Monday, May 30, 2016

Bend Half Marathon Race Recap

A little frustrating, but it seems I forgot to save my original recap that I typed up for this race, so now, over a month post-race, I have to type it up again.  Ugh!  Oh well, here we go! 

The Bend Marathon & Half.  This was the second annual running of this event.  As usual, let’s start with packet pickup.  The race was on a Sunday and I arrived in town on the Friday before because I was also running the Sisters “Better Half” on that Saturday.  This was to be a weekend of back-to-back half marathons.  I’ve never done this before.  The closest I’ve come is when I ran a fast 5K followed by a solo 7 mile run on a Saturday then on the next day ran a 10 mile long run.  Not really comparable, but I knew if I could run back-to-back 10 miles, then I could likely handle back-to-back half marathons.

Okay, packet pickup.  There was no expo.  We just formed a ridiculous down-the-block line out the front door of the FootZone running store in downtown Bend.  Packet pickup opened up at 2pm in the back of the store.  I got there around 2:10 or so and the line had already started coming out the front door.  I have to say, this wasn’t the best option for a packet pickup for a semi-major race.  The store wasn’t that big and was open to customers, so you had all these people picking up race packets and people trying to shop all in the store at the same time.  I mean, the good news for the store is that while we all stood in line, we all got to window shop the store and a lot of us ended up being customers ourselves after we got our packets.  Me included.  I bought a sweet trucker hat that says “Run Dirt” on it.  I had to steal it off the head dummy because I wanted the teal color and the only teal one they had was on the head dummy.  MINE!
A few months before the race, the organizers had posted pics of the medal and the participant shirts.  I loved both and was super stoked to receive them.
Saturday night, I laid out my flat runner.  I had to modify my plans for what I was going to wear a little bit as the temp was supposed to be in the mid-30’s at the start (another late start of 8:30am) and wouldn’t get past the upper 40’s by the time I was done running.  So, for the first time ever, I ran the race shirt to run the race.  I wore it under my INKnBURN pixels tech shirt (completely wishing I had realized this temp situation was possible and had my INKnBURN pixels pullover instead).  I also layered some arm warmers underneath the race shirt to help keep my arms warm.
The morning of the race, I got to wake up late because my hotel was only a 5 minute walk from the start line.  Just like for the start of the Sisters “Better Half” the day before, it felt really weird to not be heading to the start much sooner.  They were doing a wave start, letting large groups start every 15 minutes to help with course crowding.  Since I was unable to get late checkout approved by the hotel for me, and I knew it would take me about 2.5 hours to finish the race, I KNEW I had to make sure I was in the very first wave at 8:30, which would put me finishing at about 11, giving me an hour to walk back to my hotel, shower and pack up all my stuff and then checkout.  To help me expedite this, I packed up everything I wouldn’t need post-race and took it out to the car before I walked to the race.  I was able to make sure I was in the first wave and was across the start line at 8:30.
We started out by running past my hotel…ha!  Then we proceeded through a neighborhood.  This was all mostly flat and easy to run.  Then made it to a park and ran along the Deschutes River. 

Then over a bridge.  This is where the only photographer on the entire course was located, so I have a nice picture of me on the bridge.  However, he took the photo in landscape position, so I had to crop out the people next to me.
After the bridge, we entered another neighborhood.  This one was fairly new and seemed more expensive.  And this is where the hills were.  We went up and up and up some more.  I did have to walk because the hill just wouldn’t stop.  Haha.  I was literally not expecting these kind of hills, especially after how completely flat the Sisters “Better Half” the day before that was only 20 miles away.  That’s what I get for making assumptions and not doing course research. 

After the super hilly neighborhood, we got to go on a glorious downhill and then onto a TRAIL!!!

This was literally my favorite part of the race.  If you’ve followed along with this blog since at least May of 2015, then you know that when I went on my very first trail run while in Oregon last May, I fell completely in love with trail running.

