Sunday, April 6, 2014

Amazing gRace Race Report- My First 10K!

Hey everyone! Guess what I did yesterday? I ran my first 10K! (What what!) It was all very exciting. I have been looking forward to it for a couple of months now. I thought that it would be a nice complement to my half training, and it turned out that it was a nice break from it, too! You see, last weekend, I ran my first double digit run (10 miles). This weekend, 6 miles felt like a welcome break. Not to mention the race atmosphere made it all the better.

Amazing gRace was put on by the Run for God group here in town and they did a great job of keeping God at the center! The 10k ran through part of path of the tornado that came through a couple of years ago. (For those of you who don't know me personally, my daughter and I lost our home and our car.  Our church and school, my workplace, were also significantly damaged when the tornado tore through Joplin. That wasn't the point of this post, and honestly, God used that horrible day to bless my family in ways that were unimaginable.) I tell you this now, because as I was running through parts of town that still are not back to normal, and through other places that were left barren but now have brand new construction, I got a little weepy and very reflective. We serve a truly amazing God. (Can He get an Amen!!) I might start crying now just thinking about it. I digress. I may share the story of what God did in our lives that day during another post, but not today.

So yesterday morning didn't have to start too early. I was thankful for an 8:30 start time. :) I got dressed and checked the temp. This is what I saw:

And so, this was my response:
Skinny Caramel Lattes run through my veins!

I knew I would be fine once I started running, so I stuck with my plan of capris and the race t-shirt. (I know, nothing new on race day, but I broke the rule. :) I'm a rebel.) When I got to the church, I saw many people who I adore. Most of them were running the 5k, some were volunteering, and a few were doing the 10k. I hadn't planned to run the race with anyone, which is a first for me, so I felt a little lonely on the ride over there, but once I got there and was surrounded by Joplin's running community, that feeling left immediately. :)

The race itself was really good. There was a big turnout. Over 500 runners and over 125 volunteers. I hope those numbers continue to grow for this race in the future.
I started out running faster than I usually run. A glance at my Garmin showed me that I was running 11-12 min pace. That is WAY fast for me. I knew it was the adrenaline and the atmosphere, but I made myself slow down for fear of tiring out too soon.  I still ended up passing several runners, which made me feel good, but was behind most of the 10kers. (Not surprising.) Besides, I was running MY race. No one else's and I knew it would be a PR. :)
There were volunteers at every corner cheering us on, including several people I knew, which made it really special. Check this out:

This was about mile 3.5. This was one of TWO worship bands that came out to play as we ran by. That was totally cool. I had to stop and take a picture.

By the last mile or so, I was basically running by myself. I could see people ahead of me, but they were too far ahead to catch, and I knew there were people behind me, but too far behind to run with. At this point, I was REALLY glad that I had brought my headphones.  Every other race I have done was a 5k and the crowd seemed to be around constantly. Not this one. It gave me lots of time to reflect on my journey up to this point. I have been doing almost all of my long runs by myself, so it really didn't feel too bad to run a couple of miles solo. Plus, every time I heard cheers from the volunteers, the were for me. ;)  One volunteer stands out. Around mile 5, she was holding a sign that said, "Warning! Major sense of accomplishment ahead." That made me smile. Then, right as I ran past, she turned the sign around and it read, "Run like you stole something!" That made me laugh as hard as one can laugh while running. :)

Here I am running through the final block of the race. See, I really am all by myself! But at this point, I could see my family standing near the finish line cheering me on. That was a really great feeling. :)

Final time: 1:25.45! A full 5 minutes faster than I thought I would run!!!

Here are a couple more pics from the award ceremony. This is my finisher's medal. MY FIRST RUNNING MEDAL!!! :) I wore it proudly all day!

This is the prize for the overall winners in the 5k and 10k division. My good friend Kimmy won the 5k and is modeling it for us. :) It was made out of reclaimed hardwood from the tornado devastation by another friend and running-inspiration Amanda. You can find their work on Etsy here. They are AMAZING!

This is the prize for the age group winners. They were also created by Keller Custom Creations. Seriously, go check out their Etsy shop. So awesome!

