Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Not much goin' on

Hmmmm, nothing really happened here today. I've just been preparing mentally for my Saturday race. Oh, I watched the finale of Shear Genius on Bravo tonight. I love that show!! And next week, Top Chef is back!! Woo hoo!!! Geez, can you tell I am a reality TV nut?? ;-)

Today's stats:

Time: 30 minutes
Distance: 7.58 miles
Pace: 3.57 minute/miles

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A 5K ... and then some

Today was supposed to be a short run (like two miles), but the weather was so nice that I couldn't help myself and ran a little more than a 5K. I loaded the kids in the stroller and ran to the store. I am always looking for different places to run because I tend to get bored easily. Today's run took us on some of the busier thoroughfares in Fortuna, but that was OK. I felt pretty good pushing that stroller this time around.

So I have another race on Saturday. It's only a two-miler, but I am excited because it is an all-women's race. I am planning one more short run before Saturday and that's it. And my game plan for this race is a little different than for the longer races. Since it is so short (and the course is flat), I am just going to run as hard and as fast as I can. My goal time is 22 minutes. Truth be told, I'll be happy with anything under 22:30, but an even 22 is what I am striving for. I know I usually run faster in races anyway because I allow other runners to sort of pull me along, you know? So I think 22 minutes (11 minute miles) is possible.

Today's stats:

Distance: 3.11 miles
Time: 35:44
Pace: 11:29 minute.mile

Sunday, May 27, 2007


I need to get something off my chest. It's something that has been bugging me for way too long.

It has to do with the scale. And weight.

Why is it that something so simple as a number can cause so much grief? Why do we (myself included) beat ourselves up from the inside out if that number is not what experts consider to be "ideal"?

I don't know the answer, but I know that I have always been scared to admit just how much I weigh. No matter what that dreaded number was, large or small(er). It is so stupid, really. But thinking back now on where that number was little more than a year ago, I will now own up to where I've been in hopes I will never go back.

April 11, 2006 was the day my son Matthew was born. The week before I went to the hospital for my pre-op appointment (he was a scheduled c-section) and the nurse had me step on the scale. I told her I didn't want to know the number (the story of my life, really), but I happened to see it anyway. It was in big red digital numbers, like a neon arrow pointing to my fat. More than 220 pounds. *GASP!!!* How did that happen? I had been so sick the first trimester, and was even hospitalized because of severe vomiting and dehydration. I had lost about 10 pounds the first few months. But at the time I wasn't worried, since I was about ready to drop a calf and all.

This is what I looked like the morning of his delivery. I was very, very large under that hospital gown.

Here's another doozy, taken two days (I think??) after delivery.

And a couple "in progress" shots.

Me in February:

And, once again, my glorious (LOL) running pic from earlier this month. I need to get my computer set up to load more pics, and that is the reason I keep posting the same one. But it gives you the idea of where I am now.

Back to the story now. Cut to my first post-op visit at the OB. The dreaded scale came into play again. Two hundred six pounds. Wait, I thought I was supposed to be dropping weight like crazy now, since the kid was out and I was breastfeeding. Yeah, not so much. But I figured I wouldn't worry about it and counted on the breastfeeding to help me lose weight.

I guess I am not the kind of gal who can drop weight just by lactating. Come November, the scale still read 204 pounds. That was it; I was done. Well, that along with my reading about buddy Lisa losing weight by running was all I needed to get my behind in gear again.

And now I am so glad that I did. It was scary at first, since I tend to put enormous pressure on myself to be "perfect," and falling short scares me. But the other night that scale read 183.5 pounds, and I started looking at myself in a different way. Only 20 pounds above my rowing days, when I was in kick-ass shape. My weight is still not "ideal" according to the charts, but it's much closer and definitely within reach. I am feeling like a winner.

Today's stats:

Time: 35:05
Distance: 10.01 miles
Pace: 3:30 minute/mile

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Six months

It has been six months since I started running.

I can't remember the exact day (bad Michelle!), but I know I started running not quite two weeks after I had my gall bladder removed, and that surgery was on Nov. 15.
And I know I started running before Dec. 1. So I figure I can celebrate it today, even though the actual six month date might be tomorrow or the 28th. Or possibly the 29th, for that matter.

