Running

29 Weeks and Counting: A Run For Your Lives Update

I skipped my weekly countdown to Run For Your Lives last weekend. Sorry; last weekend was crazy busy, the following work week was even busier, and now, as I sit sidelined with an injury, is the first real time I’ve had in a while to sit down and collect my thoughts.

Okay, not entirely true. I posted about my planned month-long attempt at intuitive eating that started on April 1st. So far, so good. I’m feeling mentally good, I’m feeling physically good, and I am truly looking forward to weighing in on May 1st and hopefully seeing a significant loss.

I’m going to combine this update with the story of my 2nd 5K, because the two are very closely related. So before I go on to describe the update of my training plan for Run For Your Lives, let me tell you a bit about our experience at the 3rd Annual Buffalo Crossing 5K in Munfordville, Kentucky.

This was a much smaller race with about 150 participants as opposed to the 500+ present at last weekend’s Family Enrichment Center 5K. Not a problem. It was also in my hometown, which was a nice bonus. (After the race, we went to visit my parents. And I actually saw my dad during the race, because he is the president of the local Rescue Squad and they volunteered to block off the intersections so we didn’t get run over. He was our only cheering section during the entire race except for the finish line.

And a quick photo of Tina and I before the race… much warmer than last weekend, which was nice. (Note: You can also see the tattoo on my lower left leg that I want to get removed at some point.)

The race started in Thelma Stovall Park by Green River. I realize if you aren’t from Munfordville, that pretty much means nothing to you. Just know that it meant that, as soon as the race started, we would have a VERY steep, 1/8 mile climb out of Thelma Stovall Park to get to the historic downtown streets where the rest of the 5K took place.

I don’t mind saying that the first hill kicked our butts. It is seriously a tremendously steep hill. It is probably the steepest hill I have ever walked up. Very few people were even able to jog up it.

The rest of the race went up and down the remarkably hilly streets of Munfordville. It was a surprisingly strenuous course. Even though I more or less grew up in Munfordville, (I actually lived in the country NEAR Munfordville), I had no idea how hilly this little town of 1,700 people actually was.

The last ½ mile of the course took us back to Thelma Stovall park where we finished on a very uneven, rocky, dangerous “walking” course. It would have been tremendously easy to turn an ankle. I was very relieved to finally cross the finish line at fifty-ish minutes. I can’t give you a time more exact than that because the timing system was… well, it was pretty much a guy with a clipboard and a stopwatch.

My thoughts on this race: Suckfest. Hated it. I am SO glad I did the 5K I did last weekend first, because if this had been the first road race I had EVER done, I would probably have never done another one. It was poorly organized, and those of us who signed up for the walk (instead of the run) were told at the start line that we were not allowed to run. Pfft. Tina and I ran past the guy who announced that just for spite. I get his point; people who ran during the walk portion can throw off their awards system. Well, I had no plans to place high enough as a walker or runner to receive a medal.

As far as race swag, nothing but a t-shirt. I will concede that it is a nice t-shirt, even if it is the brightest pink I’ve ever seen.

Last weekend at my 5K, I said I was going to write the name of someone who inspired me on my arm as inspiration. I thought that was a great idea, as a lot of people have inspired me to get to this point. While that remains true, the words of Carla a.k.a MizFit also rang really strongly in my ears this week, too.

“I am my own superhero.”

Truer words have never been spoken. While I am grateful to everyone (and I forget tons of people off of the list I posted last weekend – one of my main fears for creating such a list!), I must also acknowledge that I am doing this for me. So I did this 5K with no sharpie tattoos. All me.

I wish I could keep this 5K story from being a total downer, but I’m afraid I have even more bad news. I have a pretty severe case of bursitis at the moment.

Okay, maybe it’s not severe. Maybe it’s mild. All I know is that there is clearly an inflammation on the back of my right heel, it hurts in a BIG way, and I am currently hobbling when I walk.

I’m blaming it on three things. One, I am obese. That’s obviously a big contributor.

Two, my shoes suck. They are old and clearly no longer do the work they should. (Tina and I took a trip to Shoe Carnival this afternoon to remedy this.)

And three, I pound when I run or walk, and I was running/walking on pavement. Bad move. I’ve really, sadly come to the conclusion that I am not meant to run on pavement until I’ve lost some more weight. Last weekend, my right heel hurt pretty severely, and I was pretty much on ice-pack detail for two days. Same this weekend, only it hurts more. I’m not insane; something must change.

So, the 5K plan is being temporarily scrapped. I still hope to someday do 223 5Ks, but while I am now two down, the other 221 are going to have to wait for a while. It does me no good to injure myself and prevent me from doing any substantial exercise.

