Quick Wednesday Weigh In

Not a lot of time today with the Christmas season in full swing, but wanted to be accountable and still get something here for this week, since I won’t be near a scale next week to weigh in.

Down just a tiny bit this week, 0.4 lbs.  Obviously with last week’s big jump, I had hoped for more, thinking that some of those numbers were inflated.  Guess not.  They’re real, which sucks.  Definitely not where I wanted to be going into the holidays.  This time last year I weighed six pounds less.  It doesn’t sound like a lot, but on a person who is five feet tall, it’s significant.

I do feel good that I have increased my mileage though.  Not just having started half marathon training (which unbelieveably, I have) but have added quick one mile walks even on my workout days.  I used to do that and had dropped off of that this fall.

Trying to be more aware of intake, food and drink, etc etc etc.  I know what to do.  It’s getting myself to choose to do it that is the thing.

Current Week: -0.4 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose: 17.8 lbs
Age: 44
BMI: 28.9

Year of Running: 2014

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What a year it has been.  This has really been a turning point year for me with my running.  I started running with the Couch25K program in late 2011.  By 2012 I was running 5Ks and feeling good about it.  I thought I could really push it and run a 10K that spring, but I didn’t train properly for it.  It was a miserable experience, and I swore off distances for quite a while.  In 2013 I regained some of my confidence by doggedly training, and I ran 4, 5 and 6 mile races feeling better about them.  Not fast, mind you, but comfortably.  Now I’m a good three years in and I feel like running has become a routine, a habit, a way of life.

Last year I ran 13 races in 12 months.  This year I ran 15 races in 12 months (17 if you count virtual runs).  There have been some great ones, some terrible ones and a lot in between.  My year in running looked like this:

Feb:  Sweetheart 4 Mile Race
Mar:  Shamrock and Roll 5K
James Mattioli Memorial 5K
Sandy Hook 5K  (virtual)
Apr:  Donnelly Dash 3.5 M
Westport Minuteman 10K
May:  DAWS Wag Your Tail 5K
Norwalk Mother’s Day 10K
Jun:  Stratton Faxon Half Marathon
Jul:   Trumbull Sunset Run 5K
Aug:  MADD Dash 5K
Newtown Road Race 5K
Oct:   Monroe Trail Run 4M  (virtual)
CES 5K
Nov:  Vicki Soto 5K
Fischang-Cichetti 5K
Dec:  Jingle Bell 5K

  • Best race experience? Has to be the Stratton Faxon Half.  Not only was it such a personal milestone, but the race was really well organized and put together.  Plenty of hydration and fuel available, fantastic T shirt, easy pre race pick up and they even gave us a 13.1 magnet for the car.
  • Best run? Probably the James Mattioli race.  It is to date my PR for the 5K distance.  Beautiful, super flat course.  Nice weather, lots of people I knew there.  Although the Trumbull Sunset Run was also very nice.  Despite a hilly course, it felt like a great run, very picturesque and they gave out free Italian ice and pizza after.  :)
  • Best new piece of gear?  Before the last month I would have said my running hat; it is a lightweight, breathable hat that keeps the sun out of your eyes and actually kept me cool during some hot runs this summer.  But now that it is cooler I am absolutely loving my new running gloves from Hind.  They have gloves but then a mitten that goes over them to keep you warm.  The fingers have that material that still allows you to work your phone, and there’s even a little LED light on them.
  • Best piece of running advice you received?  To run my own race.  To not let anyone else’s time or performance make me think less of the miles I log or how hard I have worked.  Also, to run at least three days a week to maintain performance, four to improve.  That advice served me well training for my half.
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?  Grateful.  I am grateful to have found an activity that helps me not only become more fit, but set goals and work towards accomplishing them.  I enjoy running, even if I am not the fastest one out there.  I am grateful every day to be able to lace up my shoes and get out there doing something I never thought I could.

Wednesday Weigh In: Big News Edition

Alright so this week’s weigh in is god awful, not going to lie.  I’m up 2.6 over last week.  I am sure part of it is that time of the month, and part of it is restaurant meals over the last few days, but salt isn’t going to account for all of it.  Part of it is the cheese I put in my face all weekend, the booze I drank at our party on Friday, the sandwich I chose to order instead of the salad (which came with fries, that I ate).  It’s total crap and super lousy timing to be up this far over the course of the year heading into the holidays.

