Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween

What a crappy day for the poor trick-or-treaters!


It rained all.day.long. I really didn't feel like running today, not only because of the rain, but because Jerry was off work and I wanted to hang out all morning with him. But I had to weigh in at Weight Watchers today (I have to weigh in at least once a month, and I hadn't weighed in for October yet), so I couldn't have had a lazy morning either way.

I ate breakfast, and then got dressed for a five-mile easy run. The rain was just a sprinkle at that point. The first mile felt hard! I feel like I'm putting in the effort for a pace of about 8:45/mile, but my actual pace is about 9:15-9:45/mi. I doubt my legs are still tired from the marathon, and my heart rate has been up pretty high, so it's not my legs that are making the effort feel hard. Maybe it's the fact that my weight went up seven pounds in a week and half!

The second mile felt even harder, and I realized that was because I'd increased my speed a little, so I consciously tried to slow down for the last three miles in order to feel more comfortable.


I was thinking about my plan for the Monroe Half-Marathon, and since I'm not prepared to run it hard right now, I figured I would just go at an easy pace. I would have liked to pace Jessica to a sub-2:00 time, but she said she doesn't want to worry about her pace (which is probably a good thing, because I honestly don't know if I could DO a sub-2:00 right now!).

Instead, I sent Stephanie a text asking if she wanted her own personal 2:10 pacer (a 9:55 pace). She said she'd like having me run with her, so that is my plan for the race. I'm glad to have a goal for the race, but not where it's going to kill me to reach it; pacing someone else is fun! I'm not so sure it'll be quite as fun for Steph, though ;)  I'm excited to see her hit her goal!

After my run this morning, Jerry and I went to Weight Watchers. For the first time since reaching Lifetime status, I was worried I was going to be more than two pounds over my WW goal. My WW goal is 143, and this morning (at home, naked), I was 139.5. Considering I drank a quart of water, two cups of tea, ate breakfast, and was fully dressed for the meeting, I thought I may end up having to pay this month. If you weigh in more than two pounds over your goal weight, you have to pay for the meeting.

I dressed in yoga pants and a t-shirt, so my clothing was lightweight. And usually, I weigh in with my shoes on, but today I took them off. Turns out, I ended up being 141.8 on their scale, so I wasn't even close to being two pounds over goal. I really want to start weighing in there once a week, just to keep myself accountable.

Jerry and I stayed for the meeting. Today they were talking about Lifetime members, and their tools for success. The leader listed the top 10 tools for success in Weight Watchers:

10. Planning meals/snacks
9. Good Health Guidelines (getting in required fruits/veggies, water, etc.)
8. Exercise
7. Using the weekly PointsPlus
6. Finding friends to support you
5. Measuring portions
4. Tracking food
3. Attending meetings
2. Setting a goal
1. Envisioning your goal

With the exception of attending meetings and getting in all the Good Health Guidelines (I try, and I know I should, but my diet definitely isn't perfect), I used all of those to lose the weight. I thought it was a pretty solid list, and I can't think of anything I would add to it.

This afternoon, we went to my parents' house for Mark's birthday and handing out candy. My mom picked up fried chicken for dinner, but was nice enough to get a roasted chicken for Jerry and me. I skipped the birthday cake, because I wanted to save my PointsPlus for Halloween candy.

My dad made a fire in the driveway, so we sat around that and stayed warm. Jerry took the boys out trick-or-treating in his parents' neighborhood, while I stayed at my parents' house. I brought some tea to sip outside, and it was a nice evening, despite the weather. When we got home, the kids dumped out their candy, and had fun sorting it all out. I bummed 5 fun-size candy bars for 10 PointsPlus. They were totally worth it!

We weighed their candy... 18 pounds combined!!
I've managed to stay on track for three days in a row now. It's been hard, but now that I set some running goals, I am more focused on those than my weight. I know that I race best when my weight is at about 131, so I'm hoping that I'll be back there by spring when I work on my PR's!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Vegetables in November

I don't know what started it, but last night, Jerry, the kids, and I were all on the floor doing Army-style push-ups and sit-ups before bed. The kids were showing us how many they could do, and then Jerry and I wanted to see how many we could do, too. I managed 5 push-ups and 31 sit-ups. I honestly didn't even think I'd do that many!

The kids thought it was so fun to try and beat Jerry and me. Then I challenged them to mountain climbers and holding plank, and some other stuff. It was actually really fun, and certainly beats watching TV before bed. The kids asked if we could do it again tonight ;)

I took a rest day yesterday because my sacrum still isn't feeling back to normal. It feels okay until I start running. After a few miles, though, it feels about 90% better. I have no idea what the deal is! Anyway, today I decided to go to the State Park and do an easy three-mile run.

I used to run at the State Park all the time when I first started running. There is a loop around a lake that ends up being a nearly-perfect 5K distance, so I used that to improve my 5K time. I would always try to run it faster than the previous time. This morning, I had to go grocery shopping, so I decided to go to the park to run and then hit up the grocery store on the way home.

The weather was PERFECT for a fall run! The temp was 48, so I just wore running tights and a long sleeved top. About a mile in, I had to stop and take a couple of pictures, because the trail was just so nice to run on today!



When I got back to the car, I was surprised to see how even my splits were:



On the way home, I stopped at the grocery store. They've been rearranging everything in the store, so I had no idea where anything was, but I love the changes so far (as a kid, and even as an adult, I've always loved rearranging furniture, haha). I don't know if it was because of all the rearranging, but there were TONS of things on manager's special. I bought a bunch of veggies--peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, mushrooms, and some other things.

It gave me an idea for a goal for November. I'm going to try and make it a point to get in all my veggie servings every day in November. I don't eat a lot of vegetables; not because I don't like them, but because they're not very convenient. I usually have to have a recipe in mind when I buy fresh vegetables, otherwise they end up going bad. So today, I went through some recipe books and picked out recipes to try and actually use up all these vegetables.

I managed to stay on track all day yesterday, and I think it was partly due to the fact that I put dinner in the crock pot yesterday morning. I hate that rushed feeling of dinnertime, when everybody is hungry, and I'm trying to figure out what to make. So using the crock pot helps eliminate the stress.

Today, I posted my favorite crock pot recipe on Facebook, and asked everyone to share their favorites as well. There are TONS of ideas there, and I can't wait to try them!  Here is a link to the Facebook post, so you can check it out and/or add your own favorite recipe.

I'm hoping that I can manage to stay on track tomorrow. My kids always offer to share their candy with me, so I'm going to let them know (today) that I appreciate it, but please don't give me any candy! I think I'll choose ONE thing that I really want, and count the PointsPlus for it before eating it.
We're going to my parents' house in the afternoon for Mark's birthday. (Mark is a special needs man in his mid-50's who lives in a group home near the house I grew up in. My dad takes him fishing sometimes, and every Halloween, brings him to my parents' house. Mark's birthday is on Halloween, so we have a little "party" for him before the trick-or-treaters come.) I'm not going to have cake or ice cream (I'm not even sure if my mom is making cake). My plan is to just have dinner and a piece of Halloween candy; I'll bring some tea over there to drink while we hand out candy. Hopefully, I'll stick to the plan!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2014 Running Goals

As I mentioned yesterday, my eating has been way off track since I got home from Illinois. I've been feeling pretty stressed for a few reasons; we've had a couple of big changes around here. A few weeks ago, Jerry made the decision to go back to his previous employer, after three months at a new job.

He wasn't happy at his new job, and even though the money there was fantastic, I encouraged him to go back to the job he really enjoyed. He's much happier now, and for that, I'm grateful; but he lost his position on the pay scale (so not only did he take a large pay cut going back to his previous employer, he's also not earning the amount he was when he left). He also won't get health insurance for 90 days.

