Wednesday Weigh In

Up exactly a pound.  Gr.

It matches my mood this week.  I’m trying not to be cranky during my kids’ Spring Break, but i am.  I’m fighting a cold, we haven’t gone anywhere while it seems like most of my friends have gone somewhere very sunny and very warm and to add insult to injury, it actually snowed here last night.  Not a lot, but enough to cover everything and make it look more like February 16, not April 16.

I feel tired and cranky and it isn’t a surprise at all to me that I’m up a pound.  I’ve not been as careful and I’ve been drinking more (sounds probably word for word what I wrote last week).  I had vowed to buckle down but I didn’t.  Instead, I had that extra slice of pizza, that extra glass of wine, that cookie here and there.  And it shows on the scale this.

When I went to Weight Watchers and had a week like this, they would say:  “It’s feedback, not failure.”  OK then.  It doesn’t erase my great race on Sunday.  It doesn’t erase that I’m still taking my sorry butt to bootcamp on the days I’m not running.  It doesn’t take away that I’m fitting into smaller clothes.

So I gained a pound.  Moving on and trying to shake the cranky.

Current Week: +1 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose:  10.4 lbs
Age:  43
BMI:  27.4

Donnelly Dash 3.5M Race Recap

So, a friend of mine that is a local race director offered me a free spot in this 3.5 mile race a few weeks ago.  It’s a 3.5 mile race, a different mileage point from most races.  I was intrigued.  As the date grew closer I decided to take him up on it.

I’ve been faithfully working on my marathon training program, so I wondered if I would see a difference in today’s race vs. my last 5K on March 22.  Not so much in terms of time, as they really aren’t comparable unless you go pace per mile, but more in terms of energy and stamina.  My long run on Thursday was 7 miles; I’ve only ever run further than that one time.  So I wondered how today would feel.

And, since I’m doing these training runs, today called for four miles.  So I knew I’d have to add a warm up run of at least half a mile to get that mileage in.  OK then.

I got down to the race site about forty five minutes before the start, snagged a great parking spot, and went in to get my things.  Unfortunately my friend somehow didn’t get me into the race system.  I pondered trying to find him on the race site, but I know how crazy race day is for race directors.  I decided to just go ahead and pay to register and run anyway.  The shirt itself made this worth the price of admission.  It’s probably the nicest race shirt I’ve ever gotten:

IMG_3412
I put all of my race stuff back in my car and wandered around a bit before deciding to start my warmup.  It was probably about 48 degrees, a bit chilly just to be outside in my short sleeves, but I knew once I started moving I’d be fine.  I set out for my short warmup run, starting my RunKeeper, and intending to pause it when I was done until the race started.

I put in eight easy minutes, just starting to work up a sweat.  I actually scared myself and got a little lost (the race was in a nice, downtownish area near the train station and it’s easy to get turned around) so I headed back.

Where I waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.

Apparently, there were several websites advertising the race.  One stated a 9am start, the other said 9:30.  Oops.  They split the difference and sent walkers out at about 9:10, and told us we’d go 10-15 minutes later (their course started the same, but then varied, so this would essentially get them out of our way).

Then, possibly to kill time although it worked out well regardless, they had a trainer come up and lead everyone in stretches.  I know there are varied opinions on stretching cold before a race, but since I’d already done a short half mile, I was ready to loosen up and get ready.  Finally, shortly after that, they lined us up.

This race was intended to raise money in the name of Tim and Kim Donnelly, who were killed 9 years ago in a burglary on their family owned business.  Tim was a big runner, and knew some of the people I know now that I’ve met running locally.  A family member thanked everyone for coming out to support the family, and then started the race for us.

The start of the course was a slight uphill, which was hard, and made me wonder how I would do on this race.  I did, after all, do back to back exercise classes yesterday and ran seven miles on Thursday.  Had I overtrained?   Should I have given myself a rest day?

But once we were over the hill, I was fine.  I felt good, even.  I tried to push myself a bit just to see how it felt.  And I was able to keep going.  I was actually feeling pretty strong.  There was a woman ahead of me who dropped to a walk.  I overtook her.  Then there was a guy, slowing down.  I overtook him.  As we passed the first mile mark, I looked down at my RunKeeper.  Somehow in pausing it between warmup and run I had stopped the voice that went off every five minutes.  Which was fine because my time and pace weren’t going to be right anyway with the warmup included.  But I knew that my warmup was a little over eight minutes, and when I looked down at the RK screen I saw 20 on the screen.  Awesome.  I was running a 12 minute mile.  I had hoped to stay at that pace the whole time, which would put me at a 42 minute finish for this race.  That was my goal.

