104th Thanksgiving Day Race

 Starting out at a brisk 28 degrees with my sidekick Kristina, amidst 15K+ other individuals who were crazy enough to be out on Thanksgiving morning, there was an overwhelming vibe for the event to begin, the longer I stood the tighter my body was feeling and the more likely I would have to use the bathroom, finally at 9:10 my feet tapped the start line and we headed uphill into Cincinnati.

I had set a goal for myself of 70 minutes or less (I did the Komen in September in 1:10:34). My foot was feeling ok, my music was not cooperating, so I had to lean on the pace of the crowd.

By mile 2 I hit my stride, 22 minutes. I less than 12 mins a miles I was pleased. Entertained by the festive holiday outfits, tutu’s (if someone could explain this one to me I would be grateful, they look cute on my kids but on adult women, ummm not so sure) and the runners dedicated to wearing shorts, that had to burn, I know cold when I see it.

 

Lining the streets were supporters for many different groups, the MS Society and Goodwill are the two that stood out in my mind. However, the most touching group I followed were a bunch dressed in red, and the lead runners carrying large American Flags. I teared up, their patriotism was inspiring, I imagine the flag wasn’t a light item, and I saw them pass it among themselves every so often, they were running for Veterans, of which I am proud to know several and cannot think of a more fitting tribute on such a day as this.

I have learned the value of the brief power walk on long runs, especially uphill, it allows me to rest a bit, but also allows me to be able to push on the flats and the last two miles. Running through Cincinnati, down into Newport, into Covington and back into the city, I reminisced about the only other time I did this event, I walked it with my mother and my dog Amy – we had no idea how long 10K was and by the time we saw the 6 mile marker we were beat -9 years later I am running it, amazed at how far I have really progressed.

One highlight for me was heading into the last mile, an older man beside me, walking with me looked over and saw my Mudder headband (great for keeping my ears warm) and said “Mudders don’t walk.” I laughed, we talked a little about completing one, by this point I had shed both long-sleeved tops and was sleeveless, sweating, and tiring…but he was right, I didn’t need to walk then, I was being lazy. I pushed that last three-quarters of a mile and crossed at 1:13:37 officially. Ok I missed my goal, not by much, I give myself those few minutes, it was the first distance greater than 3 miles I had run in over a month.

 

My pace 11:53

I have to give huge props to Kristina, she finished well ahead of her personal goal as well – she’s pretty bad ass

So my official first running season has come to a close…20 weeks until the Pig.

 

 

A Slice of Turkey and A Piece of the Pig

A week from today is Thanksgiving  will begin with a 10K, the 104th annual Thanksgiving day race, this year’s oldest participant registered to date is 85! This will be my second organized 10K event and my personal goal is to beat my personal best time of 70 minutes. I have been working back up to the distance after two cortisone shots and some therapy my foot is feeling significantly better. I will be joined at this event by my friend Kristina – she and I are quite excited and ready – we both are silently hoping for weather like that of last Thanksgiving, mild and dry.

 

This will be my last “official” run for 2013, I am amazed at the progress I have made in a little over 9 months but this is not the end, really it’s just the beginning because December 1st I begin training for:

This is really how all my journey from totally sedentary to very active began.

 A friend I went to high school with has a young son who at a very early age has had a liver transplant, I saw her post again and again about his progress and recovery, trips for test and endless medications. Throughout all of this her posts were always positive – a real inspiration of hope. Then she posted that there was a team that ran for her son, and Children’s Organ Transplant Association will get 10% donated for all members of the team.  I saw this post at almost 240#, hadn’t run a step in YEARS, had never run more than 360′ (do the math it’s the distance around four bases) let alone miles. But I promised myself that I would run at least the half…and I will meet my personal goal and run the full by 2016 (maybe sooner) before I turn 40.

Call it a ripple effect but it has changed me, my life, my health and for that I am truly thankful. So next Thursday I will enjoy my slice of turkey, and take the next step toward a piece of the Pig.

TOUGH MUDDER

 “Tough Mudder is an endurance event series in which participants attempt 10-12 mileparticipants at

long military-style obstacle courses. Designed by British Special Forces to test mental as well as physical strength, obstacles often play on common human fears, such as fire, water, electricity and heights. The organizers encourage teamwork, and many obstacles are designed to be very difficult to complete alone. The events are untimed,and an average 78% of entrants successfully complete the course.

 

Weather forecast for Saturday 10/19/2013: 48 and rainy

The accuracy of words to describe this event is almost impossible. After a night of very broken sleep, I put my mudder motivation/prayers on my left arm, knowing at each mile I would have a new thought to push me, there were several times I scraped the mud off to see these thoughts and I knew I would finish.

