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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Half Marathon Update - Week 9

Believe it or not another training week has come and gone.  This week was crazy busy for me because in addition to my usual training activities I was also busy putting the last minute touches on the fundraiser that we hosted last night.  It was definitely a busy week but I felt really good about my training and then I had a blast at the party!

So, here's what I was supposed to do:
Monday: Run, 5 miles
Tuesday: Cross train or speed
Wednesday: Run, 4 miles, medium effort
Thursday: Strength
Friday: Easy 30 minutes
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Run, 7 miles

And here's what I actually did:
Monday: Run, 5.4 miles
Tuesday: Bike, 10.46 miles
Wednesday: Run, 5 miles (avg. pace 11:29 -- pretty good effort!)
Thursday: Bike, 12.43 miles
Friday: Run, 3.12 miles
Saturday: Bike, 6.87 miles (it was FREEZING cold so we stopped early)
Sunday: Run, 7 miles

I feel like I had really solid training this week and feel good going into Week 10 and the Hot Chocolate 15K race that I'll run on Sunday.  This will be my furthest distance to run, ever!  Dan is coming to spectate and photograph the race so I'm excited about that.  I'm going to try to keep a good pace but not go out too fast (which I usually fail at) so we'll see how that goes.  Wish me luck!

As a side note - you have until 10/31 at 6 pm CST to place a Wildtree order.  The company has so generously agreed to donate 20% of all the sales from my party to my fundraising campaign.  Wildtree products are all natural and very delicious.  How about a delicious new rub?  Or dip mix?  These items could sure help out during the upcoming holidays to get those meals prepared and served quickly, couldn't they?  In order to place and order please shop on the Wildtree website.  Or you can donate money directly to Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America via this secure website.

How was your week?  Who ran?  Who raced?

Big shout out to my very dear friend, Ryan, who ran the Marine Corps Marathon with his son this weekend.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Random Thoughts

Normally after a weigh-in, especially when I gain, I will think and analyze to try to figure out what I've done wrong.  When I stepped on the scale this week I knew that I gained and I was disappointed but I wasn't overly concerned.  It's not that I don't care about the gain because I do but I'm also aware that these things happen.  Ironically I usually end up with a gain right after I reach a milestone.  This is not meant to be an excuse even though it sounds like it.  I did, however, notice something while looking at my tracker (here's another example of why tracking really does help) and I realized that the week before last was the week I was sick and I only got in 38 activity points vs. the almost 70 that I log most other weeks.  So, I suppose that has something to do with it!  So I'm hoping this week will be better.

The other random bit I have to offer this week has to do with Halloween.  Given that I'm trying to be healthy I don't like to buy Halloween candy because I don't need the temptation in the house.  Plus, have you calculated the PointsPlus values on candy?  I'm also a little surprised to admit that most candy is just too sweet for me anymore.  Clearly this is a surprise to me considering that I love junk food but whatev.... Anyway, this leaves a big question about what to do about Halloween?  This year I've ordered a whole lot of glow-in-the-dark bracelets, and a novelty assortment.  So these are the things I'll be handing out on Halloween as my alternative to candy.  The trick-or-treating hours in my town go from 3-7 pm (I think) so I'm hoping that most parents will be thankful that my house is one less house giving out sugary treats.  I guess we'll see, won't we?! 

What do you give away for Halloween?  If it's candy, how do you manage to keep your consumption of it under control?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Half Marathon Goals

As half marathon training quickly ticks away I can't help but think about the goals I'd like to accomplish with this race.  I figure I need to start writing these things down so that on December 3 or 4 when I want to write my fabulous half marathon recap I can identify whether I was successful or not.  These are listed in no particular order ... and I'll probably update/adjust them up until race day.


