Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Half Marathon Race report

This is long - very long - grab a glass of water, put your feet up and come along on a run with me!

Race report- rock and Roll Half Marathon

Seattle – June 26, 2010

It all started 3 or so months ago. My son, out of boredom, went for a run. Athletic booger that he is, ran about 6 miles in under an hour “just for fun”. He came home and asked if he could do a half marathon and invited me along. Foolishly, I agreed. I went online, found a summer half marathon, and signed us both up. Then I went searching for training plans. I found plenty of couch to 5K programs – but I needed MORE! I needed a couch to half marathon and I had 15 weeks to train.

I found something that would work – it was intervals, walking/running. Seemed doable. I downloaded it, made a calendar with training runs on it – amped it up just a little (3 days a week of running wasn’t going to cut it for me – I wanted 6), and set my mind to run.

March 22, 2010 - The first training run was 2 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking – for 2 miles. I struggled. And the voices in my head filled me with self doubt. I could barely do 2 minutes of running. The 1 minute of walking wasn’t an issue – but I would dread when the running interval came around again. I think I finished 2 miles in about 26 minutes or so. And was happy with that. Not thrilled. But training had begun.

I continued training for the next 15 weeks – intervals went to 3 minutes running, 1 minute walking and my times were still around 13-15 minute miles depending on the day. Not fast. But I was doing longer and longer distances and we beginning to lose the self doubt and believe that completing the half marathon was an achievable goal.

Somewhere along the line in my training, I began to skip the walking intervals on the shorter runs – just to test myself and see what I could do. I found I was able to run longer distances, still slowly, but run without walking which felt amazing. I remember one run at Greenlake – the training plan was for 11 miles – so I did the first lap with 3/1 intervals and then just started running. I ran 3 more laps without walking. I was elated!!

Fast forward to race day. My son – who roped me into all of this – didn’t train one bit. At first it was just simple procrastination and at some point it became stubbornness. So race morning, after we helped my husband with setting up for a car show, we headed to the start line. On the way there my nervous son delivered such gems as “why don’t I break your leg so we can both go home!” and “I’m going to go find the Quitter Bus and just get on.” He kept me entertained while we paced around, trying to stay warm. Yes, even June in Seattle is chilly in the morning. I had a sweatshirt one that I planned to donate at the start – but my son was in t-shirt and shorts.

We found our corrals easily – the area was very well laid out and makers were easily visible, and we meandered our way through the crowd of 27,000 runners. We used the port-a-potties a few times, I was spotted by a co-worker, and generally I giggled at my son’s nervousness. I was eerily calm, even excited for the race. I had trained. I could run. I felt prepared. These were all new feelings for me. The fact that I’m still a 200+ pound woman with teenage children and more than my fair share of self-doubt – none of that mattered. This morning, I was a RUNNER. I felt like I belonged and even deserved my place in that crowd. I’m still proud today.

Start time rolled around and my son and I separated – he was in corral 23 and I was in 37. I stood in the corral checking out my fellow runners – wondering how many had run this race before, how many were planning on walking, and comparing my size to theirs. It’s just how my brain works, I make no apologies. I was among a group a athletes that I fit into – none of us looked elite but we all looked capable. Most people were in at least pairs. I was, at least as far as I could tell, one of the only ones running solo. It’s actually how I prefer it. At some point, I discarded my sweatshirt for the donation folks to collect and goose bumps stood up on my arms. Cold or excitement – no way to know!

They started releasing the corrals – about one every 1.5 minutes or so. The commentator was cracking jokes, asking questions, having a great time. There were runners as far as the eye could see. And I was still calm. We rounded the final corner and the start line was in view. The commentator had given up on formal starting by this point, we were an hour into the race already, and we all just pushed forward until we crossed the magic timing mat. Then I started running.

I made my way through the crowd of walkers – trying to stay to the left but having to zig zag pretty heartily to navigate the massive amount of people. Many walked or jogged in their groups, 2-6 people wide making progress a little tricky. But I managed. And there were discarded donation clothes along the route to avoid as well – tripping and falling down was NOT part of the plan.

