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Newjojie, Bella, & Tinkerbell

Newjojie, Bella, & Tinkerbell – A smiley selfie before the race!

This morning, despite losing an hour of sleep to Daylight Savings Time, Tinkerbell, NewJojie, and I all met at 7:30am to head to the Mardi Gras Madness 5K, which benefited the Leukemia & Lymphoma society.  NewJojie is a wonderful lady I met on MyFitnessPal who has been supporting me (and Tinkerbell) for over a year.  After Tink and I did the Jenny’s Light 5K, NewJojie emailed me and said to let her know when our next 5K was, because she’d drive the two hours from her house to meet us and join in on the fun.  Can you believe that she was willing to drive 4 hours total (2 hours here, 2 hours back) just to meet us and do a 5K?!  How special!

It doesn’t take much for Tink and I to plan a cute race outfit, but knowing that NewJojie was putting in that much effort, we had to make these extra special.  Tink found these awesome, purple, sparkly running skirts from Rock City Skirts, as well as a cool iron-on Fleur-de-lis that said “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” (Let the good times roll!) on it, and because Mardi Gras colors are purple and green, she found cool green Calvin Klein Jeans tanks at Marshall’s (mine’s a L!!). We were all set to turn heads for this race!

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You can’t tell from this pic, but the skirt is sparkly, adding just the right amount of Mardi Gras bling to the morning.

Everyone who saw us told us how much they loved our skirts, our matching outfits, our entire look. It was fun to hear before the race, and even better as we were running the 5K.

But enough about fashion, let’s get to the details of the race…

I woke up way before my alarm, probably because I was so worried that I’d have a hard time getting up and losing the hour.  So I had a leisurely morning starting at 4:30am – time to shower, get dressed, begin writing my weigh-in blog post, and have half a cup of coffee before I left.

2014-03-09 07.25.09 It wouldn’t be a race day if I didn’t take my ritual bathroom selfie before leaving the house for the race.

Since they were handing out bibs and shirts on race day, we wanted to make sure to get down to the race with plenty of time to spare.  What would we do with the extra time? Take pre-finish photos, of course!  Our thinking was that we wanted make sure we got a good shot with the Finish line in the background.

I love the cool angle Newjojie used for this pic!

I love the cool angle Newjojie used for this pic!

We also took some photos with the masks that they had surrounding the finish line:

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Notice that I had to stand on my tippy toes just to fit my face through the eye hole of the mask. #shortie

Then it was time to put down the phone cameras and get ready to race.  Newjojie and Tinkerbell are both more experienced runners than I am, but they were sweet and agreed to run at my pace, which was 2min run/1min walk.  On the treadmill my pace for the run is 4.5mph and the walk is 3.5mph and it’s a great pace. I feel strong and comfortable.  Outside, it’s a whole other story.

I always start out too quickly when I’m running outside, and today was no different.  In fact, I’d shot ahead so fast that Tinkerbell told Newjojie, “just let her go” with a smile.  I’d warned them both that the momentum and adrenaline gets to me at the beginning of a race and I go much faster than I can sustain for an entire race.  And within a minute or so, I realized I needed to slow down and go at a more moderate pace. Tinkerbell matched my pace, and Newjojie was leading our way, a few paces ahead of us.

We were running for what seemed like forever, and I was wondering why my interval timer hadn’t beeped to indicate we should start walking when I looked down and discovered it wasn’t on.  Doh!!  I apologized, turned it on, and we started the true run/walk.

The beginning of the race, until about mile 1.3 was good.  I was running well, and felt strong.  And then right before the turnaround, my breath became more labored and I was having a much harder time with the runs.  Being outside is just so much more difficult, and I probably should’ve paced myself even slower so that I didn’t get that slight burning feeling in my lungs when I ran.  But all it took was Tink holding my hand and encouraging me during one of the walking portions for me to know I was going to keep this up, even if I had to slow down a bit to do it.  Twice, I stopped my run portion about 30 seconds early, apologizing profusely to Tinkerbell and Newjojie, as I told them to run ahead without me and I’d catch up. Tink told me I had nothing to apologize for, and she and Newjojie actually did a loop around to meet me at my pace when I was back to my run.  What awesome running pals these two are!

Newjojie snapped this action shot of us.

Newjojie snapped this action shot of us.

Once we hit 2.85 miles, I felt a renewed energy.  We agreed we’d continue the run/walk pace until we could see the finish line in sight, and then we’d run into the finish line, as Carina taught me.  It must be a surge of adrenaline that comes with that FINISH sign, because I felt amazing as we ran into it!!

The race organized captured this great shot of the three of us running into the finish line.  They loved our outfits so much that they used the pic on their FB wall.  How cool is that?!

The race organizers captured this great shot of the three of us running into the finish line (bottom left). They loved our outfits so much that they used the pic on their FB wall. How cool is that?!

After the race, with water and banana in hands.

After the race, with water and banana in hands.

