June 30, 2014

Motivational Monday #67

Happy Motivational Monday, Friends! I hope your week is off to a great start. I'm so glad that today is the last day of my June challenge. If you don't remember, I set a goal to get in 12,000 steps per day for all of June. It was hard!

I managed to do it every single day until the 21st. That was the day that Jerry and I drove up to northwestern Michigan, and I just wasn't even close to getting in my steps that day. After breaking the streak, I wasn't so motivated for the last week or so, and there were a few more days that I didn't hit 12,000. However, I did get 12,000+ steps for 25/30 days. So I didn't hit my June goal entirely, but I am happy with what I did.

I really like doing monthly goals like this. It gives me something to focus on other than the stupid scale (which is NOT my friend right now). So I'm going to pick a new goal for July: Stick to two alcoholic beverages per week. Summertime always makes me think of sipping cold beer or margaritas on the deck (which likely leads to snacking...). I don't want to cut out ALL drinks, but I think two drinks a week is a good goal. Maybe I'll get creative with some mocktails made with club soda ;)

Anyway, what have you all done this week to make you feel proud?

Kayse ran a half-marathon... on her birthday! She ran the Mayor's Half Marathon in Anchorage, Alaska, and even with the pouring rain, wind, mud, and moose, she had a blast. Her sister made her a shirt that said, "Today I run for cake"which was a great conversation starter during the race. Next year, Kayse plans to run the full marathon the day before she turns 30! (Kayse's race report)

Tiina just completed her second marathon--shaving 15 minutes off of the finish time of her first! She ran the Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, and despite being June, there was actually a hypothermia risk because of the temps that day. She met up with a blogger-friend at the starting line, and the two discovered they were going to run about the same pace, so they decided to run together. It was a tough run, but they kept moving forward, and finished in 6:07:26. A PR for both of them! (Tiina's race report)

In October 2013, something snapped (literally) in Krista, and she made some serious changes in her lifestyle--and has since lost 50 pounds! She had just gotten home from vacation, and was heading to work with a little bounce in her step. She stepped off the porch, and heard a snap, and then felt shooting pain in her calf. It turned out that she had torn a tendon in her calf, and it was likely that her weight had played a part in it. She immediately changed her eating habits, started counting calories, and working out 4-6 days a week. As part of her workout routine, she's been walking 2.5 miles 2-3 times per week, and is just starting the Couch to 5K program!

Jennifer just finished her THIRD marathon in eight months! She just started running 18 months ago, and wants to continue as long as she is able. It's been fun "watching" her on this journey. She started running at the time when I was in Key West for Ragnar! :)  (GREAT finish line photo!)

Rebecca is celebrating all kinds of accomplishments, and she has every reason to be. She's lost 131 pounds! She started running in September, and today she ran her farthest distance yet--nine miles. As of this morning, she's logged 93 miles for the month of June!

Don't forget to check out the Motivational Monday Facebook post for more stories :)  If you have a photo you'd like to share for Motivational Monday next week, you can email it to me at: Katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com, with the subject Motivational Monday, and a brief description. Remember, it doesn't have to be a race or losing a ton of weight--any sort of health/fitness accomplishment that makes you feel proud is worth celebrating!

June 29, 2014

Tips for running (and training for) your first marathon

Since 26.2 miles is as far as I'm willing to run, this will be the final post in my series of training for particular race distances. If you're one of the crazies who is going to run an ultra, more power to you! But this is as far as I go ;)

Previous posts that you may find helpful:

Running Lingo (common running terms and phrases)
50 Running Tips
Tips for running (and training for) your first 5K
Tips for running (and training for) your first 10K
Tips for running (and training for) your first half-marathon
Guest post from my sister (who wrote a lot of tips for first marathoners)
My Favorite Running Things (clothing, fuel, etc.)

In this post, I am going to pretend you didn't read the 5K, 10K, or half-marathon post, because I really don't want to leave anything out. A full marathon is a BEAST, and I want to make sure I include everything that helped, whether I mentioned it before or not. If I forget something anyway, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email!

*Sounds obvious, but please don't make a marathon your first race. Ideally, do some 5K's, 10K's, and half-marathons before tackling a full.

*Don't think of a full marathon as "just like a half, only twice the distance"... because the full is an entirely different animal. Everything you thought you knew about your body during half-marathon training will likely change as you train for a full.

