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First Half Marathon.

Monday, September 05, 2011

This success story got off to a rocky start, with lots of setbacks. It took some serious straight-talking and thinking to overcome them and get onto the right track.

The training began in June 2011, for a group of people who wanted to run the Disney half, in September. We began with a 4 mile run then gradually built up to 12 miles. Each participant was responsible for their own runs during the week, building the mileage up from 13 at the beginning to 26 miles at then end.

During the taper week, I caught a cold. Haven't had a cold in months. That was worrying but thankfully it didn't progress into a bad cold until after the race.

The expo started on Friday. I was told that it was best to visit Friday rather than Saturday because it would get really crowded. What a treat it was to spend the day with a dear friend, who was my 5K coach. She and I had a wonderful time hanging out, shopping and having lunch. Although I was starting to get nervous, it calmed me down a lot to have such a wonderful day.

Saturday afternoon, my husband and I checked into a motel close to Disneyland. We do live close enough to drive but wanted to make it a special weekend since I'm celebrating my 50th birthday in a few days. We enjoyed dinner at a fancy restaurant and I must admit to having a cocktail with the meal. I probably shouldn't have, the night before the race but it seemed like the right thing to do, at the time.

I got a fitful night's sleep, waiting for the 3:00 alarm. When the time finally arrived, I did all the things I had to do, such as eating a familiar breakfast, dressing in the clothes I'd laid out the night before, double checking everything, then headed out to the start line.

Our group met at 5am for photos then off to the corrals. I was in 'E' and there were two more behind me. Each was huge, for a total of over 20K people. I'm told that 62% were women. Many were in costume. I wore a hot pink tutu.

The wait seemed like forever until just before 6am. The National Anthem was played and fireworks were set off as the singer sang about rocket's red glare and bombs bursting. I got real teary at that point. And then the first corral was off, and the second and so on. It took about 25 minutes to get back to my corral.

As I was taught, I kept to my slower pace for the first few miles. We ran along the highway, to the main park entrance. A view of the back lot opened up until we were actually in DISNEYLAND. It was magical. There were characters waiting for picture op's. I didn't stop, since the sag wagon was pursuing all those who didn't make a 16 minute mile.

All was going well, until I turned my ankle in a railroad line at about mile 3. Was this to be the end for my race? I limped along for a little while and thankfully all those ankle exercises kicked in and it sorted itself out.

Out into the industrial area, and I began to wish I'd hooked up my music. I had my phone and ear buds with me, but opted to follow the recommendations not to use them. There were bands and cheerleaders here and there but not as many as I'd thought there would be.

Angels Stadium was a blast. I've never seen the inside of it before. There were people in the stands, cheering for us. A gauntlet of boy and girl scouts welcomed us in the parking lot, with lots of high fives.

And then it was the home straight. I was tired. My feet were swollen and sore. My 5/1 intervals had to be pushed back to 2/1 intervals for a while. Finally, the finish line was in sight. I still had it in me to sprint the last tenth of a mile.

A volunteer placed a medal around my neck and another handed me a package with a moist towel. That felt wonderful. Gatorade was passed out, and bananas.

Thanks to the wonders of text messaging, I was able to get hooked up with my group and send a photo to my husband who was waiting in the hotel.

It was an awesome experience. I'm definitely going to do it again. In fact, it will be on January 29th 2012.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLEEPYDEAN 9/8/2011 2:47PM

    Yay! So glad to read about your successful race. I will be at Tinkerbell as well - it will be my first Disney race and I can't wait! (I live about 40 minutes from the park so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to run the inaguaral race.)

Enjoy your future training.

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LUZDELSOL1 9/6/2011 3:27PM

    Congrats on your first half marathon and your accomplishment!

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CBAILEYC 9/6/2011 1:06PM

    Fabulous! Congrats on a great half!
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MARGARITTM 9/6/2011 12:44PM

    Wahoo - sounds like you did well! Congrats!

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TRILLIUM22 9/6/2011 11:32AM

    emoticon Sounds like a great first marathon. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    emoticon I've walked a half marathon and was quite brain dead and very tired afterward. CONGRATS TO YOU!

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SHORTY20 9/6/2011 9:41AM

    Congratulations! I think we need some pics of that tutu ;)

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SHORTY20 9/6/2011 9:39AM

    Congratulations! I think we need some pics of that tutu ;)

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ROOT4HOME 9/6/2011 9:25AM

    emoticonon completing your 1st HM!! Great blog and even better memories for you!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MBSHAZZER 9/6/2011 9:21AM

    Congratulations! Great job! I love that you wore a tutu!

