Wednesday, July 27, 2011

See Jane Run Race Series (Seattle) Review

The See Jane Run series is one like no other.  I had not heard of this series until I went to the Bloomsday expo and they were handing out fliers for the upcoming Seattle event.  At the time I was still waffling over the idea of a half marathon, but I visited their website that same night and signed up for my first half marathon within 24 hours.

What drew me to this event was that it was organized by women for women.  Chocolate and champagne at the finish?  That sounded like so much fun.  I thought it would be a great run for my first half.  A smaller event was more inviting to me than one of the big ones like the Rock and Roll series, although the RnR sounds fun, too.  But just read Jane's manifesto and tell me this doesn't sound like a great event series.

I really loved this event and am so glad that I chose this for my first half marathon.  The organizers really know how to cater to women and have a great time.  If you're considering the SJR series in the future, I would not hesitate to recommend it to you! The high points are worth mentioning for sure:
  • We received a gorgeous tech T-shirt by Born Fit.
  • We received an adorable champagne glass along with champagne at the finish.
  • We received chocolate!
  • The registration price was very reasonable.
  • The race location included free parking.
  • Bag checking was available.
  • Packet pickup was at the race location on the morning of the race, and the expo booths were there as well which was nice for us out-of-towners.
  • The pre-race and post-race activites were great and created such a fun atmosphere.
  • You could refill your water bottles at the water stations.
  • Brightroom was a great choice for the event photographer.
This was the first year of the Seattle event so there were a couple bumps in the road.  Here's what I hope they do differently next year.

  • More bathrooms at the start line and at least 2 at each water station!
  • Have a race official managing the bathroom lines so the half marathoners can go first if their event starts first.
  • Do not run out of race shirts in any size!  This might mean people have to take the size they actually ordered.
  • Do not run out of race medals!  A rain check for a medal would be so disappointing on race day.
  • Larger medals--these things are tiny!
  • It would be nice to have the shirts, glasses, and medals include the date and location of the event.
  • The paths for the out and backs were too narrow for the number of runners in two directions.
This year, SJR only had four event locations on their schedule, but I foresee the popularity of this series growing by leaps and bounds.  More popularity can only mean more events, right?  The next and final event on the schedule this year is in Austin, TX on October 9th.  If you're in the area, you should definitely sign up for Jane! And if you sign up by August 9th, the cost is only $75!

Happy running!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Half marathon last weekend, fat pants today.

Starting weight: 236.8
Last week's weight: 157.0 (actually 2 weeks go)
Current weight: 161.0
Gain/loss: +4.0
Total gain/loss: -75.8
Pounds to goal (136.8): 24.2
Pounds to mini goal (149): 12.0

What's wrong with this picture?  I just completed a half marathon 8 days ago.  I ran an 8K race this past Saturday (recap to come as soon as I have my official finish time), and yet here I sit in my fat pants.

I have managed to re-enter the 160s over the course of the past couple of weeks and it sucks.  Granted, I have not been eating that great.  I have been watching it and I have not indulged in crap, but I have gone over my calories or points, whatever it is that I am counting on a particular day.  I think I gave myself permission because I was "training".  I wanted to train well, and be strong, so I needed to eat, right?  Well, apparently I didn't need to eat that much!

So it has come to this day when all must change.  I have conquered the half marathon and am no longer officially "in training".  It is time to get back to business and refocus on my weight goals.  My ultimate weight goal is still listed as 136.8, but my short term goal is 149.  Today I weigh in at 161.

I am recommitting to Weight Watchers today.  I have been ready to throw in the towel and break up with WW, however, after our long history together, I feel I must make one last ditch effort to become one with the PointsPlus plan.  I must remember that "free fruit" doesn't mean I should consume 5 pounds of cherries in two days.  It doesn't mean I can eat at least 2 bananas each day.  It doesn't even mean that I should eat 2 nectarines for dinner.  I know how to eat and "free fruit" doesn't mean it's a "fruit free for all".  Do you hear that, Lori, it's not a fruit free for all!  One of my very first Weight Watcher's leaders said to me so many years ago, it's not the fruit that brings people to Weight Watchers, it's the fruit pie.  Well, I can say that fruit has been a serious problem for me in the basic calories in < calories out equation lately.  I must cut back.

