Thursday, September 30, 2010

Three things Thursday

1. I had a great run this morning

It was a fabulous feeling. After a disappointing run on Tuesday, I really needed it. Today, I felt like I was flying along and I knocked off 6km (3.7mi). It wasn't so long ago that I was still working towards 5km (3.1mi) and now I do more then that a few times a week. I've started sprinting the last bit of my runs. After all, I need to practice sprinting to the finish line.

2. I haven't been drinking enough water

This used to be a habit I took for granted. I've always been a great water drinker. I'm not a fan of most other beverages and I really enjoy my water.

I've been keeping my water consumption lower before runs and swims though. I hate the feeling of having too much sloshing around in my stomach. I've also been watching the consumption before bed. My children finally sleep through the night semi-regularly, so I don't want to have to get up just to pee.

What I need to do is concentrate more on keeping well hydrated throughout the day. I may not want too much in my stomach for training sessions, but the fact that I do those sessions makes it even more important that I am hydrated.

3. I've been getting a cramp in my foot while swimming

Any swimmers experience this or know anything about it? Every few swims, I start getting a cramp in my right foot. It's enough that I can't keep swimming, so I certainly find it concerning. It's usually towards the end of my swim, so after I've been going for half an hour or more.

Any idea what's causing this? I eat lots of bananas. I'm actually wondering if it might be partially related to the hydration issue?

It is something I've got to figure out. In the pool it's one thing, but in open water, it's worrisome.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The materialistic side of me

Things I want:

Just to show the change in me, this was top of my want list a mere year ago:

What's on your want list right now?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I'm not going to exercise anymore

So, when you think of exercise, what comes to mind? Hours spent in the gym, pedaling away on one machine or pushing iron on another? Watching the readout to see how many calories you've burned? Doing whatever you can to break a sweat and get your heart rate up?

I've decided I'm done with all of that. It doesn't appeal to me.

I've had an epiphany.

I have suddenly realized that I am now one of those people that needs to run, swim or bike. I crave it. One of those annoying people for whom cardio is like a drug. One day, I'll even look like it. ;)

I think the moment I became one of those people was when I stopped exercising and started training. I don't run because it burns calories. Quite frankly, I don't trust the computers that tell me how many calories I burned anyways. I believe that you can be very successful losing weight without ever breaking a sweat. In fact, I even think it would be easier in many ways.

I train because I want to do something, accomplish something. And once I do it, I want to start doing it better, faster, further. That's why I need to run and do it at 5:00am. That's why I sacrifice sleep in the evening to swim laps. Because I keep finding myself capable of doing more then I ever thought possible.

There's no drug that can beat that feeling.

It's been 4 months and 10 days since I set myself a goal of doing a triathlon. Since then I have gone from being terrified of deep water to swimming over 20 laps without a break. I started out running 1 minute at a time and have now run as much as 8 km (5mi). In those 4 months I have become a new person.

The day I set that goal, I said "I am setting a goal that I don't know if I can complete. But, I do know one thing. This time I'm going to try. Actually try."

Today, my only regret is that triathlon season is over and I have to wait so long until I can do my first one. Today I would say:

I know that I can complete this goal. And I am going to tri. Actually tri.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Numbers going down, noticing changes

Today, I weighed in at 215.8 for a weekly loss of 1.8 and a total loss of 28. (My math last week was off on my total weight loss; I've got the right numbers now.)

Yay me! I would love to see a loss of 2+ per week, but I've accepted the fact that isn't the way my body tends to work, even when I'm on track. 1.8 is quite acceptable. :)

This week was a bit of a tough one for me. I'm quite happy with how my food intake was and I kept up very nicely with tracking my food, so this is a weight loss that was deserved.

I got my butt kicked by a cold towards the end of the week, and made the tough choice to take a couple days off training. I was able to keep my food intake in check during this time. During sickness is one of the toughest times for me as I tend to go for the comfort foods. This time around, I drank a lot of tea instead.

The good news is, I'm already feeling better. I certainly haven't been getting sick as much as I used to and I wonder if it's related to my higher level of fitness. (I say this while knocking on wood, since I do have 2 small plague carriers that live in my house.) I got a good run in last night, and plan to swim and probably bike today.

