Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mission Accomplished! I Ran the Army Ten Miler!

I'm happy to report that I successfully ran the Army Ten Miler (ATM) on October 24, 2010! The weather was perfect; crisp, clear and sunny! I didn't follow a specific training program, but I made sure I did long runs every two to three weeks till I built up to my last long run of ten miles.

All of my training runs were completed on a treadmill as I never run outside, well I shouldn't say "never", I used to run outside, but prior to the race, it had been almost a year since I did so. I was glad I ran ten miles on a treadmill, it gave me the last bit of confidence I needed to run the ATM.

The ATM was the largest race I had ever run, 30,000 runners paid the entry fee to embark on a ten mile run through the streets of Washington, DC. I relished every minute of the race, even before it started, it was very inspiring to be in the large crowd of runners lined up at the start line.

I was nervous about my pacing as I was accustomed to having the treadmill do my pacing for me. I started off slowly, I didn't care who passed me, slow and steady would get me to the finish line. The first mile seemed to take forever, miles two and three blew by and before I knew it I was halfway done!

My favorite part of the race was going down and back on Independence Avenue. The sidewalks were lined with crowds, as tons of people came out to cheer for us. I ran without my mp3 player, something else I was nervous about, music always carried me through my runs, but on that day, the crowds got me through.

I was never alone during the race, I was always surrounded by other runners. I was in awe of everything and everyone, here we were, different shapes, sizes, genders, races, etc...yet we had one common goal, to train for and complete the ATM. Running in a race is the most motivational and inspiring thing you can do as a runner, the race itself is "easy", well relatively speaking since the training is the hardest part, the race lets you enjoy the fruits of your labor.

I had the best run ever, I didn't have many aches and pains until the last couple of miles, but by then I just wanted to get to the finish line and I focused my thoughts on how good it would feel to cross it.

Not only was my goal to complete the race, but I wanted to do so without taking walk breaks. I was like the little engine that could, I think I can, I think I can, I know I can, I know I can...

The feeling of crossing the finish line was priceless, I will never forget how I felt that day! I smiled the rest of the day, well except for the aches and pains I had later on! I am proud of myself for reaching my goal and I'm looking ahead to which race I will run next, I think there's a 10k next month!

Happy Running...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Training for the Army Ten Miler

It has been 8 years since I trained for a race, last one I did was the Marine Corps Marathon in 2002. I took a long break from distance running, but I'm back and ready to do it again. I used the Jeff Galloway training program to train for the marathon, the Galloway program incorporates walking breaks, so you run for a few minutes, then walk a minute and alternate throughout the race, adjusting the intervals as needed. Today I run without walking breaks and I set my eyes on a new race.

Two weeks ago I surprised myself by running 7 miles without stopping, the longest distance (at that time) I had ever run without stopping. I was so excited about it that I updated my Facebook status and said I wished I would have registered for the Army Ten Miler in late October. Someone I know commented and said I could have her bib as she signed up, but can't run now. After confirming with her, we completed the transfer through the website so it is legitimate and I am good to go.

I'm excited about the race, but also nervous since I haven't completed a race in 8 years! I train at the gym and I'm not used to running with others so I may have to do a 5k or 10k before the race to get used to running around others. I am amazed at how far I've come, never thought I'd run long distances without walking breaks!

This month I had perfect attendance at the gym. I did not miss a single weekday workout and I worked out two Saturdays this month. I ran a total of 70 miles plus worked out on the elliptical machines. I'm a bit sore today as I completed my first 8 mile run without stopping Monday and did a long cardio workout yesterday. I ran 4 miles today and my leg muscles are screaming, a massage would feel good now!

I have plenty of time to train, I really need to find a training program, but I'm happy with where I am and if I keep this up, 10 miles won't feel so long, reminds me of my marathon training days, long runs made the short ones (10 miles was short) feel like a piece of cake!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Trying to Catch World Cup Fever

The World Cup reminds me of the Olympics, it comes every four years and it is watched around the world. I admit, I'm not a soccer fan, though I like to look at the hot players, soccer players are some of the best looking athletes, but try as I may, I just can't get into the sport.