*Choose your race wisely, depending on your goals and personality. Do you want a large, crowded race with a ton of crowd support, or would you prefer a small, hometown feel? Are medals and shirts, and other race swag, important? Is there a time limit, and will you be able to finish within that allotted time? Do you want a trail race, lots of hills, or a Boston-qualifier? Fall or Spring? Just make sure you do your research to choose a race that fits your needs.

*Choose a training schedule that fits your wants/needs (or hire a running coach to write a schedule for you). I always recommend Hal Higdon's Novice 1 plan for beginners, but there are a lot of good plans out there. I've done three different plans for three different marathons, and my personal favorite is Hansons Marathon Method (you can read my review of it here). It's not practical for everyone, because it takes a lot of time. But the decision really depends on your own needs and wants!

*On a good training plan, most of your training will be at "easy pace", or "conversational pace". Basically, you should be able to carry on a conversation while running. You may do some speed work once a week, but the majority of your mileage is really all about the time spent on your feet, getting in those miles! Please read The Importance of the Easy Run.

*Prepare for marathon training to pretty much take over your life for 18 weeks. You will be thinking, eating, and breathing running for a few months!

*Use your long training runs as a way to test out what you're going to wear, eat, and drink on the big day. Dress in the clothes you'd like to wear for your race, experiment with different fuel options, and practice doing everything you would as if it was race day. It helps to see if you chafe with certain clothing, or your stomach rebels against Gu, or you can only handle a particular flavor or ShotBloks.

*Plan on using the water stations to your advantage during the race. Start fueling/hydrating as early as possible in the race (from the very first station!); you can look up on the race website exactly where the water stations will be, so that you can plan to practice fueling at those points during your long runs. I highly recommend eating or drinking something at every station from the very beginning, whether you feel like you need it or not. You are going to need that fuel later in the race, so stock up while you can!

*There is no fuel plan that is set in stone for you to follow, so you really have to find out what works for you. But here are a few helpful tips: 1) Don't take gels, chews, and/or Gatorade all together at the same time. Maybe consume a gel at mile 5, then Gatorade at mile 7, and chews at mile 9; but you should take time in-between. Consuming too much at once will cause stomach cramps. 2) Plan on fueling at every water station, whether it's with water, sports drink, gels, chews, or something else. 3) A good place to start is one gel (or the equivalent, about 100 calories of simple carbs) every 30-45 minutes or so. 4) A fuel plan is highly individual, so you really need to practice and see what works for you! (Here is a post from Runner's World that explains more)

*Running your first marathon is a very big deal, so if you want your family and friends there to support you, make sure you let them know! If they aren't runners, they probably won't know how important this is to you--so tell them. They won't know what you expect of them unless you spell it out.

*If you'd like, try to find a training partner to do your long runs with. Running 16, 18, or 20 miles is hard enough--but doing it alone takes a lot of mental strength! If you have a friend to run with, the miles will go by much faster, and you will probably train at the proper pace (a "conversational" pace is best for your long runs).

*You'll either need to carry water/fuel with you, or plant it along your route ahead of time, for your long runs. There are a number of ways to carry it with you, and everyone has different preferences. Personally, I adore my Camelbak Marathoner Vest for runs over 10 miles (here is my review of it); for shorter runs, I like my Amphipod Handheld water bottle. Some people prefer a hydration belt, which you wear around your waist to hold water bottles. It's up to you whether you want to wear it during the race itself or not. I usually decide that based on how many water stations there are, and how far apart they are during the race.

*Even if you forgo the hydration vest/belt/bottle for the race, you will probably want to carry some "stuff" with you--Gu, ShotBloks, other forms of fuel, your ID, a phone, etc. For the Detroit Free Press Marathon, we even had to carry passports to cross the border! There are a thousand different belts and pockets out there to choose from, but my personal favorite was actually recommended to me by a lot of my blog readers.

I bought one at the expo for the Chicago Marathon, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! It's called the FlipBelt, and it's basically a belt that you step into and pull up around your hips or waist. There are little slits in it to slide your stuff in. I was able to fit my driver's license, iPhone, 2-3 Gu's, and 2 full packs of ShotBloks... at the same time! It never bounces, and it fits flat against your body. Love this belt!

*If you are someone who thrives on spectator support, you may want to consider getting your name printed on the front of your shirt. You will likely get a lot of spectators cheering for you by name, which will give you some pep in your step!

*Be prepared for all types of weather on race day. If it's raining, have a friend or family member be ready with a dry pair of socks and shoes for you to change into on the course. If it's much more hot or humid than you expected (I feel so sorry for you--that's what happened at my first marathon), then plan on going much slower than you expected. Have some warmer back-up clothing prepared, just in case it's colder than you thought. Basically, prepare yourself for anything!

