Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My "Why To"

We spend a lot of time talking about the "how" of weight loss.  In the Weight Watchers meeting rooms we're exposed to new routines and we try to build new, healthy habits.  Some of them are easy to adopt - Pack a Snack?  Yes, please.  If you've been around me for more than a couple of hours you know that I likely have an apple (and probably a granola bar) in my bag, just in case.  Slowing down while eating by putting my fork down and sipping water between bites?  That one is a little trickier to adopt, though I keep trying.

The topic this week seems to bring things full circle though by asking us to think about the "Why To" side of the question.  Why to lose weight...  I mean, obviously I want to be healthier than I was before I started Weight Watchers but the truth of the matter is that I'm overall just happier.  Was it hard to change my habits?  You bet, change IS hard, but it gets easier.  But you know what's even harder?  Staying the same and being unhappy and missing out on doing things that you want to do.

Considering all of the temptations we'll have in front of us not only this week but in the coming weeks I thought I'd share my list and see what you guys have come up with?  Do you keep your list somewhere close by to remind you why you're doing this despite all of the temptation we face?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thanksgiving Plan

If you're hosting Thanksgiving are you planning your meal yet?  Last year, about midway through the turkey roasting, my brother asked about pie at which point Dad exclaimed that he'd forgotten to make it and quickly busied himself making a blueberry pie.  Aside from the last minute pie making I really do like to plan because I know that it helps me stay on program and feel in control.

My fantastic father .... making pie
Since we are just over a week away from Thanksgiving I realized that I probably needed to get moving on a plan.  I like plans and luckily for me most of the menu will be very similar to last year.  Some of it will be prepared before Thanksgiving day (roasted vegetables) and simply reheated before dinner.  This makes Thanksgiving day much less stressful that is for sure.

I know there will be other food temptations throughout the weekend and I am going to allow myself to eat/drink for the Thanksgiving meal with minimal measuring and then get right back on plan.  I'm also planning on logging some running and hiking miles to make up for any indulgences.

Do you think we'll have enough food?  There'll be 5 of us!  :)

What is your Thanksgiving plan?  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A moment to reflect

Nearing the finish line - Dec 2012
On Sunday some of my Team Challenge Family took to the streets of Las Vegas in the race and city where I made my half marathon debut!  As I saw Tweets and Facebook posts with pictures I got a little jealous that they were running this race and I wasn't.  I mean, this race wasn't on my race schedule for this year and I wasn't trained but there is a part of me that really wished I'd been on the team flight, at the hotel and hanging out with some of my most favorite people.

Nearing the finish line - November 2013
But I wasn't.  I was at home and using social media to stalk the people I knew who were running the race when it hit me about how far I've come.  I've come a long way when it comes to running, to weight loss and to just changing my life for the better in the last few years.

I mean, can you believe that this is the same person in both of these race photos?  When I was getting close to the finish line in Las Vegas last year I could barely run.  I made the effort seen in this photo because Coach B told me that I had to run or at least look like I was running for the photo op.  This was not that last time she's told me that, but I digress!  When I ran in Lake Mills earlier this month I walked through my water stops and for about a half mile closer to the end but I had an absolutely amazing race.

Maybe it's the time of year (as we close in on Thanksgiving) that I feel the need to reflect and I feel eternally grateful for all the people who have helped and supported me along the way of this crazy journey.

Have you made any realizations about how far you've come on your journey?  Well.... share it with me!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


When I began this journey back in 2010 I started reading healthy living blogs.  When I began most of the blogs I read were focused on healthy eating.  As I got active I started looking for blogs that talked about being active.  One of my favorite blogs, Losing Weight in the City, covered both.  Theodora, the blog creator, lost 50+ pounds and is a repeat marathoner.  I find her tremendously inspiring and love following her journey.  As I read her blog posts she talked about training for races and referenced her half marathon (or marathon) race pace.  I always got a little jealous of that and wondered what my half marathon race pace would be.

A new favorite photo
Dan and I before the Tyranena Beer Run
Dan PR'd the 1/6th Barrel Race
I PR'd the half marathon
The other day I was talking to Dan about an upcoming 5K that we're both going to run.  He told me that he wanted to run a certain pace and that he needed to train so he could maintain it.  At one point I asked him if he wanted me to pace him and he immediately dismissed the idea saying that he thought I would want to run faster.  After a little more discussion his opinion changed and he thought maybe that would be a good idea.  He said that he wanted to run a 10:00/mi and wondered if I could do that?  I said, sure, that's my half marathon race pace.


