Sunday, July 27, 2014

More Thoughts On ES6

After getting some sleep, lancing a few blisters (ew), and looking over the preliminary results from yesterday's Endless Summer 6 Hour Run, I realized that there's another blog post I need to write.

Yesterday's post gave the bare bones, "this is what happened" version while my body was still reeling (lack of sleep, lack of food, not to mention while I was typing there was a 5 year old tugging on my shirt since I'd been away most of the day).

Today I've got a clearer head and I'm realizing how truly awesome yesterday really was.   Not so much because I hit my goals (yay me!) but because it was once again a reminder of how freaking awesome the human race - and runners in particular - can be.

Wonderful things I observed/experienced yesterday, in no particular order:

  • Constant "way to go, ladies!" and other words of encouragement every time someone passed us (that actually sounded sincere!)
  • Amazingly nice and encouraging volunteers, even at the end of the race when I'm sure they were tired and sick of standing in the sun
  • A woman spectating who offered me a band aid when she overheard me mentioning a blister problem. 
  • A gentleman with a prosthetic leg, volunteering and encouraging people along
  • Volunteers anticipating the  needs of runners and going out of their way to be helpful (many thanks to those who took care of Michelle when she decided to stop!) 
Actually, I'll stop with the bullets there because the rest of them would be about the volunteers.  Holy freaking moly, were they amazing.  Seriously cannot stress that enough.  I wish I could thank each of them again.  I'm pretty sure I said "thank you" 100 times yesterday, and each time it was truly sincere. 

Another amazing thing about yesterday was just the atmosphere in general.  Since this was my first timed event, I went in feeling like a bit of an outsider.  I'm far from an ultra-runner, and heck, yesterday I wasn't even planning on running.  Yet I never felt like anyone was judging me or thinking "Who is this chick?"  In fact, in the final minutes of the race when I was walking just waiting for it to be over (LOL), I was chatting with a girl who was part of a relay team.  When she found out that I was NOT doing a relay, she said "Wow!"  

Huh.  Pretty sure that's the first time I've ever gotten a "Wow!" in response to anything I've done since I began this crazy running (and now walking) adventure.  That felt pretty good.  (Of course, I won't think about the fact that she probably did her 12 miles in half the time it took me to do my first 12 miles of the day) 

Anyway.  I'm digressing.  Or rambling.  Or something.  (Cut me some slack, it's been a long weekend!)  My point is, yesterday was amazing.  It was fun, it was challenging, and it made me feel something I haven't felt in a long time.   Pride. 

Weird, right? ;-) 

So, congrats to all those who kicked major butt yesterday (in other words, all who participated!), and kudos to the ES6 "cast and crew" for putting on such a great event.  

Oh! Almost forgot.  Unofficial results state that I did 5 complete laps (20.5 miles) plus an additional .246 miles for a total of 20.746 miles.  That puts me at 57 out of 73 participants (not counting the relay teams).  I'll take it! =) 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

My Aching Feet!

In the two and a half years that I've been running, I've never gotten a blister.  Two black toenails, but no blisters.  In the month and a half that I've been WALKING, I've gotten more blisters than I care to count. Holy moly.  Today was no different.

Actually, today was wildly different because it was . . . RACE DAY!

Check out that loot! Tank (singlet?), sticker, cool flexible cup, and a $1 beer coupon (not pictured) that I gave away because I don't drink beer. 

So we got our swag, put our bibs on, chatted with George (the gentleman who encouraged me to do this race after he did it himself last year),  took the obligatory selfie:

(Must learn not to have arm in shot!)

 and after a few words from the RD regarding the rules (full laps would be counted, then towards the end you get a little flag and you plant that in the ground when the airhorn goes off at the end of the race - or you decide to pack it in, whichever comes first), a little "motivational speaking," and the Star Spangled Banner, we were off.  For the first couple of hours, it was cake.  We were going a lot faster than we'd expected, we felt good, it wasn't too warm, etc, etc. 

The somewhere around 3 and a half hours, the wheels feel off a little.  Michelle wasn't feeling well and my feet were not happy (I found out that one of the gel insoles in my left shoe was shredded, causing me to walk on a weird bump until I was able to dump it out into the trash).  We stopped for a minute or two, and then decided to proceed slowly until we could reassess.  After a little while, with some fuzzy math regarding timing and goals and the day getting increasingly hotter, Michelle decided she wasn't going to continue on after the end of the lap.  There was some back and forth but she convinced me to just go ahead with out her, so I started running.  It felt odd to run after 4 and a half hours of walking, but it felt good, too. 

Until it didn't.  