All told, I hit another PR today!!  I completed the race in 42:21.44, which is a pace of 13:39/mile! That’s 3.87 minutes quicker than my pace at the Hot Chocolate 5K in SF!!!!! I’m so proud of myself!  It goes to show that I’m much too hard on myself when I’m running.  I was getting so down on myself and frustrated that breathing was getting challenging and that I had to add 30 seconds to my walk a couple of times.  In reality, I had my best time yet, so I need to cut myself a break on the next 5K and really just enjoy the day. I would’ve never been able to do any of this 126 pounds ago, so I need to relish that fact!

Beyond my personal accomplishment, the best part of the day was doing the 5K with these amazing ladies.  Tinkerbell is one of my best friends, and now Newjojie has become an “in-real-life” friend, too. We’re already planning our next 5K, when Tink and I will drive up to Newjojie’s neck of the woods.  I can’t wait!!

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bilbl_superToday’s AIF was another 5K, but this one was special because it was my first one with Tinkerbell.  She and I have each done many 5Ks on our own, and she even finished the Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon in Disneyland last weekend, but up to this point, we’d never done a race together.  Our original plan was to do run/walk intervals, but my bad cold had other plans.  Tink was sweet enough to say she didn’t mind if we walked the whole 5K, because she was more interested in our experiencing it together than she was about getting to a certain timing.

jennyslight.org-grey-circle-1Jenny’s Light was founded by local professional triathlete Becky Lavelle & her family in response to the tragic and untimely passing of her twin sister Jenny and her nephew in December 2007.  Jenny’s Light is a non-profit foundation created to improve & save lives by increasing awareness of all perinatal mood disorders, including postpartum depression. ”  In looking up the background of the story, I discovered that Jenny actually shot and killed her baby son and then took her own life.  I can’t imagine the pain and loss her family must have felt, and I think it’s remarkable that her sister decided to turn that terrible tragedy into something that raises awareness of postpartum depression, and other perinatal mood disorders.

Since this was a more home-grown 5K where the profits went directly to the non-profit, it was a bit more bare-bones.  Meaning no cute race tee.  So I decided to make Tink and I our own shirts.  When we registered, they’d asked for a team name, and when Tink asked me what I thought it should be, I combined both our aliases and said, “TinkerBellas.”  We both loved it!  For the our tees, I knew I wanted to put our team name front and center and I because Tinkerbell wears a green fairy dress, I wanted to find a fun, bold green color.  I headed to Michael’s and came up with these:

2014-01-26 16.15.51Originally, I’d bought us crowns to wear, but the crowns fit pretty loose, and we both agreed that they’d probably be more of a bother during the race.  Still, for my first time hand-making a shirt like this, I’m pretty pleased with the way they turned out.  And can I brag for a second and say that my shirt was a size Medium!!  How cool is that?!  All these 5Ks are paying off!

2014-01-25 15.07.11 Yesterday Tink and I headed to Sports Basement to pick up our race packets, and I was so surprised at my low number.  I hoped it was going to bring us luck – Sweet 16!

This morning we headed to Vasona Lake Park early to make sure we’d get a parking spot. We had no idea how many people had signed up for the race, and because it’s not easy to park in the surrounding neighborhood, we didn’t want to take any chances.  Plus, this way, we had plenty of time to take lots of pics to capture how cute we looked:

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Do you love the wings, or what? I’d had those from an outfit during Spirit Week back in October, but they were the perfect color for this Tinkerbell-inspired outfit.

Tinkerbell had bought her skirt for the 1/2 marathon from a woman who makes  them specifically for that race. I love that she was able to use it again!

Tinkerbell had bought her skirt for the 1/2 marathon from a woman who makes them specifically for that race. I love that she was able to use it again!

I mean, there couldn't have been a cuter pair of racers in the whole 5K!

I mean, there couldn’t have been a cuter pair of racers in the whole 5K! (Even if we are both looking in two different directions for the photo).

And what 5K would be complete without a pre-race selfie?

And what 5K would be complete without a pre-race selfie?

We started out toward the back of the pack because we were going to walk.  The difficult thing about this course was that it was super narrow.  And when the racers who were doing the 10K were on their way back, we were sharing the course.  They didn’t block off any of the roads, as most 5Ks do, and they also didn’t prevent Sunday exercisers from being on the course, so we had to share the road with bikers, joggers, etc.  I’m really glad we didn’t run it, because I think it would’ve been pretty hectic.  As it was, Tink and I were able to catch up; I’d been wanting to hear all the details of her 1/2 marathon, and we finally had a good amount of time to dish.  That’s one thing I enjoy about walking 5Ks – it gives you the time to just walk and talk.  The thing that’s hard about walking is that you get antsy, or at least I do.  I want to go faster, finish sooner, and see how I can challenge myself.  But because this cold is moving into my chest, keeping our brisk pace was challenge in itself today.

At one point we were on a bit of an incline, and I was finding it really hard to breathe.  I started almost wheezing, and Tink just took my hand and said, “you can do it, Bella! We got this!!” And that one small moment of motivation was all I needed.  She totally sparked something in me, and from that point on, we were on our way!

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I was shocked when I saw these stats! We really were walking fast the entire time, and when we saw the 3-mile marker, we decided to finish strong and run the last .2 into the finish line.  I can’t believe we completed the race – walking most of it – in 47:13!!  I wasn’t expecting a PR in this race, but I ended up with one, for walking anyway!  I’m really proud of Team TinkerBellas!!