The insurance thing scares me, because I know just how devastating an accident can be (when I fainted and broke my jaw, I realized just how important health insurance is!). I've been researching options to figure out what's best for us to do. Thankfully, we were able to get ahead financially while Jerry was at his new job, so I think we'll be okay until his pay bumps back up in 90 days, but it's going to be hard to adjust to that!

Anyway, things are getting settled down now (he's been back at his previous employer for about a week), and I'm not feeling so stressed about that anymore. But I weighed in at 135 on the 18th of this month, and today, just 11 days later, I was 142. I've been eating everything in sight, so the gain is not exactly a mystery. It's just scary feeling so out of control. I start each day with good intentions, tracking my food, but in the afternoon, I just get the urge to start eating (and not because I'm hungry).

Yesterday, I had a bit of an "aha!" moment. This is the first time since I started running three and a half years ago that I don't have any running goals. And I feel lost without goals! I think this could be what's causing the overeating. I already reached my distance goals (a marathon is the farthest distance I had any interest in; no ultras for me!). I set, and reached, all of my time goals for each distance. There aren't any particular races that I'm dying to do, and I don't have interest in doing a race in each state, or anything like that. I just feel kind of lost!

I asked my Ragnar SoCal team for some ideas, and there are a few things that interest me: 1) Trail running. But there aren't any local trails near me, so this one wouldn't work; 2) Back-to-back races. Doing two half-marathons in a weekend, or a 5K+10K+Half-Marathon, or something like that; and 3) Setting new time goals for each distance.

Whenever I'm running fast (a race or tempo run), I always think, "After my goal race, I'm going to stop trying to get faster, and just run for fun!" But honestly, it's fun to try and get faster. I'll never be "the fastest", so there is always room to improve; a never-ending goal, really. And since I love numbers, of course I like setting number-oriented goals. 

So for now, I am going to set some new time goals for 2014. Here are my current PR's (personal records):

5K- 25:44 (8:16/mi pace)
10K- 49:23 (7:57/mi pace)
10 Miles- 1:31:16 (9:08/mi pace)
Half-Marathon- 1:52:07 (8:34/mi pace)
Marathon- 4:16:38 (9:48/mi pace)

My 5K is obviously outdated--my 10K PR pace is faster than my 5K pace ;) My 5K goal (for a LONG time) was sub-26:00, and once I reached that, I had no interest in doing better. My fastest 5K distance in training is 24:03, so I'm thinking a sub-24:00 goal for 2014 would be good.

My 10K finish of 49:23 was a total fluke--I had NO intentions of running it that fast, and I was BEYOND thrilled when finished with a sub-8:00 pace!! But now I feel like it will be impossible to ever beat that time. I'm willing to try, though! My 2014 goal for the 10K? 49:22 ;)

I've only done two 10-Mile races (the same race two years in a row), and I wasn't really "racing" either time. It's a super hilly course, and it's in June, so it's hot. I think I'll aim for sub-1:30 in 2014.

My big half-marathon goal was sub-2:00, and I crushed that in the spring. This PR is another one that feels like it will be nearly impossible to beat, but I'll try. I think I'll aim for sub-1:50, which is a big leap. This will probably be a fall goal, because it'll take some hard training to do it!

My marathon PR is going to remain 4:16:38, because I don't have any desire to run another marathon (in 2014, anyway).

I didn't think I would get excited to work on speed, but writing these out makes me look forward to it!


Speaking of races, I'm getting really excited for the Monroe Half Marathon on November 10th. It starts at the State Park that I run in often, and a lot of the roads of the race are on my regular running routes. My friend Stacie is the race director; she is in charge of the Special Olympics in Monroe County, and the proceeds from the race will benefit the Special Olympics.

I asked Stacie if I could post a discount code for registration, and she was happy to give me one. So if you're local, I would love to see you at the race! Stacie gave me a code for both the Half and the 5K, which will give  you a $10 discount:

5K discount code- mm5k4563
Half-Marathon discount code- mmhm4563
(The site says that the promo codes ARE case sensitive, just FYI).

I was looking at the site, and they have a Friendship Relay option, which I think is an awesome idea. The "friendship relay" is to allow special needs people to participate in the race. Here is how the website describes it:
"The Friendship Relay is designed to encourage and accommodate anyone with special needs who wishes to participate in a road racing relay. A team can be compromised of 2 to 4 members. At least one member of the team must have a special need. The relay consists of two (2) legs, approximately 1.55 miles each. The special needs team member must do the second leg of the course. They may be assisted/escorted as needed by one or two team members. The rules will be flexible to accommodate all needs and no one will be turned away. Please feel free to contact us with questions or to request special assistance."
If you are planning to do the race, let me know (via e-mail) and maybe we can meet up!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Motivational Monday #38

Happy Motivational Monday! It's been a SUPER tough week for me as far as my eating (I'll write about that tomorrow). Thank goodness for Motivational Monday, because reading through all of these e-mails renewed my motivation to get back on track. Thanks for that! :) 

I thought I'd try something different today and quote the MM e-mails, instead of summarizing. I like how you can almost feel each person's excitement!



Amanda:
"I'm so proud of myself. Back in June, on a whim, I agreed to lead a running team with a friend for women living at a home for abused, recovering drug addicts, or homeless women that just need help getting back on their feet and learn life skills. A few months in, we told them we were signing them up for a half marathon. I was in charger of the walkers of our group. We only ended up having three girls do the race with us but it was the greatest experience! These girls set goals for themselves and accomplished something. I can't post photos of the girls since they're in a special treatment program; however, here are some pictures I took during the race yesterday. Absolutely beautiful! Could not have asked for a better race. Although I'm super sore today, it couldn't have been for a greater cause! Side note: walking 13.1 miles is VERY different than running 13.1 miles. Very different muscles used especially with all the hills we had on the course."





Deb:
"Just wanted to let you know how YOU motivated ME to run a Ragnar Relay. I completed the Tennessee Ragnar this weekend. It was awesome! My 3 legs totaled 18 miles, and 2 of them were in total darkness and sub-freezing temps! I had zero sleep and inadequate nutrition (even though I thought I was prepared for that). I thought we would all get on each others nerves in the van, but our friendships are even stronger! I learned there's no "I" in "team"! Thank you for sharing your Ragnar experiences, it planted a seed in me that really blossomed this weekend!"



Haley:
"In August of this year, my mom was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. It is an incurable blood cancer. Unlike many other cancers, there is no such thing as a complete cure; the only hope is remission. Since I live 700 miles away from my mom while I'm at college, I wanted to do something to help out and make a difference. I found a 5K race for research for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. The MMRF has done a lot for this cancer and has raised millions of dollars for new drugs to help treat it. I ran my first race ever on Saturday in Atlanta and my only goal was to finish in under 30 minutes and run the whole thing for my mom. I surpassed my goal and ran in 28:30! I'm so thankful for the running community and for 5Ks that raise awareness and funds!"



Jen:
"You included me in a Motivational Monday #20 back in June when I ran 3 races in one week. I told you then that I had a half marathon on the schedule, and I had to write you to let you know I completed that today! My time was 2:48:31. I came in under my 3 hour goal for my first one! Because of an injury to my knee (torn meniscus and slight tear of MCL) over the summer, my training schedule was compromised. I didn't know what today would bring. But I still set a goal and worked feverishly toward it! I'm so proud, and am contemplating what my next big goal will be! (I also gained some weight back this summer due to the knee injury, but I am proud to say I am back to 48.8 pounds lost and moving forward with a vengeance!)"