*I learned a harsh lesson during my first marathon, so hopefully I can spare someone else by sharing it here. For my first, it was 86 degrees and very humid, with a heat index of over 100 degrees. The race was "red flagged", meaning that runners should use extreme caution running in that heat. I was worried about dehydration, so I drank a TON--lots of water and Gatorade at each station, on top of my Gu and ShotBloks.

At mile 21, my stomach rebelled, and I needed a bathroom RIGHT NOW. I spent about 4 minutes in a disgusting portapotty, with the worst stomach cramps imaginable. I later learned that you should take small sips of fluid, rather than gulping a bunch at once, to avoid the cramping. Also, consuming sports drink AND gels or chews at the same time is a bad idea. You should do one or the other at each station, not both.

*Pick up your race packet the day before the race, and lay out everything you'll need for the race itself. Pin your bib on your shirt, get all of your fueling supplies ready and stocked in your belt, make sure your Garmin is charged up and ready to go, and make sure you have everything you'll need during the race.

*Get up early on race morning, and eat the breakfast you've been practicing with for weeks. Try not to get nervous, because that will make you feel (what I call) "poopy nervous". ;)

*Get to the race with plenty of time to spare, so you can go to the bathroom one last time, and you won't have to be rushing to the starting line. Better early than the stress of being late!

*Hydrate and fuel early and often during the race! But you have been practicing this all along, so it won't be anything new ;)

*DON'T GO OUT TOO FAST. I can't stress this enough! You will feel fantastic after a couple of weeks of tapering, but if you go out too fast, it WILL come back to bite you later.

*In the later miles of the race, be prepared to feel like quitting. Your body is going to scream at you to stop, and you will have thoughts of, "Fuck this! Why did I sign up for this?!" and "I PAID for this? How stupid am I?!" but you will regret is SO BADLY if you quit. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and remind yourself that it will be over with by lunch time ;)

What misery looks like during a marathon ;)

*As difficult as it may be in the moment, try to enjoy yourself. You're only going to run your first marathon once, so you want to make the best out of it!

*The last six miles are going to be very tough, but you CAN do it!

*When you cross the finish line, don't worry about stopping your Garmin. You don't want your finish line photos to be of you stopping the Garmin! Look at the camera, do something fun or goofy or inspiring, but just don't stop your Garmin until you've cleared the finish line by several yards.

Yes, I show this photo wherever appropriate, thankyouverymuch!

*Be prepared to be very sore, and take at least a week or two off of running entirely. Your legs will hurt like they've never hurt before. I had to use my arms to lower myself onto the toilet for a couple of days after my first marathon, because my legs were too sore!

*Celebrate!! You just ran 26.2 miles--something that less than 1% of the population will ever even attempt. You deserve some extra pampering and fun! Oh yeah, and now you can slap a "26.2" bumper sticker on your car, too ;)

June 28, 2014

Eight sweaty miles

Yesterday, I was hoping for a relaxing day, and I definitely got it. I didn't even have anything to write about, so I didn't post yesterday. After dinner, I only had about 3,000 steps for the day, and was really tempted to just forgo my 12,000 step goal and sit down with a glass of wine. I was feeling very "bingey" though, and I was afraid that I would eat everything in the house if I did that.

Instead, I made it a mission to get in all of my steps. First, I went outside and used a broom to get all the spiderwebs, cotton from the cottonwood trees, and fish flies off of the house. It actually took me about an hour. I was a mess when I was done, covered in cotton and grime, which was all pasted to the layer of sweat on my body (thanks to the awful humidity!).

I was dying to go inside, take a shower, throw on my pi's, and lounge in the air conditioning. But I hadn't accumulated many steps from cleaning the house, so I headed out for a long walk. I walked to my parents' house, and chatted with my mom and her neighbor for a little bit, then continued to walk the neighborhoods.

(I love that an Instagram filter will remove even the grossest of sweat and bug guts from my skin)

I arrived back at my house having just hit 10,000 steps. I was getting blisters from the shoes I was wearing, so I swapped them out and headed out for one more circle of my neighborhood. After four miles total, I had reached my 12,000 steps.

I couldn't get into the shower fast enough, and then I finally sat down in my pajamas with a glass of Cabernet. It tasted so much better knowing that I put it a ton of effort to get in my step goal for the day.