  1. Exceed my fundraising goal
  2. Be happy while running this race (you've already done the hard work of training and fundraising and now it's time to have fun)
  3. Run the entire race, even if the pace is slow as hell, keep running
  4. Listen to the crowds and enjoy the bands on the course
  5. Don't fall down
  6. Do not accept anything on the course (food/drink) that hasn't been tried during training
  7. Finish the race running - seriously
  8. Finish the race with a gigantic smile plastered all over my face
  9. Fuel appropriately during the race
  10. Have a photo taken with my space blanket and race medal
  11. Rehydrate appropriately after the race and then enjoy a beer
  12. Eat whatever you want after the race - don't count the points but that meal is it. Then back on track.
  13. Have fun with your family who will be there before/during/after the race
If you were running your first half marathon what would your goal be?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Half Marathon Update - Week 8

Why does it feel like I just finished writing the week 7 update?  Oh right, because I was a little late with that one.  My bad!  Week 8 went much better than week 7 did and I'm really pleased with that.  Last Sunday I was supposed to meet up with the Team Challenge Group for a 7 mile run but the weather was crap - it rained all night and was still raining when my alarm went off.  I checked the weather and it didn't appear like it was going to clear for a few hours and I did not want to spend over an hour out in the cold/rain.  Having dealt with the cold/sinus infection all week I decided to email my coach to let her know that I was going to back out on the group run that day.  The weather report showed clear skies on Monday so I had already started planning to hit a new trail (actually it's the path where Dan and I have biked a bunch this summer) just so that I'd get a different view than the same view I have running all around my town.

I programmed my Garmin for a five minute walk, then 3.5 miles of running at which point I'd turn around and run 3.5 miles back with another 5 minute walk to cool down.  I also decided that it was time to break out my headphones and I'd started creating my half marathon play list.  For the shorter runs/races I sort of enjoy being unplugged however I've started to notice on the longer runs that I do start to get bored and I thought it'd help me stay on pace/upbeat about running for so long.  The trail was nearly empty on Monday so I happily mouthed the words to quite a few songs while I was running.  I even kept up a pretty consistent pace throughout the run so I was pleased with that.  I was also pretty excited to text Coach B when I got home to report that I had tackled 7 miles!

So here's what I was supposed to do during Week 8:
Monday: Run, 4 miles
Tuesday: Cross training or speed work
Wednesday: Run, 5 miles, Medium effort
Thursday: Strength train
Friday: Run, easy 30 minutes
Saturday: Run, 8 miles
Sunday: Rest

Here's what I actually did:

Monday: Run, 7 miles
Tuesday: Bike 11.69 miles, Strength train
Wednesday: Run, 5.5 miles (includes warm-up/cool-down walk)
Thursday: Speed work and bike (in the gym)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Run about 4 miles, walked the rest = total 8 miles
Sunday: Run, 3 miles

I am super disappointed in my performance during the group run.  My stomach had been bothering me all day to the point where I took some Tylenol (I rarely take anything) and I just couldn't seem to get it together last night.  On top of that I tried some Gatorade chews around mile 6 and shortly after that my stomach started to feel even worse.  The last few group runs we've done I've struggled but when I run on my own I seem to be fine.  I might try running on my own during the group run next weekend so I can just focus on running and go at my own pace.  No excuses.

I am still fundraising and have quite a ways to go to reach my fundraising goal.  Can you help?  Please use the secure website to donate to CCFA a registered 501(c)3 charity.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Half way to another goal

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the Under Armour #WhatsBeautiful challenge.  When I signed up for that challenge I had to state my goal and it was to run my first half marathon after losing more than 200 pounds.  I've read quite a few blogs where people started training for races (some half marathons some full marathons) and that they gained weight.  *gasp* I didn't want to gain weight... obviously.  The week that the group ran 5 miles (and coincidentally after I'd had a couple of weeks of gains) I was running with Coach Bill and I asked him if he thought that because of the increased amount of training that weight gain was unavoidable.  I was surprised (and frankly relieved) when he said no and encouraged me to stay away from the pre-run binge on pasta/bread and instead continue to focus on getting my carbs from fresh fruits and vegetables.  When he said that I was like YES!  This I can do because all of those things are FREE POINTS!!!