After the trail, we crossed another bridge.  Right before this bridge, I ditched the arm warmers I was wearing.  They had slide down my arms and were only covering my forearms (I regretted this later because my forearms got sooooo cold about 20 minutes later).  We ran along the Deschutes River again and at this point it started raining.  Or did it?  I noticed that even though the rain was hitting me, I wasn’t getting wet.  Then I noticed it was bouncing on the ground.  Hail.  It was hail.  I was getting hailed on!  What the heck!?!?!  So, that was a first for me.  Thankfully it was very tiny hail, 2mm at MOST in diameter, but still.  Bragging rights?  I ran in hail! 

Then we were running long a main road on the shoulder.  I even saw Batman!!!
By this point, I was fairly miserable because of the temp and the weather in general.  We were now on a roadside paved hike & bike trail. There were, of course, more hills.  I walked some more.
Then we were running through the very first neighborhood we ran through, so I knew we were nearing the finish.  Then we were running over that very same bridge we ran over at the beginning where the photographer was.  The photographer was right before we turned left to cross the finish line, but I couldn’t find a pic of me from that location, or if I did, it must not have been good, so I didn’t buy it.  I don’t remember at this point, over a month later.  Haha.

I crossed the finish line and was handed my medal.  The half and full marathon finishers got the same medal, just the ribbon was different.  It’s a very pretty medal, one of my favorites, in fact.

I finished with an official time of 2:29:59. 

Something to keep in mind when viewing these official results.  That number after the word “of” indicates how many in that division/group that have finished at the moment that I checked my results.  I was not in the very back of the pack.  I think the last finishers crossed the finish line 45 minutes to an hour after me.  So, I was most likely in the back of the middle of the pack for this race.

So, back-to-back half marathons is DONE!  I can official say I’ve done it and did a decent job of it.  I got an almost PR for the first one and got a semi-decent time for the second one.  I’m not disappointed at all in either race and I’m super proud of myself for conquering this challenge.  However, I’m super glad I did NOT sign up for the full marathon at Bend because of the weather and the technical aspect of the course and the time constraint of not getting a late checkout.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Weekly Recap

Saturday: spent a few hours at the renaissance festival with my best friends in Texas.  Hit over 9K steps by the time we left.  After I got back home, I went grocery shopping for meal prep, which happens on Sunday.  After grocery shopping, I WENT TO THE GYM!  This was going to be a non-structured exercise day.  And I didn’t need the elliptical to get to my step goal as I hit 10K while I was in the first store, but I still did the elliptical for 30 minutes.  My strength training for this day was slow reps on the seated row, leg curl and leg extension machines.  I feel really accomplished and totally proud of myself that I worked out even though I had given myself a pass to not do a workout on this day.  I felt great afterward.
Sunday: went to Ladybird Lake hike & bike trail with the intention of running 10-13.1 miles.  I would do the 10 mile loop and at mile 9 I would decide if I felt good enough and if the weather was cooperating for me to run the 3.1 mile loop.  Well.  The weather was NOT cooperating and I barely made it through the 10 mile loop, so I didn’t do the 3.1 loop.  But, 10 miles is nothing to sneeze at so I’m not disappointed at all.  I’m going for my May C goal, which is at least 80 miles.  After my 10 miles, I’m at 59.2.  So, just another 20.8 miles to go!  I can do this!
In addition, I also decided to see if I could get green for the first time on the 250 steps per hour for 13 hours.  So, once an hour, I took a short walk of about 300 steps outside my apartment and got ‘er done!
I participate in a lot of weekend warrior and workweek step challenges on FitBit.  If I run long that weekend or a lot during the week, I usually win them.  I won this week’s weekend warrior!
Monday: after an appointment with my ortho doc, I picked up my new work uniform pants that I’m hoping to be able to wear COMFORTABLY by the end of June (obviously…PREFERABLY sooner if possible).  Then back home where I did the 2nd workout in the Cize program titled “You Got This.” 

Then I did some pushups.  I’m seriously trying to do the #22for22 challenge again, but I keep forgetting and then I’ve been working a lot of overtime, which doesn’t help me remember.
I also wanted to bump up that 13 hour step goal and see if I could make it happen to get 14 out of 14 hours of at least 250 steps per hour.  So, once an hour, I walked in circles around the property room at work and made it happen!
Tuesday: no workout or run this day because I picked up overtime on the night shift.