I'm also noticing some changes in the way my clothing fits. The other day I commented to my husband that my jeans were quite tight. He just looked at me and asked if I was sure about that. I bought these jeans on a stellar sale when there was no way I could possibly fit them. When I started wearing them, they were indeed fairly tight. They no longer are. My arm warmers now go a couple inches further up my arm then they used to. My bathing suit is getting too big and it's time to move down a size. (Fortunately, I planned ahead and bought many smaller sizes of swimsuits while they were still in the stores for good prices.)

The changes are encouraging.

Aside from the physical changes, I'm loving what I'm able to do with my body. I'm able to run a distance and speed to be proud of. I can swim fast enough that I wouldn't be embarrassed to enter a triathlon. I can ride up hills with my bike that I used to get off and walk.

I know that carrying an extra 50 pounds is holding me back from my full potential. I've hiked with a 50 pound backpack, and I can certainly go faster without it. I can't wait to see what my body will be capable of when I've lost the rest of my weight.

I'm starting to think Iron.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

If you don't bend, you'll break

So, yesterday, I wrote a crazy lady post. As in: I'm sick, but I MUST WORKOUT!!! The world will surely come to an end if I don't get my training sessions in.

Today, a little perspective is in order.

I didn't go swimming yesterday. Nor, did I go for a run this morning. It's probably the first time in months that I have taken two days in a row off of any kind of workout. And you know what? That's okay.

Exercise stresses your body. In many ways that's a good thing because that is what makes your body stronger. When you're sick though, sometimes what your body needs is a bit of a break to get better.

The all or nothing attitude is dangerous. Missing 2 days of workouts does not mean I'm throwing in the towel. It does not mean I'm giving up. As Jessica pointed out, training when sick just puts me at a higher risk of injury, which could put me out of commission for much longer. Been there. Don't want to do it again.

Some of us are needing to lose weight in the first place because we had trouble finding balance. Moving to the other extreme is no healthier. We all need to find a place in the middle away from the crazy ladies.

For the record, it's just a nasty cold I'm dealing with. I'm feeling a bit better tonight, and the plan is to run tomorrow. I've become one of those weird people that craves exercise, so the idea that missing a couple days would ruin my routine was ludicrous in the first place.

Friday, September 24, 2010

When you're sick...

How does it affect your workouts?

I feel horrible. I woke up feeling kind of stuffy and off. I started feeling a bit worse as the day went on. One thing I've been doing well on is avoiding the comfort foods. Instead, I've been having comfort tea - about 5 cups so far.

The thing that is killing me is, I don't want to skip my workouts. I was supposed to swim tonight, then run tomorrow and Sunday. Possibly a swim on Sunday as well.

Now, at 3:00 in the afternoon, I am feeling worse again. A swim is not the least bit appealing. Not to mention that the lane swim doesn't start until 8:00 pm, and I suspect I'll be going to bed around that time. And I can tell you, if I feel like this tomorrow, I won't be running.

It just annoys me. I know that you have to respect your body and it's limitations. When you're sick, you get a different set of limitations imposed.

But, I haven't missed a single run I had planned to do, since starting C25K. Not one. When I plan to run, I run. When I plan to swim, I swim. I want to do it. I need to do it.

But, I want to be able to breath, and I don't need my head to explode.

You also have to have balance in life. Extreme attitudes aren't a good idea. Missing one run doesn't mean you're quitting. It means something got in the way, or you let something get in the way. It doesn't mean you can't just start back up.

This is kind of a whiny post. Whiny posts get on my nerves.


I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm hoping I can still do my long run on Sunday, regardless of what else I choose in the next couple days. My 10K race is only 6 weeks away.

Send your healthy vibes this way.

Do you stretch?

Yesterday morning, I did my normal 6km run in the morning and arrived home to 2 year old Sweetpea up and about. Rather then take my usual few minutes to stretch, I immersed myself in Mommyland. (On a side note, could somebody remind Sweetpea that it's okay to sleep in a little more.)

Later in the day I found I was pretty stiff. This morning, I still am, and I have a bit of soreness in some of my leg muscles.

This isn't usual for me. I didn't push myself more then normal yesterday morning, and the distance is one that I do a few times a week, every week. The only thing that is unusual in my routine is that I missed my stretching time.

If you google stretching, you'll find all kinds of recommendations, some of which contradict each other. When I was a preteen, and legwarmers were in style, you were supposed to do bouncing stretches before exercise. Now, you'll find recommendations that you stretch before and after, only after, not at all, etc.