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VAS117 9/6/2011 7:28AM

    That's great! Congratulations on sticking it out and completing such a wonderful goal! I'm looking forward to hearing about your race in January.

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LAURIE5658 9/5/2011 9:28PM

    Congratulations! I learned so much from my first HM and so will you. Savor this moment for you get just one first HM!!

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    Thank you.

Nelly, I started with a 5K class and running that first race was a huge big deal for me. Finishing that was harder back then, than this race was now. You're smart to postpone your first HM until you're really ready. Due to all the setbacks, it took me three years to get to this point.

Good luck with your 5K.

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 9/5/2011 8:14PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NELLYCFIT 9/5/2011 8:07PM

  Good for you! I started running with a group this summer, and will be doing my 1st official 5k this month. I don't plan on trying for a half marathon this year, but maybe next?

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I was mistaken for one of those 'athletic' people.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

During a recent vacation, someone mistook me for one of those active, athletic people. It was on the tip of my tongue to correct her mistake but thankfully, I thought before I spoke. Ok, so that's a rare occurrence, but I did think about it. What had happened here?

I'm the fat kid, that nobody wants on their team. During my childhood it was painfully clear that sports weren't for me. I took refuge in my books and the comfort of food. You can probably see how the future unfolded, right?

Then things changed. A friend had been challenged by his doctor to either lose the weight within a year, or have gastric bypass surgery to save his life. He opted to start an intense program of diet and exercise. I started walking with him. Then he and his wife signed up for a beginner's running class. If I could have thought of a good enough excuse I would have got out of it but they really wanted me to come with them.

Instead of quitting as soon as it got hard (this was measured in seconds, rather than minutes) I stuck with it. My friends moved out of state but I stuck with it. I had some health issues but as soon as I was recovered from surgery, I stuck with it.

Then I developed some back and hip pain that just wouldn't go away. With my doctor's help I tried everything. It took a couple of years to learn that the only things that helped were yoga and chiropractic treatment. Thanks to those things, I was able to run again but it still hurt.

Now, I'm seeing a new chiropractor who has prescribed a set of exercises to combat the cause of the pain. With his help I'm training for a half marathon this fall.

The former fat girl now gets up around 4am to do the exercises before work. After work, I take my dogs for a walk then five days a week I run. Yoga is once a week and Zumba class is weekly too. I've just got back from a wonderful trip to a yoga retreat where I did four yoga classes each day, plus various activities. There was lots of hiking, swimming and bicycling, a ZipLine adventure and a wonderful day spent Whitewater rafting.

Maybe the lady didn't make a mistake. Perhaps I turned into one of those 'athletic' types? I'm nowhere near my goal weight yet but I'm not letting a number get in the way of having a good time. Thanks to all this exercise and eating healthy, nutritious food, I feel great. Each morning I wake up around 4am without an alarm clock. I have a smile on my face because life feels so good. I have the energy to do the things I want to do.

No, she wasn't mistaken. The lady did me a favor, making me think about a dream that came true.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TERID816 7/22/2012 8:39PM

    Very inspiring! I'm glad I found a link to your blog on the Half Marathon page. I'm still trying to get to the run longer than I walk! Thanks for sharing!

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PINGUINAPLATA 6/12/2011 8:17AM

    Thanks Suzanne. It's things like that which keep us going when the journey gets tough.

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SUZBOISANNE 6/12/2011 8:06AM

    What a great story!!! Sometimes things sneak up on you when you're not looking. That was God tapping you on the shoulder and saying "YOU LOOK MARVELOUS"!! Wear it well! That was an inspiring blog, thanks! Suzanne

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This plan is getting old now. Time to quit?

Friday, October 01, 2010

I'm approaching a familiar point in the healthy eating plan. Each and every time I've done this in the past, I haven't lost ten pounds a week, I have felt hungry, I haven't dropped mega inches and I haven't been infused with the energy of a two year old. And because I want it all, and I want it now, I've quit.

This time around I've lost about eight pounds in about ten weeks. That's a healthy weight loss but less than half a pound a week, in recent weeks is hardly encouraging. Better eight pounds off, than eight pounds gained though.

Health problems have prevented an increase in exercise, or are the health problems an excuse for just not wanting to do it? I've signed up for a class that will force me to work out.