Wednesday: no workout or run again as I picked up more overtime on the night shift.  I did earn a new FitBit badge on this day, so that’s pretty awesome!
Thursday: knocked out a 10K on the treadmill to earn my Mother of Dragons 10K virtual race medal.  Finished it off with a .23 mile cool down walk for a total of 6.43 miles.  Then I did the seated chest flye machine with 25#, 3 sets 10 reps, and the calf raise machine with slow/fast at 172# for 10/20-10/20-18/20 (got lost in counting that final set and wasn’t paying attention…haha).  A great workout!
Friday: I didn’t pick up overtime at work Thursday night and I was going to run after work with a coworker but, sadly, his wife was not comfortable with him running after work with a female coworker so I was on my own to run this day (maybe I’ll meet her and be friends with her and then she’ll be okay with it…I really like running with other people and like the idea of logging miles after work).  So, before work, I ran outside for 4 miles and clipped along at a 10:02 pace!  Boom!  The temp and humidity was perfect.  It had poured down rain most of the night before, so it was still cloudy and cool-ish. 


On the way to the renaissance festival Saturday morning, we stopped at Whataburger and I got the jalapeno cheddar biscuit with sausage, egg and cheese.  While at the renaissance festival, I ate about ¾ of a funnel cake.  I got full at that point and instead of forcing myself to finish it, which I did feel the urge to do, I stopped and gave the rest to my friend!  When we left, we went to Applebee’s and I got the pepper crusted sirloin steak with whole grains.  It was sooooo good!  And so filling too!  Post-workout, Saturday evening, I was a smidge hungry, so I had 2 caramel corn rice cakes.  These are great because they only have 50 calories each!  They are now my go to snack for when I don’t want to sit down and eat a meal but I’m hungry.  They’re really great when I’m working a double shift.  I’ll let myself have 3 on the night shift, spaced out about 1.5 hours apart.  Really helps keep the hungries at bay.

This week was pretty on point with continuing to lose weight.  I finally got the last 3 uniform pants from my new uniform order that I went back at the beginning of December to get fitted for on Monday.  It didn’t really bother me too much that it took them so long to fill my order as I have not been small enough to fit in the pants since January.  I still don’t fully fit in them, but I can at least get them fastened without a shoe horn and lots of sucking in.  I thought that they were comfortable enough to wear to work when I weighed in at 174.4 on Wednesday (10 pounds above what I weighed when I got fitted for the uniforms in December), so I wore them to work.  Bad idea.  I was so freaking uncomfortable.  The waistband cut into my hip bones and they were super tight around the thighs.  The shirt was fine, it was the pants that were the problem.  So, Thursday, it was back to my “fat pants” uniform for another week.  So, my hope is that, by the end of next week (or the week after), I can COMFORTABLY wear my new uniforms.

I decided last week when I ran on the treadmill last Thursday that maybe, just maybe, the treadmill isn’t the enemy I have always made it out to be since I switched to running outside over 3 years ago.  The experience wasn’t bad at all.  I know that was partly because I had access to my friend’s Netflix account and could distract myself sufficiently from the boredom of the gym environment whilst I was striding away on the hamster contraption.  So, I have gone shopping on Amazon and found the treadmill I want and will start stashing money away until I have the $1000 I need to buy it.  It’s a Nordic Track and has a touch screen and is iFit ready.  If I wanted to use that feature, I’d have to purchase to download the different programs, which could be potentially very helpful in training for certain races.  But it’s not necessary.  Treadmill running over the summer will be beneficial to me in 2 major ways.  1) It’s really freaking hot in summer in Texas and I don’t like getting up at 5am to run before the sun comes up, and 2) it’ll help me pick up the pace again, which can help me start hitting more PRs…and maybe qualify for Boston at one of my races in 2017!!!

