Monday, July 26, 2010

Race recap - first 5K

Here at SOTS I generally ponder something for a while and then write a post. I rarely give you a day-to-day moment-to-moment account of my world. However, you get to read exactly what I experienced during my first race. The times are close, but let's be real here, it's not like I was checking my watch the whole time, so they may be off a bit.

5 AM - wake up. Feelin' nervous first race energy.

6:30 AM - alarm goes off. Get out of bed.

7:15 AM - consume massive bowl of steel cut outs.

8:15 AM - out the door.

9 AM - arrive at race.

9:01 AM - notice bouncy castle. Wonder if adults are allowed to play, too.

9:05 AM - register for race. Realize there is no chip timing or bibs despite what the website said. Boyfriend writes number 24 on my arm in provided dry erase marker.

9:10 AM - meet up with Sole Mate and wait for other Running Room Learn to Runners to arrive.

10:20 AM - check route. Locate water stations. Decide not to wear fuel belt.

10:25 AM - set Garmin for 2 x 15:1 intervals. That should put my 1 minute walk at the water station and keep me on track to finish under 30 minutes.

10:28 AM - Sole Mate and I toe the line.

10:30 AM - 5k start!!!

10:32 AM - arrive at stoplight where volunteers will ensure we can easily cross and direct us on the next leg of the race. Except... volunteers are MIA. Wait until light changes and make educated guess re: course.

10:34 AM - Sole Mate and I realize we started WAY to fast and adjust our pace.

10:36 AM - Sole Mate falls a few steps behind.

10:38 AM - Sole Mate falls further back. Suspect that ridiculously fast start killed her. Am only surviving due to genetic stubbornness (thanks, Dad!).

10:40 AM - assess situation. Am comfortable at current pace. Am running in a group of men. Can see one female running a few paces ahead of me.

10:42 AM - fairly certain the humidity has now reached 40 degrees.

10:43 AM - notice trail is very beautiful. Make note to run here again.

10:45 AM - walk break. Where's the freakin' water station? Check Garmin - am past 2.5K. What the heck?

10:47 AM - arrive at water station. They don't have water ready. Cups are empty. Bottles are in unopened 24 packs. I grab what I can and curse myself for leaving my fuel belt in the car.

10:48 AM - assure myself that even though it's 30 plus degrees outside it's okay that I don't have water because I'm more than 1/2 done.

10:49 AM - pass 2.5K sign. Check Garmin - have gone more than 3K. Curse like a sailor.

10:52 AM - pass female from earlier.

10:55 AM - fairly certain am melting. Humidity is causing breathing issues. Consider using inhaler.

10:56 AM - remember inhaler is in pocket of fuel belt... in the car.

10:57 AM - continue cursing myself for leaving fuel belt behind.

10:58 AM - begin losing a mental battle. Have no idea how long this race actually is. No clue how to pace myself. Desperately miss Sole Mate.

11:00 AM - if finish line is not around next corner I will 1) have asthma attack 2) cry or 3) scream profanities.

11:01 AM - round corner. See boyfriend taking photos. Realize finish is close. Sprint.

11:02 AM - finish!!!

11:03 AM - head directly to water tent and chug a bottle of water. Learn that route is actually 6.3K, not 5. Wonder why no one thought to mention that.

11:04 AM - cheer face off as Sole Mate crosses finish line.

11:05 AM - learn that finish times were not recorded. Whatever. Very proud of us.

11:06 AM - chug two more bottles of water while cheering on the rest of the Running Room team. Take many sweaty happy photos to commemorate the event.

11:35 AM - drive back to start point.

11:50 AM - stretch it out.

11:55 AM - winners are announced, but more importantly runners are encouraged to enjoy the bouncy castle.

11:56 AM - played in bouncy castle. Come on, what else did you think would happen?

12:00 PM - 1st race experience complete. Let's eat!

There were a few organizational bumps along the way, but all in all I’m happy with my first race experience. According to Garmin, I finished in just over 32 minutes, which means I didn’t quite make my 30 minute race goal. Given that it was sweltering out and the route was an extra 1.3K, I’m happy with 32. I was 5th overall and the first female to finish. Not too shabby.

SOTS wonders... what was your first race like?

Friday, July 23, 2010

A little friendly competition

On the first night of my Running Room Learn to Run clinic, I met my Sole Mate. We fell into pace during the first run and have stuck together ever since. We’re both running newbies. We're the same age. We get along, but don't know much about each other outside of running. She is a perfect training partner for me. We are so in sync that our RR instructor thought we knew each other before the clinic.

During our last day of Learn to Run, the instructor pulled us aside for a little chat about our first 5K race on Saturday. She told us to get our game faces on because during tomorrow's race Sole Mate and I are direct competition.