I don't always seem to maintain it throughout the half marathon but I'm certainly getting better at it.  And to be honest, this journey is all about progress and not about perfection, right?

I am making progress in the weight loss arena as well.  I was pretty happy to step on the scale and have lost 4.2 pounds this week.  I'm still above my goal weight but I'm working on it.

Have you realized that you now "have" something that you never thought you'd have?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Your inner voice

When I began my weight loss journey I thought that it was a competition.  A competition between my friends or the other members of my meeting group.  Then I realized it wasn't a competition with others, but rather a competition with myself.  At various times throughout this journey (and on long runs during half marathon training) there is voice inside me that tells me to quit.  

When things get hard and I just want to binge eat the voice tells me to go ahead.  

When I'm at mile 9 and my toes hurt the voice tells me to stop running and walk awhile.  

Except, I know that there is more inside me than that voice.  I know that I want more from myself and that means that I have to ignore that little voice.  I have to push past the craving and the painful toes and just keep going.

As it turns out this week is no exception.  I'm not sure what happened but when I stepped on the scale yesterday I was MORTIFIED.  I gained EIGHT POINT SIX (yes, yelling for emphasis cause it's 8.6 freaking pounds!) pounds in one week!  I'm hoping it's some strange hormonal thing or that I'm retaining every ounce of water I've been drinking to rehydrate since my half marathon.

Either way I have changed the voice inside my head.  I know that the effort it will take to lose that weight will be hard but I also know that it'll be worth it.  So... I'm back on track.  Back to tracking every single bite, lick and taste.

How do you push past that voice?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

RACE RECAP: Tyranena Beer Run 1/2 Barrel (Half Marathon)

We drove up to Lake Mills, WI yesterday (Saturday) morning.  It's about a two hour drive and since we could only pick up our packets the morning of the race and the race didn't start until 11:30 am we had plenty of time to eat a healthy breakfast, pack up and get on the road by 7:45 am.  Soon we were pulling into the Kwik Trip in Lake Mills to grab some more water and then we headed over to Tyranena Brewing Company.  We parked, picked up our packets and beer and walked back to the car to get everything ready that we needed for our races.  I was running the half marathon and Dan ran the 1/6 Barrel (aka 4.37 miles) race.

Dan and Me
I had packed a peanut butter sandwich (since it'd have been a few hours since we ate breakfast) to snack on pre-race as well as a banana and I enjoyed those while we sat in the warm car.  Shortly after that my sister sent me a text message to let me know they were there so we gathered up our stuff and headed to the tent. It wasn't long and they were calling for runners to come to the starting line.  Either people didn't want to come out of the tent or no one wanted to be up front so I stood toward the front and had plenty of room to warm-up while we waited for the official start.  We sang the anthem, got last minute starting instructions and were off.

While running these hills I was suddenly thankful
that I'd run hills in Idaho and at our weekly
fun runs in Deer Grove!

Going into almost any race I'm nervous.  I'm nervous for a number of reasons and so I sent a text message to my running friends (Coach B, Naomi & Kim) and received a massive outpouring of support and what they sent me is what stuck in my head the entire race.  I'd trained for this day and I was prepared.  This, no matter what the course was like, is what I'd spent months training for.

I'd reviewed the elevation chart last week so I knew there would be hills.  This was one of the bits of advice that Coach B gave me.  To run strong up the hills because I was trained for them and she was right.  There were a few that made me doubt whether I'd be able to run all the way up but I kept reminding myself that I was just out for a fun run and that I had trained for this.

I think I spent a lot more time enjoying the scenery of this race than any other I'd run before.  The leaves were in full color change making the views positively spectacular!   While we ran through the town of Lake Mills there were spectators here and there but once we left the city and headed out on the country roads the course support got more sparse.  I think my one actual complaint about the race had to do with the first two water stations - they seemed woefully understaffed and had no cups filled as I ran past.  I was thankful that I was carrying my own water at those moments so I could just keep trucking along.

