Sunday, November 15, 2009

Girls on the Run 5k Recap **Updated**

So, awhile back I ran across the organization Girls on the Run...Mentors work with girls in 3rd through 8th grade and use running as a tool to talk about self respect and healthy living. I'm really not what you'd call a kid person...much more likely to volunteer for animals than children...But, this program seems like a really great way to help girls channel their energy in a positive direction. And, I wanted to do something, so I signed up for their 5k, which doubles as a charity event and the culmination of the girls' running training.

I've done a 5k in Forest Park before, but it's a huge park, and the course mapped out for the run yesterday was totally different than the other race, with several uphills.

Since this is my third 5k, I was really focused on improving my time. When I ran in September, I finished in 29:27. I was aiming this time for somewhere around a 9 minute mile.

The start time was 9:00 a.m., and I'd already picked up my race packet (complete with an awesome long sleeve wicking t-shirt), so I rolled into Forest Park around 8:15. Good thing...The roads surrounding the event were already closed due to a 1 mile fun run earlier that morning. I ended up parking about a half mile away at the Art Museum and walking to the event. Oh. My. Goodness. There were little girls everywhere. I had highly underestimated the size of the run. About 3,000 people were participating, about 3/4 of whom were kids.

Jackie Joyner Kersee was the guest emcee and gave the girls a pep talk before the race began. I positioned myself toward the start of the pack in hopes of getting out to a quick start. The starting horn blew at 9:00:32 and I crossed the starting line at 9:00:51. This didn't turn out to be a great race to plan on making PRs...The program focuses on having fun running, but I don't think they discussed things like "race etiquette." It took me awhile to get through the herds...About a mile or so in, I finally found myself with a free space to move.

I slowed down for a sip of water at the 2 mile mark, otherwise I kept moving. I was a bit sore, and frankly my legs just weren't moving that well, but I crossed the finish line at 9:29:15. Based on my own watch (the official times from our D-tags should be out later this week), I figure I ran in 28:06. Not bad for the slow start.

My math skills are worse than I thought...Offical results are in and according to chip time, I finished in 29:08...about 20 seconds faster than last time, but no minute faster like I thought from my watch. Boo! Still, out of 2662 participants, I finished 265th. And among 2253 female runners I finished 174th. Next time for the 28!

Friday, November 13, 2009

8 Months Later

Eight months ago, I decided to change my life. At 30 years old, I'd been to the doctor for a check-up and discovered that my cholesterol and blood pressure were both borderline high. I was too young to be this unhealthy, so I decided it was time to get it under control. I'd once been an athlete, and I wanted that strong, healthy body back....
I started on March 20th as part of a small group of girls with similar goals through a weight loss challenge hosted by Ash Is Fit. I didn't blog much about my journey on here, not in specifics anyway b/c I was ashamed. Ashamed of the way I'd let my body go and of the unflattering numbers associated with it. But no more...Being honest (with myself mostly) has been a big part of my success. So here are a couple of before photos:

My starting stats were:
Weight: 198 lbs
Body Fat: 28.8%
BMI: 28.4
Body Measurements:

  • Bust - 40.5 in
  • Waist - 35 in
  • Hips - 46 in
  • Arms - 14 in
  • Thighs - 26 in
  • Calves - 16 in

When I started running, I did the C25K program and found even the interval running incredibly difficult. But I kept going...little by little, I was able to move farther and faster than I thought possible.

I also watched my calorie intake and came to really understand how many calories I had been consuming a day versus how many I actually needed according to BMR.

Fast forward 8 months...

Okay...these photos are from over a month ago but I haven't taken any of myself recently...need to work on that.

My current stats are:
Weight: 164 lbs
Body Fat: 22.8%
BMI: 23.5
Body Measurements:
  • Bust - 37 in
  • Waist - 31 in
  • Hips - 42 in
  • Arms - 13 in
  • Thighs - 21 in
  • Calves - 15 in
That's a lot of inches gone (2 full pants sizes)! My original goal was to lose 48 lbs by now. 8 months later I've lost 33 lbs. Two pounds a week was a bit ambitious it turns out. There were weeks I lost more than two and weeks I stayed the same or gained. I averaged about a pound a week. I'm not disappointed that I haven't lost all 50 yet...17 to go! If I can keep up an average of about a pound a week, I should reach my goal by the end of Feb/beginning of March!

Aside from the obvious health benefits, one of the biggest outcomes of all this has been the huge boost in my confidence. Not just in how I look, although shopping has become infinitely more fun again. But, I've really started to believe I can do anything. A year ago I never would have signed up for a 5k, let alone a half marathon. But, I set a goal to lose weight, and I have...I set a goal to become a runner, and I'm well on my way!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why I've Been MIA