As soon as we were done, we put the top  down on my Beetle (it was already 71 degrees at 11am) and headed to Tink’s house, where her hubby had a delicious, healthy breakfast scramble, whole wheat English muffins, fruit salad, and coffee waiting for us.  How sweet is that?

Now that Tink and I have done one 5K together, she and I were already planning future ones where we’d run/walk: Mardi Gras Madness 5k, Wharf to Wharf (about 6 miles)…who knows how many we’ll end up doing.  One thing is for sure, we always have a blast when we’re together, and we enjoy motivating each other to do our best.  We’ve been in it together throughout our WLS weight loss journey, and we continue even now that we’re both nearing our own personal finish lines.  I’m so thankful that just over a year ago Tinkerbell reached out to me to support each other as we started a new year, bound to make it past our pre-op weight loss requirements to surgery, because I couldn’t imagine my life without her.  Team TinkerBellas for Life!!

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bilbl_super This morning FaveCousin, KE, and I woke up before dawn in order to participate in the SF Hot Chocolate 5K, benefiting Ronald McDonald House.  I’d first heard about the Hot Chocolate 5K back when I went to the SJ RocknRoll expo. The name sounded so fun, and I knew it would be a great way to start off the new year.  I was so happy that FaveCousin wanted to do it with me and said I could stay overnight with her.  She and I had a good time at the Mermaid, and this time KE (FaveCousin’s cousin’s wife (in Italian families things can get complicated)) was going to do it with us, adding to the fun.

This race was early – a 6:15am call time for a 7:30 start time.  Luckily, FaveCousin suggested we get there a bit later so that we had more time to sleep in and less time just waiting around.  Still, we had plenty of time for a few photos:

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It was freezing this morning in Golden Gate Park, but after yesterday’s drizzly weather, we were glad that it was clear.  I am so glad that I had the wherewithal to bring my earmuff headband (is that what you call it?), because it helped keep me a bit warmer.

Check out the cool technical hoodie they gave us as a race shirt.  I'm so proud that I fit into a Women's XL.

Check out the cool technical hoodie they gave us as a race shirt. I’m so proud that I fit into a Women’s XL.

For me, the worst part of any 5K is waiting for the race to start.  To get myself in the right frame of mind and get past my nervousness about running more of the 5K than I ever have before, I got my playlist going.  Music is phenomenal for calming nerves isn’t it?

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The line of people waiting behind me to get this 5K started!

Soon enough, we were at the starting line.  The pic on the left is the one I took, the one on the right is the one from the 5K’s FB page.  For a small race that few people had heard of, there sure were a lot of us out there.

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The thing I didn’t really think about when planning my 5min run/3min walk intervals was the fact that this is SF, and even in Golden Gate Park, which is relatively flat compared to some streets in the city, it still has some steep inclines.  It became pretty clear to me that I was going to have to wing it – I ran as long as I could and walked when I needed to. I made sure that I was running at every down hill slope and I pushed myself to walk as fast and hard as I could during the inclines. In fact, I was walking fast enough that I was passing some of the slower joggers.  I know I’m going to feel some of that tomorrow.  So while I didn’t keep my intervals perfectly timed or regulated, I am proud of what I did out there today.

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Look at these beautiful views that I got to enjoy while I was out there today. San Francisco is such a gorgeous city!

I passed mile 1 pretty quickly and easily, and then it was a long haul.  Since the three of us had decided to each take the race at our own pace, I had my music to keep me going.  Well, that and a few other racers who I was pacing myself against.  At one point I was getting tired, but knew I needed to push on and Gotta Get Through This by Daniel Beddington came on my headphones.  Perfect timing! And then I almost started crying as I ran along when Ali in the Jungle by The Hours came on…listen to these lyrics:

I mean, c’mon: “It’s not where you are, but where you’re going.  It’s not about the things you’ve done, it’s what you’re doing now.”  These were the absolute perfect lyrics to keep my feet running even after my body told me I was getting tired.  I was completely inspired.  (Both songs are on the Wogging My World mix from RockMyRun, if you’re interested).

And just was the song was finishing, I saw the mile 3 marker and the Finish line in the distance.  I took knew I was going to run myself through that line no matter what.  Talk about a moment of pride!
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In fact, I was so overcome at the end of this race for all that I’d just done, that I got really emotional again.  Tears in the eyes and everything. I almost went into the ugly cry, but stopped myself.  It just hits me every time I run a new race about how far I’ve come, all that I’ve accomplished, and how grateful I am for this new life I’ve created for myself.

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I think you can see the tears in my eyes in this shot.

Soon after, I met up with FaveCousin and KE, and we all enjoyed our Finisher’s Mug of chocolate fondue, complete with the fixings – a mini rice krispie treat, a petite banana, some mini pretzels, and a marshmallow, along with a steaming mug of hot chocolate.  I allowed myself a bit of the fondue with the banana, rice krispy, and marshmallow, but skipped the hot chocolate and the pretzels.  So delicious!

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The entire race was so well run and organized that I’ll definitely do it again next year.  If it comes to a city near you, I highly recommend that you join in on all the fun.

