Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Race Report for the DC RnR Half Marathon

I know I promised a race report last week, but I lost track of time and now it's another week!

I don't want to let another day pass before doing a full report.

My race report probably should start at the end of my first half marathon on November 19, 2010. After I finished my first half, I vowed to never do another one. I thoroughly enjoyed the first 10 miles, but felt the last 3.1 miles were totally unnecessary. I think I hated those last few miles because the smart race directors made them into a maze. So it was run a few yards, turn, etc. I still vividly remember my annoyance and anger that day!

Anyway, let's fast forward to this year. My friend is doing 4 half marathons this year. When she mentioned doing the half in DC, I jumped on the idea. I love DC!! I also wanted to have a girl's weekend more than run a half marathon. However, I am sucker for punishment, so I decided to go for the half.

I registered in August or September, so it took forever to get to March. Lots of time to ponder and wonder about how I would do. Thankfully, the time went by really fast, so not much time to freak myself out. I got through training relatively unscathed. I missed a few long runs due to the weather, but felt great fitness wise when I towed the start line.

Ok, enough of the background, let's get to race weekend...

The week leading up the race, I chose to do a lot of work to the new house--so I was in PAIN by the wednesday before the race. I was also physically tired. I took thursday and friday off and that helped me. I think being so busy the week before helped with pre-race jitters. I didn't get REALLY nervous until the night before the race. My friend was over the top with excitment...I was over the top with nerves.

Many thoughts ran through my head--can I do this again? Will I beat my time? Will I zonk out? Will I hit a wall? What happens after 10 miles? So many thoughts.

Finally, at some point during the night, I told myself, "Nichelle, you are running the half marathon, it will be ok....shut up"...sometime after those declarations, I went to sleep.

I woke up at 5:00AM to meet my other friends in the lobby to head to the race.

We got to the race super early, but it was actually good because we weren't rushing to the start or anything. We were able to use the restrooms--eww to the portapotties and mosey our way to the start.

The race started at 8AM, I didn't cross the start until 8:37. Right before crossing the start, I got a big wave of emotion and anxiety. My stomach turned a bit, but before I could even acknowledge it, I was crossing the start and I was running my second half marathon.

My friend and I had discussed race strategies. My plan was to stay with her and just let her carry us to the finish. She is a bit faster than me, but it wouldn't have been hard to focus and stay with her. However, right after I crossed the start, I decided to run my own race and lagged behind her. I am glad I made this decision. I struggle a lot with negative mental thoughts, so running my own race kept me in MY head, and not on struggling to keep up with another person.

I really wanted to remember something special for each mile, but I can't. The miles went by so fast and are a blur.

Here is what I remember:

Mile 1 is always the toughest.
Mile 2-4 were relatively easy.
Mile 4 was the White House. I love the White House. As I was passing it, I was imagining the first family eating breakfast, or the kids going to practices, etc. It was nice to think about. I was also excited to see that trees no longer hide the house. The last time I went to the WH, trees hid the whole house.
Miles 4-8 were straight uphill. What a bitch!! I also remember crossing the 10K line and thinking, "Man, I wish this was a 10k!"
Miles 8-12 were MORE hills. WTF?
Miles 12-13.4 (yes, 13.4!) went by really fast. I remember bargaining with myself. I told myself if I finished, I was NOT going to do a marathon. I actually thought about what I'd do if I got into NYC. (I decided to sell my entry LOL) I think that mile went by so fast because I was just writing off running.

When I crossed the finish, I actually almost started crying. I didn't even cry at my first half marathon (I think I was too angry to express any other emotion, LOL).

Do any other runners get amnesia? I swear, when I am writing this, I can remember the run. But I can't remember anything negative about it. The hills were big and steep, but I never once got angry at them. I just took them one by one.

Since the half, I've had time to think about my running. I feel like I am in such a zone.

I have signed up for three races!

10K on 4/28

5 or 10K on 5/5 (day after my 30th bday!)


I WILL do a marathon in Novemeber (I am not sure if will be NYC or San Antonio).

Happy Running!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Life is flying past me...

