Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I ran because she couldn't

We have all seen the  t shirts..."Cheaper than therapy".  Well guess what?  It is.  My world was turned upside down a few weeks ago when my mother went from a fairly active independent person to being paralyzed from the neck down.  As a matter of fact, today is her first full day out of ICU.  The good thing is that her condition will be temporary.  The bad news is that it will take months of rehab and therapy to get her back to somewhat normal.  With all this going on, I had to reorganize my priorities and well running was put low on the list.

But the other day I decided to put everything to the side and just take off for a run.  It was the best decision I had made in a while.  This may sound selfish but it felt good to think only about myself. It felt good to breathe in fresh air and feel the earth below  my feet as I pushed forward on the trails.  It felt good to see the birds flying above and the cranes just standing in the water.  It was as if all was normal in the rest of the world and I was once again living a normal life.  

During my run, my thoughts ran as free as my feet.  As I ran I thought about my mom and her inability to even move her toes.  My mother was healthy but she didn't exercise.  I thought about how often we talked about her just walking around the block and she said it was too much and she was too busy.  And now she begs to just be able to move her foot across the bed.  I realized how much I take my ability to move for granted.  I thought about all the things I am physically capable of doing and choose not to do them.

And then I thought about all the times I was disappointed in myself because my time was not as great as I wanted it to be.  That I had to take an extra minute of walking during my intervals.  Have you ever done that?  Have you ever focused on what you thought was a failure without realizing all that you really accomplished?   Don't do it. Don't go there. It's a waste of energy. Focus on all you have accomplished.

Life is too short too short to waste time on the negative.  Be thankful that you got out there.  Seriously, be thankful.  My mother struggles to raise one finger on either hand and considers it a victory when she can move two.  She doesn't have time to dwell on the things she can't do but focus on the things she can and the small improvements she makes each day. So until she can run, I will run for her.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

It's not about how slow you finished but that you FINISHED!

Ok, today I am jumping straight to the point..for all you newbies out there...slow should not be in your vocabulary.  Slow implies that somewhere there is a fast. And when it comes to being a new runner, fast doesn't exist.  You are just getting your running feet and taking them for a test drive.  What does that mean? It means that you are learning or dare I say training.  I know some newbies can't seem to grasp the fact that the moment they lace up their running shoes. step outside or on the treadmill with a plan to do so many seconds or minutes of running etc...they are actually training.  The most common training for new runners is Couch to 5K, so I will use it as a reference.

As a newbie doing the Couch to 5K plan, each run is a long run. Why?  Because each run is expected to last longer than the last one.  By definition, that is a long run and even for seasoned runners, long runs are done with less emphasises on pace and more on endurance.  So do you know what the seasoned runner does? You guessed it, they do it at a pace that is slower than their race pace.  

As a newbie, you don't have a race pace. You only have a long run training pace and since you have no race pace, you don't have a slow pace. You can't have one without the other.  So stop using that four letter word: SLOW.  I have a better one for you : TRAINING pace.  That four letter word is negative and there is nothing negative about what you are doing.  You dared to believe you could run.  Most people don't even try because they are too scared.  You had the courage to believe you could.

I spend sometime on a running forum at  A word I seem to see from many newbies is the word "slow".  And here is the funny part, most of them are faster than me!  So what does that say about me and my pace?  Not a darn thing!  My pace is my pace.  I am in a race against no one except myself.  My first goal in any race:  to finish.  My second goal:  finish at a better or same time that I did previously.  And I must admit, that second goal doesn't happen all the time and I am okay with that.  

I am extremely proud of my run yesterday.  I finished and I felt good...okay I was dying because I didn't realize when I started sprinting to the finish line that what I thought was the finish line was actually just another corner to turn and I had about 100 yards still to go.  But when I caught my breadth, I felt great.  So you want to see how I did?

That's right!  I was fourth from the last in my age group!!!  Who freaking cares? I finished the Galveston Toughest 10K, which is my second Toughest 10K of the running season.  And yes, I am feeling a little bad ass about it.  As the elite runners were running back over the bridge in their mile 5 while I was hitting my mile 2, I yelled, "looking good!  Looking great!" and gave them thumbs up.  And you know what?  A lot of them did the same thing to me. And when I ran that last stretch, with my headphones blaring in my ears, I could still hear all the people cheering as I sprinted at a 13:38 minute pace. That's right! typo here!  My sprint at the end was 13:38 minute pace.  

So don't tell me about how slow you are or you can't even run a minute.  You probably can't run that minute because you are starting out too fast.  I know, I did that for a long time and repeated week 1 of Couch to 5K several times because I wouldn't slow down.  But you know what? Once I got over my need for speed and slowed down, I could run a minute then two, then 5, then 20 then I ran a 5K and now 10Ks.  But it would have never ran my first 5K if I had not put my ego to the side and trained at my training pace.

So be proud of your pace. Be proud of your desire to run. Be proud for each week that you add another 60 seconds to your run.  You see that last name on my picture?  They announced the last runner was about to come around that corner and run to the finish line  You would have thought a celebrity was coming down the road.  Hundreds of people ran to the finish line to cheer her on.  People were running behind her, like crazy fans.  And she ran across with all the pomp and circumstance that she deserved.  If this had been an endurance sport...she would have been in first place.  And you want to know something?  She shaved 11 minutes off of her Kemah Toughest 10K time!  She is hardcore and I admire her.  Can you imagine if she finished the Kemah one and said, "Gee, I am too slow and not sure if I want to do this anymore?"  Don't be that person. Be the person that sees their race finish as an accomplishment regardless of their time.  You're only competitor is you and most of the time our thoughts are our biggest competitor.

 Remember, you got this!!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Livestrong: Helping Survivors live strong

It 1998 I became a member of an excusive club.  It is so exclusive that you can't volunteer to join it.  You have to be invited and the invitations are sent randomly to people all around the world.  They are sent to the young, the old, the rich and the poor.  No country, race or gender is left out.  But unlike most invitations, this one is met with fear.  Think Katniss from the Hunger Games and the lottery.  

By no means do you want to receive this invitation but when you do, you are willing to fight to the death.  In 1998 I was handed that invitation.  It said, "You are cordially invited to attend 8 rounds of chemo, 6 weeks of radiaton, double mastectomy and reconstruction.  You have been selected in a fight to the death against Stage III breast cancer.  Should you win this fight, you will win the honor and title of Survivor."

It has been over 15 years since I received that invitation and each day I thank God for His strength as I went through that battle and became a member of this club.  I don't wish it on anyone but the view of life that I have after it, makes me feel blessed that I did receive the invitation  Can't explain it but when you meet another survivor they understand.  There is this secret "knowing" that you  feel when you meet another survivor.  There is this experience that has altered you for the rest of your life that only another survivor can understand.  I consider it a privieldge when I meet another survivor.

That is why I am so grateful to the Livestrong foundation and the YMCA.  They teamed up to offer a free 12 week training course to any cancer survivor.  It is done in a group environment to promote  support among the survivors while helping them begin or maintain a healty lifestyle and minimize the side effects of treatment.  During these 12 weeks, the survivors, as well as members of the family that reside in the same household, receive free membership to the YMCA and free group training.  

We have met for three weeks so far and I must say that I am really enjoying it and learning so much.  There are 8 survivors in our inaugural Livestrong group.  We have 6 breast cancer survivors, one melanoma survivor and one rectal cancer survivor.  The youngest is 25 and the oldest is probably in her 60s.  We meet twice a week as a group but are encouraged to come more often.  We will be exposed to all forms of exercise.  We use the treadmills, ellipticals, crossfit trainers and weight machines.  This week we will take a yoga class and a spinning class.  If you are a subscriber to my blog you know how I feel about spinning and my last experience with spinning.  But I will try it again. Here's to second chances.

So if you have a family member or friend that is a survivor and you think they may be interested in a program like this one, contact your local YMCA and see if they have started one in their center.  It is a wonderful program.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

One Big Fat Run

I forgot to mention one very important aspect to the race last Saturday: fellow runners.  Oh how I love runners. 