There's been a new addition to the family...Meet Ozzie (as in Smith, not Osbourne). B. took me to a local shelter last Saturday to see if there was a kitten I wanted to adopt for my upcoming birthday. I was smitten with this little grey striped guy right away.
However, the transition at home has been rough. Karma, my other cat, has been an "only child" for four years and hasn't taken too kindly to the new kitten. No fighting, just lots of hissing. I think she's actually more afraid of him than angry. Which is weird b/c she's about three times the size of him.
Then on Monday night, I noticed that he was sneezing and wheezing a lot, so we had to go to the vet yesterday and found that he has an upper respiratory virus...That means we get to feed him (i.e., force into his mouth) antibiotics twice a day for 10 days. That's about as much fun as it sounds. Plus, I've been constantly worried that he's not eating enough or using his litter box. And, he stays up all night and sleeps all day. Yikes...if cats are this hard, what would I do with kids???
That said, I've skipped two workouts this week (partially from being exhausted and partially to rest my hip that was giving me trouble again). But, I've got a 5k on Saturday, so hopefully that will get me back into the swing of things!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Review: No More Trouble Zones & Banish Fat Boost Metabolism

In addition to running, I'm a big believer in doing strength work. I don't have any hard science to prove this next statement, but since I started strength training on my days off from running, I've experienced far fewer aches and pains in my hips and knees.
That said, I'm not a fan of regular old weight lifting. You couldn't pay me to lift at the gym with all the sweaty, grunting men who populate the weight area. So, I resort to doing dvds at home. I've tried Workout: One-on-One Training with Jackie, Mari Windsor: Pilates, and my favorite, 30 Day Shred. I love Jillian Michaels and the Shred was great, but I've been doing it on and off for over a year and want a workout longer than 20 minutes without having to do two levels in a row. I'd seen Jillian's newer dvds, No More Trouble Zones and Banish Fat Boost Metabolism but hadn't gotten around to picking them up until I saw both dvds on sale at Target for $10 a piece. It was too good a deal to pass up.

No More Trouble Zones is the strength training video. The work out is set up as a cardio warm-up (5 minutes), 6 strength circuits (40 minutes) and a cool down stretch (5 minutes). When I began the warm-up, I recognized some of the moves from the Shred dvd and was momentarily concerned that I was getting a lengthened version of what I was already burned out on. But, while there were a few repeated moves (plank row, squat/overhead press), there were plenty of different exercises to keep me interested.

I also liked the time break down in each circuit better than the Shred. Each circuit has about 5 moves that you work through twice. I don't have a ton of upper body strength, so it was nice to change moves frequently. It kept me from getting too tired and allowed me to really focus on that move. And, even though there was no cardio interval in this workout, the compound moves (lunges while doing curls, etc.) had my heart rate up, and by the time the cool down rolled around, I was covered in sweat.

One thing I'd recommend, though, that Jillian didn't mention until about half way through the circuit portion, would be to use lighter weights than you normally would. I started the dvd with 10 lb dumbbells and was having real trouble completing each set without resting. Then Jillian notes that she's using 3 lb weights even though she can lift much more because many of the circuits focus on the same muscle group nonstop for 5 minutes. When I heard this, I switched to my 5 lb weights and found it much more doable.

In addition to strength training, I also like to mix up running with a little cross-training. Banish Fat Boost Metabolism was made up of 6 cardio circuits of about 5 moves each repeated twice. Many of the moves were kicks and punches from kick boxing. I have also done Jillian's cardio kick boxing workout, and again there were a few repeated moves but plenty of new stuff I hadn't tried before.

I did this dvd for the first time right after I finished No More Trouble Zones...I was already a little tired, but it took no time at all before my heart was pounding out of my chest. However, Jillian alternated between calisthenic moves like jumping jacks and high knees to punches to kicks so that I felt like I had time to catch my breath and slow my heart rate a little between the harder exercises.

After I completed both dvds, I was dripping sweat and felt tired in the best way possible. The next day I was sore (not in a painful way, just enough to know I'd worked hard); my triceps and lower abs, two places I'm always trying to tone, were especially sore. Thus far, I'd have to say I'd recommend both dvds. I'm excited to see what the combination of these two dvds can do for me. I'm also interested to see how a stronger core and legs will improve my running ability. Two thumbs up, Jillian!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Creature of New Habits

The fall time change is my least favorite event of the year...I'm a summer girl. I love the heat and the sunshine that lasts until late in the evening. And, functioning as it progressively gets dark earlier and earlier is always a challenge for me. When I finish work and it's already dark, something inside me says it's time to climb into pjs and eat comfort food. This is a bigger concern for me this year, 1. because I want to stay on track to reach my goal weight (17 lbs to go!) and 2. because of my desire to run outside.

Even if I finished my work day at 4 p.m., which is iffy on most days, by the time I got changed and on the road, it would be well on its way to dark. So, the solution? To avoid the soul-killing treadmill for as long as possible (and to make sure I'm not too sluggish to workout in the first place), I simply have to work out in the morning before work. I work from home and have a huge amount of flexibility in my hours. I'm not a morning person in the least, but I'm even less of a treadmill/gym-going person.

So, this morning, I got up at 6:30, threw on my gear, and hit the pavement running. It wasn't terrible really. Sunrise was at 6:29, so it was bright out. There were very few cars. The temp was chilly but doable. And, best of all, by 8:30, I was showered and in my home office eating breakfast over emails. And when the day ends at 5:00 or so...I'm DONE!

I only run every other day (to keep knee/hip issues at bay), but I think the best way to make getting up earlier a habit is to get up at that time every day. I can do my strength training at that time too (check back later in the week for a review of the two Jillian Michael's dvds I bought last week). My downstairs neighbors are going to HATE me and my cardio circuits on paper thin floors at 6:30 in the morning, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!