Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fast and Furriest

Let's see. My life just seems busy every night. It's full of either exercise, cleaning (blah), packing for something or another, or some activity. First, since it's exercise related, I'll recount my first race ever as a spectator.

On Saturday, I joined my lovely sister, who is the community coordinator (or something like that) for the Starbucks she works at to volunteer at a local race. This was a charity 5K run./ 1 mile walk for the Raleigh County Humane Society, called the Fast and Furriest 5K. I was hoping to see lots of puppies and I was not disappointed!
This would be a roller derby team that was promoting their sport. Super cool.

Everyone getting ready for the race to start.

Obviously had to bring a Chai tea, we were representing Starbucks after all.

We had a little stand where we set up coffee and iced coffee. My sister and I agreed that next year, iced tea, coffee, and water would be a better decision. Not too many runners want coffee right before a race ;)
Then we also got to time the walkers. I was not very good at this! We were doing fine until they all came at once and I'm pretty sure I forgot to write someone's time down. Oops. This was the first year that the Humane Society put on the race. In my opinion, they did a good job. They didn't have chip timing, but the race is still small, so I don't think it will be an issue unless it grows. For the first time though the turn out was pretty good. They had over 80 to preregister and then over 40 people registered that day.

The course sounded a little goofy, but I think the runners found the way alright. Everyone said it was well marked and I saw little signs on our way out with arrows and telling runners which way to go. There was one water station, which is all you really need for a 5K, but it must have been so hot on the pavement! The one problem I had is that it started at a soccer field where another event was going on and they didn't stop traffic, so the runners were dodging cars and some people didn't slow down very much. Even at the finish line where everyone was gathered, people still went fast! Hopefully this won't be an issue next year if they have it there again.

After spending Sunday at a reception for a friend who eloped, I headed back home. Monday, instead of going to the group run I decided to run right after work. It was a humid, miserable three miles at slightly over an 11 min. pace (ugh). But soon enough it was done with and gave me time to go home, shower, and head right back out of the door to go to a bicycle maintenance class that the multisport club was sponsoring. It was a little awkward. They all knew one another and I kind of just sat there until the class started. Sometimes it sucks being the newbie. The class itself was very helpful though. I wasn't the only one who didn't know all the technical terms, I now know what a cassette and derailleur is! I learned about proper cleaning and how to change my tires (=good to know). I won't get into details since it would probably be really boring, but I would recommend it to anyone who's getting into cycling.

I still need to join either a bike ride or swim, but dammit, they all seem so professional, I know I'll be left behind and that feeling kind of sucks. One of these days though I'll find the courage.

Tuesday I hit up the 6AM Spin class at the gym. I don't even know who I am anymore! Then after work I wanted to clean my bike since I learned the proper way and ended up not only cleaning my bike but our whole back porch. It took quite a few hours and I felt like I burned a million calories in the humidity.

Today I ran 5.24 miles on the treadmill. Still experiencing some knee pain, but it didn't hurt a lot on the treadmill. I'm going to take this as a good sign, since I have a 10K this weekend! I'm excited. It's the Biggest Loser run and I hope to meet some of the old contestants! This is also the race I'm doing in Erie, PA in August, except it will be the Half Marathon!

So I have to pack tomorrow for the race and for the week long beach trip with my family! Sooo excited! This is the first vacation with the whole family in a really long time. Better get going on my laundry!

PS. If you haven't, watch Extreme Makeover: Weightloss Edition. Really inspiring and interesting!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

We Got Spirit, Yes We Do!

Hope everyone has been having a good week. It's been a little too long since I've posted. Time just seems to get away from me.

The weekend was spent with my family in my hometown in southern West Virginia. Friday we went to a park where my sister watched my niece and nephew on the playground while my mother and I walked around a loop of rhododendrons. Then we took a little trail near an overlook that has a great view of our mountains.

Pictures of my niece and nephew that my sister took.

