Monday, July 22, 2013

I rocked. I rolled. I did some other stuff.

My third half marathon of the year - and my fourth ever - is in the books.

And that is the nicest thing I can say about it.

The Chicago Rock and Roll half marathon was great. And awful. The race officially started at 6:30 a.m. Early enough to not be in the heat of the day, but apparently not early enough to keep me from overheating. Or so the story goes ...

My race began at 7:02 a.m. I started out great; my 5K split was 43:49 - slower than my fastest 5K, saving a little somethin' for later in the race. My 10K split came in at 1:30:08 - just under a 15 minute mile. If I could maintain a similar pace, I would cruise through at my goal of three hours and 15 minutes. I was at nearly the halfway point ... and all hell broke loose.

Right around the seven-mile mark, my knee started giving me problems. (This is my fault; while I felt prepared emotionally for the race, I was not as dedicated to the plan as I needed to be.) So I stopped for medical help. They wrapped my knee, and I took off running again. I lost about five minutes here.

I hit the 10-mile mark at 2:35:15 - still not far off my desired pace. But it was starting to really heat up, and by this time there was no water or Gatorade available on course. My heart rate spiked and I started to feel the effects of the heat, so I stopped for medical help again ... and here's where I lost a lot of time. Eventually I cooled off and could continue, but it was too late to redeem myself. My final time was 3:32:12, with an average pace of 16:12.

I've run four half marathons, and this one was my slowest. Still, I am damn proud of myself for continuing on and finishing what I started. And to tell the truth, I had a lovely day. Our friend Barb rode in with us (it was my turn to drive, so we were Jeepin' it) and Linda's niece Alexis was along, too, for her first half marathon. The music on course was really exceptional, and it made the whole event really fun. I would run it again, except - seriously - no water? I don't trust the organizers to plan well enough to keep runners safe.

But as usual, I learned some things about myself out there. I learned that I'm not afraid to pull back when I'm hurting, even if it means letting go of my goal. I learned that the slowest among us (me) and the fastest among us (Barb) can share the same race and celebrate each others' victories. I learned that taping your knee too tightly will pinch a nerve and cause your leg to go numb. And I learned that if I keep the right attitude, even a tough race can be a lot of fun.

I also learned that there is very little some ice won't cure. But when ice doesn't cut it, a trip to Heaven on Seven for a mint julep + shrimp and grits does the trick quite well.

I'm giving myself the week to recover. Yoga, bike rides, swimming and maybe a short run are the extent of my working out. And that's okay! That's part of the fun of running. Then, next week, training for the Wine & Dine half begins in earnest.

Here we go ... again!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Stuff to ponder, +10K results

I am now almost a full week post-cleanse, and I feel good about the experience.

Overall, I went from 214 to 206 - so a loss of about eight pounds. But what I gained is even more important. A willingness to feel hungry, rather than eat at the first sign that it had been awhile since I've eaten. A real taste for vegetables. Hydration. It was a great experience, honestly, and I'm truly glad I did it. I have been able to keep off the weightloss (so far) and more importantly the mindset of self-care that comes with being willing to try a cleanse. So, woot!

All of this, leading up to my favorite holiday - Independence Day! I have loved 4th of July since I was a kid. Whether I've spent the day with family near home or traveling, it's just always been great. But it's not generally an easy time, calorically. I was diligent, and only indulged in a few of the things I'd been missing during the cleanse.

Like ice cream. And brownies. And brownies with ice cream.

The weekend was filled with food, and I managed it pretty well. There were burgers on the grill (twice), sangria (just once, and just one glass), lots of coffee, omelettes and hash browns, and yes, there were doggy bags. (How else can you not overindulge?)

Plus, I ran a 10K! It was back to my adoptive home town for the  Stampede Run. It was great fun, honestly. Before the race started, my friend Mollie found me in the crowd. I haven't seen her in years, and I've never seen her on the run, so it was nice to know she was out there. Pam and Jim ran the 5K, and Shelly, Linda and I went for all 10. I was nearly to the halfway mark when I came up behind Mollie. She was walking and it was hot, but I decided to try and spur her on anyway, inviting her to run with me until the next mile marker. And so we did ... finishing the race together.