Because we had to loop around the bridge twice,  there was a portion of the race that faster runners had to pass us up.   That became one of my favorite parts.  Many of the "fit"  runners ran by saying,  "good job"  or "you are doing great"  "looking good" or just simply giving us a thumbs up as they went by. 

If you are one of those fit runners,  thank you.  It means the world to us.   Some how the bridge was made more bearable because of it. 

However,  if you still feel unsure about signing up for a 5K because you don't feel like you fit in or you feel you are to slow (by the way,  I was third from the last in my age group),  then I have the race for you.

It's the Big Fat Run hosted by The Fat Girl's Guide to Running.  It's a virtual 5K and is free so you have no excuses.  The next one is on September 29th. (I know it looks like it is on the 13th but the Brits write their dates backwards.  JK She hosts one each month.  All you have to do is sign up and run it at home,  in the gym,  on the trails,  on a track,  in your neighborhood,  on the beach,  well you get the picture.

So hop on over and sign up.  No excuses,  just do it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Kemah Toughest 10K: Rocked it!

1:42:59 That is my official time. Not counting the virtual 10K I did in 2009, this is the first officially timed 10K that  I have completed. If you are not familiar with the Kemah Toughest 10K, then you may not know why it is called the toughest.  Almost three quarters of the course is up a steep, high bridge.  I have to admit, the idea that my first 10K would consist of lots of hill work from a gal that lives on the flattest place on earth, pretty much terrified me.

It is worth repeating:  If you don't have a running group that you regularly run with, get one. It makes all the difference in the world.  If it had not been for them, I would not have been as prepared as I was for this race. OK, I call it a race but for me...really not a race.  I don't expect to win.  My only two goals are to finish and not be last.  Mission accomplished but not without obstacles.

Weather:  You know it is going to be a bad rain when the news spends most of it's newscast discussing all the flooding they are expecting.  At the time that I fell asleep, they predicted the worst part of the storms and flash flooding to happen about 30 minutes after start time or as I thought of first part of my run.  Luckily, the weatherman was more into drama than accuracy because it didn't start to rain until mile 3. And it was pouring.  The rain felt like small pellets hitting my face. Beyond that  discomfort, I loved the rain falling down on me.  I was worried about getting blisters but it didn't happen.

However the wind was with us from the beginning.  It was a stiff head wind that really made that first cross of the bridge almost impossible.  Well, not impossible, but as I was climbing the bridge, all I could think was, "Oh my, I still have three of these to do and the first one is really tough."

Time Management:    I have no idea what happened but I didn't hear my alarm go off and I overslept.  This race was less than two miles from my house so I didn't really prepare my belongings the night before. I expected to get up at a decent time, get dressed and pack up.  However, I woke up an hour later than expected and had to be at the race in 13 minutes.  So I rushed to get my clothes on and pack my belongings. So I forgot my wireless headset (if you remember, I forgot my phone holder for my last race), my trashbag to wear in case it rains, my bottle of race fuel and my extra bottle of water. Not to mention I wasn't able to properly eat before the race. I shoved a piece of bread with peanut butter on it in my mouth.  But I survived.

Wardrobe malfunctions:   As it started to rain, I noticed my left bubby was jiggling more than usual.  I looked down and noticed that my bra strap was undone and my bra was falling down.  (Remember, at this point, I have a very wet clingy shirt).  So I tried my best to lock and load my rogue bubby, while I ran.  After two failed attempts of strapping it correctly, I finally just pulled to the side and did it correctly.  A bit further down, my running buddy, Heidi, was having problems with her pancho and we stopped to try to put it on her.  It just tore so we decided to continue.

Potty break:  There is something about running water that makes me need a potty break.  So as it started to pour we pulled off for a potty break.  You try pulling off wet running capris. Better yet, you try pulling up wet running capris...not an easy task.

Crowd management:  When you are one of the last ones to come in, you can expect some of the early finishers to leave before your during your run.  However, the only exit out of the race area was on the exact streets that we were running. So when we made our way off the bridge and back onto the streets that lead back to the Kemah Boardwalk, we found ourselves weaving in and out of traffic or watching for cars that were trying to reverse.  The course is still closed to traffic but the cross roads aren't so people would block the runner's path.  BOOOOO!

But with all these distractions we did an amazing job.  It felt amazing.  When we turned the corner and weaved pass the last set of cars blocking our way, all I could see was the finish line.  I hoped to finish under 2 hours. I wasn't sure if I could with all the bridge work and weather but we did it.  1:42:59 is my official time and that's not too shabby.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I have three messages for you...

I received an alert on my Galaxy S4 a few days ago "Diana Nyad completes Cuba to Florida swim".  And like many alerts I received, I just hit clear and moved on with my day.  Thank goodness there were other people out there who didn't.  Thank goodness I saw her interview with Robin on GMA.  It was a segment less than five minutes but I have been thinking about it for days.

If you don't know who Diana Nyad is, you are not alone.  Until a few days ago, neither did I.  In 1975 she swam around Manhattan Island. No that is not a typo...1975.  So how old is she?  She is 64 years old.  Her first attempt to do this was in 1978 and has tried three other times.  That's right, she failed four times and it took 36 years for her to accomplish this goal.  A-MAZ-ing.

That alone speaks volumes about this woman.  It speaks to her dedication, her spirit and her focus. How many times have I had a goal in mind and either blew it off after a failed attempt  or never believed I could do it and proved myself right or just forgot about the goal?  I did it too many times to count.

But she didn't.  And at 64, tired and sore, she walked out of that water and had a three messages for us

  1. We should never, ever give up.
  2. You never are too old to chase your dreams.
  3. It looks like a solitary sport but it's a team.
I have to write that somewhere and hang it up.  I have to remember.  What had me thinking about her for days is what she said to Robin. Robin asked her what she did during the tough moments and she responded that this year she adopted a mantra, "Find a way."  No matter how difficult or impossible something seems, you have to find a way, if it is that important to you.  

We all can make excuses.  We all can blame it on a situation or a person. But the truth is, if you want it bad enough, you can find a way. It may not be easy and it may be tougher than expected but in the end, it will be worth it.  It will be worth it because you are worth it.

Find a way people!  Do what it takes and be willing to do more if needed!  I can do it, you can do it, we can do it!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Two 5Ks closer to Marathon

When I started this journey, I knew that I was taking on a big goal and it scared me.   I knew I had to change my way of thinking about it.  The idea of running 26.2 miles seemed impossible but the idea of running a 5K was a reality.  So I decided to train one 5K at a time for this goal.  Today this sorta paid off.

For the first time in my life, I ran 7 miles!  Crazy! Crazy! Crazy!  All week I tried not to think about it in those terms.  I told myself two things. 1.  You are doing a mile seven times. 2.  I am running a 5K on Saturday and may run another.  Either way, the number seven never entered my vocabulary during the week. And then Friday came and I discovered we were only doing six.  I know I know, six use to be a big number but as it relates to seven, it is smaller.

I have a wonderful running partner, Heidi.  We are the turtles of the group. We are usually the last to come in and we do the shortest distance.  We are okay with that.  When we left the store on Saturday morning, the starting point for our run, we had not decided on a distance.  We figured we would get to the six mile turn around point and decide at that time.  And we felt great at the halfway point of six miles so we decided to run up another half mile and do the full seven.

I don't know what happened but mentally I shut down towards the end of mile six.  I knew it was all mental.  My heart rate seemed normal and my legs felt good but I felt like I was gonna cry and self doubt creeped into my head.  I told Heidi that I was feeling this way and she said it was okay.  Feelings are okay and they are normal, just let them happen.  So I did.  I went through an emotional roller coaster. And while I let myself feel these things, I remembered in the back of my head the truths about me.  Not to mention, Heidi kept reminding me also.