I also need to come to terms with my workout schedule and either make peace with the fact that I am not going to be a morning exerciser, or get over myself and just get the fudge out of bed in the morning!  Seriously!  Every week it's the same ol' thing.  I mentally prepare for getting to bed early, getting up early, and getting my workout done first thing.  Some days it happens and I feel great, most days it doesn't and I feel like crap.  Even if I get the workout done in the evening, I'm so irritated with myself over the missed morning workout that it overshadows the evening workout.  Isn't that stupid?!  For some reason I have it in my head that I need to workout in the morning to be successful, and I want to workout in the morning so bad.  But I hate getting out of bed!  I am not a morning person, I'm a night person.  Morning workouts cramp my style, yet I can't let go of the idea.  Help me!  Can anyone recommend some blogs of moms who workout at night?  I want to see this plan in action because I can't seem to grasp its worthiness.

One other idea I had was this: run in the mornings, strength train at night.  I do not love strength training.  I do not even like it, yet I know it's necessary.  I have been enjoying Jillian's No More Trouble Zones DVD, well as much as you can enjoy something you don't like, that is, but the thought of getting out of bed and bonding with Jillian before my coffee makes me turn off the alarm and pretend I never heard it.  So maybe I should just starting running every morning.  Running takes little thought.  You get up, put on the gear, leave the house (or get on the treadmill).  Not difficult.  Then a couple nights a week, as time permits, I can have my sweat sesh with Jillian.  How many of you run 5 days a week?  Do you cross train?

Anyway, regardless of when I workout, the most important thing is to stop eating so much.  So here we are on day 1 of the recommitment plan.  So far things are going along well.  (Except that I didn't workout this morning.)

What is your typical workout routine?

Lovely Quote

Roni shared a quote* over the weekend that I loved and just had to share:

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine** in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, “WOO HOO what a ride!”

*I Googled this quote to see who said it, but I couldn't find it.  Found lots of variations of the quote, however.

**My version would say coffee instead of wine.

Friday, July 22, 2011

See Jane Run Half Marathon Race Recap

I left for Seattle on Saturday afternoon.  I was staying the night with my mom who happens to rent a studio apartment in West Seattle which is just 20 minutes from Gas Works Park where the race would take place.  When I got to town it was dinner time so we headed for dinner at The Spaghetti Factory on the waterfront.  I ate my favorite pasta dish: spaghetti with browned butter and myzithra cheese, along with lots of bread and butter.  Yum!!  We took a short walk after dinner and by the time we got back to her apartment it was after 8:30.  We visited for awhile but headed to bed early, around 10:30.  My alarm was set for 5:30.

I fell asleep fairly quickly, but long about 2:30 a.m. I was wide awake.  I could not fall back to sleep.  It was a strange place, a strange bed, and my mom's breathing was strange (not strange for her, but strange for me since I usually sleep with my husband!)  No matter what I tried, I could not sleep!  Finally abot 4:45 I gave up, resigned to the fact that I would be running a half marathon on very little sleep!

I can't say that I was nervous when I got up, but I did feel a bit of trepidation.  Would I be able to do it, would I finish in under three hours, how many times would I have to pee, and so on and so forth!  Luckily I had my race outfit, my pre-race breakfast, and all the details of the day worked out.  I felt at ease with all that would take place knowing that I had done everything I could to get prepared, even if that didn't include long runs!