I still can't believe how far I've come since I took those first slow, plodding steps. When I started, I was so out of shape that I couldn't run (make that slow jog,really) 90 seconds without getting winded. And I had to go running at night, when it was cold and dark, those first few weeks before I got the double jogging stroller. And back then, I couldn't have fathomed running sub-12-minute miles. I was happy to get my pace under 13 minute miles. Plus, I was carrying quite a bit more weight on me at the time. That is one thing I definitely do not miss!!

I'm hoping to keep improving on my speed, endurace and race pace during the next six months. And I'd like to lose another 20 pounds, which would put me back down to my race weight when I was on the rowing team. I think I would be happy with that, but if I lost five or 10 more pounds on top of that, I wouldn't complain. *wink*

Today's stats:

Time: 20 minutes
Distance: 5.13 miles

Distance: three miles
Time: 34:54
Pace: 11:38 minute/mile

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Yet another PR!

Tim and I took the kids to the park after he came home from work. It was really nice out, and a lot of people were taking advantage of it. Kara and Matty played on the swings, then Kara went down the slide a few times. After that, we headed to the adjacent grassy lawn to throw a football around for a few minutes. We had a great time. But the fun ended when I kicked the football and it landed right next to Matty. It bounced into his shoe and he started bawling. Real tears. :-(

I decided to run home from the park. I was wearing a sweatshirt but within about a half mile I had to take it off and tie it around my waist. The cool breeze sure felt good, though! I ran down the main thoroughfare until I got to a subdivision and ran through there instead. By the time I reached my destination, I had only run 2.10 miles. I kept running because I wanted to get three miles in. I yet again broke my PR for three miles and also ran my fastest mile yet! Of course it was the first mile, LOL! But I'll take it.

Today's stats:
Distance: three miles
Time: 34:10 (previous best was 34:23 set on March 20)
Pace: 11:23 minute/mile

Mile 1: 10:55 (two seconds faster than previous fastest mile, also set on March 20)
Mile 2: 11:32
Mile 3: 11:41

I should be going to bed now....

...but instead I am sitting here, typing out my workout that I finished literally 20 minutes ago.

Yep, I got a really late start tonight on the workout. It was just an indoor bike ride, but I did want to get it done earlier. But kids, dinner and a couple other things got in the way, meaning I had to wait. At least I got it done, though.

I need to go shower now because I am sweaty and smelly!!!

Today's stats:

Time: 30 minutes
Distance: 7.70 miles

Sunday, May 20, 2007

My fastest five miles to date

I had to get my butt going earlier than usual today for my run. We're going to a birthday party for the four-year daughter of a friend this afternoon, so I knew if I wanted to exercise it would have to get done in the morning.

I planned to get up at 8 a.m. and leave, but Matty woke up then so I had to change and feed him and make sure he was back asleep before I went. Tim and Kara were still asleep, and I didn't want to leave if Matty wasn't asleep, too. He finally settled back down and I was able to head out around 9.

Even though I am not a morning person normally, I must admit that today was a nice day to run early. It was overcast and a bit cool, but not cold. And there was a hint of rain in the air. I love that smell. A lot of other people were also out, running, walking, cycling and milling around at yard sales.

The run was nice and relatively easy. I didn't put pressure on myself to run fast or make a good time. It's funny how that works, because even though I was going at what felt like a comfortable pace, I still ended up breaking a PR for five miles. LOL! It is so nice to know that distance is now getting easier. When I was done, I know I could have kept running for at least another mile or two, but I knew time was limited because of the party.

Now that I can finally run five miles in less than an hour, I know that a 55-minute five-miler is within reach. That is so exciting to me! And when I get there, I will aim for 50-minute five-milers. It's awesome to see what the body can do if you just give it the chance.

OK, I'm off. We have to leave soon to get a birthday present for this girl. I have no idea what she likes though, so it's going to be a challenge.

Today's stats:
Distance: five miles
Time: 58:34 (previous five-mile PR was 59:05 set during my 10K two weeks ago)
Pace: 11:42 minute/mile

Friday, May 18, 2007

The evolution of my running pics

I swore to myself I would never share my first race pic, taken during the Trinidad to Clam Beach three-miler I did in January. The first time I laid eyes on that pic, I was shocked and disappointed. I mean, I didn't realize just how big I looked and how that would translate in a photo. It made me want to gag. I picked apart that photo over and over again in my mind and was really harsh on myself. Really.