This morning, I had plans to get together with Stephanie for a long run. On her schedule was eight miles, and she said her pace has been around 11:00/mile, so I figured it would be a nice, relaxing run. Well, I'm sure it would have been, but when I got out to my car, I saw that the humidity made it do THIS:

You know the humidity is bad when even your car is sweating! I drove to the Metropark to meet Stephanie at 6:45. When she parked, I gave her a bottle of Chardonnay and a card that I had gotten her for after her marathon--I haven't seen her since, so I've been holding on to it all this time (and surprisingly I didn't drink it myself). She asked, "You ready?"

And that's when I realized I forgot my Garmin.

It was like all the birds and animals went silent. The waves of the lake stopped moving. The sticky breeze came to a halt. I forgot my Garmin. Is it even possible to run without a Garmin? Would my legs still move? What would happen if I couldn't glance down and see my pace? If you run without a Garmin, does it even count? What do you post to social media?! For the love of God, what was I thinking when I left the house?!!

Okay, enough with the dramatics ;)  Since I was running for fun, there was no need for a Garmin. And Stephanie had hers, so I could just use the info to plug in manually when I got home. No big deal. (But still, I felt so naked without it!)

We did an eight mile out-and-back, and I'm pretty sure I was completely soaked through with sweat by mile two. But it was nice having someone to chat with, and definitely made the time pass much faster than if I had run alone. We came across a couple of deer, who didn't seem at all scared of us. We got really close before they ran off the path and into the grass.

We took a 0.1-mile walk break after each mile after the turn-around, which helped a little. There were quite a few people out, mostly on bikes, but we saw a couple of other runners, too. There were a couple of older men on bikes that passed us, and they yelled, "There's ice cold beer waiting for you at the end!" Hahaha, I told him that I wish that were true. We finally made it back to the car--eight miles, run and done!

It was probably the most humid day we've had so far this year, but it was nice to run with a friend today!

June 26, 2014

Bubble wrap

What a day! The past few days have actually been pretty busy, and I'm looking forward to a relaxing day tomorrow. This morning, I set two alarms to make sure I was up for when my brother came over to run with me. After what happened last time, I didn't want to take any chances. I still didn't sleep well, and was looking at the clock all night.

I got up at 6:00 and dressed for our run. I sat outside until Nathan got here at around 6:15, and then we headed out for an easy three-miler. I know of about six different three-mile routes from my house, but I chose one that I figured we'd encounter the least amount of problems (cars, dogs, etc). Turned out to be a good choice!

The weather was nice this morning--not too hot, and the humidity wasn't bad either. It was nice for summer running.

The only bad part about the run was that there were fish flies all over the ground. In some spots, it sounded like we were running on bubble wrap, because the flies make a popping sound when you step on them. So gross!

Nathan just registered for the Detroit Free Press FULL Marathon. I was so shocked! But I think it's great for him. The race is in October, and he's on the third week of training. I'm registered for the international half, so of course I'm going to stay after and cheer him on. Nathan works a pretty wacky schedule, so I'm going to try and come up with a running plan for him.

Anyway, we finished our run at a faster pace than I would have run if I had been by myself, but it felt good ;) After I showered, I got the kids ready for football camp, and drove them there. We had plans to meet up with my friend Andrea and her kids at a park at noon (picnic and play time), and the kids' camp was until 11:30. So I went home to make our lunches.

I ended up making Quinoa Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing. I forgot just how good that is! It's such a strange combo of ingredients--quinoa, cabbage, cucumber, honey, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, and pepper flakes. I threw that in the fridge to cool off, and then went back to the football field to watch the boys play a scrimmage game for about a half hour, before going home to pick up our lunches and sunscreen, and all that good stuff for the park. Whew! Went back to pick up the kids, and then drove to the park.

The park was one that I'd never been to before, and it was really nice! It was tucked away in the middle of nowhere, really. They had picnic tables and a play area, as well as some baseball fields (which were locked, much to Eli's disappointment).

Andrea and her kids showed up, and we ate lunch and the kids played. With my kids' ages being 9 and 10, I am surprised they played for as long as they did. We stayed for about 2 1/2 hours! Afterward, I stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home, because Noah left his water bottle at the game yesterday, and needed a new one.

I am back to craving McDonald's vanilla cones all the time. I went through a phase last year where I couldn't get enough! They are only 170 calories (5 PointsPlus), so they are a much better choice than a flurry or something from the local ice cream shop. Anyway, this afternoon, Jerry and I took the kids to get a cone. Yum!