At my lowest point, I cried, "I feel like the fat kid in gym that can't do what the normal kids do without effort."  To which she responded, "You are not the fat kid.  You are out here running seven freaking miles when most people are asleep.  We are doing an amazing thing. We are almost there."  (yes...I started my fat kid thing when I had less than half a mile to the end.)  By the time I made it back to the store, I was on the verge of tears and just wanted to lie down, close my eyes and pretend it never happened.

Say what?  I just ran seven freaking miles.  I just did the longest run of my life and I just want to forget about it?  That is plain nonsense.  When Kim, the store owner and our coach, came to see me, I couldn't say anything. I walked off and went to the bathroom....oh have to drink plenty of water during your long runs and I did. So by mile 5...I really had to go.   Within a few minutes I felt better and I was proud of myself. I was proud of Heidi and me and thankful Heidi was with me for this run.

As I stretched out I thought of the saying that has played in the back of my head since April.  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and this didn't kill you.

Seven miles didn't kill me.  They made me stronger.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

And more bad runs

I would love to say my streak of good runs has continued but it hasn't.   For whatever reason I am back to feeling a bit sluggish and awkward again.  I ran my first One Big Fat Run this past Sunday and it was horrible.  My time was slow and I felt tired.

I just couldn't get into the groove of things.  It may have been because they air was thick because of the humidity.  It may have been because I ate like crap the day before and did not hydrate well.  It may have been because I missed running with the group.  I don't know.

What I do know is that this too shall pass.  I won't dwell on the bad but will remember the possible.  I know what I am capable of accomplishing.  I know that I am human and will have my off days and even weeks.  But I know there are also those days that I seem to just fly through the air.  There are those days that my breathing seems easier and my legs feel lighter.

Those are the days I choose to remember.  And no matter what, I always feel like more of an athlete when I decide to push and struggle and complete my task instead of giving up.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Here's to bad runs

Here's to bad runs.  May you always have them so that when you have a great run..... You'll know it.   That is what I had today,  a great run.  You wanna know how I know it?  Because so many runs were bad.  Today I took off 30 minutes later than I wanted.  The sun beat me out of bed and like a bully waiting for is next victim,  it beat down on me the whole run.  But today was a good run.

It started out with vanity,  not a good thing.  I walked out of my house and planned to do my usual 5 minute warm up walk like I was taught in couch to 5K, when I saw. My neighbor come out of his house. I wanted him to know I was running and not walking today so I just took off.  And man did I take off.  I was doing a sub 11 minute mile.  Now to some of you that is slow.  But to me, well that is Speedy Gonzales speed.

I thought it was a fluke so on my next run,  I told myself to slow down and I did.  But I knew I had more in me so the next run,  I pushed it.  Then I pushed it again.  And I kept pushing it until I realized it was really hot and I have nothing left for my 30 minute easy run.  I didn't care.  It felt great to fly down the trails.  Everything femme in sync.  I wasn't dragging my feet or slouching.  My shoulders were relaxed I was leaning ever so slightly forward. It just felt natural.

So here's to the the bad runs.  If I had given up and told myself that maybe I wasn't meant to run and the bad runs just confirmed it,  then I would have never made it to this run. So if you have a bad run that's okay.  Heck of you have several bad runs that's ok.  Because one day you are going to have that great run and it will all be worth it.  Sure you may have another song of bad runs afterwards but the experience of the good one will have you wanting more.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Why sometimes quitting isn't really quitting

I have hesitated on writing this post because I didn't know if I should. But I decided if this blog is going to be anything, it is going to be honest. So here it goes....

We lost a few girls this month in the Fatty Must Run Marathon Challenge.  I think some may have gone MIA before this month but there was always hope that they would come back or reply to messages sent from Julie about how it is going.  I must say some were a shock because they were either so active on the board or so active in their training.  But when I read their blog posts about why they left, I completely understood and respected their decisions.  What I loved and learned from their reasons was interesting.

One person left because she felt the name of the group was negative and did not send the message that she believed should be sent.  She agreed with the concept of getting everyone to run, including overweight people, but the F word didn't sit well with her.  I really congratulate her for being honest.  Whatever has happened in our past or fear we may have can have an effect on how we perceive a word or an action.  And for all of us, that perception is our reality. She is a strong person and a go getter.  I  watch her twitter feed and Facebook page in awe.  I never would have suspected she second guessed her involvement in the group.  As far as I knew, she agreed with every bit of it, 100%.  But she didn't.

Being the committed person that she is, she remained with the group and participated.  She encouraged us and gave us advice.  All the while, we never knew of her struggle within.  And this project is a daily commitment, so for her to continue each day and participate was a daily struggle.  She sacrificed her own feelings for the group.  I am glad she has decided to say yes to herself and no to anything that does not ring true to her heart.  That's one of the things we are all working towards, right?  We all want to make decisions in our life that at the end of the day we can say to ourselves, "I am proud of my actions today."  And that is what Jen has said "yes" to doing.  At the end of the day she needs to feel good about her actions.  Jen, thank you for spending time with us and sharing with us.  I still have her listed in my  blog roll so that you can continue following her journey. She is now under Blogs that I love.  Please stop by her blog and show her some love.

Another person that shocked me was a person that I watched on my Nike+ activity board.  I didn't see  too many posts from her but I could see her activity on Nike+ and she was running. However, she found the deadlines and the need to give feedback a bit overwhelming.  She has the desire and the capacity to train for runs but this was not the way for her to train.  The  stress of trying to train by someone else's methods was too much.  And it is true, you can't fit a square peg in a round hole.  So, instead of continuing with the group and beating herself up each month because she hadn't completed the challenges or completed them with resentment or strain, she decided to do what is best for her own health and goal and do it her way.

How many times have we tried to do things other people's ways and just felt like a failure because you see it working for them but not us?  It doesn't mean we are failures. It means that this method is not for us.  Someone I follow on Facebook...very healthy, lots of followers, lots of good advice....posted recently that she doesn't do challenges well.  She usually quits in the middle of them and she is okay with that.  She has come to the realization that challenges aren't they way for her to get fit or stay healthy.  She has to set up her own program and do her own thing.  And that is what Sylvia has discovered.  Sylvia's desire to become healthier and fitter and her desire to continue the Fatty Must Run Challenge were not compatible.  So she had to do what was right for her and that was to resign from the challenge and reach her goal in a way that allowed her to be her.  I still have her on my blog roll. She has also been moved from the Fatty Must Run Marathon section and to Blogs I love.

The lesson I learned from both of the gals was that no matter what, at the end of the day, you have to be true to yourself and do what is right for you.

  •  If challenges aren't your thing, then develop your own program or find a program that works for you.  Don't beat yourself up for not being able to do it the way someone else has done it. Find a way that works for you and be successful at it.
  •  Don't be a follower just to be a follower. Be a follower because you believe in the cause. Have your own reasons, don't rely on someone else's.  I heard it said before, "Don't let me talk you into anything, because someone else can talk you out of it."  You have to do it because you believe it in it.  You have to be you because you are the only person that can.
  • I learned that quitting isn't a bad word.  At times it means we are no longer going to spend time on doing something that isn't good for us so that we can spend time doing what is best.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Zombies, Run! Be a part of the action

I have to admit I am not into the Zombie craze like the rest of the world. I tried watching a few movies and two series on TV but I just don't like the look of zombies.  However, I am a ham and I love to act.  I love reenacting scenes from my favorite movies.  That being said, this gadget girl cannot pass up a chance to review an app that takes your run and puts you in the middle of your own series.

Zombie Run2 is a running app that puts you in the middle of the action. You are a survivor of a plane crash in the post zombie apocalypse error.  You come to at the sound of someone talking through a headset and leading you back to base. You are given missions to head to the hospital and get supplies.  As you run you are able to collect supplies for base camp.  They tell you when to speed up and slow down.  It makes for a pretty interesting run if you usually run alone.  The bonus for me is that it starts out in the woods and I run the trails in my near me and they go through woods.