But I have officially now lost 20 pounds since November and no longer look as big as I did just a few months ago. So I guess some of the shame is gone and I can now share that first pic. :-)

Here it is, the Trindad to Clam Beach race pic:

And since I'm in a sharing mood, here is my Foggy Bottom Milk Run pic from March:

Of course, I like to compare these two photos to my most recent one, the Avenue of The Giants 10K pic. I can tell a difference in the way I look, and that keeps me motivated.

In case you're wondering, I did wear the same running pants at the Foggy Bottom run and Avenue of the Giants. But in March they were tight, while now they're getting so loose that they are starting to fall down when I run in them.

Thanks for looking. I know I am my own worst critic and probably will be until the day I die.

Just popping on to add my stats for the day. :-)

Bike ride:
Time: 20 minutes
Distance: 5.15 miles
Pace: 3>53 minute/mile

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Once again, the jogging stroller comes out

Tim had to work late tonight, so I ended up doing my run with the kids packed in the jogging stroller. I decided, since he told me he would be having pizza for dinner at work, to run to Ray's Food Place and get a sandwich for myself and Kara at the deli. I haven't run there before until today, but it ended up being a good route.

On the way there I ran down Rohnerville Road, which is more or less a straight shot. On the way back, I opted to run through Strong Creek Estates, one of the local subdivisions. The streets wind around a lot, so it added a bit of mileage, which was nice. And it was quieter than the main thoroughfare. I am quite proud of my pace tonight, especially since I was pushing the stroller again, something I am no longer used to.

Oh, and my hope was that the kids would fall asleep, but no such luck. In fact, Kara, the little stinker she is, ended up throwing her drink cup from the stroller while I wasn't paying attention (she owned up to it already). So now that's lost forever.

Today's stats:
Distance: four miles
Time: 46:11
Pace: 11:33 minute/mile

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Just logging today's stats

Hope everyone had a great day! Nothing much to report here, so I'll just leave you with my daily stats. :-)

Today's stats:

Bike ride:
Time: 30 minutes
Distance: 8.05 miles
Pace: 3.43 minute/mile

Monday, May 14, 2007

Looks like the half marathon will have to wait

I am a bit bummed to write this, but the half marathon I planned to run in October will have to wait.

Tim and I are going on vacation that week, and are leaving town the day before the race. We will be visiting my parents and then flying to Austin, TX for a few days to visit Becky and her husband, John.

I am just glad now that I hadn't officially signed up or paid for that race yet. I am looking at possibly doing a 5K in Sacramento on Oct. 21 instead, since we'll be down there then.

But I swear I will do a half marathon eventually. I might have to wait until next May to do it, though, since there are so few races here. Oh well.....

Coming back to add that I am so, so, so excited to be taking a vacation then. I've only visited Becky in Austin once since she moved there (almost four years ago), so I am really looking forward to it! I know there will be other races I can do in the future, but I might not get many more chances to visit her in Austin once she's done getting her Ph.D. So this is one time where I don't really mind missing a race. ;-)


Just updating with my running stats for the day. :-)

Today's stats:
Distance: three miles
Time: 35:11
Pace: 11:43 minute/mile

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Almost post No. 100!

Wow, I seriously can't believe I am almost to my 100th post!! Currently on No. 99! And in just four months of blogging. Very cool!

Today I did another bike/run workout. I still really like these. Man, if I only knew how to swim and wasn't scared of the water then maybe I could do a triathlon. My sister-in-law Becky, who lives in Austin, TX, and I are mulling over doing a relay triathlon in the future. She would do the cycling and I would run. We'd like my mother-in-law (her mom) to do the swimming portion. Wouldn't that be neat?? I think it would be a blast!

Anyway, I got another good workout under my belt and I am happy about that. I am thinking about doing a long run tomorrow morning, but it's Mother's Day and I might sleep in instead. We'll see, I guess.