Jennifer:
"My sister, Crystal, and I walked the Soaring Wings Half Marathon this past Saturday.  It was my second half, but her first =)  I'm so proud of her. We both have a goal to run one of these soon.  Before the race, she was talking about doing the Little Rock Marathon's 10K (running), but after this race, she said she's really considering doing the half-marathon instead with me!"  (Jennifer's race report)




Lesleigh:
"On Saturday, I ran a local 5k, but was more excited about running the 1 mile kids' fun run with my 3-yr old daughter, Leah, after my race. She always talks about running with me, so I signed her up. It ended up not being as great an idea as I thought! She was having a grumpy morning and didn't want to even walk anymore at certain spots. I ended up helping her along at some points (a.k.a running with her on my shoulders because we were last and the police officer was trying to open the road) but she made it and received a medal for just participating (which she wears everywhere). A few hours later she told me "I want to run with you again mommy. Next time I run more." 
I was just happy that she wanted to do it at all. I see what running has done for me with my weight, health and overall happiness and want to be able to pass that on to my daughter. I don't want her to ever feel like exercising is an awful thing; something she 'has' to do. I want it to be something she 'wants' to do."



Chastity:
"I have struggled with weight loss for a LOOONNGG time. Started WW last November after seeing my birthday picture last year and feeling very depressed at that weight. I started spinning and running for exercise. My best friend wanted me to run a 5K with her earlier this year and my time was 40:27. This Saturday we ran our 3rd of the year and I PRed with a time of around 33 minutes (it was a color run, so no official time). My starting weight was 212.4 and last WI was 169 lbs."


Shirlee:
"Yesterday, I ran my first 10K race.  While I knew I could walk that far, I was very nervous about running that far.  I am very happy that I was able to run the entire course.  I kept focusing on running for another half mile at a time and just like it is with losing weight it was easier to focus on the increments instead of the full journey.  I wasn't fast by any means, but one of the coolest things about your first race is that you are guaranteed a PR.  My official time was 1:22:21 and considering that just last year, I was terrified to walk around the block for fear of not making it back home, I'm pretty excited. 

Just after the finish line I had a lady follow me and ask if she could interview me on video for the race because I had the biggest smile on my face of anyone she had seen cross the finish line (she didn't know I'm usually pretty shy and not good at speaking) but I think it means I was pretty excited and shocked to have finished."
(Thanks, Shirlee, for saying hi to me at the race yesterday! It was so nice to meet you. And a HUGE congrats to you, both for your weight loss and your first 10K!)




Make sure you check out the Motivational Monday Facebook post to read more stories, and/or post your own!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wicked Halloween 10K race report

Let me preface this by saying I was really having second thoughts about even going to this race. None of my friends were doing it, and it's been so cold lately, and the thought of standing around in the cold to run a race didn't sound very appealing. I had signed up for this race early this year, as part of a "Triple Crown" series--runners who did the ShamRock 'N' Roll 10K, the Kona 10K/10-Miler, and today's Wicked Halloween 10K would receive a bonus medal after today's race. I had planned on doing the first two anyway, so I thought I might as well go for all three!

I'd already paid for the race, and this particular race company does a really great job, so I decided to go. I got up at 5:00 this morning to get ready. I dressed in my ColdGear clothes, because it was in the low 30's this morning, and then I wore my old Little Red Riding Hood costume over them. I drove up to Plymouth (about 45 minutes away) and picked up my packet, then I parked in a parking structure and headed across the street to the park where the race's start was.

There weren't very many people there at 7:00! As I was crossing the street, I noticed a Channel 4 news van with a news anchor and camera crew next to it. As soon as I saw them, I just knew they were going to ask to interview me (I was in costume, and there weren't many people there yet). I averted my eyes, and hoped they wouldn't notice me. Even when I heard them say "Excuse me" to get my attention, I pretended not to hear. But then they said, "Red Riding Hood!" so I turned, and sure enough, they asked to interview me.

Surprisingly, I am not shy or nervous in front of a camera, but I do get a little embarrassed. I almost said no, but I figured that being 7:00 on a Sunday morning, not many people would even see it, so I agreed. ;) We chatted for a couple of minutes before they started filming. It was live TV, so I will never see it, which I'm kind of grateful for. Anyway, he just asked me a couple of questions, and then it was done!

I walked around a little bit, and then stood in the "warming tent" until it was time for the race. I was so excited when a few people recognized me from my blog, and came up to say hello! That alone made me happy that I decided to go to the race.

When it was time to head out for the first wave (pace of 10:00/mi and under), I wasn't really sure where to line up. I didn't have a goal for this race. I wanted to push my pace a little, but I knew there was no way I was going to PR (a 49:22 or faster time), so I just chose to line up next to the 55:00 pacer (that's an 8:51 pace). My second best 10K time was 55:05, so I thought I could aim to beat that if I was feeling good.

There were a ton of people in costume, which was fun to look at. I chatted with the woman next to me until the race started. As soon as I started running, I could feel something was wrong. I have arthritis in my back, and it's been bothering me quite a bit lately; when I started running, I felt a pain that felt just like the arthritis, only it was down on each side of my sacrum (bottom part of my spine). It was bilateral, and didn't feel like an injury; just a weird achy feeling. I briefly considered quitting right then, but I hoped that as I ran, it would loosen up and feel better.

The 55:00 pacer quickly passed me, so I just figured I'd aim for a finish time of under an hour. My first mile was 9:08. That pain in my sacrum was still bothering me, but it was getting a little better as I ran. I started focusing on passing people. My second mile was 8:44, and then I made it a mission to catch up to the 55:00 pacer.

The whole time I was running, I had deja vu from my last 10K, the ShamRock 'N' Roll run. It was the exact same course, and I remembered each turn. I remembered catching a glimpse of the 50:00 pacer, and making it a mission to catch up to him. Today was basically the same thing, only five minutes slower.

At around mile 4.75, I passed the 55:00 pacer. I still had about a mile and a half to go, so I decided to try and hit a sub-54:00 time. I pushed myself to finish strong. Just before the finish line, I heard someone yell to me and wave (Lorenda??) and then I crossed the finish line. My Garmin read 53:37, so I was happy with that. I immediately doubled back to try and find the woman who yelled to me, but I couldn't find her (there were thousands of people there!). So I got in line for my Triple Crown medal. There were only a few people ahead of me, but after I got mine, the line was about a hundred people long! I asked a stranger to take my picture.


At the food tent, I was thrilled to see bagels from Panera. I took a Pumpkin Pie bagel and a banana. I ate the banana right away, but saved the bagel for lunch later. By that time, I was freezing, so I just headed back to my car. I watched the start of the 5K on my way back, to check out all the creative costumes.

My fingers weren't working very well when I got back to my car, so I just sat there for a few minutes thawing out. I looked at my splits, and was very happy with how well I did, considering I just ran a marathon two weeks ago, and I was having an issue with my back today.


I love the shirts that we got! They are long-sleeved, quarter-zip pullovers. The medals were pretty nice, too!


I looked up my "official" time when I got home, and it was 53:31 (8:38/mi pace).

Doing this race reminded me of how much I love the 10K distance. The 10K race is, by far, my favorite. It's short enough that it's over with quickly, you don't have to carry fuel, and I can run it without training for it; but it's long enough that it doesn't feel like a hardcore sprint, like a 5K. I wasn't planning to do much racing next year, but maybe I'll focus on 10K's, and MAYBE I'll even try for a PR (which feels impossible at this point, but hey, it could happen!).

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Running Lingo

I've been meaning to write this post for a very long time. Some questions I get asked all the time are questions about running: What does PR mean? What's a tempo run? What the heck does 6 x 400 mean? and stuff like that. So I thought it would be fun to write a post to explain the basics.