  • GPS it does have the capabilities of turning on GPS so that you can track your distance and pace.  You also can upload your runs to the website and see your runs.
  • Calories: you have the option to enter some basic information about yourself and when you run you will get an estimate of how many calories you have burned.
  • The Story:  If you liked Animal Farm or Snoopy apps that allow you to build townships and maintain them, then you will love this game.  You are Runner 5 and your mission is to help rebuild civilization by collecting supplies and avoiding zombies.  
  • Customizable:  You can choose to do speedwork by doing zombie chases.
  • Playlist:  You can create a playlist of your favorite songs or import your current playlist.  In between the radio commands you will hear your music. When the radio tower has to share important information, your music will die down until they are finished.
  • Screenshots:  The first one is a list of supplies I collected on my run and the second is a view of the base that I am building. I am new to this so my base is pretty basic but you get the idea.
  • Website:  Zombies, Run!
  • Cost:  The first 30 missions are free.  You are able to sign up for more missions via a subscription.

And just for kicks, here is the official video for the game and a fan video:

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Monthly Motivational Movie

Well it's the beginning of the month so it's time for another movie recommendation.  I hope you had a good laugh with Run Fatboy Run.  

This movie is on the serious side. It is a documentary about three men from three different countries and their amazing yet grueling run across the Sahara desert.  I like it for many reasons but the three most important ones are :
1.  August is the hottest month of the year for many of us,  yet it is nothing compared to the heat that these guys endure and it emphasizes the importance of hydrating.
2.  Like the  FATTYMUSTRUNMARATHONCHALLENGE,  these guys are from three different countries and they train in their own country but come together for Sahara Challenge. 
3.  It's hard.  These guys are seasoned runners.  You see them struggle through many of the same things we do  as  beginners.   At times they doubt their ability to finish.  They suffer injuries.  They have to overcome obstacles.

Well worth your time. If you are a member of Netflix,  you can see it here for free.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

July Challenge Recap

I am a day behind in my posting so I apologize for putting this up a day late.  July was a hot month here in Seabrook.  It was hotter than June and yet I think I enjoyed running this month more than last month.  We had a pretty easy challenge month for July:

  1. Plank a day:  Well my first plank was amazing. It was over 50 seconds. My dogs are not use to seeing me on the floor so they huddled around me and that is why it was only 50.  But there is something about beginner's luck that did me in.  After my first plank, I heard the other members in the challenge doing 20's or so and I started to doubt myself.  It took me all month again to be able to do 50 seconds. For the longest time I couldn't get past 13 seconds.  It's all mental and I know it.  Our running coach says "You can do anything for a minute."  She also says "A plank a day keeps the doctor away."
  2. Sign up for a race.  I was already signed up for a few races but I added the Lunar Rendezvous at the last minute. The Lunar run also completed my last challenge.
  3. Run a timed 5K  I have to say I was pretty disappointed.  My official time was 50:17.  The good news is that the last time I ran this way was in 2009 and I ran a 54:42 on that day.  The bad news is that I was 1 minute 9 seconds slower than I was last time...oh well.
But along with the challenges, I had many wonderful discoveries and moments.  The most important one has to do with my family.  My husband starting running with us.  He has not run consistently since high school.  He is a two pack a day smoker and he works 12 hour days in the hot sun with no AC as a UPS delivery driver.  But he has decided to take small steps to become healthier. So every Saturday morning at 4am the lights turn on in my house as all three of us get ready to go for our long run with our running group. So my immediately family has become an active family.

Bonds are being made stronger between my sister and me.  Growing up in different households, in different cities with a 14 year age difference meant we didn't see much of each other as I grew up.  But now I see her, at minimum, once a week.  My daughter is getting to know her aunt. She also is in awe of her Uncle and has asked him to be her personal trainer.  He has agreed and is really making her work but she loves physical challenges.  She is really enjoying her time with him.  

I met a friend in our running group that is more my pace.  We ran together a few Saturdays ago for the first time.  It was so much fun.  We pushed each other and yet we were still able to talk, which helped the run seem shorter.  However, I had the Lunar run the next Saturday and she was at the Grand Canyon the following Saturday, so we will see each other again this weekend. 

I haven't tried spinning again. I am enjoying water fitness and water Pilates.  I am learning the poses in yoga and still heart rate training.  Most importantly I am still enjoying every bit of it.  The scale isn't moving as much as I had hoped but my body is changing. I am getting into clothes that didn't fit before.  Clothes that use to fit me tight, now are comfortable if not baggy.  My face is clearing up because of all the water.  All in all I would have to say that this challenge has been good for me.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why I look at last year

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia
I am not a very competitive person when it comes to running.  Ok, the truth is that I am not competitive at all when it comes to running. My goal?  Just finish the race in one piece. My bonus?  Not being last.  That being said, some would wonder why I am looking at last year's results for the Laporte Run the Bay 1/2 marathon in November? I mean it is possibly the first 1/2 I will run. ( I say possibly because it is part of the Toughest Bridge series in Southeast Texas.  There are two 10Ks that I am signed up for:  The Kemah Bridge toughest 10K and the Galveston Causeway Toughest 10K.  The last race in the series if the Laporte 1/2 mary that goes over the Fred Hartman Bridge. And I am not sure I want my first 1/2 mary to be considered tougher than normal.)

No, I am not trying to become one of the Youtube sensations that has a great motivating video about how they overcame all odds and not only ran their first half marathon but they actually won it also.  I love those stories and they really inspire me but that is not my calling.  But I do believe I can finish a race of this length.  My fear is that I can't finish it in the amount of time allowed.  This race has a 4 hour time limit.  I have four hours to run 13.1 miles.  To some that is a no brainer, to turtle pace me, that is an issue.

So I looked at the results from last year  to see if I how I compare to the slowest runner. That person finished in 4 hours 15 minutes with an average pace of  19:19.  So what does that mean to a person like me that has never ran a half marathon?  alot.  You see my brother in law sent me this Speed calculator.  You enter your most recent time for either a mile, 5K, 10K 1/2 mary or mary and it will calculate your anticipated pace for all other races.And based on my last race I should finish just under the gun at 3 hours and 53 minutes or an average pace of 17:53.  I don't consider that too shabby.  If I at least remain the same and not improve any by November 17th, the date of the race, I should finish before the deadline.

Don't get me wrong. I plan to continue improving and get faster but at least I feel confident that I can do this.  So if you don't know your pace or whether or not you will finish in the amount of time given, check out the speed calculator. It will also suggest your pace for endurance training, speed training, long distance training, anaerobic training and strength training..

