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bilbl_superHappy Sunday morning!   My weekend has been really fun so far.  Yesterday I participated in the Giant Race 5K with my friend Di, and we had the best time walking and chatting.  We liked it so much that we decided that next year, we’re going to run the 5-miler.

The race started early – at 7:30am, which was good because it meant we avoided the heat and had the rest of our Saturday to ourselves.  I really think the race shirts were adorable, don’t you?  That’s the SJ Giants’ mascot, Gigante.

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Of course I made us take a pre-race selfie

The course itself was really flat for the most part, although there was one small incline. I definitely think that next year I’d appreciate the challenge of running the 5-mile race.  One really cool aspect of this race was that the finish line took us onto the ballpark green.

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For a while I’d been questioning whether or not I wanted to continue participating in 5Ks.  Whether I wanted to run them, walk them, or just skip them altogether.  When I was doing my own run/walk intervals, I found myself nervous every time it was time to run, so I told myself maybe I should just walk 5Ks from now on.  But every since I’ve re-started C25K, I’ve actually enjoyed the running segments.  The difference is that I’ve slowed myself down and just focused on improving my breathing.  Yesterday’s 5K was fun, but not challenging enough for me. So I’ve decided that in the future, if I find a 5K that I want to participate in, I’m going to run it.  (Hopefully I still feel this way after the MOOnlight 5K I have coming up on July 12, which will be the first 5K I run all the way through).

 

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reverb13-blog-button Throughout the month of December, I’ll be participating in #reverb13: Reverb is a way to reflect on the past year and project into the next year with a prompt a day for 31 days.  December is the perfect time to reflect on 2013 and start to create intentions for 2014.

Day 23: Ready, Set, Go!
The race set out for you | Tell us about how you’ve been running along in 2013 and the race(s) you intend to run in 2014.  These can be literal races or just the road of life.  What did your path look like this year, and are you choosing the same for 2014?

This year my path has been all about health and fitness.  I’ve always been interested in moving my body and pushing myself as far as I could go, but this year, after all of my weight loss, I’ve been able to really see what I’m capable of.

I love speed – I drive fast, I talk fast, I think fast, and I want to move fast.  So running is something I’ve always wanted to do, but until very recently, never been able to.  Not anymore!  As I’ve mentioned in many previous posts, I’m one month into a walk/run program and I’m up to running 5 minutes in a row.  Each time I set out to run I get an incredible feeling of accomplishment.  I don’t know if I’ve experienced any endorphin rush yet, but I’ll look forward to that.

I’ve already begun participating in monthly 5Ks, and plan to continue that in 2014.  And who knows, maybe I’ll up the ante to 10Ks and beyond as the year continues.  The sky’s the limit!

I first heard this phrase from the Mermaid Run series. At the time I hadn’t experienced it yet, but now that I have, I love it even more.

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bilbl_superToday’s Adventures in Fitness (AIF) is a twofer – I completed C25K Week 3, Day 1 while I participated in the Silicon Valley Santa Run.

I’d been looking forward to the Santa Run all month because it was going to be the first time I attempted any sort of run/walk while doing a 5K.  And, it was going to be the first time I did the 5K on my own, well, sort of.  Ani and Di both did it with me, but I’d told them upfront that I really wanted to continue my C25K program, so I’d be using my headphones and doing the walk/run.  They were both really cool about the fact that we wouldn’t be walking this 5K side by side as we had when we did the Color Me Rad.

Pre race, I had to get my selfies in:

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We wanted to get down to the race area early, so we’d have no problems with parking.  Since it was starting really late – at 3pm, we left around 12:30 and had lunch at Chipotle.  I had a steak burrito bowl, which was a great choice since I only eat 1/3 of it at a time and it fueled me perfectly.  We got down to the race area with over an hour to spare. So what do three girls who are excited about a 5K do? Take “groupies” of course:

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I’m so lucky that I did this 5K with these girls. We’ve been friends since our freshman year of high school. We’ve shared so much! Love them!