I think this post has gotten very long, but can you feel the race day excitement? :) This made me even more excited for my half in only 27 DAYS!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Eight Mile Long Run

First off, welcome to all my new readers from Runs for Cookies! Don't you just LOVE Katie? :)
This post is a little late coming! I was on Spring Break last week and really enjoyed the down time. Maybe a little too much! This weekend, I had a ton of things to do because I did almost nothing during the week. :)

So, if you remember from my last post, (here) after running 7 miles last week, my knee was really sore. Not so bad that I was afraid that I had seriously hurt something, but I was nervous enough that I may not be able to run my half, which is only 6 weeks away.  So on Monday, I tried to run on the treadmill and only went about a mile and a half because it was hurting. I decided to rest my knee for a few more days.

I was way nervous to do my long run this weekend.  On one hand, I was afraid of injuring myself. On the other, I was afraid that if I didn't run, I would fall behind in my training and would have to miss out on my half.  I really don't want to miss it.  I decided to run.

It was a beautiful day for a run. It was really sunny so I decided to wear a visor to keep the sun out of my face. Great decision. :) Except then my step daughter told me I looked like I was going golfing.

The beginning of the run was hard. I was tired and slow. But about 2 miles in, I realized that I was going to finish.  I was nervous about miles 3-4 because that's where my knee started hurting last time, but I was wearing a brace this time and had no trouble.

I finished my eight mile run pretty strong. At 2 hours and 3 minutes, I was only a few minutes of the 15 minute mile pace, which I am happy with right now. Side note, my knee started hurting as soon as I stopped running to cool down with a walk. Weird, right? The pain irritation went away before I was even done stretching.
I recharged with some greek yogurt and some ice on my knee. I also informed my husband that he was in charge of dinner. He slaved over the hot ordered pizza, which I was really okay with because he got me my favorite. Papa Murphy's Gourmet Veggie deLight. Check this baby out. I could've eaten the whole thing.

I limited myself to 2 pieces. I thought they were 8 WW points each, but when I tracked them I was pleasantly surprised to find they were only 5 points. Score!! When my dear husband asked if I needed anything else, I told him that I really needed him to go put the pizza away so I wouldn't eat any more of it!

OH! I almost forgot to tell you. I really felt like a runner today when I took off my shoes and socks and saw that I had two bruised toenails! I was a nice blogger and didn't take pictures of that. You're welcome.  Since I have started accumulating a few different running injuries, I decided I would hit up the running store in town and find out about getting some proper running shoes.  That post is coming up next.  Stay tuned...

What about you? Do you love a veggie pizza like I do? Do you have any gnarly running injuries to share?
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

7 Mile Saturday and a Sore Knee

Only 7 more weeks until my half-marathon, people! 7 weeks!

This week was crazy. It was the end of 3rd quarter so grades were due and I had parent teacher conferences on Wednesday and Thursday night. Exercise kind of took a back seat.  I got a short run in on Monday and then nothing else until Friday. I went to a Zumbathon at MSSU on Friday night. It was a lot of fun, and 3 hours of dancing. When I do Zumba, I almost forget that I am working out. Almost. :)
My only good run this week was yesterday, which was my long run. 7 miles on the schedule.  It was a warm day and I knew I would need plenty of water so I made sure to set up my route where I would pass my house to pick up more water.

I also took some energy gels with me to see if that made a difference in my energy level.  I tried GU Peanut Butter about 45 minutes in.  It tasted just like peanut butter, which is my favorite. :) It was a little much by itself, but I think it helped with my energy level. My legs didn't feel nearly as heavy as they did for last week's 6 miles.  I will definitely be buying more of that!

Around mile 3.5 my knee started feeling a little sore. I slowed down my pace and walked some hoping that it would go away.  It was still sore, but not impossible to run on.  At mile 5, I got back to my house and refilled my water in the driveway.  I kept running a mile in the opposite direction and then turned around for the home stretch. With about half of a mile left, I slowed to a walk and at this point, my knee hurt even when I was walking.  It still wasn't impossible to run, but I was glad I was almost home.  I iced it right away when I got home and just rested for a little while.

I had dinner plans with my best friend at HuHot about an hour later and it felt fine when I went to dinner.  When I got up this morning, it was still a little sore, but only if I turn it a little bit.  To be safe, we picked up a knee brace that I am going to use for a little while and I am icing it off and on today. I hate thinking that I may need to back off running, but I am hoping if I am just smart about it, it will be fine.

Oh, remember I said it was warm yesterday? Well if you're not local, you'll be surprised to know that it snowed today. Welcome to Missouri. :) I am so glad I got my run in yesterday.  Fingers crossed, but so far, I have not had to do any of my long runs inside. That makes me really happy.