We were supposed to check-in for the race at 6:30 and we arrived at the park at 6:25!  Woohoo!  There was no line for packet pickup although I was dismayed to hear they were out of size large shirts.  I didn't order a large, but I was thinking of all those women that did and how frustrating that would be!  I already knew the shirts were super cute and purple--it was meant to be, I tell ya!
We walked around the park a little bit.  There was a great view of the Seattle skyline which I had to photograph, but before I did that I had to take a picture of the hideous garbage left behind by some hooligans the night before. 
Seriously, can you believe that?  I was amazed to see that after several runners came over to take pictures of the view, they started cleaning it all up.  There are terrific people in the world.  I'm not one of them, but I'm so glad to see they exist!
Anyway, the view was amazing even though it was completely overcast.  The weather forecast called for rain, but it wasn't happening just yet.  I had my sunglasses just in case.
Gas Works Park has these large steel structures that I guess used to do something with gas.  I don't know.  But I took some pictures.  And then I used the restroom.
By now it was about 7:00 and we wandered over to check out the "expo".  I didn't really need anything, but wants are so strong at these things.  I found a purple See Jane Run sweatshirt that I just had to buy.  It was $55 for a Champion sweatshirt!  Say what?!  Well, I had to have it, of course.

Long about 7:30, I decided to hit the restroom again.  I'm sure it was nerves and my bladder, but I had to go again.  This time the line was so long!  And they did not have enough restrooms, not by a lot shot.  They kept announcing to let the half marathon runners go first because the 5K started a half hour later, but it didn't seem to make a difference.  At 7:40 when the Jane Fonda style warm-up started I was still in the bathroom line.  At 7:50, I was still in the bathroom line.  My mom and I started up a conversation with the girl behind us (here name was Brandy) who was very experienced in running these events and by 7:59 we were still in line.  The race started promptly at 8:00 and we were still in line!  I was asking her if she thought we should head out and hit the first porta-potty, or if we should continue to wait, it was chip timing after all.  After much debate we headed out about 2 minutes after the start.  We didn't use the restroom!  So I was starting my first half marathon having to pee.  Good times.

But we were off and running.  I was running my first half marathon!  Woohoo!  And an amazing thing was happening.  Brandy and I were chatting!  Running and chatting!  I never thought I could run and talk before, but here I was.  And it was glorious!  I felt awesome and the time was passing so quickly.  The first three miles was an out and back which was a little annoying when the lead runners were coming back and the path was still thick with runners.  You couldn't pass people or you'd get run over so you just had to shuffle along.  But we hit 3 miles around 35 minutes which wasn't too bad.

It was right after the three mile mark that we finally stopped to pee.  Oh, thank goodness!  I had been so stressed because I hate running while having to pee! 

At 4 miles, I ate two Gu Chomps (blueberry-pomegranite) and had some water.  Brandy and I were still chatting and I was still feeling great!  My right heel started hurting a little bit around mile 6 which worried me a bit.  I hoped it would not continue to get worse and worse.  Luckily it didn't.

I started this race with a solid plan.  I broke it into three parts.  Miles 1 through 8 were basically Bloomsday so I could run those no problem!  Then I would run and/or walk as needed to mile 10.  And then it was just a 5K to the end--I do 5Ks all the time.  This plan and Brandy helped the first 8 miles fly by!  I felt great!  At one point we kind of got separated and I just turned up my iPod and kept going.  I was really amazed at how good I felt!  I had a couple Gu Chomps and water every two miles and the pace was easy and steady.  When we got to a place where there was a fairly steep, but short hill, I actually loved it.  I didn't realize that my legs did feel a little sore but the change to running up hill felt great and was a nice break

I did walk a little bit between mile 9 and 10.  Brandy and I had gotten separated so I was a bit sad, and I had to pee again.  Eww!  So after the 10 mile mark I stopped into the first porto-potty available.  Let me tell you how not fun it is to try and go to the bathroom in one of those things when your clothes are soaked with sweat.  Everything was sticking to me and it was difficult to maneauver all my clothes and race belt while staying upright.  Oh yeah, and that one was on a hill, did I mention that?  I almost fell over while I was trying to pull my pants up!  That would have been fun!  I kept envisioning the whole thing going over with me. 