Alrighty!  As I mentioned, my weigh ins this week were on point and going in a downward direction for the most part.  Overall, it was a fantastic week and I can’t believe I have lost as much weight as I have over the past 4 weeks without much preserved effort.  Like last fall, it just feels so easy, so natural.  Everything is just falling into place for me.  I know it’s the new medication and I’m so grateful that my doctor finally listened to me and changed my medication.  It’s like I’m a whole new person.  Seriously. 
I lost another 2.8 pounds this week, for a total of 12.8 since May 1st!  I am so happy and proud of myself for sticking with it.  On one hand, it's been really easy since my new medication helps me to not obsess or be anxious over food, so I'm not eating food I don't need.  The medication also helps me to not procrastinate and give into a lack of motivation.  I express my "I don't wanna" but then do it anyway.  I love it.  And then, on the other hand, it's difficult because my brain is still adjusting and part of it still wants to binge and thinks about food and is constantly asking others "whatcha eatin'?"  Or I'll ask someone, "hey, where's my (insert unhealthy food here)?" when I see they've gone to some fast food place for their lunch.  I then quickly follow up with, "I don't actually want it."  Which is true.  I don't actually want it.  I only asked that out of reflex and habit.  Hopefully that habit of asking that will go away.  I'm happy that I'm not eating fast food unless it's planned, like when we went to the renaissance festival.  And you know what?  When I plugged it into MyFitnessPal, I wished I had made a different decision.  And that, my friends, is what we call "progress."

Friday, May 27, 2016

What small changes are you working to incorporate into your life for better fitness?

Every day, I do what I can to move.  I wear a FitBit and honestly, it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made.  I’m more conscious of the fact that I was fairly sedentary.  I still am, honestly.  But less so now than before.  I’m more aware than I was.  On my days off, I make a point to get up and take a short walk down the side walk in front of my apartment building and the one next to mine.  Or, I walk around the entire apartment complex.  I do that once an hour.  It helps that FitBit recently added a new feature to its app because of the new Alta.  On the Alta, if you haven’t walked your minimum hourly step goal (the auto setting is set at 250 steps), it will give you a reminder alert 10 minutes before the end of the hour that you haven’t taken enough steps.  However, the only downside is that the Alta is the ONLY one that currently gives you these little reminders.  Allegedly, FitBit is working on updating the firmware for the other trackers so that they also give you the reminders.  Since I work in a place that doesn’t allow me to have my cellphone on me, I have to write down what my step total is at the beginning of the hour and then be aware of how many steps I’ve taken during the hour. 
Other things I try to do are to eat as many veggies as possible.  I love foods that are high in volume and super low in calories.  I’m a huge fan of spaghetti squash.  I’ve also learned to accept celery.  I’ve always loved Brussels sprouts and peas.  Some veggies aren’t low in calories, but they are high in nutrients.  Another food that is low in calories and somewhat high in volume is rice cakes.  I do try to stay away from processed carbs as much as possible, but I do eat rice cakes with organic peanut butter and sugar free, whole grain cereals with cashew milk.  Other than that, I stay away from processed carbs unless I’m having a splurge meal.
I also calorie count.  Even if it only has 10 calories, I track it.  I didn’t use to be honest in my food tracking.  However, since I got back from Oregon at the beginning of this month, I have been as honest as I can.  Sometimes you can’t get actual nutrition info on something, so you have to make your best guess and pick the food item in the database that is the closest to what you ate.  I’m very proud of myself that I’ve been able to stick with being honest.  I mean, when I lie or don’t track something, I’m not fooling anyone.  The only person I’m lying to is myself and just because I didn’t track it doesn’t mean that I didn’t eat it.  You can’t ignore a food you ate and that means it didn’t happen.  I was only hurting myself and that’s part of the reason I was having such a problem losing weight and was actually gaining it.
Another thing…a BIG thing, actually…I got put on mood stabilizing medication.  It’s no secret that I suffer from chronic depression, anxiety, OCD, disordered eating, and hyperactivity disorder.  About 6 years ago, I finally decided to get help.  I’ve been on the same medication the whole time until the beginning of this month when my doctor changed one of my medications and it was a miracle-worker for me.  I have more energy, I’m happier in general, I’m not apathetic, I’m more motivated, I get up when I want to get up and don’t languish around wasting time. 
Decide what changes you can make that will help you achieve your fitness and health goals and then put them in motion and practice.  You will find that they are much easier than you might think they would be.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Weekly Recap