I left my house at  8:30 to meet my running partner (Brad) in Wilder. He and I have been training, pushing, motivating one another toward this day since early this year. I have at times questioned if I would be in that 78% that completes the course. I knew going in that the running portion I could do, I can run 10 miles. The obstacles I told myself I would attempt, even if they posed a fear.

Artic Enema – well hello mile two, a plunge polar bear style into a vat of ice filled mud water, knowing I had about 10 seconds give or take to get my already frozen body in and out, shockingly cold, never have I felt anything like it, burning & breath stealing – but I did it and with help I did make it out and that chill wore off quickly

Boa Constrictor – a pair of corrugated pipes with a mud-water swim between was probably the hardest for me, it came in the second half and claustrophobia set in the minute my head ducked in, I gulped in fresh air in the swim and crawled my way up the slick pipe, being pulled out the last foot or two by Brad.

This course, as I am sure any of them, are not for the weak – mentally or physically, there was hiking, crawling, clawins…there was very little running, I would say not more that a mile stretch,  and this was because of the mud. Now, that may sound silly, it’s called “Tough Mudder” it should be muddy, but 3 days of rain prior to the event made it start out water logged. The progress was incredibly slow, physically demanding (think walking on ice uphill and down for miles). Shoes so laden with mud, and nothing to remove the mud with, not a tree that hadn’t already been grasped my mud covered hands hundreds of times, no grass that could assist in pulling some of it off so that maybe for a few steps you could use any kind of traction….and the rain, off and on throughout the day.

I am so very thankful and honored that I had a partner who pushed me, who made me want to finish, his bad ass did complete Everest (a half pipe one has to run up and pull themselves over – 20′ feet high – his badassery has no limit).

At mile nine, limping, on an injured foot I’ve been nursing for weeks but I wasn’t going to give up, or in, but I did have to listen to my body and be content with completing the course distance even though it meant bypassing several obstacles for fear of injuring myself more so. A woman watching as we passed her said “We’ve been out here rain and shine!” my response, “I call bullshit on that, I haven’t seen any shine!”

She then asked if I was hurt, I said “Yes ma’am” she asked if I needed a medic I said “No ma’am” there is no quit in me, I was not done.

Crossing the finish line, exhausted, starving, emotional, proud, sore…the ladies slipped the headband on my head, gave me my shirt, and commented that my pink bow (in honor of my girls and breast cancer awareness month) survived, I said “Of course it did”. Grabbing my free beer, Dos Equis (the worst beer I have ever had think church wine and cheap beer combined) we got our bag and pulled on our damp but warmer jackets. Standing in line for an hour to get the bus back , stripping down in a field to pull on long, dry, clean pants, cutting off shoes because the mud was so caked on there was no hope of untying them, sitting down a chore in itself.

 I have already been asked will I do it again? 

Yes – I deserve a dry day to attempt those obstacles I had to bypass.

Why?

Because officially I am a Tough Mudder.

32 trips later & 10K

MEASUREMENTS for September Progress:

Bust   44″ now 41″

Rear 47″ now 41.75″

Waist  42″ now 35.75″

Arms  17″ now 14.25″

Thigh   29.5″ now 24″

Calves  20″ now18.75″

BMI  37   now 31.9

Pants  14/16 now 12/14

Shirt  XL now L

Total measurable loss   26.5″ and 32.4#

Miles ran: 56.83

 


Biggest Accomplishment: Well there are two really, I ran the Komen 10K on September 14 in 1:10:24 (official time). It was tough event, I have been nursing a case of plantar fasciitis, so my training has been limited to every other day (hence also not meeting my 80 mile per month goal). But I didn’t give up. It was thrilling to cross the finish line and my mother and uncle be there to congratulate myself and my friend who ran with me.

The second accomplishment came just yesterday so technically October, I ran 10 miles. It was tough but 6 months ago when I made my training schedule for the Tough Mudder I put that goal on the calendar; to prove to me that I could hit 10 miles. I went out purposefully at 1pm since my wave time is 12:40 next Saturday, I wanted the heat to be as similar as possible. I didn’t take enough water so miles 6-9 were tough, thanks to my angel who was standing outside and was kind enough to provide me some water to make it through that last mile. Miles 4-6 were very hard, almost all up hill, but when I re-entered my subdivision I knew I only had 1.5 miles to go that I wasn’t going to give up…when I finally made it home I was completely exhausted, soaked, sun burned and very emotional. It’s not something that I will attempt everyday, but I know I can do it and I also realize that a half-marathon is completely do-able…next year.

Weight loss this month is up a little, 2.4 pounds more added to the total and once again my loss is more in inches than pounds, taking another 5 off my body.  Within a few weeks I will be below 200, it feels like it has taken forever to get to this point, however my real-life approach along with the support of my family, friends and the incredible people at Weight Watchers I really believe this is loss for life. 