Fast forward a few weeks and I am happy to report that half of that goal has now been accomplished.  When I went to weigh-in today I was a little nervous.  My last weigh-in was only last Thursday so really how much weight could I lose?  Additionally, after stepping on my scale this morning and seeing that I was only down 0.2 pounds I thought I might not even have a loss this week.  Imagine my surprise then when I stepped on the scale at my meeting and realized that I lost 2.2 pounds for a total of 201.0 pounds.  It's awesome and trust me when I say that I am aware of the awesomeness because I can do stuff that I could never do before.  Like run SEVEN miles.  At one time.  Without stopping.  Also impressive?  Being able to shop at basically every store (ironically except the plus sized clothing stores) without wondering if I'll fit into the clothes.

I have lots of other thoughts rolling through my head right now... I can't quite explain how I feel and apologize if this post is all over the place.  I'll try to gather my thoughts a little better before I post again...

So what do you do now that you couldn't do before?


Half Marathon Update - Week 7

Week 7 of half marathon training sucked because I was sick.  I only got out 3 days last week.  I suppose the good news is that of those 3 days all 3 of them were days that I got good solid mileage in from running rather than cross training but I was still disappointed with the lack of training that I was able to do.  Between battling a cold/sinus infection and the rainy weather over the weekend I was really looking forward to ending week 7 that is for sure.  So, here's what I was supposed to be doing last week:

Monday: Run, 4 miles
Tuesday: Cross training or Speedwork
Wednesday: Run, 5 miles, Start easy build to fast finish
Thursday: Strength
Friday: Run, 30 minutes, Medium Effort
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Run, 7 miles

Here's what I actually did:

Monday: Run, 4.66 miles (the extra distance was part of warm-up/cool down)
Tuesday: Sick/Rest
Wednesday: Sick/Rest
Thursday: Run, 4.69 miles (again, warm-up/cool down is the extra distance)
Friday: Run, speed work (3.03 miles)
Saturday: Sick/Crap Weather/Rest
Sunday: Sick/Crap Weather/Rest

I hope that week 8 goes better than week 7 and that it won't impact my performance in December.

How do you deal with getting sick during training?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Being sick sucks

Dan and I used to go on long and somewhat luxurious bike rides on Saturday mornings.  It wasn't uncommon for us to log 20+ miles before most people were up for breakfast.  However, since beginning half marathon training I try to be careful about what I'm making my legs to do the day before my group runs.  Since most of my training is done solo I still get excited when I get to run or bike with someone else though and this past Saturday was no different.  We planned on doing about a 10-12 mile ride but I woke up and felt like crap.  I bailed on the bike ride knowing that I needed to rest because I couldn't bail on my group run the following day.

So, I ran on Sunday (6 miles of hills) and on Monday (4.66 miles with few hills) but by Monday night I was feeling worse.  At this point Dan said to me that I needed to take Tuesday as a rest day.  Like a legitimate rest day - no running/no errands.  Just rest.  What?  No cross training?  No strength training?  No.  Not even if I drive to the fitness center (instead of biking there) and warm-up, strength train, cool down and then drive home?  No.

I thought about what he said as I went to bed early and thought he was just being ridiculous.  Until I woke up on Tuesday morning and felt even worse.  Ugh... so I took a rest day.  I slept practically all day, waking up only to feed the dogs and let them outside periodically.  I was awake long enough to eat toast for breakfast and lunch before going back for more sleep.  It was nearly the same story on Wednesday except with slightly less sleeping and a slightly more fruits/vegetables.

I'm not sure if it was all the running (including the hills) or the day of eating that I basically took off while I was sleeping but I was happy to go to a Weight Watchers meeting tonight.  It definitely encourages me to stay on track when all I really want is to eat a bunch of crap because I don't feel good.  So I'm determined to make good choices.  Even if it means I also have to take it easy the next few days to really make sure this cold is gone.

How do you deal with being sick?  Do you power through or do you rest?


Product Review: Yurbuds


When I first started being active (aka walking) I used music to occupy my mind so I wouldn't constantly think about how far I've gone (or more likely how much farther I have to go) but when I got my Garmin I stopped listening to music so that I could hear the tones of the watch.  On the shorter runs I really don't mind disconnecting from most everything technology related because I spend so much of my day using some form of technology.  However, as half marathon training progresses I'd started to think about needing to use music as an escape on the long runs.  So I was really excited when this package arrived the other day!

Included in the package:  A set of Yurbuds, a sweat band, Luna bar and a Yurbuds towel.