Common Race Distances

5K (kilometers)= about 3.11 miles
10K= about 6.21 miles
15K= about 9.32 miles
Half-Marathon= about 13.11 miles
Marathon= about 26.22 miles

Common Terms

Pace- The speed that you're running, usually referred to in minutes per mile. For example, "My goal was to run a 9:30 pace for the 5K" would mean that I was hoping that my average time would be 9 minutes and 30 seconds for each mile of the 5K race.

Pacer- A lot of big races use "pacers" to help runners reach their time goals. The pacer runs a particular pace throughout the entire race in order to finish at a very specific time. For example, a 4:00 pacer at a marathon will finish the race in four hours; if you stick with him/her, then you don't have to focus on your watch to meet your goal time of 4:00.

Cadence- The number of steps taken per minute.

Taper- The final few days to few weeks leading up to a race, where you reduce mileage and/or hard effort runs. Typical tapers for common distances are 3-5 days for a 10K, 7-10 days for a half-marathon, and 2-3 weeks for a marathon. The purpose of the taper is to allow your muscles to recover and prepare for the hard effort of the race itself. 

PR- This stands for "personal record", also known as PB (personal best). It refers to your fastest finish time for a particular race distance. For example, "I'm hoping for a PR at the 10K this weekend"; that means that my goal is to run the 10K faster than I ever have previously.

Splits- Dividing one run or race into smaller parts (usually one mile). Each part is called a "split".

Negative Splits- Each split gets faster as you run. For example, running a 5K with mile splits of 9:50, 9:42, and 9:31 are negative splits. A negative split race is when you run the second half of the race faster than the first half. Negative splits are a good thing; it shows that you finish strong!

Positive Splits- Where each split gets slower as the run progresses. For example, a 5K with mile times of 9:45, 9:53, and 10:03 would be positive splits. Despite the "positive" name, it's not good to have positive splits ;)

Common Types of Running/Training Workouts

Easy pace runs- Running done at a conversational pace; you should be able to chat with a running partner, and not be gasping for breath. The majority of your running each week should be done at an easy pace.


Tempo runs (a.k.a. threshold or steady-state run)- Done at a pace that you could race for approximately one hour. Length of a tempo is usually 20-30 minutes, but could be as long as an hour. It should feel hard, but not all-out race pace. Usually shouldn't be done more than once a week.

Long runs- By RRCA standards, this is a run that is over 90 minutes long; but most runners use "long run" to describe their longest run of the week. Usually done once per week (or three times per month) at an easy, conversational pace.

Strides- Short bursts of speed for about 80-150 meters. These can be done on their own (a lot of runners use them to warm up before a race) or they can be done within a longer, easy run. They aren't meant to be an all-out sprint, but should be done at around 5K pace.

Intervals- A fast bout of running, followed by a slow jog (or walk) to recover; basically, alternating fast and slow speeds at regular intervals. Common interval distances are 400 meters (one time around a track, or about 1/4 mile), 800 meters, 1200 meters, and 1600 meters. Generally, the recovery jog is about half the distance of the speed interval (could be longer or shorter, depending on the goal of the workout).
Intervals are usually written like this: 8 x 400m at 90 seconds with 200m jogs (The "8" refers to the number of fast intervals; the "400m" is the distance of the fast intervals, 400 meters; the "90 seconds" is how long it should take to run the 400m; the "200m" is the distance of the recovery jog between the fast intervals. So you would run 400 meters (~1/4 mile) in 90 seconds, then jog slowly for 200 meters; and repeat for a total of 8 times.

Fartlek runs- Similar to intervals, but the bursts of speed aren't done at regular intervals. There is no specific distance or pace for each interval. You might see a tree ahead, and run fast to the tree, then slow down until you get to the next mailbox, and then run fast when you get to the corner store, etc. Impromptu and varied intervals.

Race Pace run- A run done at your planned pace for an upcoming race. "Race Pace" refers to the minutes and seconds per mile for the duration of the race.

C25K- Short for "Couch to 5K", which is a nine-week program to train a "couch potato" to run a 5K.

I could probably get way more in-depth on this, but I wanted to stick with the basics for now. Happy running!

Friday, October 25, 2013

From "fat" to "fast"

This cold weather won't let up! Unfortunately, my electric blanket chose this week to stop working. It was hard to make myself get out of bed this morning.

I've been doing my long runs on Sundays for the past several months, because I was following the Hansons Marathon Method, so it felt weird to do a long run today. I've always preferred to do my long runs on Fridays or Mondays, when the kids are in school, because it's easier for me to get away. Today, I knew I was going to do 8-12 miles, but that was as specific as I got before heading out. I wore my Cold Gear tights, a Cold Gear shirt with a jacket over it, an ear warmer headband, and gloves.

When I walked the boys to the bus stop, I could tell Noah was proud that I was a runner, which I thought was cute. He told me that his friends on the bus saw me yesterday, and they were "really impressed"; they said, "Wow, your mom is a FAST runner!" ;)

That made me think of a time when Noah was in preschool, and he told me that he wished that I wasn't fat. Being a preschooler, he didn't know that was an insensitive thing to say; preschoolers just call it like they see it! I hadn't realized that even at that age, he knew it was undesirable to be fat. He was embarrassed of me. And today, he gave me a hug before getting on the bus. It made me feel good!

I was freezing at the bus stop, so as soon as the kids got on the bus, I started running. I couldn't get warm. Usually, by a mile or two in, I'm warmed up. But it was kind of windy today, and I wasn't getting any warmer. The first few miles were tough, and I decided I would turn around at mile four, and just do eight miles (my minimum for a long run). I wasn't paying any attention to my pace, because I held a good pace yesterday and didn't want to get discouraged if I was running much slower today.

Mile four sneaked up on me, because my Garmin beeped and I wasn't prepared to cross the street and turn around. In that moment, I was feeling good, and I thought, "Maybe I"ll just go another mile before turning, and run 10 today..." so I kept running. When I turned around at mile five, the run felt a little easier, because I had a tailwind.

I felt great until I reached mile seven. Then I really wished I'd turned around at mile four, so I could be done after eight. My legs felt tired, but then once I only had a mile left, I picked up the pace quite a bit so that I could just get it done. I managed a sub-9:00 mile for the last mile.


I was dying to get warm. I took a hot shower, and then decided to spend my Activity PointsPlus on a bagel from Tim Hortons for breakfast. I got a cinnamon raisin bagel and a decaf coffee. When I got home, I put PB & Co. Cinnamon Raisin Swirl peanut butter on the bagel. It was a great way to spend 11 PP!



My cats have been cracking me up lately. Ever since I let Paolo drink water from the faucet in the bathtub, he's gotten spoiled. Whenever he hears me go into the bathroom, he runs in there, jumps in the tub, and starts meowing until I turn on the faucet. When I come in from a run, he knows I'm going to shower, so he runs in there to wait.

The other cats were curious about what the heck was going on in there, and they've been sitting on the side of the tub, watching Paolo like he has two heads or something. For a while, it was just Paolo drinking the water, and the other cats sitting on the edge of the tub watching. Then when Paolo would jump out, the other cats would eventually work up the courage to venture into the tub to see what the big deal was.


Phoebe and Estelle just sat there, completely fascinated, watching the water. Eventually, Chandler wanted to see what all the fuss was about, too. Estelle is always too scared to actually touch the water, but yesterday, Phoebe finally did. She started batting at it, like she would with a string. Her face was priceless! I wish I'd gotten a picture. She was so surprised that it was water, and not something that she could bat around. I wish I could hear the cats' thoughts.