Oh, and congrats to Becky for running her first 5K today! She didn't have a timing chip, but said she did it in under 40 minutes. Yeah!! Awesome!!! :-)

Today's stats:

Time: 20 minutes
Distance: 5.3 miles
Pace: 3.46 minute/mile

Run (treadmill):
Time: 30 minutes
Distance: 2.5 miles
Pace: 12 minute/mile

Friday, May 11, 2007

Big thanks to Randy!

Thanks to my cyber running bud, Randy, I now have some cool charts on the bottom right hand side of my page. They include information on how many miles I've run since mid-January, as well as my race results. Very cool!!!! Thanks again, Randy!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Got a chuckle out of this

The pics for the Avenue of the Giants run have finally been posted online. I found my pic, taken just before the finish line, and had to laugh. I look sooooooo serious!!! There was a lady in orange behind me who had been running in front of me for a little while, and as we crossed the Dyerville Bridge, I made a push to pass her and did. She's behind me in the pic, and I think she stopped to walk. LOL!

But at least it looks like I'm actually running this time, as opposed to my previous race pics.

Anyway, here is the pic:

I am still waiting to get a pic of me and my medal on here, but we have to reinstall the software on our computer and haven't had time yet. I hope we will soon.

Just updating with my stats for the night. I rode the bike for 30 minutes and covered 7.65 miles. Night-night, dear readers. :-)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

First run after the race

Today was the first run I have done since Sunday's race. I went out thinking I would do two miles, probably around 12-12:05 minute/mile pace. Well, I did take it easy, but it was a lot faster than I thought it would be. But that's good! It means I am definitely improving, especially if the easy runs are now in the 11:30-pace range. Or maybe I am still running on the high from Sunday's race.

That's all for now. Tonight is our big night of television, so off I go to shower and sit on my butt for four hours. :-)

Today's stats:
Distance: two miles
Time: 23:02
Pace: 11:31 minute/mile

Mile 1: 11:31
Mile 2: 11:31 (I kid you not, I ran both in the exact same time!!! That almost never happens!!!)

Monday, May 7, 2007

Check this out!

I'm still waiting for pics from the race to be posted on, but I was perusing the Six Rivers Running Club site and found some pics from the 10K. And there's a shot of me! It was taken during the beginning of the race. I am in the front right section, wearing a grey T-shirt with a blue stripe down the side, dark grey running pants and sunglasses. I am fiddling with Garmin, so my number is partially blocked, but it starts with "50". Oh, and I have short, dark hair. It is pretty easy to spot me!!

Here's the pic (click on it and it will get really big so you can see me better):

So cool, huh????

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Official times are up!!

Here are my official stats from my first 10K (read post below for the blow-by-blow details):

Finished 231 out of 392 runners
Finished 22 out of 30 in my age division
Finished 113 out of 237 female runners

Time: 1 hour, 13 minutes, 28 seconds (I was three seconds off in my calculation)
11:49 overall pace

Not a shabby showing, I say!!

The official 10K race report

I'm home now. Tim, the kids and I tried out the new Chinese buffet here for dinner, and it was yummy!! Of course we ate too much, but we were celebrating my 10K finish, so I didn't mind.

The day started early for me. I went to bed a little after 11 p.m. last night, but I didn't sleep well at all. Around 3:25 a.m. Matty woke up, so Tim took him out to change and feed him. I stayed in bed, but I swear I couldn't get to sleep fully. At 4 a.m., I almost decided to just get up and start gearing up for the race, but I forced myself to stay in bed. I was so amped already. Finally, around 5, I fell asleep and got a good 30 minutes. Yep, my alarm went off at 5:30 and it was go time!

I got up, ate a small breakfast and got dressed. I took a shower the night before so I wouldn't have to worry about it in the morning. By 6:10 I was ready to go, so I headed out the door.

I should add here that the night before Tim and I decided he would stay home with the kids instead of trying to load them in the van and drive 30 minutes to watch me race. We were told the day before that parking would be a nightmare, and the kids don't like getting up early (take after mommy and daddy, I guess) so we thought it was best for me to go alone. Well, come to find out officials had this HUGE parking area right on the bank of the Eel River that they opened up for parking, so they could have come and had no trouble finding a place to park. And I couldn't call him on my cell because we were in the boonies and I couldn't get coverage. Oh well, lesson learned.