I'm hoping that if I can just stay with it through the valleys when I want to quit, I will keep the motivation going to succeed.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PINGUINAPLATA 10/14/2010 4:28PM

    Thanks to all for the encouragement. I didn't quit. Still on the slowest loser program, but weight coming off is a whole lot better than weight piling on.

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LMALSBURY 10/5/2010 12:21AM

    Do not give up. You are right little progress is better then none. BUT keep moving forward because guess what that small progress is gonna turn into a HUGE success. I was the same way. A pound here a pound there. Nothing made me wanna keep pushing. I need that motivation. The people here have proved that motivation from just venting out to making me feel like I can do this. 3 months and 30 pounds later and still going strong. I get those moments even now. But you know what. YOU will only be kicking yourself TWICE if not THREE times harder then you are right now. Hang in there and keep moving forward. Baby steps are good :)

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ALI_CAT9 10/5/2010 12:16AM

    Good job, keep up the hard work!!!

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PINGUINAPLATA 10/4/2010 6:31PM

    LOL! I love that poem, AliCat. It brought a smile to my face. And while I haven't had the best day on program today, I'm still stucking with it. The things that I ate extra, were all healthy, light things.

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ALI_CAT9 10/4/2010 2:51AM


When you've eaten too much and you can't write it down,
And you feel like the biggest failure in town.
When you want to give up just because you gave in,
And forget all about being healthy and thin.

So what! You went over your points a bit,
It's your next move that counts ... So don't you quit!
It's a moment of truth, it's an attitude change.
It's learning the skills to get back in your range.
It's telling yourself, "You've done great up 'til now.
You can take on this challenge and beat it somehow."
It's part of your journey toward reaching your goal.
You're still gonna make it, just stay in control.

To stumble and fall is not a disgrace
If you summon the will to get back in the race.
But, often the strugglers, when losing their grip,
Just throw in the towel and continue to slip.
And learn too late when the damage is done,
That the race wasn't over ... They still could have won.

Lifestyle change can be awkward and slow,
But facing each challenge will help you grow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint in a cloud of doubt.

When you're pushing to the brink, just refuse to submit,
If you bite it, you write it ... But DON'T YOU QUIT!

~Author Unknown

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PINGUINAPLATA 10/2/2010 1:06PM

    Thank you all SO much for the valued encouagement. That's what SP is all about, isn't it? We're here for each other.

My mind set is quite different this morning. I've had a good night's rest and woke up remembering what a wonderful world this is. I'm privileged to live in a lovely place.

The scale jumped downwards by 4lbs this morning. That made me smile, thinking of how I allow a 1lb overnight gaint o depress me. Sure, the 4lbs didn't melt overnight, just as the 1lb didn't grow overnight. The scale will be different tomorrow. It's only the long term trend that counts.

I've made a contract with my inner self that quitting requires a four week notice period. Same as any important contract. Gotta give myself a cooling off (heating up?) period.

As for the yoga - love, love, love it! I tried a class out over a year ago, to appease a friend. Knew I wouldn't like it but he insisted. I'm still going regularly.

Will check out the slowest loser thread. Great suggestion, thanks. Isn't SP just the greatest support group?

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MIZLIZ8 10/1/2010 10:44PM

    I'm sorry that you are discouraged, but it sounds like you are motivated to keep moving towards real change in your life, even though you may feel like quitting right now. I can recommend an encouraging blog--its called On top of the World by Pinguinaplata!

Have you ever tried a yoga class? Gentle yoga is beneficial for back pain and would compliment the work your chiro does. It won't make you lose a lot of weight but there are other health and wellness benefits from a good yoga practice. I started yoga when my running and cycling made me so stiff and sore I could hardly walk!

You've got sparkfriends who know how you feel and we are for you!


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LITTLEGIRLSMOM1 10/1/2010 10:36PM

  emoticon if you only keep working at it. As you said yourself you lost 8 pounds and 8 pounds off is better than 8 pounds on. Join the slowest loser team. You will get all the inspiration and help you need to continue. God Bless and stay positive.

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DDSTERRETT 10/1/2010 10:27PM

    Don't quit. You'll only feel worse if you do.

You know, I read somewhere today, maybe even here on this site, that impatience can keep us from being happy. To me, that really hit a chord. I am so guilty of wanting it all, wanting it now, and tomorrow, (or ten minutes from now), isn't fast enough.

But by slowing down -- taking it easy -- enjoying the ride, the body has time to catch up to what the mind wants to accomplish, and the accomplishments mean a lot more, since it came with a price, and wasn't easy or frivolous.

