Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saying goodbye to 2011

When 2011 started, I set a couple of realistic goals for myself... I wanted to run a 5k, walk a half marathon, and lose another 50 pounds (at the time I had lost around 47).  I started training in early January, nothing hard core but enough to get me ready for a 5k.  I didn't do the couch to 5k program like so many others I know, I just got out there and ran until I couldn't anymore.

I did my first 5k in February and I haven't looked back since!  In 2011 I am proud to say that I not only accomplished all of my new years resolutions, I smashed them out of the park!

All in all I actually did 23 races in 2011, that included:
 - 5k: 13 (2 of these were virtual races) - and actually placed!
 - 10k: 2 (1 of these was a virtual race)
 - half marathons: 3 (ran most of these, and managed to smash my sub 2:00 goal with a time of 1:56:18.78)
 - misc: 5 (warrior dash, 5.3 mile trail, 4.5 mile, 4 mile, 10 mile)

Back in February, I ran my first 5k with a time of 30:06.  Since then I have worked really hard and been able to shave quite a bit off my time.  My PR came in September at the Defender Dash.... 23:43.7.  While I haven't been able to beat that time, I am consistently averaging between 24 and 25:00.

From January to June I tracked my running on the mobile fit program at the Y and while I can see the time I spent running I can't get miles, so I am going to try to estimate the best I can for my yearly miles.  I am going to assume that I ran on average 10 minute miles from January to June which is conservative.
 January to June 5 - 1,471 minutes = 147.1 miles
 June 6 - December 31 - miles = 463.6
Total = 610.7 miles

To put that in perspective.. my parents live 518 miles away... I could have run from here to Alabama!  Crazy!
And, my in-laws live 199 miles away, I could have run there and back and still had 200 miles to spare!

On the weight loss front, I had gotten down to a total of 125 pounds lost at the height of my training in September.  I maintained it for a while, but I sadly have gained some weight back the last month or two, but I am not giving up.  I am standing at about 110 pounds lost now, which makes for a total loss this year of 63 pounds if my math is correct! I would have love to be able to boast the 78 pounds lost, but I WILL get back there!

I am SO proud of everything that I have accomplished this year.  I have made some great friends through my running and blogging and I wouldn't have made it this far without them, so thank you... you guys know who you are.  The one thing I  have to remember is that I am better my weak days, I can be strong and continue to break barriers I never thought possible!

Here's to 2012, it will be a good year and I can't wait to get it started! 

The New Years Virtual 5k

I signed up to do the New Years Virtual 5k over at Daily Vitamin F.  I was going to run it tomorrow so I could say I had a race in January, but I found another race.  I could have "double dipped" but I figured with the weight I have put on I could use the extra miles, so I will do the other one tomorrow.

Not much to say about this run, it wasn't easy by any means... I am sore and looking forward to a few weeks off from running starting January 3rd!   (I need to run til the first because of the RW Streak and I have someone who wants to run with me on the 2nd, and who am I to turn down a run with a buddy - I NEVER get that!)

Here are my splits.... my official time came in at 24:32.

Avg Pace

And a few pictures (you can really see the weight gain in my face):

I hope that everyone has a safe and enjoyable New Year's Eve.  We will be staying in since we don't have anyone to watch the kids, but I will probably enjoy a drink or two five! After today I am going to get back to my healthy living hard core so I figure I might as well go out with a bang!


Friday, December 30, 2011

Year in Pictures!

Sort of ALOT to take in, but here is my "racing year in review" - you can click on the image to open it bigger (if it doesn't open bigger, you can click and zoom).

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Streak Continues!

12/22: 1 mile
12/23: 6.21 miles
12/24: 3.11 miles
12/25: 1.01 miles
12/26: 1.1 miles
12/27: 1.27 miles
12/28: 5.01 miles
12/29: 2 miles
12/30: planning 1 mile 1.27 miles
12/31: planning 3.1 miles  3.1 miles + 1.51 miles
1/1/12: planning 3.1 miles

If all goes according to plan these last few days I will officially end the Runner's World Run Streak with 98.32 miles in 39 days.  That works out to just over 2.52 miles per day on average, which is far less impressive than some of the other participants but it was HUGE for me.   Three more days, I can do it!!

