Thursday, June 30, 2011


So. I'm off to the River for some much needed R&R. I might even take it easy. I'll probably eat and drink Waaay too much. And then I'll complain when I gain weight, but it will be worth it.

And I fully intend to water ski. I'm actually pretty good at it. My cousins and I learned to ski when we were about 6. (Our parents tied us to the skis, the skis together, and the skis to the boat. It was either ski, or drown.) I learned to slalom somewhere in my teens. The last few years, my weight and general fitness have made it harder to ski. I could do one lap, maybe two, but no fancy stuff, and not for very long. Last summer, I couldn't even get up. (EMBARASSING)

This year, I'm lighter, stronger, and in much better shape. Even though there are apparently a ton of jellyfish, I so don't care. I'm going to ski all friggin day long.

Everyone have a great weekend!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Well the good news is, my thorns are all sweated off.

So, yesterday I participated in The Boring Runner's Sweat Your Thorns Off 5k. Regan and I froze our thorns off earlier this year, so I figured, let's give it another go!

We were in Wilmington, NC to help our friends move. The good thing about Wilmington is that there is a fabulous lake around which I really enjoy running. Also, Wilmington is very flat.

The bad thing is that Wilmington is also very hot. And humid.

But hey, it totally could have been worse.

The route around the lake was about 4.2 miles. I plugged in a new bluegrass album and off I went. I wasn't going for a 5k PR or anything, but I was hoping for a pretty decent time.

Which it wasn't. But that's OK. I was still pretty sore from my weight lifting on Friday, and it was hot. And let's face it, I wasn't exactly pusing it. It was pretty and I was just sort of enjoying myself. I finished in about 38:30. Yeah, slow.

I trotted through the last 1.1 and headed to Port City Java post-race smoothie. By the time I got to our friends' house and got showered, I had Dixie Grill french toast waiting for me. Excellent way to celebrate another virtual race!

Oh PS - I would also recommend NOT running 4.2 miles before helping your friends move on a very hot day... I was exhausted. Lots of activity points though... they even have categories for "Moving boxes, upstairs" and "Moving, household items" which very accurately describes 5 hours of my Saturday! (Needless to say, k38 mexican was consumed, and sangria was INHALED.)

Hope everyone else had a great race!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I just bought THIS

I'll look slightly less like Katie Holmes while wearing it, but I'm pretty pleased with my midsection these days, so I'ma give it a shot. It may only get worn in my own backyard, but I'm still pumped.

For Jodi - it's from Lands End!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Boogie Nights 50 miler

"Why my father-in-law inspires the hell out of me."

So, Preston's dad has been visiting from Utah this week. It's been a blast having him around, especially since we hadn't seen him since our wedding last year.

He was here to see us, but in particular, he was here to run a race.

A really, really badass race.

This is the warning on the course website:

This is not your normal marathon. This is all rural, not a city marathon. The course is not certified. You will be in the middle of nowhere all the time with no porta-potties, no splits, no mile markers, nospectators, and late in the run possibly even no other runners. There are only 6 houses on the course and they have dogs. Aid stops are over 5 miles apart, so you will need to carry a water bottle. If youdecide to quit, there are no pick-up vans, so you will either have to walk to the aid station or hitch a ridewith somebody. The race will start at 6 pm and the temperature will probably be about 85 degrees withlittle shade. Darkness comes about 9 pm and there are no street lights. You will need a light for thereasons cited in the waiver. If you need to be catered to every couple of miles along the course or worryrunning in the dark, perhaps you should not come. We really have seen everything listed in the waiverexcept the polecats and they are there too. The drop out rate among veteran 50-milers is usually 40%or so. Think long and hard before you enter this event. If Lao-tzu were to give advice about this eventhe would say, "Come with no expectations and you will not be disappointed."

Now, if that doesn't get you jazzed up to run this race, I just don't know what would.

Here's the start of the course. (Note the ominous storm clouds.)