We hadn't thought of that. It never crossed our minds. When visualizing the finish line, I imagined crossing it with Sole Mate; one of those hand-holding, high-fiving joint victory moments. But one of us will have to finish before the other. There's no avoiding it.

This is my first race and I plan to finish in 30 minutes. I'm certainly not in it to win it, but I am competitive. It's one of my greatest strengths. My competitive nature motivates and drives me: to get the best grades; to do the best job; to do one more agonizing push up. I constantly try to one-up myself. My competitive nature is also a weakness. I am my own worst critic and expect perfection of myself. I also rarely take the time to acknowledge accomplishments because I'm already focused on the next goal (case in point – I’ve already signed up for Running Room’s 10K clinic).

The more I thought about it, the less comfortable I was considering Sole Mate “the competition.” Perhaps I can simply shut of my competitive nature for one race. This race is about celebrating; celebrating a new found friend and being stronger than I was before the accident. Instead of obsessing over beating other runners, I’m focusing on running a good race and attaining my time goal.

Regardless of who crosses the finish line first, I plan to give Sole Mate a big hug and marvel at how far we’ve come over the past 10 weeks. In the next race we may be each other’s competition, but tomorrow is just like every other time we hit the pavement.

SOTS wonders... what happens when your training partner becomes “the competition”? Is it possible to and should you try to turn off your competitive nature during a race?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Defining yourself

How do you define yourself? I'm talking about the deep-down fundamentals at the core of who you are.

A few months ago (yes, I've been pondering this for ages), I went for lunch with a mentor of mine. She's basically my Yoda. She wouldn't like that comparison and would much prefer I call her my Branch Rickey, but I'm trying to appeal to mass knowledge here. Anyhoo, we discussed my concussion and how it was screwing with my sense of self.

I had never taken the time to figure out what makes me tick. Luckily this extremely insightful woman had and her conclusions were spot on.

She proposed that I define myself in the following way:
1. I am tough and can handle anything on my own.
2. I am a hard-worker who will go above and beyond the call of duty.
3. I am an active and contributing member of society.

No wonder I felt I was losing myself! The concussion proved that I was not as tough as I like to think I am. I had to quit my job and was no longer hard-working. I spent hours on the couch alone, so there goes my contribution to society. Okay, I realize I'm being a drama queen, but it's how I felt at the time.

I was terrified that I wouldn't be "me" again; that those core elements I used to define myself were gone. I wasn't entirely sure I liked the new "me." I was scared my friends and family would secretly wish I was who I used to be. I kept trying to get back to being the person I was before the accident.

Slowly but surely the "me-ness" returned: my sense of humour came back; my ability to express myself returned; my physical strength grew. I felt more and more like myself.

And I stopped trying to be the "me" from before my accident. Luckily, with healing came wisdom. I learned from the accident and became a richer person for the experience. I wouldn’t go back to being the woman without this new wealth of knowledge.

I look at the way I defined myself pre-accident. I don't know for sure, but I suspect my core values have shifted in the past few months. Only time will tell, but I'm curious to see how I will define myself in the future.

SOTS wonders... How do you define yourself? Can your core values change or are they an inherent part of you?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Eating safety net

After breaking up with Weight Watchers, counting Points bothers me. I have been calorie counting in one form or another for years. I'm sick of looking at food and seeing numbers. I need a mental break.

As a child, I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full. I was very in tune with my body's needs and wants. When I didn't want to eat something, there was no making me consume it (there were many untouched broccoli florets in my childhood).

Somewhere along the way I lost the connection to my body. I started eating what the latest fad told me to eat – low carb, fat free, no sugar added. I consumed a specific number of Points or calories regardless of my hunger. Some days I ate when I wasn't hungry just to meet my caloric goal. Other times I went hungry because I was out of Points for the day.

When I started my elimination diet, the nutritionist wanted me to give up counting and start listening to my body. Over the two months, I was more aware of my body, but I still diligently counted WW Points. My brain couldn’t process the concept of eating without restrictions.

I may be sick of Points and counting, but I'm not sure I'm ready for full blown intuitive eating. Ultimately I'll get there, but I need a stepping stone. Truth be told, I actually need a safety net. I don't trust myself to honestly evaluate my eats if I can't see them in writing. No numbers or measurements - just the time of day, my hunger level, and what I eat in general terms.

It’s scary to give up counting after so long. I’m afraid that without the self-imposed limitations my eating will get out of control. It’s ridiculous that I don’t trust myself to know when I’m full. It’s so simple in writing. Ask myself if I’m hungry. If the answer is no, put down the tasty treat. No problem in theory. Now let’s see how it goes in execution.

SOTS wonders… does intuitive eating scare or exhilarate you?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2010 goal update

1. Try yoga.

UPDATE: Done. I started practicing yoga in January and haven’t looked back. I used to avoid yoga because I didn’t think I could quiet my mind. Plus, I’m not very flexible. Now I take an hour each week to focus on restoring and rejuvenating my body and mind.