I finished the 4th lap feeling good and then once I was into the 5th lap, I started feeling awful.  My feet hurt, my back felt weird, it was hot, I was tired, blah blah blah.   I'd picked up my flag after the 4th lap, thinking I would not make a full 5th lap before the end of the 6 hours.  I had over an hour (laps were 4.1 miles) but I couldn't do math by that point and couldn't swear that I'd be able to keep up any kind of decent pace, though I was going to try. 

Michelle and I had set out to try to get 20 miles, so I kept thinking I HAD to do it, since I'd left her behind.  I was not allowed to quit.  The funny thing (or not so funny, really) is that my last run/walking miles were actually slower than our beginning walking pace.  I did not realize how flipping tired I really was until I was out on that 5th loop by myself, with the sun beating down and my feet screaming at me.  

When I hit the last mile, I just kept slowing down and then I'd speed up.  I was completely unable to figure out if I was going to make 20 miles (my Garmin was "off" of the official race measurements, but I never could figure out by how much), or if I was going to finish the lap,  all I knew was that I had to keep moving.  

I powered (as much as I could!) up the last hill to the start/finish area and I still had 5 minutes on the clock! Now, I think that's great, but at the time, I was so defeated.  I had to KEEP GOING?   I considered stopping, since completing the 5th lap meant I'd hit our 20 mile goal, but everyone was so encouraging I just kept going.  I ended up slowing to a walk, and then almost to a crawl.  I think the last bit that I walked was at almost a 22min/mile pace.  Snail-like.  I was just DONE.

Airhorn blew, I planted my flag, then I made the slow journey back to the pavillion.

I did it.  I made it through all 6 hours, and I made our goal of 20 miles.  I was happy, but practically whimpering, wanting to get my shoes off.

I will spare you pictures.  They are not pretty.  Oh my goodness.

I won't know my official results for a few days, but since I did 5 full laps plus a little, I know I did at least 20.4 miles.  Previously, my longest race ever was a Half Marathon, and my longest training walk was 14 miles.   I am super happy with how this all turned out (though I wish I could figure out my blister issue!), and I am so grateful to Michelle for allowing me to be selfish and continue on.

There are so many things in life that I have allowed myself to quit on - I am so thankful that this was not one of them.  6 hours, relentless forward motion.  I'll take it.

"Finish" line - where I didn't get to stop! 

Me and George after the race. 

Walk the Line

A few months ago, way back when I was suffering from temporary insanity more confident in my running abilities, I signed up for the Endless Summer 6 Hour Run.   Then I gained some weight, stopped running, blah blah.  In short, I did what I always do.  I gave up on myself.

(Remember this?  Apparently, I don't.)

Fast forward to today.  Today I woke up at 4:30 (why is it that when I have to get up ungodly early, I end up waking up even earlier than planned? My alarm wasn't set to go off until 4:45!) and got dressed in the dark, trying not to wake my husband.  Puttered downstairs, got some coffee and breakfast, and now I'm sitting here, wishing I'd had more faith.

I'm still headed to Endless Summer.  And don't get me wrong, it's going to be fun.  Well, as fun as walking in a circle all morning can be.  But a little part of me does wish that I was going to be running it instead of walking it.  BUT.   If I were running it, I would be alone, and walking it allows me to spend 6 hours with a good friend.  So really I can't complain.  Besides, we're going to rock it - and that's always a good thing, right?  =)

So here I go.  Off to my first ever timed event, my first non-ultra ultra.  Let's do this. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Walk This Way

I may be a slacker when it comes to running lately (though I am getting back on track!), but you can NOT say that I was slacking today.   Behold.

Yes, that says 14 miles, and yes, that says 4 hours and 3 minutes.  Michelle and I walked the crap outta that park! =) 

While we were walking, it was just nonstop movement - some miles faster than others, but go, go, go the whole time - and I felt fine.  Then we finished and I kind of just wanted to fall down a little bit.  I did not realize how tired I was until I got home.  Thankfully my kids are still little enough that we mandate "rest time!" in the afternoon.  Once they were ensconced in their rooms, I pretty much turned into a slug, and even napped a bit, which I never do.  I will say I'm a tad bit worried about how tired I'm going to be next weekend after an additional 2 hours, but whatever.  I'll caffeinate more or something.

My feet held up, which is good, because since I started this walking endeavor, I've been getting blisters.  I never get blisters running, so I'm really not sure what the deal is.

This is also new:

You can't quite tell as much in the picture as in real life, but my feet are super red and blotchy - and this picture was taken hours after we stopped walking and I had cooled down significantly.  It's not sunburn, since obviously I had on socks and shoes, but they were kind of hot to the touch earlier.  And splotchy, like I said.   This happened 2 weeks ago when Michelle and I did our 3 hour walk, too.  Only two times ever that I've had weird reactions on my feet.  So. Strange.  

