raw almonds, but they were out. So I went and grabbed the t.p. thinking that I could make up my mind on the way back. Still nothing I really want. I finally gave up, walked to the cash and grabbed a full can of Deluxe Mixed Nuts (my nemesis) on the way. As I'm cashing out and walking to the door - I see my bus pulling away from the stop. It is now 9:45pm - buses slow down after 9 so I know I'm in for a LONG wait. I check the bus tracker. The next bus is "Delayed" which means it could be another 20 minutes. OMG. I open the can of nuts and pour out what I deem to be a 1/4 cup serving in my hand. They might be my nemesis, but I'll be darned if I'm going to sit here and eat the whole bloody can because I'm starving and angry. Salty nuts...never occurred to me to grab a drink while I was in the store - now I'm thirsty. A teen mother of twins beside me is yelling profanities at her two small children in a twin stroller. The kids are trying to play a game with each other and so the one keeps turning around in his seat. She keeps coming over, picking him up and slamming him back into the stroller seat yelling things at him I'm quite sure he has no comprehension of. At least I hope he doesn't a such a young age. The sad part is that he probably does know exactly what all those words mean. LORD - Please send me a bus...and soon! 14 minutes later the bus arrives. I'm finally on my way home. The nuts have helped a bit. OK - last ditch effort - it's not exactly health conscious, but I'll grab a sandwich at the Cuban restaurant across the street from my house. Deal. I'm loving the sound of that. The bus pulls up to my stop - lights at the Cuban place are out. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! FINE! Just FINE! I'll go home and raid my fridge. 10:30pm - I now have a chicken caesar salad in a bowl and 2 glasses of almond milk. I'm logging into Spark to prevent me from inhaling this meal so fast I can barely breathe. Tracking my calories consumed. Lettuce and chicken in a bowl - no WAY I can be anywhere near the number of calories I have left for the day. I was planning on a full footlong - so I should be able to have a bowl of ice cream too - for all my troubles. Would you believe that stinkin' salad just put me OVER my calorie limit for the day? Nuts to this! No - NUTS to the NUTS! It was the darn handful of nuts that put me over. Or the two glasses of almond milk. Whatever - I'm over for the day. No ice cream for me. I'm typing this now so that I can bide the time until my stomach decides that it's full because what I really want to do is eat the whole tub of animal crackers sitting on my counter. Or the nuts. I could eat the whole can of nuts. But I won't. I'll brew a cup of tea and turn off the kitchen light and go into the other room. Besides, now it's bedtime. So much for the "best laid plans". Blargh. Thanks for letting me vent Sparkies. Tomorrow better be a better day. Nuff said.
P.S. "Don't go to bed angry"
- I am thankful for my swim cause I swam a full 60 laps in 45 minutes which is amazing.
- I am thankful I thought enough in advance to have a chicken caesar salad ready in the fridge.
- I am thankful that that woman with the twins was not my mother.
- I am thankful for the challenges from tonight because overcoming them only makes me stronger - and maybe I needed tonight so that I can be positive that whatever happens at my race on Saturday - I can and will power through!
Monday, November 01, 2010
It's the middle of the afternoon on a Monday. The weekend is over, the work week has only just begun, and I'm hungry. But not really hungry. Not stomach growling, need to eat for sustenance hungry. Bored hungry, sad hungry, tired hungry, too much past week indulgence hungry. In short - my heart is hungry, and I know that nothing I do right now is going to feed it.
It's the hardest part of the day for me. The neediness that comes with wrapping up the current day's work projects, the thought/dread of going home and having to put something healthy on the table for dinner, alone, and the knowledge that the most exciting thing I have to do tonight is watch television and scoop the litter box. Mama said there'd be days like this. And if my social calendar were full up, I'd be complaining about that too, I'm sure of it. But the fact of the matter is that now that the show is over, it's very, very empty.
So how do you fix a hungry heart? And worse yet, how do I fix a heart that's been hungry for over a week now?
I'm still hung up on my parents' visit from last weekend. I said it wasn't going to get to me, I said I wasn't going to let them in, let them carve out a little piece of me and take it back to Canada - but the fact of the matter is that they did. And I've been eating all week to fill that hole. For those who haven't read my past blogs about mom & dad, know that I love my parents dearly. I had a wonderful childhood and upbringing. But in every happy family, there are demons. And mine are big. And come in the shape of a very obese, very unhappy woman. A woman that I am trying every day to part ways with. But their visits remind me of who she was and still is, and it hurts.
