Saturday, April 27, 2013

Live United 5K

Today I completed my second 5K of April: The 2013 United Way of Mahaska County Live United 5K

Spoiler Alert! New PR (personal record) I finished with an official chip time of 34:21! That is 1 minute and 25 seconds better than the Gene Van Wyk Memorial race (my last officially timed event)!!!!

Oh wait did I forget the best, absolutely freaking best part? Yeah I totally ran the WHOLE time, that is right folks, I am a runner, and I proved that by running consistently for 3.1 straight miles.

Once again I am love LOVE loving my GPS watch. Here I will breakdown my race a little more. The race started inside the William Penn athletic center, it is half basketball courts half football field, we lined up right before the turf started and ran to the exit of the building to enter the race course. This caused some minor complications, one being that there was no true way to figure out the starting point, and the organizers didn't do a great job of ensuring the serious runners were in the front and walkers in the back. I knew I needed to start in front of the stroller crew, but I tend to push to hard the first mile when I am hanging with the runners. Other issue is that my GPS watch was not getting any type of signal inside the building. ICK- I knew I needed it to be working to properly pace myself, and once it locked on signal I needed to push the start button so I could track my run, not something I was looking forward to doing mid stride. However it ended up working out pretty well. GPS signal locked on almost as soon as I exited the building and I was able to push start right away. I keep checking the watch for my pace throughout the first quarter mile and had to keep telling myself to slow down. I started close 6.3 miles per hour (less than 10 minute mile), I had only been comfortably training at 5.2 miles per hour. Once my stride finally evened out I ended up doing about 5.4 miles per hour (about an 11:06 minute mile) The miles were marked which honestly I think is so awesome at every race, sometimes I just need to focus on something to pass. However the first mile marker came up way to soon, my watch was telling me I had only gone .85 of a mile and the timer at the mark said I had done an 8:46 mile (which I would kill for) I knew he had to be in the wrong place. After the race I confirmed this with a couple of other runners who also mentioned it couldn't have been in the right spot.

The second mile included a detour to the stadium and a loop on the track, it was kind of nice to run on good track for a bit, especially because the next section of the race was on gravel. (Why do I keep picking races with gravel? Why do races in perfectly nice sized towns include gravel sections?) When I was exiting the track and starting on the gravel section, Chelsey, Amanda and both the boys were just coming off the bike trail and starting to turn toward the stadium so I was able to get a high five and wave from Charley. I ended up going a little slower on mile two, I had slowed to my training pace of 5.2 but it was really the only section of the race that was all flat. There was a water station right before the 2nd mile mark, I had been debating on weather I was going to stop and drink, run and drink, or walk and drink. I really didn't want to walk- it had been my goal for either this or the next race on Wednesday to run the whole thing. Have you ever tried to run and drink? It's rough I have done it in races before and they usually place a trash can just a couple paces past the water station. This wasn't the case and I didn't feel great about littering because there weren't really any cups already on the ground. So either the workers were doing a great job picking up, or everyone else was throwing them away while still at the table. That is what I attempted- I gulped what I could and dropped the cup, however this got me run into be a stroller, that runner had decided to keep going. With really no harm done to either of us we kept trucking. (Can I say an aside to all the parents out there who can put in a pretty fierce jog with a running stroller? You rock- I have no idea how you do it but you do). And also there is no motivation like getting passed by a stroller. Almost right after the water station was the 2 mile mark, at this point I had run farther in a race than I ever had before and it was getting hot, and my mind was like let's walk. But I told my mind to shut it. I just keep saying, I'm a runner, I'm a runner, I'm a runner. I started to barter with myself, you have to make it to the next street, you have to make it to the next volunteer blocking that road, you have to make it to the start of the bike trail. It worked I keep going, and I had picked up my pace a little as well. By the time I made it back to the bike trail I could see the W.P. building and knew I had to keep going, I just a little advantage of some slightly down hill portions of the trail and tried to continue to lengthen my stride and take advantage of the downhill momentum. My watch keep telling me it was working. When I was finally approaching the end of the bike trail you have a pretty steep hill you need to get up before entering the parking lots before the finish line. normally this is where I would have liked to start pushing it (with less than a 1/4 mile to go). But the hill wipe me out a bit, I kept like 5.7 clip up the hill but found it hard to really push the rest of the way. Also this is where the photographers were camped (someone look for my on Osky's website I'm sure I will be famous).  With maybe only 200 feet left I got super dry mouth and wanted nothing more than water, couldn't have happened at a worse time, no one wants to look like they are dry heaving at the finish line. I swallowed some spit and tried to kick it into gear. The clock time was showing 34:?? As I passed so I knew right away I had beat my previous time.