But I got a great piece of news yesterday that is putting my crappy weigh in on the back burner.

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I got accepted into the NYC Half Marathon!

This was the race I really wanted to be my first half marathon.  I’ve been dreaming about it for two years now, ever since I made a half marathon a goal.  Last year, when the lottery opened, I decided not to put in for it because it was right around the time when my grandchild was due to be born (turns out I could have ran it because she was born the weekend before, but I digress). Instead I chose a local half marathon, which I completed in June.  I was thrilled to complete it, but wasn’t eager to go for another one any time soon.  I was kind of left with the feeling that the distance wasn’t enjoyable for me; I could do it, but there would have to be another motivation to do another half.  NYC Half, sure.  Maybe a destination one.  But another local half?  Not likely unless a big group of friends wanted to together.  And never another June one, that’s for sure.

When the lottery opened up this year, I went ahead and entered.  Two women I know here both put in for it last year; one got in, one didn’t.  I didn’t really think I would get in.  But I had to see if I could get a spot.

I waited all day yesterday to see my status.  Around 2pm I noticed the race popped up in my New York Road Runners profile page, but I still didn’t have any confirmation.  Around 7pm I got the email; I was in.

So there it is; another half marathon, three months away.  I trained for nearly four months for my last one, so it’s already time to start a program.  I need to clean up my eating and drinking.  This goal, this race, has been my dream.  It’s time to get serious about my health so I can make this dream be the best reality it can be.

I can’t even begin to say how excited I am!  And grateful.  Just when I was losing my motivation to move forward, now I have it.

Current Week: +2.6 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose: 18.2 lbs
Age: 44
BMI: 28.9

Jingle Bell 5K Race Recap

I can sum up yesterday’s race in three words:

OMG The Hills.

I had heard this race was hilly, so I dialed back my expectations for time on this one, even in light of my happy time two weeks ago at what was also considered a hilly race.  Throw in overnight and right up until the start rain, which I worried would make for sliptastic conditions, plus a party the night before which included drinking, and I already wasn’t planning on any speed records for yesterday.

The mood was festive as we arrived at the race site.  Lots of Santa hats, red and green attire.  The race shirts even had a Christmas tree made from the 25 years of the race on it.  They gave you bells to put on with your pins.  We met up with our fellow CMAK Birthday to Birthday challengers and got cute elf hats with Race4Chase on them and light up necklaces.  We were all in a good mood.  The rain had stopped, the temperature was perfect, it was go time.

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We headed out to the start line and off we went.  Right away I could tell I was not keeping my usual pace even though it felt like I was working hard.   I tried to keep pace with my one girl friend, keeping her in my sight for just a while before I instead focused on just trying to not hate this run.  I honestly thought I was killing it on pace until the five minute RunKeeper update told me I wasn’t even holding a 12 minute mile.  WTF?

And right about the time I was just starting to feel like I’d warmed up and got in my groove, killer hill #1 happened.  It wasn’t just that it was super steep, because it was, but it was at the end of what had been a slow incline throughout the first mile.  I slowed to a walk and caught my breath as I crested it.

After that, I felt better.  A bit of a downhill let me catch my breath, and I was cruising on.  Finally feeling like I was getting into a groove and hoping to pick up some speed when I turned the corner.

Yep.  Killer hill #2.  Pretty much everyone around me at this point was saying some form of “You have to be kidding me” or “WTF” as we saw it.  The second one was actually bigger than the first.  At this point my motivation simply disappeared.  This race was not going to be a confidence builder.  The hill was too long and too steep.  Not a single person in my sight view was running it.  I slowed to a walk and just chalked the entire race up to a wash.

From there it pretty much just sucked for the last mile and change.  The big hill didn’t even give me a great reward on the other side because the road was too wet and slippery; I had to slow myself down on the downhill for fear of slipping and falling.

I skipped the water stop hoping for a few extra seconds and kept going.  More slight hills, more walk breaks as I kissed any worries about time goodbye.  Once I “gave up”, I actually started enjoying the race a bit more since I didn’t feel like death.  I was catching my breath on the walk breaks and feeling better on my runs.

I passed the church we’d seen on the way in and I knew the misery would be over soon.  One last hill and then I could see down to the finish line.  Since I had walked the hills, I had enough steam to really plow that downhill and sprint towards the finish.