Until last weekend my parents had no idea that I was losing weight. I needed it to be that way. I still need it to be that way. I don't think I was emotionally ready for that visit. But I also know that I can't go on hiding from them. And even if I did - even if I was able to lose 200 pounds and then magically reappear in front of them, I'd probably be worse off for it at that point than I will be having to work through seeing them occasionally as I move down the scale. The next visit is Christmas. I've got 2 months. But if I carry on like I have been this past week, I won't be any different in 2 months than I am today. So I HAVE to get over this feeling and move on with myself and my plans - regardless of how much they know, or how much they care. This journey isn't for them. It's for me. And I need to reclaim my power that they have a way of stripping me of.
I have also officially crossed over in to the "noticeable weight loss" category. Every person that I encounter who I haven't seen in a while makes a comment about it. I'm not having an easy time of this. Because, while I'm losing weight and gaining confidence and thinking I'm beautiful and wonderful, I'm still not thin enough or pretty enough or confident enough to undo my social awkwardness. No amount of weight loss is going to change that. And having people comment on my appearance only makes that nervous anxiety worse. And it makes me want to eat. I don't connect easily with people. Or rather, my "social spark plugs" seem to be constantly firing to make those necessary connections, but they aren't being met on the other side by any interested parties. If they are met, the social engine turns over a couple of times and then fizzles out quick. And lord help me if I'm not seeking that dull roar, the hum of an engine that's got substantial fuel and oil and is prime to take off and DRIVE.
But waiting for that lifelong road trip is currently very lonely. I'm crushing hard on a guy who has issues of his own and A) isn't interested though he's a constant flirt, and B) isn't emotionally available anyway. I'm 3 weeks away from going to see The Scientist in Germany - a relationship that is over, sort of, but will likely rekindle for the 2 weeks that I'm there, so I will only have to break his heart all over again when I leave. I don't have the heart to tell him that I haven't missed him as much as I think he's missed me since he left in August. And I'm worried about re-visiting our physical relationship in Germany because it's only going to make the inevitable separation that much worse when I leave. With no more plans to see each other again after this trip, it's over when I get on that plane home. And then there's just the voice in my head that keeps telling me that I should just be single right now - as lonely and miserable as it is. I don't believe that I'm capable of meeting someone right now who will be right for me in the long run anyway. I have too many things left to sort out, too much work to be done on myself, and if I bring someone in to the middle of this mess, it's not fair to him when I become a different person at the end of this process.
All of this would be better if I had better friends. But there's where I also fail in the social department. 100s of acquaintances, not one real friend. Not one person out there who really knows me inside and out, accepts me for everything I am and want to be, and who shares with me a mutual respect, love and deference. And to tell the honest truth, I've never had one of these. Ever. Ever. I don't really know what a real, true, friendship even looks like, or feels like. My mother stood in the way of all of my burgeoning friendships growing up, and to an effect, still does to this day since she taught me early that my only real, true friend in this world should be her. So I never really developed an ability to make my own friends. Any takers? Haha. I'm working on this. But you can't make friends overnight - so until I do, I still have to find good coping mechanisms for the inevitable loneliness that is a result of living in a big, bad city, hundreds of miles from my family, and all alone. Sure there are social outings with my numerous acquaintances, but I have just discovered, unfortunately, that those outings always leave me disappointed and unfulfilled which then leads to unexplained eating - trying to fill that void that those faulty relationships simply can't.
No wonder my heart is hungry. No wonder I've been pushing the upper limits of my calorie range almost every day this past week. No wonder I craved and ate chocolate all weekend. Food is predictable. Food gives me the same result every time I go to it. Food is always there. Food doesn't talk back. Food doesn't throw a loop in my plans. Food doesn't break my heart. Food is reliable. People are not. People change. People can be mean. People's schedules change, and they can leave you stranded when you need them the most. With people you have to be forgiving. But I am a person. And that means that I need to forgive myself. My relationship with me is the most difficult relationship that I will ever forge. And my relationship with everyone else will follow. People are unpredictable. But that's why they are also wonderful. And learning to adapt and forgive and let go of that constant need to control is all a part of this journey. It is incredibly painful. But it is necessary.
