Monthly Archives: March 2014

I Ran Around The Lake!

We live fairly close to a big lake. Not THE big lake (we’re about 35 miles from Lake Michigan), but Lac La Belle. It’s a 1,154 acre lake and the center point of the Lake Country Half Marathon. One one side of the lake is downtown Oconomowoc, and the other side is a residential area—the village of Lac La Belle. Today, I conquered this lake.

I had planned to do my run by the other big lake today in order to take part in a We Run This group run. I was going to do four miles by Lake Michigan, and four miles with the group meeting nearby. But, last night I attended a drag show at a local university where I used to work, and due to hanging out with attendees afterwards didn’t make it home until 2:00 a.m. I chose to sleep for 8.5 hours, rather than get up at 6:30 to drive an hour to do the group run.

So, I had to plan a route at home. I picked Lac La Belle, and looked to the Lake Country Half Marathon route for guidance. I’m about a mile from the lake and would basically need the entire 8 miles to circle it, so I started with a warmup walk and planned to include a cool-down walk as well. I left my house at 2:50 p.m. It was just over 40 degrees, the sun was shining, and wind was noticeable but not bad. I brought raisins with me for fuel.

The first mile was in familiar territory, but then I started to see Lac La Belle from the side I’ve never been on. It’s a cute little residential street (with a 15 mph speed limit—yay!) with a mix of modest and extravagant houses. You actually can’t drive all the way along the lake because the road dead ends but continues as a short section of paved trail, which makes it great for running and biking. I had to veer north (on the half marathon course) about two miles in. It looked like there may have been a running path that wasn’t marked on the map, but I didn’t want to risk it and end up doubling back and increasing my miles.

Lac La Belle

The elevation map from RunningAhead.com showed a monster hill during mile two.

March 29 ElevationIt really wasn’t that bad. This is why scale matters—it was really only a 50-foot climb over half a mile. As I detoured to the north, I ran by a corn field and could really feel the sun. I wonder how rosy my cheeks are….

Corn Field

I turned left and met back up with the road right around the lake. I passed a few runners who smiled and nodded, and then I passed the half-way mark. I just had to make it home now.

Lac La Belle

I saw a man walking ahead. He was middle-aged, not fat but not fit, and seemed to be out for an afternoon stroll. I smiled as I approached, and he stuck up his hand for a high-five. I obliged and said thank you, and he yelled, “You go girl!” That made me feel good. 🙂

I managed to miss a turn from the half marathon route and emerged on a busy highway. The shoulders were wide, so it was fine. It was at this point I realized that I had run to the county line.

Jefferson/Waukesha County Line

I started running along the highway, and a car honked (I assume in encouragement). Once I hit mile 6, things got tough. All I could think of was drinking water, and I didn’t have any water with me, nor any money to get some. I also felt a bit of distress in my digestive system, so I stopped eating the raising (the distress passed quickly). I walk/ran the last two miles and briefly considered stopping in a bar for water at mile 7, but just kept pressing on. My final photo was taken at mile 7.3, when I had a brilliant view of the lake I had just run around. It was almost time to turn away from the lake and head to home, so I wanted a photo to commemorate my first round-the-lake run.

Run Around Lac La Belle

One thing I like about Nike+ is the encouraging voice that tells me I’m almost there. I have to force myself to run that last portion. I finished the 8 miles in almost exactly the time Nike+ had predicted I would, so I felt great about that. I also apparently PR’d my 10K time (which just means I ran it faster than last week).

March 29 Longest RunMarch 29 10K PR

I immediately called my mom when I finished, and talked to her during the .4 mile walk to my house. My legs felt like jello, and I knew I was going to be sore, but I was proud. I told my mom that if I was the type of person that quit, today would be the day I quit my training program and failed to sign up for the race (I’m still not registered for budget reasons). The last two miles of my run were ugly and not indicative of how I’ve felt while running in 2014. But I’m not a quitter, and next Saturday I’m planning to run from my house to the next major town over on a gorgeous trail (9 miles) and have my husband meet me for breakfast. I’ll probably need to get a handheld water bottle before then. According to the pace chart, I didn’t fail as epically in the end as I felt.