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lunar Rendezvous 5K Recap

This race is special for me.  When I did Couch 2 5K in 2009, this was the first 5K I ran.  You can read my race recap from 2009 right here.  I finished my first 5K and lost to a 3 year old.  I read it again for the first time in a long time a week ago.  I am so glad I wrote it down because there were so many things I forgot and so many things that haven't changed.
  • I still just hope that I am not last.  I have to say I am a bit disappointed in my time of 50:17. It is 1:09 slower that my last race that was about 6 weeks ago with a at time of 49:09. I was really pushing for a 45 to 46.  I set my Nike plus to tell me my pace every minute...but it malfunctioned when I paused the music...for a reason I cannot remember.  Then I stopped to try to fix it, well not a complete stop but I really slowed down.  That is what I LOVE about Nikeplus, the ability to see my run and my pace along the whole route.  I slowed down to 19:57 pace when I was trying to fix my Nike (and that is one of my downfalls about has glitches).  There is only one run a month I worry about pace and that is my timed one for the FattyMustRunMarathonChallenge. The rest of the time I just love being out there. Did I mention that I forgot my armband for my phone? I had to hold it in my hand the hold time...not comfortable.
  • I still don't know how to drink from a cup and run at the same time.  I have no problem grabbing the water from the volunteer, and by the way, thank you to all the volunteers.  But once it is in my hand I fill like I am all thumbs and water just goes everywhere but my mouth.  I still feel guilty about throwing my cups on the ground and apparently so are other people because there was a tower of upside down cups on the ground. I decided I would add to the tower.
  • I cannot verify it but I think my three year old nemesis was there.  He would be about seven now and there was a seven year old there running along with me...mocking me.  He has a younger brother that is about 5 (Of course he was not there in 2009 because he would have been about 1...not even walking) But this year, this year they both mocked me.  They would run past me just laughing and smiling and giggling.  Then they would wait for their mother and me to get near them again and then they were off again.  One day I am going to beat this child and I better do it soon because once he becomes a chance is gone.
  • I still don't like people to come back for me.  Last time my daughter ran with me.  She came back on the route to look for me and cheer me on.  She kept her distance. She could tell that I appreciated it but that I needed to do this on my own. however, this time my husband ran with me. It was his first 5K. Kelly and Diane were there again (and yes they one their age groups).  All three came back to look for me.  While I love the fact they came back, to cheer me on, I lose my concentration.  So as they walked up towards me, I waved them to turn around and go back to finish line.  And they did.  Maybe that is why I don't know team sports...I don't want anyone to depend on me. If I fail, it only affects me.  
  • I wasn't nervous about the race.  Unfortunately, I had a 14 hour event that I was hosting at my house for 15 women from 10 am to midnight...that same day. So I spent the day before cleaning and decorating until 3 AM and then I was up at 5 for the race.  I love hosting these events and I love the 5Ks but I realized I don't love doing them on the same day.  
  • That being said, I was ill prepared.  Last time I worrying about tapering and hydration before the race. This time I just worried about showing up.  
My  hopes is that my next race will have a better time. I am still looking for 45 or sub 45.  I'll get there. I know it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Just a little inspiraiton

I was on Facebook today and saw this amazing video:

Words are a powerful thing.  So powerful that the Bible repeatedly tells us to watch our tongue.  But words start in the mind and in the mind is where we do most of our self talk.

So this got me thinking...what words do we tell ourselves?  "I can't run faster than a 15 minute mile.  I can't spin, it's too hard.  I can't eat better. I don't have time to work out."  Every time we say I can't or I don't or it's too hard. What you are really saying is I WON'T.  "I will not" is a powerful statement.  Because the truth is you can but you choose not to do it.  You choose to not try to run faster, spin for more than a day and get better, not to eat healthier, make the time to work out.  Let's be honest and stop living in denial.

I can run faster than 15 minute mile. I can spin. I do have time to work out.  I am able to eat better.  I may not be the best at it as I can be but with practice, determination and time I will.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Changes : Wonderful Positive Changes

When you start running you expect there will be changes in your life.  I know I did.  Well in 2009 I didn't expect anything but each week I surprised myself.  I learned that you can want to run when you are bored.
I learned that you will have good runs and bad runs.  I learned that the first 8 minutes are always brutal for me.  Notice that all of these are self life changes.  

Well now I am starting to see family life changes. Here are a few you have already seen.
  1. Spend more time with my sister.  As a runner, she and I spend more time together because we run and do other activities together.
  2. Spend more time with my daughter.   I now go to a gym, we experienced spinning together and yoga...and then we run.  She sent me a text last week stating she was happy that we are doing things together.  She loves spending time with me doing active things.
  3. My daughter is getting close to my sister and my brother in law, George.  She said for the first time she feels close to any of her aunts and uncles.  She says she feels like she really has an extended family.  She is more athletic than me and my sister so her goal:  Beat Uncle George.  She better watch out, Uncle George is pretty competitive.
  4. But the most unexpected one happened yesterday.  For weeks I have asked my husband if he would like to go with me to Saturday group run.  He says no.  Last week he said yes but then backed out on Friday night.  But yesterday, yesterday...he got up before I did, prepared our cooler and cool towels and ran with us.  He was in my sister's group and they were impressed.  He hasn't run in 14 years but you couldn't tell that by his gait. He has a beautiful Gazelle like gait.  He would run past my sister and then walk for a couple of minutes and then he would take off again.  He signed up for a 5K, bought some running shorts and shirt and today he said he wanted to go for a run.  

From left to right:  Brother in law and my husband
It has been a ripple effect of changes: wonderful, positive changes.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

50 Shades of Spinning Pineapple! Pineapple!

When my sister asked me if I wanted to go spinning with her, my first reaction was "Heck no!”  It looked hard and anytime I saw someone on TV spinning or heard someone talking about it, all I heard was how brutal the instructor was and how much they sweat.  These remarks usually came from fit people, so I took that information and extrapolated it to the nth degree for a fat person.  No sir, I was no match for this type of exercise.

I tried every excuse. I don't have the proper shoes.  I don't own a bike helmet (turns out you don't need one for a spinning class).  I don't own padded shorts. Again, I was told you don't need them. (Lies!) So after a few days of back and forth with my sister, she won and I was headed to my first spinning class with my daughter, two towels for sweating (yes, the sweat part is true), a 20oz water bottle (not enough), running shoes, baggy Capri’s (bad choice)  and a low impact bra (another bad choice).

On the way to the class my daughter mentioned an episode of Girl Code on MTV where a girl mentions taking spin class because it was an hour of sitting down.  Twenty minutes into the class she bailed.  It was hard and she only had water and not orange juice like everyone else had.  When I entered the class, I saw the orange juice.  It's not like Minute Maid orange juice you buy for breakfast, no this some other kind of pale orange juice.  I am not sure what it is but I plan to find out.

I don't know if you have ever seen a spin bike up close.  I have only seen one, the one I rode, up close but this is what I learned.  There are three levers to set, the height of the seat, the distance of the bike seat from the handles and height of the bike handles.  Oh, and you can adjust the straps that wrap around your shoes.  Pay attention to the levers, they can make the difference between experiencing your first bike class and losing your virginity to spinning.

I received little help when adjusting my seat and since I had never sat on a spin bike before, I didn't know what it should feel like.  Well now I do, so let me spare you pain of not knowing.  If while sitting on your seat, you feel like you are imitating a chicken doing a squat while being raped by rooster, you haven't adjusted your spin bike correctly.

The first 30 minutes, yes I endured feeling like a squatting raped chicken for that amount of time, I was in pain.  We started out in the seated position at level 4 and that is when it began. There was no compliment or asking me out for dinner. We did not even set up a safe word.  This grey spinning bike was no Christian Grey.   If it was, I would have yelled, “Pineapple!” in the middle of the class.  Pineapple would have been my safe word. 

NO, it was just “sit and take it”.  I looked around the room to see if anyone else was feeling what I was feeling. They also seemed content. They all seem gung ho about the whole ordeal.  I, on the other hand, felt as if my seat should have been wearing a condom.  I don't know if it was my lack of experience on skinny bike seats or my loose capris that were no match for the seat but it was painful. Each turn of the pedal was met with a painful jar of the seat into my bum and other unmentionables.  I only felt a small bit of relief when we would level up to 6 and stand while we biked.  But even then I was being violated.  Bang bang bang shove, is all I felt.  Each time the trainer said "Okay, lets sit and go down to 4.". I would go down to 4 but I refused to sit. I am sure I looked like I was trying to be hard core to some in the group, the truth is I was running from my violator.

After 30 minutes, I just couldn't take it anymore and I jumped off the bike. I started to push and pull levers and adjusted the seat, the bars and the distance. It felt better but the damage was done.  It took me days to recover from that experience.  I need to get some kind of padding before I take the class again.  I am thinking something along the lines of a thick egg carton mattress pad.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Monthly Motivating Movie

Here we are again.  This month I have chosen a comedy as my movie pick.  Not only is it a movie about running but it is funny. But wait there is more!  It is British comedy!  You know how I love my Brits. This month is Run Fatboy Run.  It stars Simon Pegg as a man that tries to win the heart back of his ex-fiance by running in a marathon. I love this movie!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July Challenge

Every last week of the month I feel like James Bond aka 007. I eagerly await the arrival of my new Fatty Must Run mission.  I have to say, I was kind of relieved that no clean eating was involved in the making of this mission.  But I will try to eat clean anyway.  So what are the missions?

