Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010 Year in Review!

I started 2010 with exactly 1 race under my belt and lots of goals and fears about what I might do.  I started the Couch to 5K program in August 2009 when my brother-in-law suggested we run a 5K for fun.  I was less than 1 year out from my gastric bypass surgery, and had secretly always wanted to run, so I thought I'd give it a shot. My first race was in October 2009 with a time of 34:59.  I was hooked, and then just ran for fun until my friend Anamarie talked me into my next race.

I had emergency abdominal surgery in December 2009, so that kept me pretty inactive in January, but I got back on the road/treadmill in February to start prepping for my first 10 mile race, the Cherry Blossom Run in Washington, DC.  I had no idea what a HUGE deal it is to get into and run that race.  20,000+ runners, superflat course and crowded as all get out!!  I loved the experience, but I don't think I want to run anything quite that crowded ever again!!  Anyway, my friend Anamarie told me about the race and it was my first big running goal for the year.

I got to spend a nice weekend with her and run a pretty cool race, so it was a win.  Plus, we look awesome in our pink headbands!  We hadn't discussed the pink tank tops at all, but we happened to both wear them that day!

Somewhere during the training for this event, I decided that if I could run 10 miles, why not give a Half Marathon a shot.  Sure, right??  I had a few other surgery friends who also signed up to run the same Half in Worcester, MA, so that was my next big goal after the 10 Miler.

The week before the 10 Miler, I started feeling pain in my knee, and during the race I pretty much felt pain for 8 miles.  IT Band issues.  Physical therapy.  I didn't run for a month and was panicking.

I found a local 5K to run, which i was hoping would be a good confidence boost.  It was a charity run for the Hoyt running team, and I've been watching this inspirational pair for years since they always run the Boston Marathon.  Felt good to get out and run a 5K for my third race ever, 7 months after my first 5K.  I improved on my first race by about 7 minutes.  OMG.  That's quite a PR!! (unchipped 27:49)
At the start of the Team Hoyt 5K
This left me feeling pretty positive about the Half Marathon that was 2 weeks away.  The longest run I got in before the half was 7 miles (not counting the 10 Miler that I had done 2 months before).  I just believed I had it in me.  Worst thing that would happen is that I walked more than I wanted to.  I'm ok with that.  My rules for running in an event:
1. Keep moving forward (though stopping to stretch and use the restroom sometimes MUST be done)
2. Remember that I can do hard things
3. Drink water!
4. Finish strong.

Anyway, Half day was a foggy, cool, muggy June morning.  58 degrees.  I was so nervous, so jittery and when I finished that sucker in less than my goal time (I was aiming for 2:30 and managed 2:22) I was proud and happy and TIRED.  The 45 minutes drive home sucked and I had to stop and stretch halfway!
my very first finisher's medal!
Because I'm a glutton for punishment, and cuz I'm a sucker for a cool finish, I talked my sister and a friend of mine into signing up for a July 4th 10K that finished on the 50 yard line at Gillette Stadium, home of the Patriots football team.  I hoped that a 9am start time would be early enough that we wouldn't die from the heat.  HA!  It was hot and muggy and then the SUN broke through the clouds.  it was a beautiful course through the town and not many hills or anything, but the weather was BRUTAL and continues to be the hardest race I've run.  I had hoped to run in under an hour, but it was just too damn  hard for me.  I walked what felt like a lot, I kept sucking on my inhaler.  I must not have walked too much, I did finish in 1:03 which is more than respectable.  My sister joined me for this run, as did my friend Jen and they both toughed out the horrible conditions in their 10K debuts.
Me on the left, Jen in green and my sister waving

This finish line totally rocked!
This race left me decidedly unhappy with summer running.  I walked instead.  I walked A LOT in the summer, which was great.  I met up with some friends and we walked, and decided to form a team and walk the Boston Marathon route in a big event to raise money for the Jimmy Fund.  I'm not ready to RUN Boston, but I sure as hell walked it!
Training walk with the ladies (Cathy, Lisa,

Here we are at the end of 26.2 miles on the world's most famous route.
I followed this walking up with another 5K to get back into the swing of things (though I'd already started running again, in preparation for my 2nd Half Marathon).  I ran a 5K in Providence with my sister and nephew - his running debut!