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Oh, and the sweetest part?  I shaved 2 minutes and 50 seconds off of my Santa Run time, even with all the inclines in this race!!! I completed this one in 46 minutes, 8 seconds – a new PR!!

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bilbl_superThis morning I woke up at the super-early hour of 5:30am in order to get ready to participate in this year’s Turkey Trot.  The last time I did this turkey trot was back in 2008, when I was experiencing the numbness in my feet and legs.  With all that I’ve accomplished in terms of weight loss and fitness in recent months, I knew that this year’s Turkey Trot would be a completely different experience.

This year I walked in the 5K with Ani, and it was fun to chat and catch up as we walked the flat, easy course.  This course was almost the same one that I did for the SJ Rock n Roll Mini Marathon just a month ago. It felt like there were a LOT more people in this one, maybe because there were fewer waves.  They said there were over 25,000 people participating today, which I think is awesome.  There were people of all ages and abilities out there this morning, which made me smile, thinking of all the people fitting in a bit of fitness before the big meals today.

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A quick shot of the crowd behind me (yes, that’s the top of my turkey headband behind me).

2013-11-28 07.00.10 Speaking of my headband, I’m so glad I wore it.  There were so many fun costumes out there today – from turkeys with tutus to hats with felt “cooked” turkeys and tribes wearing feather headdresses and everything in between.  So fun!

One thing I’ve been noticing in the 5Ks I’ve been participating in lately is that now that I’ve lost so much weight and gone down a lot of sizes in my pants, I have quite a bit more giggle in my thighs than I’d like.  Since none of my workout pants are the compression type that hold it all in, I decided to wear a shaper under my workout pants.  It worked perfectly, and gave me a lot more confidence than I’ve had.  In fact, I think I’m going to wear them when I start the C25K tomorrow (I know I was supposed to start Monday, but Sofi got sick (she’s fine now) so plans changed, but I WILL start in the morning).

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A few more pre-race pics we took to commemorate the occasion:

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The race was really fun, and although it took us about an hour (official time: 59:15.752) to walk it (which is slower than I’d hoped), I am really proud of myself.  I felt strong the entire time, and ended the walk feeling even better than I had when I started.

Who knows, maybe next year I’ll be running the 5K. Or maybe even the 10K!

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Today FaveCousin and I walked in the SF Mermaid 5K.  A stark contrast from my first Mermaid 5K, which I participated in back in March 2009 with my sister.  If you have a few minutes, go and read that post.  If you don’t have a few, I’ll recap it:

It was March 2009. I weighed 275 pounds or so (over 60 pounds more than I do now, but 40 pounds less than my all-time highest weight).  I had signed up for Team in Training, planning to walk a half marathon, but had been having difficulty with numbness in my right foot which moved up my leg all the way to my hip.  It was awful, debilitating, and extremely frustrating.  But my friend Harj decided that she wanted all of her friends to celebrate her birthday by participating in the Mermaid Run.  So I asked my sister if she’d do it with me.  From the start of the race, everyone passed us – the runners, the power walkers, the walkers, the women with strollers – everyone.  I mean, we were dead last.  And it got to me because I wanted to push harder, go farther, move faster.  But I couldn’t.  I had shin splints, cramps in my calves, and the numbness in my feet/legs.  I broke down hysterically crying shortly after we’d begun, and my sister had to talk me down.  One of the things I realized that day was that I’d have to forgo the TNT training and the 1/2 marathon, because I physically just couldn’t do it.  It was one of my low points in this journey.

The photo on the left was taken in March 2009.  The one of the right was taken today.  I can see a HUGE change in my face.

The photo on the left was taken in March 2009. The one of the right was taken today. I can see a HUGE change in my face.

Cut to today – FaveCousin and I had to walk about a mile from the parking lot to the start of the race and we did so in less than 12 minutes!  We got to the starting line and enjoyed the “girl power” music – Beyonce, Katy Perry (Even though I really dislike her music, I have to admit that “Roar” is a rallying song), etc.  I was excited for so many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that today I was wearing that women’s cut shirt that I would’ve never fit in back in 2009.

2013-11-10 07.23.332013-11-10 07.33.30 At 7:35am, the race started, and while plenty of people passed us, we were far from the last ones walking.  In fact, we were solidly in the middle of the pack.  This fact alone made me incredibly happy and awestruck at just how far I’ve come.

It's hard to see because of the lighting, but I just had to take a photo of all the walkers behind us.  We weren't the last ones!!

It’s hard to see because of the lighting, but I just had to take a photo of all the walkers behind us. We weren’t the last ones!! There are more walkers for a good half mile behind this group, too.

While we walked, I felt good.  I wasn’t exerting myself, and I knew that eventually I should either push myself to start competing in 10Ks or I should start run/walking.  (More on the running in a future post – let’s just say that next year I’m going to do my best to run most of the 5K). But for today, I decided to just continue walking at my 3.8mph pace, and enjoy the lovely scenery and the great company. Today there were no tears.  Today I was all smiles as I realized that this 5K was going to be an entirely different experience from the last Mermaid 5K.