Since I was last here, when I vowed to be more regular, I haven't been back.

Well, let's see what's been happening:
I've painted a whole kitchen
I've cleaned a nasty refrigerator
I've been to Washington DC
I've tapered and ran a half marathon
I've completed a very important part of my professional development
I've worked
I've contemplated life and changes

Most of all, I've been crazy busy!

I will be back with a race report from the race.

Suffice to say, it was awesome!!

I am signed up for a 10K on 4/28. I am going for 1:12. That's a solid 12MM. I CAN do it, but will be able to?

Off to my next meeting :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Umm...where have I been?

I sat down to do a blog post last week. I actually started it and got half way through it, but just decided to stop writing. I felt like I was recapping my week and it was boring ME!

I have spent this time trying to figure out why I blog and what is the point?

I started this blog to write down my eats, random thoughts, and my running journey. But then, I think sometimes that gets boring. I read several blogs and everyone seems so with it and smart. They all sort of read like an episode of Full House. Start with tragedy, end with hugs and resolutions of better days.

What's my point? Not really sure...

But I realized, I do like blogging and writing my thoughts. I guess I need to not think about boring others, and realize that this is an outlet that I need to use.

So, here goes...

Since I last blogged, I have:

-Lost the 6 pds I gained, and lost an extra 3 pds. But then I went out of town this weekend, and gained back the 3+1.
-Had an awesome last long run before my half marathon on saturday!
-Painted the kitchen at the new place. I am still working on it, but it's almost complete. It will take a day or two more of work.
-Realized that men ARE necessary. See above.
-Have done really well with my eating.
-Eaten too much sugar. Oops..
-Decided that I AM doing the Disney marathon, if I don't get into NYC. (Please NYC, pick me! Pick me!!)
-Went to a concert. John Legend at the Rodeo. Hmm...the jury is still out on his concert. I wasn't impressed.
-Went on a girl's weekend trip with my family. No fussing or fighting. Win for us!

What's coming up:

-More painting!! Joy! I am also installing a backsplash into the kitchen. I am doing a mosaic backsplash. I am super excited, and super nervous that it will end up looking like DIY project.
-I am running my second half marathon on saturday, in DC!! Get EXCITED!!! I am :) I also realized all of my running tights are dirty. Guess I will have to do laundry!!
-Going to DC! I get to spend the weekend with my best single girlfriend, plus several other friends

So, as you guys can see, I have a lot going on. When I have a lot going on, I tend to get overwhelmed and shut down. It's a horrible habit, I am trying to break it...

I had to force myself to write this post.

I will now force myself to get my thoughts out, instead of allowing them to invade my head.

Sorry, in advance :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Million (and one) Commandments of my Journey

Whenever I embark on a new WL effort, my first thought is, "can I sustain this"...the thought has come several times throughout my journey. Whenever it comes, I have to reminds myself that it's OK if I don't keep up with a 'healthy living' activity.

Going back to when I first began losing my 100 pds, I vividly remember when I had lost around 20 pds sitting in the car with my best friend. I remember her congratulating me on my loss and asking me a question only a best friend can ask without being pummeled. She asked me, 'do you think you will lose all of the weight and keep it off?'....a funny question for a 17-18 year old to ask and a good question for another 17-18 year old to ponder. I remember sitting in the car and thinking that she brought up a good point, CAN I do this.

Well, let's fast forward to now....

I have lost 100 pds. I have maintained that loss for 6-7 year. TIME FLIES!! Geesh, I still remember when I decided to lose weight.

These are a few things I've learned along the way:

~Weight fluctuates. This is normal. Why do overweight people like to think our weight shouldn't fluctuate once we lose weight? Normal sized people tend to go with the fluctuations. The idea of fat jeans became real and comforting once I lost my weight. Now I have fat jeans! And skinny jeans. It's quite liberating. I have also learned that my weight fluctuates depending on the season. In the spring/summer, I tend to lose weight...fall/winter I tend to gain. Surprise, suprise?