Who knew walking would make my body fall apart?   Ok, ok, I'm exaggerating.  But the blisters and the splotches are weird and I don't like it.  Knock it off, feet! 

That being said, I am soooooo looking forward to next weekend and the Endless Summer 6 Hour Run (walk).  We did 14 miles today, and I solidly believe we can do 20 on Saturday.  Fingers crossed the weather doesn't get super hot like in past years.  

It sees surreal that we did 14 miles today.  Previous to this, I'd only ever done 13.1 - and that was in races.  This was just a Sunday stroll in the park.  Felt good. =) 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Smoothie Criminal

Oh. My. God. Ya'll!

A while back, I tried making smoothies with my daughter.  I used yogurt because I thought that's what you were "supposed" to do.  Neither of us liked them (neither of us likes yogurt, duh).  I even added honey to try to sweeten them.  Nope.  Yuck.    So I quit my smoothie making endeavor.

Fast forward to a day a few months ago when we were at Costco.  A woman was demonstrating a super duper fancy schmancy blender.  I can't remember the name of it for the life of me, but it was $600 or something so why would you want to know the name of it anyway? Who has that kind of money for a blender?  Anyway.  The woman made smoothies.  No yogurt.  Just fruit and some ice. My daughter loved it!  The lady also made ice cream out of CARROTS and my daughter ate that, too, so it's possible there was some sort of weird vortex over Costco that day, but I digress.

Fast forward again to a couple of weeks ago when I remember that my mother in law had gotten my husband a Nutri Bullet for his birthday, and it was still sitting in a corner, unopened.

While not nearly as fancy as the one I saw at Costco, I figured I'd give it a spin.  Smoothie with only fruit, coming up. 

Mind. Blowing.  

Seriously.  I am now freaking addicted to these things.  Throw some frozen strawberries, an orange, some pineapple, and a little water into that baby and a minute later, you've got an awesome tasting smoothie and your "daily recommended" fruit needs are taken care of.   I've also tried blueberries, raspberries, and cherries.   The strawberry/orange/pineapple is definitely my favorite, though.  You can also toss in some spinach and it doesn't really change the taste much, but it does make the whole thing green and I know that's a turn off for some people (like my daughter!).  

I realize that this "revelation" of making fruit-only smoothies is probably preschool level thinking for some.  But for someone who normally never eats fruit (unless it's in a pie or shortcake!), the idea that I can have something that actually tastes like "cheating" but that is actually not bad for me is pretty awesome. 

Plus the Nutri Bullet is super easy to use and clean, and anything that involves minimal work is awesome in my book!**

Do you like smoothies? What's your favorite fruit (or veggie) combo? 

**I was not paid or encouraged to write this post, Nutri Bullet does not know I exist. I just like talking about things I like! =) 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cutting The Fat

Although I have been stressing out plenty over having to look for a job after 7 years of being a stay-at-home mom, one of the things that I'm truly looking forward to about going back to work is the fact that I won't be 10 steps from my kitchen anymore.

I won't be able to constantly snack all day (unless I pack a billion snacks to take to work, and let's be honest, I am way too lazy for that), and I won't be able to mindlessly consume all the extra calories that have landed me back in my fat pants.   (Ok, that's a lie.  I'm not so much in my fat pants as spilling out of them these days!)

Since I am terrible at "dieting," I (as most Americans are wont to do) decided to ask Dr. Google the easiest tricks for cutting calories and losing weight.  99% of them are no-brainers, but since brains often get shut off in the weight gaining process, I figured I'd share them here.

Di's 5 Tips to Eat Less and Lose Weight

  • Use Smaller Plates - Smaller plates fill up faster, tricking your mind into thinking you're eating more than you actually are. (We actually started this last year, when we donated our old plates and bought new ones in a smaller size.) 
  • Eat Protein For Breakfast - Protein helps fill you up and gets you going in the morning. (I am terrible about this, as I usually don't eat breakfast, or if I do, it's mostly carbs. This morning, I had a Dr. Pepper.  Eep.) 
  • Drink More Water - A lot of times when you think you're hungry, you're really thirsty. Water helps hydrate you, and can help you feel full without needless calories. (I am terrible about this.  Really, really horrible.  I rarely drink water at all.)
  • Chew Your Food - Ok, duh.  We obviously chew our food.  But do we chew enough?  Studies have shown that people who slow down and chew their food 20+ times before swallowing actually consume less calories per meal.  (I have never paid attention to how much I chew, but I probably don't do this, either)
  • Don't Eat in Front of the TV (or computer) - Again, studies have shown that "distracted eating" leads to consuming more calories.  Sitting down at a table for a proper meal instead of mindlessly eating in front of your favorite show will help ensure that you pay attention to what you're eating. (Again, shockingly, I am bad at this.  I'd say 95% of my eating happens in front of a computer or television)

So....... it's obvious why I've gained weight, right?  I don't take my own advice.  Well, we all know the hallmark of being a parent is "Do as I say, not as I do."  Right?  