While it is not my cup of tea, I'm forcing myself to like it, at least during World Cup. I completed a bracket in a friend's pool, no money was involved and I was pretty clueless about my picks. It will be interesting to see how I do, lots of dumb luck will be needed for me to do anything.

I was supposed to go out to watch the USA vs. England game on Saturday, but I was slow moving and found out that the bar was filled and a line started so I decided to stay home and watch in peace and quiet. The horns annoyed me to death, I swear they gave me a headache!

I had a hard time concentrating on the game, I wanted to like it, it just doesn't excite me. And I don't understand the ties or draws in soccer, there should be a winner and loser, not a tie! I talked to a friend about this and he explained that it was similar to ice hockey before the shootouts, but I barely remember that. He also said that the players can't play for forever, they get tired. I agreed that was a good point, but I still think there should be a winner.

While I am totally clueless about this sport, I will keep tabs on it, enough so that I can talk the talk and fake like I know what I'm talking about. Not sure I will get to see the next USA game this Friday, but I will keep tabs on the score. Go USA!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

On Becoming a Gym Rat

I am giving myself a huge pat on the back! I have finally become one of the people I never thought I'd become, the one who HAS to go the gym and workout! Over the past few months, I've been very good about working out on a regular basis and watching what I eat. I am very disciplined most weeknights, I tend to save the splurging for the weekends.

Last month was challenging for me as I went on two vacations to places where eating healthy is impossible and drinking alcohol is required nightly. I gained a few pounds after the first trip, but I stayed the same after the second trip! The second trip consisted of so much walking that I didn't gain and I couldn't have been happier when I weighed in post vacation.

I normally rotate morning and lunchtime workouts, I can't always get up to go to the gym in morning, I have to get up super early and sometimes I don't sleep well or don't feel great in the morning so I skip the workout and do it during lunch. I've been good about going during lunch, the downside is that I am rushed and don't get to workout for very long.

This week turned a new page as I wasn't able to go in the mornings and lunchtime was challenge so I went after work all week! I haven't done a night time workout in forever, but I forced myself to do it and it wasn't so bad after all. This workout time will take some getting used to and I don't think I could do it all the time, but it is good to know it is an option.

I feel like a gym rat now because I have turned into the person that used to annoy me, the one who has to go to the gym and doesn't blow it off. I have been very good and will continue to keep up the good work. The scale still goes up and down a pound here and there, but I know that this is a process and it doesn't happen over night and if I can maintain my weight right now then I will be happy. Recently I tried on some summer skirts, ones that were snug last summer and all of them fit! That was the best feeling of all!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Taking a Different Approach to Weight Loss

After being on Nutrisytem for 2.5 weeks, I decided to go off of it. I purchased it via QVC and they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee so I can send back the rest of the uneaten food for a full refund. I do not like most of the food on this particular plan, it is Summer Sizzle program limited to QVC.

There are pros and cons to the Nutrisystem program. I liked knowing exactly what I should eat each day, the menu is easy to follow and I will probably stick to some of the snacks like having a piece of fruit with dairy or protein. Grocery shopping was easy since I knew exactly what to buy and I did not stray from my list and I probably spent less money by shopping that way.

Some of the food was ok, mainly the breakfasts and desserts/snacks, I did not care for most of the lunches or dinners. They were very bland and not filling, lots of lunches consisted of soups that I didn't care for. The lunch bars were good, but it is weird eating a chocolate fudge bar as the main portion of a meal. The plan doesn't sound expensive when you break it down by meal, but it feels costly when you spend about $200 on four weeks of food and that does not include the other foods you need to fill in and the food for weekends so it add up quickly.