Waiting for the race was the most difficult part, partly because I’m just so impatient and partly because I had so much anticipation going into it, because I was going to do Day 1 of Week 3 of C25K, which is fairly intimidating:

5:00 warm up
Jog: 1:30
Walk 1:30
Jog: 3:00 (yes, that’s 3 entire minutes of jogging at once)
Walk: 3:00
Jog: 1:30
Walk: 1:30
Jog: 3:00
Walk: 3:00
5:00 cool down

2013-12-15 14.59.45 And just like that, I was off and walking at a brisk pace (Endomondo clocked me at 4.0mph).  At the first jogging section, I knew I started running too  quickly – all the adrenaline hit me, and my competitive streak definitely kicked in, too.  Because I’d started running at was was surely a 5.0 mph, I barely made it to the end of the first section, but I did.  And I definitely used the 1:30 walk time to catch my breath.  When it came time to run for 3:00 run, I have to be honest and say that I stopped running with about a minute to go.  I couldn’t seem to regulate my pace.  I was either going as fast as I could, or I was walking.  By the time it got to the next running section, I realized I needed to slow it down if I was going to make it through, which is what I did.  I was still going at a good pace, about 4.5mph, which is faster than my usual treadmill runs.  By the time I was hitting the second and final 3:00 run, I am so proud to say I made it all the way through.  I took it slow, but I did it.  28 minutes of the C25K was done, but I still had more of this 5K to go.

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The sea of Santas running in front of me – we all looked so cool out there! It was such a fun thing to be a part of.  Definitely on my Must Do list for next year, too.

I’d thought I was going to complete the remainder of the race walking, but I felt so guilty about giving up a minute early on that one section of running, that I continued to do a run/walk style for the rest of the race.  Nothing evenly timed, mind you.  I’d just walk for a bit and then tell myself to run from those palm trees to that street sign, and so on.  I did that at least 4 times.

rocky_balboa_runningThe proudest of those times was when the course was getting to a fairly steep incline, and I decided to “get all Rocky” on that incline and run up it. And I didn’t stop at the top of that incline, but kept running to the next intersection.  When I finished, I felt like this:

imagesI kept doing these periodic run/walk intervals for the rest of the race.  I was listening to my Madonna RockMyRun playlist, and felt incredibly invigorated.  I did end the 5K walking, but I was walking strong, and proud.  I felt so good!

2013-12-15 15.52.09 As I crossed the finish line, I got completely overwhelmed.  Tears welled up in my eyes, and I had to hold myself back from the brink of the ugly cry, because I was on the edge of it.  I was so emotional because the realization hit me – I had just done a 5K where I was running for 1/3 of it!  (Carina, my math may not be right – I don’t think I did a full 1/2, so my English-teacher brain goes to the next “measuring cup portion” I can think of). I’d also just PR’d! (More on that in a second).  As of today I have lost 112 pounds, and I am doing things I only dreamed of.  Actually, I guess I’m living my dreams.  So you can see why I was so emotional.  This experience meant the world to me.

2013-12-15 17.19.25When I got this notification that I’d completed the 5K in 48:56, I was ecstatic!  I can actually say I’d PR’d!!  By about 8 minutes, which is awesome! I can’t explain the feeling of pride that I had at that moment.  Just so happy about my life and all that I’ve done to change it.  Incredible!

2013-12-15 15.52.20 The Santa Run ended at Christmas in the Park, and this tree was the first thing I saw as I finished.  I was still trying to get ahold of my emotions, and seeing this majestic tree really hit home for me.  In those post-race minutes when I was taking it all in, this tree symbolized everything I had just accomplished.  I know that may sound corny or silly, but it’s 100% true.

It didn’t take long for Di to finish next and then Ani was shortly behind her.  We’d all finished the 5K in under an hour, and were feeling really good.  As we walked back to the car, we happened upon one last photo op:

2013-12-15-16-09-57It was the perfect spot to take a post-race pic. Such a beautiful setting, and I was feeling just this beautiful inside and out.

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reverb13-blog-button Throughout the month of December, I’ll be participating in #reverb13: Reverb is a way to reflect on the past year and project into the next year with a prompt a day for 31 days.  December is the perfect time to reflect on 2013 and start to create intentions for 2014.

Day 8: Adventure
Did you go on an adventure in 2013?  What sort?

As much as I enjoy traveling to new places, trying new things, meeting new people, and experiencing new cultures, I am sorry to say that 2013 did not take me away on any vacations.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t embark on any adventures.  I just did them closer to home.  This year, especially since the summer, I’ve been on quite a few Adventures in Fitness (AIF).