March 29 Pace ChartMarch 29 Splits

I came home, hydrated, showered, and fell asleep in bed for about 45 minutes. I don’t plan to leave the couch much tonight. I have no idea how folks do this in the morning and then go about their day like it’s no big deal.

March 29 Run Photo 

Another Off Day

I didn’t run today for no particularly good reason. Yes, it was raining and cold and we eventually had thunder and lightning. But I have a gym membership for 1 more month (I cancelled for the summer, but it’s good through April 30). My stomach didn’t feel too well after dinner, but I was fine by 7:30 or so. I just stayed on the couch and researched the candidates for next week’s city & county elections. On the bright side, I know who I’m voting for now.

Food Log

Breakfast: morning glory muffin, low-fat string cheese, applesauce, ginger tea (are you sensing a pattern here?)
Lunch: 1 piece cheeseburger bacon pizza, chocolate chip cookie, diet Dr. Pepper
Dinner: small pork chop, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1/2 cup sautéed kale, 1/2 cup acorn squash, 1/4 cup curried apple chutney
Dessert: single serving chocolate Haagan Dazs ice cream

39 Weight Watchers points. No activity points today.

I had the same chickpea pasta salad & greens lunch planned for today, but I had a strong craving to eat junk—like to add french fries and chocolate to my lunch. I decided to just go for the junk, but some filling junk, so I’d end up eating less points overall than if I ate that AND my planned lunch. I also skipped a snack because I didn’t need the extra points (and I wasn’t that hungry). Considering that 12 of my points came from junk, I managed to keep the total at a manageable number.

I have 25 weekly/activity points left right now, and I’ll probably earn 15-20 activity points on my Saturday long run. That should be enough for me to enjoy a dinner out with a friend tomorrow night, as long as I stay away from cocktails (that will be good for the wallet too).

If I can work really efficiently tomorrow, I’ll try to squeeze in a brisk walk over the lunch hour. Normally taking a break is not a problem, but I have lots to do and I’m leaving early to make it to the east side of Milwaukee for my dinner plans.

Please Consider Supporting Jess, Boston Marathon Charity Runner

My friend Jess is running the Boston Marathon next month! She’s a member of the Dana-Farber team, so she’s been offered a race bib in exchange for meeting a fundraising target of $4,000. All the money she raises goes to cancer research.

Jess is someone like me. She’s run both the Chicago and NYC marathons and she still calls herself a nonrunner. She runs a little faster than me, but is not a track star. When she ran the NYC marathon, I watched her tweets and parked myself in front of the TV to watch the coverage in its entirety because I knew someone in that race! We tweet to each other about Weight Watchers. She inspires me, because she just does things like run the NYC marathon and then run the Boston Marathon on only a little over three months notice.

I’ve been meaning to donate to Jess’s run (and another friend running on that team), for a few months. I just didn’t get around to it. Then I realized that Boston is less than a month away! Jess still has just less than half of her minimum of $4,000 to raise, and I know she’d really like to raise $10,000. Her job is to run, and I’d like to help her raise the money. My other friend that’s running hit her fundraising goal a few days ago, so today I donated to Jess to help her reach hers. I’d like you to consider donating as well. Any amount is fine. If you want to learn more about Jess, visit jessrunsboston.com. You can designate your donation in honor of or in memory of someone. My donation is in memory of my cousin Michelle. She was my favorite cousin, and she died while I was a teenager. She was only 30 years old, and she had brain cancer. Your donation can help fund research so awesome people like Michelle don’t have to die young. Please consider it.

I have other things I want to write today, but that was the most important.

Food Log

Breakfast: Morning glory muffin, light string cheese, one cup homemade unsweetened apple sauce, black tea
Snack: FF greek yogurt with apple butter, Diet Coke
Lunch: Chickpea & olive pasta salad with feta cheese, over salad greens and kale micro greens. Twix bar (I really like chocolate)
Snack: Four mandarin oranges, water
Dinner: Baked chicken (leg & wing), 1/2 cup brown rice, half a small baked acorn squash, sautéed kale, Crystal Light

Chicken Dinner

Total: 34 Weight Watchers Points
I also went on a 30 minute walk with a coworker at lunch, for a whopping 2 activity points.