The first couple miles were marked with several bands. I was listening to my headphones but could still hear the bands over my own music. It was fun to watch the runners briefly stop to dance in front of each stage – everyone was certainly having fun. I kept an eye on my watch as each mile marker came into view – my goal was to finish in 3:15:00. My dream was to finish in 3:00:00. I would do the math as I passed each marker, trying to predict my time to get to the next one. Keeping my brain occupied with numbers and goals made it impossible for the usual white noise that running brings with it for me.

I’m talking about the white noise of self doubt – negative self talk – and downright defeating soundtrack. I still struggle with low self esteem and it really rears it’s head when I’m running. I don’t feel like a runner, I don’t look like a runner, I don’t eat like a runner. I struggle with all of it. The eating, the training, the running. I doubt myself and those thoughts come flooding in when I’m running and not distracted by a million other things.

But for this race, I blocked them all out. Not one minute of brain power was spent on negative thoughts. That’s my biggest success – above the race, the time, my goals – was the fact that I was able to tell those nay saying voices to Shut The Hell Up!

I put the miles behind me – passing more magic timing mats that I knew were sending text messages to my husband at the car show. My 5k time was 40:26, my 10k time was 1:22:55, I hit mile 9 at 2:01:38. And each of those times represented me finishing within my time goal of 3:15:00 – and it was looking hopeful for my dream goal of 3:00:00. I was still feeling pretty good too – running the entire time!! I had set the goal of walking to mile 10 at least and then assessing how I felt. At mile 10, I had decided that I was going to run the entire race – I was forming headlines in my mind, composing blogs about running every step, mentally thanking all my followers who believe in me – that helped with the voices I was avoiding.

To everyone – thank you. Blog followers, family, friends – you were all with me on this race. I don’t have words to express just how pivotal everyone was in my success. You were all by my side as I rounded the last bend and saw the finish line. I felt wrung out. My legs were on fire, my thighs hard as rocks. I hit the wall and had a mile to go. But I had done 12 miles, certainly I could do Just. One. More. I had 15 minutes to do it in to reach my dream goal. And I was determined. As I came down the ramp off of the viaduct and onto the side streets again, I began to visualize finishing, I began to acknowledge what I was about to accomplish, I kept putting one foot in front of the other because I could!

The homestretch was hard. I kept looking at my watch, looking up at the finish line down the block, and trying to do the math. How far was it – how long would it take me – how close to 3:00:00 would I be – could I DO it? I began to cry as I ran – I was tired, hurting, and overwhelmed with all the feelings. I talked to myself – telling myself “come on Laura – you can DO this Laura – you’re almost there – keep going – come ON!!” And it was my outside voice, just loud enough for me. My watch was ticking away time, my feet were pounding away, my tears were still flowing and I finally crossed the final magic timing mat. I stopped my watch as I crossed. Peeking, not daring to believe my eyes. As I moved out of the finisher chute and scanned the crowd for my son, I kept looking at my watch and crying harder. I wanted to call my husband and ask about the final text message – confirm that I wasn’t hallucinating.


I did it. I ran a half marathon in under 3 hours. 15 weeks of training. Countless hours of running and preparation. Goal setting and achieving. Setting time aside, finding new and interesting routes, making it all come together. I did it. With support from everyone around me – virtually or otherwise. And I can’t think of a thank you that expresses just HOW thankful I am. So I’ll try with this:

If I can do this – then you can too. What’s your goal? What’s your plan? And how can I help? It doesn’t have to be a half marathon; it can be to lose 10 pounds, to stop being so self critical, to walk 1 mile without stopping. Dare to dream – believe in yourself – and know that other people believe in you too!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

How to run 13.1 miles...

One foot in front of the other. Repeat over and over and over....
Yes, I finished!
Yes, I ran the entire 13.1 miles!
And, praise God, I finished in under three hours.

I'm still in disbelief. 2:59:31. But that IS under three hours which was my "wouldn't it be spectacular if..." goal!

Mentally, it was an awesome race, we're off to grab dinner so I'll blog the mental race later!!

Thanks everyone for the cheers and support, I thought of you all often!!