When I was at the Purina ONE headquarters in St. Louis, we were told that cats love to drink from running water because it's more natural that way than sitting stagnant in a bowl. There are water fountains you can buy for pets, so that they have running water available without having to leave a faucet on, but I think they're pretty expensive. However, I've kind of spoiled Paolo by turning on the faucet whenever he wants water, so I may end up getting suckered into buying one!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My legs still work!

When I stepped outside this morning to take the kids to the bus stop, I almost slipped on ice! I can't believe that it was actually icy outside today, in October. Like yesterday, I just wore my running clothes to the bus stop, and as soon as the boys were on the bus, I started my run from there.

I had five miles on the schedule, and I was hoping for a good run today. Mentally, I think I really needed to feel that good runner's high. I've been feeling so discouraged since the marathon, because I've been sluggish and my eating has been crappy. A good run always puts me in a good mood, and makes me want to eat better.

When I started running, I still felt like my legs were tired. Not quite as bad as yesterday, though. After the second mile split, I saw that my pace had picked up a little, and I actually started to feel even better by mile three. I thought how good it would feel to be able to run a sub-9:00 mile, so I put in some more effort. I finished mile three in 8:48.

By then, I'd gotten faster with each split, so I wondered if I could hit mile four with a negative split as well. I hit mile four in 8:32. And of course, since I'd run all negative splits up to that point, I wanted to finish mile five just a little faster. I put in some serious effort and managed to run the fifth mile in 8:07!

Five miles at an 8:45 average pace, all negative splits... I felt fantastic! That was JUST what I needed to boost my spirit.


When I was done, I was thinking about how my run reminded me of that scene in Forrest Gump--the one where he starts running away from the kids who were bullying him. At first, he's barely hobbling because of the braces on his legs; then he starts to get a little smoother, and more confident; and soon, the braces fall off into pieces, and he's running like the wind ;)  Bahaha, that's kind of what happened to me today. I started out feeling a little clumsy and tired, but by the end, I felt like I flew through it.

I felt great all day. In the afternoon, I decided to take my brother's dog, Bailey, for a walk. My mom is dog-sitting her right now because Nathan is deer hunting. Bailey was super excited when I got out her leash. We walked from my mom's house, over to the woods behind my house, and then on the access road. I stopped to take her picture for my brother. 


She was so good, and just sat there while I took a few pictures. I'm definitely more a cat person than a dog person, but sometimes I really wish I had a dog just for going on walks. It was fun taking her on a walk today!

Nathan told me today that he's not going to be able to run the Monroe Half-Marathon. His hip isn't getting any better. I'm super bummed for him, because he was pretty excited about doing it. But I suggested that he let his hip get better, and plan on running the Glass City Half-Marathon in April. My sister and her husband are running their first full marathon there, and I'm running the last leg of the relay. Maybe I can convince my older brother, Brian, to do the half, too. It would be fun if all four of us did it!

So anyway, I'm not sure what my plan is for the Monroe Half now. I'm not registered yet, but I definitely want to do it, because it's the first half in my hometown. I was planning to offer to pace Jessica to a sub-2:00 half, but I honestly don't feel very confident that I can even run a sub-2:00 half that soon after the marathon. I guess I'll just figure it out before the race, and see how I feel. I'll probably just end up running at an easy, enjoyable pace, and maybe find some people to chat with. I know a lot of people who are running that day.

My run was great today, my eating was great today, and I just felt awesome all day. Definitely a mood booster!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hello, Winter

It was another cold morning today. It's almost like we skipped right from "tank top" running weather to "Cold Gear and fleece" weather, without my favorite middle ground (long sleeves, but no hat or gloves required-weather).

Anyway, I contemplated taking a rest day, but I actually really wanted to run, especially because it was only three miles. I've been feeling huge lately, ever since I finished the marathon. I was eating a LOT when I was marathon training, and wasn't gaining weight, but now that training is over, I'm still trying to regulate my appetite. Mentally, I want to eat just as much as I was before; but logically, I know I can't do that without gaining weight. Like I mentioned, I had a bad weekend, and ate pretty much everything in sight; and I've been afraid to get on the scale ever since.

I should probably just face the scale and move on, but because my running mileage has been cut in half, I feel like I've gained a hundred pounds. I could certainly increase my mileage, but after running 50+ miles a week for a few months, I am looking forward to a break. So after a few days of not counting (or caring) what I ate, I am back on track and hopefully after a few days of being on track, I won't feel so big and out of shape (I'm not saying I AM big and out of shape; I just feel that way right now, because I've been eating badly and not running much).

I got completely ready to run, and then took the kids to the bus stop. As soon as they were on the bus, I started my Garmin and ran from there instead of my house; just did a simple out-and-back route. Again, my shoes felt like they had lead in them. My legs just didn't want to move! I was putting in a lot of effort, but my pace was still in the mid-9:00's.


The crappy eating over the weekend probably had something to do with feeling sluggish, too, so hopefully in a few days, I'll feel perkier!

After my run, I ate a quick breakfast. I had plans to meet Renee for coffee at Panera at 9:30. I had a free espresso drink on my Panera Rewards card, so instead of getting regular decaf coffee, I got a non-fat decaf latte (unsweetened). It was really good, and definitely worth spending a couple of PointsPlus on.

I chatted with Renee for a little bit, and then Jessica and Andrea joined us. It was nice to get out and have some grown-up conversation for a while ;)  I left straight from there to go to my mom's house for lunch. My mom invited my two favorite aunts over for a Javanese lunch--one of my favorite meals (that I don't have very often). It's rice and chicken, with a ton of toppings--gravy, cheese, pineapple, coconut, sliced almonds, green onions, celery, and fried rice noodles.


It's a fun way to do a potluck with friends, because you can just tell each person to bring one item, and it makes an awesome lunch.

When I got home, I was absolutely freezing. It was that kind of cold that just goes right to your bones. And it was actually snowing outside! I decided I wanted soup for dinner--I wanted something very hot! My mom mentioned stuffed pepper soup, and I had a ton of bell peppers in the fridge, so I looked up a simple recipe and threw it together pretty quickly. I used this recipe, but I used white rice instead of brown, ground turkey instead of beef, beef broth instead of chicken broth, about triple the amount of peppers. It was amazing!


I love soup season. I think this weekend, I'll start coming up with some more soup ideas and recipes to try out this fall/winter.

Well, I better go read my book. I just got notice that my library book is due in 3 days, and I am only on page 28!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Decisions

I have been SO tired lately, but can't sleep past 4:00-5:00 in the morning. It's driving me crazy! Last night, I fell asleep on the couch at 8:15--and I never fall asleep on the couch. But because I went to bed so early, I was wide awake at 4:00 this morning.

It was very cold this morning--34 degrees, but with the wind chill, it was a "feels like" temp of 28. At first, I dressed in my Cold Gear tights and a long-sleeved shirt to run; but I took the kids to the bus stop, and couldn't stop shivering, so I went home and put a fleece jacket over it, a Bondiband over my ears, and gloves on my hands. That was much better!

I don't really have a running schedule right now, since I'm not training for anything, so I just decided to run three miles today. I figured that I could do it fast, because I'm used to running a lot farther than three miles. I started running, and when I got to the end of the street, I guessed my pace to be about 8:00/mi.

BAHAHA, when I looked at my Garmin, it was actually a 9:17 pace. I felt like I was going fast, and I was breathing hard; I guess my body is still hungover from the marathon. I wanted to push myself a little today, so I kept running (what felt) hard. I thought the run would fly by, because I'm so used to running for at least an hour; but it felt like a very long time.


Looking at my heart rate chart made me laugh. Can you tell where I encountered an unleashed black lab, who scared the crap out of me? ;)


I feel kind of lost running without a schedule. I planned to just run whenever I felt like, for whatever distance I felt like, but that isn't as fun as I thought it would be. I like knowing exactly how far I'm running each day.