Saturday we went to Tennessee for a wedding. Where the above niece and nephew caused a divider to fall...right into the wedding cake! Yup, it really happened. The bride was so nice about it. They already had pictures of it, but we felt horrible. The wedding was really pretty, but it was a long day since we just drove up and back. Then on Sunday we celebrated Fathers Day with my dad. We had steak, red potatoes that my oldest sister prepared, and corn. And yes, I had lots of cake this weekend. Two different kinds on Sunday! Shew, sugar rush!

Anyway, after not so great eating (which is how it always goes when I get around my family, I just can't seem to control myself as well), I was ready for healthy eating this week. Monday I made sure I had lunch fixed and I went to the group run. I could have easily went through a drive thru on the way home since it was getting late, but I resisted. Instead I came home and made an amazing omelet with onions and peppers. I used fresh eggs that I got from work. It was yum!

And today I went to a morning spin class and swam a little in the evening. Sometimes it's so hard not judge yourself against others. My mom mentioned comparing her walking speed to her friends and how it made her feel discouraged. I felt the same way swimming today. There were two other swimmers at the pool. They were much faster and much better swimmers. I felt like a blimp who kept floundering. But we have to remember that we don't all come from the same place. It doesn't matter how slow or if we are doing the proper thing. 

Have the courage to start, keep going and finish. No matter what the situation, we cannot let other people deter us. Sometimes our minds can get in the way. That's when you just do.

So I'll just get up tomorrow way too freaking early go to spin class and then for a run after work. I'll think about how tired I am or how hot it is, but I'll do it anyway. That's what we all have to do. Just go.

On a side note: Last week I went to the movie theaters to see "Spirit of the Marathon II" for a one night showing. I've never run a marathon, obviously, but it was still very inspiring and a great movie. The first one is on Netflix. Check out runners of all backgrounds striving for something beyond what they think they can do.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Group Run

I did it. I went out of my comfort zone and went on a group run. The group run is hosted by a local running shop that has the group runs every Monday. As any overweight person might expect, I was freaking nervous about going there with all these insanely fit people. But this journey is about expanding my horizons. 

At first there were only a few people in front of the running shop, so I introduced myself and learned that I wasn't the only one doing the group run for the first time. This was good news. I chit chatted with a few people until it was time to head out to the trail.

The 'leader' explained that there were a few different pace groups, so I automatically went to the slowest group. There were four of us, pacing around a 10 min. mile. This was comfortable for me. I actually liked the little group and found out that one of the girls is training for her first half. She will be doing the same half marathon in Erie, PA that I'll be doing! Unfortunately, two of the girls were just doing two miles and I wanted to do more, so I kept going after they turned around so I didn't get her name. Hopefully they will be there next Monday. It would be nice to have someone to talk to at the Half in Erie. 

The other guy that I had been running with had to walk, so I was further out than him too and I think he must have turned around when the girls did. I hope he comes back to the running group. He was either just starting or just starting back and got a little winded. I can empathize, been there. Hopefully, he doesn't quit coming just because he had to walk.

I didn't have to run by myself though. A man, named Steve, came back to run just as the rest of the group made the turn around. He had already run quite a bit that day, 8 miles I believe. So we set a target for 2 miles out and 2 back. The rest of the group, who had left us in the dust, were doing 20 minutes out and 20 minutes back, so we figured at our pace we should finish around the same time. Steve ran a little faster than the group I had been running with, so I picked up the pace for mile 2. That didn't last very long though. My knees started killing me. I actually had to walk a little after mile three and had been slowing down. Since he had run some earlier, he took the walk break with me. It did give us a little time to chat though which was nice. I learned that a group does hash runs. Basically, a person goes ahead of everyone else, marks a crazy path, sometimes leading people the wrong way so that they run longer. You can check out their group here. It sounds pretty cool and they have a run tomorrow, but with my knees I think I need to take a day off in between runs. Might check it out another time though. I'll definitely do the group run again. I hope there are more 'slower' people there, so that I'll have someone to run with, but if not then at least I won't have an excuse to not do a run!

Got to get to bed. Have a good night!