When I later looked up my officially time it was 34:21 (YAY!) and I was 9th in my age division. Let me tell you my aged division always sucks, it is either 25-29 or 20-29 like the case was today. There are always real runners who do 5K's every weekend and run marathons in my division. So I top 10 finish might be the best I ever get- honestly it isn't going to get much easier when I finally move up to the 30-35 divisions. I was, and am still pretty happy with my 9th place finish, but later when I checked there were only 12 participants in my age group, and out of them I was the slowest of the runners in my age group, the next best time after me finished 21 minutes after me. But on the bright side- 1) I finished, 2) It was a PR 3) I ran the whole thing 4) it is still a top 9 finish 5) I was only 45 seconds from being 8th.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Clearly my blogging skills are lacking.

Sometimes when I am doing something else, like driving or at the grocery store, I compose these amazingly witty and clever blog posts. They are naturally filled with informative updates and good humor. The type of updates I get to read on everyone else's blogs. Unfortunately nine times out of ten my follow through is lacking, and somewhere between the cashier's station and my laptop all of my clever turn of phrases and wit goes out the window. I have come to the sad conclusion that if I want to remedy this situation I need to either bring a tape recorder with me everywhere (and stop caring what strangers think) or actually sit down and dedicate some time to the process.

Sadly, today readers, you might just have to settle for what I can produce.

As I am just getting into running, and as always by running I am completely referring to me jogging. I don't exactly understand when it turns into to running but I am pretty sure you need to be much closer to a 10 minute mile to even venture out on the running tree. I have been trying to at least complete one 5K a month. I have been pretty successful thus far, and actually am getting to the point where I enjoy running vs. just tolerating it as an free exercise that helps me get in shape. Shock of all shocks I might be experiencing the mythical runners high. Because I don't tend to do anything half way I have been reading up and researching a lot about other runners. Some of the blogs I follow have people who have also been completing 5K's or starting the C25K program (couch to 5K), a few were farther down the road than I and had been talking about after the first 1.5 miles things just get easier, you find your stride, you push through a wall and BAM you are a runner. Last month I would have flat out told you these people are crazy, delusional and well frankly not like me. But a month ago I had never run a mile without stopping to walk. April 16th, 2013 just about 26 hours after that tragic Boston Marathon bombings* I jogged, granted at an extremely slow pace, 3.1 miles without stopping. It wasn't even hard. That is the crazy part that I can't quite wrap my mind around, I think if I didn't eventually need to leave the gym I could have kept going, and going. And like that BAM I was a runner.

