Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I need a new scale

I've been saying that for, what, a year now? Anyway, I weighed Monday. I am holding firm somewhere in the very low 200s. I say that because I got on three times, and it gave me three different weights.

  • 203.4
  • 202.9
  • 201.8

So I learned two things:

  1. I need a new scale.
  2. The number doesn't really matter because my jeans fit.

So there's that.

Anyway, it's a bit of a struggle to know where I am these days, but I think the lesson here is that you really do know, even if you don't have proof. How you feel, how your pants fit, and what your belly flab is doing is as good an indicator - if not better - than the number on the scale.

Although I will admit, I got really excited about the 201.8 reading, because it meant I could, possibly, squeak out my goal of being under 200 by the time I run the half on Sunday. So, we'll see. Meanwhile, I'm just following the plan (sort of), keeping my eyes on the prize (a fun and healthy half marathon), and doing what I can without losing my shit. Because that's no fun at all.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Royal Goals

One week from now, I will be in Orlando. It's Race Weekend!

My sister Kathie, her friend Carrie, me, and my friends Diane, Linda and Shelly will be taking part in Princess Half Marathon Weekend. It's four days of fun, with two runs - a 5K and a half marathon. So I wanted to take a moment or three and work my way through race-related goals, before the mayhem of planning and packing takes over my brain. Here's where I'm at:

5K Goals
The 5K is a fun run; it's not timed. So my approach will be pretty casual!

  • Have fun.
  • Stop for photographs.
  • Keep a solid, comfortable running pace for two miles.
  • Have fun.

That's it! Easy ones. Running a 5K is a simple proposition for me now (which is funny, considering how scared I was before my first one). So this is really just for the fun of it.

Half Marathon Goals
A more serious race, with more serious goals. Some have secondary or tertiary goals, in case I surpass one.

  • Have fun.
  • Finish.
    • Finish in the upright position.
      • Finish smiling.
  • Finish in less time than I did last year (3:24:29).
    • Finish at least 15 minutes faster than I did last year (under 3:10).
      • Finish in under three hours. (Please?)
  • Hydrate properly.
  • Don't need to stop to poop.
  • Enjoy the energy and atmosphere.
  • Don't cry.
So that's them - what I'm reaching for, starting one week from today. It's almost here!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Indoor tri, weigh-in, princess prep

Well, they say any progress is still progress, right?

Yesterday, I completed my second annual Lifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlon. It was great fun; I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

While at the same time letting myself down.

I haven't trained hard over the past year, but I have done a lot of work. And the one area where I expected to improve the most, I struggled. The indoor tri gives you a set amount of time to complete each discipline in an indoor setting - 10 minutes in the pool, 30 minutes on a spin bike, 20 minutes on a treadmill. You go as far as you can in the allotted time, and you are scored accordingly. Oh, you'd like to know my results? Okay.

Pfft. So the area in which I've trained the most - running - I improved by .01 miles. Which is shorthand for "almost not at all". I'm a little bummed about that.

I'm also equally bummed that one friend of mine (and I use the term loosely) seems to only see victory in eyeing what I'm doing, and beating that - no matter what that is. Not cool.  But I digress ...

All things considered, I had a great time. And no matter how small the margin, I did, indeed, do better this year than last. Mission accomplished.

In other news, I had a very active weekend. Friday after work, I drove up to Schaumburg to spend the weekend with Linda. So I was able to take yoga and salsa/funk Friday night, followed by Saturday morning swim and weight training, and a run. (The run turned into a very short run, because the roads are still snowy and no one seems to plow trails. Bummer!) Then on Sunday, we did the tri. All that activity meant also lots of food, but to my surprise my weigh-in this morning said 204.4.

Truly. I got on the scale three times to be sure it was serious. I still won't hit my goal of less than 200 by half-marathon time, but it's still a success as far as I'm concerned!

And finally ... two weeks from now, the half marathon will be just a memory. All the planning and preparation comes down to this one weekend, and I am both nervous and excited. I want to do well. I want to do my best, and I want to make sure I can keep my energy up and complete the race strong.

And I want to not die.

And I kinda want to finish in less than three hours.


In two weeks, we'll know.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Winter running, Super Bowl Shuffle

Well, it seems winter has finally arrived in Chicagoland. Just in time to make the final weeks of half marathon training really interesting. 

Saturday morning came early for me. My plan was to head to the Schaumburg gym early, swim, lift weights and then head to the forest preserve for a long run; from the gym to Busse, around the loop and back is just over 11 miles. That's basically what happened, except I shoveled the driveway before I left for the gym, and our run - which was through about three inches of fresh powder - was cut short by continuous snow and the need for a bathroom. But man, was it pretty.
Suffice it to say, we did not go to 11. Running in the snow was tough. We were challenged to push through it, and navigate the slippery parts. Slow going, for sure; it took us about two hours to go six and a half miles.