Yurbuds are made for women by women and are designed not to fall out because they have twist lock technology.  Having not worn headphones in awhile for working out I found the video to be really helpful!  Unfortunately I took two days off from running while battling a nasty cold - so today was the first day I felt like I could even breathe through one mile much less the five miles that I was planning on running.  It was pretty early on in the run when I realized that five miles might be too much and that I might still be a little sick (aka dehydrated) to run.  I enjoyed having music though after having run without it for so long I know my mind ended up wandering a lot.  A few songs really pumped me up though and that a was nice distraction.  They were definitely comfortable enough to wear although since I was running alone I only wore one bud to ensure that I could hear the sounds around me.


The one criticism I would have for the product (and this might just be how I ended up wearing them - because I only wore one ear bud so I could still hear my watch and other noises around me) is about the cord.  I plugged the Yurbuds into my iPhone and then tucked my iPhone into my water belt.  A few times I realized that the cord was getting tangled around my water bottle or on the keys that I had hooked onto the belt.  It could also be that I just need to figure out a better way to put everything together so that doesn't happen.  I am planning on taking these with me on my long run with the group this weekend to try them out again.

Do you wear headphones while running or working out?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Half Marathon Update - Week 6

Yesterday (Saturday) morning I had planned to go for a short (e.g. an hour long) bike ride with Dan but woke up really congested and feeling pretty awful.  Sinus infections are nothing new to me but this is the first one that I've had during half marathon training.  I decided not to go for a bike ride yesterday and I was a little nervous about how the group run would go today because not only was I sick but we were running hills.  Six miles of hills were on the schedule.  I spent quite a lot of yesterday thinking about running strategy and knew that since we were running six miles of hills that my pace would be slow.  I would be happy with a 12:00/mile pace that I could maintain for the entire run seeing as how six miles would be the longest distance that I've run.  I ran most of the distance with my teammate, Ed, until he pulled away at the last half mile to push toward the end.  The overall time was 11:42/mile and I was pleased with that given how I was feeling.

Here's what was on my training schedule:
Monday: Run, 5 miles
Tuesday: Cross train or Speed
Wednesday: Run, 4 miles, medium effort
Thursday: Strength
Friday: Easy 30 minutes
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Run, 6 miles, hills

Here's what I actually did:
Monday: Run, 5.58 miles
Tuesday: Bike 7.26 miles, Strength train
Wednesday: Run, 4.55 miles
Thursday: Bike 13.08 miles
Friday: Run, 2.93 miles/Speed
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Run, 5.90 miles, hills (that's what my watch said we ran)

I thought I did pretty good sticking to the training schedule though I know I need to work more on speed because I'd like to run faster I just don't know that I can and maintain the pace.  Towards the end of the run today I just didn't have it in me to go faster and that was disappointing to me.  I should probably remind myself of this fact when I go out to do a tempo/speed run this week and hate it the entire time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I shocked myself this week

After a disappointing weight gain last week I was determined not to continue down this path.  Jen and I made a pact that we'd work really hard and lean on each other when we need and we WOULD lose weight this week.  I weighed myself twice during the week and knew I was losing and I was definitely excited about that.  It wasn't until I got on the scale at the meeting today that I really believed it though because nothing is true until it's in my Weight Watchers weight record!  Not only did I shock my leader but I shocked myself when Karen told me that I lost 7.6 pounds.  WOAH.  That's a lot.

She asked me what if I knew what I'd done to lose the weight and I knew EXACTLY what did it!  The previous weeks I'd been eating 20-30 activity points.  I know that sounds like a lot but I was earning somewhere between 50-70 activity points per week.  Last week I earned a whopping 77 activity points having worked out, literally, every single day.  It was the first week (ever) that I'd worked out every day since freshman high school basketball.  At the end of the week I was tired and sort of wishing that I'd taken one rest day before my long group run but you can't change the past, right?  Anyway, last week out of the 77 activity points I earned I only consumed 5 of them.