It was about 10.5 miles when I started to feel a little fatigued.  I kept telling myself it was just a 5K to finish, and I could run it.  But I actually ended up walking a bit between mile 10 and the finish.  I was okay with it, though, I wanted to keep going.  The last 3 miles was another out and back so eventually I saw Brandy coming back and she cheered for me and gave me a mental boost!  I will admit that at one point I was thinking about how I wouldn't be doing any more half marathons after that one!  But I kept going.  My biggest problem was the thirst.  My water bottles were empty and I had to get to mile 12 or so before there was more water.  I felt like I could drink a gallon.  When I reached that last water station I couldn't force myself to eat any more Chomps and I sucked down a cup of water while they refilled my water bottle.  That was only 6oz, though, and soon it was gone, but I still had a half mile to go.  I just wanted water!  It had started to sprinkle just a bit, but that wasn't the water I needed!

At 13 miles Icould hear the announcer at the finish line and shortly I could see the end.  I picked up the pace and finished strong.
I kept scanning the crowd for my mom, but turns out she was standing on the other side of the finish line!  Once I crossed it I started to head towards her and a race official started coming after me which startled me a bit!  Turns out she just wanted to give me my medal!  Oh, thank you!  Now I need water.  But then I kept walking and someone else was coming after me; this person wanted my race chip.  Sheesh, let me get some water!  I walked a bit further and a photographer was right there telling me he could take my finish line photo.  Yes, please, but I still need water.
Finally, I could head towards the water.  Water!  All I wanted was water.  But they had no water!!!!!!!!  NO WATER!  I was disappointed and trying not to panic.  I knew my mom had water in the car, but that wasn't right there at the finish and I wanted water now.  So what else can a person do but head towards the champagne.  At least it's liquid right?  On my way I met up with Brandy again and she hugged me and congratulated me.  I felt awesome!  Thirsty, but awesome.
And my mom headed to her car to get the water!  It was still raining.  It wasn't pouring, but it was a steady rainfall which chilled me a bit.  I guzzled the water, sipped the champagne, and ate the chocolate.  I also tried to choke down a bagel, but that wasn't happening.  Brandy and I chatted a bit more, I thanked her for her help in passing the miles and then finally we decided to be on our way.  It was around 11:00 by this time.  My legs felt really good; I finally did a little stretching on the way to the car.  When I had made my way to the water table only to find it empty, I also started hearing about how they had run out of 5K medals.  After knowing they'd also run out of large shirts I was worried they would run out of champagne glasses and champagne. Instead of taking the time to stretch a bit, I was more intent on getting my glass and filling it with liquid than stretching my legs.  So a good stretch at the car was definitely in order.  I snapped a picture of myself with my phone to text to all my friends and we left the park.
My mom and I went back to her place where I showered and slept for 2 hours!  At first I felt guilty about napping, but then I remembered I was up at 2:30 and had run 13.1 miles so I deserved a nap.  And it felt great.  I thought I would be sore when I got up, but only my knees felt a tad bit tight.  Later that evening I drove about 50 minutes to see my friend and I though my legs would hurt after being stuck in the car, but they weren't.  She and I even walked a few blocks to dinner, and I felt great!

I even felt great the next day and the next.  No soreness!  I am amazed.  I was sore after Bloomsday for a couple days so I was fully expecting to be sore after this race, but I really wasn't.  This has only added to the greatness of this whole experience.  It makes me realize that I have been training well and running hard.  I may not have run the long runs, but I ran a lot.  And all of that hard work paid off!  My chip time on this race was 2:44:01.  I have posted my splits below and you'll notice the extra time on mile 4 and mile 10--these were the bathroom stops.  At first I was dismayed to see that I basically spent 8 minutes going to the bathroom.  I was thinking without those stops I could have finished in 2:36, just 6 minutes off my goal...or maybe not. I then started realizing that those bathroom breaks were also running breaks and maybe making those stops actually helped me.  Maybe without a rest I would not have been able to finish as strong as I did.  So I'm not lamenting the 8 minutes at all.  In the end, time doesn't really matter.  The fact is I completed a half marathon, and I felt great doing it.  I set a goal and achieved it.  That is a fabulous feeling!  I could not be more proud of myself.

Now, am I still planning to chase down the 2:30 half marathon?  Well, we shall see.  More on this in the coming weeks.  I also plan to share my thoughts about this race series as well as recommend some fabulous running gear. 