Since last September when I started to be active again and losing weight I knew that if I truly wanted to see some changes I was going to have to start smartly investing in myself. That included my WW monthly fees, investing in workout items, purchasing 5K entries and beyond. The beyond for me recently has been a GPS enabled watch, it uses GPS to track my distance and show my current average pace. I researched and asked around, I didn't need a fancy $300.00 dollar watch, I didn't even truly care about the distance part, I just wanted something that could show me my pace per mile in real time. I settled on the Timex Marathon series, and let me tell you, I LOVE it. LOVE. L.O.V.E, love it. It does exactly what I need it to and no more. Plus I picked it up for a budget friendly $78.00, a majority of it was paid for with gift card from Christmas (Thank you Dad and Barb). The next needed purchase will be a new pair of running shoes. I haven't been professionally fitted in shoes since at least high school, and just this morning I saw a news story about how losing or gaining weight can effect your shoe size and a proper fit. Plus I have probably only read about a hundred articles about how an improperly fitted shoe can cause injury. Within the next 7 days I have two 5K's scheduled, after that the plan is to head to Kyle's Bike Shop, at this store they will watch your running stride and properly fit you in shoes. The investment in myself will definitely pay off!

*In a world so large, it is sometimes truly humbling to think about how connected everyone really is. One of my college friends ran the Boston Marathon last Monday. They had tweeted and posted on facebook the whole weekend prior about picking up his packet and how you could follow his race progress through various websites and apps. Luckily for him and all of our mutual friends he finished at least an hour and half prior to the bombings and was safely back at his hotel. He was also fortunate to be able to change his travel plans, he left Boston in a rental car Monday night and later took his flight out of DC

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

2013 Aids Walk/Run (A Step Closer)

4/13/13 2013 Aids walk/run (Des Moines) unofficial time 36:43

It wasn't a timed event so I can't be 100% sure when I really clocked in, I wasn't at the front of the pack so probably crossed the starting line 30/45 seconds into the race. This is about a minute longer than my last race however since it wasn't officially timed and also amazing and completely hilly I am 100% ok with the results. Like all the hills that ever have existed in Des Moines ever were on this route. No really. All the Hills ever. EVER.

Other victories include- ran the 1st mile plus some without stopping. Now I am can consistently do this,    even with a giant hill dragging me down. Go me! My friend Brandi and I completed the race together, I think we paced each other really well we were able to push each other to keep running and not give up.

Picture Updates

Amazing new dress from White House/Black Market it is in my closet awaiting the perfect occasion to wear it.

This was an unplanned photo shoot so ignore that I am not wearing any makeup

Work option- to much or not enough? I have also worn with blue cardigan

Rodeo outfit- can't wait for Saturday night!
Someone told me I looked like a had lost a lot of weight at work today. Since I am not above flattery I was naturally pleased and also thought I should take some picture updates. This was just me working with the self timer on my camera, but I think I was able to get some good full body shots for comparison! What a difference 6 plus months makes.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

It's working and also all I ever talk about...

I realize that all of my posts lately have been boring updates about me losing weight. But deal with it, its a big deal and you get to hear all about it. I am excited to announce I have lost (never ever to find again) 55.6 pounds. Last Thursday was also my six month anniversary with WW. I am super pleased with my progress. I also feel like I have learned so much about eating better and listening to my body when it comes to hunger.

Running updates:
Red Flannel Run 2/16/13: 38.06
Gene Van Wyk Memorial Run 3/30/13: 35.46

I cut over 2 minutes off my time! It rained the entire time, especially hard at both the beginning and the end. I know I had improved some but I was very pleased with how much faster I went. Not all of the events I have signed up for are timed, but I still hope that over the next few months I will continue to be able to get faster and faster. I also was able to run the first 1.25 miles without walking. For some that might not be such a big deal, but it is the first time I can ever remember doing that. With me I think of lot of what stops me is mental. Fortunately I seem to respond really well to goals. And before this race I checked out the course map and knew approximately where the one mile mark was (it also happened to be labeled on the course). This time I just told myself I wasn't stopping before I jogged past that one mile mark. I just kept going and it worked! I am going to continue to push myself to run further and further each time until I can eventually run the whole time.
Pre Race (my hair actually looks cute)

Pushing it at the finish line (one of the reasons I know I can push myself more is that I also have the energy left to sprint to the finish)

Post race. The rain completely destroyed my look, but it felt so good to have an improved finish.