Friday, February 8, 2013

Be Brave.

I have not blogged in several days.  What does that mean?  This might be a somewhat long post.  I'll number things in case you want to skip stuff.

1.  Weigh-in today.  137.8 pounds.  Up one pound from last week, which makes sense given I was still recovering from the stomach flu last week.  Seems my weight is stabilizing, I like that.  Also, 25.5% body fat.  Woot!

2. San Francisco Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon:  I registered for this inaugural race without knowing the race course.  This is San Francisco people, a city FAMOUS for hills.  But I took the risk because I was so excited a Rock 'n' Roll half was coming to the city of my birth.  And good thing I did because as of a few weeks ago...

Clearly I'm not the only one nutty enough to register for a 13.1 mile run in SF without seeing the route.  So today they finally released the course information.

And all I can say is...whew!  And, yes!!  No crazy SF hills and the Golden Gate Bridge.  What's not to love?  I ran part of this course when I did my 11 mile Kaiser training run in late January.  I debated that day whether to include the Golden Gate on my route... I guess next time I run it, I will.  So, so, so excited to see this course!  Me being me I had to map it on for the elevation profile.

Would ya look at that?  That, I can do.  In fact, I love that.  Love, love, love. 

3.  Workouts.  They've been steady.  It's been over a week but I finally got back into my gym yesterday (Thursday).  I had plenty of time and decided go wild with it.  I started with a 2 mile run on the treadmill at 6.3mph with a couple 7.3mph 2-min intervals thrown in for fun.  Then I did strength training, back/biceps/core and then I took a spin class.  I told you I went wild.  Glenn was out so we had Ken, who I now know is insane on a spin bike.  He 'bout killed us!  There were many times in which he told us to increase the resistance, "Give it another full turn," to which I just laughed.  Ha!  My quads are screaming now and you want me to make it harder?!  Negative my good man, ain't happenin'.  That's one thing I'm liking about spin class, highly customizable.  When I left the gym 2hr and 21 minutes later my heart rate monitor told me I'd burned 1,038 calories.  Wild indeed!

I'm staying at a friend's for a few nights (more on that in a bit) so I came back here and made myself dinner, meat loaf and brussels sprouts.  Then I took a long, hot bath.  And then I ate a Reese's peanut butter egg, later followed by a Häagen Dazs bar (chocolate covered with almonds, yum!).  And I was in bed by 9pm reading and enjoying a bit of peace and quiet.

Today, Friday, I returned to my gym and decided to again do a run/bike combo.  I ran for 1.52 miles (in 14 min) with intervals as above and then rode the upright bike for 11 minutes to make 25 minutes of cardio.  While I was running a fellow gym-goer came up to me and said, "Is that you in the window?" (referring to my ad).  I actually felt a bit shy!  He shook my hand (yes, while I was running at 7.3mph!), congratulated me and said what an accomplishment it was.  That was so cool.  Which reminds me, in spin class yesterday the guy next to me said, "You look a lot like that woman in the poster".  It was a bit weird to then have to tell him it is me.

So after my run/bike I did legs/shoulders/core for strength training.  My legs surprised me by being up for the task.  My core on the other hand...ouch!  Crunches on the decline bench with 15 lbs were outright painful.  But you know I did them anyway, which I will likely pay for tomorrow.  I had been feeling like it was time to up it to 20 lbs...guess that's not happening for a while.  

I came back here to eat dinner.  I was still hungry so I had a small granola bar.  Then I had the other Häagen Dazs bar that was in the freezer.  Thankfully there were only two.  So tomorrow will be a rest day and then I'm hoping to go mountain bike riding with Miguel on Sunday.  If we can't swing that I'll go alone.  Which brings me to the next thing...