2013-11-10 07.49.29 2013-11-10 07.40.14 2013-11-10 08.05.44 2013-11-10 08.03.48San Francisco really is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and that Golden Gate Bridge is one of the jewels.  The weather was brisk and chilly, but sunny while we were racing.  Oddly enough, the fog rolled in later in the morning, but while we walked we were blessed with the sunshine. (Although you can see just what the foggy, ocean air does to my hair – can we say ‘fro?!).

All told, we finished the 5K in 56 minutes, which is a darn good pace for walking.  I hit over 10,000 steps by 9am.  I’m so proud of all that I have accomplished and the dramatic difference between this race and the one back in 2009.  I’m a completely different person now, with abilities that match my determination.  I couldn’t be more thrilled with my progress!! Today was definitely one of the high points in my journey!

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logo_hdThis morning I got up super-early to be ready to walk at the Color Me Rad 5k.  My friends Ani, Di, and I have been looking forward to this race since I first found out about it in the summer.

For the longest time, 5Ks were something that I liked the idea of better than I liked  the actual participation of.  When I was heavier and much more out of shape, I actually had a couple of breakdowns while on the 5K course.  I hated it when I was physically unable to keep up with most everyone else.  I couldn’t take it when people passed me, and literally started crying more than once when I the numbness/pain in my legs/feet was caused me to need a break after just a mile or so.  I actually stopped participating in 5Ks for a few years because I just couldn’t take that feeling of being “less than.”

Well, I’ve come a long way, baby! Today’s 5K was totally fun, completely RAD, and left me with a strong sense of accomplishment.  But I’m getting ahead of myself…

2013-09-14 07.10.02 I’m a girl who loves her accessories, and these turquoise sunglasses that came in the race packet make me smile.  They also came in handy to block my eyes from the crazy color bombs!

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Who doesn’t love temporary tattoos?  I love the photo on the right, with Ani and me donning our tats.

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This is one of the many signs at the pre-race area.  I love the entire vibe of this 5K, especially since “rad” is a word that my friends and I actually used back in high school.

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Ani and I shortly after we started the 5K – you can tell it’s early on because our shirts are still relatively white.  That was about to change…

2013-09-14 09.24.32 Right after I passed through the first of many color bomb areas.  The kids who were doling out the colored powder were really aggressive with it, but I’m glad they were, because that was really the fun of this 5K.

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This is my favorite photo of the day.  Di, Ani, and I.  I love that we each chose different colored sunglasses at registration.  I also love that we’ve been friends since high school!  Love these girls so much!

As we walked, we caught up on what’s been going on in each other’s lives, which was fun.  Every so often, we’d pass a color bomb area to get doused by the newest color.  One thing that was surprising was that some of the color bomb spots were actually wet – they mixed the colored powder with water and were hosing us off.  It was COLD, and I didn’t love that it got in my ears (among other places).  LOL.  But it was all really fun.

Seeing how much easier this 5K was than any other I’ve ever done really boosted my confidence in all that I’ve achieved.  I completely enjoyed myself the entire time, and I was really content with walking it.  If I never get to the point of walk/run status, I’m fine with it, because I can look forward to pushing myself and my pace with each new event.

2013-09-14 10.09.39 The FINISH line was in sight before we knew it.  I was actually really proud of our 57-minute finish, especially considering that Ani was suffering through a plantar fasciitis incident.  I definitely could’ve gone even faster than we were, but I wasn’t trying to walk this race for a PR.  Endomundo told me that our average speed was 3.5 miles per hour, which is really good, considering.  I really can’t say enough about how happy I was that the entire 5K was as much fun as I hoped it would be.  It was a true milestone and an NSV that I had such an easy time doing this event.  And the fact that I did it with two of my BFFs made it all the sweeter.

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Here we are right after we crossed the finish line.  We decided to finish strong, and together, so we ran the last little bit, holding hands as we crossed.  It was the BEST day!

2013-09-14 10.29.28 A last-minute selfie in the parking lot before we headed out to get some much-needed Starbucks.  My smile says it all – I’m so proud of myself!

To give you an idea of just how COLORFUL the morning was, here’s a before and after shot:

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One thing I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that the color gets everywhere…I mean EVERYwhere!  I had color between my boobs, on my back right above my butt, and even in my nostrils.  I have no idea how it got under my clothes, but it did.

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My shower looked like a Starburst factory had exploded.  I’m just glad it all washed out.

All in all the 5K couldn’t have been better.  I had a great time with two of my best friends, and I was so proud of myself as I was completing it.  I’ve come so far from where I was pre-surgery.   Even when I wasn’t at my highest weight, I was out of shape and physically unable to enjoy myself at events like this.  Now I love doing 5Ks and I can’t wait for my next race, which is coming up in just a few weeks. (But more on that one after I do it).

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download-12 Today LC and I participated in the HERS Breast Cancer Foundation Keep ABreast 5K, in support of Breast Cancer research.