  1. Plank a Day Do a plank each day and see how long you can hold it.  Yesterday I did my first plank. Mental note to self, put the dogs up before attempting this feat.  They were trying to get under me and walk over me.  So my plank only lasted 43 seconds.  I am not saying I can hold it much longer but I felt I could do a second or two more.  My sister said that Kim, our running coach, says we can do anything for a minute.  We shall see.
  2. Sign up for a race in July or August Believe it or not, this is going to be the tricky one.  The season is coming to a close due to the hot weather.  The Lunar Rendezvous is coming up July 20th but I am hosting a 14 hour crop at my house that day.  I want to do it because the first 5K I ever ran was the Lunar Rendezvous.  You can read about it here:  My first 5K and how I lost to a 3 Year old. So I am off to to look for more races and to my running groups calendar. I am sure there are more out there.
  3. Run a timed 5K I am really excited about these timed 5Ks. Each time they feel like a surprise and I feel like I am making progress.  I started Heart Rate training this month. I will tell you more about it this month.
Well those are the challenges, if you so choose the mission.  I hope you join us and remember if you want to see how all of us are doing, I have links to the other girls' blogs on the right.  Each of us have own  story to tell.  You may find you see yourself in one or more of them.  

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fatty Must Run Marathon June recap

I knew it was going to be hard month for me.  What's the saying? "If you think you can, you will. If you think you won't, you're right." ?  Well I think I thought I couldn't. Now if you don't remember what the challenge items were for June, you can see them here.

And if you are new to my blog, first WELCOME! and second you may not be aware of the Fatty Must Run Marathon Challenge that I am doing. If you want to know  more about it, go to Fatty Must Run , and Julie will explain it.  She is hosting the challenge.  Over the course of a year she will guide 14 women  through the challenge that will end with a marathon.

Again, I can't believe all the changes in my life.

Eating:    I am more conscious about what I eat.  Things I use to love to eat, sorta gross me out. But I still love chocolate and Ice tea. I am not sure if that will change.  But I am eating so many more vegetables and I have a juicer now. Ok, so it is still boxed up but I plan to use it starting this week.

My running group: Last time I mentioned my running group grew by 14. This month it grew by 20 more?  I joined a running group in Galveston two weeks ago.  I am officially a member of USA Fit Galveston   I also joined a running group.  I am a part of the Beginners Half Marathon training.  My sister is leading the Saturday morning runs for our pace.  I think it prepares us for our first half in October which meets my needs.

Energy   I feel better.  I don't get tired too early. Well I do get sleepy because I am getting up earlier but at the same time, when I am awake, I feel more energized.

Non Scale Victories:   My body is changing.  My calves are getting muscular and feel toned.  My bum is lifting and while the scale isn't moving much, my clothes are fitting better in some cases and in others, well they are just getting too baggy to wear.

So here is how I did with this month's challenges:

  1. Run Everyday  Well it is hot in Texas and I couldn't bring myself to get up at 5 AM to run.  I did manage to run FunFest Run the Bay on the 8th and during the second half of the month, I started to run with my sister and just got over myself and got up.  On the days that I didn't run, I continued to do my squats and I did the elliptical.  So I would have the say the first half of the month was rough for me but I am starting to get the hang of it.
  2. Eat Clean  Yeah, epic fail.  I didn't even know what clean was much less how to prepare for it.  But I have started to do it and I have found some great recipes that I will share.  My daughter is on board with me on this one.  We eat quite a bit of zucchini, bell pepper with eggs.  We also tried spaghetti squash and we are making healthy smoothies that contain Kale and flax seed.  ( I promise I will either video tape or blog the recipes. )  I cut down on red meat and drink more water. So I am getting there but I still have a long way to go. 
  3. Run a timed 5K.  I ran my timed 5K yesterday.  My first one this month was on 6/8 at the FunFest was 49:08. I was 12th for my gender, 90th for my gender and 211 overall.  There were 226 runners and 100 of them were female.  My last timed 5K was 47:48.  Races are harder to come by so I had to time it myself.  So I was first, last and overall number one!  LOL
  4. Complete squat challenge  I did finish my challenge but I did skip a few days.  I want to do it again.  I may start again July 1st.  I really loved the way it felt.
Tomorrow I will share our July challenge.  

Stay cool and stay running.

Kemah Bridge

Well I did it!  This past week, I did my first Kemah bridge run.  I liked it so much that I did it twice!  My daughter and I met my sister at the bridge at 6 AM.  I have driven over this bridge hundreds, if not thousands of times. It is the bridge between me and the nearest sign of box store civilization (Walmart, Target, Office Depot and Home Depot). Why am I running a bridge?  Well, I live in flat SE Texas. We have no hills.  When I say we are flat...I mean we are flat  The Houston Marathon is a great place to qualify for Boston because the run is soo hills.  But every runner needs to do hill work so us in SE Texas run in parking garages or on high arching bridges.  I happen to live very near to a high arching bridge.  It crosses the waterway that links Clear Lake to the bay.

This waterway is heavily utilized by boaters.  You see Clear lake is home to the third largest fleet of recreational boats in the United States.  Because of all the boat traffic seen, a steep and extreme high bridge was built.   And until my run, I did not realize that the south side is steeper than the north side.  I also didn't realize that cars whizzing by at 50 mph, that are less than 3 feet from you, cause alot of hot wind.  But I loved it.  I loved the way my thighs burned on the incline and the reward of going downhill immediately after the burn.  My sister and I took a picture at the top of the bridge from my phone, which in turn caused my Nike+ to stop recording and my wireless headphones to unlink.  So I am smiling in this picture but moments later I was just frustrated.

Now the bridge is less than two miles from my place but at least 30 miles from my sister's house.  Again, I am truly blessed to have a sister that would drive that far, that early so that she can run the bridge with me.  Isn't she awesome?  There are no words to describe my gratitude.  I am just truly blessed.

Warning: Cheeks appear larger than normal

Two days later I decided to do it again.  Because I was doing it by myself, I decided to go a bit earlier.  The second picture was taken as I was leaving the bridge to go home.  The bridge is 1.9 miles round trip.  I think next week I will try to do it twice which is....3.8 miles.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Running group do's and don't

I am always full of fear the first time I do something. And sometimes I get so scared that I do this thing where I start crying which, for whatever reason, turns into laughing.   Running with a running group was no different.          I would love to say that I took every effort to make sure that I was going to be at my best for this first run.  But I didn't.  I stayed out late with a friend and only slept 4 hours before my run.  Which leads me to my do's and don'ts for your first run with a running group.

Don't stay out late the night before you go on your first run with a group of people you know are faster than you.  You need all the rest you can get.  So if a friend asks you to stay out later, just apologize and let them know that you have made a commitment to become a better you and need to get home for some rest.

Do lay out your clothes the night before.  I had to be in Galveston, about 45 minutes away, by 6:15 AM.  That meant that I had to leave at 5:15 if I wanted to give myself some wiggle time.  Having everything together meant all I had to do was brush my teeth, pull my hair back and put on my clothes.  No hunting through my drawers for matching socks or headbands. No running across the house to the laundry room to find my bottoms and then to the living room for my shoes.  Just do it.

Don't leave the address to the running group at home. Thank goodness I had wiggle room because I made it there at exactly 6:15.  I lost time when I had to Google the store and then GPS the location from downtown Galveston.

Do hydrate the night before and the morning of the run.  It was hot out there and you'll see later on why it was so important for me to hydrate well.