 

 



 

One Weekend, Two Events

This weekend was a busy one….

 

Saturday: I did the Color Run in Cincinnati. I highly recommend this as a good first event, family event, or gathering of friends who want to get a little exercise and have some fun. Standing in the chute waiting for the wave to begin the DJ humored the group and color was flying. Pink, blue, yellow, purple the pavement stained with it, the air thick with residue. The weather was optimal, cool and sunny; the course was laid out in a zig-zag pattern near Paul Brown Staduim and the first dose of color came within a half mile. In less than thirty minutes I toed the finish line, this was not a officially timed event but runkeeper says I completed the 2.76 miles (it was advertised as a 5K which is 3.14) in 29:06 my personal goal was the 3.14 in less than 36 minutes, I most certainly would have met that goal with ease.

Sunday: I joined this event due to the large participation of the Sunday Fundayers at WW in Erlanger. It’s modest $10 entry fee made it difficult to say no. This 5K course took me through old parts of Erlanger beginning and ending at the Kenton County Library. My mother, Uncle Ken, and littles were also present to push and encourage me. Crossing the finish line in 35:44 – next year I will win my division, I was only 2 minutes behind the second place finisher and 3 behind the winner – I know I can accomplish this. The girls were able to participate in the kids fun run around the parking lot and they had fun being chased by mommy and their Ms. Kris; both are quite proud of their participation medals.

 

How these events measure my progress: In seven weeks I have cut a little more than three minutes off my 5K pace. When I finished the event on July 4th I knew then that I could do anything I set my mind to. My bib and timer for the Komen 10K showed up today and I am revising my personal goal from 1:45 to 1:15. In this last month I have also decided to set a long term goal – I am going to run a full marathon by the time I am 40, I have 3 years to meet this goal.

 

Katy Perry: ROAR   http://youtu.be/e9SeJIgWRPk

 

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire

Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR

Louder, louder than a lion

Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR

Now I’m floating like a butterfly 

Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes

I went from zero to my own hero

Training for a 10K

After reaching my goal of completing the 5K I knew I needed something else between now and the Tough Mudder in October. I spent some time looking for events and came upon the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure on September 14. I have previously completed the 5K walk for this cause, I know the course goes through downtown Cincinnati, and the Newport/Covington area. I think it’s the perfect opportunity.

The next step was finding a training schedule – it’s only 10 weeks away. Finding this information was easy but all the plans slated for 12 weeks, with 4-6 weeks of pre-training (my goodness a bit redundant right?) however, the “pre-training” involved being a totally beginner, I am a beginner but I don’t need to start at 30-60 sec intervals(how awesome it feels to be able to say that). I have created a plan that helps me grow in my endurance in the time I have, leading up to the weeks before are runs from 2.5 miles to 7 miles, coincidentally my goal for the Mudder was 8-10 so I will be ready for that as well.

When I spoke with my main athletic supporter I conveyed that some of this training I cannot do on my lunch hour, so I will have to spend some of my evenings and weekends devoted to this challenge – he is on board with me and has promised to be there when I cross the finish line this time!

70 days of work ahead and I will be one year older by the time it comes – my goal is to finish in under an hour and forty-five minutes.

So let’s lace ’em up and head on out day 1 is today 3 miles at lunch.

Give a little snap to the my athletic supporter as he took his tenny-bops (as he calls them) to work today so he can walk on his lunch…ripple in effect.

 

Fourth of July 5K

I know that a 5K is not a huge event for many people, but for me this was the true test to myself – could I actually run the distance, there was no one else pushing me to do this, just me wanting to prove I could do it. I prepared myself to leave and was just about to slip out the door when a certain little Miss said she wanted to come to, I would have loved for my whole family to come, but it was raining and well I knew they didn’t really want to – my momma was coming and my Weight Watchers family would be there as well; we pulled her well worn fourth of July dress out of the dryer and put her hair into piggies with blue bows per her request and slipped out into the grey morning. Picking up my momma en route.