Stop laughing.

The next morning was Super Bowl Sunday, and the third annual Super Bowl Shuffle 5K in Geneva. Linda and I have been participating in this race since the first year; it's kinda fun to have a streak like that. Anyhoo, I was excited. This tends to be a good PR course for me, and I'm still chasing the elusive sub-40 5K. (Again, stop laughing.) So I thought ... maybe today? The trail was well plowed, and we were ready to go! It was cold, and snowing a little, but that did nothing to dampen our spirits.
Me, ready as I was gonna get. Oh, and Kristen's finger, waggling in my face.
The course winds around a really pretty park area in Geneva, IL, and it's the perfect blend of small-town race with some really nice perks - like a warm hoodie and a 10% off coupon to my favorite running store. We were suited up and ready to go!
Me and Linda. 
The posse for this race was me, Linda, Shelly (her first time running it) and Kristen (back for her second year).

We wore race ribbons in the Bears colors on our shoes, because it seemed like the right thing to do. Football isn't my thing, but I know my blue and orange!
Show wheel, with race ribbons.
It's become a tradition to run the race, head into downtown Geneva for breakfast, and then shop at Geneva Running Outfitters. But first, a stop at Nosh for breakfast.
Kristen in my mittens.
They mix a delicious bloody Maria (like Mary, but with tequila). One for me, one for Kristen, one for Linda ... and a Diet Coke for Shelly.
One of these things is not like the others.
I ordered Monte Cristo Benedict with ginger pears on the side, along with potatoes ... and Mars Bars pancakes. I cannot tell you how delicious this was. What I can tell you is that I ate it all day. I took home leftovers and had them for mid-afternoon snack, and dinner. And I miss it now.
All that food? Yep. MINE.
We finished breakfast and headed to the running store, and the timing could not have been better. I was able to pick up a second pair of my favorite shoes - the Asics Gel Kayano - at a great price, because the updated spring models just came in. Saving $35 on a pair of running shoes is a big deal, so I was in my happy place.

Once I got home, it was time to check my race results. I didn't get my sub-40 yet (drat!) but I'm getting closer. I ran the 5K in 40:43, with an average pace of 13:08. I came in 617 of 749 total runners, 36 out 47 in my age group. And GUESS WHAT? I got a PR. My Race to Wrigley 5K was 13:09; I bested myself by one whole second. It totally counts!

Now, we continue training for the half, and practice running at race pace. But most importantly ... we have fun out there!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Obsess much?

Last night I had a great run. We've been having apocalypse weather, so I went to the Vaughan to run indoors. Treadmill? No thank you; I took to the track.

The Vaughan (thank heaven) has an elevated indoor track; 1/6 of a mile around, running above the main gym. So I had six miles to run; 36 laps. My Nike+ app has been really wonky lately, so I opted not to use it at all. Instead, I tracked my laps on my heartrate monitor watch, hitting the button each time I finished a lap. It was kinda nice to run relatively "unplugged".

I stuck with my run/walk intervals, running four minutes and walking one. And the laps seemed to fly by. (Shut up. I'm serious.) It really felt great! I knew I was doing pretty well, because most of the laps when I ran the full thing (the ones without the walk break) came in at about 2:00 or 2:05; factoring in my walk breaks, I knew I was still under a three-minute lap, on average.

And boy, was I. When I got home and tracked each lap (by hand, on paper ... hence the title of this post), I realized my average speed per mile was 2:15. I was under 13:30 per mile.

This is unheard of.

So what does that mean, in real life? Well, here's the gig: for the Princess in 2012, I had a threefold goal:

  • Finish upright and alive.
  • Finish in under 3:30 (the cutoff to not get swept).
  • Finish in under 3:00.

Running sub-3 last year was a pipedream, but it was possible; anything is possible in the Happiest Place on Earth, right? So I went in knowing I could, but probably wouldn't. In the end, I ran 3:24 and change; so, I met minimum expectations. Okay ... but I'd be a damn liar if I didn't admit to feeling a little disappointed in myself. Realizing that this year, I've trained harder I've lost weight and I'm more prepared ... yeah, I want it.

I won't be crushed if I can't get there. I know every race is different, and that day it might not be in the cards. It's way different to run outside on the road than indoors on a track. There might be wind; there will be a few hills. But there will also be adrenaline and entertainment to bolster me. Who knows?

This could be my year. Stay tuned.