4.  Change.  I've been alluding to going through a stressful personal time without ever saying what it is.  Well, Miguel and I are going through what I'll call a rough patch in our relationship.  We've been together for 11 years and this is a first for us.  And it's not easy.  In fact, it's one of the biggest challenges I've ever faced.  You can't go through the kind of physical and mental transformation I've gone through over the past 6 years without it reverberating through everything.  I am just not the same person I was when Miguel and I got married.  Of course, physically that's obvious.

These changes alone bring up issues but it's the mental change, the change in my attitude and my confidence, the change in my expectations from myself and others and in what I bring to the table, all those changes have had an impact on our relationship. It's been hard for me to tease out how to handle those changes and I haven't always been at my best in navigating this.  But I'm trying, I'm asking myself a lot of hard questions, doing a lot of thinking, and striving to be open to the new us.  Thank goodness for my friend Kristy for being the best consigliere a woman could ask for.  I've spent the last couple days at the house of a friend who is out of town.  I really need a retreat in the woods but that's not in the cards so this will do.  What kind of man supports his wife going off by herself to think for a few days? The kind I married.  He's really doing his best to face the existential crisis that is our marriage right now.  I can see that, despite my head being clouded, and I'm grateful for his clarity and his singular focus on making everything better.

So with all this time to think I realized something today.  I like myself.  I truly do. I don't think I liked myself much in years past.  I used to subconsciously wonder why anyone would like me, now I feel why wouldn't they like me?  I'm a great person.  I enjoy my own company, think well of myself, and I don't judge myself like I used to.  That's a profound change. The old me would have seen those as the traits of a conceited person.  The new me can see the difference between that and self-love.  I used to see others through the veil of my own insecurities, their actions and words were often a reflection of me.  Imagine.  Now I feel I am seeing with more clear eyes, and let me tell you, it's a whole new world.  The old me didn't expect much from life; that's changed.  I expect to get a lot more out of life than I used to.  And I know I can, I know I can go all Carpe Diem on life.  Though obviously it's not all skinny jeans and tank tops over here.

So what does this mean?  As far as what's relevant here (on my blog), Miguel and I need to start having some outdoor fun together.  We used to cycle together all the time.  And we'd run together sometimes too, though I think it was a bit tedious for him because he was SO much faster than me back then (now he's just much faster than me).  We used to do other things too but truth be told with the limited time we have I'd rather be on the move - hiking, cycling, dancing.  I'd like us to do more exploring together too, discovering new places and things, and with hope, also discovering the new us along the way.

I shared all this because it's clearly a big part of this weight loss/maintenance journey so it feels right to include it here.  Plus, I'll be writing about our attempts to get out on life's road together, even with two young kids at home, and now you'll know why.  Finally, if I write about feeling overwhelmed, confused, scared or unsure, you'll know what that's about too.  Someone recently told me, "Be brave in pursuit of your truth."  I've been thinking about that a lot.  There were times in my life when I didn't have the option to be brave.  Now I can, and I will do my best to keep my chin up and lead with my heart.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

On a Carb Mission

First off, thanks for all the congratulatory love for my half-marathon.  I don't know if you noticed but toward the end of my race report I tossed out a goal for next year of finishing in under 2 hours.  Is it too late to backpedal?  I'm not saying I'm giving up that goal, it's just a little early yet. That would mean around a 9 minute mile pace.  I want to see how the rest of this racing season goes first.  I think my excitement got the best of me.  Which isn't a bad thing entirely, right?

So yesterday I had a plan to go to the gym but it fell apart.  That was fine because it was just the day after the half and I figured my body could use some rest.  Today I had a plan to go after work but just before I was ready to go my buddy Michelle texted to see if I wanted to go to The Dailey Method with her.  Why not?  My legs are still a bit sore and I was suffering from a bit of low motivation so going with a friend would be nice.  The workout was good.  The sets involving leg stuff was a challenge and my hips hurt a bit with some of the harder moves but I made it through.  The upper body stuff was nice but I miss my heavy weights.

I need to get back into my gym soon, it's been WAY too long since I've had one of my normal workouts.  My muscles are going to be hating life after the first go 'round, they've had quite the rest.  Speaking of my gym, I passed by today and guess what I saw in the window? 