How Much Am I Willing To Change The Way I Eat?

In general, I eat pretty well. I eat a lot of vegetables and lean proteins, many from local sources. I drink a good amount of water. I hardly consume alcohol anymore. That’s better than a lot of Americans. After posting my food log yesterday, I got some feedback from friends on Facebook. One bit of advice was to eat more protein and complex carbs for breakfast so I don’t have a ravenous-at-10AM moment. I think that’s a good idea, but my challenge is to find a breakfast I can eat in the car (I commute an hour each way and value my sleep too much to eat before heading out to meet carpool). So maybe some hardboiled eggs, or some kind of a wrap that I can make really quickly (or even better, ahead of time). This is a change I’m willing to make over time.

Someone else mentioned that Diet Coke might actually make me hungry. I’m already aware of that, and the fact that the artificial sweetener is horrible for me, but I keep drinking Diet Coke. I’ve quit drinking soda before for months at a time, and the fact is…I like it. I don’t need it, but I like it. I also probably shouldn’t eat Twix bars or ice cream as often as I do. But I like it. I’m not sure I’m willing to take every single unhealthy thing out of my diet, especially while I’m still successfully losing weight. If that changes before I get to goal, I’ll reconsider. If I decide that I don’t want artificial sweeteners or chocolate or whatever in my body, then I’ll make a change. But I’m focusing on small changes, and right now Twix & Diet Coke aren’t on the table. 🙂

Another Encouraging Weigh In & 4.5 Miles

I feel like I am tempting fate in regards to my diet and weekly weigh ins. First things first, the scale was very encouraging. I lost .8 pounds last week. How, I’m not quite sure.

Over the course of the week in addition to some healthy meals I ate Chinese for dinner twice (although it was fairly sensible broccoli with garlic sauce), three single-serving Haagan Dazs cups, a small order of french fries and a chocolate chip cookie from the office cafeteria, a full bomber of Crispin “The Saint” hard cider, a completely unportioned Thai dinner with friends that I guesstimated at 20 points, and half of a 16″ pepperoni pizza (over the course of three meals). And a chocolate chip cookie I got at the car dealership.

I also ran 11.5 miles. I’m really beginning to think that running is magical.

Still, the math doesn’t really add up. I consumed every daily point, all 49 weekly points, all of the 32 activity points I earned…and then 14 more points just for good measure. I tracked every morsel. I was completely on track on Monday and drank a lot of water, and was down pleasantly surprised with my weight this morning. I’m really going to focus on getting back on track and staying within my points this week. I think.

Food Log

A friend of mine sent me a Facebook message and asked me what I eat every day. Contrary to the junk I just listed, I usually eat pretty healthy. Since I’m going to stop going to Weight Watchers meetings (I don’t like the new leader at work) and focus on the online program, I think posting my daily menu here (after I eat it—not just what I plan to eat) will be good for accountability. So, here’s what today looked like:

Breakfast: Morning glory muffin & light string cheese (in the car) with black tea
Snack: English muffin & 21 g peanut butter (unplanned; purchased in the cafeteria because I was ravenous at 10:00) and about a cup of homemade, unsweetened apple sauce, Diet Coke.
Lunch: Chickpea & olive pasta salad with feta cheese, over approximately 2 cups of greens. Twix bar (unplanned, vending machine). Diet Coke.
Snack: 1/2 cup FF greek yogurt with 1T apple butter, 4 little mandarin oranges. Green tea.
Dinner: 4 oz salmon patty, 1/2 cup WW couscous, 1 cup broccoli, 1/4 cup homemade peach salsa. Raspberry Ice Crystal Light.

Total: 42 Weight Watchers points (daily target is 26 & I get 49 weeklies + activity points)

I earned some points as well, because I went on a run! My 4.5 treadmill workout took me an hour and 10 minutes, which earned me 11 activity points. I think I’m going to change my tracker to use activity points before weekly points so I have a better picture of what I really have left for the week. It’s depressing when the weeklies are gone after a couple days, but when I’m earning 30+ activity points a week that can be ok.