Now, all that being said, I do still have the Run For Your Lives coming up on October 22nd, and I am still immensely excited about it. It’s not just a 5K; it’s also an obstacle course. So there is still TONS of training that I can do.

I’m going to continue doing 5Ks at the gym. The treadmill is more cushioned than pavement, and it doesn’t hurt. (Please note – if it starts hurting on the treadmill, too, then I’ll have to modify this yet again.)

The Run For Your Lives is also an obstacle course, so there is plenty of strength and agility training we can do, too. We’re going to keep hitting the weight room hard. We’re going to keep doing yoga and stretching, and we’re going to incorporate some plyometrics, too.

Zombies beware. I may be injured (note to Zombies: my right heel is especially tough, so if I am caught and you decide to eat me, I won’t be offended if you give my right heel to your zombie dogs.) but I am not down.

Zombie movie of the week?

28 Days Later.

Just a little over six months to go. I’ve still got TONS of training left to do!

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My First 5K

I found that I couldn’t sleep. Was I actually nervous for my first 5K?

Apparently, yes. Even I didn’t realize it until I went to bed Friday night.

The next morning was going to be the 15th Annual Run and Walk for Children.

It was going to be my very first 5K. I signed up for the walk portion, but Tina and I planned to do as much jogging during the race as possible.

March 26, 2011 was a COLD day. We’ve had temperatures in the seventies for the past several weeks. What was the temperature range for the day of my first 5K? 42 to 47 degrees.

Crap.

Still, I’m tough, I can stand a little cold, right? So I put on my track shorts and a new navy blue t-shirt and decided I would just tough it out.

Bad call. At my next race, if it is not in the sixties, I am going to bring a hoodie or something. Tina was smart; she dressed in layers. I, too, dressed in layers. Unfortunately, my two layers consisted of underwear and then shorts and a t-shirt. I should have added at least one more layer. Oh well.

We got there around 6:50. The race didn’t start until 8:15, but the roads to the park were closing at 7:30 and we still hadn’t picked up our registration packets.

Once we got that (and I got a cup of coffee just so I would have something warm to hold. We killed some time in the car to warm up and talked about the race. I suggested that since we can both run at least 20 minutes without stopping, we should start there and just see how it goes. Around that time, I also decided I should eat the tiny breakfast we brought, so I ate a 100 calorie blueberry bagel. That blueberry bagel would come back to haunt me later, but not in the way you might be thinking.

We also took a quick photo of ourselves before the race with an automatic timer. Yes, I look so tense because I was FREEZING.

We then discovered that a gymnasium at a local church was open and providing bathroom access, so we went in there, used the bathroom, and warmed up. By that time, it was almost 8:15, the sun was fully out, so we went out to join the starting line throng.

Now, before I start telling stories about my race or posting the handful of pictures I took during, I have a quick story to share.

A few weeks back on The Biggest Loser, Jay wrote the weight he wanted to weigh at that week’s weigh-in on his arm as motivation in sharpie. I thought that was a great idea, and I decided to do the same. I was going to write the names of everyone who helped me get ready for this race on my arm. It would be a great way to motivate myself by looking down at my forearm during the race, seeing those names, and get spurred on to keep going. After all, this training has NOT been in a vacuum. I have had people either cheering me on directly or they have been indirect motivations, because reading about their first 5K or their exercise and weight loss struggles have kept me going.

So I got a 3×5 card and I wrote out the names of everyone who had, in one way or another, inspired me.

Uhm… my arm isn’t that big.

Tina (my wife and partner in everything, including 5K training)
Tara
Steve
Brandon
Joe
Jess
Carla (aka MizFit)
Jody
Mary
Craig
Erin
Lynne
Josie
Foodie McBody
Ryan
Josie
Emmie
Kerrie
Seth
Hanlie
Jody

Those were the names that immediately came to mind. I’m sure there are more if I keep digging.

So instead, I came up with a different idea. I plan to do a LOT of 5Ks. This is just the first. And every 5K I do, I’m going to write the name of someone who helped me get there in some way or another.

For this first 5K, I wrote two names.

So thank you, Tina, for helping me in everything. And thank you, Tara, for showing me that we can make our bodies do anything we want. Thank you EVERYONE whose names I couldn’t put on my arm just yet. I know this list will be growing, and hopefully, I won’t develop sharpie poisoning from drawing on myself before every race.

Okay, back to the race. We were clustered at the starting line, just waiting.

I was expecting a gun. There wasn’t one, but suddenly, we were running.

Tina and I found ourselves near the middle of the pack almost instantly. There were a LOT of walkers. We started jogging, and I felt great. I’m going to jog for twenty minutes!