So today, I made a loose schedule. I was looking back at last year's running, after I finished the Detroit Marathon. I got really fast over the winter! By February/March, I was running a consistent 8:15-8:30-ish pace, and 8:40-ish for my long runs. I was basically just running 3-4 miles, 4 times a week, and a long run of 8-12 miles, once a week.

So here is what I came up with today:

Monday- 5 miles easy
Tuesday- 3 mile tempo
Wednesday- rest or 3 miles easy
Thursday- 5 miles easy
Friday- 8-12 miles long
Saturday- rest
Sunday- speed work (3 miles)

I've liked running six days a week, per the Hansons' Marathon Method, but I don't know if I'll want to do that every week; so I'm giving myself an option on Wednesdays whether or not to run.


My sister told me about something her Weight Watchers leader was talking about in a meeting, and it made so much sense that I wanted to share it here. She was talking about the difference choices you have to make about food all day long, and how it's so hard to resist things sometimes.

She said that when you are at the grocery store, and you want to buy something that you know will tempt you, you only have one decision to make: you either choose to buy it or you don't. If you DO buy it, then you have to bring it home and you have a lot more decisions to make. You have to choose to eat it or not; choose how much to have, and how often; and it might beckon to you all day, where you will have to continue to make choices about that one little item.

However, if you choose NOT to get it while you're at the store, that's the only time you'll have to make a decision about it. Yes, it's a hard decision to make when you really want something, but you only have to make that decision that one time, and then when you get home, you don't have to worry about it anymore.

This hit home for me, because I almost always have good intentions when I'm at the grocery store. If I buy, for example, Nutella, I don't buy it with the intention of eating the whole jar in one day. When I put it in my cart, I think, "I can measure out a couple of tablespoons to put on an English muffin for breakfast each day," or something like that.

But then, when I get home, it's all I can think about! I might resist the urge to grab a spoonful for a while, but eventually, I cave in and eat way too much. But if I had just decided not to get it in the first place, yes, it would be a hard decision NOT to buy it, but then I wouldn't have to make that decision again until I was at the grocery store again. It wouldn't tempt me, because it wouldn't be in my house!

I know this information is nothing knew, but the way my sister described it to me made me think of it differently. You can make one decision in the moment, of you can go crazy by constantly having to make decisions about one little item. It's definitely helped me to think differently when I'm at the grocery store!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Motivational Monday #37

I don't know what the heck came over me this weekend, but my self-discipline went right out the window, and I pretty much had a free-for-all with my meals all weekend. At the time, I just had a carefree attitude about it, but I really regret it now. Going that far off track just makes it even harder to get back ON track. But I'm going to do it!

I did go for my first post-marathon run today. I had a ton of energy... until I started running. I couldn't believe just how tired my legs felt! I thought I was flying along at an 8:00/mi pace, and then I saw it was more like a 9:30/mi pace ;)  I know that's totally normal after running a marathon. I'm just going to take it at an easy pace for a few weeks until I decide to start training again. But it was really nice to get out there today!

There were lots of people doing races this weekend! Check it out:


Amy completed her first half-marathon on Saturday! Just a year ago, she was struggling in her couch to 5K group. She had a goal to run a 5K on Thanksgiving, and it seemed impossible at the time--but she did it. She caught the running bug, and eventually set her sights on a half-marathon. When she reached the top of a hill at mile 12.5 on Saturday, she actually started to tear up, realizing that she was going to do it. Just before reaching the finish line, she saw a big group of people from her running group who had already finished, and wanted to stay and cheer her on. She says she went into "the ugly cry" (which is when they took the photo). Over the past year, she's lost 85 pounds, going from couch potato to half-marathon runner! Definitely something to be proud of.



Christina, and her running partner, Joe, were registered to run their first marathon on October 6th--but it was cancelled by a blizzard! As an alternative race, they chose the Rock 'n Roll Denver marathon, but were nervous they may not make the course cutoff time of 6 hours. She's very proud to say that they finished! The tail vehicle was right behind them, and even made them get up on the sidewalk at around mile 24, but they persevered and finished in 6:06!



Dean ran his first half-marathon yesterday--the Detroit Free Press International Half! His goal was to finish under 2:45, but based on his training, he was secretly hoping for 2:35. He ended up crushing that goal with a finish time of 2:23:41! (And in Dean's words: "To top it all off, my wife and I also got to meet Runs for Cookies herself and 'Mr. Runs for Cookies',  aka Jerry, which was a blast as you all heard about from her post on Saturday.")



Jacinda and her husband have been together for 10 years (married for 7) and had wanted to get pregnant just after getting married. Being overweight, Jacinda had a hard time and just wasn't able to get pregnant. This year, at her highest weight of 293.4, she decided to try and get the weight off in hopes of being able to start a family. She signed up with a personal trainer, and started working out regularly; she even dropped 20 pounds, and completed a 5K with her husband. She still had her struggles, but vowed to stay positive and stick it out. In early September, after seven years of trying, Jacinda and her husband found out that they are expecting!



Jennifer, and her husband, Dennis, ran their second half-marathon this weekend--the Detroit Free Press International Half! They finished with a PR of 2:32, taking 12 minutes off of last year's time. She was proud that they were able to run the entire course, even with the inclines (the bridge and tunnel to/from Canada are tough!). She said she saw me at mile eight, and yelled to me, but I didn't hear her because there was "a really loud guy" next to me, bahaha ;)



Kali signed up for her first half-marathon (The Detroit Free Press International Half) before she'd ever even run a mile--and yesterday, she completed it! She started training in April, and ran her first 5K in June. Since she started training, she's even dropped 25 pounds! Her best friend, Kim, ran by her side the entire way. Her goal was to finish under 3 hours, and she crossed the finish line in 2:59:45! (And that included a pit stop to introduce herself to me halfway through the course, which was so fun for me!)  Right now, she's feeling sore, euphoric, and very proud of her accomplishment.



Kelsey just completed her first 10K race in over a year. She's training for a half-marathon, and her sister encouraged her to do this race as part of her training. She was the last person to finish, and while she was on the course, they started putting away the signs. She told the volunteers that she could just quit, but they told her to go ahead and finish. Even though she had headphones on, she heard some comments about "Someone is still on the course..." and she felt very discouraged. However, she never gave up! She finished, running the entire way, and she's proud that she kept moving.



Lizi, and her sister, Katie, came full circle this weekend when they ran their first half-marathon--exactly a year after running their first 5K together! A year ago, they never imagined they'd be running a half-marathon this year; in fact, Lizi said she wasn't even sure she wanted to do another 5K after her first ;)  But the two have lost a combined 60 pounds over the last year, and can now cross "half-marathon" off the old bucket list! 

Laura and her husband ran their first 10K on Sunday! She's thrilled with the improvement in her pace--in July, she ran a 5K at an 11:30/mi pace; yesterday, she ran the 10K with an 11:08/mi pace. She was nervous right up until the start of the race, but her husband kept encouraging her, and she did great!




Don't forget to check out the Motivational Monday Facebook post for more stories!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Detroit Free Press Marathon spectator report

I woke up at 5:00 this morning to get ready to drive up to Detroit to spectate the Detroit Free Press Marathon. I ran the race last year, and would have loved to run the half-marathon this year, but it wouldn't have been a good idea since I just ran the Chicago Marathon a week ago. I didn't want to miss out, though, so I decided to go cheer on the runners.

I brought a couple of signs (one said, "The faster you run, the sooner you're done" and the other was my favorite sign that I saw while running in Chicago: "Remember when you thought you couldn't do this?"), as well as a couple of cowbells for Jerry and I.

