Saturday, September 25, 2010

Race Recap: Miracle Miles 5K

Well I ran another 5K this weekend and it was great!  I had been eyeing the Miracle Miles race since finishing the Celebration of Running.  Miracle Miles is a 5K and 15K run that benefits the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.  This year they raised $25,000, which is pretty wonderful!  I decided to sign up for it after both my mom and I got an e-mail from Track Shack.  She is currently training for her first marathon and was due for a long run today, so she signed up for the 15K.  It turned into a family event as my step-dad decided to run the 5K as well!  

I laid my stuff out the night before, including my iPod with headphones because after the last race where I left them at home I made sure I had them for this one!  I got up around 5:30 am and heard some light rain outside my window.  I got dressed and enjoyed a quick bowl of Kashi cereal and a glass of water.  My knees have been a bit sore this week, so I put on some Perform Gel.  It works really well and has a nice cooling sensation.  I pinned my number to my shirt, laced up my shoes, strapped on my knee straps, grabbed a big bottle of water and we were out the door!

The plan was to get there by 6:30 am, but the traffic was kind of crazy.  The roads were packed and trying to get to the designated parking garage was going to take forever.  We just decided to park on a side street and walked about ten minutes to the start line.  Luckily the sky was just cloudy with a light drizzle here and there.  It was a nice warm-up for the race considering we had about ten minutes before the start.  As we turned the corner and saw the crowd of people lined up, the horn went off to start the race (perfect timing, huh?).  I had my iPod pretty much ready to go and joined the pack.  As I crossed the start line I started my stopwatch (the 5K wasn’t officially timed), and was on my way! 

The sun was not really bright, since it was cloudy and it didn’t really rain, which was good.  It was just SO humid, which made for a sweaty race.  The path was pretty flat with a few inclines, but nothing major.  Since my last race and other runs I have realized that my starting pace is too fast and that makes the second half of my runs difficult.  I made sure to keep a slow, steady pace throughout the race.  I kept that pace and took several short walk breaks between some of the songs and was feeling good throughout.  I was oh so happy to have my music for this race, it just makes the run go better for me.  This race actually seemed to go by quite fast.  Unfortunately, I looked and could not find any mile markers (except for mile three, but by then I could see the finish line), so I didn’t really know how far I was in the race.  I just kind of guessed by looking at my stopwatch and hoped that I was keeping an OK time.  Because it was so humid I was sweating like crazy, but before I knew it I could see the finish line ahead.  I decided to start picking up my speed, however the finish line was a bit farther than I thought and I had to slow down for a few seconds, before sprinting to the finish.  
I have to say I felt pretty great running through the finish line for this race.  I set a personal record (PR) with a time of 38:23!  That is a little more than a minute faster than the 5K I did five weeks ago.  I have been running more and it is nice to see that I am slowly getting better.  I felt so much better, mentally and physically, after this race as well, which is awesome!  
Yummy Parfait!

My step-dad was waiting at the finish line, when I crossed.  This was his third 5K and he finished with an awesome time around 28 minutes.  There were tents setup around the area that were full of fruits, yogurt, ice cream, chips, cheesecake, pasta, sandwiches, dips - pretty much everything.  I grabbed some orange slices, a banana, a slice of watermelon, yogurt parfait from Chick-fil-A, water bottle, energy chews, and a granola bar.  Clearly my hands were full so I sat down and stretched a bit before enjoying the delicious yogurt parfait.  It was vanilla yogurt with fresh strawberries and granola on top.  So good, seriously.  There was still more tents to visit so I walked around and tried some more food.  There was some great mushroom ravioli with lobster sauce and a crab dip that was tasty as well.  There were also some Chick-fil-A cows walking around and my step-dad told me to get my picture taken with them and I did.
















My mom was going to be finishing the 15K soon so we walked over to the finish line.  As we were waiting for her I saw Meghann from Meals and Miles and Kelly from Beneath it All cross the finish line.  They were pretty fast! 
Soon I spotted my mom sprinting to the finish.  She had a great time and got a finishers medal.  We all walked around the tents together.  I spotted Meghann again and was little nervous about meeting her, but I walked up and introduced myself.  I told her I was a reader and that I saw her cross the finish line.  She was super friendly and told me congrats on my 5K.  I kind of just said hi and walked away; I guess I was a bit blog-struck!  I think I saw Megan from MegaNerd Runs as well, but didn’t realize it until after we left.  It was kind of neat to see and meet some of the bloggers I follow!  

All in all, it was pretty-darn-good race day!  I am now at home, in my lululemon compression socks, catching up on TV from this week.  
Hope you are having a nice weekend!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Positive Something is Better Than a Negative Nothing

Saturday is my weigh-in day at Weight Watchers.  Since moving back home I have been trying to find the right meeting for me and I think I may I have finally found it.  Initially I was attending a meeting that was close by, like literally right in my neighborhood, but the leader was new and she just said the same thing every week; uhhh kind of boring.  So I found another meeting that is close by and the past few weeks it has been great.  The leader is friendly, motivating, and helpful - all of the things you want in a leader.  