Once at the park, I slipped on my oh so comfy shoes and plugged up my music, I was ready. I chose to stay at the back not wanting to be in the heat of serious competitors, and groups of walkers. I crossed the start line at 7:35 am, Blurred Lines was on and I started up a slight incline. I repeated to myself  to keep a pace I knew I could maintain for a while, to not go out to fast as I tend to most days leaving me exhausted the last half mile, I never run the 3.14 miles straight at home I usually have a few walks of 60 steps (that’s as many as I allow myself to take), past a park where I once hit a home run out of, the school were I went as a child, past streets where I knew countless people, the fire house, R.C. Hinsdale where I did practicum work in college, and then finally turn toward Freedom park, at the top of this hill I took 60 steps, a sip of water and continued on. Run keeper told me I had hit 1.5 miles in 17 minutes and change, I was ahead of the pace I set for myself, to finish in 39 or less minutes. I knew at that point if I just kept up what I was doing I would in fact make my self imposed goal. I heard the Sunday Funday group cheer as I past them beyond that I don’t remember seeing the landmarks on my way back, my eyes focused on the double yellow line and the sound of my own exhale, wiping the rain from my eyes with my soaked shirt, “…just up one more hill…” and left into the park, the 3 mile mark and I was at just over 37 minutes, I know I

can run a quarter mile in less than 3 minutes, I put all the energy I had left in me, I had to do it in less than 2, and then I could feel the emotion building up in me, I almost started to choke, then I saw my little lady, standing right there, she was waving a little, she gets shy – I smiled at her and  I pulled my phone from my shirt, I had to stop it when I crossed. My foot hit the mat, I heard the beep, I pushed stop…. 39:08 I call it meeting my goal.  I pulled the chip from my right shoe and handed to the lady and walked past the finish area, tears streaming down my face.

 

 I did it.

 

I wasn’t the fastest, but I also wasn’t the slowest. I didn’t win, or post a land speed record, but I did something I never dreamed I could do.

 

Official Results:

786 A F #124 36 F 41:31(from the official start) 39:12(from when I crossed the starting line) 12:39 (pace)  11/22 ATNA 413/488 F

 

So what’s next?

 

Komen Race for the Cure 9/14/13

10 weeks …better get running.

http://www.komencincinnati.org/komen-race-for-the-cure/

The Warrior Dash – June 1, 2013

The Warrior Dash is the world’s largest obstacle race series. The proceeds go to St. Jude, …since that time I had been working out at home, kind of, watching what I ate kind of, I had dedication…kind of. http://www.warriordash.com/

 Once I made that commitment I had something to drive me. I wanted to be able to finish the race and that meant having the endurance for not just running a course but a course covered in mud and obstacles. That is the moment I knew I had better get my butt in gear.

 

 I downloaded a couch to 5K ap for my phone. I used it for a few weeks and then realized I could run more than the program dictated, so I made up my own, Runkeeper allows you to customize how far or how long you want to do a specific task. I started with 4 minutes of running and 90 seconds of walking, then I increased the run times and decreased the walking times; I am very proud that earlier this week I ran two straight miles, I know my dad is shaking his head in confusion as to how me, “flash” is now running regularly. I am eager to see what the Dash on August 10th brings for me, my goal is to finish in under an hour, I know that if I continue to work hard this is an attainable goal. Long term my goal is to run a half marathon next spring.

 

Am I Tough Enough? Am I A Warrior?

 

Last week I signed up for a Tough Mudder  http://toughmudder.com/ coincidentally I am also registered to do The Warrior Dash http://www.warriordash.com/.

They are both versions of obstacle courses over miles the Dash is a shorter event. I know people who have completed both but it wasn’t until I watched the trailers on the websites that I thought to myself “Holy Crap! Can I really do this?” and then I promptly I said,”Well, hell yes I can!” There was my motivation to find a replacement activity since my elliptical is now in the dump.

So how am I going to prepare myself to be able to cross the finish line in these two events?

I started the couch to 10K on Sunday – I am not a runner, repeat I don’t run. I never have, I am slower than slow, but for me this isn’t about being the best its about finishing, proving that I do have what it takes. So day 1: walk, run, walk, run,…30 minutes later walk through the door. I far exceeded my own expectations. I only walked a few seconds of two of the run sections, for now those are only 60 seconds but I doubt 6 weeks ago I would have lasted half of any of them. Day 2: Monday 5:30 am, 26 degrees, cold rain – but I went. I had to pep talk myself through it, thankfully I was out alone on this morning because anyone in earshot might have thought I was a nut job.

“Don’t you stop you fat ass, you didn’t come out here in the cold rain to give up.”

“If it doesn’t hurt you aren’t making progress.”

and what do ya know the 30 minutes was over before I knew it and I didn’t walk any of the runs (I stopped one time to tie my shoe.) I did however carry with me all day a sense of pride and accomplishment, along with sore quads and creaky knees; but once again I did far better than I thought I would. I know that the run stints will lengthen and the activity over all will increase but it’s a step in the right direction.

 

Maybe I am a runner, maybe I’m not, but I know for certain I am not a quitter. So come hell or high water, high wall, mud pit, fire and other obstacles I will finish both of these events and earn my beer.

 

WW UPDATE:

Week 5 Weigh in was a mild success – with two nights of out to dinner I still lost .6#  for a total loss of 6.1%  of my starting weight.

 

60 sticks of butter down 184 to go

 

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