The best part was that I didn't really even feel hungry throughout the week.  I really ate (probably my weight) in fruits and vegetables to bulk up my meals and snacks.  All in all, I feel even more energized to continue with the intensity and frequency of my work outs through the end of half marathon training (at least) and to continue eating this way for the rest of my life.  Or at least as long as I can get fruits and vegetables in mass quantity.  :)

While you're preparing your own variety of fruits and vegetables there is still time to donate to my fundraising campaign.  I have already raised some money but need to raise even more.  The donations are tax deductible because the money is going to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) which is an "A" rated charity.  Please take a minute to donate and feel free to share the link/information with others!  http://www.active.com/donate/illinoisLV12/LV_JMcElro

Ways To Find Motivation

There are some weeks where I struggle finding the motivation to stay on the healthy lifestyle bandwagon so I am always looking for new things to keep me going.  Whether it be a new healthy living blog, a race or publicly stating a new goal it really helps me to work towards something smaller rather than a big goal (like hitting my goal weight!).  When I heard about the What's Beautiful challenge that Under Armour was putting out there I was intrigued so I signed up.  The What's Beautiful challenge provides women a place to state a goal, post photos/videos about challenges completed, and the coolest part is that you can give encouragement to others and/or receive encouragement from others!  At the end of the challenge 10 women with the most epic journeys will be selected to go to Florida to work out at the Under Armour Camp Sweat to train with the best trainers.  Seriously, how cool is that?!

One of my challenges


When I signed up I stated that my goal is to run my first half marathon after losing more than 200 pounds.  I've uploaded photos for a couple of the challenges and have gotten some really nice support from people I've never met!  This definitely helps keep me going on those mornings when I'm sore or tired (or both!) and don't want to work out.

Do you think this is a way you could get/give motivation on your healthy living journey? 





FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign.
All opinions are my own;

Monday, October 1, 2012

Half Marathon Update - Week 5 & Raffle WINNER!!

Since beginning half marathon training 5 weeks ago I often find myself really looking forward to my weekend group runs.  It's a time to learn new things and sometimes meet new people.  This week was no exception.  Except that it was a little bit different because my Sunday (group run day) began at 3 am.  I'd volunteered to go to Chicago to help put flyers on cars on the marathon course.  Unfortunately, I woke up no less than a zillion times throughout the night to check to make sure that I hadn't missed my alarm.  I hadn't and would go back to sleep but given the number of times I woke up clearly I did not have a very restful night.  Anyway ... I think I was so worried about getting to Chicago on time that I'd completely forgotten about thinking about the run.  Once we started running I realized that this was going to be a VERY long run.  It sucked.  I completed the five miles as planned but it was slow because I ended up walking part of the route.  This was completely mentally defeating and even while it was happening I hated myself for it.  On my way home from training and throughout the day I kept wondering what I'd do tomorrow (aka today) - take a rest day, run or bike?  I finally decided to run and since the training schedule had another 5 miles on tap I decided to knock it out.  It went spectacularly, probably because I actually mentally prepared myself for this run.  When things got a little hard out there I just kept thinking how cool it'd be to text my coach after and tell her I ran all 5 miles with no walking and no stopping.  For the record - sending that text was as awesome as I'd thought it would be!

Let's talk about the rest of the training week:
Here's what I was supposed to do:
Monday: Run 4 miles
Tuesday: Crosstrain or speed
Wednesday: Run 4 miles, medium effort
Thursday: Strength
Friday: Run 30 minutes, easy
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Run 5 miles

Here's what I actually did:
Monday: Run 4 miles
Tuesday: Bike 13.46 miles
Wednesday: Run (5K to 10K Week 8, Day 1) 5.93 miles
Thursday: Bike 4.36 miles, strength train
Friday: Run 30 minutes
Saturday: Bike 10.29 miles (Failed at the rest day)
Sunday: Run/Walk 5 miles

Ok ... enough about training.  Let's announce the winner of the SPIBelt Raffle!  Thank you everyone for donating/entering my little giveaway.  I'm thrilled that I've now raised more than $2000 for CCFA and your contributions are so much appreciated!  The winner, as chosen by a random number generator, is
 <insert drum roll please>

PAM C!!


Again, thank you so much for participating.  I have another raffle to put up in a little bit so stay tuned because if you already donated you're already registered for that giveaway too!