~Determination, not mojo. I am a part of a lot of weight loss forums (see: obsession), the number 1 thing I see for people who have not attained their goals is "I need to find my mojo"...well, I am here to tell you, Mojo is an ugly beast who tends to hide for very long periods of times. Let us be determined to make our goals. I have adopted the determination, not mojo motto and it seems to work...most of the time!

~What you do today may not be with you are doing tomorrow. I say this because, we are humans. The very nature of being a human is change. Why do we expect that once we start something, we will always do it? Embrace change and evaluation. I went into this year thinking I wouldn't diet all year. Well, obviously, my intuition to eat was larger than my intuition to stay the same or lose. I re-evaluated and now I am back to journaling. It's ok! I did 20 sit-ups this morning, I probably will forget to do my 20 tomorrow...but it's ok! (must remember to do sit-ups tomorrow!)

~Cravings happen. OK, my biggest pet peeve is the notion (I had a professor who used to say "notion" ALL of the time...I thought it was cool and sounded smart. I use it whenever I can!) that if you overeat, you have binged. No, you are possibly satisfying a craving, it's not a binge. It's ok. Cravings are ok and normal. We are people; our bodies will crave certain foods. We may overeat these foods on occasion. The key is not to overeat them everyday. Now, I do binge and I know a lot of overweight and normal weight people binge. Binging is a whole 'nother story for a different day. Sometimes cravings do lead to overeating, which can lead to a binge. That's still ok in my book.

~Racing to GOAL is probably not the smartest thing to do. Yes, we all want to get to goal. Goal is great. Who doesn't want to scream "GOAL" when they hit it? I haven't hit my goal, whatever that might be, but when I do, I probably will be screaming to everyone GOAL. I say racing to goal isn't very smart because the point isn't to get to a magic number. We all know how to diet. We have all dieted. The point is maintenance. The point is enjoying the journey. If you can enjoy and learn on your journey, you can maintain. We learn so much while we are losing. It's always good to take note to those lessons vs. ignoring them. We all got fat for a reason, right? Learn the reasons and work through them.

~Accept that once a fat person, always a fat person. This is something that hit me about 3 years into my journey. My ex would always tease me about attending Weight Watchers meetings, using artificial sweeteners, etc. He would always says, "you are in your 20s, you can eat what you want!"... One day it occurred to me that I was not like an average young 20s person. I could not eat what I want and I never could eat what I wanted (unless I wanted the weight with the eating). After that light bulb moment, I spent a LONG time hating my body, hating being fat, hating having to watch what I ate FOREVER, hating, hating, hating. It took probably a solid 2 years to come out on the other side and accept that this is who I am. I can't change it, so I better go with it. I still have moments of dread that I can't just go hog wild or be normal around food. But as time goes by, it gets better. I always tell people that there was a grieving process for me. People look at me like I am crazy, when people think grief, they think death. But we grieve throughout our life span and grieving that my body is naturally fat is something I had to go through.

~Taking a break from weight loss is OK. The number 1 question I get is "How long did it take you to lose"...when I say "5 years", the automatic response from most people is a look of 'OMG, it took her sooooooo long'. People want a quick fix. We are an impulsive society. But peeps, that does not work. It took me 5 years to lose the weight. Throughout my losing, I would take maintenance breaks. I probably lost on average 20-25 pds a year, then I'd maintain 6-7 months. I did not plan this, but it became a pattern of losing for me. I am so thankful for that pattern of loss. I think if I had gotten to 100 pds lost in less than a year, I'd be over my start weight.

~Learn your limitations. My mom once told me that I knew my limitations with regards to weight loss and dieting. When she said that, I didn't really understand what she meant. When I thought about, I realized she was right. I did know my limitations. During my periods of loss, I would always have danger weights or danger sizes. I also always have two sizes in my closet. When I got to where I was wearing a size up from my normal size, I would rein it in. So, learn your limitations. I have danger weights. My danger weight changes with time. It's normally about 10 pds higher than my current weight.