I am planning a "year in review" post (or two) for the next few days and of course a resolution post for after the new year... I know, typical right?  I promise I try to find more interesting things to blog about but really I don't live an interesting life!

My hubby has this week off from work so I have been making the most of having him home, mid day runs, shopping, and other appointments that I have put off forever.  My most exciting day so far was yesterday.  I scored some awesome deals at Barbara's, our local specialty bra store.  I wear a hard to fit size and was able to get 6 bras for $141 which seems like a crazy high amount, but their retail value is over $435!

I did have my last PT appointment today - I am not healed but I won't be going back unless it becomes absolutely necessary because as of 2012, I have to  pay 100% of the cost instead of 10%.  That 90% makes you think twice about whether its absolutely necessary.

I have an eye exam tomorrow, the first time in over 7 years.  I am terrified they will find my vision is really bad - so good thoughts would be appreciated.  I am sure its an irrational fear because I am not having too many problems,  but I am hoping to get contacts and have this crazy fear that my eyes will be so bad I won't be able to wear contacts.

Monday, December 26, 2011

One happy girl!

I really only asked for one thing for Christmas, and I am super happy that Hubby and his parents went together and got it for me... its awesome, the picture doesn't do it justice.  It says "Running  for my life" with stars on both sides.

And, just a fun family photo from Christmas....

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Christmas (Virtual) 5k

I had plans to run the Christmas virtual 5k put on Daily Vitamin F tomorrow but when I woke up this morning I was feeling terrible about saying something stupid to one of my best friends.  I upset them and I was upset because of it.  Instead of turning to food I decided to turn to my newest vice... running!  And, if I was going to run more than a mile I might as well get the 5k out of the way right?

Not going to lie, I had a bit too much to drink last night so I didn't intend for my run to go well today.  I was actually impressed with how well I was able to do given the circumstances!

I put on my trusty "Christmas race outfit" and took a few photos with my bib before I headed out.

It was a beautiful day for a run - cool but not cold and very sunny.  I have been pretty disappointed that we are not going to have a white Christmas, but to be honest the weather is PERFECT for a run.  I am looking forward to being able to run in the snow, but for today I will be thankful for unseasonable weather.

As per usual I just chose a route through my neighborhood.  I would love to find a new trail to run, but I wasn't feeling adventurous today.  I have been very sore lately from all the running I have been doing but I was determined to run as effectively as I could today.  I ended up finishing up 3.11 miles in 24:42.  About a minute slower than my 5k PR, but I was okay with that!

The best part of my race - I had negative splits!  I have been struggling with that as of late, so it was awesome to see those again!


Last but not least,


Friday, December 23, 2011

Virtual 10k and other Ramblings

Warning:  this post jumps around ALOT, sorry!  

After signing up for a 5k for both Christmas and New Years I was feeling pretty good about myself and my motivation to stay healthy despite all the holiday goodies coming my way.  Then I went out to dinner last night... while at dinner I realized just how far I have fallen back in the last few weeks as far as my eating and my running.  Yes, I have run every day, but one mile just doesn't cut it.  That's not even 10 minutes of exercise.

Laziness and poor eating choices are what got me to where I was before... 307 pounds.  I don't want to go back there.  I don't even want to see 207 ever again.  I am enjoying life in "one-derland" as many like to call it.  I got down to 180 not long after my half in September.  This morning,  I weighed in at 189.  That's 9 pounds I have let myself gain back.  Granted, I am 5'11 so most people may not notice the gain, I do.  I don't feel comfortable with those extra 9 pounds.  And that puts me 14 pounds from my goal weight.  

I guess if it was easy to lose weight, everyone would be skinny.  I know its a challenge to stay on track for a healthy lifestyle, so in order to stay motivated to move even more I signed up for a virtual 10k last night after dinner with my fantastic friend.  

Talking with my friend made me realize that the only thing that is standing in my way of happiness is myself.  I have to push myself harder and accomplish things that make me happy.  Whether it be in running, or family, or whatever.... only I have the power to make it better.  I have to be willing to take chances in order to acheive the happiness I am struggling to find.  Granted, knowing that and achieving happiness are not the same thing, but I am going to work hard towards being happier. I have to do it, if not for me... for my kiddos - they deserve a better mommy who isn't always depressed.  