Best damn cheer squad
L-R:  Paula, Mark & Brenda
I remember feeling really good up through mile 8 or 9 where I saw my sister cheering on runners.  I was happy to report that I'd been running the entire time except for the few breaks I'd taken to drink from my water bottle and eat the dates I brought for fuel.  Just after I saw her I came up to the last water stop.  I stopped to refill my water bottle to ensure I'd have enough to get me through the finish.  At this point I realized that I'd started slowing down... I went from a sub 10:xx/mile average to 10:2X/mile average but I knew I was still far ahead of my PR pace and I rationalized that if this pace felt good that I should continue at this pace so that I'd be able to run the entire race.

On the elevation chart it doesn't look big but my toes (which always hurt after about 8 miles) hurt, and my knee was bothering me and I just .... I don't know.  I just felt the need to walk a little bit.  At first I told myself I'd only walk two minutes and before I realized what had happened I'd walked about a half mile.  I knew I had to start running again or my muscles would continue to get tighter and I wouldn't be able to run.  So, I ran.  Slowly.  And suddenly these crazy people on the sidewalk screamed my name.  It took me what seemed like forever to realize they were my cousins Mark and Paula!

I was so tempted to walk a bit again but knowing that people I knew were watching me made me keep
The runners
L-R:  Alex, Kristi, me, Dan
running.  I got about a quarter of a mile up the road and I thought about walking again and then I saw Kristi who told me that the finish was just up around the bend.  And now I couldn't walk because there was someone else watching me!  As I turned the corner I could see the finish line.  Then I saw Dan and Brenda.  As I made the final turn I saw the finish line and I'm not sure where the burst of energy came from but I hauled it across the finish line.  I saw the clock as I crossed and as my feet hit the timing mat the tears hit my cheeks.  I had just hit a HUGE personal record.

My previous PR was 2:28:24
My new PR is 2:18:23

That's a full TEN MINUTES off my previous time!  I'm still shocked.

So, as far as my goals... let's review:
  • Run the entire race
    • So close... but not quite.  
  • Begin Slow
    • Yes!  I definitely consider this a success.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
    • Yes!  While I fueled appropriately I still felt dehydrated at the end of the day but I also realize that I ran a half marathon so that's to be expected.
I consider this half marathon to have been a complete success.  I truly appreciate all the advice and support I got from family, friends and fellow runners.  You all have no idea how much your words carried me through the miles and built my confidence.  I loved every single minute of this race and will definitely run this race again.

Who's in for next year?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thoughts pre-Tyranena Beer Run

My first half marathon!
Tomorrow I'll toe the line of my last half marathon of 2013 in Lake Mills, Wisconsin at the Tyranena Beer Run.  The mental craziness started pretty much 9 days ago when I could start stalking the weather.  At the time the weather report was predicting 15 mph winds.  Yeah, pretty sure that's enough to make you want to cry for your mommy after 10 miles, in my opinion.  Since then they've changed it to be 8 mph winds gusting to 15 so I'm really hoping that the gusting is a tailwind.

While I've completed the half marathon distance before the distance is still a little daunting.  The majority of the long runs I had during this training season have gone really well so I'm going to try to channel in on those positive feelings when my mental energy starts to wane.

The other courses I've run have been promoted as fast and flat courses.  This course is not promoted as flat so I'm really hoping that I'm trained well enough to handle the hills.  I'm pretty sure that the Coach B voice in my head will quote Christopher (her son) and tell me to pound my legs into the hill and climb it strongly, or something like that.  

I read a tweet this morning that seemed like it was meant just for me, but more likely for the tens of thousands running the New York City Marathon this weekend.

So... my goals:

  • Run the entire race
    • Of course I really want to be able to run the entire race.  That is except for the short breaks when I have to stop to drink since I can't seem to do that without choking if I'm running.  
  • Begin Slow
    • I'm hoping to be smarter about this race than any of the others I've done - going out slower than I normally would in order to conserve energy for the final miles.  
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
    • Fueling at pre-determined times to keep my hydration levels up so that I don't get dehydrated, again
So who else is racing this weekend?  Any tips?

If you're in the Lake Mills, Wisconsin area c'mon out and cheer me on.  I'll be sporting my usual Team Challenge singlet!