Don't take off on a run without knowing the route.  You see I was slower than the rest of the group and within the first few blocks I was alone on the road. I didn't know the route so I spent alot of time GPSing my location and trying to figure out how to get back to the store where we started.  I wasn't frustrated but I was annoyed with having to stop, pull my phone out of the armband, turn off my Nike+ app and go to Maps.  Eventually I made it back to the store but not on the same route as everyone else.

Don't beat yourself up if you get left behind. I have to admit there were a few times on my run that I felt  a lump in my throat and thought I was going to cry.  It wasn't because I was alone...I run by myself all the time.    I felt defeated.  I felt that my inability to stay up with the slowest group just confirmed my inability to be a part of a group.  Bottom line, I just felt less than. And true to form, what started out as a feeling of wanting to tear up and give up became a feeling of just wanting to laugh. But when I shared how I felt to my husband and daughter, my daughter said something profound, "Stop beating yourself up about how far you have to go and start celebrating how far you've come.  Remember the first time you cried because you couldn't run a minute? Well look at you now.  That is what you need to focus on. "  She is 17 and wise beyond her years.

And yes, if you caught that...I have cried before.  I am a llorona (Spanish for cry baby).  I cry for joy and I cry for sadness.  So don't feel sorry for me because I cried.  The physical expression of the emotion that I am feeling seems to get exaggerated in my body and I know it is ridiculous so I start to laugh.

So this week I am taking on the Kemah Bridge.  Fortunately, I live about a mile from the only safe bridge to train for hill work.  I believe it is 1.9 miles over and back.  Wish me luck.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Birds of a feather

I finally did it! I joined a local running group.  I can't tell you how many times I started to fill out the registration form and then just shut down the page.  I even went as far as filling out the form, entering my payment information and hovered the mouse over the "submit" button before my  cursor flew uncontrollably across the screen like hands on an Ouji board and clicked the close window button.  Whew, disaster averted. 

But this afternoon when I finished my work, I officially became a member of the USA Fit Galveston Marathon Half Marathon training season 2013-2014.  I should have been wearing my HRM at the time I joined because my heart was beating fast.  But what's done is done.  As hot as it is outside, I can't seem to make myself get out there at 5am to run, which is why I found myself running in 90 degree weather this week.  But I will do it if I am running with someone else.  This should be fun, it will be fun.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A great day for the Reyes girls!

Sure my sister's last name is Sandoval, mine is Peckham and my daughter's is Vera but deep down the blood that binds us is the Reyes blood.  This was the first run we did together.  I ran the 5K.  My daughter and sister ran the 10K.  We are all runners but each was on their own path and a different place in their journey.  Which just takes all kinds.

Age: 56
Employment:  Retired
Activity:  Active her whole life with skiing, yoga, aerobics, water aerobics, biking, spinning and Zumba just to name a few. 
Running experience:  Started last year in a beginners clinic and ran a 10K before being injured and sidelined.  Redid the beginning clinic again and this was her first race of the season.
Goal for this run:  Finish

Age: 17
Employment:  High School Student
Activity: Swimmer since the 4th grade, water polo, cross country, track, any cross fit like training
Running experience:  Started running in 8th grade, doing it off and on for the past years
Goal for Funfest:  just finish without dying

Age: 43
Employement:  self employed
Activity:  Some soccer in highschool, weight lifting and light cardio in my 30's, roller blading
Running experience:  Completed Couch to 5K in 2009, ran a few 5Ks and just recently started C25K again
Goal for Funfest:  Finish

We each had different reasons for being there but at the same time we all were glad that this run was our first family run.  I enjoyed training with my sister, Bel,  the week before.  She is such an amazing person.  She is an encourager and a coach. She watches my posture, my feet dragging and my pace and she is always praising me.  It comes natural to her.  So natural that sometime during her run, she made a new friend and encouraged and supported her to the end.  You would have thought they had been friends for years after they crossed the finish line...nope they met during the run. Gabrielle was so laid back. She went to bed in her running clothes and when I woke her up, she brushed her teeth, grabbed her shoes and water and got in the car.  Her only comment about the race? "You and aunt Bel are talking HRM, pace, fueling, proper clothing and here I am in a cut up cotton t-shirt, old gym shorts and a bottle of water.  I hope I don't pass out."  Pass out?  That girl took second place for her age group.  She was so surprised when she went to see her time.  As for me, I think I was ready and I was surprised at how comfortable I felt.  And to my surprise, as soon as the clock came into view, I noticed that if I turned it on, I may end in less than 50 minutes...a first official time for me that was below 50. 

I can't wait to do more races with my family.  That has always been my dream.  My very first post talks about my dream to run with my daughter.  When she was only a toddler, I would take her in the jogging stroller while I ran or roller bladed.  I wanted to be one of those parents that instilled the importance of fitness into their child by doing it with them.  Somewhere along the way I lost sight of that goal. But on the way home from Funfest Run, my daughter said she was glad we started doing this. That she always wanted  to do things with me and was sort of mad at me for quitting before.  She wanted this to be our thing.  And it looks like it is.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Non-Scale Victories

It wasn't until Weight Watchers that I learned the term NSV.  It stands for Non Scale Victory.  It's when something changes besides the numbers on the scale.  I have had quite a few of those these past few weeks.  I love it when I discover a new NSV.  It's like finding little nuggets of gold as you pan for it.  They may seem small but the are worth so much more. That is the way I see NSVs.  They are these grand moments of  "Oh my goodness, I dropped 5 dress sizes in 2 weeks! "  We all know that if you drop 5 dress sizes in two weeks, you 'll probably add 6 dress sizes in three.  No, I am not looking for those kind of sucesses.  I want the long term ones.

I think one of the first ones was the walk to the church office.  It was on the second floor of the youth building.  Every week I volunteer at the church and have to climb these stairs. Because this is in the youth building, the doors are locked and you must hit the buzzard and someoen will come open the door for you.  This is where I panic.  I am left so winded that I usually wait a bit before I hit the buzzard.  I didn't want to have to speak before I had time to catch my breadth. Pathetic, I know.  Well, these past few weeks have been great.  I no longer get winded going up the stairs.

Then I noticed something that may make others cringe but I love.  I mentioned in another post that I gain muscle pretty quickly.  Well I have been doing squats for three weeks and the muscles are starting to make their debut.  The fluff around them is not subsiding as fast as the muscle is being gained so they make me seem a bit more bulky in areas but my body is changing.  The bum sits alittle higher.  There is a nice shape forming on the legs and the calves feel stronger (more because of the running than the squatting). So crops feel a little tighter in the legs and bum but I am swimming everywhere else. I know that in time, as the fluff leaves, the crops will also fit differently.

My skin is changing also. I don't know anyway to explain it but my skin seems more radiant and healthy.  It feels smoother.  I think all the sweating and drinking water has really cleaned out my pours and I can feel and see the difference. I just can't stop touching my face.

These are just a few of the changes I have seen in the past few weeks.  I am excited to see what NSVs I'll discover at the end of the month with more running and clean eating.  Have you had any NSVs lately?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Monthly Motivating Movie

As promised, here is the monthly motivating movie for June. On the first Friday of each month I plan to recommend  a running movie. My pick is coming out a few days early for a reason to be announced later in this article.  My pick for June is Spirit of the Marathon.

Courtesy of Netflix

This Spirit of the Marathon is a documentary that follows 6 runners on their journey to running the Chicago Marathon.  I love this movie because it follows 6 very different runners.You have a male and a female elite runner that are  training to win. A couple that have run a few marathons around the world.  A senior, running again and his daughter that is running for the first time. And one more female that is running her first marathon as she progresses naturally from 1/2 marys to a full mary.  Each story is unique and in many ways they are similar.  It is definitely worth a watch if you are training for a marathon, 1/2 mary or a 5K  

Haven't sold you on it yet? Well here is where I get cheesy.  BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE! While googling for a picture of the movie cover, I came across some exciting news.  There's a sequel!!!!  That's right, it was sooo good they came out with a sequel. The sequel follows runners training for the Marathon in Rome (In my dreams, that would be where I would run my first marathon.)   It is scheduled to be in theaters for one night and one night only.  Click Here  for a theater near you.  It will only be in theaters June 12th! Run and get your tickets!! That is the reason I wanted to share this one early.  I want to give you time to search for a local theater and make sure your calendar is free for that day.


