This one is a long time coming. I ran this race over a month ago. Why haven’t I written about it?
Honestly, I am not sure. I guess it was a pretty emotional day and I hadn’t really thought I could get it all out in words, to do it justice. But now looking back on my year of running (one more race to go), I don’t want to leave it out. So here we go.
It was a chilly November morning, but beautiful and sunny as my girlfriend and I drove down towards the Long Island Sound town where Vicki Soto hailed from. She was the 27 year old first grade teacher who was killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook a year ago.
It’s all still very real here, that day. As we approach the anniversary even more so, but it’s never far from us here. We have friends who lost here, and the tributes have been all year long. The kids go to school in my town. Sandy Hook is never far from us. It was not even a question that I would run this race, and my girlfriend agreed.
We had gone the day before to packet pick up because there were so many registered. The bibs and the shirts all had the Flamingo logo emblazoned on them; they were Vicki’s favorite. I bought a hoodie there as well:
We arrived early and walked around the race area. It was large; they were expecting over 2,000 people. We tried to take it all in….the magnitude of it. The spirit of it. There was something palpable about the people who were there volunteering….a positive edge that I hadn’t expected. This wasn’t a memorial race. It became clear this was a celebration.
My friend and I bought some bracelets to run with…they are a fundraiser of course, but they also give me a sense of having that spirit with me. I have Chase Kowalski bracelets and a Sandy Hook bracelet that I’ve often run with that give me that same sense of “I’m running for a purpose” feeling.
The parking lot where we assembled filled up. Pretty soon you had a sense of how immense this race was going to be; it was nearly claustrophobic. We ended up going to walk early to the starting line because of the crowd; it was too close. On the way we saw people we knew. Like I said, Sandy Hook is very close. There were at least ten people I knew running the race that day.
All along the route, there were these little plastic flamingoes. Over three hundred, apparently. That’s roughly one hundred per mile, so you can imagine, they were everywhere, lining the race route.
As we approached the start line, we saw that two fire trucks had been placed just beyond with an American flag draped between. It was such a beautiful sight, and gave you a sense of the gratitude that we all felt at being a part of this beautiful event. We kept saying it over and over: there’s a spirit here.
Finally it was start time. There was a moment of silence and bells were tolled. Someone sung Amazing Grace and we all stood, silently crying. It was just a hauntingly beautiful moment. Vicki’s family members spoke to us all and then it was time. Finally we were off.
We passed this life size flamingo made of balloons as we started. It was a big crowd, so it was slow going at first, but we weren’t here for time….we were here for Vicki.
That’s a lotta people.
The morning had warmed up considerably over the hour that we’d waited for the race to begin, so I got warm quickly in that bright sun. Even though I wasn’t here for time, I still wanted to do well. I started off at a moderate pace, immediately lost my friend in the crowd (who, despite running for less time than me, is faster….she’s better about being able to push herself than I am) and set out to enjoy the race.
There were cheerleaders from the local high schools placed every half mile or so. There were families in the neighborhoods all out cheering. There were people giving away candy (it was three days after Halloween). There were signs and lawn art all out, honoring Vicki. It was really something. I tried to just run and savor that amazing feeling of being a part of this event.
I skipped the water stop and kept going. My pace was good, I knew I’d finish one of my better times, because the course was mostly flat. I saw a few people I knew pass me, but for the most part I stayed with the same group the whole time. I felt good the whole time, right up until the last half mile.
There was a hill. A big one. It was actually the highway overpass; we’d gone up it on the way out so I knew we’d hit it on the way back. It was about mile 2.5. Because I’m not a pusher like my friend, I walked it, wanting to finish strong. Strong for Vicki.
And I did. I ran the rest of the race feeling good, and wasn’t surprised when I finished in the low 36 time frame, one of my best times this year. My friend had finished three minutes before me (one of these days I’ll catch her!) and so we headed back to the parking lot where the post race food was set up.
It was actually so crowded by that point that I just opted for water even though there was a ton of great, donated, catered food. I wasn’t interested in waiting ten minutes for it, because I’m often not hungry at all after a race. I mostly just want to drink water. We said Hi to a few people, snapped this post race photo and went to the bar next door to share a celebratory glass of wine (what, you don’t drink at 10am after having run 3.1 miles? ).
