Friday, December 30, 2011

Reflecting on my progress and also looking towards the new year!

I did a three mile treadmill run this week with my fastest pace ever - 10:16 minute miles!  After running with my sister during the Christmas weekend, I realized that I can definitely speed up the training runs, and I'm going to have to do that if I want to reach my sub-30 5K goal.  I will just have to ignore my brain when it tells me that I'm going to die if I go any faster!

Looking back on my progress, I feel pretty happy about how far I've come.  I've lost 58 pounds so far.  I've run almost 250 miles.  I've improved my speed by about 3 minutes per mile.  The best part of all of this is that I am healthier and happier than ever.  I've learned so much about mental toughness and challenging myself.  Running is an amazing gift that my sister gave to me.  She got me started and I can't imagine going back to a sedentary life, full of excuses for why I didn't have time to exercise.

My goals for 2012: run a sub-30 5k, finish a half marathon, log at least 60 miles a month.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Six months, 54 pounds later...

I just ran my fourth race last week - the Cleveland Turkey Trot 5 mile.  It was an adventure - there were over 6,000 runners.  I might not be in any of pictures, though - I had my jacket tied around my waist and it was obscuring my bib number.  My official time is 55:06, not too shabby!  Below is a picture of some of the many participants before the start of the race.

I'm still managing to run three times a week.  Setting challenges for the month helps, I really wanted to be sure to finish 50 miles for November and I did it!  I've lost 54 pounds, and would like to lose another 31 pounds or so.  Weight loss is slowing down a bit, but I am still gaining some muscle.  Taking measurements helps me stay motivated.

I just finished reading a Jeff Galloway book, and I find that the running books help keep me motivated, too.  Daily Mile is also great for motivation!

I'm worried about the winter, but will keep running even if it's on the treadmill.  I do plan to run outside whenever possible.  Next possible race is December 3rd - haven't decided on that one yet.  Otherwise, my next big goal is the half marathon in NYC in April 2012!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Run for Justice 5K

This past Saturday was my second 5K.  The race started at the Galleria in Cleveland.  The race went pretty smoothly, they have held this race several times before and Hermes Sports does a good job with the details.  The only hiccup was that we paid $3 to park in the Galleria's garage, but then our tickets wouldn't open the gate.  We had to wait for the security guy to come and open it so we could get out after the race was over.

I managed to shave almost four minutes off my time - new PR of 32:41!  10:32 pace, which feels pretty good.  I'm still recovering from this sinus infection, so my lungs were hurting a bit.  Maybe it was aggravated by the cold weather.  It was about 35 degrees during the race.  My CW-X tights are great, and they kept me warm.  I do need a different shirt and/or jacket and maybe another pair of gloves or some mittens.  My fingers were cold till about halfway through the race.

I felt like I was going to die during the first mile, then realized I was going too fast.  My first mile was under 10:00!  I haven't run that fast ever.  There was no time caller at the second mile, so I'm not sure how much I slowed down, but I know I did.  It was an out and back course, and the way back had some hills.  It was challenging. 

The race wiped me out.  I rested for most of the day on Saturday, but on Sunday I really needed to get in another four miles to meet my 50 miles in October challenge.  I knew that I would not be able to get a run in on Monday, since I have class.  There is no way I could get up early enough on a Monday morning to run.  It felt great to complete the challenge!  However, I'm thinking I probably should've just let it go - I'm still feeling pretty crummy. 

My ENT appointment is on Friday.  I'm anxious to see if he thinks surgery is necessary, and if so, how long recovery will take.  It's hard to imagine just sitting at home doing nothing for a few days (maybe up to a week) - eek!  I might have to put this off until Spring, when I am off from work anyway to study for the bar exam.  Plus, I don't feel ready to go for an entire week with no running at all. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Plodding along...

I’ve been a lazy blogger.  I figured it was time to post an entry so I’ve got a record of my progress when I look back at this.  Mainly, I think a blog is good to record how training/fitness is progressing.  It helps me reflect on how much running has changed for me over the past five months.

First, the weight loss report – I have lost 48 pounds so far!  It doesn’t seem like such a big deal unless I really stop to think about it.  Almost 50 pounds in about five months!  This isn’t some crazy diet, either.  I’ve made a lifestyle change.  The way that I think about food and exercise has completely evolved.

Second, the training.  I made it through B210K, though the last few workouts I skipped ahead to the end because I felt like I was ready.  Now, I’m up to running six miles straight!  It is unbelievable how fast my body has adapted to this.  I wouldn’t say that running is easy, but it’s gotten pretty comfortable.  I’m pushing my pace and/or distance to keep challenging myself.  I’m still throwing in slow runs after reading Jeff Galloway’s book, but I’ve improved a lot.  I have been able to run a mile at a 10:00 pace, something that would have seemed impossible this summer.  I can run five miles at an 11:00 pace.  I just realized I didn't blog at all about my 5 mile race!  I ran the Maple Highlands 5 mile race at the beginning of October.  It was a fantastic experience, though it was definitely chilly!  I knew a couple of runners there, but they were all way faster than me.  I was planning to run alone.  I ended up running the entire time with a woman who matched my pace.  We didn't talk much during the race, but somehow it was easier to run next to another person.  We got down to the finish line, and we sped up to finish strong.  It felt great!  Mark came to be there at the finish line, and I appreciated his support.  It was so nice to see his face as I reached the finish.  My time was 55 minutes, not sure how many seconds. 

