Monday, October 31, 2011

Race Recap(s): Moonlight Run 5K & Atl Marathon Relay

I have had one eventful month of running in October! It all started with me finally achieving my goal of completing a 5k in under 30 minutes in the Firefly Run Atl 5k! Next, being proud of the increasing amount of women who come out and join my running group's weekly runs of which I volunteer and lead weekly. It feels so good that while you're accomplishing your goals, you're also inspiring others whether they say it out loud or not. Next, was another night 5k I completed, with a little soreness in my knee, but I PR'd once again with a time of 28:46. I just couldn't believe it! And then, the achievement that almost, but not really trumps them all, yet it's what all of my other accomplishments have led up to... I'm talking about my participation in an actual marathon-related ANYTHING yesterday!

Waiting for the 7am race start in 30something degree weather!
Just yesterday, I completed, along with my four member team, a marathon relay. There were four legs of the race. The first leg ran 5.5 miles, second leg ran 8.4 miles, third leg ran 5.1 miles, and I (the fourth leg) ran 7.2 miles! This was a HUGE thing for me. I'm tearing up just thinking about everything I've done to change my life physically and emotionally and how it all seemed to lead up to yesterday's race.
Definitely felt the need to order this in time for the race
Where do I start? Well, first of all, I had no intentions on running in this race. I had actually signed up to be a Mile 20 volunteer just so that I could at least SEE what it's like to run a marathon (this may be a 2013 goal of mine). But, per the vision of my running mentee, who had the idea of putting together a team of women who are all pretty new to distance running, we were formed...actually about a month before the race. We were all pretty nervous, but had already been working on increasing our mileage, so we knew it could be done. We quickly just thought of a team name and went out and practiced the route.

I practiced my mucho hilly 7.2 miles (which ended up more than 7.2 in actuality), twice. The first time I practiced, that was my first time running 6 miles, let alone the 8 it ended up being because we got the route a little wrong. I realize that's not an excellent way to increase your distance and that I should of increased my mileage slower than that, I think. (I now realize that may be the culprit of my knee soreness). That first practice of the route was excellent, I killed ALL of the hills (GA is very hilly), kept a consistent 9:30 to 10:00 pace throughout, and never had to stop. The second week, I experienced a little knee soreness, still didn't feel the need to stop, felt good after mile 3 anyway. So I thought everything should be great on race day. I thought I'd just eat a little cleaner, keep up my upper body and core exercises throughout the week, and everything should be smooth sailing on race day.

So, race day. I was anxious, of course and ready to get it over with. Adrenaline was definitely pumping. My knee didn't hurt at all, I didn't have any bowels trying to escape, thank God! Everything was actually smooth sailing. The route was a little different from what I practiced in the beginning, because there was an extra hill that um, I wasn't prepared for in the beginning. Nevertheless, I made it to the top and through to mile 5 and THAT'S where the (excuse my french) SH*T started to hit the fan! The last two miles or so of that freakin' race (reminding you, I've practiced this part) was BRUTAL! I mean, I struggled. I stopped and walked a couple times. I was so mad at myself for stopping and walking on race day when I didn't feel the need to stop the TWO times I had done the route the before. I knew my team was waiting on me at the end, and at some points I could care less even about that. There was a lot of self talk involved, a lot of switching songs on my playlist, and encouragement from my fellow running group member who had been using me as a pacer the whole time (little did I know) that somehow got me near the end. Speaking of switching playlist. I'm scrapping the entire thing and starting ANEW!

Once I finally reached the near end, and probably had the look of "F this ISH!" and "why the HELL am I doing this ISH again?" look all over my face, there was my relay team waiting for me. Once I saw them, I got this sudden boost of energy in my legs and sprinted with them towards the finish line. Our team goal was to finish the marathon in 4:30 minutes. Our clock time said 4:32 minutes.
My goodness! What a wonderful feeling to be a FINISHER!
I had a good overall pace, even with the stops during the end (my split for mile 7 was like 11:something, and the rest were 9's and 10's). I felt no pain, like I said. I was just TIRED towards the end. I don't know what I needed to get me through. I hadn't trained with carrying water or whatever. I always made sure I had proper nutrition and hydration prior to the event. Because this was only 7 miles. Or so I thought. I definitely don't know about participating in the Thanksgiving Half Marathon now. Not because I don't think I can do it, but because I may need to give my body a rest. I may just focus on doing my first 10k race in November or December instead, I don't know. Overall, I am pretty proud of my team. At least we finished. Now, to get our correct official time.

Nike dri-fit shirt, Yeah! I love race goodies!

This from the shy girl who never liked to sweat and hated P.E.