We talked a bit about the race together, raised our glasses with the few other boozy souls who had joined us before heading home. It had been a truly lovely race….beautiful weather, great people, well organized. But again, what struck us was just the spirit that pervaded the whole day. From the volunteers to the logo to the flamingos everywhere…you just felt that something good had happened there. It wasn’t sadness that brought us there, even though we all wished the event that brought us all there had never happened, but it wasn’t the death we all thought of that day. It was the life.
As her shirts say: Live, Laugh, Love. And we did.
PS: When I got home, I discovered my time, 36:02 was EXACTLY to the second the same time I ran the Sandy Hook Run for the Families 5K last March. The angels were clearly with me on both occasions.
I’m not surprised that this week’s weigh in shows a loss. How’s that for nonchalance? Two Thanksgiving dinners, one wedding, two travel days and staying in a hotel and somehow I managed to pull it off. My goal was to maintain, but I didn’t. I actually dropped a little weight last week.
I think the best I can manage to say about it is that I kept my head about me. I was careful about what I ate but I also didn’t deprive myself. On Thanksgiving number one, I loaded up on turkey and vegetables and had one small spoonful of mashed potatoes and stuffing. On Thanksgiving number two, I again kept to the protein and avoided the larger than my hand but looked oh soooo good rolls. At the wedding, I stuck to the same strategy: protein and veggies and fruit. On all three occasions I had dessert, but just a few bites rather than the whole thing.
When there were snacks out I stuck to protein and veggies and stayed away from the crackers and dips. I drank water whenever I had any opportunity. And my big win, when we ate at the hotel buffet breakfast I had fruit and oatmeal rather than the greasy eggs, sausage and hashed brown potatoes. All of which I normally love, but the fruit was beautiful at the hotel and I knew I’d be having protein later in the day, so I thought the oatmeal was a better choice.
Of course I drank, probably too much, but not too much and I always stuck to wine as opposed to mixed drinks (well there was that one shot of tequila, but it was a wedding after all).
All in all, I’m pretty proud of myself. I’d like to get back down to my new low point (which I hit a few weeks ago and promptly reacted to by gaining some back) during December and then coast there for the rest of the holiday season before moving back downward come January. I think this is a realistic goal for me.
Current Week: -0.6 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose: 12.4 lbs
I’m actually writing this post on Tuesday morning, because I’ll be in New York City Wednesday recovering from a girls’ night seeing Rick Springfield in concert. Woohoo for me!
Six days from my last weigh in and I am down only slightly, 0.2 lbs. I’m a little disappointed to be honest. I had a good week. We had dinner at my cousin’s on Sunday, and while that normally turns into a night of drinking and poor choices, I was very careful, drank tons of water, and didn’t overindulge. It was great practice for the upcoming week.
That being said, I had a big “Non Scale Victory” (NSV) yesterday. I was reaching in the back of my closet for clothes, because some of my usual choices are actually getting a little too big. I pulled out a pair of pants that I haven’t been able to wear in four and a half years (I know, because the last time I wore them was to see Rick Springfield and that was in April, 2009). They were snug then. I remember I weighed somewhere within five pounds of where I am now, so I thought, let me try them.
They fit perfectly, even a little on the looser side. I couldn’t believe it. It was a great sign that while my weight is slowly moving, my body is changing shape from all of the bootcamp workouts I have been doing. I still am really enjoying the classes. And I am still running on my off days. So that was a big win for me going into the coming week.
People have been telling me that they can see that I am losing, and I often will push it aside knowing that it isn’t “that much”. But it was nice to get that reinforcement in my clothes yesterday.
In the next six days I will have the challenge of: restaurant meals (today in NYC!), traveling via plane, TWO Thanksgiving meals (one with husband’s family, one with mine) and then a wedding on Saturday. My goal is to make smart choices and enjoy the meals. I would love to simply just maintain. I do plan on exercising while traveling. It’s going to be a challenge, but my head is in a good place right now, so I think I’ll be OK.
Current Week: -0.2 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose: 13 lbs
Things are looking better this week. I dropped 0.4 lbs off of last week’s gigantic gain and my back is feeling much stronger than it did a week ago. I’m back in class and running again, so I feel pretty good about that.
Of course I would have liked to have seen a bigger drop after gaining so much last week, but I completely own it. I made my choices this week: some good, some not so good. My head feels like I’m in a much better place, truly paying attention again so I know I’ll get back to where I was.
Thanksgiving is coming next week, which will be a food fest. For me it is magnified because my brother is getting married that weekend. That means not one but two Thanksgiving dinners with family we aren’t usually able to see on this holiday and a wedding meal. My goal is to run on the Friday and Saturday that we aren’t traveling. If I can, a walk on Thanksgiving, too, but since we’re traveling that day, that might be a pipe dream. We’ll see how it goes.