Saturday: went to the gym in the afternoon and did 45 minutes on the elliptical followed by a super short 12 minute strength training session.  I haven’t strength trained in over a month, so I thought I’d kind of ease back into it.  I picked 2 exercises and did 3 sets of each.  I did push press and barbell deadlifts.  
Sunday: I was going to go run 10 miles but since I didn’t get everything done on Saturday that I had planned to get done due to the fact that I ended up being exhausted from working three 16 hour shifts in a row on Wednesday/Thursday/Friday nights.  So, I just went for a 3.25 mile walk around my apartment complex to ensure that I hit my 10K steps for the day and got all my food prepping and laundry done.
Monday: the ORIGINAL plan was to run 10 miles on Sunday and 7 on Monday.  However, the 10 didn’t get run on Sunday and then my doctor’s appointment I had for 8:15 Monday morning got canceled at 8pm on Sunday evening (mhm…if I had called them at 8pm the night before my appointment to cancel, they would have charged me a $100 late cancellation fee…but whatever), so I set out to run a 10K distance to earn another virtual race medal!  But, you know how some runs are easy and some runs are…well…some runs aren’t.  This one wasn’t easy.  It was probably a mix of the fact that I’m not used to the high humidity we’re having this month plus allergens in the air because post run I just couldn’t really catch my breath.
• Tuesday: was hoping to pick up an OT shift Monday night but no dice.  So, I went to the gym and did 60 minutes on the elliptical followed by another 2 exercise strength training session.  This time I did decline bench press and walking lunges.  Including the weight of the bar, I had 75# loaded for the decline bench press.  Then I just held a 25# weight plate in each hand for the lunges.  I think I have decided that for strength training I will just ease my way back into it.  Probably through the end of this month, I’ll keep it to just 1 exercise each for upper and lower body per session.  Next month I’ll add 1 exercise each to upper and lower body.  Then, a couple/few weeks later added a third and so on until the workout takes me about 45 minutes.
Wednesday: was going to do a second day in a row at the gym, but then remembered that my friend Heather gave me an extra copy of the new Shaun T workout program Cize.  So, I figured I’d give that a try and selected the first workout in the program: Crazy 8’s.  It’s a 30 minute dance workout and let me tell you, it was FUN!  I’m not a Beachbody coach or rep, but if you’re looking for a fun workout, I am recommending Cize.  I can point you in the direction of a couple friends that are Beachbody coaches that can help you, if you’re interested and don’t know anyone that’s a coach, also.  Anyway, I loved this workout and burned over 300 calories in just 30 minutes.  And I wasn’t even giving it my all because my back was hurting a little bit and I didn’t want to throw it out.

Thursday: I had my medication follow up appointment with my doctor at 8:15 and then I was going to go run the 7 mile loop at Ladybird Lake hike & bike trail.  However, it had been raining pretty hard for a few hours and the trail was completely flooded, so I wasted an hour driving there and then back home.  I decided that, since about half of where I would run on the sidewalks near where I live was also flooded, that I would give the treadmill a go.  Eeek!  If you know me at all, you know I hate the treadmill.  My friend gave me her Netflix login and I pulled out the tablet that Verizon gave me for free when I bought my phone last summer for the first time.  It worked fantastic!  I watched Supernatural while I ran on the treadmill for 65 minutes and logged 6.35 miles.  I do have to say that after 30 minutes, I was more aware of the fact that I was STILL on the treadmill.  The first 30 minutes weren’t too bad, though.  And, now that I’ve survived 65 minutes on the treadmill…maybe it’ll be an option for a few summer runs when I’m not able to pry myself out of bed at 5:30am to beat the heat or hit the pavement after work.  Plus, I was able to hold a pace closer to 10 min/mi without a huge effort, so that makes me happy. 
Friday: managed to pickup overtime on the night shift Thursday night, so no workout or run on this day.  Just walking to hit my 10K steps for the day!