As I kept running, I overtook a few more people.   I looked behind me and saw just a few people, so each person I overtook meant I was that much further from last place.  As I kept running, I would set my sights on people.  Orange shirt lady?  You’re gone.  Purple shirt girl?  Buh bye.

Just over the two mile mark there were some more serious uphills.  Nothing terrible, but also enough to slow me down.  I gratefully stopped at the water station and walked through it to catch my breath.  I hadn’t planned on it, but I had been pushing hard.  I knew it, because I had seen 31 on my RK when I looked at it for mile 2.  That meant I was about 23 minutes in on the race, which meant below 12 minute miles.  That’s pushing it for me, so yay.

Once we passed the hills, we were rewarded with some downhills.  I couldn’t believe how strong I felt once we were past the hills.  My energy was still there, I wasn’t getting that usual winded feeling I get a few miles in.  It has to be the base building runs I’m doing.  My stamina definitely has taken an uptick.  I couldn’t believe, honestly, how good I was feeling.  I pushed again on the downhills, trying to pick up some time.  And also, to pick off that college aged girl right in front of me.

I got her right around mile 3.  I started to do the mental math here, but I couldn’t figure out where I would end up at the end, what my time would be.  And maybe it was a good thing to not think about the pacing, not hear the RK in my ear all the time, and just really focus on the run.  I figured I hit mile 3 at about 34 minutes in.  I figured 42 was definitely a safe goal.  But then I realized, if I was running a 12 minute mile at that point, I could come in around 40.

When I thought about this race, I originally thought about 40 minutes, but when I did the math and looked at my recent runs, I figured it was impossible.  I’d have to be well below 12 minute miles the whole time and I just didn’t know if I could swing it.  Plus I’d stopped at the water station and had a few shorter walk breaks on some of the hills.  I figured what the hell, it was what it was, and kept going.

Finally I could see the finish line and the time clock.  It took me a few seconds to read it, but then I realized the first two numbers on it were 39.  And then I realized it was ticking 27, 28, 29…holy crap!  I was definitely going to make it below 40!  I picked up the pace and went for it.

I am not sure exactly what my final time will be, but when I handed over my tear off I think the clock must have read something like 39:43.   Even if it took them ten seconds to read the bar code, I still will clock in under 40.  And no matter what the official time says (I heard they were having trouble with the timing) I know what that clock said as I went through the chute.

When I got home, I couldn’t help but compare the splits with my last 5K (which is also my PR for 5k):

3/22 5K:

Mile 1:  11:18
Mile 2:  11:24
Mile 3:  11:34
Mile 4:  9:05 (last .14 including final push to finish)
Total Miles:  3.14
Pace per mile:  11:19

4/13 3.5:

Mile 1:  12:06 (includes slow warmup for about .7 of it)
Mile 2:  11:11
Mile 3:  11:44 (hills)
Mile 4:  10:53
Mile 5:  10:23 (only .23 of a mile but includes finish push)
Total  Miles: 4.23 miles
Pace per mile:  11:25

So essentially based on these times I was pretty darn close to my 5K PR pace.  If I took out the warmup run and just went apples to apples on the 3.1 I have a feeling I might have even beaten it.  Especially considering that 5K course was extremely flat and today’s course definitely had hills.

All in all?  Pretty happy with today’s race!  I think the next one is going to be a 10K since I’m already logging at least that on my long runs.  It’s definitely time.

Wednesday Weigh In

Mostly static this week.  Up slightly, 0.2 lbs.  Which I honestly can interpret either way.

On the one hand, it’s a gain.  It’s also not movement downward, which is what I should be seeing when I am running as much as I am and doing bootcamp on the days that I am not running.  You would think that I’d be dropping at least a pound a week, and I was when I started my bootcamp challenge.  But then I gained some, and then I grew static.  Which tells me that I am slipping here and there.  So I need to get that in check.

On the other hand, it’s the smallest gain possible, and considering I was away this weekend for a girls’ weekend, that’s pretty amazing that I didn’t gain.  We didn’t exercise at all, and we drank.  We drank a LOT.  But then I also made mostly really great food choices whenever I was given the opportunity.  So even though I wasn’t perfect, I did pretty well.  So that’s actually very good.  I could have easily gained two pounds if I’d blown my food and drank as much as I did but I didn’t.  I was smart with the food and it paid off.

So all in all, it’s a good lesson for me.  If I had not had my Girls Binge Weekend this probably would have been a big loss week.  So maybe that’s on tap for next week as I get my head back in the game now that I don’t have any travel planned for a while.  I’m still feeling good about how the clothes fit and how I’m looking in them, so that’s all good.

It’s all really mostly very good.