Our bootcamp class is ending our Thanksgiving Weight Loss Challenge on Friday. I will be down from the start of the journey, but I am sure I won’t be the winner. I’m OK with that. Things are moving in the right direction.
Current Week: -0.4 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose: 13.2 lbs
Yikes. I knew the scale would be up today but it’s a kick in the pants for sure to see it read a number THREE WHOLE POUNDS higher than last week.
I needed that kick. I was sliding out of the good habits I’ve spent the last few weeks forming. More drinking, less careful snacking, larger portions, less water. Was it three pounds of bad behavior? Probably not, but I hurt my back last Friday, and I haven’t exercised since. The calories I would have burnt running and exercising in the last five days could have equaled half of that number, easily.
So crap. Lost a fair amount of ground that I’d staked in this weight loss journey. And not great timing for my weight loss challenge at bootcamp class, which ends next week. If the scale is this much higher at home, it’ll be higher there too. Blech. I need to remember this crappy feeling when I go to reach for the salty popcorn (which isn’t bad in small portions but the three bowls I’d had on Monday…probably not the best choices) or the second scoop of guacamole.
Also, the back thing. I don’t know what the heck I did. It feels like sciatica and it came out of no where. I have been taking it easy since class on Friday and while it is now bearable, it’s still not gone. I’m going to exercise for the first time today since Friday and just try and modify as much as I can. I need a win going into the holidays in a few weeks, need that mojo back to make the good choices and feel strong and healthy. Because I know all too well from this week, from any holiday I’ve ever gone through, that if I don’t have my wits about me, five pounds will come out of nowhere….and they’ll sit right on my backside.
Current Week: +3 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose: 13.6 lbs
BMI: 28 (ugh….didn’t want to be back in the 28s)
As I am posting this I realize I still haven’t done a race recap for the Vicki Soto 5K I ran this weekend. An amazing event that I definitely want to get written up so I need to remember to do that later today or tomorrow.
It’s been a busy week. I have been running for our local Board of Education and between that, kids’ activities, the 5K and a traveling husband, it’s been a whirlwind. But when I am busy I am not sitting on my sofa eating, and so that translated into a good week at the scale.
I am starting to really see the results of the last few weeks of drops on the scale. My clothes definitely are getting looser and I have more stamina during my bootcamp classes. I can feel the difference in my head when I go to grab a snack: it is getting easier to make the right choices than it was a few weeks ago. I love the feeling of being in control and things finally starting to go my way.
Also, today I noticed my BMI is 27.5. That is a big milestone for me. It is exactly halfway between obese and normal weight. To get on the other side of that number means I’m closer to normal weight than obese for the first time in five years. Next week I want to be there!
Current Week: -1.2 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose: 10.6 lbs
**Oh, I realize that I mentioned running for election but never mentioned the outcome. Yesterday was Election Day. I won the seat on the Board of Education that I was running for. I drank and ate cookies to celebrate, which isn’t good, but I planned for it by going light on the food earlier and actually running to cast my vote (literally jogging to the polling place). Back on track today, though.
I’m not surprised to see a slight rise on the scale this week of .2 lbs. After a few weeks of steady drops and last week’s larger than usual one, I figured this would be a week where my body tries to stabilize itself. Also probably didn’t hurt that I drank at least two glasses of wine every night over the last week (at least being the operative phrase…) . I had a big event that I was in charge of on Saturday, and the stress leading up to it and resulting relief in a job well done led to a little more drinking than usual. And there were a few cookies, too.
Other than the few slips this week, I’m still feeling in a much better headspace. It’s getting easier to make the right choices more consistently. And my runs are getting back into a good place as well. I have a race this weekend, and I feel good going into it. This race is in honor of one of the Sandy Hook teachers, Vicki Soto. The race is already sold out at 2000 entrants, and I know the race director from working on our local 5K. It should be a good run from a physical standpoint, but also an emotional run from all that it will mean. I’m glad that I’m in a good place for it, so that I won’t feel like somehow I let the cause down with a crappy run.
This will be another stressful week, as I am running for our local Board of Education, and the election is next Tuesday. No matter what happens in the days leading up to it, I want to do a better job at keeping firm grasp of my habits. Ready to see another loss on the scale next week, so ready.
Current Week: +0.2 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose: 11.8 lbs