I found out about this worthy event through Active.com, and I knew I wanted to take part in it.  I sent an email out to a bunch of friends, but LC was the only one who could make it.  Since she was there when I had a bit of a mental breakdown during the Mermaid 5K, I thought it was appropriate that we were going to do this one together.  I feel so much stronger and healthier now than I did at that 5K, and I wanted to have a good 5K experience with my sister.  She’s so kind and caring, and even though I know she didn’t mind being there for me when I needed her the last time, I really wanted to share a fun walk with her, too.

When I called LC on Wednesday to finalize our plans for meeting up today, she said the walk started at 9:30, which I thought was rather late, but was glad for the extra time, since Quarry Lakes in Fremont is about 30 minutes from each of our houses.  We got there and told them we’d arrived, got our t-shirts (which you see in the photo above), and kind of hung out for a bit.  We snapped some photos (which you can see in the Picasa album, below), hit the restroom, and were enjoying the atmosphere.

Then, the 10K runners were starting to arrive at the finish line and it was a bit after 9:30 and I began wondering what time our 5K Walk was going to start.  We asked a volunteer and she said that it had already started.  WTF?  We walked back to the registration desk and asked them, and they said that yes, it had started at 9am.  It turns out that the website where we registered for the event (AllSportCentral.com) had the incorrect information.  Wouldn’t you know it?!  LC got peeved, which is so out of character for her, but I told her that it was over with now, so we should just move on from here.  She asked if I wanted to do the 5K anyway, and I said I did, but part of me didn’t want to be the very last ones to finish and have everyone think we’d taken FOREVER to complete the 5K.  (There I go worrying about what other people think again!).  LC convinced me that it didn’t matter, and that we should just get on with it so that we could start our 5K.

So we headed out along the same route that everyone else had taken.  It was 9:48 when we started, and it was already getting HOT!  Still, the views were so beautiful and we were ready to get started.  One nice thing was that I wasn’t feeling pressure to walk really fast because no one was around us.  We started out at a fairly slow pace, which is the thing that both Jimmy and the people at TNT told me to do.  It’s better to warm your muscles up slowly and then build your pace, rather than going like gangbusters from the beginning, as I usually like to do.  I think I just get so excited with the start of these walks that I want to go as fast as possible, but that ends up hurting me in the end.  So, we continued along at our steady pace.

After about 1/2 a mile (there weren’t markers up, so I’m not positive how far we’d gone), we saw our first group of volunteers cheering us on.  Of course, I had to explain to them that we just started the race about an hour late, which is why we were so far behind.  My ego just doesn’t quit.  LOL.  I also wanted to let them know that they didn’t have to wait for us to finish, since we were so late, and they said they wouldn’t.  LC and I just kept walking and talking and enjoying the day.  Soon enough, we arrived at another volunteer who started cheering us on (Literally!  I think she was a cheerleader at the local high school).  As we approached a large hill, I increased my stride and really got a faster pace going.  LC mentioned that she noticed that whenever we were near the volunteers cheering us on, I picked up my pace.  I guess the positive reinforcement really did help me move a bit faster!

We hit mile 2 and knew that we were almost finished.  We couldn’t believe how fast we were going!  I checked my watch and saw that we were making really good time.  Plus, I didn’t have ANY numbness in my feet at all.  I can’t tell you how encouraging that is! I guess losing this weight and becoming much more active really has helped whatever was causing the numbness.  It’s still a mystery, but at least I know I’m better.

We finished the 5K in 45 minutes, which is a new personal best for both LC and me!!!!  That means we were doing 15 minute miles, which is literally faster than I’ve ever gone before!!!!!!  I am smiling wide as I type that right now, because I am so happy with myself and my progress.  I’m proud of all of the strides I’ve made in terms of my health, and this is just one more indication that I’m getting stronger and healthier.  I am really, really glad that LC and I were able to share this experience together!

To top it off, I burned 495 calories during the 5K, according to my BodyBugg, which is fantastic!  That’s about the same amount I burn when I’m working out for an hour with Jimmy.

I will say that right before we finished the 5K, I was experiencing a slight bit of numbness in my feet, but nothing compared to the complete numbness that I used to feel.  This was a total turnaround from where I was less than 6 months ago, which is terrific progress.

I feel so great about today’s 5K, that I found another one that I’m going to walk in: Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K.  It’s on October 31st in San Jose right near my house, which is so convenient.

You can click on the thumbnail below to see photos of the 5K:

HERS Foundation Keep ABreast 5K

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I’ve been wanting to write this post since Sunday, when I completed the 5K, but I wanted to wait for the photos that Ish snapped that day, because I knew she was going to have some amazing ones.

We started early in the morning, because the race started at 8am in San Francisco, but at all the races I’ve been to, it’s good to get there about half an hour ahead of time.  And since AM, Ish, and FavCousin were doing the 5K with me, that meant quite a bit of car coordination to get to the Bridge by 7:30.  So, I set the alarm for 4:45am, and wouldnt’ you know that I couldn’t sleep the night before, so I only got about 3 hours of sleep.  Still, I was ready and raring to go when AM got to my house around 6:10, then we headed to Ish’s house (which was farther north) by 6:30, and after a quick stop at Starbucks for some much-needed caffeine, we were on our way to the City to pick up FavCousin.