Eight minutes later, I had to stop. We continued walking. This couple was in front of us for almost the entire race. I took their photo because their shirts were from the Family Enrichment Center, which is who the race was benefiting.

We ran a few more times, but I had no fuel in the tank. I definitely learned that I MUST eat more than a 100 calorie bagel before a race. Next Saturday at my 2nd 5K, I’ll eat a bigger breakfast. Running (even walking) requires fuel, and my tank was empty.

Still, we kept on keeping on. Run for a bit, walk for a bit longer. I did a LOT more walking than I did running. I was sure that I was going to be somewhere around 53 or 54 minutes. In fact, I told myself, “At least you won’t be slower than your first 5K at almost 57 minutes.”

Why was I so self-defeating during this race? That’s one of my mental health issues I’m going to have to work out. Clearly, I am afraid to succeed at some things. I’m not afraid to succeed at work. I have an incredible job that I’m good at. But when it comes to things involving weight loss and my physical health, sometimes, I doubt myself.

And then I remembered the post I made on Wednesday night, after I ran for 1.55 miles for the first time ever. I am an athlete. So many of you said such wonderful, supportive things to me after that.

I look at Tara’s name on my forearm. I knew that she was off somewhere right then running a race, too. So even though I was running on fumes at that point, I walked faster. I jogged when I could. Tina supported me through the entire race, right by my side, even though she could have easily jogged off and left me and gotten a much better time.

There were cheering teams everywhere all along the track. There is truly no feeling like crossing the finish line with people cheering you on. NOW I know why people run races. That feeling was INCREDIBLE!

What was my time?

48:06.

Best time yet. (And yes, this was my first race, but I time myself on the treadmill, too.)

Next Saturday will be even better.

I’ve learned a few things about myself through this 5K process. I still have some issues to work on, both physical and mental. The physical = learn to change my stride. I am still doing too much heel pounding when I run, and I am feeling it today. I’m going to concentrate on shifting my impact toward the front of my foot.

The mental = tons of things. I’m way better, but I’m not there yet. I may never be as mentally healthy as I want to be, but I’ll never stop trying.

All I do know is this.

I ran my first 5K this weekend, and I am an athlete.

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Things That Happen on a Treadmill

I did something tonight.

Something big.

Something I’ve never done before.

I pulled a Tara in the gym. (Love you, Tara!)

So what do I mean by that? I went crazy hardcore and impressed everybody?

No.

I teared up. Emotionally, I had a freaking major breakthrough on the treadmill.

So, why did I almost turn into a blubbery, crying mess on the treadmill?

And what on Earth does Hoku have to do with it?

I put the song “Perfect Day” on repeat on my iPod. (Don’t judge me for my music tastes. It’s just too easy to do, and there’s no real sport in it.)

I turned on the treadmill, prepared to run one minute longer than I had yesterday.

I didn’t do that.

I ran for 1.55 miles.

Without stopping.

Did I mention that the farthest I’ve ever ran before without stopping was half a mile?

I don’t know what all contributed, but it was several things. I know a lot of you are supporting me in my efforts to become healthier and, dare I say it, become a runner. Thinking of you all helped. A lot. So thank you for being in my corner.

And it was this particular set of lyrics in the song.

I’m in the race but I already won,
And getting there can be half the fun,
So don’t stop me ’til I’m good and done,
Don’t you try to rain on my perfect day.

I realized I was making my body do something it had never done before, and it wasn’t even that hard. Challenging, yes, but certainly doable.

I realized I’m an athlete. I may weigh over 350 pounds, but I am an athlete.

And it hit me – I’m going to do this.

I’m going to make it to goal weight, and I’m not going to live the life I always wanted to have someday.

I’m living it now.

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#100daychipquest

If you follow me on twitter, you’ll probably notice that I kinda suck at it. I’ve been sticking with it longer this time than I ever have before, though. Some people have thousands and thousands of tweets. I’ve tweeted around 530 or so. Part of it is because I can’t consistently tweet at my job (because they expect me to do work – how presumptuous!) and when I get home, I frequently like to unplug, at least a little bit. But I have gone from the camp of, “Twitter is for losers!” to “Yeah, I can see how someone can get into this.”

One of the biggest reasons I am enjoying twitter at the moment is the #7daychip challenge, started by Brad Gransberg. I’ve gotten several tweets from some in my twitter feed would fear I may have become an alcoholic. Not quite. For those who don’t know, it’s a self-selected program (and I use that term loosely) where we support each other with the #7daychip hashtag as we go about our day, trying to live up to our own expectations of what we want to accomplish. It’s not a case of “do this and you make day one.” It’s a case of “I decide what a healthy day looks like” and when I’ve strung seven together in a row, I get a seven day chip. Like this one, made by Brad.