Monday, June 3, 2013

It's me not you

Dear John,

Let me start by saying that I have always loved you.  You have been there since the beginning.  You are known as comforter and used as an reward.   Have a birthday to celebrate?  You'll be there.  Getting married?  You are one of the most important things at the wedding celebration.  Gathering with fellow Christians for a prayer session, committee meeting, retreat, seminar...heck anytime we gather as a congregation, you are there.  End of school year party for the elementary kids?   Teachers are sure to send a note home with little Tommy or Sally reminding us to bring you to school that day. We would die without you....literally we would die with out you.  But your importance for living has become an obsession and people are dying a slow death because of you.  What was meant for good, has somehow turned to bad.  And that is becoming more apparent now than ever in my life.  

Please don't cry.  It's me not you.  I took advantage of you.  I used you and abused you in my times of need.    I was too clingy.  I wanted you to be my everything.  If I was stressed out during the day, I ran to you to comfort me.  If I was celebrating any occasion, I wanted to do it with you.  I wanted you so much that I found reasons to celebrate.  I smothered you and put you on a pedestal.  It is for that reason that I have to distance myself from you.  We will still see eachother and be good friends but I can't let you consume me.  I want us to have a healthy relationship.  

I can't let you be my joy and my sorrow. I hope you understand. I will always care for you and need you but in a different way.  I hope you understand.



When I read this months challenge for the Fatty Must Run Marathon Challenge, my heart just sank.  I knew  I would have to have the most difficult conversation with my food.  I had to admit that my emotional attachment to food can be unhealthy.  It's not that I don't like healthy food, that's not the issue.  I love vegetables, fruits, chicken etc but I obsess over chocolate, whip cream, flour tortillas.   Remember that song from the 70's Torn Between Two Lovers?  There is a line in there, "torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool.  Loving both of you is breaking every rule"  Well that is me. I don't mind eating healthy food but I want my bad also. And it isn't a hunger thing, its a "I want ______" thing.  No amount of filling health foods is going to satisfy my desire for chocolate.

So this weekend I went to Penzeys's Spice and picked up Fox Point, an amazing blend of herbs and spices that make everything yummy.

Last night we had chicken with a baby spring salad that consisted of Baby Spring mix of lettuce, celery mandarin oranges, cranberries, strawberries, pecans and a raspberry vinaigrette. 

Next time I will probably leave out the strawberries but may put apples. For lunch, I had more chicken on organic corn tortillas, with beans and lettuce.  I really enjoyed that and can't wait to eat more of that.  

I had cherries and grapes for a snack.  They were meh.  I didn't really satisfy my desire for something sweet but they satisfied my need to chew.  I have to come up with something clean to eat that will help with my sweet tooth.  Any suggestion?

I keep telling myself it is only for 30 days but in reality, I am hoping that this 30 day challenge will give me a new perspective on food.  It's fuel...nothing more, nothing less.  I need to grasp that concept. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

June's Challenge

Our June challenge has been posted. Please feel free to play along.
  1. Run Everyday.  Ok this one hits on my lack of time management skills when it comes to personal goals. I have a tendency to put everyone ahead of me.  If I have time left at the end of the day to do my things, then I do them.  But this month I must put myself first everyday.
  2. Eat Clean.  Well at first I thought this was going to be easy.  Wash your food and you can't eat anything that fell on the floor and was not picked up within 5 seconds.  I'm kidding.  I had no idea what is considered clean eating. I have heard those buzz words alot these past few months but had no idea.  I still don't know since googling it pulls up several interpretations of it.
  3. Run a  timed 5K  We will do another 5K this month. We have been encouraged to run the whole thing.  I am interval training so that is how I will run it.  It will be interesting to see if I shave off any more time this month.  I would love to be in the high 30's at the end of this month.
  4. Complete 30 day squat challenge.  I am really loving this challenge and may redo again when this 30 days is over. 
As always, please feel free to play along and let me know how you are doing.  If you want to see how everyone else is holding up in the challenge, you can click a link to their blogs on the right.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fatty Must Run Marathon Challenge Monthly recap

Before I started writing this post, I decided to review my previous posts I have written since starting the challenge and I realized two things:

1.  I thought I blogged more than I actually did, which means all those times I thought I was sharing with you guys, I was only sharing with my head and
2.  I have no concept of time. It seems like just yesterday that I received the email stating I was accepted and at the same time, so much has changed in that time that it seems so long ago.

If you are not familiar with the Fatty Must Run Marathon Challenge, just click here for information about it. Over the course of a year, Julie, the leader of this challenge, will guide us through marathon training. Some would consider training for a 26.2 miles run as torture but I consider it a privilege to do so with these women.  Ok side note here: Julie is from the UK and I am obsessed with anything from across the pond, so when I read her blog posts, I read them out loud with my very bad British accent.

Julie gives us a new set of challenges each month.  We are to keep her updated at least once a month via email or blog post. But most of us have also updated eachother daily via Twitter.  If you would like to follow us, just search #FMRMC or #Fattymustrunmarathonchallenge.  For the first month, May, we were given three tasks run 2 miles, start 30 day squat challenge and run a timed 5K.

  1. Run 2 miles and report back to Julie on how it felt. Because I was already running two miles each run, this one was natural for me.  The only comment I have is that it is getting hot in Texas so I have to change the time of day I run.
  2. Start a 30 day squat challenge I had never heard of this but I googled it and discovered it is a 30 day challenge that increases the amount of squats each day. You start at 50 on day 1 and by the time you are on day 30, you are doing 250 squats in one day.  I love squats.   I build muscle extremely fast, genetics, so I can really see the difference and feel the difference in my legs and buttocks.
  3. Run a timed 5K to get a base time.  Of all three, this one concerned me the most. I had not run a 5K in a very long time so I was worried.  I always hovered around 54-56 minute 5Ks.  I didn't want to time a 5K so soon after restarting C25K only to discover I am slower than before or not be able to finish.  My new time was a pleasant surprise 43:15.  I know, I know...I can't believe it myself but I took a picture just to prove it.
Yeah Baby!!!

If you had told me a month ago that I would have had so many changes in the first few weeks, I probably would have not believed you.  No, I know I would believe you.  As a matter of fact, I probably would have contemplating dropping out for fear of failing.  But I didn't quit. I just went one step at a time, one day at a time.  And things just happened.

  • Pace  When I restarted C25K I was ecstatic that I ran my fastest mile at 15: 48. Years ago when I trained for my first 5K, my average pace was in the 17's and even 19's.  Yesterday I broke my own 5K time by doing it 43:15 and my average pace for my total 4 miles was 14:12.  By the way, the only reason I mention pace is not because I think I was going too slow before, but because it means I am improving. It means I am getting stronger. You guys know how I feel about pace.
  • Distance:  My first few runs in April were 2 miles or less.  By mid May I was consistently doing 2 miles and as of last Saturday, I have increased my mileage to 4 miles.  My plan is to increase my mileage for my during the week runs to 4 miles and 6 miles on the weekend.
  • Strength:  All I can say is that before this challenge, my legs just moved me forward.  Now, I can actually feel my muscles working and I love it.  There is a feeling of control or power...I haven't quite found the right word for it but all I know is that it is good.
  • Community:  My running group has grown by 14.  We live hundreds, even thousands of miles, away from each other but this common goal is the thread that binds us together.  We encourage eachother and hold each other accountable.  On my own, I probably would have become bored the first week and moved on to a new challenge.  I am here to stay.
We have been given our new challenges for June.  I'll share more on those tomorrow.  All I can say is that it is going to be hard....mentally.  But in the meantime, check out the girls and how they viewed the first month. A link to their blogs is on the right.