One of the recommendations that makes a lot of sense to me is that you should never stretch cold muscles. So, rather then stretching before I run, I usually do a short walk first. (Although, admittedly, I cut that short yesterday too, since it was cold outside and I wanted to get warm faster.) Then, I run, and I stretch afterwards.

The stretches I do are shown here: Stretching for runners

I have considered stretching after my warm up walk and before running, but to be honest, I just don't feel like it. Since some of the information claims it's not necessary, I've decided to skip stretching then. I do better when I remember to stretch afterwards though, so I need to fit it in.

I know some runners/exercisers that never stretch and do well. I've also seen an article somewhere that claims you can actually injure yourself more by stretching then not. (I'm afraid I can't remember where, so I can't provide the link.)

What about you? Do you stretch?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A review of the C25K program

Me, after finishing my first 5k run.

So, as many of you know, I am a recent graduate of the couch to 5K program, otherwise known as C25K. I thought I'd take a minute and put together a little review on it.

Doing C25K was honestly one of the best things I've ever done for myself. It really did take me from being a non-runner to being able to run a non-stop 5km.

Having said that, I'm going to be quite honest and blunt. This program is not an appropriate one for a true couch potato. Despite the claim that it takes you from couch to 5k in 9 weeks, it starts you off with running intervals of 1 minute. That's 60 seconds of non-stop running. It may not seem like that much, but if you don't run, 1 minutes is a really long time when you start.

If you are obese and inactive, I would not suggest you start with this program. Prior to starting c25k, I was already doing 60 minutes of cardio at least 5 times a week, and I still found it challenging. Doable, but challenging. I don't think I could have managed it without already working out.

If you are at a healthy weight and inactive, this might work fine for you. That was not my experience, so I can't really speak to it.

While I don't think this is actually a program for couch potatoes, I do think it is superbly well designed to bring someone from being able to run 1 minute non-stop to being able to run 30 minutes non-stop.

The program can be done anywhere, indoors on a treadmill or track, or outside. I love running outside and think there's no real comparison. If you decide to start on a treadmill or track, be aware that it is more difficult to run outside. You probably won't run as fast and it will be more work. Completely worth it, but more of a challenge.

One thing to keep in mind is that you need to have a way to time your intervals. I'm sure there's some of you with fancy watches that you can set to beep at the appropriate times. Alternatively, you can use music. There's a bunch of links on the c25k page for podcasts. I used podrunner, but to be honest I didn't love it. Nothing wrong with it; just not my style of music. There's also apps that you can use with your own music that give you cues when it's time to switch between running and walking. Probably a good bet if you like choosing your own music.

There are a few weeks when the change in the amount of running seems intimidating. For me, week 3 when the running doubled to 3 minutes seemed huge. Week 5 is the biggest step for most people, since it's the first week that you run for a 20 minute stretch. I suggest going with it and giving yourself the benefit of doubt. I honestly did not know if I was going to be able to do some of the workouts but I tried and surprised myself when I could do it.

If a week does prove to be too challenging for you, you can always redo the previous week, which will prepare you to move forward.

After finishing week 6, you no longer do intervals and are instead doing a steady run. At this point, I found it worked better for me to run based on distance instead of time. When I was running based on time, I'd either stop running early and have a longer cool down walk, or I'd find myself having to throw in extra loops to finish the time. You can map out your distance on Map My Run beforehand and then you just have to follow your route. The program has both time and distance listed, so it works well.

I do think the program should be followed pretty closely. Three days a week is the perfect amount when you start running. More then that and the risk of injury becomes too great. Less then that and your body isn't getting the conditioning it needs to build stamina. Even if you are in great shape, keep in mind that running is hard on your body and you need to get it used to the movement before doing too much.

I absolutely recommend this program to somebody that wants to learn how to run. A couple weeks after finishing the program I ran my first 5km race and I felt strong and capable.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mind over matter

Yesterday evening, I checked the weather forecast to see what I was in for with my early morning run. The prediction was for 5cm of snow overnight and flurries in the morning.

It kind of freaked me out.

I'm not nervous about running in cold weather. I've already been running right around the freezing mark without wearing a jacket. I'm confident I can handle the cold.

I am nervous about running on slippery sidewalks.