We were a little late getting out the door, so we arrived in Detroit at 7:00--which is when the race started. We decided just to skip the starting line and head right to mile eight. Mile eight is just after the runners come out of the tunnel from Canada back into the U.S. We parked what ended up being kind of far from that spot, so we decided to try out the People Mover (a little train that goes overhead around the city). Neither of us had ever used it before, but it's not a complicated set of trains or anything--it's just one train a few cars long that goes in circles around one track. Foolproof, even for me.


The People Mover took us right where we needed to be. We found a  spot to hang out for a while, and as soon as we got there, the wheelchair participants were coming through--perfect timing! I was absolutely freezing by that point. I had on jeans, three long-sleeved shirts, a hat, and gloves, but my feet and hands were numb. I started bouncing around, ringing the cowbells, trying to stay warm.

Maybe it's because I just got back from Chicago, but I was kind of surprised at how unenthusiastic the spectators were at that spot. It seemed they would cheer only for the runner they were there to support, but other than that, they were pretty quiet. Jerry is great in a situation like that, because he's loud. The runners seemed to love him, and a lot of people went out of their way to go high-five him for his enthusiasm. We were high-fiving the runners, and cheering for them by name, if they had their names on their shirts. It was so fun!

Jerry later told me that the people next to him were talking about him. A woman was complaining loudly to her husband that "the guy next to her" was "too loud and annoying". He told her, "I know he's loud, we can move somewhere else." Basically, a passive aggressive way of telling Jerry to shut up. Jerry just started dancing around and yelling louder. I wish I'd have heard them, because I would have spoken up in Jerry's defense.

I think I can speak for most runners when I say that we LOVE loud spectators. Running 26.2 (or 13.1) miles can be pretty boring, and we look forward to the crowds to distract us. My favorite spectators are the ones that are super loud and kind of crazy, making me laugh. If the people next to us wanted peace and quiet, they shouldn't have gone to a "spirit zone" of the marathon, where it's supposed to be loud.

Anyway, my favorite part of the day was when a reader, Kali, recognized me (she was running the international half-marathon) and came over to say hi and take a picture with me. It doesn't happen often, but I love to get to meet readers at races!


Rather than moving on to another spirit station, I decided I wanted to stay there until the last person came through. I'm really glad we stayed! There was a large family next to us who got very excited when they saw their runner coming through, and when the woman saw them, she burst into tears and ran over to see them. Naturally, I started crying at the sight of them. She seemed like she was really struggling (she was walking, and toward the back of the pack). I later searched for her by first name on the results, because I was hoping to see that she finished. I'm not 100% sure the person I found in the results was her, but if it is, she stopped somewhere between the 8-10 mile mark of the half-marathon, and didn't finish. That makes me feel bad!

The barricade next to us was open just a little, and we actually saw a few people who quit the race at that point. We were cheering for them, and they said, "Oh, thanks, but we're done doing this," and just walked out. They didn't seem like they were having a hard time or anything, so I was surprised they would just quit like that at mile eight of the half-marathon.

When it was getting close to the point of reopening the tunnel to car traffic (and therefore, kicking off the runners/walkers that weren't meeting the pace requirement), Jerry and I were the ONLY people left on the side cheering. It was pretty sad that those people in the back of the pack didn't have a single soul to cheer them on. So we made sure to cheer for every single person, and a lot of people thanked us for staying there. One woman even said to her friend, "We have cheerleaders! Nobody ever stays to cheer for us!" and they laughed.

The last-chance pacer came through, along with a couple of people next to her, and then the road was reopened. I had plans of going to mile 19 to set up for a while, but it was a 50-minute walk. By the time we'd get there, some of our friends would have been finishing the race, so we decided just to go to the finish line. We took the People Mover back to the finish line and found a spot at the 13-mile/26.1-mile mark. My throat was so sore from yelling, so I just rang the cowbells for a while. Stephanie sent me a text, and it turns out she was there, too. So I met up with her for a minute, and she took a couple of cute pics of Jerry and me.



I saw a couple of women finishing the international half-marathon, and I loved their shirts. On the front, one of them said "50 pounds down" and on the back, it said, "She inspires me", with an arrow pointing to the other woman; and on the back of the other woman's shirt, it said "She inspires me", with an arrow pointing to her friend.

The finishers' chute is a little confusing, because there are people from the marathon, the international half-marathon, the domestic half-marathon, and the marathon relay all finishing at the same time. We saw Jerry's friend, Jason, finish the marathon; I missed Dean's finish and my friend Tammy's finish of the international half-marathon, unfortunately; I saw my cousin Julie finish the marathon; and I saw Jessica finish the domestic half.

As soon as we saw Jessica finish, we decided to leave. I would have loved to stay and cheer on the last people, but we had to get home to pick up the kids. The day was so fun, though! I absolutely loved being a spectator; Jerry did, too, and asked if there's another race we can go to soon. It was really fun to see things from a different perspective.

If you want to be inspired, I highly suggest seeking out a local race, picking up a cowbell and a poster board, and go give high-fives and yell loudly to the runners/walkers. I got a lot of comments on the "Remember when you thought you couldn't do this?" sign. Some people told me they had doubts right up until the start of the race. The most inspiring part was watching some of these people cross the finish line. Now that I've been running for a while, and have crossed a lot of finish lines, I guess I forgot just what a big deal it is to cross that line for the first time! It was amazing to watch.

I also have a whole new appreciation for the people that go cheer on the runners at races. I'm more tired and sore after spectating than I get after running! My throat hurts from yelling, my hands hurt from holding the signs and cowbells, I woke up just as early as the runners, I was freezing, and I walked quite a distance (not to mention 10 flights of stairs in a parking garage). But as a runner, I know how much I appreciate the crowd support, so it was fun change it up today!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Meeting Dean

Well, I didn't end up running today. I was really looking forward to going for a run, but when I woke up, it was raining. Normally, I don't shy away from running in the rain, but I haven't run in a week, and I was really excited about going out in the nice fall weather; the rain was not at all what I had in mind, especially considering it was only 40 degrees.

So instead, I took a hot shower and decided to return to running on Monday (tomorrow, I'm leaving at 5:30 in the morning for Detroit). Something about my plans changing gave me a bad attitude about staying on track today. I just threw all of my good intentions out the window, and didn't track a single bite today.

It rained ALL day long. The kids went to my parents' house, so Jerry and I sat and watched a new-to-us show on Netflix (holy crap, have you seen The Following, with Kevin Bacon? It's SO good! How have I never heard of it before?). We got some snacks, and some hard apple cider, and watched a few episodes.

We went over to my parents' house for lunch, but I didn't eat much there, because we had plans to go out to dinner in Detroit. We headed up to Detroit to meet Dean and his wife, Mandy, for dinner at Hockeytown Cafe. To make a bad eating day worse, I ordered a reuben for dinner; I hadn't had one of those in YEARS. It was about 2,786 PointsPlus, not including the fries it came with :/

But the main reason we went was to meet Dean and Mandy, who are both fantastic. Dean started running in November last year to help with his weight loss (he's down 90-ish pounds now), and he listened to the Runner Academy podcast (the episode with Rik and Ada from the From Fat to Finish Line Ragnar team). From that, he visited the Fat to Finish Facebook page, and that led him to our blogs--which is how he found mine.

He ran his first 5K, and e-mailed me a photo for Motivational Monday. And he's sent a few more updates since then, both with his weight loss and his running. I thought he might like the new challenge of running a Ragnar, and asked him to join the Ragnar SoCal team. Since his first half-marathon is tomorrow, in Detroit, of course I wanted to meet up with him in person!