You are going to be sick of this picture by the time I get done.  There's a lot of reflection but worry not, I'm going to take another one with the gym owner, Mark, and of course post it here.  I was taken aback at how big it is.  It's larger than life.  I couldn't stop giggling.

So the other thing going on is that Miguel is going to be away for a while somewhat unexpectedly.  I'll be running the house solo, which will keep me a bit busier than usual.  The only thing I really need to figure out is how to get my Sunday outdoor-time scheduled.  I thrive off those couple/few hours of outdoor activity.  I feel like I need to go for a bike ride after all this running.  Maybe a mountain bike ride, I haven't been on my mountain bike in...years?  It's been a while. 

Other than that it means I get to go to the grocery store with both kids, which is always an adventure.  Toddler wrangling, not for the weak spirited.   Actually with Marek being almost 4 things like that have gotten a lot easier. 

So tomorrow is a rest day, I'll be home with the kids. I have some plans for my new career stuff but otherwise I'll be laying low.  And trying not to eat my way through the pantry and fridge.  I've been on a carb mission lately and I don't seem to want anything else.  My raw veggies are so unappealing, I'm not wanting cooked veggies much either, meat doesn't sound good.  Carbs and salt, that seems to be all I want.  Anyway, I've been watching bad TV and munching on smoked almonds while I write this post.  I have to wrap it up or I won't stop eating the almonds! Night all.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Kaiser Half-Marathon 2013 Race Report

I was in a bad mood on Saturday night, I think in part due to my now dashed expectations for the Kaiser half-marathon.  I had been so excited about my goal pace, to run an average of 09:30 minute miles and finish under 2hr, 4min, 27sec, something I felt was really attainable before I got sick.  I ate a bunch of crap all day, partly due to my bad mood and partly due to the carbo loading excuse.  There was a ray of hope in that my stomach actually felt pretty normal most of the day.  Anyway, being in a bad mood always makes me tired so I packed my gear for the race and was in bed by 8:30pm, if you can believe it.  I fell asleep with my fingers crossed that my stomach problems would not prevent me from at least finishing the race.

Lauren, Catherine, myself and Laurie.  Love my running buddies!
Up at 5:15am and checking the weather.  Mid 50's and a cloudy morning with almost no wind - perfect running weather.  I had cereal and coffee and hit the road by 6:15.  I rode into the city with my running buddies Laurie and Catherine and we caught the shuttle from a parking lot to the start line.  I used the porta-potties one last time and then took my pre-run stuff (1 AccelGel, 2 Immodium ADs) and checked my warm outer layers at sweat check.  Despite getting to the race about 45 minutes early the time flew by and we headed to the start area.  This is a race with 10,000 registered runners, and it sold out this year, so there's a huge number of people lined up to start.

The gun goes off and like a herd we make our way toward the actual start.  It takes us about 6 minutes to actually cross the starting line.  I started running and soon noticed I felt pretty good.  My legs weren't feeling heavy like they did on Friday and my stomach, well, I didn't feel anything, which was good. And my ray of hope was growing, maybe I would have a decent day after all.

I had a couple of shot bloks at mile 3.5, only because that was the plan, not because I felt like I needed them.  I did the same thing at mile 6.5, still feeling really good.  I'm loving all the people cheering us on.  I try to throw out thank you as often as I can, thanking volunteers too at water stations (which I deftly run through - not really, I always spill water on myself, but I don't walk/stop).  And checking my pace at each mile, I see I'm running firmly in the 9:00 - 9:30 pace range (except mile 3, which included some incline).  But you actually lose elevation during the first 7 miles of this course, which helps.  No matter, my stomach wasn't bothering me, my legs felt strong, and by this time my ray of hope had turned into a full blown beam of light shining right down on me.  I was feeling so good, loving the feeling of running, and so filled with...with what?  With happiness.