Thank you for following my journey and supporting me!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I am a half marathoner!!

I am a half marathoner!!

I promise to post a complete recap very soon!  This experience has been one of the best of my life, and I feel amazing!  I can't wait to share the whole story with you all!  Until then, here is my official photo from the finish line. 

See Jane Run Half Marathon - Seattle
July 17, 2011
Chip Time: 2:44:01

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Weigh In - 07/12/2011

Starting weight: 236.8
Last week's weight: 159.4
Current weight: 157.0
Gain/loss: -2.4
Total gain/loss: -79.8
Pounds to goal (136.8): 20.6
Pounds to mini goal (149): 8

I had a fairly decent week this week.  Aside from my latest frozen yogurt addiction, I stayed pretty much on plan except for a small chip fiasco on Sunday!  I only ran on three days (Wednesday, Friday & Saturday), but I completed the No More Trouble Zones workout DVD twice (Tuesday & Friday).  That makes two weeks (2x/week) of that work out and I have to say it is awesome!  I can already tell a difference in my strength level and how my body feels.  I didn't take measurements or anything, but I know my abs feel tighter!  Gotta love that!  I plan to keep doing it twice a week for awhile.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Finally summer!

I'm coming off another great weekend filled with sun.  My tan is in full swing!  I love summer!

Wearing the white shirt again!
 This week is my "taper week" as I head into my half marathon this weekend.  Tapering would mean less mileage, but since I haven't run the long runs (over 6 miles), this week will feel fairly the same.  And even though I haven't done those long runs, and even though I am still nervous about my half marathon, I am completely excited about it at the same time.  No matter what my finish time is, I'll have a PR!  Finishing=winning.

I leave for Seattle on Saturday and will be staying until Wednesday with my BFF or BFFL, however you want to look at it.  We plan to shop, laugh, and have a great time together no matter what happens with my race on Sunday.  I really wish she was doing the half with me!  And I will say it again, I don't think I will tackle another half marathon unless I have a buddy.  My mom will be dropping me off at the race and she'll be there at the end, but having someone along side me, earning the same medal as me would be so much more special.  A half marathon still feels like a huge accomplishment to me and I'll love having achieved this goal, but I would love having someone there with me, too.  Oh well, I have been a solo runner all these months so running the half solo will be fine.  I am still hoping for the 2:30 finish, but without the proper training on the books, I'm leaving it up to God and my legs and lungs to determine my finish time.  I'm okay with whatever time I get as long as I finish on my own two feet!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What is enough?

It's a variation of this is a question that I keep asking myself. 
  • How much should I run so that I'm running enough? 
  • How many days should I exercise so I'm exercising enough? 
  • How many pounds should I lose until I've lost enough? 
I think the answers must come from within, of course, but how do I arrive at them?  I don't know. 

How do you decide what is enough?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Weigh In - 07/05/2011

Starting weight: 236.8
Last week's weight: 159.4
Current weight: 159.8
Gain/loss: +.4
Total gain/loss: -77.0
Pounds to goal: 23.0

I am okay with this small gain.  I had a really good week last week.  I ran, I made it through Jillian's No More Trouble Zones DVD one and a half times, and I ate pretty much what I wanted over the holiday weekend.  I ate an Oreo ice cream dessert and lots of chips and that was fabulous and tasty!

My awesome holiday weekend included me in a swimsuit!  I have not worn a suit comfortably for years!  Years, I tell you!  This year I indulged and bought a Miraclesuit.  While I don't think it automatically makes me look 10 pounds slimmer, I do feel pretty darn good in the suit so it was worth every penny!  I actually wore it all day yesterday without any cover-up!  I guess it's an NSV of sorts!  I also wore it in the lake when I went tubing with my son!  Me, on the tube!  It was truly fabulous and my son loved that I got out there with him.  I am so glad I changed my life while he's still young!

Here's my Miraclesuit (available at Eddie Bauer or Amazon):

This is the style of the front of the top (mine isn't this print):

This is the back of the top in the print I purchased (paisley):
This is the style of the skirt:

What were your NSVs over the holiday weekend?