It sounds like quite a few readers are going to be running in Detroit tomorrow, so please make sure you say hi if you see me! I'll be hanging out at mile 8 (just after the tunnel into the U.S.), and again at mile 19 (or mile 6 of the domestic half-marathon). And probably other places, too. I'm just as excited to be a spectator as I would be if I was a runner--Jerry and I are both looking forward to it!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pumpkin Patch

I decided to get on the scale this morning, now that I've been home for a few days. Normally, I weigh in on Wednesdays, but I was feeling really puffy on Wednesday, so I decided to hold off for a couple of days. Better late than never! I just didn't want to get discouraged if my weight was up after the marathon. Anyway, I was happy to see that I was at 135 today.


It was really hard not to be a total pig when I went to Illinois. I stayed on track for the most part, although I did end up going way over my PointsPlus for the week. I didn't feel too badly about it, though, because I did run a marathon while I was there! ;)

This whole week has been really tough because I haven't earned any Activity PointsPlus (and I always eat my Activity PP). I'm used to earning about 8-14 PP a day, depending on how far I run. But since I'm resting/recovering this week, I've had to cut back on how much I've been eating. It's a drastic shift, to go from 50+ miles per week of running to ZERO.

Tomorrow, I return to running, and I'm actually looking forward to it. I'm not going to start training for anything; I'm just going to run when and how far I feel like it. The weather has been perfect for running this week, about 40 degrees in the mornings, and I've been missing out!

If you're squeamish, skip this paragraph... I had a dream last night that I finally lost a toenail. I've trained for (and run) three marathons, and I've yet to lose a toenail! The nail on my toe with the tattoo on it was very sore after the race. When I got back to my sister's house, I looked at it and it was pretty swollen. There was a blister under the nail, which is what causes nails to fall off eventually. I used a needle to break the blister, and the swelling went down immediately. It's bruised now, and it doesn't hurt as badly as it did right after the race, but it hurts. I keep wondering if it's going to fall off, which is probably why I dreamed about it. 

I have a 10K race a week from Sunday, but I'm just running that for fun. I don't think I'll EVER beat my current 10K PR (49:23, which is a 7:57/mi pace), and it's a Halloween race (the Wicked Halloween Run in Plymouth), so it's more about dressing up and having fun than "racing" anyway. I would like to dress up, but I have no idea what to wear. If nothing else, I'll just wear my muscle tights; they're easy to run in, fun to wear.

I have the Monroe Half-Marathon on November 10th, also, with my brother. He injured his hip, so he's been doing more biking than running to train, but he says he still wants to try doing the half. I don't know yet if he wants me to run alongside him, or just do the race and meet up later (I'm hoping he'll want me to run with him, but I'm guessing the latter).

Jerry and I are going out to dinner tomorrow night, so I'd like to earn some Activity PP for that. I'm going to be meeting Dean, from my Ragnar SoCal team, and his wife. We haven't met in person yet, so I'm excited to meet him! You may remember him from Motivational Monday; he's been losing weight and increasing his running, and has shared a few milestones. On Sunday, he'll run his first half-marathon race, the Detroit Free Press International Half! He and his wife are staying in Detroit tomorrow night, so we're going to meet up with them at the Hockeytown Cafe for dinner.

After dinner today, Jerry and I took the boys to the apple orchard so they could pick out a pumpkin. The boys had fun running through the field in search of good pumpkins, and luckily, they found two they liked. The smell of fresh doughnuts there was irresistible to me, so I ended up getting one. They were pretty small, though--perfect for a treat on a non-run day. Jerry got some hot cider, and I had a sip of that--it was delicious!


I think it's crazy that it's already mid-October. I was so focused on marathon training that the time flew by, and Halloween is almost here!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Interesting finds

I had a better day today as far as my mood goes. I still feel like I have pent up energy and I would feel better if I run, but I'm going to wait until at least Saturday. I took a shower as soon as I woke up this morning, so I wouldn't be tempted to go out for a run.

After the kids went to school, I wasn't sure what to do with myself. I usually run! I somehow got the idea to make a shirt to wear to the Detroit Free Press Marathon on Sunday (I'm only spectating, not running). I asked on Facebook if any of my readers are going to be running the half or full marathon on Sunday, and quite a few people are! So I figured a Runs for Cookies shirt might help them recognize me.

It's going to be cold that day, so I made a sweatshirt instead of a t-shirt. I just bought a cheap $6 sweatshirt at Wal-Mart, and I used 2" stencils to trace the letters onto double-stick webbing. Then I cut the webbing and fabric together, and ironed on the letters. I sewed just on the side around each letter.


The letters look black here, but they are a dark denim from an old pair of jeans. I threw the sweatshirt in the washer when I was done, hoping the edges of the letters would fray a little, but it may take a few more washes. I think it turned out cute, and it was super easy and cheap to make!

I have a bunch of pictures on my phone that I took with the intention of writing about them, but just forgot to. So here is a random collection of this and that:


Remember when I wrote about The Kitchen Safe that was on Kickstarter? They were looking for backers, and I pledged $25. I thought it was a brilliant idea! (It's a small safe that only opens when the timer reaches 0. You can set it for however long you'd like. There is no way to open it until the time runs out.) So my Kitchen Safe came in the mail last week. I've managed to keep Nutella in my house without even eating it. I set the safe to open each morning at 8:00, in case I want Nutella with an English muffin or oatmeal for breakfast. I haven't wanted it, so I just reset it for another 24 hours. 



I saw this ChapStick at Wal-Mart yesterday, and had to get it. The Cake Batter one smells just like cake batter. I wasn't as crazy about the Velvet Cupcake, but it's kind of fun to have yummy flavors of ChapStick!


The kids always want to play games with Jerry and I, but I am sick to death of Go Fish and Uno. So we found this game called Beat the Parents. The kids are on a team, and the parents are on a team. You take turns asking each other trivia questions. The questions for the parents are stuff that the kids would probably find easy, but Jerry and I were clueless about--like the age of the man in the movie Up, for example. The questions for the kids are things that the parents would find to be a piece of cake--like "What type of animal is Black Beauty?" (my kids guessed "beast" hahaha). 

Anyway, the game was pretty fun, but the kids were beating us badly. It was definitely more fun than Uno!



While I was in Illinois, Jerry asked the owner of the corner store to special order my favorite beer. There are three well-known low-calorie beers: Miller 64, Bud Select 55, and LaBatt's 52. Well, when I was losing weight, I discovered that regular old Beck's Premier Light only has 64 calories. It's not marketed as a low calorie beer, though.

I'm not a big beer drinker (obviously, since I choose to drink the carbonated water low calorie beers!), but when I do drink it, my favorite is the beer in the green bottles that kind of smells like skunk. ;)  Heineken is an easy one to find, but even the light one has 4 PointsPlus. So I was excited that Jerry was able to get this for me--it's 2 PP per bottle, and I like it much better than the other low-calorie beers.

Somehow, Jerry got me to switch from wine and chocolate
to beer and pretzels for a bedtime snack lately.


Noah brought home an Asian pear from my parents' house one day, and I had never tried one before. He kept raving about it, and he asked me to cut it up for him. While I was cutting it, I took a bite, and I immediately fell in love. They are SO good! They look like a giant yellow-ish apple:


And this is what they look like when cut up:


They taste very sweet, and have a lighter, fruitier taste than other pears. The flavor almost reminds me of a melon. The texture is like a cross between an apple and a pear. Actually, these are marketed at the store as "Apple Pears". Anyway, my mom ordered a tree for her house, and asked if I wanted one, too. So I'm hoping that in a few years, we'll have fresh Asian pears on our tree!

Anyone else discover any interesting finds lately? Feel free to share in the comments!

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