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Saturday I had to drive two hours, each way, for a work related archaeology symposium. It was a good time. The host was the Moundsville Archaeology Complex. A really neat place that would be awesome to work at! Want to know why it's called Moundsville? Probably not, but here's why:
Ancient Native American burial mound

After the symposium, I was ready for a bike ride! Someone had told me that there was a trail access point right by my house that I never knew existed! So I went out to explore. After walking my bike down a steep gravel path, I found the trail and realized I knew exactly where I was. It was part of the trail that I run and ride on all the time! I just usually drive to a different access point. Very excited to know that I don't have to drive to it if I don't want to.

This is barely over a mile from my home. Craziness!

I took my boyfriend along the trail today. We walked along and saw four turtles! I love turtles! One was on the ground and my bf held it up and petted it! Of course, neither one of us had our cameras or phones. The others were under the bridge in the above picture swimming in the river.

I really want to go on a group run tomorrow that's hosted by a running shop and the multi-sport club I joined, but I'm just not sure if my knee is ready yet. The bike ride, 12 miles, had my knee kind of hurting afterwards. Mainly due to the hills I believe. Then the walk had it hurting as well. I just don't know what to do. I have a race at the end of the month, a 10K, so I want to keep in running shape, but I want my knee to heal and to stop hurting. 

I'm still undecided, but I'll either go swimming tomorrow or suck it up buttercup and go on the run. I'm not sure how long they go, but I'll report back if I join them.

Anyone else eating lots and lots of watermelon?! I just can't get enough! I've cut back a bit on my calories. I've implemented the no eating after 7 rule. I may have had an apple at 7:30 yesterday, but I did eat my dinner at 3:30, lol. I've been feeling better since I've been getting out more and more active. Hope this helps get the scale moving!

Thursday, June 6, 2013


After the half marathon on Saturday (!), I've been feeling rather sluggish and, let's be honest, fat. I was sore for two days and now I'm trying to heal from my bike wreck (yeah I don't know why I'm still in pain either!).

Yesterday I finally went swimming at the gym for 30 minutes. I tried to do pull ups on the side of the pool, but got a huge shock of pain through my wrist. It hasn't been right since the accident either. I'm thinking I pulled a ligament or something.

Today I walked on my treadmill for 31 minutes with a 2 incline. I felt pretty good, but could still feel a little twinge in my right knee. Therefore, I'm sitting here with ice on both of the knees while I type this.

I've mentioned this before, but I eat just about every two hours. This is usually okay with me since I need the energy to workout. However, since I haven't been working out and certainly don't have the intensity in what little workouts that I do, that I'm used to, I feel like my eating has been out of control. I've maintained my little weight gain from a couple of weeks ago without gaining anymore, but it's certainly not the direction I want to be in. I don't know if I'm just bored and therefore eat constantly or maybe I'm not drinking enough water. I don't know, but I'm ready to get back to exercising regularly and to get my eating back on track.

The last two days I've been tracking everything I eat. I've gone over my allotted calories (the amount that I can eat to lose weight, according to A lot of it is fruit, but I've been dipping back into my sweet tea and just not thinking about what I eat before I put it into my mouth. Again, I'm not eating horrible foods, but just too much of everything. Even healthy foods in overabundance is not a good thing. I hope rest this weekend will get me out of my funk. Perhaps I just need some sunshine! I've already implemented a plan at work to only bring a certain amount of food to eat that way I can't eat too much there. And I'm going to try to drink a lot of water after dinner and no food after 7.

On a happy note. To celebrate my half marathon, I went out with my sister and got a pedicure on Monday! This is only the second time I've ever gotten one and my feet enjoyed it. My calves especially enjoyed the little massage they give.

This stuff was awesome. Just like Icy Hot!

I'm the one in the green sandals.

Alright, so I'm going to keep tracking, try to get in my exercise as best I can, and nothing but water after 7! I CAN do this. I really want to be fit and as little as possible before my next half in August.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Deckers Creek Half Marathon

I did it!! I finished my first Half Marathon!!! Eeeek!