  • 2013-09-27 16.01.00 By far, the most memorable and dangerous AIF was when I attempted StandUp Paddleboarding in Half Moon Bay.  I won’t rehash the whole thing now, but let’s just say my adventure involved getting saved by a wizened, old fisherman.
  • 2013-10-03 11.01.21 For the first time ever, I participated on the faculty powderpuff team during homecoming.  The shots of me bent over into position as a center weren’t flattering, but I had the best time.  And I’m determined to be a receiver next year, especially if I keep up with my run/walk program.
  • Speaking of run/walk, I’ve mentioned before that I’m doing C25K, and this time, my third attempt, I’m really enjoying myself.  Each new workout leaves me proud of what I’ve accomplished, but also amazed at what my body is capable of.  It’s really cool!
  • I have lots more adventures on my Fitness Bucket List, and I look forward to crossing them off, one by one.

Beyond my fitness escapades, fashion has become a real adventure, in the best way.  Each new (smaller) size I fit into is like a medal marking how far I’ve come.  Something as simple as fitting into a new size of underwear is a thrill, especially now that I can buy them in regular stores.

Another major NSV that occurred without me even realizing it was that I can now cross my legs!  Only plus-sized girls can really understand the joy I felt the first time I looked down and realized that I had one leg crossed over the other.  It’s so comfortable!  Since my thighs are thick, I’m not quite ready to take a pic of this new NSV, but as the inches fall off, that will definitely be something I post.

This quote by Oprah is so true.  I’m living the life that I only dreamed about in the past, and I’m finding that reality is so much sweeter than I could have ever imagined.

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bilbl_super This morning it was time for me to start C25K Week 2, Day 1.  Since it has been cold outside (in the 40s, which is FREEZING in the SF Bay Area), I knew I was taking this walk/run to the gym.  I was sort of anxious about two things:

  1. I had skipped Week 1, Day 3 and wasn’t sure if I was ready to move up to today’s longer intervals.
  2. I hadn’t done C25K on the treadmill and wasn’t sure how it would go.

I started off the walk at a good clip – 3.5mph.  In the past, I have never been able to go faster than 3.3mph without really feeling it in my shins/calves, but today I had no problem keeping up this brisk pace.  The entire 5 minutes of the warm up, I was nervous about how the running portion would go.

  • Would I be able to keep up the running for 90 seconds?
  • How fast should I pace myself for the runs?

One thing I wasn’t worried about was how I was going to look while I was running.  I’d recently bought some Old Navy Max Compression capris that fit me really well, and didn’t show much jiggle in my at-home-full-length-mirror-bounce-up-and-down test. Plus, I’d found a treadmill in the back, so the only people behind me were the ones in the Group X room.

I had a great RockMyRun playlist on (today’s was Wogging My World, which is funky and upbeat), and was as ready as I could be to start the running portion.  I bumped my pace up to 4.2mph, which I was able to maintain for the entire 90 seconds.  It wasn’t easy, but it was smooth.  I noticed that a lady on a treadmill in front of me was walking at a 4.0 pace, but I didn’t let that get in my head.  I’m starting out, I’m short, and I wanted to give myself a pace I could maintain the entire time.  Which I did.

I finished the walk/run intervals and felt strong.  I was definitely ready for the running portions to end when the 90 seconds elapsed, but I was able to complete each of them in a really solid way.

Running on the treadmill was so much easier than running outside on the track!  First, my lungs weren’t affected by cold air, as they would’ve been outside. And I really liked the way I could set the pace and know exactly how fast/how far I was going.  I’m planning to push myself a bit more on Day 2 and see how 4.5mph goes.  Based on today’s workout, I think I’ll be just fine at that pace.  I know most runners prefer to be outside, and maybe when I get to be a better runner, and the weather warms up, I’ll feel the same way.  But for now, I am so glad that the treadmill went so well.  (I do plan to do at least one C25K session out on the track, just to keep in practice because my 5Ks will all be outside).

The entire time I was on the treadmill, I felt so proud of myself.  I wasn’t thinking about how I looked on the treadmill.  Or, I should say, I wasn’t thinking anything negative or self-conscious.  In fact, I felt like I fit right in, which is a first.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never really felt too far out of place at the gym, because I’ve always given it my all (insofar as whatever that meant for my fitness level at the time). But today I almost wanted other people to notice me and to see how great I was doing.  THAT is a first!

That smile really says it all (I snapped this at the end of my workout).

That smile really says it all (I snapped this at the end of my workout).

What do you prefer – treadmill or outdoor?  Any advice for this newbie runner?

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reverb13-blog-button Throughout the month of December, I’ll be participating in #reverb13: Reverb is a way to reflect on the past year and project into the next year with a prompt a day for 31 days.  December is the perfect time to reflect on 2013 and start to create intentions for 2014.