Today’s Run

I’m not sure if I can call today’s run a run. I definitely did some running, but I was so bored on the treadmill, my pace chart looked like this:
March 25 Pace ChartEverything over the middle of the chart was a run (including the whole first mile), but then I started playing games. My lungs and legs were fine, but I was staring at a post in front of me and didn’t know how I was going to mentally last 4.5 miles. I ran whenever Britney Spears came on, and walked at 3.5 with a progressive incline when the song was about butts (gotta work the glutes!). I was slightly conflicted when the song was about Britney’s butt, though. When the song mentioned running, I ran. When it was motivational, I ran. When it was sort of lame, I walked (and then skipped ahead to something better). At one point DMX was on, and I was thinking about how running to the beat of a song kind of feels like dancing (I’m much better at running with a cadence than dancing). What do you think other racers in the half marathon would think if I just busted out singing/yelling, “Ya’ll gonna make me lose my mind—up in here, up in here” while I was on the course?

Whatever it was that I did, I was a sweaty beast by the end of it.

March 25 PhotoAlso, lesson learned: Don’t go on a treadmill run in a shirt that’s just a smidge too small for you and pants that are just about falling off. The shirt will ride up while the pants fall down, and well… no one wants to see that.

 

Why The Internet Needs More Running Selfies

Six months ago, I decided that I wanted to become more active. After years of waking up late on Saturday mornings only to scroll through Facebook and see friends running races, I succumbed to peer pressure. I started a 5K training program. And, just like the friends that had unknowingly convinced me to start running, I posted about it on Facebook.

First Running Facebook StatusThe app I was using to train had a built-in sharing function that would post how long I exercised, how much of that time was running, and what my longest interval was. I used this function to share every single run from that training program. I wasn’t doing it for attention, but for accountability and encouragement. I read every comment and looked at the name of every person that clicked “like.” I also secretly hoped that if I didn’t share a run for a few days, people would ask me what was going on and get me back on track. I received a lot of advice, and tons of encouragement during this time.

Five weeks into training, after finishing a Saturday morning run that made me feel pretty amazing, I posted my first running selfie.

First Running SelfieI stuck with status updates until my first 5K race. Of course, I needed a finish line photo…but mom had to take it because I was too tired to take a selfie.

First Race SelfieAnd then the deluge began. I found the photo function on Nike Plus, and my post-run sharing routine now included a photo. It became a way for me to show that I was enjoying this (or feeling tortured, depending on the day). I wanted to visualize my improvement as my distance progressed. I liked seeing these photos of myself after being active. I could see that I felt a sense of accomplishment, and some part of me probably knew I needed to remember that feeling on days I was feeling completely lazy.

A friend suggested that I make a collage of all the selfies some day, and I think I will. But even here, I can quickly see a progression from a 2-mile run to a 5 mile run.

Counting Down Miles

People comment and click like, and it makes me feel good. It also makes me feel like I have something to prove, not just to myself, but everyone on whom I’ve unleashed the endless stream of selfies.

Turns Out The Selfies Aren’t For Myself

A few months ago,  things came full circle. Remember, I started running because my friends (Ed, Tim, and Lisa, among others) were posting photos and updates from their runs and races. Then Karine told me that she got back into running because I inspired her. I. Inspired. Her.

Yesterday I visited the farmers that I like to buy eggs from, and they said they enjoy watching my progress and Facebook and they’re cheering me on. They even asked if I ran to their house (running back home with eggs was not something I had planned on doing, but it would be an interesting challenge). My mom feels like she’s been watching me run, even though she hasn’t seen me in person in months.

It turns out the selfies aren’t all about me.

Displaying Your Victories & Struggles Inspires Others to Try

Today, Katie (another runner that has motivated me) posted this on Instagram:

Bart Says You're A MentorIt’s totally true. I know so because others had that effect on me. But the people that made me think I could run—the girl who didn’t run a mile until after her 31st birthday—weren’t on my block. They were in my newsfeed. And I never want to see them leave, because they push me to try harder. I didn’t hesitate to set a half marathon goal because I knew so many other people that had done it. I’m proud to be one of those people.