Yet, this morning when I got up and checked the temperature, it was 0 degrees (32 farenheit). I got nervous about it being cold and wore a jacket and toque.


After convincing myself to get outside, I realized there wasn't one bit of snow on the ground or in the air. There was the occasional dusting on cars, but I don't think people would appreciate it if I ran over the roof of their car just to say I ran in the snow.

I overheated in about 2 minutes of running and took off the toque and opened up my jacket. I need to remember what works for me and not psych myself out over a little weather forecast. To think I was seriously considering a boring track workout instead of a refreshing outdoor run.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekly weigh in and goal update

Sometimes the scale gives you what you deserve. Sometimes it doesn't.

This week, the first couple days I didn't do my tracking until the end of the day, surely forgetting things and leaving them out. Then on the weekend, I attended a party where I did not stay on track. I let my 2 year old daughter lead me astray. She's got quite a sweet tooth and managed to get to the desert table to grab cookies far too many times to allow her to keep them. Once her little hands got onto them, I didn't feel like I could put them back and felt bad about wasting them, so... Yep.

I need to remember that the food is even more wasted on my thighs then in the garbage.

Despite that, I've been rewarded this week with a weigh in of 217.6, for a weekly loss of 1.4, and a total loss of 26.4.


I've been having trouble with some of my goals though, which I listed here.


The tracking I've got back on track, and going over my calories was just a blip, not a regular thing. However, foodwise, I can not seem to get sufficient calcium. Since the beginning of September, I've only had 4 days where I met the daily requirement. On average, I tend to get about 70% of what I should, and that is with making an effort to have yogurt, cheese and occasional milk.

I've come to the conclusion that I need to supplement. I am very much a fan of getting required nutrients from food, but it just isn't happening, and I don't see that changing with my diet. Dairy foods have a tendency to be fairly dense in calories, and while I include them in a balanced diet, I don't think it will work for me to increase them even more.

Time to pick up the supplement.


I have thoroughly failed in my goal of biking 3 days a week. I've underestimated the effect that the weather has on me. I have no problem getting out and running in cold rainy weather, but I can't seem to bike in it. Part of it is the fact that biking generally means bringing my kids along in the chariot.

Okay. Even that isn't a good excuse. It's fairly easy to bundle them up and put the rain shield down. I just don't like biking in the rain. I also don't have the proper clothing to do so, and I'm unwilling to spend the money on clothes that I intend to shrink out of.

There. I'm being honest. Wimpy, but honest.

On the other hand, I'm running more. I'm doing more distance one run per week and I've added a fourth run since I decided to start training for a 10k. And, the pool reopens this week so I can go back to getting my 3 swims in! Yipee!

I've decided to be lenient on myself when it comes to achieving the biking goal. This week, the weather is supposed to be looking up, so I'm optimistic that we'll get out with the bike a few times.



A bit dramatic, maybe.

I actually have been keeping my kitchen cleaner then usual. The dishes are generally close to being caught up, and the kitchen is in an actual clean state multiple times a week. I'd like to get to the point of it being clean every morning when I get up though. I think it would be good for my mental health.

As for unpacking boxes... Okay, I'm a procrastinator. I have walked into the storage (aka box) room a few times with good intentions and felt completely overwhelmed. I just need to dive in and do it though. The goal was only one a week, but I'm going to try to make up for some of the missed ones.


I've had an okay month so far. Despite the goals I need to work on, I had a great race, and am super happy with my running. I may actually be developing a running addiction. I've gotten better with my tracking and feel like I'm doing really well right now.

I wouldn't say I started my month off with a bang, but I'd like to finish it that way. To lose almost a pound and a half during a mediocre week was impressive. What might I lose if I have a series of really strong weeks?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tracking only works when you do it

So, my very first goal for September was to track all my food. I've done that. Every evening, I've been sitting down at the computer, trying to remember everything I ate that day and inputting it into the computer.


Anyone else see something wrong with this picture?

The thing is, tracking food works for me to lose weight. It makes me aware of what I'm eating. It keeps me honest about how many calories something has. If I'm getting more calories then I should, it helps me remember to choose the apple rather then the toast with peanut butter.

This only works if I do it as I go.