Day 7: Victory Lap
What was your biggest accomplishment of 2013?

By far, the biggest accomplishment in 2013 was losing weight, and since the process was gradual, the successes came in increments:

  • After years of struggle on this weight loss journey, the moment I reached the pre-surgery requirement was a huge turning point for me.  It signified that I had stopped letting excuses rule my life, and that I’d started to do whatever I needed to get to my goal.
  • After the surgery, I soon hit 50 pounds lost, and realized that I’d learned a lot of things on this weight loss journey.
  • I’ve had quite a few NSVs, lots of which have had to do with new clothes in normal sizes, including these sweats from Victoria’s Secret, in a size XL. The best part, after a day of wearing them, they stretched out so much that I actually think I can fit a Large.  Me, in a size LARGE sweats from VS!!  I love clothes, and getting the be a weight/size that I can shop in normal stores has been amazing.  The biggest problem is not spending too much money on clothes that are going to be too big in a short time.
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  • I’ve also had a lot of fitness accomplishments, including walking in lots of 5Ks: Color Me Rad, SJ RocknRoll Mini, SF Mermaid, and the Turkey Trot. All of these 5Ks have shown me that I am ready to push myself a bit further.  I attempted the C25K for the third time, and even though it’s been quite a challenge, for the first time it’s doable.  I have a Santa Run coming up next Sunday, and I’m planning to do a walk/run for the first time.  I can’t wait to see how far I can take my running in 2014.
  • To date, my biggest accomplishment on the scale has been losing 100 pounds.  I’ve lost even more since then (almost -110), and my next goal is to get to ONEDERLAND by December 31st.

Since mid-year, 2013 has been filled with accomplishments that I’m incredibly proud of.  I know 2014 is going to bring even more successes that I can’t wait to share.

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bilbl_superThis morning I woke up with a mission.  Even though it was freezing cold outside, I was going to head to the track at my neighborhood high school and start C25K.  (I was supposed to start on Monday, but Sofi was feeling ill and after our visit to the vet, I didn’t want to leave her home alone. I’ve had appointments and other obligations the rest of this week, so today was the first time I’ve been able to get to the track in the morning).

As you guys know, I’ve tried C25K once or twice before. Both of my previous attempts weren’t successful.  I really wanted to do the program, but I just weighed too much to physically do it.  In fact, both times before, I wasn’t even able to complete all of the running segments on the first day.  I figured that it was ok to skip a few of them, as long as I was out there and moving, and I guess at the time it was alright, because my fitness level just wasn’t up to it.  The heart wanted it, but the body couldn’t follow.

So getting up this morning, I have to say that I was determined that this third time was going to be different.  I wasn’t going to allow myself anything but success.  But I was still scared that I wouldn’t be able to do it, even though I really wanted to.

Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you.” – Caroline Myss  (One of my MFP peeps posted this quote today, and it couldn’t be more apropos).

It was 46 degrees as I got out of the car and walked toward the track. (That temp downright frosty for this Bay Area girl!) But I knew that I’d warm up quickly once I started jogging.  So I turned on Endomondo, opened my Madonna Madness Rock my Run playlist, and opened my C25K app from Zen Labs.

I started on the 5-minute warm up, really enjoying the Madonna beats the DJ had put in the mix, and taking in the gorgeous, sunny weather.  There were only 3 other people out on the track with me, and since I had my shaper on underneath my workout pants, I felt confident that there wasn’t “too much jiggle in my wiggle.” Even though I was anxious about starting the running portion of the C25K, I decided not to psych myself out and just enjoy the warm up.

As I was rounding the track for the third time, I thought to myself, “wow, I’ve gone 3/4 of a mile in 5 minutes!” And then I thought, “wait a minute…that’s not possible, I’m only going at about 3.5 mph, what’s going on?!” And that’s when I realized that the dumb C25K app I was using wasn’t prompting me to switch to running.  Apparently, I had to keep it open and active for it to give me any cues.  I thought it would work in the background, but apparently you get what you pay for.  (This app from Zen Labs was free and not worth the time it took to download it).  In reality, I’d gone 13:56 minutes.  Ugh.  But I wasn’t going to let this less than stellar start deter me from doing the C25K – I’d make it work.