One of a precious few pictures I took...


If you had told me 6 moths ago...

That I would be getting out of bed at 3 am to line up for a half marathon, I would have laughed long and hard. And counted that as my exercise for the month.
But here I am, at 5am, in a shuttle headed for the start line over 13 miles away.
Am although there are tears and I'm terrified and nervous, I am ready.

See you at the finish line!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

feeling more in control

The downward spiral is nearly under control - if you don't count the heavy pasta meal I ate last night (which I don't...).  I've got  work fridge stocked with 4 more lunches (yesterday was fresh zuchinni, fresh mushrooms, covered in spaghetti sauce).  I've planned out meals I'm looking forward to, I've successfully avoided snacking in the last 2 days.  I finally feel like I've put the brakes on and am back on track.  There's also rumors of SUNSHINE I'm opptimistically riding my motorcycle to work with the hopes that although it's about 45 or so outside now, there will be sun and 70 for my ride home.  And tonight is a social picnic for our car club.  And I plan to stay under control there - I have a summer full of social eating that I plan to conquer with grace and forthought. 
Today I CAN do this!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

pictures - it's a weird thing...

So - usually when I see a picture of myself, it's at an event.  So I am usually dressed in an outfit that took some thought at least and not just whatever's clean.  And in most cases, when I go back and see pictures of myself, it doesn't match the image of what I FELT like.  I feel thinner than I look - and so often I really can't identify with the "fat girl" in the photo. 
Today I saw a picture of myself that I didn't recognize.  I was glancing through 100's of photos taken at a graduation party I went to.  I was in jeans and a tank top.  And in looking through the thumbnails, I was egocentrically only looking for photos of me, hubby, and/or my son.  I spotted a series with my son, husband, and a infant cousin.  And someone else.  Curiously, I enlarged the photo.  It was ME!  I looked thinner than I felt that day, than I feel today! 
I'm going to try and capture that feeling as I continue to work at getting back on track.  It's a good feeling indeed!!

Does anyone else feel a disconnect between what you see in the mirror and what you see in pictures?  Which direction is the discrepancy?  Do you have a favorite (current) photo that is inspirational to you?


Saturday update

First of all - thank you everyone for the comments and support and words of wisdom - they mean the world to me and truly help me feel accountable!!  What a great support system

So - an update - and a shameful weigh in...201.4. 

Ok - not bad considering that at one point in the last week it was 205 (water retention anyone?!).  And I'm running again - with a race in one week.  And I'm slowly getting the eating back under control.  And starting to like the body looking back in the mirror more often.  Work is getting busier which helps a lot - I have a lot of my self worth wrapped up in my value at work. 

It's been very slow there and there's been several weeks when I haven't felt the least bit productive.  I hate that!  I sit there idle wishing for something to do!  Now I might regret wishing that - but I LIKE being busy, I hate sitting idle!  As of Monday, we'll also have no internet at work - GASP!!  But I work for a fedral contractor so security is a top issue.  We all knew it was coming...let's hope I can survive it!

Off to catch up on everyone else's blogs!  There's still no sunshine here in the rainy city. 


Wednesday, June 16, 2010


it's raining again.  In Seattle.  I know - I should be used to it by now.  But I'm not.  I still hate it.  It's grey.  And cold.  And I'm tired of gray and cold.  I want sunshine.  I want blue skies and green grass.  I feel like 50's TV looked.  Shades of gray. 
And while it's not the weather's fault - I blame it on the weather.  My's not horrible, but it's not planned and there's WAY too much impulsive (no - let's be honest - COMPULSIVE) eating going on.  I'm in a downward spiral - and I feel bad posting that.  I want to be proud of my actions, I want to brag about my progress, I want to see the scale and inches go DOWN.  I want to inspire.

Instead - I'm admitting weakness and owning up to all of it.  I need to make a plan - and stick to it!!  I need to look at my goals and get serious.  I need to re-read my blog from the beginning and tap into THAT part of me that was going gang busters! 