The current goal is to reach the sub 30 minute 5K.  I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Training went pretty well this past week.  Sunday’s trail run (4.6 mi) at Big Creek was really fun, and I felt good about my pace (12:23).  Time and distance were a bit of an estimate.  I forgot my watch at home, and I did the full creek trail, but only part of the tower trail (the grass was too long and I felt like I was going to fall down the hill!)  There were a couple of difficult spots where I did a short walk up part of a hill because it felt like my HR was too high.  I would love to get a Garmin so that I know for sure when I need to back down!

I snapped a picture of one of the shorter hills just as I finished one of my walk breaks.  (I'm not sure why my phone makes everything look pinkish!)  This park is only about 4 miles from my house.  It felt amazing to make it to the top of some of these hills.  I was feeling happy about the progress that I’ve made so far.  It was definitely a runner’s high! 

The trail was a bridle trail, and I realized when I got to the creek that means no bridge to run across – horses don’t need a bridge!  There was no choice but to run through the water, since I hadn’t gone far enough yet and that part of the park does not have many other trails.  It wasn’t as bad as I expected to do most of the run with soaking wet feet. 

Hopefully tackling these hills and running over gravel and mud will make the 5 mile race on October 2nd seem like a piece of cake!  I’m a little worried about the distance.  I will have to be sure to start off slow so that I can finish the race on a high note!

On the weight loss side of things, I am up to 46 pounds lost so far!  I just realized over the weekend that I am more than halfway to my weight loss goal.  I don’t really have a firm number in mind, but I think I’ve got about 35 more pounds to go.  People ask me if I’m excited about losing so much weight, and I guess part of me is excited, but I still feel like this is a work in progress so I’m not celebrating too much yet.  I want to be sure I can keep heading in the right direction and maintain a healthier lifestyle permanently. 

I took my suit in to the seamstress to have it taken in for our law school photos next month, and it felt pretty good to have her say that she didn’t know if she would be able to alter the pants, she thought they were so big it might not work!  In the end, she decided she could do it, it would just be a bit more difficult.  I will be happy to pick up the suit and try it on – I don’t have a ton of clothes that fit me really well right now.  I guess that’s a good problem to have!

Monday, September 19, 2011

I completed my first 5K race on September 10, 2011.  I raced with my co-worker and we finished in 36 minutes – not bad for my first try!  It was rainy, but not very cold.  There were so many people, it took awhile to even get to the starting line.

I didn’t have any problem finishing, in fact, I had a little energy left to sprint at the end once we were close to the finish line.  It was a fun experience, and I was immediately thinking about signing up for another race.

I registered for a 5 mile race at the Maple Highlands Trail on October 2nd.  At first, I thought it was a 5K, but after I paid the fee, I realized it’s almost 2 miles farther.  I was a bit nervous about that at first, but my DM friends were very encouraging and now I feel ready.

My training runs this past week went well.  Now that I have increased my distance, I have had to do some runs that are outside the neighborhood, since going around the loop multiple times is getting incredibly boring.  I ran around town on Friday after work, which was great because it was less familiar.  This route also had more hills, and it felt pretty good to complete the run without being exhausted.

Sunday I went out to Big Creek Park and ran about ½ of the way on trails, ½ on pavement.  I went for a total of 5.1 miles and had a fast pace for me (about 11:30 or so per mile).  The trails were fun!  I started off with the Hemlock Trail that is beautiful, but includes a set of stairs right near the beginning.  I ended up doing most of the shorter trails in the park, then I headed out to the road.  I decided partway through the run to tackle the big hill on Robinson Road, the hill that really was tough back when I was just starting to run for 2 miles at once.  I did it pretty well – I felt good about the pace I was able to keep up going up the hill.  It was still a bit of a challenge, but it didn’t feel impossible like it did last time.  I had one brief walk break and finished it pretty strong.  If I run there again, I need to look at the trail map first to figure out the best way to get to the bridle trails, so that I can get my distance in without needing to worry about which trail I am switching to. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows – sometimes it feels like I won’t be able to get a run finished, but then I get past the mental block and do it and then it feels amazing.  I totally get how people love running and racing.  Too bad I didn’t discover this sooner, but at least I’m doing it now!

I’m looking forward to my race in two weeks!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Home from vacation, now back to reality.

This is a picture of the lake where we stayed in Northeast PA last week.  What a gorgeous place, but it's definitely in the middle of nowhere!  Kayaking was so much fun, and it was a more difficult upper body workout than I expected.  I guess once you cross the lake a few times, you don't really realize how much you are working until you stop paddling. 

This was the first time I've run with my sister in a few years.  She has a much faster pace than me since she's been running on a regular basis.  On Thursday, I started off too fast, and my first mile was over a minute faster than I usually run.  Which would've been great, except we hit some major hills.  It didn't help that my feet were wet from the rain and I got blisters.  I'm glad I didn't realize how hilly this was until after it was over!  I'm not ready to be a cat. 5 hill runner yet.  The most amazing thing about this run was that we saw a black bear!  That's the first one I've ever seen outside of a zoo.  Even after all of these years of camping, no bears until my sister and I see one crossing the road.  He didn't even look at us.  We kept going, and I wasn't worried about him.

Our Saturday run was much less strenuous.  I wouldn't have been able to tackle those hills again!  What I surprise that when I checked, this route is also considered pretty hilly.  I'm not sure exactly what the climb ratings mean, but this is a 5/1, the other route was 5/2.  This gives me confidence, as my pace on this run was my best ever for a 3 mile run, and these are some of the steepest climbs I've done.  Wow!  The photo below is the view we saw at the end of this run - the sun coming through the trees.  It was really wonderful, and I had to run inside the lodge to get my camera to get this picture.