I can't even describe how nervous I was about this race. After the troubles I have had with my knees and running a distance I have never run before, I was freaking out. I went out and bought a little strap for my knee to support my knee a little better. I had done a 3 mile run on Wednesday and my left knee felt good, but the right still hurt a bit, so I ended up walking the last half mile.

I went to the Deckers Creek Half by myself, which didn't help my nerves. It's about 30 minutes from my home and they only had morning packet pick-up, so I got up a little before 6 am. I had an English muffin with egg and Canadian bacon with some hot tea. The weather was feeling nice while I ate breakfast. It had rained the night before so it was nice and cool, but no clouds were now in sight. I left around 6:45. We had to catch a bus from the packet pick-up to the start, the bus left at 7:45 for the 8:45 start time. After I found some parking, I walked to the park where the pick-up and buses were. There were long lines for the pick-up. There was no option to pick packets up the day before, which I definitely recommend they do for the next year. They went pretty fast, but still it held everyone up. I went back up to my car to drop my bag off, put on my shoes, got my gels, headphones, a granola bar, and my bib. I got on a bus very quickly, thank goodness, because of course there were lines at the starting point...for the porta potties. I know some people started late because of the lines, but it was chipped timed so as long as they weren't trying for first, I don't think it was a big deal. I was on time, barely.

I'm not sure you can really see this picture. But the trail has a significant elevation drop, which for a first half is nice. You can't really feel it, but it's not up hill! The first 11 miles are crushed limestone and dirt and the then the last bit is hard top. I'm lucky that the trail is not all paved since the dirt is much easier on my knees. I felt good the first 4 miles then both of my knees were hurting. I switched my strap from one knee to another a couple of times. It seemed to really help my left knee. After about mile 7 or 8, my knees just kinda stopped hurting, but I didn't walk because I was too afraid that if I stopped the pain would come back.
I ran a slow pace, but I wanted to take it easy so that I could make it. It worked out well. Other than the water stops (there were 7 total), I only walked for about 2 minutes total. A lot of my little stops were switching the strap.
The trail was extremely pretty. It followed Deckers Creek the whole way and for the most part was shaded by trees. The beginning was clustered, but it wasn't long before everyone spread out. I could see this being really frustrating for the faster runners who actually compete in these things. They do have to start times to try and alleviate this issue as much as possible though.
Around mile 10-11, there was a band playing a water sprayer. This was a nice distraction since there were no trees at this point and it was getting hot! It was in the high 80's when we finished, with lots of humidity of course. I was afraid that the black top would just destroy my legs, but I just kept telling myself to trudge on. I was one of the very few people running the last mile which made me pretty proud. There was a bit of a hill, but this was better for my legs than going downhill. The spectators at the end were cheering us through and my name was announced which is always fun!
My boyfriend didn't come along, so I didn't have anyone waiting for my at the finish line which was disappointing. I headed to the food tables, which unfortunately for me were down some stairs. Oi, it hurt to up and down those! But they had a nice spread of food with water and Gatorade. I drank and ate while listening to a different live band they had. It was nice.
 I was going to stay for the awards and raffle, but I had to travel later to go to a bachelorette party. I texted my two friends who have done a few sprint triathlons with me and I may have started crying in the car when they texted back how proud of me they were. It had just set in that I completed a goal that I worked so hard for and was so nervous about! I ran 13.1 freakin' miles! A girl who couldn't run 30 seconds two years ago, just completed a half marathon! Hell yeah I'm proud of myself.
My official time is 2 hours 25 minutes and 40 seconds. My first goal was to get under 2:30. I definitely succeeded!
My next half will be in August. I'm hoping that my knees will be healed and I can get an even better time. I'm thrilled, absolutely thrilled with my first half time though!
After I finished!
Our swag. Cotton shirt, recyclable bag, and a key chain token.
I'm sore today and my right knee is a little swollen. That's okay though, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Lots of rest, ice and stretching in my future. I still can't believe I did it!!