How was your exercise this week?
Do you have a race coming up?

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunny 6 Mile Sunday

Happy Sunday! I just got home from my 6 mile long run and it was beautiful!  I was so excited about the sun and the temp today because both of my short runs we're done inside this week. I ran 4 miles on the treadmill Tuesday because I was waiting for UPS to deliver my replacement phone and knew if I left they would come and not leave it.  Then yesterday I did 2.5 miles on the indoor track at the Y. That run was supposed to happen in Thursday, but I wanted to Zumba and didn't have time for both that night. Which, now that I think about it is funny because I ended up doing both yesterday. :)  I really would rather run outside any day.  It is too easy to quit on the treadmill and the track gets really boring, really fast, especially if you have to run several miles.

When we left for church this morning it was pretty foggy and dreary, but it cleared up in time for my run. It was sunny and 55*. I even wore a tank top, which I never would've done 50 lbs ago.

The run was good. I felt strong for the first 2-3 miles. Then I took a short walking break and ate some chocolate covered blueberries.  Eating on the run doesn't sound good, does it? I had to make myself do it, though, because if you are running for more than an hour, your body needs the extra energy to keep going.  There are all kinds of energy gels and sports jelly beans to help you fuel, but I have avoided buying them.  I liked the blueberries, but I don't think they did the trick today.  By the end of my run my legs were so heavy and I was tired.  My pace had slowed down, as well.  This evening, I went ahead and got some energy gels from Academy.  I'm going to try them on my next long run and see if it makes a difference in my energy level.

I set up my long run today so that I would pass my house a little over halfway through so that I didn't have to carry as much water with me.  When I got back to my drive, in addition to the water I had left there, I found these.

My husband thought he would leave me a little snack, just in case. :) Isn't he sweet?

Post run, I refueled with some cottage cheese and pineapple to get some protein in me.  My pace ended up being around 15:48, which is slower than I have been running, but still faster than the 16 minute cutoff of the race I will be doing. By the way, if you want to run with me, you can find information on the race here.  Only 55 more days to MY Half-Marathon!

How do you fuel on long runs?
Did you get nice weather today?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Anyone Can Run...Even You

Hear me out here. 90% of the people I talk to say they can't run. Remember I said you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to?

Okay, so I started running at 270 pounds. 270. I didn't think I could run one minute without collapsing. Really. That first minute felt like forever. But it got easier. Before I knew it I was running my first nonstop mile, then two, then 4, and now I'm training for a half-marathon. That's 13-point-freaking-1 miles, people. I have no doubt in my mind that I will finish that race. And I love it, most of the time. Sometimes I feel like the miles on the schedule are so long and there is no way, but I have done every one of them.  

Running and weight loss go together so well because the more you run, the more you lose and the easier running becomes. 

What do you think? Do you want to give it a try? Here are some thoughts to get you started.  

First, find a running plan. A popular one is C25k (Couch to 5k) which you can get as an app on your phone, or find it online, here but there are many versions of the plan available.  Basically, you will start with a short amount of running followed by a period of walking and build up your stamina until you are running full time.  You usually run every other day, 3 days per week.  I started with a C25k, but in the beginning couldn't discipline myself to get 3 runs in per week.  I ended up signing up for a class at the Y called Anyone Can Run.  I knew that if I had to run with a group of people once a week, I would make myself do the other two runs.  If you can't find a class, find a partner to run with or to keep you accountable in some other way.  I've got a few work friends who are reporting in to me so I'll hold them accountable. HA! 

Second, take it SLOWLY. Like a turtle. REALLY SLOWLY! Speed will come later. You have got to get your heart and lungs used to pumping that hard for that long. In the beginning, it may feel like you could speed walk faster than you are running, but that is ok. I read from someone much smarter than me, if you can go slower, you probably should. 

Third, sign up for a race. Make it a fun one. If you commit to running a race, you are more likely to actually train for it. Once race day comes, if you're like me, you'll be hooked. 

Finally, if you have to walk. Walk. There is nothing that says if you stop to catch your breath you need to.  In fact, there are whole marathon plans built upon running/walking intervals.  I sometimes like to walk when I get a drink. It gives me something to push towards.  You'll find, over time, the need to walk fades away and there'll be some days that you don't have to walk at all, then the next run you will. Who cares?

Are you a runner? Are you ready to try?