We were the back of the pack, by far, and we decided not to care. Someone has to be last, right? We just chatted and ran what we could, taking walk breaks when necessary. I could have run more, but I'm a "dance with the one who brung ya" type of girl; once you run alongside someone, you don't abandon them. That's been done to me, and I do not like it. Friends don't leave one another out on the course. So we finished together, and it felt great.

I've only done two other 10K races, and even with going slower than my body wanted to go, I got a new PR. (By only 10 seconds, but who cares?) Here's how it shook out:

Arlington Heights Stampede Run 10K

  • 1:30:42
  • Average pace: 14:36 minutes/mile
  • 516 of 517 total runners

My past 10K results are:
Monster Dash 10K 2012

  • 1:30:52
  • Average pace: 14:38 minutes/mile
  • 521 of 534 total runners

Polar Dash 10K 2012

  • 1:33:32
  • Average pace: 15:04 minutes/mile
  • 638 of 668 total runners
Those are results I will gladly accept! Especially considering how hot and sweaty I was. Yeah, it was an accomplishment just to finish. (But isn't that always true?)

In less than two weeks, I will tackle another half marathon (my third for the year) and after that I'll run the 10K leg of a triathlon relay. I can do this. I will do this. I'm nuts to do this ... but that's never stopped me so far!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

So, do I feel any cleaner?

For the past week and a half, I've been doing a cleanse.

I know, I know. Those things are evil, deadly and dumb. For the most part, anyway. But some good friends of mine have done the one I'm on, and they're fitness pros with brains. Another good friend encouraged me to try it, and is doing it with me. And honestly, if University of Illinois at Chicago (in conjunction with Rush Presbyterian Hospital) did a study using the products I'm using and had pretty stellar results, I'm pretty sure it's at least worth a try. So I'm almost done with my 11-day Isagenix Cleanse.

I'm not going to go into the cleanse itself or how it works here. Literally hundreds of bloggers have documented their experiences on it, and mine are pretty similar. Instead, I'll just give a few details of what I've learned.

The cleanse, for me, is a way to reignite my passion for fitness, and recharge my energy for keeping my eye on the prize of ultimate health. I've stalled lately. It's been hard to stay on a schedule and keep the pounds going down. Continuing to take off the weight is something I have to do for my overall health. Also, I wanted to retrain my brain to be okay with being hungry. Obsessing over everything that goes into my face for an 11-day period has helped me with that. So what have I learned? Here goes.

I can live off of a lot less food than I think. On "shake days," Isagenix allows for a shake in the morning, a healthy lunch, and a shake at night, with a few snacks in between. That's it. Well, except for this nasty herbal shit that I can barely choke down. Anyway, that's all I eat on shake days, and it's really enough. On "cleanse days," you're down to the vile herbal shit once a day, a cleanse drink four times a day, and intermittent snacks. I spend those days thinking about food, but I am still able to function pretty well.

  • I obsess about food. A lot. Since starting CleanseFest 2013, I have craved a cheeseburger. Every day for 10 days; for serious. 
  • Food triggers are everywhere. Heading home one night, I passed a billboard for Jersey Mike's Subs. Now, I am not a particular fan of subs. I don't think they're evil or anything, they're just not something I crave. Until I knew I couldn't have one and it was suggested to me. Then, all I wanted to do was find the nearest Jersey Mike's and gobble one down. 
  • Coffee. Oh, I miss coffee. While on the cleanse, it isn't strictly forbidden, but the way I like it - with sugar and plenty of real cream - it isn't allowed. I've had a cup, black every day. But I honestly cannot wait to get my java back.
  • I take comfort in food. The thing I have missed most is the act of settling in for the night with a nice, warm (or cold; it's summer) dinner. It feels nurturing to me, so I feel like I've missed out on some great nurturing.

The most vivid realization is that food temptation is everywhere. Being focused on it made it possible to  avoid it, but it hasn't been easy! Also, my energy has been pretty low, especially on the cleanse days. That's just really not like me. So I'm looking forward to getting back to real food, but I will dive back into the pool with my eye on my relationship with food. I am determined to make a change in my eating patterns based on what I learned about myself and hunger over the past 10 days!

That being said, now I crave peanut butter. Also, I will certainly be having a burger or a slice of pizza (or both) over the holiday weekend! But I know I can keep it to a reasonable amount, and I will enjoy every bite.

And isn't that the point?