So yes, you’ll see a running selfie two or three times a week if we’re Facebook friends. Because I’m damn proud of the fact that I can run for over an hour. That I’ve lost 45 pounds. That I’m working every day to be a little bit healthier than I was the day before (some days more successful than others). If you’re on this journey too—particularly if you’re older, or overweight, or disabled, or have another good excuse for people to think you can’t get fit—put it all out there. (Well, not all of it. Please keep your clothes on). Show the world what real people look like when they’re getting healthy. Chances are, you’ll be leading a crowd you didn’t know was following you.

Only The Mileage Matters, and I Ran 7 This Morning

Today was a damn good running day. I once again skipped a scheduled 4.5 mile run on Thursday for no good reason, said I’d do it on Friday and then didn’t…so I needed to do my scheduled long run today no matter what. I was expecting it to be rough because I skipped last week’s long run due to illness, and the week before due to poor planning/laziness while I was at South by Southwest. So, my last long run was actually 20 days ago, on the treadmill. It was 5.5 miles—the longest I had run to date. I decided I’d shoot for 7 today, just like the schedule said.

I had a plan that wouldn’t allow me to wuss out. I told the local service center I’d drop my car off at 8:00 a.m. for an oil change and inspection, but they could get to it whenever they had a chance that day. I left the house just before 8:00 in my running clothes and took the car in. The service center is just about 3 miles from my house. So, I took the car in and ran a beautiful 4-mile out and back route around a nearby lake, and then headed towards home. The first four miles was gorgeous. The road was fairly flat (just a few small hills, and I was next to the lake the entire time. Some day I’d like to run all the way around the lake (no idea what that mileage would be).

When I emerged from the serene lakeside route, I had to cross a highway and run on a busy road for about 1.5 miles—straight into a 10-15 mph wind. Ugh! But I kept going, and was thankful for the dirt shoulder on the side of the road when it got narrow. I was just about 5 miles in when I turned into a residential area that would get me home, and I was hopeful that the wind wouldn’t be so bad. Not the case. For mile 5 I did a lot of walking/running as I felt defeated by the wind.  Just after mile 6 my podcast ended (I listed to two fairly long podcasts during this run!), so I switched on my workout playlist. This was what I needed to bring me home. Fly, Magic, and Raise Your Glass made me keep moving, and my last mile ended up being my fastest, even with the wind! While I was running the last quarter mile I was very close to crying. I couldn’t believe I did this. Every long run from here is either one mile more than the the previous week, or a distance I’ve run before. I think it will bring me strong into the half marathon. I won’t be winning any awards, but I’ll finish proudly.

March 22 Run Photo

 

March 22 Splits

 

Now, some boring details. I fueled with raisins today. I took 40g (140 calories) with me, and consumed them at mile 2, 3.5, and 5, mimicking how the water sessions will be set up during my race. I didn’t carry water with me, but I plan to drink about 4 ounces at these stations. The raisins worked really well. They were sweet, sat well in my stomach, and didn’t really stay stuck in my teeth for more than a few seconds. They’re also super easy to carry. I’m going to try to keep using them along with a sports drink (my race will use Gatorade Perform, so I need to pick some up and train with it).

The little blisters I’ve been getting on the tips/top of my toes are worse after today’s run. I think I need to look into changing shoes. The Saucony Omni’s I’m wearing are fine until I hit about 4 miles, and then the blisters become more painful. I had put petroleum jelly on my toes prior to running, but that didn’t seem to work. I think I either need a bigger shoe or a style with a larger toe box. I’ll have to stop by the running store and see what they think. I’ll be due for a new pair right around race day anyway, so I’ll probably start wearing the new shoes on long runs and keep the Saucony’s around for short runs until they hit their mileage limit (I love that Nike+ tracks the mileage for my shoes).

(Linking up with Jess’s Marathon Mondays)

So Much For The Training Schedule

I’m way off schedule. Two weeks ago, I missed Tuesday’s run because I was packing for South by Southwest. I missed Thursday’s run because I was flying to South by Southwest, but got the run in on Friday. I missed the long weekend long run AND the next Tuesday run. I was supposed to be back on schedule last week with Thursday’s run (which was great), but then I got sick on Friday night with a nasty cold and skipped the long run AGAIN (it was actually a 5K on the schedule, but I was hoping to make up the long run from the week before). UGH. We won’t even talk about all the missed cross training, strength, and stretching.