I've been in such a rut with meal ideas lately, and it's driving me crazy. I'm so tired of the same 20 or so dinners, but cooking new recipes means calculating all the nutrition info, which takes forever. It's so easy to go through my recipe book (where I've printed all my favorites with the nutrition info already calculated and attached). I really need to take some time to sit down and input a bunch of new recipes, at least for a week's worth.

Well, Jerry is off work, so we're going to watch Super Troopers tonight. I've never seen that movie, and Jerry and Nathan have convinced me that I need to. ;)

June 25, 2014

Eli's big chance

I'm really liking not having an actual running schedule! Yesterday wasn't a convenient day for me to run, so I just didn't. I've always had Wednesdays as my rest days, but today I had a great opportunity to run, so I did.

My kids have football camp this week--yesterday, today, and tomorrow, just for a couple of hours in the morning. So this morning, I dressed in my running clothes and then drove them to the football field. Once I signed them in, I just ran from there.

I've run around there before, so I knew that going around the block was exactly four miles. I planned to go at a nice easy pace, and try not to overheat ;)  The heat actually wasn't all that bad today. It was really humid, but mostly cloudy. The first mile went by really quickly, and I hoped the whole run would feel like that.

Almost as soon as I hit that first mile though, I was overwhelmed with fatigue. My body just didn't want to move, and I was really tempted to walk. But I was running into the wind, and I could see the corner ahead where I'd turn, so I just kept trying to talk myself into continuing to run. Once I turned, I saw that my pace was at 10:03/mile for that lap, so I decided to see if I could pick it up just enough to get it under 10:00.

Having something to focus on (first turning the corner, and then dropping the pace) made the time go by a little faster, and I started to feel a little better for the third mile. There were no shortcuts back to my car, so I just kept running, and tried to keep my pace under 10:00 for the rest of the way. That last mile felt like forever, but I finally got back to my car. Because of the humidity, I was drenched with sweat, but happy that I stuck it out!

Tomorrow I'm going to run with my brother, Nathan. We're only going to do three miles, so rather than drive to the State Park, he's just going to come to my house and we'll run from here. Hopefully the fish flies don't bother us!

On Saturday, I have plans to run with that loud redhead, Stephanie ;) I haven't seen her since I went to cheer her on at her first marathon, so I'm really excited to catch up! Having company on runs makes them so much more enjoyable, too. We're going to do eight miles.

The kids played their fifth baseball game tonight. I was so happy for Eli, because he finally got a chance to pitch! Last year, the kids were in "transition" ball (a.k.a. "coach pitch"). This year, the kids pitch, and it's kind of a mess. Eli is only 8 years old, and the age for this league is 9-10; but he's always been really good, so they allowed him to play.

Eli really wants to pitch, and he's been practicing a lot, but the coach has never put him in as pitcher. The kids' team has lost all but one game, and the team they played today crushed them 14-1 the first time they played. I was worried today would be a repeat of that game.

Anyway, when we got there, Jerry started playing catch with Eli, basically letting Eli pitch so the coach would take notice that he was pretty good. I mentioned to the coach that Eli was really hoping to pitch. In the bottom of the third inning (they only play six total), the pitcher for our team was walking a lot of people, and with two outs, the coach put in Eli to pitch.

I like this picture, because Eli is pitching and Noah is in the background,
playing third base

I was SO nervous for him, because this was his big chance to prove himself! Two outs, bases loaded, down by three runs, and Eli steps up to the mound ;)  Eli threw one right down the center of the plate, and the kid hit it--right to Eli. Eli grabbed it and threw him out at first. I was SO relieved (for Eli) that the inning ended well.

The coach let him pitch the rest of the game, and he did awesome! He struck out three people, and only let one walk (at this age, there are a LOT of walks, because the kids are still learning to throw strikes). In the last inning, the score was tied 4-4, and due to an error by the first baseman, the other team scored and won. But it was a GREAT game, and at least they didn't lose by 13 runs, like last time! ;)

June 24, 2014

Thoughts on Dr. Oz

Dr. Oz has been in the spotlight quite a bit this week, after being criticized at a Senate hearing for his "health claims" about a lot of weight loss products he's recommended on his show. I honestly didn't read much about the whole thing, because I formed my opinion of his claims a while ago. I'm no longer a viewer of The Dr. Oz Show, and haven't been for quite some time. I wrote a post in February 2013 about my thoughts on the direction the show has taken.

