Archive | October 2012

Powerless Wednesday Weigh In

We are still without power after Hurricane Sandy, so this is on my phone and will be brief. I am down one pound this week, which feels good. That is three weeks in a row of losses…three pounds in three weeks. I will take it.

Left to lose: 19lbs
Goal to lose it in: 22 weeks

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Back In My Runner’s Groove

Run

4.75 Mile Bridge to 10K Run

We’re expecting a hurricane to hit my area sometime in the next 24 hours or so.  While hurricanes have always been considered highly unusual for CT, because we’re so far north and the storms tend to diminish in power by the time they make it up here, the last year or so has seen more of them stay together enough to cause us some serious damage.

But this post isn’t about that.

It’s about the fact that since I knew the storm was coming, one of the things on my list today was getting in the last run I could before it hits.

That’s a major shift in my thought processes.  Before, I would have used all of the myriad of prep that we need to do as an excuse not to bother.  I would have figured that it was a sign that I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with all of this running stuff, and oh well.

But here’s the thing:  I’m liking the runs.

I still get the nudge of worry when I see how long they are on the Bridge to 10K app.  I completed Week 5 Day 2 this morning, which consists of two twenty five minute runs, with one minute of walking in between.  It’s a long time.

But because the app builds you up, it’s actually less time running than the Week 4 runs.  Week 4 is three eighteen minute runs.  While they are shorter, it adds up to 54 minutes of running, shy of today’s fifty.  It’s about the endurance at this point, being able to run those long stretches without stopping.

Today, not only did I complete the run feeling like I could have done more, I ran up a significant hill without stopping to walk.  The same hill that slowed me down terribly in our local 5K six months ago.  I hated that hill, and every time I trained on it I ended up walking it.  It was just too much.

Not today.  I ran, albeit slowly, the whole thing.  And that hill was about ten minutes into the second interval of running, so I was pretty tired at that point.  But I willed myself to do it.  And I did.  It felt awesome, that sense of accomplishment.

There is something to this thing people call “hill work”.  Because after I was able to modulate my breathing and heart rate on the flat area after the hill, I felt a surge of energy.  Even fifteen minutes in to that second interval, after that big hill, I could feel my energy surge.  I could run faster on the flat road ahead of me.  I knew I’d make it through the whole fifty minutes without any problems.

Not only did I finish those 50 minutes strong, but I jogged for three minutes of the cool down just because I knew I could.

Which is an amazing feeling.  Truly freaking amazing.  I have found my runner’s groove.  I don’t ever want to lose it again.

Wednesday Weigh In

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Down 1.2.

Finally I think I have actually broken my laissez faire “It’ll just magically happen because I exercise a lot and mostly eat healthy foods but probably in too large portions” attitude towards getting back to my goals.

This was a good week.  I was careful in my choices.  Even on Sunday, when we had friends over for dinner after my trail race, I was cognizant of making good choices.  There was tons and tons of food and drink.  And while I certainly did drink, I steered mostly towards vegetables and nuts and sushi for appetizers and took the smallest possible portions for dessert.  I drank tons of water to combat the over indulgence on alcohol the next day, and got right back on track.

Last night was a big test of where I am at mentally with the getting back to goal program.  We went out to a Mexican restaurant.  Everyone ordered margaritas, which I love.  But I said I just wanted to “start out” with water.  And then I realized that I was fine, having fun, and didn’t need one.  Everyone else had two.  I didn’t have any.  I split my entree, went light on the chips and left before desserts were being ordered.  I left feeling satisfied but not full.  I knew I’d be weighing in this morning, and last night could have made this weigh in inspiring or depressing.

But I was in control of that outcome.  I made that choice.  And it paid off on the scale this morning.

Woohooo!

Current Week:  -1.2
Total Since Start of Challenge:  -.6
Total Weight Left To Lose:  2o lbs
Weeks Left to Goal Date:  23
Age:  42
BMI:  29.3

Trail Race Recap

I’m somewhere in the herd of runners here.

Yesterday was my four mile trail race.  I was really looking forward to this race for several reasons.  First, it was local, in the parks where I run all of the time.  I would know people, which hardly ever happens at a race for me.  I’ve trained alone, and all of my first races were done without knowing a soul.  Secondly, my daughter wanted to run the race too, although I knew we wouldn’t be “together” on the route; she’s faster than me.  Thirdly and probably most importantly though, I felt prepared.  I’ve been running regularly using Bridge to 10K for the last four weeks, so I felt like I had the stamina to tackle the race without feeling that dreaded “I might die out here” feeling.