Good news—I got in today’s 4.5 mile run as scheduled. It was almost 40 degrees, and when I stepped out of the office I thought, “Well, it’s windy, but at least it’s just a breeze, and not a freezing cold wind.” I was giddily thinking of the routes I might take while I drove home. But then I stepped out the door and proceeded to run straight into a 10-15 mile per hour wind for two miles. No, it wasn’t a particularly cold wind, but it was still in my face and at times it felt like it literally took my breath away. I imagine this was a combination of the wind, lingering sickness, and the fact that I’ve only run once per week over the last two weeks. Still, I soldiered on and got the full mileage in. Given the number of walk breaks I took, I was pretty happy with my pace.

My new mantra, however, is:

only the mileage matters

Because that’s the only way I’m going to get through this training plan. I really should register for the race I’m training for. Barring any further sickness, I should be able to stick to this. I have a full week of work travel coming up in April, but with a good plan I should be able to get my runs in. One trip is to the west coast, so I should have absolutely no problem; I’ll wake up at 4:00 a.m. and have nothing else to do.

March 18 Run Photo

March 18 Splits

So This Is What Running Is Supposed To Feel Like

I’m in Austin, TX attending a conference. My need for stress-free packing and desire to have our house somewhat free before leaving meant that I missed my run on Tuesday. Not the end of the world. I didn’t get a chance to blog about it last weekend, but I did get my long run in last Sunday—ON THE TREADMILL—for 5.5 miles. I felt great, and outlasted two people on the machine next to me. The third was well into her run by the time I finished. I had chosen to watch a short documentary on Amazon Instant, and it finished before I was done. Yikes!
March 2 Run PhotoI was supposed to run 4 miles on Thursday, but after getting to Austin, eating lunch around 3:00, picking up conference materials and getting back to the hotel, there wasn’t time to run before it got dark. My husband requested I not run in the dark in an unfamiliar city, which I think is probably a good idea. So, when my last session finished on Friday at 4:30 I dashed back to my hotel to get the miles in before it got dark.

I was excited to try out my “normal” running clothes—just bottoms & a shirt, no jacket or layering required (it was about 65 degrees when I went out for my run). I bought some Under Armour heat gear at the local outlet store on clearance, along with a sweat absorbing headband. I wanted to run along the river, but to get there I had to run a mile through crowded streets. Unless my app timing was way off (I know the distance was spot-on), running through a mass of people—and past a movie premiere—does wonders for my speed. I’ve never run as fast as I ran that first mile!

March 7 SplitsOnce I made it through the streets, I descended a steep staircase to the river, and ran on what was sometimes a paved path, other times dirt or even wood planks in areas that were under construction. It wasn’t exactly flat; downtown Austin is full of hills and the river is no exception. I ran across the river on a path along the interstate to try to run on the other side, only to find that the path was closed, so it became an out and back route. My run ended at the Texas State Capitol, and I felt great!

March 7 Run PhotoI can’t believe that just a few weeks ago, this was my long run. Now it’s easy-peasy. I need to get out and do 6 miles today, but I woke up just a smidge too late to make it in before my mentoring sessions this morning. I’d rather not show up to meet with a senior executive in my running clothes. I would have had plenty of time if it wasn’t for Daylight Saving Time! I have a fairly open schedule this afternoon, so hopefully I can get it in before dark (and if I’m really lucky, it won’t be raining.) I want to run in the opposite direction along the river this time.

On another note, I’ve felt really good about my weight loss during this conference. The last time I had to wear spring clothes I weight about 20 pounds more than I do now. Everything fits nicely, and I am continually surprised about my lack of stomach bulge when I look in the mirror. I haven’t been on a strict diet here—or even tracked Weight Watchers points— but I’ve been mindful of portions, shared desserts, consumed far less beer than I have during previous visits, and in addition to getting my runs in I’ve been walking for miles between sessions and our hotel. Healthy lifestyle, for the win!