Anyways, back to the "virtual race" I ran this morning... the first annual Home for the Holidays 10k. They are offering raffle type prizes for the race instead of traditional age group awards which is fantastic because otherwise I wouldn't have a chance!  They are giving a bonus prize to the most spirited outfit, so I had to whip out my outfit from my last race.  I decided to pass on the Santa hat, but other than that the outfit was the same as the Gift 5k.  I had to take a picture to show them my outfit, so although I don't typically have anything to show for my virtual races, here is a picture of me all sweaty after my 6.2 miles this morning. 

As far as the run is concerned, it didn't go too badly.  Especially given the fact that it was spur of the moment. I am not one of those runners who can pick up and do a run longer than 3-4 miles with little planning.  It generally requires adjusting my diet and such.  That said, yesterday I had fudge, chocolate covered potato chips, and peppermint divinity (not a large amount of any of them) as well as a steak and I had a drink at dinner.  And the night before, I had two drinks.  I haven't been drinking water like I should be - I knew I was going into the run semi-dehydrated but I figured with the cooler weather I would be okay.  

The first two miles were hard, I just couldn't get my mind into the run, but luckily I was able to start loosening up and just let my feet do what they needed to do. I ran this 10k a minute slower than my 10k run last week which was disappointing, but looking at my splits I am pleased with how those look.  I was pretty much able to negative split the whole thing.  I think the biggest challenge for my time was that I ran the 10k today in my neighborhood which means LOTS of cul-de-sacs, curves, and turns.  Each of those slows me down some, so I do think that's where the time difference comes from.  

My splits: 
Avg Pace

Last but not least, I went to Dick's to use up a $10 cash card I got in the mail with their Christmas card.  Needless to say, I left spending a whole lot more than $10.  I don't have many winter running clothes because last winter I wasn't a serious runner.  I was mainly in search of some running pants and maybe one shirt.  Well, when I got into the store I saw that they had their Reebok cold compression gear 50% off.  Given that its current season I figured I wouldn't find much better of a deal.  So, I snagged a pair of pants as well as 3 different running shirts.  I am excited to have some choices for winter weather running.  I am praying the pants work well, I tend to have problems with them sliding off when I run - will report back on that later!  

And, in case I don't post again before Christmas, I would like to wish my readers a Merry Christmas!  Enjoy your time with your family and remember its okay to indulge once in a while, just don't totally through healthy living out the window.  Eat those cookies, but remember to go for a run or walk afterwards! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Races

I was really hoping to find some local 5ks to run during the holidays, but needless to say I haven't found much.  There is one on New Years, but its over an hour away and I just can't justify that for a 5k!  So, instead I will be participating in two virtual 5k races!

Check them out on my sidebar, they are organized by Kiley over at Daily Vitamin F.  I love the flexibility she offers (you can do them either the Christmas day or Christmas and New Years Eve or New Years Day).  It makes it easier to work them into the schedule.

I decided to sip on a Seagram's tonight, my first alcohol since June and BOY am I feeling it!  So, I am going to head to bed before I make a fool of myself on my blog! :)  Happy Hump Day everyone, hurry up Christmas!


Today is day 28 of the Runner's World Run Streak and I have planned a quick one mile jog.  I will get it in sometime today, just not sure when.  Yesterday I went to the Y and did a quick 2 miles outside followed by 40 minutes or so of weight training.  I would love to hit the Y again but my kiddos are both showing signs of being sick and I want to keep them as healthy as possible with Christmas coming up.  The last time I posted my mileage was 12/12, so here are my miles since then as well as my "grand total" thus far.

12/13: 1.01 miles
12/14: 3.1 miles
12/15: 1.01 miles
12/16: 1.01 miles
12/17: 1.25 miles
12/18: 6.21 miles
12/19: 1 mile
12/20: 2.01 miles
12/21: planning 1 mile 1.65 miles

69.39 miles  (seeing that now I may run a bit more than a mile today to get to a flat 70 miles)  70.4 miles

I am proud of how far I have come with this challenge.  My mileage is NOTHING compared to most people but I am trying to run conservative per the recommendations of my therapist.  I honestly am excited for the streak to be over though so I can go back to a more normal (for me) training routine.  I am planning on taking two weeks off running when I complete the streak.  I am hoping to get back in the pool during that time, but we will see how that goes.