But more than all that - I need to take the first step and DO all that.  I feel like I'm out of energy - and that's from not eating well.   There's a direct relationship between what (and how) I eat and how I feel.  Lately I'm tired and mopey.  There are some outside influences - work is a huge stress right now and I have 2 teenagers - but overall, I have a great life!  Nothing to complain about. 

I just need to snap out of it.  And I know that most of you have been there - I see it in the blogs I follow, even some of the women that inspire me the most are struggling right now.  What's the trend?  How do we break it? 

I've got the half marathon coming up - and at this point I've got a new goal: I'm going to run the whole thing.  That's my goal.  I want to finish in under 3 hours.  And I really really really do NOT want to lose my focus after I cross the finish line.  I have other races coming up - this is the "big" race but ultimately, I have a bigger goal.  My health.  And there's no finish line for that one. 

Maybe that's what so hard for me?  Maybe the idea that I can work hard, eat well, work out, and have a goal in mind.  But what happens after that?  It's not like I can go back to eating the way I did - it's not like I can go back to couch surfing as my primary activity.  This IS my life now - eating healthy and working out.  And the thought of that frankly scares me.  The old me is more comfortable.  It's more familiar.  It's EASIER.  There.  I said it.  Not thinking about food and planning exercise IS easier.  In the short run. 

In the long run there's health problems, physical limitations, searching for long lost self esteem - and that all takes time too!  Finding shoes without laces because I can't reach them comfortably, driving around the parking lot until a front row spot opens up, going to the movies during a non-crowded time because then I don't have to worry about bothering the stranger next to me, stopping by 1 (or more) places for food on my way anywhere, planning where to get my next snack, taking on a second job because the budget is tight due to higher food bills, having to shop at the mall for clothes and paying WAY too much because it's the only thing that fits, doctor appointments, naps because of sleep apnea....the list goes on and on. 

So what now?  Today I re-group again.  And I quit beating myself up for re-grouping once a week lately.  And I get on with it.  I know how to do this.  I really really really KNOW how to do this.  And now I just DO it. 

And hope that someday I realize I'm worth it. 

Deep Breath. 


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

pushing through the tough times...

My eating isn't great - but I've still got the wagon under me...I'm still running, I have a race in under 2 weeks that I have to finish - for my own sake.  The weather here is finally turning, great weekend of sunshine, long weekend of baseball and other commitments.  And - if mother nature is listening, I'm NOT whining - too much sun.  It knocked me out!  I'm a little sunburnt, but not bad.  And Sunday I managed an 8.5 mile run!  It was heavenly!  I feel so acomplished when I run.  And it relates to my eating...

Somehow, in running, I manage to push through the hard parts.  The first mile or 2 is excruciating for me.  I want to quit with every step. Turn around, go home.  But at some point, I push through that and then it's just mechanics - one foot after the other, let the mind wander, let the body work.  Today I'm going to try that with my eating.  When I want to binge, I'll set the clock and push through WITHOUT binging for 15 minutes.  Then I'll try for another 15. 

I should add here - I'm not binging a lot...just a few (3) mini hershey bars - but 3 times a day or more and that adds up.  There's a candy dish and I'm hoping it's empty soon (the 'candy lady' was one of the ones cut in the layoffs, I'll miss her but not her free candy!).  There will always be other temptations, I'm not foolish enough to think that the ONLY source of food is that candy basket...but I've been able to avoid more complicated binging (like leaving the office, going to the store, choosing the food, coming back, eating the food).  Somehow, complicating it holds me off. 

So we'll see.  I also need to go grocery shopping - my fridge is bare!!  Which means we're improvising which isn't great for me.  Tonight is a relatively low key night, should be able to fit a trip to the grocery store in (with hubby's truck - my VW is petering out and hubby will work on it soon!).  I'm on the motorcycle for commuting now - which works out fine while the sun's out!

Ok - time to go feed the stray dog living in our garage (we found a pit bull in our neighborhood last night - he's sweet, friendly, trained, and obviously someone is missing this dog - we'll check for microchip at the vet today).  We have 2 dogs already - boxers - so adding a third to the mix is NOT going to happen.  But we live in a breed discriminatory county to turning this sweet pit bull over to the authorities guarantees euthanization.  So he'll be in our garage until we find his owner.  Someone is missing this dog!!  It's too sweet and well trained NOT to be someone's loved pet!

