My first race!

Last Saturday I took part in my first official, timed 5k with other runners!  It takes place in Bushy Park near my inlaws’ home in Teddington, UK every Saturday and it’s called the ParkRun.  There is no charge to take part, and between 800-1000 runners participate each week.  My inlaws run the race quite frequently and since I was staying with them, I decided to join in.

We arrived about 30 minutes before the start to find a parking spot.  Lots of people were milling around, doing stretches and talking to their friends, as the organizers marked out the start and finish lines.  I had a new water bottle which must be a British design, since many of my American friends commented on the photo!

We all gathered near the start line as a lady gave some announcements through a megaphone, and then we were off.

I went off too fast and quickly felt winded.  I had to force myself into a steady 5 mph pace as the fitter runners streaked ahead.  I concentrated on following the beat of my music and tried not to pay much attention to those around me.

My father-in-law had shown me where the 1k mark was, and I had a side stitch at that point, but it passed quickly enough.  My mother-in-law was alternating bursts of faster running and walking, but this meant that our overall pace was about the same and we were able to check in with each other throughout the race.  My father-in-law, despite claiming to have an injured hamstring, was miles ahead!

By the time I reached the 3.5 or 4k mark, I’d managed to keep running without stopping for a walking break.  I then decided that my goal was just to complete the race entirely by running.  I’d never managed to do a 5k without a walking break in any of my training runs.  In the end my time was 37:40.  Not bad for my first attempt at a timed race on a new course!  Of course, nothing could compare to the true eilte; the fastest runner did it in 16:38!

Regardless, I feel very accomplished.  It’s not something I’d like to do every Saturday, but it’s nice to know I’m capable of doing it without embarrassing myself!

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One track mind

Running is now consuming a lot of my previously weight-loss related energy, hence the number of posts about it!  Recent purchases have included an angled water bottle with a carrying handle and a small pocket for keys; a bright orange running jacket; and running capris with mesh panels behind the knees and an iPhone pocket.

I’ve just registered for a 6k race on June 10.  This will be my first stateside race, after the one I plan to tackle in the UK on May 19.  The UK one is a 5k on a relatively flat & familiar course on soft ground in a park, so my hope it to complete that one in about 36 minutes.  The 6k is more of a challenge, as the course is on hard pavement through downtown Worcester and has hills.  It think that one will be a mixture of walking and running; my hope it to complete it in around 50 minutes.

As the weather improves, training outside gets easier – apart from my allergies!  I haven’t actually been to the gym in a while – running or walking outside and Zumba have provided enough activity for 3-4 days a week.  However, at only $10 a month, it is still worth paying for the gym as a back up plan.

Several of my friends ran “alternative” races yesterday, through muddy obstacle courses or where they were being chased by zombies!  Call me unadventurous, but I’ll stick to the regular races for now, thanks. :)

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This time last year, I weighed 195 pounds.  I tried to run for the length of one song and was winded.

Today, I weighed in at my goal weight (155.2) and then ran a 5k outside along the rail trail in 36 minutes – a new personal record.

Happy birthday to ME! At 37, I feel fabulous, have tons of energy, and am the fittest I have ever been.

P.S.  I run so I can justify eating this.  My neighbor made it for my birthday cake!

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My first outdoor run!

New England continues to experience exceptionally nice early Spring weather.  Over the weekend it got up to the high 70s, and when I saw that was forecast to continue through the week, I decided I had run out of excuses not to try running outside, after a winter on the treadmill at the gym.

First there was the small matter of my monthly Lifetimer weigh in to get out of the way.  Weight Watchers once you to weigh in at least once a month within 2 lbs of your goal weight in order to maintain your no-pay status and continue to receive free access to the online tracking tools.  The earlier part of this month was dominated by my wisdom teeth removal, and the subsequent bloat caused by large doses of painkillers made weighing in the last two Mondays an unattractive option.  But yesterday morning, the home scale was kind, so I switched to my summer weigh-in outfit (shorts instead of pants) and got it over & done with.  Down 0.2 to 155.6, but I’m attributing that to the reduction in fabric in my clothing. LOL

Then I went out to my car, laced up my sneakers, and set off down the Hudson bike path.  I chose this route because it is flat, convenient and about half in shade.  Stupidly I had forgotten to bring any water with me, but I decided to go anyway.  I walked for one song to warm off and then selected my 5mph running playlist on my phone and set off.

The day could not have been nicer – warm, clear skies, and friendly fellow trail users.  I felt strong and confident and happy as I ran.  I made it to the parking lot at the end of the trail (about 1.5miles) before I took a break to walk for one song, mainly because my mouth was incredibly dry due to the lack of water.  But the walking break rejuvenated me enough to run back to Ariba, and then walk for one final song back to the car.  The last 4 minutes of running were a real slog, but I could see my destination ahead, so I selected my most upbeat track to listen to and powered on.

Final stats: 3.4 miles in 39 minutes, 31.30 of which was running.  Even more than a 5k!  I anticipate that I will do this route again regularly over the coming weeks, striving to improve upon my time – and remembering to bring a small water bottle in future!

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Back to running

After a week’s post-surgery hiatus from exercise, I ventured back to the gym this morning.  It’s amazing how just a week off from my normal routine had affected my fitness levels.  I could only manage to run 4 songs-walk-run 1 song-walk-run 1 song-walk today, for a total of 30 minutes.  But at least I did something, and it felt good to be back.  The weather forecast looks lovely for the whole week, so I may attempt running outside for the first time soon.

Having the right music continues to be the key to motivating me.  The Tooth Fairy kindly credited my Amazon account with $20 to buy more workout music when I had my wisdom teeth out. :)  Here are my 3 current favorite songs for running at 5mph:

“Runaway baby” by Bruno Mars (thanks to Melissa for recommending this one)
“What I like about you” by The Romantics
“Love me love me” by Big Time Rush

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Whine, pout, moan

I had surgery to remove all 4 of my wisdom teeth on Monday.  It’s been a tough week of recovery!  The Percocet has made me dizzy, nauseous & itchy.  I can’t drive while I’m taking it, so I’ve been confined to the house.  I can’t chew much or open my mouth wide, so I am restricted to soft pureed foods like applesauce, ice cream, scrambled eggs and soup.

Everyone said this surgery was an easy way to lose 5 lbs, but instead the scale has risen each day because of the accumulation of drugs in my system!  I know it’s not a “real” gain, but it’s still hard to see those numbers creeping up, especially when I am am not able to consume even my daily minimum in points at the moment.  There’s been no exercise – I can barely stand up straight, never mind walk or run.  It is hard to feel so out of my element.  I don’t do well with the lack of independence and change to my normal routine!

As of today, I am weaning off the Percocet onto just ibuprofen.  Here’s hoping I start to feel a little more normal soon.

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235 to 155.  80 lbs gone in 14 months.  BMI went from 37.9 to 25.  Size 22 to size 10. Time for some new duds!


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