Yesterday, I mentioned the fact that my weight had stayed stable for another week. Some of you congratulated me on not gaining - particularly during a race week. Don't get me wrong: I can still celebrate the successes of my race, but that doesn't give me an excuse to ignore the rest. It was only a 5K race. I don't say that to minimize it; simply to keep it in perspective. It was the same amount of running I do three times a week normally. Not an excuse to indulge.

I am really good at maintaining my weight. I look forward to the day when that will be my goal.

That day has not come yet.

I get annoyed when I hear people whining about what they need to do but not doing it. I'm not stupid. I know how this works. I also know that I am not in a real plateau. I simply have not been following through on what I say I'll do, and that's not acceptable.

Having said that, I have started again. The last 2 days, I've been religiously inputting my food into the computer at the first available opportunity. It means I've only been having one snack between meals, which is exactly as it should be. It means I'm not having a random bite of food here and there.

I am still obese. Now is not the time to maintain my weight. Now is the time to get it moving down.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Three things Thursday

1. I did not feel like running this morning.

I was tired. It was cold out. It was raining. I just wasn't feeling the running love. My last run was great, but I was still feeling the race euphoria. I don't know if this was a case of post race letdown or what. Often when I feel this way, I'm in the zone within about 30 seconds of running. Not today. Today was a struggle the whole way. I did 5 km (3.1mi) and even in the last couple hundred metres I was feeling like I wanted to stop early.

Having said that, after completing my run, showering, and having breakfast, I feel great. I'm so glad I followed through. It's an important thing to realize that sometimes we love it, but sometimes it's work. Hard work.

2. I need to figure out my strategy for longer distances

Okay runners, talk to me. Do you do use a run/walk strategy? I know a lot of people swear by doing 10 minutes running and 1 walking - even getting better times overall. What works for you? I think I'm going to try 10s and 1s for my longer runs. I'm wondering if it will enable me to push harder when I'm running.

3. My weigh in this week was another disappointment

Okay, I admit it. I've been avoiding posting about this. My weigh in this week was another stable one. I was actually up 0.2 pounds, but personally, I don't count it as up or down unless it's at least half a pound.

I do know some of the reasons and there are things I can do to make this weight move. That does deserve a post of it's own though, so I'll get into it tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More races!

So, in the aftermath of my first 5K, I've realized how much I enjoyed it. I've also realized what a motivating factor it was for me to be working towards a race.

In light of that, I've decided to sign up for more!

November 6 I'll be running TEN KM at the run without borders. Then December 31, I'll be doing another 5K at the resolution run.

Photo source

You might recall that I was debating whether I'd do a 10K next, or try to beat my 5K time. The answer, is both! I have just over 8 weeks until doing 10K, which is the perfect amount of time for many 10k training programs. Then I'll work towards getting a better time on my 5k, while still running the longer distances.

I am so excited to look forward to more races!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Some reflections after my race

So, after completing my first race, I've had some thoughts on it. First off, I am going to say that I have no regrets with how I ran it. I did what I set out to do and I ran a solid race. Having said that, here are some thoughts I had either while running or shortly after.

I could have pushed myself harder and gone faster.

For my first race, my primary goal was to run the whole thing. In doing so, I did it at a pace that I knew I could run at for the full 5K. If I'm honest, I had plenty left in the tank at the end.

I think I could achieve a faster pace in a couple ways. The first is to take risks. If I had pushed harder, I may have ended up needing a walk break. This is a risk I'm willing to take in any race other then my first one. Taking risks is what we need to do to grow. So, in future races, I don't need to run at a pace that I could sustain indefinitely. I can try to find a pace that I can do for 5K, but not much further.

The second way to push harder is just through further training. Obviously, further training will develop my running more and make it possible for me to do more. The other thing it will do is help me to be more aware of what my limits are and what my body is capable of. I will then be able to push more knowing that my body can do it.

I need to do more races

The energy I felt while doing this was incredible. A race is a time when you really see what you're capable of. I've often been self conscious about running at times where a lot of people see me. While I was racing, I didn't care one bit what my body looked like. I cared about what it could do.

I hadn't planned on doing another race until the spring, but now, I'm trying to figure out where I can fit one into my schedule before then. I also like the feeling of working towards the race. It motivates me when I'm doing my regular runs.

I just have to decide whether to up my distance and do a 10K, or stick with a 5K and try for a better time...

