Monday, September 26, 2011

6 days and counting...

So, we have been busy around these parts.  Last weekend on Saturday I set out for the longest run I would go on prior to the TC 10 Mile race coming up.  Melissa, Tracy, Nicole and I headed to St. Paul to run the last 5 miles of the 10 Mile Course - we started at the "Finish" and ran the 5 miles down Summit Ave - got to the bottom of the hill (where there was a portapotty - thank you City of St Paul for that placement!) and turned around and made our way back up the hill and back to where the finish line will be at the Capitol.  It was very reassuring to all of us that we were able to run 10 miles and having ran what has been described as the most difficult part of the course - that Summit has an incline that can creep up on you - was a victory for all of us!  We had a great time - lots of chatting was done, checking out the cool houses on Summit, running past the College Club where Rob and I were married - and we still got the 10 miles done in 1:47.  Not too shabby!

Now we have less than a week before race day and I am working on remembering how good it felt to come down John Ireland Blvd and kick the legs in a little bit and finish strong.  I have been having some "hip" pain the last few weeks.  I am seeing a massage therapist who has been working my legs out really well and they feel good but not 100%.  My left hamstrings are really tight and they flare up pretty quickly.  Melissa and I got out on Saturday morning for a quick jaunt around Lake Calhoun - it felt good to get out there - I had only ran on the treadmill since our 10 mile run the weekend before.  My leg was definitely sore after but nothing like it was a week ago.  I am seeing my therapist again this Friday for a tune up before race day on Sunday.  I have decided to forgo running for the remainder of the week - even short ones.  There is nothing that I can do in the next five days on the running path that will help the outcome of the race on Sunday - in fact, I think taking the five days off from running will probably do more good at this point.  I have not taken this much time off from running so it will be weird, but I really feel good about the decision. 

I am really excited for the upcoming TC 10 Mile - this is the largest race I have been involved in and can't wait to see how it all unfolds.  We will be hitting up the Health and Fitness Expo on Saturday at the St Paul RiverCentre.  Hal Higdon is going to be there as a featured speaker and I really hope we get a chance to hear him - I have read a lot of his articles and have incorporated some of his tips into my training program so it would be cool to see him in person.  My friend Jen is also speaking at the Expo on Saturday so it will be a full day!

I am kind of a dork because I really think it's cool that my friends and I are part of the TC Marathon weekend.  This is a big deal for the TC running community and to be able to take it all in is a big honor.  I think I have really found a great community here in the Cities for running and I look forward to meeting many more runners and continuing to learn from those that have been out there doing this for years! 

If you are wanting to keep track of me or anyone else you know that is running the 10 Mile or Marathon on Sunday go to this website and you can set your phone up to get text updates - pretty cool!!!  I am in Corral 3 and my estimated start time is 7:15AM.

This week my main focus is to stay positive, try not to cry when I think about running 10 miles in 6 short days, and to have a great time!  Because a year ago I would have never dreamed I would be running a 10 mile race and actually feel physically prepared for it.  I have learned that just about anything is possible if you want it bad enough.  On Sunday, I am going to show how bad I want it and I am going to have a great time doing it! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Run Down!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!  I am so blessed with so many wonderful people in my life.  I appreciate every single person that clicked on my last post and took a read.  Thank you to all that left a comment - it means more to me than you know to hear from you and receive your encouraging words - it really reminds how great this community is and how fortunate I am to have all of you. 

I have again been thinking about the blog and how often I update (or how I don't update often enough!).  For awhile there I felt like I could only post if I had something profound to say or if I was celebrating a milestone.  But then I realized, my favorite blogs to read are the ones that update on a pretty regular basis - and they talk about normal things - their day to day activities, their workouts, their families, etc.  I am going to give that method a try for a little while.  I think it will be good for me to post on a more regular basis and also be able to keep posts more varied, etc.  So, here we go! 

A few weeks ago I started a weight lifting program called The New Rules of Lifting for Women.  My friend Jen challenged her readers to the program and I had been thinking about introducing weights to my regime so it was perfect timing. I ordered the book from Amazon and the following week we got started.  I signed up for a 30 day trial at a gym just down the street from my house that Jen also happened to work out at, which was very convenient for both of us!  We don't actually do the workouts all together but having someone to meet at the gym early in the morning has been a great thing for me over the last several weeks.  I am loving getting back in the gym - I lifted weights a lot in high school and college and just never got back to it.  It feels great to feel strong and to see some changes happening in my arms, legs - even those pesky abs.  I plan to do a more detailed post soon about the program and how it works. 