~Don't get rid of ALLLLLL your fat clothes! I always cringe when I see/hear another person say with victory, that they threw away all of their fat clothes. Why do people do this? I assume it's the notion (love that word) that if you throw it away, you won't gain. But hello peeps, clothes are expensive. The risk of regaining is higher than the risk of maintenance. Why set yourself up for failure? I always have 2 sizes in my closet. My proud size and my oops size. I, of course, always want to be in my proud sizes, but oops happen. Sure, get rid of clothes that are ridiculously too big. I don't have any more size 24s hanging in my closet, but be realistic. Don't throw away everything. It's ok to keep a size or two up.

~Obsession! Whoa... No one wants to be considered an obsesser. But hey, when I was losing, I was obsessed. I watched/read all thing weight loss. I think it sort of has to become your identity for awhile. I do think food can be an addiction, which presents as being overweight. Addicts have to learn about their addiction, so why should we be any different?

~Everyone wants to know the magic key to weight loss and maintenance. Is it weight loss surgery? No. Is it Xendedrine? No. Is it eating between the hours of 9-10AM? No. Is it eating after dark when noone is looking? Hmm...I need to try that ;) I am willing to bet, it's not. Well, what is it? I am going to have to go with being stubborn and persistence. Things we all have without even having to spend money. We just have to utilize and maximize these skills.

I am not an expert. I am sure other people's experiences will be different, but these are just some pearls of wisdom I've picked up to help ME along the way. I thought it would be nice to jot them down. Maybe one of these will help another person.

It's friday! And it's always quitting time. Woohoo...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's March 1

I have always liked the month of March. The month holds such possibility. Springtime is coming. The weather is changing. I always love the fact that I can wear sandals, tank tops, jean jackets, etc. I love the springtime! I also like to keep my car clean at this time of the year.

This month is going to be a particularly busy month for me.

On March 16th, I head to DC for the Rock n' Roll half marathon. I can not wait! I love DC. I have been several times and it just feels so refreshing. I've always loved the city, but most cities come with dirt. DC is so clean and crisp. A friend of mine has committed to doing four half marathons this year, so when she mentioned her first one was in DC, I of course had no issue with inviting myself to tag along! While I am there, I will also be seeing a friend from college. And I will be meeting several ladies from an online weight loss forum I belong to. The weekend will be so fun!

I did my first half marathon in 11/2010. After that experience, I was not thrilled with the idea of doing another half. Races just aren't my thing--I get a lot of race anxiety. However, I am looking forward to this race. I am not looking forward to the killer elevation. In preparation for the hills, I have been doing a lot of hill and speed workouts. I am not sure if I will PR from my half marathon, but I have made up my mind to enjoy the day and the course. I need to find the joy in races, not wallow in the 'shame' of being 'slow'. There is absolutely nothing shameful about running 13.1!

On March 19th, I submit my paperwork to be approved to sit for my licensure exam to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. It's funny, I never wanted to do clinical work. However, one client and a good clinical supervisor changed my opinion of therapy. When I was in school, I never even had a goal of getting my LCSW, but I am so glad I followed this route. 1. It brings more prestige and 2. It's more marketable. I am not excited to wait for the board to approve me--I've heard they can be nitpicky. I am also not looking forward to studying and taking ANOTHER test!

Finally, at the end of March, my home should be move-in ready. I am so excited at the possibility of living alone again. It's been a long time of living with people. I am getting slightly nervous at being in a silent home again, but the nervousness is outweighed by the excited of having my own.

Today I am very proud to say, I beat the lunch time binge monsters and got a large Chili from Wendy's and a side salad. Isn't it funny how we want the 'bad' stuff, but the good stuff tastes so good? I had forgotten how good and fresh a Wendy's side salad is. It really hit the spot.

Today is a day of rest for me. My legs are aching! However, tomorrow I have a slow 3 miler planned before work and then my last long run before the half on Saturday.

Also, tomorrow night, I am going with some friends to see John Legend! He isn't my favorite artist, but I like him enough to see him for 27.00. It should be fun. The girls I am going with are hilarious and we click.

Alright....I've procrastinated enough. Back to work. Too bad that LCSW just means more work, not no work ;)