I need to stop saying I can't do things

About a week ago, I was running with a friend (who is a seasoned runner). She mentioned that once you've been running for a while, you can slow down your run and get a break similar to what you used to get from walking. My comment at the time was "yeah, I can't do that yet". I figured that I ran at the slowest pace it was possible to run at. Any slower and I'd be walking.

During the race, I discovered that I can. At one point I started getting a stitch in my side. I was determined to keep running and I realized that I was no longer running at the snail's pace I had done when I first started running. There was indeed a speed (or a few) slower then what I was doing. I slowed down for a minute; the stitch subsided, and I was able to pick up the pace again.

I'm fairly sure I hit that stage of "runner's high"

Once I got past the first km or so, I barely felt my legs moving and I could have been flying. I felt AMAZING. The little voice that often accompanies me on runs and tells me to walk was nowhere to be found. I was invincible, and nothing could stop me.

Realistically, I need to know that I'm not going to have that euphoria every time I race, but wow! It feels good.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Race review - Rocky Mountain 5K

Yesterday, I ran my first 5K. It's a moment I'd been working towards for months. Prior to that, it wasn't even something I dreamed about. Because I wasn't a runner. I never intended to be a runner. I didn't "like" running. Or so I thought.

Not quite four months ago, I set a goal to do a triathlon. Last I checked, running is a pretty integral part of triathlons. So, I started. I bought brand new running shoes and started the C25K program. A couple weeks in, I was derailed with a nasty knee injury. I stopped. Then, I started again.

This time, I carried on through. An occasional tweak, or discomfort, but I made it through without anything stopping me. In fact, that entire time, the only runs I "skipped" were the ones that I would have done if I hadn't been backpacking up a mountain.

Yesterday was the pivotal moment, the day I put it to a test.

I was up early. I had my power breakfast of steel cut oats, peanut butter and a banana. Then I proceeded to be a fairly useless pile of nerves while my capable husband got the kids fed and dressed as well as getting together everything we needed to take along. We dropped the kids off at my (fabulous) Aunt and Uncle's place, then my husband and I got back into the car and did the 45 minute drive into the mountains and the town of Canmore.

Being in the mountains centres me. It calms me down and I feel at peace. As we drove through the rockies, some of the race day nerves started to slip away.

It was a chilly morning. I knew it would be good for the run, but before I hand, I was bundled up.

We were there early enough to see the 10K runners off. I've never seen the start of a race, so I was excited to watch it. The organizer thanked the volunteers, sponsors, etc, and then blew the airhorn and off they went. The people in front were off like a shot. The rest kind of shuffled forward until they got to the start line and most started running.

15 minutes later was when the 5K started. It seemed like no time and the organizer was calling for us to line up. I was nervous about taking my layers off so early, but my husband assured me that I'd be warm enough in the crowd. I took his word for it and took off my fleece, windshirt, scarf and hat. I had to shuffle around a bit, but I wasn't too cool.

Before long it was our turn. I was about halfway down the starting chute, so I didn't get to run at first. The people in front of me started running right before crossing the timing mat, so I was able to as well.

It took me a couple minutes to get into the run. My current running pants only stay up well once I start sweating, so I had to keep pulling them up at first. It's incredibly motivating to run in a race though. There's a total energy surrounding you. At first I was going kind of slow, but I realized I could pick it up a bit and I did.

The first little part of the race was along the roads, and the first km seemed to take a long time. When I reached it though, I gave myself a self assessment and decided that I was doing fine. I could keep going easily. Shortly after that we left the streets and ran alongside the river.

One thing that was wonderful about this race is the fact that we were surrounded by the mountains. Whichever direction we ran, we still got a great view. I don't think I fully appreciated it coupled with the disbelief that I was actually doing this, but regardless, I'm so happy I chose this as my first race.

The 2 km marker seemed to appear quickly and out of nowhere. We crossed a bridge, and I took a moment (while running) to look at the view. I wish I had pictures of it, but I didn't want to carry a camera while running.

There were people all along the race course. Some of them cheered or clapped as we passed. Some of them smiled and gave thumbs up. It was incredibly motivating feeling all the support.

I realized that I was passing people continuously. Occasionally I got passed. I played leapfrog with one woman. She was using a run/walk technique and passed me whenever she ran, but then I kept passing her when she walked. We crossed over a suspension bridge during the 3rd km that made my stomach churn. It's probably fine when there's less people on it, but I could feel it moving under me. Thank goodness it wasn't too long.