We started out the race in a big field (as you can see above) where the kids play soccer, on the edge of the trails.  The park is so beautiful this time of year and the weather was absolutely perfect:  fifty degrees, chilly but not cold, and sunny.  I didn’t hear the start, but realized all of a sudden that people were moving towards the start gate on the other side of the field.  I didn’t realize why until later down the narrow trails where we all had to slow to a walk to cross a bridge; they had been trying to thin the herd early.  I immediately fell behind a good portion of the runners, but ahead of the walkers, as is my slow pace.  I made it through the first half mile feeling great, until I realized I wasn’t familiar with the route at all; the trails they were running us on weren’t quite the ones I’d trained on.  About 3/4 of a mile in, there was a hill, and I could feel my energy fall fast.

Once we were at the top, I slowed my pace, but it took probably another mile (fortunately mostly flat) before I felt like I wasn’t completely winded.  This put me at the water stop, where I took a lesson from my last race and stopped the five seconds it took to gulp down the water.  Last time I ran trying to drink and got water all over my shirt; not good.  It was at the water stop that I looked behind me and saw no one; I realized at that point that I was likely the last of the people running; I’d passed all the people who started out running but slowed to a walk.

From the halfway point, it was mostly just me.  We left the flat, wide bike trail for windy, hilly, rocky, thin trails around mile 2.5.  It was beautiful and picturesque, but I quickly realized that on the steeper inclines I had to stop running.  I felt my ankle turn wrong at one point and realized that it just wasn’t going to be about speed at this point.  Which actually worked in my favor because I was able to get a second wind of sorts, and by the time we got back to the flat part of the trail, I felt fine and broke into an easy pace.

Just after mile 3 there was another offshoot from the flat trail that took us uphill again.  This, according to my RunKeeper, was the steepest elevation I’ve ever attempted to run.  I felt it.  It was hard going, but I ran as much as I felt I safely could.  By mile 3.5 I was feeling tired again, but the woman I passed pointing me in the right direction told me that it was all downhill from there.  I could feel my breathing modulate and I felt fine again.  My RunKeeper was telling me I was at 50 minutes and I had wanted to come in under 55, so I steadied myself to push hard at the end.

The last quarter mile was flat and the finish timer was visible; I could see the numbers were in the 53 minute range.  I ran as fast as I could towards it; something I never, ever have had the stamina to do at the end of a race.  Usually I’m so tired, it’s all I can do to keep running there (more than once I’ve slowed to a walk for a bit near the end so that I would be able to break back into a run at the end).  But this time, because of the walking I’d had to do in the scary parts of the trail, I had the energy to really run full out to the end, which felt AMAZING.

I finished the four miles in 53:57, which was under my goal of 55.  If it hadn’t been quite so hilly I would have hoped for under 50, but I knew the trails and wanted to be realistic in my goals.

My daughter was waiting for me at the end.  She’d finished in just under 49 minutes, and was hardly sweating at all.  🙂

My girl and I before I got all sweaty and nasty. She looked the same as this at the end, of course.

Overall, I really liked the trail race.  I liked that I didn’t need to get all wrapped up in the speed and the time, it was more about endurance, which is really where I am at mentally with running; just completing the course and feeling good about it.  I felt wonderful after this one, which makes sense because I’ve been running more than four miles in my training for a few weeks now.

I’d definitely do a trail run again soon.

So this week it’ll be back to Bridge to 10K training and hoping to break the five mile mark in my Week 4 runs.  🙂

Goal

There’s a reason why I set my goal of 130 for mid April of next year.  The reason?

My son is getting married.  They have chosen a date in mid April, which is only six months from now.  It’s a tangible amount of time.

In fact, it’s an exact amount of time.  It’s 25 weeks from now.

I know, I’m not the bride.  And maybe it is kind of creepy that I’d like to look good at my kid’s wedding.  But there will be people there that I haven’t seen in years, and I’d just like to feel confident and comfortable.

The countdown starts now.  21.2 pounds in 25 weeks.

If I lost at .8 pounds a week, like I did last week, I would lose 20 of those 21.2 pounds.

I’d be OK with that.

So I’m not going to stress over .8 pounds.  I’m going to keep moving forward.

Wednesday Weigh In

….down .8.