We headed down to Ellerbe at about 3:00 on Saturday for the 6pm start. And the description was correct - it is in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. Preston and I had a job - we were to run support for Jim and make sure he was eating/drinking throughout the night. We found a great spot on the course (they pass by the start every 6 and 4 miles, so it was a great race to help with.)

This is the very casual, pre-race meeting. They mentioned rattlesnakes one too many times for my tastes.

There were maybe 60 people in the 50-miler, and maybe another 70 for the marathon. Here's Jim at the start. Pretty good spirits to start out!

P and I headed into the church nearby for dinner - the church ladies cook for racers and their teams. Yummy!

We knew we had to be back at the car around 7:20 to meet Jim. On the first loop, he was doing well, but it was pretty hot. Like, 85 degrees hot. Thankfully, he was staying hydrated and looked pretty good. 2nd and 3rd loops went like that - the heat was rough, but he was determined.

By about mile 20, it started storming. Thunder, lightning, rain, wind. Your basic nightmare. At this point, it was probably 1 am. I hid out in the car, and P stayed up to help Jim. The rain was very welcome because it cooled things off considerably. On the other hand, it made everyone's shoes wet, so we heard a lot of complaints about bilsters (not from Jim, but other folks).

My favorite part about the race wa getting to watch everyone come by - because they passed us 10 times, you could really cheer them on. We had nicknames for everyone. "Skinny" won the marathon, and "Yellow bra" came in second. "Cute asian lady in blue" finished around 6:00 am. Red-headed moustache guy said hello every time he passed. By the end, I was pulling for everyone on that course.

The winner finished at about 1 am. (um. wow.) After that, people straggled in until about 6 am. An army colonel ran with his friend who had been blinded in afghanastan. Tethered, they crossed the finish just before Jim. I got a little teery.

My triumphant father-in-law came across the line just after 6 am. After 12 grueling hours of storms, heat, and hills, he was in great spirits. It was so damned impressive. Seriously, you have no idea.

I'm definitely not interested in running a 50 miler, but man, that race had a very cool vibe. I'm seriously considering doing the 15 mile "shirt run" to be a part of the Mangum Track Club for life. Such cool people. I really enjoyed being a very small part of this very cool race.

Today, we've slept all day, and I suspect work is going to be tough tomorrow, but it was a fantastic adventure.


Friday, June 10, 2011

100th post - time for reflection!

So. This is my 100th post! I thought it would be a good time to see where I've come!

Here's where I started. This picture is from last summer - right before I started running.

And for more perspective, here's how I felt after my first run.

Wow. Reading those two entries in particular remind me how far I've come.

Some basic statistics:

Weight: Then - 180 lbs. Now - 158 lbs. (I've been shy about sharing my weight, but that is silly. Time to be honest with myself and my adoring readers! Besides, 22 lbs. in 10 months is pretty great.)

Running ability: Then - Maybe 2-3 minutes of running. Now - 3.1 miles easily, with no walking. Up to 13.1 using a run/walk method. Now, that's a major, major improvement.

Clothing size: Then - 16 Now - 12 (but almost a 10!) (see? Those jeans are a size 12. My legs look super-short because my very tall hubby took this picture. Or, I might also just have super-short legs.)

Health: Then - acid reflux, headaches, stomach issues. Now - not so much. Y'all. Seriously. Those problems are gone.

Ability to manage stress: Then - low. I had actually been considering going on medication for anxiety, and had been in therapy for 6 months to help with body image and emotional eating. Now - Even my mother recognizes how much calmer I am. Coworkers have seen the change. But, most of all, my husband doesn't have to serve as my "confidence crutch" anymore. I've got control of my emotional eating, and rarely feel anxious or stressed (even though life is still crazy!) I can confidently say I would not have made it through the craziness at work this winter without running. Also, fired my therapist. :-)

Body image: Then: Yikes. Now: Significantly improved. I now only buy clothes when the look ADORABLE and even bought a skinny belt because my waist is like TINY these days. (see? prime example of improved body image.)