He offered us a small chip with just our own picture, but I’m happy to include the others who made it with me on this. (And tons made it before us.) Amy Westphal was my day-to-day #7daychip buddy, and she was a huge help. Thanks Amy!

It’s been a big help, and it’s gaining momentum on twitter. If you aren’t currently doing it, you should think about it. I’ve met some cool people doing it, and people that I have never met in my life face-to-face frequently send me tweets, encouraging me to keep it up and helping me back up when I fall down.

So what, then, is the #100daychipquest? After the 7 day chip, you have the 30 day chip. But this trumps all of it. It is a group of us who are pledging to follow some kind of guideline (all at our own choosing) for one hundred days.

I jumped on board, too. What goals do I need to follow for the next 100 days for me to earn my 100daychip?

1. Do 3 5Ks a week (either official, as in races, or unofficial, as in treadmill).
2. Drink at least 96 ounces of water a day.
3. Do some type of workout every day (whether it’s a 5K, weights at the gym, or Zumba on the Wii).
4. Eat at least two vegetable servings (starchy veggies are okay) with every dinner.
5. At least 98 of my next 100 days must be good calorie days.

So does that mean I’m allowing myself two binge days?

No. But I’m also human, and if it happens, I’m not going to scrap the #100daychipquest and say screw it. I’ll keep on keeping on.

I am purposefully vague in what a good calorie day is. Let me explain why.

On June 25th, Tina and my parents are piling into my mom’s car and we’re going to Sikeston, Missouri, because my parents have wanted to take us to Lambert’s for just shy of forever. I’m making this little short overnight trip a two-fer, by the way, because Tina and I will also be running the Huskers 5K on Friday night in East Prairie, Missouri, before we go to Lambert’s on Saturday.

I’ve never eaten at Lambert’s. I’ve heard the food is amazing and the serving sizes are generous. I won’t binge when I go there, but it’s also not an everyday occurrence, either. I’ll probably eat what I want within reason. I’m not going to consider that day a binge or a failure. It’s planned eating, and probably a bit on the higher calorie side, but I’m going to be with loved ones. That’s a FAR cry from my binge days where I would eat six Wendy’s Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers because I’m trying to fill a void that I sometimes didn’t even know was there.

So some of my good calorie days will be higher than others. It’s all perspective.

It’ll be a tough climb, but the view will be worth it.

It’s not too late. Join us?

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31 Weeks and Counting: A Run For Your Lives Update

I can’t even begin to describe how utterly surprised and astonished I am that I have found (if not love) a strong like for running. I’m actually having to restrict myself in how often I run. I do weigh over 350 pounds, and I’ve found that if I do a 5K every day, my feet are a little achy. I still workout every single day, but I’m doing the 5Ks every other day. And I’m doing my very best to improve, at least a little bit, with each one.

When I first started this journey, I did a 5K in 56:47. On Saturday, I did one in 48:32.

I’ve got even better news about it. I ran for seven minutes straight. You have NO idea how freaking gigantic-huge that is. And, even better better yet, I then followed that up with alternating five minutes of running with three minutes of jogging. 48:32.

I know for some runners, that would be a terribly slow time for 3.1 miles. But for me, that is gargantuan mega huge. It is literally the most I have EVER run in my entire life.

On the days I don’t run, I lift weights, or do Zumba (we just got Zumba for Wii – review coming soon!), or the elliptical, or take the dog for a walk, or whatever keeps my body moving. I’m not becoming a runner, per se. I want to be fit, and I’m choosing to make running a big part of that.

Quick caveat – I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m currently going for endurance and not speed. In fact, my “running” pace would probably be a swift walk for someone else. I set the treadmill at 4.1 miles per hour for my jogging and 3.2 for my walking. At 4.1 miles per hour, it will take me over forty-five minutes to run a 5K. I am totally fine with that. I don’t expect to place in a 5K any time soon. I am completely at ease with being the last person to cross the finish line.

Because here is how I look at it – I might be the last person to cross the finish line, but there are millions of people who are choosing not to even get up and walk. Dead last at the race or not, I’m still winning. Duh. Tiger blood. (Sorry; got possessed by Charlie Sheen for a moment there.)

But as far as my speed… October is the first race I’m going to do where I think speed may be something of a factor. In Run For Your Lives, I’ll be chased by zombies. Hopefully, I’ll have sped up by then. Maybe by October 22nd, I’ll be able to run a sub-33 minute 5K. We’ll see. But I’m okay crawling across the finish line on October 22nd, covering zombie bites and on the verge of becoming undead myself, just because it will mean that I’ve accomplished something that I never thought I would do. Become a runner.

Zombie movie of the week?

Trailer Park of Terror. Seriously awesome movie. Go watch this.

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1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)