Anyway, I drove to the race location and found a good parking spot, since I arrived shortly after 7 a.m. I had more than two hours to kill before my race. It was already like a big party at that time of the morning. Vendors had booths set up, and people were milling around. Music blared over a loudspeaker. There were some teams of women wearing matching T-shirts getting ready for the race. I wandered around for a few minutes and used the porta-potty. Over the course of the next two hours, I visited the potties five times.

Skip to 9 a.m. The marathon and half marathon started then. There was a guy on the loudspeaker telling the runners/walkers to get in position to start. He was also mentioning that people from as far as England, Scotland and Kenya were participating, as well as many from all over the country. That was really cool! I think there were about 2,000 people who ran and walked today, and a small percentage of us actually live in Humboldt County.

So the marathoners and HM'ers take off. The 10K didn't start until 9:10, so we all waited near the starting line. I saw an acquaintance of mine, Jeremy, standing nearby and he waved at me to come over. We talked until the race started. This is the third race we've both participated in this year. We were waiting, and waiting, and waiting. The race didn't actually start until closer to 9:20. But at last, the man was counting down from 10 and this huge mass of bodies started moving after he said "Go!" Jeremy took off, and I got boxed in by some walkers and had to wait for an opening so I could get by. I also was not exactly sure where to start my Garmin, as there was no pad to run across at the beginning, so I guessed. Turns out I guessed wrong, because Garmin told me when it was all over that I ran 6.4 miles.

We all run over the Dyerville Bridge and descend into the redwoods. It was like running into a dark room. The redwoods were so thick and the canopy blocked out the sun completely (it was a GORGEOUS sunny day, BTW). I should have known that might throw Garmin off a bit. As I ran, I looked at Garmin every once in a while and noticed the pace was reading slow. Like 17 minute/miles and I was flying, so I knew the trees were probably messing it up. Then there were times when it stopped reading the pace altogether, so I had to wait for a clearing for it to pick up the satellite signal again.

The course itself was fairly flat. There was one decent hill within the first mile, but nothing too bad. Thankfully, there were aid stations set up every two miles or so, which helped a lot. I was following a huge pack for the first mile, and then people started splintering off. I made sure to always have someone to "latch on" to, though. I like having someone to chase, if you will.

The scenery was breathtaking. It is amazing how small one feels when running through a grove of gigantic redwoods. I could not have asked for a prettier course, and that made running it even more enjoyable.

I finally reached the 3.1-mile mark, where the turnaround was. Oh yeah, I could do this! I had a nice, steady pace and was feeling really good. There were a couple women who were doing the run for a few minute, walk for a few minute method. They were constantly playing leapfrog with me, it seemed. Around mile four, I passed one of them and we talked for a minute. She said I had a really nice pace and complimented me on it! I was so surprised! She told me that she is a sprinter at heart, not a long distance runner, and she wished she could do a pace like mine. LOL! I was so flattered!

By the time I got to mile 5, it seemed like time was flying. I was totally enjoying the experience. Runners were cheering other runners on as they passed each other (since it was an out-and-back, I passed by a lot of people who were well behind me), and the mood was really cheerful. I finally got back to the Dyerville Bridge and rounded the corner for the finish line. There was a woman on the speaker, calling out runners' numbers, names and city of residence as we neared the finish. I heard my name and started getting a little teary. I was just a few steps away from reaching my goal. I passed under the finish line arch, and just felt like a million bucks. The sensation was so much better than I could have hoped for. I didn't want my moment in the sun to end.

I walked down the chute and Tim's co-worker's brother (funny he was there volunteering) cut the timing chip off of my shoelace (they gave us twisty ties to use). A girl handed me my prized medal and I beamed. Then I headed for the water table, because I was so thirsty!!! Everyone was wearing their medals around their necks, so I put mine on and watched some other runners finish. Then I caught up with an old high school friend of my sister who happened to be there and left for home. Overall, it was an awesome day!!

I am still waiting for the official results to be put on the Internet, and I will update this once they are. When I left, only 271 of the approximately 360 people running the 10K had finished. I think it said I finished 231, but I don't remember for sure.