Some additional insights:

I am a part of a great community of runners and I love it. Besides the friends I met in the running group, I have bonded with strangers, cousins, my father-in-law, coworkers, old friends, and my husband over the running/getting healthy thing.

I love being a "sporty/outdoorsy" type. Mostly because I've never even seen that as a possibility.

I get to wear clothes from Ann Taylor Loft and the Banana Republic again. It's been a while. It is FUN.

I feel so in control of my health for the first time ever. It is an amazing feeling.

I can't wait to volunteer for the running group this summer. I hope to be able to inspire people the way so many have helped me. I've still got a long way to go, but in 100 posts here, I've made a lot of progress!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Oh Summer - I forgot about you.

And your stupid humidity.

Last year, in November, when I was whining about the impending winter, my friend at work, David, said this gem:
"When it's about 40 degrees out, it's my favorite time to run. I just go faster all of a sudden."

I, still a rookie, gafawed at this. Huh-LARIOUS. No friggin WAY would anyone choose to run in 40 degree weather. No WAY.


For reals. And he was so right about 40 degrees. Cool enough where you'll start out with a jacket, but you can probably shed it in the second mile. Not too cold to be freezing when you get home, but cool enough that your hot shower is going to feel AWESOME.

Now, after I run, I get home and sweat even after gallons of water and a cold shower.

Which reminds me...

How in the heck did I learn how to run in August. In North Carolina? And what in heavens name posessed me to stick with it?



To combat the heat, we are running tomorrow at 5:30. Uh. A.M.

Still better than 99 degrees at 5:30 P.M., so I'll count my blessings.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

A 5k First

So, last night, at like 10, I checked in with my mother-in-law who is visiting from Utah. She told me she was heading to Fuquay-Varina to help her best friend with the Run the Quay 5k. Since it was going to be a fairly cool day by NC June standards, I decided to register onsite and tag along.

I don't usually run races by myself - I've almost always got my buddies with me, so I was a smidge nervous. Also, Fuquay is HILLY. And, well, we know how I feel about those.

Anywhoo, we were blessed with 70 degree weather at the start. Thank GOD. Also, the first little bit was downhill. So, that lead to the radical decision that I would run the race. Not run/walk.


And once I made that decision, it was ON. I cranked up the volume on the shuffle (a glorius combination of broadway, mashups, Glee, and pop music) and powered up the hills. By the 2nd mile, I was passing a lot of people who started strong, but had to walk up the hills. The only time I thought I might have to walk was in the final half-mile. It was one steady, long, pretty steep incline. BLURG.

Even the last 100 yards to the finish line was uphill, which is cruel.

My time was not a PR- about 38 minutes - but it felt so nice to ignore the watch when it beeped for me to walk. It felt amazing to know that I didn't need the interval crutch. And, let's face it, I've taken about 6 minutes off of my race time since October, and that's not too shabby.

Now. DO NOT misunderstand me here. I'm a huge proponent of running intervals. It's a great way to train. I will never stop doing intervals. It is the only way (for me!) to train for distance. And frankly, I go a lot faster when I do run/walk intervals. Like 2-3 minutes faster.

But, running a 5k without stopping is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I figured that I could do it, but it felt amazing to actually accomplish that goal.

So, what's next? I'm instituting my 5k speed plan starting tomorrow. I think I'm going to modify the intermediate Hal Higdon plan. There is a high school track I can do speedwork on, and since it's a 5k plan, it's not nearly as time-consuming as the half training was.

Fuquay has a special place in my heart - it's my husband's home town, it's where we met, and it's where I first "ran" a 5k. Nice way to spend a Saturday!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's National Running Day!

And I went for a swim instead.

Because it's about 1,000 degrees here.

Also, had major half-marathon anxiety dreams last night. Two of them. One was with my sister, the other was with Shruthi. Basic plot was the same... We were late, and decided to bail on the race.

What's that about? I don't even have races coming up.