During the first week, I had some stomach issues related to the consumption of the Nutrisytem food. I had cramping and was bloated. After some research, I learned this is common and it would pass, which it thankfully did and I was able to eat the food again without any problems.

Going off Nutrisystem does not end my shape up for summer and weight loss efforts. I am taking a different approach, one that I did a long time ago and it worked, I shed 15 pounds and hope to do the same or close to it this time.

I will plan most of my meals and fill up on fruits and veggies. I find that big salads are great for making me feel full and I add a carb and a protein. Breakfast will consist of fruit and protein or dairy. Snacks will be fruit. I will not keep snacks around that can be easily over consumed like big bags of popcorn, only 100 calorie bags are allowed.

I've been good about hitting the gym, I have been every weekday for the past 2.5 weeks. I am back on track, I have to go or I feel lazy and guilty about it. I ready to keep this up. I shed a few pounds on Nutrisystem, but no it is time to do things my way.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Learning How to Eat Again

I've been on Nutrisystem a week and half. For the most part, I have been good about following the program, but there are times when I slip up like forgetting to eat the afternoon snack and last weekend was hard, while I didn't pig out or anything, I did not follow the suggested weekend eating plan.

I am learning how to eat again. This may sound strange, but I am talking about eating appropriate portions and not overeating. I run three days/week and before Nutrisystem I would eat a bit more the nights before the runs thinking that I needed more fuel to complete my runs, but after running five times since being on the program, I realize that I do not need to eat more.

Nutrisystem prepacked meals are correct serving sizes. The pizza wasn't bad, while it didn't have much flavor, it satisfied my craving for carbs. While I don't love most of the food on this plan, some foods are better than others, I find that I am always hungry after eating, the food doesn't fill me up, but my body is getting used to the serving sizes and I'm sure I will slowly adjust to it and fill up more after eating.

Even though I am hungry after eating, I am playing by the rules and not going back to the fridge to graze for more. When the food is gone from my plate, I am done eating, something that isn't always easy to do. I wish I could eat more, but I can't and I always survive. I've learned that I don't need to eat as much as I thought to function and workout.

Course if I increase my running distance, I may need an extra serving of carbs, but I will cross that bridge when I get to it. In the meantime I am being religious about working out, I've been to the gym every weekday for the past two weeks, which isn't always easy, but I have come to terms with it and know that it is something I must do without any excuses.

In the meantime my body will continue to adjust to this new eating pattern, while eating is a physiological need, there are right and wrong ways to do it and I am still learning the right way.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In Memory of Debra Schiebel

In this fast-paced world, it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day details of our lives without giving thought to the one thing we take for granted, life itself. This realization came to me yesterday when I learned that a former coworker, Debra Schiebel, was fatally hit by a truck during a routine jog in Washington, DC.

I heard about it on the news, it freaked me out since I live close to where it happened and because it was such a sad and tragic way to die. I primarily run at the gym, but run outside once in a while and thought what if that happened to me?

About a week later, I learned that the woman who was fatally hit was someone I worked with six years ago. I didn't know her very well, she kept to herself, but was always friendly. I ran into three years ago when I joined a gym close to where I live and learned she was a member. She was religious about working out and also an avid runner.

I am deeply saddened about her untimely death. I can't stop thinking about what her final moments were like, what was she thinking about, was she killed on impact? She died shortly after the accident so I don't think she suffered very long, hopefully not at all.

I thought about her when I arrived at the gym this morning, was hard to believe that I wouldn't see her anymore. She always worked out on the same machine and it was weird seeing the machine without her on it.

This made me think about life and how short and precious it really is. This incident hit too close to home for me, it made me realize that I shouldn't take anything for granted. We all know we shouldn't take things for granted, but it is so easy to do so. Life is busy, hectic and complicated and we never take the time to stop and smell the roses.

Debra, I will miss seeing you at the gym, seeing you workout so feverishly always inspired me to push myself harder. I will stop to smell the roses that you cannot smell anymore. Rest in peace Debra.