I was absolutely astonished to see how poorly I’d done.  The clock was in the high 38:xx when I spotted it and my official time was 39:07.  The time shows exactly how hard and how miserable the race was for me.   What a contrast to my race two weeks ago, still some hills (although this course was much worse) and I finished it 3:23 faster than this one.  Ugh.  A very deflating experience for what will most certainly be my last race this year.  My only consolation was that everyone was off their usual times by a few minutes.   Mulling it over, it has to have been one of, if not the most challenging 5K course I have ever done.

Still, it was fun to be out for the holiday themed race, and it was great to support the Birthday to Birthday challenge.  Even with such a lousy time, I still was grateful to be able to run in support of a wonderful cause.  I am healthy, I am uninjured, and while I wasn’t fast, I still was out there, with a lot of wonderful people that I am grateful to know.  And sometimes that’s the thing you have to focus on.

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Wednesday Weigh In/November Progress Report

I can’t believe November is already over.  It was a whirlwind month here of home renovations, holidays and a few races thrown in the mix.

I didn’t blog about last week’s weigh in because I was miserable about it, I’d gained over a pound.  I’d finally thought I’d broken the cycle of gains from the summer and so this was a big mental setback.  But this week I’ve dropped that gain and a little bit more.  I’m not entirely sure how with Thanksgiving thrown in the mix there.  I was careful and I did try to stay active.  My only guess is that I was just running around a lot doing errands and cleaning and such so I not only didn’t snack as much but I was moving more.  So onward, yay!

Now onto my November progress.

Running Goals:

1.  Run at least one race a month.

Still well ahead on this goal for the year overall.  I did run two races in November, the Vicki Soto 5K and the Fischang-Cichetti Memorial 5K.  I could have run the five miler at the second race but it was a last minute sign up and I felt kind of wimpy about it.  I haven’t been running as much lately and worried about how I would do.

2.  New Goal:  5K in under 35 minutes.

Still not there, but closer.  This last race was a hilly race, and even so I scored a 35:40.  I am going to keep working towards this goal.  I was truly happy with that time for the course.  I’d like to think I can hit this one soon.

Weight/Food Goals

Finally reach my goal weight.

Today’s weigh in takes me down a pound overall for the month and the lowest weight I’ve been since September.  Getting that BMI number below 28.5 is a big psychological barrier for me, so I’m ready to keep it moving back down to where I was earlier this year.

My goal weight is still out there, but with the holidays and everything I’d be glad to just keep dropping a few pounds and not gaining as we get through December.   I think I am really getting into the headspace that while I’d love to be thinner, I know myself and my comfort zone.  I feel healthy and active and while I’d like to lose twenty pounds, I could comfortably live around 135-140 and be OK with that.

Current Week: -2.2 lbs from last week/ 0.6 from two weeks ago
Total Weight Left To Lose: 15.6 lbs
Age: 44
BMI: 28.4

Fischang-Cichetti 5K Race Recap

Just a few days ago I decided to run a 5K this weekend.  It happens every so often, that a race starts looking good at the last minute.  Sometimes it is about weather, sometimes it is about a cause.  Today it was both.

I’m involved with the Chase Kowalski Memorial Foundation (CMAK) here in SWCT.  He was one of the victims at Sandy Hook, a seven year old blond boy that loved to run, swim and bike.  I’ve posted here about other events I’ve run with this organization. Chase’s mom, Rebecca, has decided to try and take part in ten athletic events before Chase’s tenth birthday next year, which will take place on Halloween.  She’s challenged her family and friends to join her, to raise awareness for the foundation they started in her son’s name.

Of course I knew I’d take part.  I try to run a race a month anyway, so it was a natural fit.

I’ve actually run one race already that qualifies (since technically she started the challenge on his ninth birthday, 10/31).  Rebecca, however, was starting her challenge today at the Fischang-Cichetti 5 Mile/5K run in Waterbury, CT.  I wanted to join her, but last year this race was cold and awful.  After my experience in the rain a few weeks back, I wasn’t sure I was up for another awful weather race.  However, when the forecast became clear late this week, I jumped online and signed up.

Another friend and I agreed to carpool; I picked her up at 7:30 this morning and we made our way up to Waterbury.

CMAK had a table in the gym of the Y where the race started and finished, so I was able to get a gander at the new hoodies they had created for us taking part in the birthday challenge.  They are Halloween themed for Chase’s birthday.  They are actually a really high quality hoodie so of course I snagged one.