There’s a real internal debate going on in me about this one.

One part of me is angry.  I had a GREAT week.  I cut my alcohol intake by half, I exercised six out of the seven days.  I ran further, faster.  I was very careful about my food, having what I felt were good days five out of the seven, one fair day and one not so great day.  Isn’t that what we say?  You don’t have to be perfect all of the time.  And my not so great day wasn’t terrible; I had a midday meeting that included nachos and a few glasses of wine.  The rest of the day was fine and I exercised.  I had really hoped for a two pound loss this week, so part of me is frustrated to see a number that is still well within the “up and down” range of the last eight weeks.

The other part of me is owning the loss.  It’s a loss, and I should be happy and take it.  It’s nearly a pound closer to my goal in April, and I’m moving in the right direction.  I know I made overall very good choices this week and I feel like I can do it again this week.  I’m very happy with where I am with my running; I am running a four mile trail race this weekend.  This will be my first trail race ever.   I am not really sure why my body didn’t react more favorably to what I feel were significant changes to how I have been choosing food and drink, but I will keep going making the positive choices because there really is no other alternative.  I know that sometimes, things just don’t show up on the scale the way we expect, but it usually works out in the end if you stay consistent.  Which is what I will do.

So for now, I’m going to try to let the more positive of the two voices get a little more airplay in my head.

Weigh In Stats:

Current Week:  -.8
Total Since Start of Challenge:  +.6
Total Weight Left To Lose:  21.2 lbs
Age:  42
BMI:  29.5

Bridge To 10K

I just finished Week 3, Day 1 of Bridge to 10K.  I’ve already completed this program once.  Unfortunately for me, I didn’t run a 10K right at the end….I finished the training but then through a series of this and that, I didn’t run the 10K for more than a month after I was done with the training.  I wasn’t ready for that 10K.  I had run the distance just once prior to the race, and it was on a relatively flat route.  Imagine my surprise when I found the 10K I chose to be filled with hills, throughout the whole route.  I finished third from last, totally demoralized and not dreaming that I would attempt it again any time soon.

That was May.  My running fell off a great deal in the summer, due to the heat, travel and my kids’ schedules.  The only time I could really get a run in was at 5:30am, before the heat of the day and before my husband left for work.  Every time I did it I was glad, but it was very, very hard to motivate myself to do so.  By September I had gone so long without running that I restarted Couch to 5K, nearly a year to the day that I’d started it the first time.  I realized that my comfort zone was in Week 5, which had me doing five and seven minute runs.

Bleh.

It pissed me off, frankly.  I read blogs about people who were running half marathons on their one year running anniversaries.  I was barely able to finish a 5K without feeling like I was dying.  And my times hadn’t improved at all; my best time was 37:19, and that was only a few seconds off of the 37:24 I ran last December.

I put on a B210K run a few weeks ago just to get myself back out there and used to running for more than 30 minutes total.  I knew I could hack the 10 minute intervals.  Then I did another one.  Then I decided to move onto Week 2.  And suddenly I realized, why not just restart the program?  The runs are getting easier.  I can go longer, further, and it doesn’t feel like I’m going to die anymore.  I have always liked the structure of a program; it keeps me from falling off the wagon.  So last week I finished Week 2, and today was onto Week 3.

Week 3 consists of 3 17 minute long intervals.  Five minute warm up walk to start, one minute walks between the intervals, 5 minute cooldown walk to finish it.

The first interval felt great.  I didn’t even really feel like I needed to stop when I did, but knew I needed to conserve my energy for later.

The second interval, I could start to feel my energy starting to fade.  I had to really focus on my breathing and pacing to make it through.

The third interval I knew would be hard.  There was a hill about four minutes in, but I was ready for it.  I slowed my pace and got through it.  The last interval felt really long; around the 12 minute mark I finally checked my iPod to see if I was close to being done, and was surprised to see that I still had over 5 minutes left.  I slowed my pace and just got through it.  By the end I was feeling good again.  Still, I didn’t run any of my cooldown.  I needed to rest, and I felt like I’d earned it.

I am actually thinking of maybe finding a 10K to do in a few weeks.  I feel like in just a few weeks, if I’m consistent, I might be able to do it.

Total Miles:  4.85
Run Pace:  12:26/mi
Walk Pace:  14;40/mi
Avg. Pace:  12:59/mi
Ran through a neighborhood with gentle hills