I had a few pangs of worry about maintaining my pace but in the end I pushed those thoughts out of my head.  I was feeling great and I reminded myself that despite the last week, I had actually prepared and trained for this for 8 weeks.  My body was capable, I knew that.  The course runs into the Pacific at mile 7 and you run for 3 miles along the ocean, turn around and run back.  This is the strangest bit of road ever, it feels like you are running at a teeny incline in both directions, when actually it's totally flat.  I tried to make myself look at the ocean, take in the beautiful scenery, but generally I found myself staring at the ground or the people around me.

Catherine caught up with me around mile 8 or so and we chatted.  After a bit she ran ahead and I kept her in view the remainder of the race but never passed her.  Despite the now growing fatigue I was doing a good job keeping up my pace, glances at my Garmin at each mile showed I was staying under 9:30 minute miles.  I decided to run mile 10 at an 09:00 pace, I knew I needed to pick up the pace if I was going to hit my goal.  I had to start pulling out more mantras to keep me going, one of my new faves is from Born to Run.  Easy. Micah True (Caballo Blanco) from Born to Run:
"Think Easy, Light, Smooth and Fast.  You start with easy, because if that's all you get, that's not so bad.  Then work on light.  Make it effortless, like you don't give a shit how high the hill is or how far you've got to go.  When you've practiced that so long that you forget you're practicing, you work on making it smooooooth.  You don't have to worry about the last one - you get those three, and you'll be fast."
So miles 10-13...easy, easy, easy.  I want to drift forward, float above the ground with as little effort as possible.  I like that advice, and I'm running with it.  Ha, a pun!   Finally we come to the corner where we turn and head up the hill to the finish.  Yep, up the hill to the finish.  One hill on the whole course and it comes in the last 1/3 mile of the route.  So I pushed, I used my hill mantras, and I listened to all the people cheering us on, and I pushed. I looked at my Garmin...2 hours and 2 minutes.  If I could finish in the next two minutes, if I could conquer the rest of this hill in 2 minutes, I could meet my goal.  I knew it was going to be close and I remember asking myself, "Do you want it?"  Yes ma'am I do.  So I pushed, breathing harder and harder, legs hurting, running as hard as I could, and harder still.  And then there it was, within reach, the finish line.  I crossed it and I was so spent I felt like I might faint.  Whew!

I navigated my way through the finishing chute and got some water.  So my Garmin said 2:05:39, I couldn't be sure what my actual finish time was because I forgot to turn it off for a minute or so after I crossed the finish line.  I knew it was going to be this:close to my optimal goal time of 2:04:27, which is an average of 09:30 minute miles.  There were some timing chip issues so my finish time wasn't immediately available, but I know I beat my pace time because my Garmin showed an average pace of 9:23 (over 13.3 miles, if you're not perfect at running the tangents you end up running a bit farther than the actual route distance).  No matter what my Garmin said, I was dying to know my official time.  Finally today, my time was posted.

Holy goal-time! 2:04:20 - a whole 7 seconds under my goal time of 2:04:27.  You might remember that last year I finished in 2 seconds under my goal time.  I guess I like to cut it close!  And it's a good thing I sprinted up that hill like I did.  Anything less would not have cut the mustard.  I got under an 08:00 pace for a moment there.  I finished above the middle for female overall and for my age group.  Here are my splits, and full Garmin stats/map here.

Kaiser 2013 splits.

I should have been jumping up and down for joy but I was too drained.  And the way I dragged myself through the week, disappointed about the run (before it even happened, let this be a lesson to me), it took some of the fireworks out of it.  But it has sunk in now and I'm feeling quite pleased with myself.  I did it.  I ran a half-marathon with a pace under 09:30.  Next year I'm breaking the 2 hour mark (9:09 pace, I've got my work cut out for me!).  Ok, a few more pictures.

Finisher's Medal. 
Finisher t-shirt
Yay!  That's all I got.  I'm so happy, yay, yay, yay!!