As we headed toward the Bridge, we debated about which side we should go to.  You see, the MovFitness website said the race would start on the Sausalito side, but the Active.com website said it would be the SF side.  We went with the SF side because Active.com is a much more reliable organization, plus the fact that MovFitness didn’t even have the date of this race on their website up to a week before.  (This should’ve been a sign of things to come).

We got to the SF side, and we didn’t see very many people at all.  Now all of the 5Ks I’ve ever taken part in have always had 1000s of people waiting to participate.  There were literally 10 people, and no sign of anyone from MovFitness.  We got out of the car and everyone looked fairly confused.  A few of the others said they had gone to the Sausalito side of the Bridge and that no one from MovFitness was there, either.  There was no signage on either side, which was also very strange.

Since we had all been really looking forward to the 5K on the Golden Gate Bridge, (not to mention the fact that we were all up at the butt crack of dawn), we decided to go on the “walk” anyway.  FavCousin was the only one who had ever walked across the Bridge, but that makes sense, since she grew up and still lives in SF.  AM, Ish, and I had all traveled over the Bridge by car many times, but none of us had ever walked or ridden our bikes across it.  The three of us were all really excited to be up there walking on one of the most iconic architectural structures in the country.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t quite cooperating with us.  It was foggy, windy, and very cold.  But in some ways, that kind of weather is so much better to walk a 5K in, because you don’t get overheated.  The only thing we were missing was the amazing views of the SF coastline that you can see from the top of the Bridge.  But, we can always do this again when the weather is better.

As far as the walk itself, I had the same trouble with my feet that I’ve had in the past.  The numbness started in my left foot, this time, which was different; it usually starts with the right side.  The one difference this time is that the numbness did stay at my feet, and didn’t travel up my leg to my hip, as it had in the past.  The other big difference was that Ish was walking at my pace, so it was fine for us to go slow and take our time.  FavCousin and AM were walking ahead of us, and I felt fine with the fact that we were about 10 minutes behind them.  They had each other to talk to, and I didn’t feel like I was keeping anyone behind.

When we arrived at the halfway point, on the Sausalito side, there were a couple of people from MovFitness, and they were passing water out of the trunk of a car.  The trunk of a car?  Seriously?  I was so pissed that I told one of the guys, “what sort of bullshit organization are you running? Why didn’t you have signs up to avoid confusion, especially because your site had different information than what was on Active.com.” To which he replied, “the information was different?”  Great, glad to know that their representatives are “in the know.”  I determined then and there that I was going to write a scathing email to the “organization” to let them know exactly what I thought of them.  (Which I did, the result of which was that the “CEO” said that he would refund my money.  Because in the email one of the things I said (out of the many things I reamed them for) was the fact that I wasn’t at all confident that the money I spent on the race was actually going to underprivileged kids’ dance classes).

Once we had all given them a piece of their mind, we finished the 5K.  After we were done, I felt tired, a bit sore, and very accomplished.  I was glad that I had done it.  I had a great time with FavCousin, Ish, and AM, and we all said that we’d love to do it again.  A bit later, and hopefully when the sun is out and the vistas will be more visable, but definitely something to do again.  I’d actually love to ride my bike across it, so I htink that’s the next thing I’m going to do.

Even though I appreciated the sense of accomplishment I felt at the completion of the 5K, I was very frustrated by the fact that I am still getting numbness in my feet.  As I said in a previous post, I am not sure if I’ll continue to participate in endurance walks.  At this point, my feet still go numb, and it is the worst feeling.  I already signed up for a 5K at the end of September, and I’d like to try to do it, because it supports breast cancer, but I’m not going to push myself.  I want to continue to workout as I have been, combining biking, swimming, personal training, and some walking.  If I’ve lost a decent amount of weight by the end of September, then I’ll re-evaluate the situation and determine whether or not I think I can participate.  In either case, I’ve already paid the money, so my contribution has been made.

Here are some cool pictures that Ish took during the 5K.  There are some really artistic photos in this group, so I hope you enjoy them.

GoldenGateBridge5K

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Today I wasn’t sure what to write about, and then I thought, “why not write about being active?”

My life today is so much different than it was even a year ago.  I am astounded by how much more active I am now.  I have discovered that I love to be active – to move my body and strengthen my spirit through movement.

There are lots of different ways to maintain an active lifestyle, and sometimes it’s the simplest ways that make the most significant difference.  My favorite activity has to be riding my bike.  I love that I can just hop on the beach cruiser and go.  I may not be the fastest cyclist out there, but that isn’t the point.  The point is, I can ride my bike at whatever pace I feel like.  Most often, I start out fairly fast, and then by the middle, I’m pushing myself.  I like to go as fast as possible most of the time, although once in a while, just cruising down a path is what it’s all about. As I am writing this, I have the screen door open, and I’ve seen at least 6 people ride by on their bikes – some because it’s their only form of transportation, some because they’re just out for a fun morning ride. I have to admit, I haven’t gone on a really good bike ride in a long time, so today just might be one of those days.  I’m definitely inspired.