I'm deep into the hardest part of the day. And it's not likely to get better over the next few hours. But I know what I'm up against. I have my list of things I want to accomplish tonight, this week and certainly by Christmas. And these are the things I CAN control. Day by day, forging this new relationship with myself. And learning how to feed my hungry heart without food.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Alarm clock. Beeping. This is the day. Today I'm going to do it. Jesus, it's cold! Woo - like SERIOUSLY cold. Turn the heat on. Bathroom. Wake up. Breathe. Wake up. Breathe. Pet the cat - morning buddy. I'm doing this. I'm going to run. Yoga pants, sports bra, tech shirt, banana, water. Back to the bathroom. Nervous pee. Damn, it is so frickin cold! Socks, shoes, stretch. iPod. Outside - I can see my breath. Breathe. Good. Tuesday was too hot. I like running in the cold. I like that I can see my breath. Hello winter. Out into the world. Cross the street, turn on my tunes. New running mix - awesome. Walk, walk, have to warm up. "We will not be broken, we will be victorious" love Muse. Great warm-up song. Puts me in the right frame of mind. Here we go. Blur - Song 2. WOOHOO! RUN! Breathe, relax your shoulders, warm up the legs. Turn the corner, run through leaves. It's interesting how the wind pools them all like that. REALLY cold. Hello fox lawn ornament. Am I already there? Slow down, pace, pace. About 5 minutes in. How do I feel? Breathing is good. Relax the shoulders. Turn the corner. Sun is shining, starting to warm up now. Sun light through the park fence. It's like a strobe light as I run by. Turn the corner. Long stretch before the one mile marker. "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" thanks Kanye. Feeling good. Relax the shoulders. Legs are ok. Breathe deep, imagine any discomfort pushing down through the legs and out through the feet. Settle in. Breathe. One mile. Turn the corner. I hate this stretch. But it's not long - just push through it. Turn the corner. Long haul to Western. You've got this. You feel good. Better than you usually feel at this point. "We've only got 4 minutes to save the world". Do it. Easy does it to Western. Past the school. You used to be dying at this point. Look how amazing you're doing right now. Easy does it to Western. Turn the corner. One block. One more corner. OK - this is the rough patch. You're doing great. Gotta make it back to Hoyne. Damn Hoyne. I hate that street - it's SO far away. Two miles. I've got one left in me for sure. Pace, pace. Just go easy. "So, so what? I'm still a rockstar!" thanks P!NK - you're getting me through this. Only 3 more songs and you're done. One more block - HOYNE! Hallelujah. Turn the corner, one block - hello big doggie and cute owner - yum. Smile, wave...turn the corner, more leaves. Back to Western. This is where C25K training ended. And I'm going the distance this time. I'm doing the WHOLE thing. Pace, pace. Slow down. This isn't a race...well, it IS a race, but not today. Today is about doing it. Coming up on Western now. Still feel good. Not really out of breath. 2.5 miles. Turn the corner. Run home. You got this. Grocery store to home. You can walk that in, like, 4 minutes. Running it is easy. Not thinking about my legs anymore. Settle in. Feet are great. Breathe. Pace, pace. Not cold anymore. Sun is shining. HELL YES I am doing this. I got it. Past home - now it's just about the finish line. Don't speed. Just make it there. 3 blocks. "It makes me that much stronger, thanks for makin' me a Fighter" - bring it home Christina. Just have to run to the end of this song. I can see the last block. I can still see my breath. Finish line! I DID IT!!!
At this point, all by myself on an empty street, I pumped my fist in the air and broke into tears, steam pouring off my body. The feeling of accomplishment and fatigue came over me and I could hardly catch my breath for the sobs escaping my lungs. I slowed to a walk for my favorite cool down songs and just let the tears come. I did it. For weeks I have been so scared that I wouldn't make it to the distance before my race next weekend. I was suffering from negative self-speak, telling myself that I couldn't do it. But - today I did. And now there's nothing left to tell me I can't, because I know I can. I'm still nervous about the race, but today I proved to myself that I can do whatever I want to. I finished with a good stretch and a hot shower. I am beautiful. I am a runner. Bring on next weekend. I can't wait to meet all my SparkFriends and run for chocolate in downtown Chicago!
Official Stats from today:
Here's my route (Yep - it's a 5...I'm a geek)
If I can bring it in under 40 minutes next weekend, I'll be ecstatic! I am so proud of what I can do. Never in a million years did I ever think that I would be capable of running 3.1 miles in under 40 minutes. And now that I'm here, it's on to the next hurdle - running a 10K for the start of next year's race season.
Well - just get through the 5K first, Jenn :)
You got it!
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