On Tuesday night I flew to Phoenix for a quick work trip.  I don't really do a lot of traveling for work - it's very sporatic.  I am working on getting a new position at work so when the offer was made to go visit this potential client I took it, especially since it was a quick turn around.  Our schedules are kind of abnormal around our house so for one of us to be out of town for any longer than a day requires a lot of re-working of schedules and calling on grandparents for help.  My mom was able to come and be with the girls on Tuesday night while Rob was working and Rob's parents always have the girls during the day on Wednesday so for the kids it wasn't too much disruption, which is key.  I love that our schedules allow for one of us to be home with our girls the majority of the time - but there are certain occasions when it can be difficult to manage.  But, we have an amazing support system around us and we are so fortunate! 

Since I started running in January I have been pretty lucky with not having any injuries.  I get sore, tired, have a couple of black toenails and wake up stiff everyonce in awhile but other than that nothing really to report.  Lately, I have been having some upper leg pain on my left side - originally I thought it was a tight IT band but the last couple of days it has moved in to my glute so I did some more research yesterday.  I am now thinking that I am having piriformis pain.  Yesterday I ventured to TC Running Company, located in EP - if you need running gear - I highly recommend checking them out.  They have a great selection of running gear for men and women and the staff is incredibly helpful - they have a passion for running and for runners - no matter your ability.  So, the owner of the store was working yesterday and I asked him for some help deciding which foam roller to purchase, he was very helpful and I left with a new foam roller ready to take on my piriformis!  I am also going to have a deep tissue massage this afternoon to try and work some tight muscles out as well.  If you have not had a deep tissue or sports massage before - JUST DO IT!  Your body will thank you! 

There are 16 days until the Medtronic TC 10 Mile race on October 2nd.  I am very excited to be able to be part of the TC Marathon weekend - we are going to go to the Marathon Expo and I can't wait!  Tomorrow; me, Melissa and Tracy are going to run the 10 mile course from Mpls to St Paul.  It will likely be my last attempt at a long run prior to race day.  I will continue to run up until a couple of days before the race but probably nothing more than 6 miles after tomorrow.  I am condident that the 10 mile is a race I will be able to finish - at this point it will just come down to how long it takes me.  I am not putting a time goal on myself - in my head I know how long I would like for it to take me - but I don't want to put too much pressure on myself - I just really want to have a great time and soak the whole experience in.  This will be by far the largest race I have competed in and I just can't wait! 

Time for the weekend to begin!  Have a great one everybody - be happy and healthy!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I found out I was fat...

Before I get to my post I just want to point out that today is the 10th anniversary of the Sept 11th attacks.  I can still vividly recall exactly where I was when I found out about the planes hitting the towers, how the day seemed to drag on in a cloud as we watched the news coverage on the computer and tv at work and that it seemed like we were watching a movie instead of the reality that it obviously was.  Five years ago I started working at my current job and the first Sept 11th I worked there it made it even more real to me how many lives this tragedy affected as I listened to a memorial for my parent company that was headquartered in the towers that tragic day.  As I heard the names of all of the people my company had lost that day - the moms, dads, sons, daughters, cousins, friends - they were all being missed and honored.  I do not know anyone personally that was lost that day but I still can't watch the media coverage even ten years later without crying.  The other day I was watching a story about the children of 9/11 - again, can barely keep it together.  I pray that our children will never have to know first hand a tragedy like this - that they will simply learn about it from us, their teachers and studies as the years go by.  I want to thank every man and woman that lost their life that day, every first responder and person that helped to rescue people from the rubble, and all of the families that continue to remember every day that their loved one is gone.  I pray that our troops can come home soon and thank them all for keeping our country safe yesterday, today and always!

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the day that I found out I was fat.  That may seem funny, and it kind of is, but I am being completely serious.  A few months ago a dear friend of mine from college asked me if there was a moment when I knew that things needed to change - an A-HA moment, if you will.  I immediately knew the answer but just haven't had the best way to describe it.  Until now.  Yesterday my family, friends and I participated in our fourth annual Breath of Hope Twin Cities Lung 5K Walk.  We started doing this walk in honor of my best friend Tracy's mom who had passed away the year before.  She was a great lady, she was like a second mom to me during junior high and high school.  Last year we did this walk only two weeks after Tracy had delivered her third child, due to him being delivered considerably early, Tracy and her family were not able to join us.  So, we walked in honor of Tracy's mom and all those that have lost their battle or are still struggling with lung cancer - and had Tracy and baby in our hearts as we walked. 