With all the hype about it this week, I thought that today I'd write an updated post to the one I wrote in 2013. But when I re-read what I wrote last year, I realized that I still feel exactly the same way. I don't normally repost things from the past, but because my thoughts haven't changed on this, I decided to go ahead and share (again) my thoughts on Dr. Oz's claims of "losing weight without diet or exercise". 

Repost from February 5, 2013:

Jerry and I had a bit of a lazy morning. Since he was off work, we sat around and chatted once the boys went to school. I turned on The Dr. Oz Show from the DVR, and was immediately annoyed with the theme he's had going on for while now with this shows: "Lose weight without diet or exercise!"

This annoys me for a couple of reasons:

1) Exercise is good for our bodies--particularly, our hearts. Dr. Oz is a cardiologist, who knows that fact better than anyone, but he still does these shows where he makes it sound like exercise is something to dread (or avoid, in this case).

2) This gives people unrealistic expectations. "Take this supplement, and you don't have to diet or exercise, but you'll lose weight!"

I used to love Dr. Oz when he was on Oprah, because you could really tell that he was passionate about telling people about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. He always got very excited when talking about it. The first time I met him, in October 2009, I still got that same vibe from him (his show was pretty new at the time).

When I met him again in November 2011, I didn't get that impression so much. He didn't seem to have that passion, and he just went through the motions on the show as it was written. I think I mentioned this before, but I wasn't allowed to talk about running while I was on the show. When I asked the producers about it, I was told that it was discouraging for the target audience to hear that I run, because that is unrealistic for them.

Um, I NEVER thought I could be a runner. When I was morbidly obese, becoming a runner was what I would label as "impossible". I like to write about running on my blog because I want other people to feel like they, too, can do what they once thought was impossible--whether it's running, or walking a race, reaching goal weight, cycling, competing in triathlons, or just being an active parent. Those are things that may feel impossible, but they most definitely are possible for most people.

Did I have any clue that I would run a marathon just a few
years after this photo was taken? Um, heck no!!

But anyways, back to the show--I watched for about 15 minutes before I turned it off. I think that there are people out there looking for a solution to their weight problem, and when Dr. Oz says it can be done without diet or exercise, it's like telling these people that they should look for an easy way out. Exercise shouldn't be looked at like a punishment, but more as a solution.

Yes, I'm the first to admit that I hate exercise--but I'm also the first to admit that I LOVE what it does for my body and how it makes me feel. I can't imagine my life without it, now that I know how much good it's doing me!

If there is one thing that I've learned while losing weight, and maintaining weight (and even gaining here and there) it is this: Exercise is crucial to losing weight and keeping it off. Period.

I've lost weight lots of times in the past through diet alone; but I always gained it back, because I wasn't exercising. Now that I'm at goal, I'm no longer working toward a specific weight--so I need other goals to focus on, and running gives me that focus. I am setting goals of getting faster, and running farther, and pushing myself. If I wasn't doing this, there would be nothing stopping me from slipping back into old habits--which did not include goal setting. 

Exercise doesn't have to be as challenging as running, either. Dr. Oz could talk about the benefits of walking, which is something that most people can do. My friend Stephanie wasn't remotely interested in running, so she walked while she was losing weight. She set goals just like you would as a runner--first, to work up to walking 5K; then to walk it faster; and even though it wasn't originally part of her plan, she is now running. I started out by walking for exercise, as well:

This was in Jan. 2010, after my first walk while losing weight
On to the "diet" part... the word "diet" has different meanings, and people interpret it in different ways. Most of us think of it as a way of eating in order to lose weight. When I talk about my diet on the blog, I'm referring to the foods I eat on a daily basis--"my daily diet". Others despise the word, and prefer "lifestyle change" in regards to eating for health or weight loss. But obviously, The Dr. Oz Show was referring to what you eat in order to lose weight.

I also am a firm believer that people have to change their diets (what they eat on a daily basis) in order to lose weight. When Dr. Oz says that you can take a certain supplement and lose weight without diet or exercise, that immediately makes it sound like people can eat the same stuff they are eating as an overweight person and still lose weight. Again, very unrealistic!

I didn't mean to turn this into a rant about the show, or Dr. Oz--I still greatly respect him as a doctor and health advocate. I just wish that he would go back to teaching people about a healthy lifestyle, which includes healthy diet and exercise, rather than doing shows like this.

I'd been meaning to swap out the photo of me with Dr. Oz that's been on the home page of my blog for a long time, so I finally got around to doing it today :)

June 23, 2014

Motivational Monday #66

Happy Motivational Monday! I hope that everyone's summer is off to a great start. I had such a great couple of days with Jerry, and it was the perfect way to kick off summer. I think that is actually what I am most proud of this week: Jerry and I had a couple of days without the kids, and we chose to use that time to do a race together. That NEVER would have happened five years ago!

