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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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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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5b55d8cd-4598-4915-a217-f11e2cc6c279201_09_weight-watchers-at-header-990_revisedv2 All day yesterday I kept thinking about how much I would love to join the WW Walk-It Challenge.  I even logged into the website that had been set up for WW members and read more about it.  The program seemed so simple, so doable.  I love that WW is making walking so accessible to its members.  I love that they’ve partnered with Active.com to get people moving! The Walk-It Challenge encourages members to: 1. join the challenge, 2. join a walk team, and/or 3. participate in a 5K at the end of the 8-week program.  Simple as that.  You can do any or all of those things.

After I really looked at what the training program involved, saw that it was a slow, steady system, and that my 8-week training would end on the last day of school (serendipity!!), I decided to take the plunge and GO FOR IT!  Of course I’m going to be mindful of the numbness/pain, but I really think that maybe TNT was just too much for me at my current fitness level and weight.  WW Walk-It Challenge starts slow, 15 minutes/ day, and anyone can do that. It just seems to have a lot less pressure and expectation than TNT had, at least from my perspective.

So yesterday, even though I could hardly breath out of my nose because of the cold that will not die, I did my 15 minutes.  17:31,  to be exact.  I walked around the Rose Garden, which is so close to my house.  It’s such a lush, beautiful spot, and one trip around the outside perimeter is 1/2 a mile.  I wanted to try to walk around it twice, so in order to get back to my car from where my 15 minutes ended, it was another 2:31 minutes.  The distance I covered in that time period was 1.06 miles, making my pace a 16:32 min. mile! That’s a lot faster than what I was doing with TNT!  I’m not sure why I was so much faster yesterday, because I actually felt like I was going slower, but that’s OK.  I’m really happy about that number.

A photo from inside the Rose Garden

A photo from inside the Rose Garden. With views like that to look at while you walk, who wouldn't be inspired to take the first step?

I still experienced some the feeling of slight cramping in my calves, but I’m reconciled with the fact that at this weight and at my fitness level, I’m going to feel some pain and I have to push through it.  I did stretch after the walk, and it felt great.  I felt wonderful when I was done – those endorphins definitely kicked in!  The other thing I enjoyed about the walk was that since I was doing it myself, I wasn’t putting pressure on myself to keep up with anyone else.  There was no sense of competitiveness, which was great.  If I started to feel too much tightness in my calves, I eased up my pace, and it subsided.  I’m also happy to report NO NUMBNESS the entire time.  Now granted, I didn’t walk far enough to experience the normal numbness I was feeling, but I have high hopes that if I start slowly like this, maybe I’ll be able to counteract this numbness altogether.

The training program is so low pressure that it truly inspired me to make the commitment to join the Challenge.  Who can’t walk for 15 minutes?  And the time increases so gradually, that I’m sure to be successful.  Since I love plans and calendars (I’m such a dork!), I went ahead and spent about 2 hours inputting each daily walk (plus notes) into my iCal an synced it with my iPhone so that I made an appointment to walk each day.  Then I looked up upcoming 5Ks in my area, and found out that the Dream Mile 2009 was happening on June 28th (only a few weeks after my last day of school – perfect!) at the same place LC and I did the Mermaid 5K.  It’s so inexpensive to register – only $15!  Plus it benefits underpriveleged children in India.  I was so motivated yesterday that I sent an email to a group of my girlfriends, inviting them to join me in the Walk-It Challenge, if they were WW members, and even if they weren’t, to join me in the 5K on June 28th.  I’ve already heard back from two of them (LC being one) who said they’d do it with me!

I can’t tell you how happy this Walk-It Challenge has made me.  It’s given me hope that I CAN participate in fitness walking.  That I can work myself up to participating in 5K  and 10K events.  That even though I may not be able to handle a half marathon right now, maybe someday I will be able to.

I feel empowered in a way I haven’t in a long, long time!

How many of you are joining the WW Walk-It Challenge?

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