This week's meeting was actually one of the best I have been to in a while.  As we all know, the holiday season is approaching, so Saturday the meeting was focused on a simple way to stay motivated and lose weight during the next three months.  And what was this fabulous little tip?  I have said it before and use it myself when thinking about weight loss.  It pretty much boils down to not focusing on the numbers.  Instead focus on how you feel and change the way you think about your lifestyle.  This can be done several different ways, but one way is by breaking your bigger goal into smaller, realistic, achievable goals.  By focusing on them it makes getting to your bigger goal easier.   
For example at the beginning of my journey I knew that I probably needed to lose at least 100 pounds.  That is A LOT of weight and a scary, daunting task.  At the very least it would take me two years if I stuck to a super strict diet.  Instead of focusing on that big goal I decided I was first going to focus on losing just five pounds, then 5% of my starting weight, then 20 pounds, then 10% of my starting weight, then a smaller pant size, etc, etc.  You get the idea, by breaking it into smaller goals I could work on achieving each of those.  They were all steps in the right direction to my bigger goal.  Of course these goals don’t have to weight related, they can be adding exercise to your routine, trying a new food, running a race, etc.  This is the idea behind setting monthly goals - choosing small things to work on that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.  

One of the facts that my leader gave us was that over the next three months, October, November, December, (the holiday season), the average person can gain 9-12 pounds.  That is a lot by the time the new year comes around.  And of course when the new year begins everyones makes the resolution to “lose weight” or “get healthy.”  Well instead of waiting until the new year, why not start now?  If you were to lose, at the very least, 0.5 pound every week until the new year you could be down about eight pounds!  Now when you think of it like that it makes it seem pretty achievable.  Losing at least a half a pound a week does not take any huge changes.  A half a pound is adding an extra day of exercise to the week, working out 10 minutes longer everyday, not snacking on junk food throughout the day, making sure to eat fruits and veggies everyday, writing down what you eat, eating a few vegetarian meals a week, etc.  Just doing one of those small things and you should see a tiny change in your weight.  

Lets look at your two options: you can choose to throw caution to the wind and gain 10 pounds or make small changes and lose eight pounds by the beginning of 2011.  I am going to go with losing 0.5 pounds a week (at the very least), because I would like to see the number on the scale go down, for my clothes to feel looser, and to feel better.
Go for it!  Look at the calender and see what you have coming up the next few months and plan accordingly.  Plan and be aware of the challenges you may have coming up (parties, games, family, whatever).  Remember it is not about depriving and restricting yourself from anything it is about making healthy choices.  You should definitely enjoy the holiday season and all of the treats the come along with it; moderation is the key.  Make some small changes for the next few months and before you know it you will feel great and be healthier by the new year.  I know we can all do this!  

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Celebrate!

Sometimes you just want to celebrate.  It can be something small, a big change, or something that has taken a long time to achieve.  Whatever it is you worked hard to achieve it so why not celebrate, that is exactly what I am going to do!


I told you about two months ago that I was close to getting under 200 pounds, which is a big milestone for me on my journey.  Well after, what seems like forever I am so happy to say that I am no longer in the 200s!!!  I have not been in the 100s since middle school, which was 10 years ago.  I mentioned last time that the scale is not the only indicator I use to assess my health.  It is just one part of the equation which includes my fitness level and how I feel.  Getting under 200 pounds has not been easy and it has taken me around 20 months to lose 70+ pounds.  Of course in the beginning you want immediate results, but I am kind of glad it took me a while to get here.  I have worked hard to change my lifestyle and lose weight and I know I never want to go back to where I was.  I can now say that I exercise regularly, eat whole grains, limit processed foods, make food at home, get in my fruits and vegetables.  I still have a ways to go before I am at a healthy, happy weight for my body, but I am on the way.  It is challenging, but well worth it, because I feel better and better everyday! 
After the success on the scale I ate some breakfast and decided to celebrate with a run this morning at the gym.  I was feeling pretty pumped by my weight loss success and decided to run a little longer today.  I slowed down my pace a bit so that I didn’t push myself too hard and I only took three walk breaks to sip on some water.  I ended up running about 2.75 miles, which is the longest non-race run I have done, and it felt good.  After the run I did a few leg strengthening exercises, for my knees, and had nice stretch session.  
The plan today is to have a relaxing day at home which is just what I need after tiring work week.  (I know it was four-day week, but it seemed kind of slow.)  Enjoy your weekend!

Do you have anything to celebrate?  Did you run a race, set a PR, reach a goal, try something new, etc?  Nothing is too small to celebrate!