What have you all done this week to make you feel proud?

Crystal made a New Year's Resolution to run a 5K--and she did it, on January 25th, as part of my Virtual 5K. She had finished in 41:41, and became hooked on running. She signed up for The Color Run as her first "real" 5K, and was very nervous about running it. Last weekend, she did it--and finished in 34:25! She really enjoys running now, and hopes to run her third 5K later this summer.

Sami just ran her first official 5K in Montana last weekend! It was a hilly course, with an elevation climb of 300 feet, but she rocked it out in 26:56! She just started running in late March of this year, after losing 43 pounds, and she's hooked.

After maintaining a 100-pound weight loss for two and a half years, Kelly regained 15 pounds due to an injury. She tried everything she knew to lose the weight, but nothing was working. In March, she was introduced to weight training, and has since lost not only the 15 pounds, but a total of 23 (and 14% body fat)! She is thrilled with her strength now, and on Friday, she reached three new weight lifting PR's--lifting heavier weights than she ever had before! (Kelly's blog)

Brittany has been running off and on since 2012, and has done twelve 5K's. She was able to run up to three miles during her training, but on race day, she always had a mental block, forcing her to take breaks during the race. Well, on Saturday, she ran an entire 5K (including hills) without any breaks! She had to dig deep for the last mile, but she was so proud when she crossed that finish line. She and her friend are currently training for their first half-marathon in February. (Brittany's race report)

Hanneke just ran her first half-marathon on Saturday! She did the Midnight Sun Half Marathon--named appropriately because she lives in Northern Norway where the sun doesn't set for TWO MONTHS of the summer. The half-marathon didn't start until 10:30, so this photo of Hanneke and her boyfriend was taken in the middle of the night! She finished in 2:33, and her boyfriend in 2:05. Hanneke changed her lifestyle about a year ago, and has lost 37 pounds. She didn't enjoy running, so she did a lot of walking--and eventually, was walking so fast that she naturally fell into a run. She ended up doing Jeff Galloway's run/walk method, and her pace was the same as when she tried to run without any walk breaks. She recommends the program, because she said it's great for mental strength--you can always talk yourself into "just one more" interval ;)

Congrats, ladies! Make sure you check out the Motivational Monday Facebook post as well, because there are some great stories today (and pictures). Feel free to share your own proud moment of the week!

June 22, 2014

Lake Cadillac Team Marathon+ race report

Race day registration started at 6:00 near the starting line, so Jerry and I got up at 5:15 to get ready, then drove a couple of miles down the road to the race tent. We were the first ones there, and we each registered for the 10K. I decided that I wanted to do the race with Jerry, instead of running the half by myself—there really wasn’t any reason for me to run the half-marathon! We got all kinds of goodies for our registration fee: t-shirt (cotton! I love when races have cotton shirts, because I actually wear them); drawstring bag; shoe bag; and a plastic cup. 

We also got bibs and shoe tags. I haven’t gotten an actual shoe tag in a long time! Most races have the timing chips on the bibs now. Luckily I knew what it was ;) The race didn’t start until 7:30, so we headed to McDonald’s to get some coffee while we waited. It was kind of entertaining there, because there were four teenagers who were either hungover or still drunk from last night—each of them took turns going to the bathroom to throw up, which could be heard through the whole restaurant. So classy.

When it was time to go to the race start, we parked by the finish line, and then there was a bus shuttle that could take runners and/or spectators to the individual starting lines. The starting line for the 10K was only 0.7 miles away, so we decided just to walk. The scenery was gorgeous!

There were markings on the side of the road to show the course, and we kept looking for the 10K starting line mark. We saw the 20-mile mark for the marathon, and it only made sense to me that the 10K start should have been in the same spot as that—right? (20 miles + 10K = finish line). Well, we didn’t see anything about the starting line there, so we just kept walking. Finally, we saw two people standing on the side of the road, and a mark that said “10K start”. 

We chatted with them while we waited for more people to show up. They were locals, and couldn’t believe how few people were doing the race. I had looked at last year’s results, so I knew it was a small race, and it was just what I expected. I really liked the informality of it! Finally, the bus pulled up, and some more people got off for the 10K start. There weren’t many of us—13 in total for the 10K!