No.  It really is time that I set a better example - for my kids and myself.  So starting right now, I follow my own rules. We'll see what happens. 

Oh, and I may as well add on a Rule #6.  RUN!   I did so, in the rain, last night.  It was the shortest run ever (it was REALLY raining!!), but it felt good and I was happy to be out there.  Plus I burned a few calories, and that's always a good thing! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sweaty Mess

After the kids were in bed last night, I called to my husband, "I'm going out for a run!"  His response? "You are????"  

*sigh*  You know you've been a lazy slacker for entirely too long when your husband actually sounds incredulous when you tell him you're going for a run.  I will admit to a snarky reply, but I won't repeat it here.

I headed out, deciding that I would just see let the entire run happen organically.  No plan, no pressure, just moving feet and a general idea of about 30 minutes.  Turns out that not having ever been fast, and having always been fairly inconsistent in my running actually turned out to be helpful.  I had no ego to contend with, no expectations to meet, and I was just able to cruise (plod) along, enjoying the silence and the time outside.

I was a sweaty mess when I got home, due to the temps and humidity, but it felt good.

While I was out there, I remembered thinking last year that I just wanted to get to the point where I was running 3 - 5 miles, a few times a week, at a "decent" pace.  I just wanted to go out for a half hour to an hour each night, enough to clear my head and keep my weight in check (though at this point, I need to lose 20 lbs before I can worry about keeping things "in check").

It was never my plan to be a long distance runner.  I once railed against the idea of running a half marathon, and then all of a sudden I'm signing up for timed events and talking about going on hours-long training runs?  I'm not sure what I was thinking.  I guess talking to so many talented runners who truly "go the distance" got to me, and I wanted to be like them.  To accomplish something great.  The truth is, though, that it's just not me.  Or, at least, not right now, not at this point in my running "career."

I just want to run.  Whatever that looks like.  I have nothing to prove to anyone, and trying to do things that are not really in my nature is only going to leave me discouraged (or hurt).  I'd rather just run a few miles here and there and be happy with that.

I will likely still sign up for races every now and again, but my sights are set lower, and I'm reminded of why I fell in love with running in the first place - because it makes me happy.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Fat Lady Sings

Apparently, I can stop running, stress eat, grieve the dog we had to put to sleep, binge-watch Netflix, sleep too much, move as little as possible, and then. . .   Rebound.   Apply for jobs.  Have a great vacation with my husband and kids.  Start moving again.  Feel hopeful for the first time in ages. 

I suppose it's the circle of life and all that crap.  Or maybe the circle of my undiagnosed, probably not really real, mood issues.  Highs and lows that aren't high and low enough to really amount to much, other than some times when I just kind of  - pause.  Stop participating in my own life.  Usually it doesn't last as long as this recent bout, but hey, like I said.  Dead dog.  Stress.  It's been hectic. 

Not that I'm looking for pity.  Just maybe a nod, an understanding, and a mutual agreement not to talk about it and to just move forward.  We can do that, right, interwebs?  I mean, it's not like there haven't been other bloggers, other women, who have disappeared into the ether.  At least I have the decency to come back.  Wait, did I say decency?  I meant hubris.  Because, really, it's kind of egotistical to think that you're still reading, right?  That's ok.  I like talking to myself. 

So. To recap.  Here's what June looked like for me:

  • Dealt with a steadily declining incontinent elderly dog
  • Finally met, in person, 3 of the most awesome women on the planet (also discovered that Kansas is not flat, but that's all a story for another time)
  • Stopped running
  • Tried to withdraw from the 6 hour race that's at the end of this month, but got talked into walking it (thanks Michelle)
  • Officially withdrew from the 24 hour race in Cleveland
Then came July:

  • Started taking training walks with Michelle, during which I developed the worst blisters I've ever had
  • Had our dog put to sleep, ate everything in sight
  • Hit my highest ever non-pregnant weight
  • Started applying for jobs
  • Went on vacation with my family and decided to get over myself
  • Got a partial refund and a nice hand-written note from the race director in Cleveland
  • Started this blog post
That's all I've got so far.  I don't know what tomorrow's going to look like. But today I feel good.  Clean slate-y.  I think it's going to be alright.