So, I started the app over again, did another 5 minutes of warm up, and then hit the intervals.  60 seconds of running, followed by 90 seconds of walking, for 20 minutes.  It sucked to have to keep the app up and active the whole time, but I wasn’t going to let that stand in my way of completing this goal.

{If anyone can recommend a C25K app, please leave it in the comments. I’m willing to spend some money on an app that can run in the background}.

As I started running, I felt light, smooth, and easy.  Ok, easy probably isn’t the right word, but I did feel strong.  I wasn’t huffing and puffing as I had in the past.  I’d learned from my last attempt at C25K that I needed to pace myself and not run at a sprint, otherwise I’d wear myself out.  So I jogged in my “tip-toeing-through-the-tulips” style that my sister says I have.  Carina said that this might mean that I’m light on my feet, and since she’s a running expert, let’s go with that.  🙂

In the past, I’ve been so out of breath during the running portions of the program that I had to skip a few of those segments, but not today.  Today I completed each 60-second run, and sure, those last 10 seconds or so were me willing myself to finish it, but I didn’t give up and start walking early.  I stayed with my jog and pushed through it.

83db7483820eceb252910509dfbb17d9I’m so glad that this morning, for the first time ever, I listened to the part of my brain that has helped me lose 106 pounds.  Today I tapped into every single ounce of perseverance that I possess, and I kept going.  And you know what, it was actually great.

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As I finished the 20-minute run/walk intervals and began the 5-minute cool down, I had the hugest smile on my face.  I’d accomplished something that had been a goal of mine for so long.  And I did it well.  Sure, today’s just Day 1, Week 1, but I am confident that I will be able to complete this program this time, and that’s more exciting than I can express.

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Reward Time!! TGI(Black)F

Because I’m someone who responds well to rewards, and since today is Black Friday, I decided to take advantage of the deals Old Navy was advertising and buy myself a few casual/workout/”after school” clothes.  I’d just completed Day 1, Week 1 of C25K and it was time to shop!! I got all of these items for $65, including tax, which I’d say is a GREAT deal. I know that within two months these will be too big for me, but at prices like, this, I’m fine with it.  Part of enjoying each step of my journey is feeling and looking my best as I do it.  Having clothes that fit is a huge part of that. So I don’t mind buying a few pieces that won’t fit me forever – I deserve it.

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bilbl_superI’ve mentioned in a few past posts that I wanted to start the Couch-to-5K walk/run program again.  I’ve signed up for a few 5Ks lately, and I thought it might be fun to be able to at least do a walk/run for some of them.

So yesterday, after a long day at school planning lessons and sitting in several meetings, the last thing I felt like doing was going to the local high school track. But I did it anyway, because I’d made the commitment to myself.  And, often the last thing I feel like doing is the first thing I should be.  🙂  Plus, it was a beautiful day, and there was a very light breeze, making the weather conditions just about perfect at 6pm.

I’d downloaded a free C25K app to alert me when it was time to walk or run, and turned on a great playlist from RockMyRun. And then all there was left to do was to get to it:

Week 1, Day 1:
5 minute warm-up walk
60 second run
90 second walk
60 second run
90 second walk
(repeat each interval 10 times total, for 20 minutes)
5 minute cool down walk

I made it through the first few running sections pretty well.  My breathing was really labored, but my pace was good, and my knees didn’t hurt at all.  I was so relieved every time the app told me it was time to walk.  By the 4th time to run, I was really struggling to finish, and after the 5th time, I decided I’d had enough and just kept walking to finish out the workout. I wouldn’t consider this a total fail, but more of a fact-finding mission.

I had the Endomondo app working in the background, and it let me know that at my fastest, my pace was 5.8mph (this must’ve been right when I started running), but my “wogging” average was about 4.5mph.  My average walk was 3.5mph, which is a lot faster than I realized. So that was the positive.

I’m glad I attempted C25K again, but I think I need to wait until I’ve lost more weight before I continue it.  I posted about my experience on FB last night, and so many of my friends gave me tips to encourage me.  They told me not to give up and to keep going, maybe slowing the pace.  All of which was so sweet, and I do think that the ideas they gave were good, but I have to go with my intuition.  I feel like losing more weight would make my next attempt much more successful.

One thing that did come out last night was that I have really picked up the pace with my walking, without any shin splints, numbness, or problems of any kind.  I’ve really come to enjoy walking throughout the summer, so right now I’m going to concentrate on increasing my pace.

It’s funny how you sometimes figure out what you should be doing by first trying something else that doesn’t work out.

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