Cajun Red Beans & Rice

It just dawned on me that I did not count the calories for this meal. I haven't counted calories in about 3 weeks now. Partly due to laziness and the other part is that I've wanted to wean myself off of counting calories so much. I just can't see myself doing it everyday anymore. I've talked about how I don't want to do it forever anyway. Now, I have been monitoring my weight, and it's only fluctuated maybe 3-5lbs. I'm definitely not worried about that. Now, an additional 10lbs, yeah. I've been maintaining my running schedule and cross training workouts in the mix pretty consistently, so I have nothing to worry about. I've also had a major race and a PR (personal record) I wanted to finish with specific goals, so that kept me on track by itself. That will be a separate post. For now, here's a new recipe I had been meaning to try.

I found this recipe, which was originally a vegan recipe from someone's blog I read. This is like the umpteenth time I've found a recipe and then forgot to note whose blog I've found it from to give them proper credit. Anyhoo, it was my every intention on trying the vegan version, but (and I hate that I used this as an excuse to) my local grocery didn't have it AND the closest full-blown organic grocery store is forever away from my house. I would need to already be in the area to go there. I'll probably make a trip soon.

The recipe is somewhat clean, minus the beef sausage and Worcestershire sauce I used in place of the vegan versions.

(for 4 servings--I clearly made a huge pot, which was way than more than 4 servings): 
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 onion, chopped
-2 cloves of garlic
-1 green bell pepper
-1 1/2 cups cooked red beans
-1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
-4 oz vegan sausage
-2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
-1 tsp sea salt
-1/2 tsp liquid smoke
-hot sauce
lots of onions, bell pepper, beef sausage, and garlic

sauteed (can I use that word, I'm no real cook? lol) using olive oil 

I had never cooked red beans before. I didn't know it was so much of a process. Also, the taste was actually kind of bland at first. My suggestion is to season it to your liking. I just added more sea salt and hot sauce to my portion. I still think this is a good go to comfort meal for the colder months that's still a healthier option. =)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

You've set your goals, now how will you stick with them?

I'm the type of person that needs structure.  I need a plan in order to reach my goals.  Mental plans, written out plans, whatever...they all work for me. Most people I know join gyms to help motivate them to continue with their workout plans because they are a) paying for this b) are surrounded by like-minded folk and c) it's what the cool people do when you want to lose weight. 

A little known fact (well, for people who actually know me in real life) is that I've never wanted to join a gym or have felt completely comfortable the times I've gone. I would always stay the bare minimum and do the same thing each visit for fear of looking like a rookie. The gym can be an intimidating place for a newbie.

So, how did I stick with my plan to lose the weight? Well, because I am a person who needs structure and also a self-motivated person, I was completely fine with following workout DVDs from home, following the C25k running program, and other genius iPhone fitness apps (i.e. Nike Training)  I've discovered along the way. Now, I did go to the gym to use the elliptical machine and occasionally lift weights, and matter of fact that was where majority of my cardio would come from. My apartment complex has a very small gym barely used by the residents, so most times I'd have it all to myself.
Most people need workout buddies, and maybe it's my personality, but I don't. I wanted to lose weight so bad I could taste it. Well, maybe not taste it, but I sure could see what I wanted to look like anyway. I constantly visualized myself the way I wanted to look (& still do). Those mental pictures kept me going on days I wanted to stop. I set short term goals to reward and encourage myself along the way. My long term goals began to seem more easily attainable once I knew I could meet those short-term goals.  I never deprived myself of foods or even activities I knew I would enjoy because I wanted to lose weight. I remained focus, but you HAVE to learn how to get "along" with foods that ARE going to be around regardless. Fact is, everyone else is not on the same journey as you are and regardless to whether or not you want to completely give up sugar, for example, you need to learn how to be around it without having a mental breakdown and causing a setback.
Once something has become routine, it's hard to stop. Decide what works for you and dedicate yourself. Remember that it didn't take over night for you to become "that" way, so it's not going to take overnight to "fix" it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Race Recap: Firefly Run ATL

I'm super late with this post...
The FireFly Run Atlanta was my first night 5k (10/1/11) and it was so much fun! At first I was going to use this as a "fun run", but with a $35 registration cost, I quickly recanted that thought.  I decided this was going to be the perfect race for me to earn a new personal best in the 5k.  Not only had I done the route several times with my running group (before they made the route public), I loved that it was at night and we'd have glow-in-the-dark gadgets, etc.  I love, love, love running in cooler temps.  Matter of fact, that's how I started out.

The most exciting news is that I PR'ed! Yep, I'm finally apart of the sub-30 club, finishing at 29:10.  I had a goal of finishing sub-29, so that 10 seconds is kind of annoying.  I'm blaming that on the hill at the very end though.

In other news, I'm back down to 140lbs (my original -60lb weight goal and what I now consider my "race weight") I have two more races this month. One is another night race I'm doing for the camaraderie and in support of another up and coming runner.  At the end of the month I'm doing a major race (at least for me), the Atlanta Marathon Relay. I'm very excited to be apart of a relay team, and not until last week did I think being apart of a marathon (besides volunteering) would be occurring so soon.  But more details on that in a later post.  

Here's a few pictures from my night race...(I vow to get better with remembering to take pics in the first place lol)