We took a group photo after the walk so Tracy could see the group that walked for her mom that day.  I distinctly recall loading the photos to my computer and putting them up on Facebook the next day.  I also recall the disbelief when looking at the pictures of myself standing there next to one of my best friends and our children.  I was thinking - who the heck is that girl?  When did she get so fat?  Why hadn't anyone told me how out of hand my weight had gotten?  Why hadn't I seen the blob that I had become until that moment? 

Here is the picture from that day - that's my best friend Melissa standing there next to me. 

Melissa and I - 9/2010
 So, here is where it gets interesting.  I went to work that following Monday and told Melissa that I needed to do something about the fatness.  I didn't know until that day that she was not exactly feeling awesome about her size either - she had just had a baby in February so I understood that feeling.  Ironically, the next day I received a flyer in the mail from Weight Watchers advertising a free month if you paid for one month.  I brought the flyer to work that Wed and we decided that we would get signed up the following week.  So, on Sept 23rd we walked in to the WW meeting location down the street from our office and signed up - together.  We made the pact that we would do this together, we would support each other and we would lose this weight side by side.  We would not quit - it was not an option.  So, when someone asks me about my aha moment or what made me decide that it was time - this picture above is what comes to mind.  I had become an image that I just didn't recognize anymore.  I remember being unhappy that I wore a size 16/18 pant and that a 2XL shirt was the only thing that was really comfortable on, but it was seeing that chubby face looking back at me that really did it.  And those girls sitting in the strollers - they deserved better, my husband deserved better, I DESERVED BETTER. 

There is no secret potion, there is no secret food, and no miracle drug that will aid in gaining a healthy life.  It is a conscious decision every single day to make better choices - about food, about exercise, about EVERYTHING.  When I wake up at 5:15AM to go run or go to the gym - I am making the best decision for me that day to live a healthier life.  When I select a salad instead of a cheeseburger and fries - I am making the best decision for me that day to live a healthier life.  I am not perfect, this past year has not been without it's difficulties and struggles but it has also been filled with success and new personal challenges.  As of today - almost two weeks away from the day I walked in to WW for the first/last time I have lost 72 pounds.  72 POUNDS.  I yell that because I still can't believe it.  I get comments from people that they can't believe I had 72 pounds to lose - trust me people - I did!  I have had people tell me I carried my weight well and that they didn't really consider me fat - yeah, me either - until that day that I realized I actually was! 

Yesterday I had Melissa take a picture of me with my race shirt on from last year and then one with the new shirt on for this year's race (excuse the hair - we had just ran 7 miles!) -

Me in my 2XL shirt from last year

Me in my MEDIUM shirt for this year

What a difference a year makes - huh!  It still blows my mind that I can walk up to the table at a race and confidently grab a medium t-shirt!  It's a feeling that I never thought I would get to experience.

More importantly than the letter on the inside collar of my shirt is how I feel about life in general.  I am so much more confident, so much happier and have such a different outlook on things while in this new healthy lifestyle and new healthy body.  I finally feel like I can be a good example to my little girls - that they will know what a strong, healthy woman is and they won't have to look at a People magazine for their example!  

Yesterday I woke up at 5:45 to go running with my two best friends at the lakes in Minneapolis, after that we walked another 3.1 with our families and this morning I woke up at 6:15 to go work at the water stop for the City of Lakes 25K with the folks from the Running Room.  One year ago I would have laughed in your face if you had told me that my weekend would have consisted of mostly running related activities!  But now, I can't imagine my lifestyle without running, eating healthy, and being active.  Being a part of the Twins Cities running community is pretty awesome and I can't wait to participate in more events.  Running a race is pretty great, but helping someone else succeed and finish out their race was a pretty amazing feeling as well! 

I am long winded today - I guess that's what happens when I don't post for almost two weeks.  I will leave you with two more pictures from our walk yesterday - two of my best friends by my side, just as they have been for the last year as I have made this lifestyle switch.  Melissa and Tracy have also been successful in their own right with weight loss and their running prowess.  I am so blessed to have so many wonderful and supportive people in my life.  A big thank you to all of you that have been here for me - always!  Fat or not fat - you all have loved me and that means the world to me! 

Melissa and I - 9/10/2011

Tracy, me and Melissa - 9/10/2011