When we passed the 4km marker, people around me started gunning it. I didn't though. I knew I was going at a sustainable pace and I wanted to finish strong. I didn't have it in me to sprint the entire final km. Maybe one day I will; or maybe one day I will just go faster the whole time.

When we turned away from the river again, we were back on the road and the finish line was in sight, probably half a km away. I picked up my pace a bit. It was a bit tougher, but I knew I could keep running the final stretch at that pace. As I approached the finish line, I saw my husband waiting for me. He wasn't my focus though. The finish line is. I pushed my legs the final distance and threw my arms up in the air as I crossed.

I had done it. I finished my first race. Me. The non-runner.

Not anymore. Now I am a runner. And proud of it.

Next spring, I'll be adding "triathlete" to that title.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Did it!

I'll post a full race report later, but for now, here's a picture of me crossing the finish line of the Canmore Rocky Mountain 5K.

For the record, I have a smile on my face; I ran the whole thing; and I set my first personal best of 31:25.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Off to the races...

Here I am sporting my nifty hat (which I will not be wearing while running) and showing off my bib (which I will be wearing).

Tomorrow morning, I'm off to run my first 5K race. I stated my goals for this race in my monthly goals, but I'll repeat them here.

I intend to:
1. Run the whole race.
2. Set a personal best (should be fairly easy, given it's my first race...)
3. Finish with a smile on my face.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Three things Thursday

1. I picked up my race package today. Only 3 more sleeps left until my first 5K race! I have bib number 100. I'm not sure it means anything, but it's pretty cool that it's such a round number.

2. Spud started preschool this week. My little boy is growing up. He did perfectly fine seeing me off, but Sweetpea was not happy about it at all. At 2 years old, she's not old enough for preschool and she FLIPPED out.

3. I had my last pre-race run this morning and did 6km (3.7 mi). I'm hoping that 5K will seem easy. I also had morning dew in my hair when I arrived home. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dealing with stress

How does stress affect your body?

How do you let stress affect your body?

Two very similar questions, yet they really are different.

First of all, I'm going to cut to the chase with this week's weigh in. I weighed in at 218.8 for a weekly weight loss of 0.0 and a total weight loss of 25.

I've promised to start asking "why?" when the numbers aren't showing me what I like.

So, why?

Well, I could say last week was a stressful week for me.

Or, I could say that I let myself get stressed over a situation and take over me.

I was waiting for news on a situation that was important to me. It wasn't any kind of life altering situation, and I had a back up plan if it didn't work out the way I wanted it to. Yet, I let it take over. I obsessed over it. I stopped doing other things that were important to me and let myself be consumed with waiting for a phone call.

I had a tight little ball in my stomach. Interestingly enough, I checked my weight during this time and it showed me as being up SEVEN pounds. If that isn't proof that I need to find better ways to deal with stress, I don't know what is.

The thing is, I couldn't control the situation. But, I could control my reaction to it. I could have taken the kids to the park or done a craft with them. I'm a strong believer in attitude, and making the choice to stop obsessing over something goes a very long way towards achieving it.

Hindsight is, of course, 20/20, but I'm working on it. I generally know how to get through these situations. Rather then analyzing it afterwards, it's time for me to start acting on it in the moment.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

September goals

So, I've decided to change the way I categorize and review my goals a little bit. I'm going to break them into the categories of: diet, activity, and life. This will help me keep a balance to my goals, and I think focusing on all of those areas is key to weight loss and health.

I'm also going to do a quick review of my goals weekly, when I post my weigh in. With the monthly assessment, it seems too easy to fall into an all or nothing mentality. Looking back at August, I didn't meet over half my goals. Yet, at the same time, I think it was a good month. I think it will help to celebrate my successes more often and consider strategies to overcome my difficulties sooner.

Having said that, here are my goals for September:


1. Track everything I eat. (I use Sparkpeople to track my food.)
2. Stay within my calorie range.
3. Get enough calcium. (Calcium is one of the nutrients I track, and am almost always low on.)


1. Run my 5K race, set a personal best, and finish with a smile on my face.
2. Bike at least 3 times a week, with at least 2 of those being challenging rides.
3. Restart the 100 pushups program and stick with it through the month.

(I haven't formally included my run or swim workouts in my goals. These have reached the point of being ingrained and I will still be doing them.)