I still can't believe it's only been five months since I started running again. At the time I wouldn't have imagined I would run this distance and love it. I think this was my favorite race so far.

I told Tim already that I plan on doing this race again. And this time, he and the kids will be there too. :-)

Oh, and I will try to add a pic of me and my medal soon. Unfortunately I did not have a camera with me, but they were taking our pics at the finish, so when that pic is on the 'Net, I will share it with you.

I *AM* a 10K'er!!

I did it! I ran and finished my 10K today!! And boy, did I have a great time doing it!!

I will write a more detailed race report later this evening when I have a chance. I only have a few minutes here, but I can say it went as well as I could have hoped!! The weather was gorgeous, the course was breathtaking, and I felt really good!

I beat my goal handily and posted my fastest race pace to date! Yay for that!!

I saw the results posted at the race, but I didn't write them down. But I did see my overall pace was 11:49 minute/mile, so that means I ran it in 1 hour, 13 minutes, 25 seconds. (I knew it was 1 hour 13 minutes + when I ran under the finish arch thingy, but I was so focused on finishing that I didn't pay too much attention to it) My goal was 1 hour 15 minutes, so I am super-stoked about that!!

OK, be back later to post more. Thanks for all the encouragement, everyone! I can't believe I did it!!!!!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Thanks for your input!

A big thanks to everyone for your input on my last post. I guess I will find out on Sunday if resting was the right thing to do this week, but I think it was because it gave my back (pinched nerve) a while to feel better and I think I needed that.

I'm going to pick up my race packet tomorrow. The packet pick-up is at the race course, so I plan to drive it and see what I'm up against. I've heard it's relatively flat, so that is comforting. I bet I'll have a great time and all these nerves will be for naught. But I think some of my anxiousness comes from how early I have to be there. They say to arrive between 6 and 7 a.m. to get a parking spot. And it's a 30-minute drive from here. As many of you know, I am not a morning person. But when it comes to something I want to do, a little thing like getting up early will not stop me. Although I honestly don't know how I ever survived two years of 5:30 a.m. rowing workouts when I was in college. I must have been nuts!

I have to admit I am very excited about getting a medal at the end of this race. I am a dork! LOL! All the finishers in all three races will get one, and it will be nice to have a new trinket to add to my running collection. :-)

Oh, and Sunday evening Tim, the kids and I might try out this new Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet that just opened in town a couple weeks ago. It will be nice to pig out after burning all those calories in the race. And it will be nice to go out with the fam and celebrate this accomplishment.

Next week I'll be taking it easy again, just doing some short runs and possibly a little track work with Tim. I hope the weather is nicer next week than it was this week. It rained quite a bit this week. We need the rain, but it does put a damper (no pun intended) on my desire to be outdoors. I guess I am just not that fond of running in the stuff.

Oh, coming back to add this:
My time goal for Sunday's race is 1 hour, 15 minutes. That is a 12:04 minute/mile pace. I know I can do that. It would be even cooler to get the pace under 12 minutes for the whole race, but even if I don't, I will still be happy to finish.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Am I being too conservative?

Maybe I am, because I opted to not run today. Instead I did a longer bike ride. I am so anxious about having "fresh" legs for Sunday's race that I am now planning to take a break from running until race day. Fellow runners, do you think that is too conservative? The last thing I want to do is show up at the starting line with legs that ache and are tired, you know??

Anyway, I did have a nice indoor bike ride (LOL!). I worked up a sweat but didn't feel exhausted after.

I am four days from race day now and I'm getting scared! This is the biggest race I've run in to date (as far as number of runners and prestige) and it's a little intimidating. To date, there are 329 signed up for the 10K, 999 for the HM and 370-ish for the marathon. This race, the Avenue of the Giants, is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. Of course, you have to run the marathon to qualify, but still. That's a big deal just to be on the same race course with some quality runners. I know I will do the best I can and I have trained for months now, and I know many people will be slower than myself (based on last year's times, that is), but I still can't help but feel a little nervous. I'm hoping all those nerves will translate over to energy on race day. :-)

Today's stats:
Bike ride:
Time: 40 minutes
Distance: 10.9 miles
Pace: 3:40 minute/mile