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

You Can't Outrun a Bad Diet

Obviously from the title of my blog, I have become very active over the past several months. I do some sort of purposeful activity, whether it be running, Zumba, weight lifting, or a standby work out dvd most days of the week.   I will be the first to admit, though, that you can't outrun a bad diet.  Today's post is about how I have gone from this: 
September, 2013
to this: 
February, 2014
50 lbs lighter
and still going strong. If you want to get healthier, drop a few pounds, or just feel a little less tired and sluggish, you have got to get your diet under control.  I hesitate to even type the word 'diet' because this time around, the cliche "it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle" has rang true. I had to retrain my brain when it comes to food.  It doesn't happen overnight, but it does happen.  

I have tried so many "diet programs" over the years and the ONLY one that I would be willing to share with you is Weight Watchers.  Let me tell you why.  Every other program I have tried is restrictive in some way. No carbs, no eating out, no this, no that.  WW isn't like that. I can literally have whatever I want to eat. Just not all at once. :) WW works with points. Every food has a point value, and you get a certain number of points per day. Foods that are healthier have less points, and foods that are more indulgent have more points. Simple enough, right? There is more to the program, but that's the gist.  I have decided that I will do WW for the rest of my life. It helps me feel more in control. 
With that being said, I know that not everyone is willing to shell out the monthly fee that I pay so here are my 'getting started' tips for the rest of you.  :) 

1. Stop drinking your calories. Seriously. Water. Water. Water.  I also love Lipton Diet Citrus Green Tea and flavored hot teas.  Find what you love for a treat, but drink water for most of your liquids. You need it! 

2. Track what you put in your mouth.  I tried to 'do' WW a few times and couldn't get the hang of tracking, but this time around, I committed to writing everything down (I use an app on my phone) and it has made all the difference. It is easy to blow your point (or calorie) budget by eating a bite of this or a taste of that. If you want to eat it, eat it, just be honest and write it down.  Here's why: if you are not seeing progress on the scale, you can look back at your tracker and see why.  If you want to indulge for dessert, you know exactly what you have eaten that day an whether you should save the ice cream for another day. If you choose not to do WW, I have heard lots of great things about My Fitness Pal as a tracking tool. You can get the app for your phone. 

3. Measure everything you eat. It is really hard to guess accurately what a serving size should be.  If you are tracking points or calories, but you don't know how much you've eaten, you will not be successful.  Measuring cups work great, but I also bought a kitchen scale and I wouldn't go back to measuring without it. It is amazing. Seriously.

One last tip, if you end up eating something you're not proud of, move on. You get to start over with the very next meal or snack. Stop waiting for Monday. Do it now!

What is your best tip for eating healthy? Do you count points or calories, or something else? Do you use an app to track your food?

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 3, 2014

My Life...My Journey

I'm starting this blog as a way to share all that I have learned and all that I am continuing to learn about weight loss, healthy living, and distance running. Many people have started to tell me how much of an inspiration I am to them and that is so humbling. The truth is, I have been inspired by many people who have succeeded in journeys similar to mine and if you can learn anything from me, I pray that you use it. There is no reason why any of us should be content to live a life that is less than what we want. You really can do anything you set your mind to. Vince Lombardi said, "The good Lord gave you a body that can withstand almost anything, it's your mind you have to convince." and I believe that wholeheartedly. Please, tell me I can't do something. I'll do it just to prove I can. Back in October, 2013 I wrote a blog post on my Weight Watchers community blog called "I Have a Secret" and I thought that post was a great place to start this blog, as well. In it, you'll see my mindset after just starting WW (I'd only lost around 5 lbs) and just before I started running.
I've never told anyone this. In fact, I think I fear that they would laugh in my face if I did. I currently weigh 270, so I wouldn't blame them. That's not my secret. I secretly want to be a runner. Like run every day, zone out and just keep going type of runner. I was thinking about this the other day and I even remember a time in High School when I thought I should try out for track. Never did it. I was very overweight even then. I did a 5K once, but did it with friends who didn't want to run, so we walked it. There is a 5K in my town every year on New Years Day. I am a kind of afraid to do this, but I'm never afraid of anything I set my mind to. So now you know. I am going to be a runner. I just don't know where to begin. Any ideas or suggestions for me? Did any of you start running at my size?
That was the day I made a decision to change my life. For real this time. I did run that 5k and another. I have also since lost over 50 pounds and now I am training for a half-marathon. More on that later...