The race director stayed with us, and then got ready to announce on the radio when we would start, so that all runners would start at the same time, regardless of what distance they were running. It cracked me up how intimate this race was—someone on the radio asked if the "woman in the yellow shirt found her way to the 10K start", and the race director radioed back, “The yellow shirt woman is here. Are we waiting on anyone else? Have my parents drive them over.” This is totally unlike anything I’ve experienced at a race before, but I loved that they knew pretty much everyone in the race. 

Jerry said something about bag check tags on our bib, and it made me think that if there actually was a bag check, it would probably be everyone putting their bags in the truck of the race directors car, and he’d personally make sure that everything was safe ;)

Anyway, the race director counted down, and sent us off. I planned on being in the very back of the pack, but even at a pretty slow pace, Jerry and I were toward the front of the 10K’ers. The race went by super fast! It felt like I blinked, and we were already at mile two. We took some mid-race selfies, and we chatted with a couple of people along the way. 

We passed a few people who were doing the marathon or the relay (who started about a mile down the road from us). We were passed by a couple of people doing the half-marathon (who started about a quarter mile behind us). We enjoyed the scenery, and had some good conversation.

I have to take a second to rave about this course—it is FANTASTIC. It’s a 6.9-mile loop around an inland lake. Where your start on the course depends on the race distance you’re doing. For the 10K, you do a little less than a full loop. The whole course is very flat, because it’s right next to the lake, so if you’re looking for a PR, it’s great. It’s also such a small race that you’re pretty much guaranteed to place in your age group. Anyway, I loved the course, and can’t really say enough good things about it!

When we reached the finisher’s “chute” (not really a chute, but the finish line/relay exchange points), it was such a warm and intimate finish—I can’t really explain it other than that. There weren’t crowds of people, but there were probably about 30 spectators, and everyone was in great spirits. Jerry and I crossed the finish line, and promptly removed the timing chips from our shoes to deposit in a bucket. 

We spent some time hanging out at the finish line, looking out at the lake, watching our fellow 10K’ers cross the finish line, and chatting with some of the other runners. Because it was such a small race, you feel like you already know everyone that you ran with, and you want to see them do well! Then we went to the tent to see if they had our results.

They had a paper with the results printed on it, and I could clearly see “Female 30-39” with only ONE name under it—mine. I won first place (and last place) in my age group ;)  Under “Male 30-39” was only ONE name—Jerry’s. Turns out we were 6th and 7th place overall, out of the 13 that ran the 10K. (We finished in 57:21)

We got medals for our age group finishes, which was kind of fun. The ribbon on mine was SO short, that I had to work pretty hard to get it over my head. Haha!

I loved everything about this race! I was nervous about it being such a small race, and I was expecting a really competitive atmosphere, but it was nothing like that. It was very intimate, and fun. The race director was walking around talking to people, which really says a lot. I’ve never actually seen that at a race before! The course was fantastic, like I mentioned before. I would say that out of all the races I’ve done (which is a lot!), this one would make my top five. I would love to do it again next year—maybe the four-person relay with my siblings? 

In looking at the results later, I realized that if I had wanted to, I probably could have won the half-marathon, hahaha. The first place woman finished in 1:58:19; and for the marathon, the first place woman finished in 5:15:17! There were only 16 people to do the half-marathon, and 5 to do the full. There were a lot more people on the course than that, though, because there were several relay teams for the full marathon. Still--when I say it was a small race, I mean it was a SMALL race. I don't mean that in a negative way, though--the size of the race was part of what I loved so much about it!

After the race, Jerry and I went back to the hotel to shower. We decided to drive up to Traverse City after all, and we got there just in time for lunch. We stopped at this little sandwich shop called Bad Dog Cafe, and I had the best sandwich I’ve ever had in my life! Then we went to Chateau Chantal winery for a wine tasting.

Basically, you pay $3, and get to taste 6 different wines (of your choice). I selected a nice variety of what was listed, and we enjoyed all of them. We bought a glass of Chardonnay and sat outside for a little while, enjoying the weather and the scenery. I felt like I could have sat there all day long, and had several glasses, but we had to drive home, so we just stuck to one. 

I loved the wine glasses! We got to buy them for $1 and use them for the tasting

Jerry wanted to try out a brewery called North Peak before we left Traverse City, so we stopped there on the way out. I’m not a beer person, so I didn’t get any, but he had a flight of beer and was thrilled ;)

Then, we started the long drive home (now 5+ hours, because we had driven further north to Traverse City). I’m actually typing this in the car. It was SUCH a great 24-hour trip! 

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