Comment time - post up your favorite low prep, go-to, low cal dinners!!  I need inspiration!!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

I will send one email a day - my campaign

Today I will send an email.  It will be full of encouragement, inspiration, uplifting comments and praise.  I will tell this person how much I love them, how worthy are, and how great they're doing.  I will try and motivate them and let them know how proud of their progress I am.  I will point out their great qualities and highlight their accomplishments.  I will be their #1 cheerleader - I can DO that.

And I will send one email a day to this person - because they deserve it. 

That email - that person - it's me. 

Thanks to anti-Jared for the inspiration and idea!

In other news - last night was our first training for the triathlon in September.  It's a group through my church.  We met on the waterfront in Kirkland, introduced ourselves and then went for a run.  During the "meeting" part of it, I let everyone know that I was a slow runner, determined and able - but slow.  And I asked them to NOT worry if they felt like they were leaving me behind, I didn't mind.  And the leader agreed - everyone run at their pace.  It was a "short run" (I love how my mentality about running has subtly changed!!) and only about 2.5 miles.  We set off and I lagged only a little behind - not too bad.  Caught up at the crosswalk, and then fell behind again.  I wasn't worried about it - we'd all end up back at the meeting spot anyway and I had music to run with. 

One of the guys in the group must have felt bad (4 of them ran at the same pace, I lagged behind) and turned and ran back to jog with me.  I assured him I was fine alone and go ahead with the rest of the group.  He chivalrously told me "my mom would kill me if I did that" and I replied that I wouldn't tell her.  He stuck with me anyway. 

Stopping to tie his shoe, then catching up.  Jogging along and chatting, running backwards and chatting...not helping.  It was nice - I can acknowledge that much.  But I was feeling worse and worse about myself because he was missing out on the run by trying to not leave me to run alone.  He finally gave up and caught up with the rest of the group.  I was relieved and finished the run solo.  Everyone was indeed waiting for me at the parking lot and I grinned and reassured them that I was slow but steady. 

Next week is 12 miles on the bike.  I'll be last then too - but that's fine with me!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

falling down the stairs...

Not literally...but I read a great quote (and if I didn't have the memory of a 101 year old I would credit the person who said it!)
She (I think it was a she) said: If you fall halfway down the stairs do you stand up and throw yourself the rest of the way down?  Or do you pick up, dust off, and head back up.

Well, I fell half way down the stairs.  And was throwing myself down the rest of them one stair at a time. 

But I've picked myself up.  And I'm dusting myself off.  And I'm headed back UP the stairs - to my goal. 
I've got less than 3 weeks before my half marathon so training for that has GOT to be in full swing.  My eating is getting back under control - life has been busy and I've used that as an excuse to eat crap.  I KNOW better!!  My life is always going to be busy.  I see myself as a 90 year old world traveler someday.  Busy isn't going to change.  I've managed that in the past, I will get control again. 
I will plan my daily menu - and hopefully a weekly menu.  Not only do I need to get my food under control, but impulsive eating is EXPENSIVE!!  It's time to stop the insanity (thank you Susan Powter for that one!)
I've been on the scale - the damage isn't too bad - it's stuck at 200.  I'd like to say I'm giving up the scale but the reality is, I am not willing to do that yet.  So I'm not making that promise.  I have been jumping on, getting the rough idea, and then jumping off.   I used to do the "shift my feet around until the lowest number comes up" every day.   Now I do that once a week for my weigh in. I'm good with that.

I'm also looking for a new night for an OA meeting - Saturdays just isn't going to work for me.  I've tried.  There's always SOMETHING.  so I will try and find something else.  I need OA.  I am an addict.  I am not in control. 

Our pastor in church this week read a verse to us - one that really struck home with me.  Luke 1:37 "For with God, nothing is impossible"  And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the bottom line. 

Now - off to catch up on everyone else's blogging!!


Sunday, June 6, 2010

running in the rain!