1. Keep my dishes caught up and my kitchen clean.
2. Unpack one box from the storage room each week. (We moved a year ago, and still have a lot of stuff in boxes.)

So, bring on September!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Three things Thursday

So, I have some bigger posts I need to do, including outlining my September goals, but it's Thursday. I've also got a lot on my mind, so rather then write something meaningful, I'm going to throw out a couple random things. :)

1. I have a cup of tea almost every day, and more days then not, it's peppermint tea. I am ADDICTED to sniffing the little packet that the tea bag comes out of. It just smells so pepperminty and good.

2. I live in a town with water use bylaws, and I have to say, many private homes, the town itself, and the schools flout those bylaws. I observe this because I run at 5:00 am, the time many sprinkler systems go off. They water multiple times a week (supposed to be just once), and a lot of water goes on the road and sidewalks. Shame, shame...

3. I'm stressed right now, and I don't deal well. I'm waiting for a phone call that will determine a big part of my fall schedule, and they are taking their sweet time. There's no logical reason to be as stressed about it as I am, yet I've got this little ball of stress in my stomach that won't go away. I just need to know one way or another. Call already.

I've received a number of blog awards over the last couple days, so a BIG thank you for all of those. I'll be passing them on soon, probably on the weekend.

Happy Thursday! One more day till the weekend.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A review of August

Well, August has come and gone. It was a pretty cool summer here this year, which was nice in some ways: minimal broiling days, easier running. Not as nice in others: cold nights and rainy days put a crimp in our camping plans. We used to camp in any weather, but with young kids, we've become fair weather campers.

I achieved some pretty cool things.

We (my husband and I) returned to backpacking after a 5 year absence and spent our fifth anniversary on a mountain top and by a beautiful lake.

I ran a non-stop 5K. This is huge, given that I never considered myself a runner, and 30 seconds was pushing myself before.

I swam a non-stop km. Again, huge. I don't know how many of you remember my post in May, detailing my fear of water. Not to mention my complete lack of knowledge when it came to how to swim.

Now, we get to August's goals. As pleased as I am with my accomplishments, I am a little disappointed in myself in my lack of achieving these goals. Having said that, one of the biggest reasons to blog is accountability, so here we go...

1. Track my food intake everyday.

Nope. I did pretty badly at achieving this. The month started off with the backpacking trip during which I planned to not track. That was okay, but then it took me weeks to get back on the ball. In fact, looking back through sparkspeople (which is where I track), I've only been regularly tracking since August 18. Prior to that, it is very sporadic and there is a lot of information missing. Not surprisingly, the start of losing weight again coincides quite closely with when I started tracking.

So, good that I've picked it up since then. Would have been better to be on track the whole month.

2. Run 3 days a week, Bike 3 days a week, Swim 3 days a week.

Pretty much. I definitely ran 3 days a week, and swam 3 days a week without fail. Some weeks, I only biked a couple times, though there were weeks when I biked more then 3. Biking to the pool definitely helped get it in more often.

So, great on the swimming and running. The biking could improve. I think the biggest reason I have more trouble getting it in is that I don't have a regular routine for it, the way I do for swimming and running.

3. Time how long it takes for me to swim 500 metres.

15 minutes, 30 seconds, all in front crawl. Plenty of room for improvement, but I think what I really need is to improve my technique to get better, rather then just pushing harder. I'm signed up for another swim lesson starting in October, so I'm hoping that will help.

4. Keep my dishes up and keep the island in my kitchen clean.


Yeah, not so good on this goal. I did manage to keep the dishes at a point where I could catch them up fairly easily. And the island was clean more often then usual.

I need to work on this though. It's all connected. When I start to feel overwhelmed, I have this tendency to go into shut down mode. Then I don't get things done, which makes me feel overwhelmed... Not only does the stress from this put me at danger of eating poorly, but the simple fact that my kitchen isn't clean makes me want to grab something more processed and less healthy.

5. Hike to Floe Lake in Kootenay park.

Absolutely. Definitely a highlight of the month and it proved to me how much stronger and capable I have become.

I can't wait to start doing more backpacking in the future years. Until the kids were old enough to be left overnight, it was a no-go, but they're getting older every year. In a few more years, they'll join us, but for now, I'm thankful to have such helpful grandparents. :)

This month, I'll be working a little harder to hit those goals.