Also, earned a new FitBit badge this week:


Not only was my doctor’s appointment being canceled less than 24 hours annoying enough, but the appointment was to evaluate how I was doing on a new medication that he gave me samples of.  And he only gave me 2 weeks’ worth of samples, so I took my last sample pill on Wednesday.  So I called first thing Monday morning when they opened the office at 8am to reschedule my appointment for as soon as possible.  Thankfully I was able to reschedule for Thursday morning.  Whew!

I started off this week back in the 170’s!  Then on Monday I was up in the 180’s again.  Then Tuesday back in the 170’s.  Haha.  I know with daily weigh ins that there will be lots of fluctuation.  Like I said last week, so long as my general trend is downward and indicating weight loss, then I’m all good.  And frankly, that’s exactly what’s going on.  The first 2 weeks of this month, I lost 6 pounds.  This week, I lost an additional 4.5 pounds!!!  My goal right now is basically to fit into my new work uniforms (by the end of June) without having to go to the bathroom every 5 minutes.  Because, I *CAN* get them on, but it’s not exactly comfortable.  I know with every pound that I lose, the more toward comfortable those new uniforms will be.  Oh, and so you know, the uniforms fit like a glove when I got fitted for them back at the beginning of December.  But then December hit me full force and, well, December isn’t a good month for me on an emotional level.  I thought I was prepared for it, but I really wasn’t.  Things had been going so well for me the 3 months prior to December, so I let my guard down and didn’t see it coming at all, even though I totally should have.  I won’t let that happen again.  I’ll make adjustments in preparation this year.  Maybe I’ll step up to weekly visits with my therapist during December?  I’ll definitely work toward distracting myself better with working out and portion control.  Anyway, way off subject there.  Here’s this week’s screenshot of my daily weigh ins:
Eating has gone quite well this week.  In fact, on one occasion I actually forgot to eat breakfast until it was time to get ready for work.  Oops!  But hey, I’m not really complaining because that means I’m not obsessing over food right now!  Huge non-scale victory right there! 

Saturday, I had a piece of pizza that was left over from work Friday’s night shift overtime.  It was the Domino’s Veggie and it was quite tasty!  I also ate plain Greek yogurt (0% fat) with raspberries and sweet’n’low, a bacon wrapped chopped venison steak that a friend gave me a while back and will be happy to know I finally ate, then some cereal and a rice cake for dinner.  Ha.  Sunday I had my rice Chex cereal with cashew milk for breakfast, tested out one of my turkey burger wraps for lunch with the last bit of the 0% plain Greek yogurt and raspberries, then went to Jason’s Deli and tried out their Wild Salmon-wich and got the mixed fruit with yogurt dip side and finished off the 2 meatballs my friend’s daughter didn’t want off her plate.  I ended the day with a migraine and so had a couple ginger chews.  I did have a coupon for a free short stack of pancakes that I had intended to use over last weekend, but decided not to use.  First reason was I was going to use it after my run and I didn’t go for a run over the weekend.  Second reason was that I actually didn’t feel like having pancakes.  WIN!  I have turned down a good amount of indulgent foods over the past week and a half and I’m very proud of myself.  Also, my stomach has already shrunk and I get full so much easier and faster now.  WIN again!

I didn’t work much overtime this week (just 1 shift), so I had almost max workout opportunity and I took full advantage of it!  I did some form of activity every day, even if it was to just go for a walk around the parking garage at work to hit my 10K steps for that day.  While I hate not getting much overtime, I do love getting to workout almost every day.  I can’t wait until overtime is a thing of the past for me.  I know all the overtime I work is a big factor in why it’s such a challenge for me to lose weight AND keep it off.  But, as I’ve said many times before, I love a good challenge.  The biggest challenge for me has been getting myself balanced emotionally and lowering my stress levels.  A big help that I’ve recently gotten was my doctor changed my mood stabilizer medication and I have so much more energy and feel happier and just generally feel “normal.”  Or, at least, my idea of what “normal” should feel like.  It does make my insomnia a little worse, but I’m hoping as my body tolerates the medication better, that side effect will go away as insomnia is not listed as a side effect of the medication.  (And, no I will not tell you the name of it because just because it works wonders for me doesn’t mean it will for you…you and your doctor need to determine what will work the best for you if you need that kind of medication.)

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