2. Reach/maintain a healthy body weight.

UPDATE: Half way there. I’ve reached goal. Hooray! Now for the maintaining part…

3. Stop biting my hands.

UPDATE: So far no good. Any advice is welcome. This is proving to be a tough one for me.I’ve realized that I’m less likely to bite and pick my hands if my nails are polished so I’ll be giving myself more manicures in the future.

4. Go to spin class.

UPDATE: Not yet. I don’t have a gym membership right now and won’t until I’m employed. This will happen as soon as I’m back living the Goodlife.

5. Learn to run.

UPDATE: Heck yes! I run my first 5K on July 24. Eep, that’s next weekend.

6. Find a better life/work balance.

UPDATE: Well, I can’t really do this one yet since I don’t have a job. My doctors have approved my return to the workforce so I’m currently job hunting. I am looking at job opportunities very carefully to ensure the positions I apply to will allow for a healthy life/work balance.

2.5 out of 6. I better get a move on! Half the year is already gone.

SOTS wonders… how are you doing with your goals?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Run like a horse

I've decided to tackle something that's been bugging me for years. I want to be a runner.

Back in public school, I ran track and field. I have a box of red ribbons to show that I was a decent sprinter. My tiny stick legs were speedy and I loved being one of the fastest girls in class.

Then it all changed one fateful afternoon. I was running the 400 metre race at the local track and field meet. As I crossed the finish line, I heard one of the coolest boys in class say "she runs like a horse." In my pre-pubescent self-conscious mind that meant "she looks ugly when she runs." I'm ashamed to admit that I stopped running. I would only run during organized sports and even then I worried about how I looked.

Years passed and I spent a good deal of time on the elliptical and my bike. Once or twice I even ventured out to try running, but never made it past 5 minutes. Jealousy raged whenever I saw someone out for a jog. I wanted to do that.

A few months ago, I’d had enough wishing so I signed up for The Running Room's Learn to Run program. I'm not a runner yet, but I'm getting there. I have my first 5K race on July 24.

I’m horrified that one comment and my own insecurity kept me from running. Although at the time I thought the cool boy was insulting me, I think it was actually a compliment. I mean, have you watched a horse run? It’s damn impressive. They’re fast and graceful. I hope I still run like a horse.

SOTS wonders... what aren't you doing that you could be? What's holding you back?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Breaking up with Weight Watchers

At first, I was so in love. Weight Watchers seemed like a perfect fit. Once the honeymoon period was over, it turned into a bad relationship. WW and I simply weren't seeing eye-to-eye. I tried to make it work, but we had different goals. It was hard to admit, but the relationship was over and it was time to say goodbye.

I joined WW to lose those last few really stubborn pounds. At first, all was going well and I figured I'd be rocking Lifetime in a few short months. Then I stalled. Then I gained. Then I lost. Then I stalled. Then I gained. Then I lost. Then I stalled. You get the picture.

I finally realized that my body was telling me it was done. I was at my happy, healthy, natural body weight. Yippee! I decided to call Goal.

Unfortunately WW wouldn't let me because I hadn't lost enough weight since joining. I pondered that. First, I came up with some crazy ways I could lose the weight and officially call goal. Luckily I was reminded that this is about health not a number on the scale (Thanks, Jess!). I decided not to let an international company dictate my body. So, WW and I broke up.

It's been about a month and, I have to tell you, I feel great. This has been a three-year, 46-pound weight loss journey. There have been ups and downs; six-month plateaus; entire Deep 'n' Delicious cakes consumed; and many nutrition books read. The result? I haven't had such a healthy relationship with my body in years.

SOTS wonders... if you've lost weight, how did you know when you were done? Was it a number on the scale, how your jeans fit, or simply a feeling?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Isn't that sweet

Big thanks to Michelle over at Garlic Chronicles. She presented me with my first blogger award. I'm very honoured (especially since I've been slacking on my posts lately).

The rules of the award state that I need to link back to the person who honoured me, list 10 little known things about myself, and share the award with five bloggers I admire. Here we go:

1. I've broken both ankles, but not at the same time.
2. I treasured Popples when I was a kid.
3. I blast show tunes while cleaning the apartment.
4. I've read every Sweet Valley High book ever written.
5. I was prom queen.
6. My childhood idol was She-ra.
7. I subscribe to National Geographic.
8. I rarely reply to event invitations on Facebook.
9. I eat a jar of almond butter each week.
10. I'm a morning person.

For more random fact about me, check out this post.

Now the five bloggers I admire. I look forward to reading each and every one of their posts.
Jess at Truly into Fitness
Allie at Dancing in My Nuddy Pants
Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers
Jamie at Embracing Balance
Angela at Oh She Glows