One more 5K in the bag - I fininshed in about 38 minutes, slower than I wanted but the demons were weighing me down.  I want my self doubt removed - please?!  My brain was YELLING at me:
"you can't do this"
"why are you here"
"stop this non sense now, you don't belong"
"who do you think you're kidding?"

I heard the voices loud and clear and I fought them with all my might.  To the point of tears in a few locations.  I CAN do this - I HAVE done it - I'm capable, worthy and able!! 

It feels like someone is running along side me, tugging at my sleeve, slowing me down.  I feel like I'm walking a very fine line of sanity.  I'm just not sure which side I'm on. 

Eating...the voices have won there today.  But I will continue to fight them.  I've got a birthday lunch for my sister, a graduation party for my cousins, and then an adoption party for our friends.  I feel like I'm walking on a field of landmines with no regard for my own safety.  I've GOT to get this under control. 

I will be asking God for help along to way today. 

And hopefully, with His help, I'll avoid most of the mines. 

Half marathon in less than 3 weeks.  I need to get the voices under control by then.  I'll start by running MORE and showing them who's boss.



Saturday, June 5, 2010

Breaking news!!

There's a strange yellow light coming from the sky - the locals are worried, they're running for cover!!

This local will just be running - soaking it all in until it goes away again!

In other news - measurements were taken last night:
Arms - 14.5 (-1")
Bust - 42 (-1")
Waist - 34.5 (-1")
Hips - 46" (no change)
thighs - 26" (-1")
calves - 18" (no change)

so slowly things are starting to change - I haven't lost many pounds...but the inches are changing!

And in final news - tomorrow is a 5K - the Susan G. Komen Run here in Seattle. I'm running with a team from my work which after this week's layoffs, is slightly ironic. I know that several from out team are now laid off. Hopefully they still come run with us! Most of the team is doing the walk - I'm hoping to break through 35 minutes for a 5K. Someday I want to run a sub 30 minute 5K but without more speed training (well - ANY speed training truth be told) it won't happen.

So - sunshine, NSV, and running - that's MY day!

How's yours?!


Friday, June 4, 2010

down down down...

my weight - a little - but mostly my mood.  We've had rain and grey here for what seems like way too long.  I KNOW it's Seattle and that we're famous for rain - but this rain has gone on too long this year.  It's June 4.  We haven't hit 70 degrees ONCE yet this year.  And it's raining - a lot - even for Seattle.  I don't want to run.  I dont' want to walk.  I don't want to ride, swim, move.  I want to hang out in bed with a book and sleep/read/sleep/repeat.

And Eat. 

Yesterday was massive layoffs at my job.  I'm safe - for now.  The mood here is dark though. 

And I'm staring binging in the face and losing.  I had a bagel w/ a smear of cream cheese - a whole bagel - not a bagel THIN like I'd planned.  And I ate my oatmeal too. 

So now, to get back on track, I will NOT eat my snacks today, I WILL eat a healthy lunch and dinner and I WILL run.

Meanwhile - the funk has settled.  I need some sunshine and blue skies.  This is getting rediculous!!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 3 - hanging in there

well - even after 6 months "practice" this is still hard!  I grazed a little last night but stayed under my counts.  I still haven't gone out for a run.  Tonight - come hell or high water.  I have a half marathon in less than 4 weeks!!  24 days!!  I'm disappointed because it's the same day as a huge car show so my husband won't be able to come watch me - this is half marathon #2 that he's missing - how many do I have to run before he can see me cross the finish line?!  It doesn't seem like much to some people and it's true that I'm running this race for myself - but going to a race alone and finishing alone while people around me have lots of in person support - well, it does make me a lot sad.  But it's not like I can ask him to NOT do the car show - it's crucial he do the car show. 
It also means I have to find a way - after running 13.1 miles - to get to the car show and help with the booth and the cars.  He's happy to just leave the booth unmanned - but I think it's lame.  We're there to market our shop - talk to people, put a face with a name - stand out from the greasy backyard hacks.  Without someone standing there, we're just another shop and the show is a waste of time. 

Anyway - now I'm just rambling when I should be getting ready for work. 

Day 3 - today I will not compulsively overeat.