Current Week: +0.2 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose:  9.4 lbs
Age:  43
BMI:  27.2

Wednesday Weigh In

I’m down this week, and honestly I am calling it a gift.  After last week’s sort of unexpected gain, maybe it’s the gods of the scale giving something back to me.

We went away this weekend for my granddaughter’s baptism.  As per usual when I go away, I throw caution to the wind.  Well, not that bad, really.  My new habits are pretty ingrained at this point.  I ate mostly well, other than one crab rangoon when we got Chinese food one night.  It’s the drinking that is always an issue when I am away and it was without exception this time.

But other than those three days away, it was a good week.  And when I came back I got right back on the wagon (literally) and things have evened out since then.  So that’s a good thing.

Except I’m supposed to go away again this weekend, this time for a girls’ weekend.  There will definitely be drinking.  But since I’m going with pretty health conscious women, there will also be running and lots of active stuff so it shouldn’t be terrible.

All in all, liking the direction I’m headed in.  It was nice to see people this weekend that I hadn’t seen for a few months and have them notice that I’ve lost weight.  It is so much better than commiserating about being heavy.

Current Week: -0.6 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose:  9.2 lbs
Age:  43
BMI:  27.2

March Progress Report

I promised myself that I would continue my progress reports on the last day of every month, and I missed the last day of March yesterday.  I realized this today when I was out on my run, which I suppose is a good thing.  Here we go:

1.  Complete the 30 Day Burpee Challenge in March.

This totally fell by the wayside right about the time when I hit 50 burpees in one day.  I think because I am now doing half marathon training and I couldn’t keep up with the burpees, the running and the bootcamp.

I’ve decided that the 30 day challenges can wait until after the half.

2.  Run at least one race a month.

I caught up on my races this month.  I ran the Shamrock and Roll 5K and the James Mattioli 5K this month.  I also did the Sandy Hook 5K virtually, but because my sister was with me and she couldn’t run, I’m not really counting it.  Still, this puts me at three races in three months, so I am good.

3.  Run at least 2 10Ks this year.

Still totally up in the air.  Now that I’m doing half training, I do feel that a 5K one day and 10K the next is doable, which leaves my Mother’s Day 10K in the mix.  But there is another 10K the week before that also looks good.  Unfortunately not a great many otherwise, so I will pick one of the two and then hold out for another one in summer/fall.

4.  Run a half marathon.

I am fully in my half marathon training program at this point.  I am using a freebie one, so I’m not doing a lot of tempo/speed runs; most of the program seems focused on building stamina.  I’ve done two six milers so far and honestly they have felt pretty good.  I’m supposed to run 3 miles twice, 4 miles once and 6 miles once in the next week (did the same last week).  Then I move up to 4, 5 and 7.  Essentially there are two shorter runs and a long run each week.  Can’t wait really to see how I move forward with it.

5.  Finally reach my goal weight.

I have been up and down this month and honestly the net is pretty much zero so not happy about that.  On the other hand, I am lower than I have been in six years, so that’s a plus.  Still within ten pounds of goal with 9 months to go in the year, so I’m still going to call this a positive.

Non Scale Progress:  I had to find a dress for my granddaughter’s baptism last week.  I had something in mind but when I went to the store, a dress very opposite of what I’d planned on jumped out at me.  Very fitted, Calvin Klein, size 8.  I wasn’t sure when I took it into the dressing room, but I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it on and it fit like a glove.  I haven’t felt that confident in a dress in such a long time.  Not even for my son’s wedding a year ago (when, incidentally, I weighed about eight more pounds than I do now).  So even though the scale didn’t show a lot of progress this month my clothes are fitting better and I am seeing mprovement fitness wise.  So that’s definitely Mostly Forward.  :)

Wednesday Weigh In: Wrong Way

Up a whole pound this morning.

At first blush, I’m surprised.  My numbers have been trending lower most of the week so I am honestly surprised at the gain.

But when I think about the last week, I probably shouldn’t be.  I have definitely let the wine back into my world.  I’m back up to drinking a glass pretty much every day, which I have not been doing for the last four weeks.  And the problem with wine is that it leads to other things:  two days ago, after drinking a few glasses, I found the Thin Mint cookies that had been pushed to the back of the fridge.  They’re not even my favorite anything, but somehow, they ended up in my stomach.  More than one.  More than five, let’s just put it that way.

The other thing I know is that yesterday was quite possibly a “salty” day.  I had canned soup for lunch, and made roasted vegetables for dinner.  I knew they were on the salty side when I tasted them.  I have to really work on that.  I ate out for lunch two days ago and that was also likely a “salty” meal, as all restaurant meals tend to be.

On the plus side, I had great runs this week, good workouts.  I also went dress shopping yesterday and found a lovely, very fitted Calvin Klein dress in a size 8 that fit absolutely perfectly.  So those are positives I will hold onto.