You've heard a million times, "you didn't gain it overnight, so don't expect to lose it overnight, either"...and it's true. BUT by slowing down that expectation, you'll get a lot more from the experience, and I promise it will be worth it.

Don't quit. You can do this.

Let me rephrase -- you CAN do this! :-)
Take care,

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MRSBENNETT2 10/1/2010 10:25PM

    You are worth continuing!

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On top of the world!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

I'll spare you the boring details. Suffice to say that I have been suffering from intractable low back pain for over two years. Nothing helped. Too painful to exercise. I was even considering using a cane to walk with.

Yesterday I saw a chiropractor for the first time. I'm very sceptical and had a hard time believing that this 'alternative' therapy could do any good. I'm delighted to be proved wrong. Just one session and my pain level is way down. I've been able to do things that I haven't done for months.

From nearly needing a walking stick, I actually ran a little of the way when I walked the dogs last night. They haven't been walked as much as they should have been recently, because there have been a lot of days when I just couldn't do it.

This is going to kick my healthy living plan into a higher gear. I am planning to join a Couch-2-5K program. After I've done my 5k I will do the next class which will take me to a 10K. And when I can run 10K (which of course will be easier without carrying so many extra pounds), I will sign up for the half-marathon class.

The vacation next week that I was dreading is suddenly a beautiful prospect. Instead of the stack of library books that I was going to read, on the couch, I'll be out doing stuff. I'm going to ride a dirt bike on some of Arizona's most beautiful trails. I'm going to hike. I'm going to run. I'm going to swim.

Thank you, Dr Fidone for giving my life back to me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PINGUINAPLATA 9/13/2010 11:51AM

    Absolutely! Strength training is great for injury prevention. The chiro has given me some exercises to do, plus the weekly yoga class that has kept the pain somewhat at bay.

Doing my exercises each day, while we're on vacation. I'm delighted to be able to enjoy an active vacation. Just been for a 2 mile walk/run and now preparing to go ride our dirt bikes. For the rest of week, we have hiking boots and bicycles all ready for action!

Life is good.

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KAREN_NY 9/13/2010 10:15AM

    YESSSSS!!! You go girl, and have a fantastic week getting out & about! You're gonna have a great time!

I have struggled with hip pain on/off again for the last 10 years, since a major injury. Pilates absolutely works to keep the pain at bay, because it strengthens the muscles that hold our hips and spine in alignment. Chiropractic is great, but strengthening up might also help with your long-term solutions. Just a thought, but in any case, enjoy your new liberation!!!!

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PINGUINAPLATA 9/10/2010 11:50AM

    Going back to the chiro for more treatment today. I had no idea how wonderful it could be!

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HALFANGEL 9/10/2010 11:44AM

    Good for you! I love Love LOVE my chiro! She throws me around like a rag doll and I walk out of there feeling inches taller!

By the way - I live off Newland and Garfield, really close to that farmers market we were talking about. I love that place!

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When everything goes right, this gets easier.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

In keeping with my theme of embracing the positive, I'm reviewing how well everything is going. Sure, it's not perfect and never will be but there are a lot of good things going on. Writing them down here is going to reinforce the good news.

1. I am back on the WeightWatchers' program.
2. WW@Work is making it easier for me to attend meetings.
3. My coworker is on program with me, which helps tremendously.
4. I have a new job which allows me to have regular meal and snack breaks.
5. My employer has instituted the IncentaHealth program, which pays workers to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
6. A new Farmer's Market opened, close to my home.
7. I discovered Dream Dinners.
8. My chronic back pain is easing, allowing me to exercise more.
9. I'm learning more about good nutrition.
10. I'm refining my palate, to enjoy the better things instead of fobbing it off with junk.

With all those things going in my favor, I just have to keep going with this. Each one day at a time, leads to one week at a time. In no time at all, it's a month, then a few months and a whole year.

I can do this.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Yes, that's the one. I loved the place as soon as I walked in. Then I learned that it is family owned and run. Early one morning, I had a long chat with the owner's Dad. The whole family is working like crazy to get this venture off the ground. They're looking at all kinds of new ideas, to please their customers.
You must be local if you know the cross streets. Whereabouts do you live? I'm close to Murdy Park.

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HALFANGEL 9/2/2010 2:26PM

    Good for you! Is the new farmer's market the one on Beach and Garfield? I totally LOVE that place!

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