I’ve also come to enjoy hopping on my Wii for a morning Wii Fit check in.  I get aggravated with my apparent lack of balance, but I just tell my competitive side that the more I do it, the better I’ll get.  I recently “unlocked” a new balance game that has my Mii rolling down a river in a bubble.  I seem to be better at that one than some of the others.  The ski jump and slalom are just too frustrating for me – for some reason it doesn’t recognize my movements at all.  This new “bubble ride” is challenging, and I haven’t made it past 487 yards, but I’m determined to do it all the way through!  I am a hula-hooping master, and I really enjoy doing that game.  Although, for some reason, I can only do it well if I rotate my hips from left to right – when I try to do it the other way, I can’t keep the hoops up.  The yoga is great for my ego – I’m a “yoga master” in most of those games, which is cool.  I don’t count the Wii toward Activity Points, because I don’t feel like it’s a “real workout,” but it does get me moving in the morning, and ready to become more active throughout the day.

As soon as I finish writing this post, I’m about to tackle the EA Sports Active. Now that I have the velcro, there’s really no excuse not to give it another go.  I liked what I was able to do before, and I think this is going to quickly become a favorite.  I’d love to know how to count the Activity Points for it.  For those of you doing this game, how do you count them?

I’ll end this post with a website that I discovered when I signed up for the Turkey Trot back in November.  I also used it again when I signed up for the WW Walk It Challenge.  It’s called Active.com, and it’s awesome.  It has nationwide events (Lisa, you’re going to hate this, but it’s available in a ton of international countries, including the UK, Italy, and Australia, but I don’t see a listing for Canada).  I used Active.com to find a 5K to participate in to complete my WW Walk It Challenge (can’t wait for the Golden Gate Bridge 5K on July 19!).

A New Stay-Active Goal: Because I’m at my best when I have a goal to shoot for, I’ve decided that I’m going to participate in a 5K (maybe eventually a 10K) every month or so.  I like the fact that most of the 5Ks go to support some local charity or cause, and I also love the idea of having something to work toward.  My friend Margie does this all the time with different half marathons (she’s a runner), and I love it.  Since Team in Training proved to be a bit much for me, I think that walking at various 5K and 10K events will be the perfect thing for me.  Who knows, maybe I’ll eventually be able to get to the point of running.  I just found the HERS Foundation Keep ABreast 5K on September 26th, and signed up.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this great article about staying active this summer from Active.com.  They have ideas for every type of activity, from water to mountains, and everything in between.

Go out there and make it an ACTIVE day!!!

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P.S. – A very special thank you to Lisa for posting about how I’ve inspired her.  I was completely overwhelmed and appreciative beyond words (a rarity for me!).  Lisa, I love you!  Thanks so much for the shout-out, girlie.  As much as you say that I’ve inspired you, you’ve done the same for me, tenfold.  It’s amazing the strong connections we can make in this blogging world without ever having met the person face to face.  (I am still hoping we can someday meet – maybe when we’re both at our goal weights).

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walk-it-badge_final I can’t believe it’s been over 8 weeks already!  Time sure flies, especially when you miss a couple of posts because of the end of the school year.  Then again, I’ve been doing these daily walks for so long now, I can’t really remember what it was like not to do them, and that’s a great feeling.  I love the serenity and peace I’ve gained from the walks, as well as the sense of accomplishment I always feel after I’m done.

This week, I finally signed up for the 5K!  I was going to do the Dream Mile 5K, but it seemed like the timing was bad.  No one could do it with me, and although I really like walking by myself, doing a 5K by myself just doesn’t sound like much fun.

goldengatehome So, I found one that is taking place on the Golden Gate Bridge.  As many times as I have driven over the Golden Gate, I have never walked across it.  (It always seemed like sort of a touristy thing to do).  Yet, in the back of my mind, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to walk across it.  So when I found the MOVRun Golden Gate 5K, I knew it was the perfect one for me.

This run is being put on to provide free dance classes to low-income children.  MOVRun is an organization that works throughout California, and is just opening a chapter in SF.  Sounds like a good cause, but I want to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge so much that I really don’t mind what it’s benefiting, that’s just a bonus.

The site claims that this is the “greenest race in SF” and that they are “striving to leave the smallest carbon footprint on their races.” So, unlike other events where you might get a t-shirt or a tote bag full of goodies, this one doesn’t have that stuff.  It doesn’t even allow disposable water containers.  They’re serious about keeping the race green, which I think is great.  After all, I don’t need another t-shirt, and if I want to commemorate the 5K, I’ll just snap a few pictures while I’m doing it.

I’ve asked my sister to sign up with me, because I love doing 5Ks with her, but I’m not sure if she’ll be able to, since my niece’s birthday is the Wednesday before.  I’m not sure what type of party they’re thinking of having and when they’re going to have it.  I’m thinking maybe FavCousin would do it with me, since she lives in SF.  Or, maybe I can get Neece to do it with me.  Or Cynn.  I’ve emailed a bunch of friends and asked them to sign up for the 5K as my birthday present.  (My birthday is on July 2nd, so this is only a few weeks after).

When I think back to other birthday celebrations I’ve envisioned in the past, doing a 5K with friends was never one of them.  I guess that just goes to show how much different my outlook on life and health are now.  I’m really happy about where I am and how significantly different my viewpoint on exercise is.

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