Overall I still feel that I am on the right track, know what I am doing well, and that this is a blip on the radar that I’m not going to let derail me.

Current Week: +1 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose:  9.8 lbs
Age:  43
BMI:  27.3

Race Recap: Sandy Ground 5K for James Mattioli

It was a beautiful day for a race.

This weekend I was humbled to be a part of another race that tried to harness the good in people that has surfaced out of the awful tragedy at Sandy Hook.  Each time I’ve been a part of one of these events, I am always amazed.  Amazed at people’s spirit.  Resiliency.  Ability to rise above the awfulness that happened on that December day fifteen months ago.

Today’s race benefited the Sandy Ground project.  This group has been building playgrounds all up and down the East Coast in areas that were impacted and damaged by hurricane Sandy.  Each one honors one of the Sandy Hook victims.  Today’s race was held in the area that the playground for James Mattioli was built, in Milford, CT.  I was present last week as they started construction, and after today’s race there was a ribbon cutting.  It’s already finished.

I headed down early this morning because I’d heard there were over 900 people preregistered, a larger amount than the planners had originally counted on.  It took me a few minutes to find parking but all in all, I was able to park fairly close to the start of the race.  I tried to be close because it was cold, but I knew it would warm up by the race start, and I wanted to be able to dump my fleece back in the car.

It didn’t take me long to find people I knew waiting for the race start.  I met and chatted with a few women I knew until my good girlfriend and usual race partner showed up.  She had brought her whole family with her; she knows James’ mother.  It was nice to see so many families present today, all there to try and give something good to this family that has lost so much.  I hope when these families come to events like these and see the outpouring of love and support, that somehow it helps in some way.

There was plenty of food and drink out prior to the race, which I was impressed with.  Normally races don’t offer much besides water in plastic cups prior to a race.  We all powered up and before long it was time to dump my fleece and head to the start.  By now the sun was shining and it was a gorgeous late winter/early spring morning.

We lined up in front of the local firehouse, festooned with a banner announcing the race, and began.  Everyone I knew got lost in the crowd, and I honed in and tried to find my pace.  I had my tunes on, the sun was shining, people were happy, and I felt really good.

I mean, really good.  Before long we were a mile in. I realized how much I was enjoying this run.  We were in the coastal part of town…and the route was super flat.  Very few hills anywhere.  I ran past the water stop; I’d noted that each of my fastest races were the 5Ks where I didn’t stop for water.  I normally run 3 miles at home without hydration, so I’d told myself I wasn’t going to stop.

I was still feeling good at mile 2, but it wasn’t as great a feeling as the previous one.  I tried to adjust my pace because I didn’t want to run out of steam.  I wanted this to be a good race.  I had in my head the goal of finishing under 36 minutes; I’ve only had 3 races below that time.  Two were 35:50 something, and the third was my PR time of 35:33 (which was a year ago this month).  I hoped to get under the two, but didn’t think a new PR was possible.

The route meandered down near the water and I sighed.  What a beautiful course.  I love races near the water.  I felt a peace come over me and just felt so fortunate, so blessed to be here.  To have a body that can run, no matter how fast or slow.  To have a family that understands this push I have to run races, to help charities, to do things for others.  To have a life that includes so many wonderful people and experiences.  It was a beautiful moment.  I kept on.

Somewhere after mile 2.5 I noticed one of the women I’d been chatting with before the race was just ahead of me.  She had said her goal was to hit below 35 minutes.  I figured I had to be doing fairly well if I could see her, as she’d started out ahead of me. As we kept going, I realized I was getting closer to her.  I wondered if somehow, I’d be able to pass her.

As we neared the three mile mark, she was in my sights.  I knew that I’d be able to do it if she didn’t speed up too much.  I heard the 35 minute chime in my earbuds and knew if I really pushed it I could potentially PR this race.  I ran as fast as I could for that last 0.1 mile.  I passed her, and saw the time clock read 35:38 as I crossed the line.

I knew it had to be either a PR or very close, since it took me a bit to cross the starting line when the race began.  I stopped my RunKeeper, trying to tell myself that no matter what I’d run a good race.  I was well below 36, which had been my goal.  I was within seconds either way of the PR, which I hadn’t thought was possible.  It was all good.

I met my friends at the finish line, chatted quickly, and had to run off to my daughter’s play at school this afternoon.  I’d so wanted to stay and watch the playground be dedicated, and look to see the finished product of what I’d seen started, but I had to go back to my family and my world.

When I got home, the race results were already posted.  And there it was, a brand new shiny PR:

35:25.7.

It was a beautiful day for a race.

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