Christmas is right around the corner and I am excited to get it over with so I can reclaim my closet (right now it is filled with gifts for the kids).  I don't mean to sound like I am not excited about Christmas, I am looking forward to celebrating with my kids.  But, if I am truthful, my heart isn't totally in it this year.  I wish I could figure out exactly whats got me down so I could start feeling better but no such luck.

I am so thankful for my kiddos right now.  They are the reason I wake up each morning even when all I would like to do is lay in bed and mope.  Without them I would be floundering even more.  We should be getting a box from Alabama sometime this week - and I know the kids will be really excited about that.  I will be excited too because my mom sent me some of her Christmas goodies!  I grew up eating fudge and peppermint divinity every year (its what we did as gifts for teachers, etc) but I have yet to be brave enough to try making it myself.  So, thank you Mom for making my Christmas and sending some my way - and an even bigger thanks for sending a small quantity so I hopefully won't gain 20 pounds eating it!  :)

I wish I had something more exciting to blog about, but right now it is just merely a challenge to get through each day.  Hoping for some sunshine soon....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Race Recaps and Baking Fun

Because I am super behind and lacking motivation to do super huge full race recaps I am going to do these in bullet form with just a few pictures.

Galloping Gobbler (4 miles)  -  11/24/11
official time: 33:30
overall: 615 / 3075
age bracket: 21 / 257
gender: 144 / 1690



 - this was my one year "runiversary" as I like to call it.  Last Thanksgiving I spent my morning doing a turkey trot at the Y, most of it was walking.  I tried to jog some so that I wasn't the last one to finish but I couldn't run for more than 30 seconds without getting winded.  Oh what a difference a year makes!
 - super cold weather, late start due to registrations
 - still recovering from the flu so I wasn't feeling up to par
 - some pretty good consistent up and down hills through the cemetery but pretty run (and this is coming from someone who doesn't do well with cemeteries)
 - people dressed up as turkeys, pilgrims, etc
 - they had self seeded pace markers which I was really excited about
 - but, not sure they worked.... I started out exactly where I should have pace wise in the 8-8:30 group, but spent most of the first 10-15 minutes passing people
 - mile 1 was slow due to crowds
 - miles 2 and 3 worked out pretty well for me, negative splits
 - struggled by the last mile, my legs were aching from all the ups and downs of the hills
 - overall, I would definitely recommend this race because it was well organized and a fun start to Thanksgiving
 - don't have many pictures from the race since hubby wasn't able to be with me because he was home sick with the flu
 - the only downside... I wasn't a huge fan of the shirts!

pre-race photo

only race photo I have, purchased from race photog
pretty scenery on St Francis Campus

Me after the race

the crowd behind me

the crowd in front of me

The Gift 5k  -  12/10/11
official time: 24:02
overall: 19 / 41
age bracket: 1 / 1
gender: 3 / 14

splits:  (inaccurate, my garmin wouldn't start until more than .25 mile into the race)


 - this race was SMALL, like, smallest I have done in a while
 - I dressed up for this race and was the only one, I kind of felt like a fool!
 - no chip timing and I didn't start at the front of the group, whoops.. was too busy screwing with my gps
 - so, so, SO cold.  I think the temps were around 10 degrees!
 - the course wasn't the most interesting but it was pretty none the less
 - they gave away nice little gifts to 1-3 in each age group which meant that most people ended up getting something since it was a small race, I thought this was a nice touch.
 - I struggled from the beginning of this race, it was hard to breathe in the cold, it was painful on my lungs
 - no water stop which was fine, but at the same time I am so used to them that it felt weird to not have one
 - ended up having to walk a bit towards the end, which you can definitely see in the splits
 - overall I was pleased with my time, 2nd fastest 5k to date - about 20 seconds off my PR
 - I was 1st overall female up until after mile 2, it was hard to watch those girls pass me but I just didn't have it in me to push harder, I knew they were high school age so I knew that I still had my age group and for whatever reason that was enough for me that day.
coming in to the finish

finishing "strong"

And, last but not least I needed to do some baking as gifts for my daughter's preschool teachers.  We ended up making chocolate "haystacks" and reindeer cookies for each of her teachers, in addition to giving each of them an ornament hand picked out by Natalie. 

cookies and ornaments all packed up

Reader Poll:  What are your best ideas for teacher gifts for Christmas (and end of year)?  
Last Question:  What is your favorite holiday tradition?