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I visited with those I know in the organization before it was time to take a group photo and head out.  How much do I love a November race that has indoor waiting area?  And real bathrooms?  Very much.

We lined up, in the back of course, and headed out.  The weather was perfect for a race; 40 degrees, mostly sunny, no real wind.  All of us, the 5 milers and the 5K ers started out together; our turnaround was just earlier than theirs (I signed up for the 5K).  I had no real time expectation for this race.  After not making my goal for the Vicki Soto race a few weeks ago, I haven’t run that much.  I had trained for that one but hadn’t really kept it up for this one, maybe running two easy runs a week since.  No intervals, no real hills, nothing serious.  Plus this race was billed as a hilly course.  So I figured I’d just go out and enjoy the run.

For the first half mile it felt as if I probably could have gone faster, but the knot of people was fairly tight, and I wasn’t worried about time.  I was surprised, therefore, when my RunKeeper told me I was doing a pace of 11 min/mile and change during the first mile.  In fact, the ten minute chime on my RK told me 10:56/mile.  I couldn’t believe it.  I just went with it, not worrying about time.

When the hills came, and they did, I did what I could, but there was definitely some walking.  Still, once I crested the first one, I could feel that I had plenty of steam to pick up speed on the downhill that followed.  I weaved and passed people and continued to feel pretty strong.

The turnaround had to be somewhere around mile 2, at the end of a slow, gradual uphill that I took my time with.  The water stop was not far from the turnaround, but I knew I didn’t want to sacrifice the time so I kept going.  I saw my friend not far from the turnaround going up the hill; she asked how much further?  I assured her it wasn’t much longer.

By now I was well into mile 2 and feeling good.  I really wasn’t paying much attention to my RunKeeper at this point, just pushing to the point of uncomfortable and then pulling myself back to catch my breath before pushing myself again.  I kept this pattern up the whole second half of the race.

Finally I saw the finish line.  It was probably a good three tenths of a mile away still, but seeing it up ahead gave me a boost and I pushed towards it with all that I had.  I couldn’t believe when I saw the time clock reading 35 and change.  I crossed at 35:40, which is my third best 5K time ever.

I’m really amazed by my time, to be honest.  It’s only 14 seconds slower than my PR, which I did on a flat course.  This course had two significant hills, one being a long slow incline of probably four tenths of a mile.  Plus probably four or more smaller ones.  I didn’t even really go into this race thinking about time, and I actually had several walk breaks on the hills to catch my breath.  If I’d been pushing, really pushing?  I probably would have had a PR.  Then again, maybe it was because I did a few walk breaks that I could really push when I did run.  I don’t know.  All I know is it was awfully nice to not even be thinking about time today and get such a good result.

So needless to say, I’m very satisfied with today’s race.  I found all of our fellow challengers after the race; everyone seemed very happy with their races as well.  The day had turned from a partly cloudy day to a gorgeous sun filled one.  We all agreed Chase had helped us all to a good time.

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So grateful to be able to run and help causes like this.

Wednesday Weigh In

For the first time in a long time I’m going to try and actually post a one week weigh in rather than a two week weigh in.

This was a good week.  I am 1.2 pounds less than I was this time last week.  And it is definitely because I am making a concerted effort in one area:  portion size.

I had been beating myself up a lot over eating the wrong foods, but the reality is I don’t actually eat a lot of unhealthy stuff.  What I do is I eat a lot of whatever it is I am eating.  I tell myself that I am able to eat until I am full because whatever it is I am eating is healthy.

I should know better.

The thing that I remember about when I lost weight successfully in the past (using Weight Watchers) was that I pretty much never thought anything was off limits.  But what I did do was made sure I didn’t eat until I felt full.  I ate until I felt not hungry or satisfied, but not full.  Of whatever it was.  And I also didn’t freak out if I got hungry.  I drank some water, and made myself wait until it was time to eat again.  I didn’t just dive into a snack to get rid of the hunger.  I thought about it, assessed it, and if it was legitimate hunger, I ate something.  I thought about it.  I was careful.

That’s what I’ve tried to do in the last seven days.  I didn’t worry so much about the cake.  I just had a super small slice.  I didn’t worry about the pasta.  I just had a small portion and filled in with salad.  I didn’t worry about the wine; I just had less of it and drank water in between.

So this is what I’ll be working on for the next seven days.  Just taking each choice, each day, one at a time.

Current Week: -1.2 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose: 16.2 lbs
Age: 44
BMI: 28.5

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