My nephew won this one, with a come from behind surge to beat me by 1 second.  I was super proud of him for pushing through - he'd been suffering a side cramp for most of the race.  He's only gotten faster since then.  I think we ran a 28:something on this one.

One last event finished up September - a fundraiser "Walk Away from Obesity".  I joined team "Melting Mama's Bariatric Bad Girls", brought my sweet dog, PJ and walked with the bad girls (and my BF) for a lovely stroll along the river in Lowell, MA.  It was great to catch up with more surgery friends!
Hanging with my boy!

Most of the team. PJ is our mascot!
Next up was my my last "big" race of the year, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) Half Marathon.  These are the folks that run the Boston Marathon, so I just felt so cool for managing to get a bib for this thing.  The race sold out in 2 hours.  My training was not as awesome I'd have liked it to have been, but I still felt pretty ready until I came down with a horrible cold the week before.  I was literally in bed for days before the race, sleeping 16 hours/day.  I kinda felt better Friday, and then ran the race on Sunday.

Fueling before the start of the BAA Half

maybe the last race my boyfriend was on the sidelines for!
No rest for the weary.  Two weeks after the half, I took on a trail race!  Never really did trail running before, but thought it would be a great way to challenge myself and combines my boyfriend's mountain biking and my running.  We even got friends to sign up and do this really grassroots trail run with us - none of us having a clue what to expect!

We completed a 3.4 mile course that had some NASTY inclines along the way, but as far as i know, none of us fell on our asses, and considering those inclines were followed by some devastating downhills with wet leaves, I considered the day a total success!


November was a nice mellow 1 race month.  My BF and I were running a Turkey Trot 5K as his debut 5k on Thanksgiving morning.  I mentioned in my race report that I did NOT like the start - where there was no line, no horn, no gun.  whatever, it was fun.
Seemed extra chilly that day.
I had two Jingle Bell races planned for December.  The first was in Providence, RI.  I ran with family and the BF, but had the pleasure of running into my walking ladies pre-race.  We hung out with them inside the Convention Center next to the start line to stretch, keep warm and catch up on all the gossip!
I served as the gold star atop the "Walking Snobs" tree!

One of the other highlights of the Providence Jingle 5K was that after not really running for over a month except for the Turkey Trot and a random Saturday run here and there, I nearly matched my PR (and perhaps beat it) with a chipped time of 27:51.  My standing PR is 27:49 - but it was not chipped, so it could be a few seconds more or less.  

Last race of the year:  Somerville Jingle Bell Run.  A well organized, fun 5K through the streets of this city that is home to a lot of fun college bars.  People came out and cheered on the racers who wore everything from a speedo to a full Santa costume.  This was also the perfect bookend race, since my friend Anamarie came up and ran with me!  It was both of our last races of 2010, and I ran with her on my first race of 2010, so it was perfect!!

2/3 of Team Missile Toes for this race!

After the race, the BF and I went over to a local BBQ place for post-race celebrating.  Redbones was a sponsor of the race, and completing entitled us to a free beer and food at the after-party.  We decided waiting out in the cold wasn't an option, so we got a table like regular customers and brought our free beer to that and ordered off the menu.  YUM!
yes, our finisher's medal is a bottle opener!
That winds down a year of running races and some walking!  I can't wait to see what I can do in 2011.  On the horizon right now is starting the year off with a bang, BF and I are running in a "freezer 5" on New Years Day - my first 5 Mile race (and his too!).  We are also working on picking a Half to run in the spring so that we can run a FULL in the summer.  That's RIGHT!!!  Next year at this time I will be recapping as a Marathon Runner!!  I am already a Marathon Walker!  

Hope any readers of this little blog enjoy their holidays and are thinking up great challenges to take on in the next year, athletic or otherwise!

more on loose skin

My friend and fellow post-surgery endurance athlete wrote a great message about loose skin after massive weight loss that I thought I'd pass along.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Somerville Jingle 5K

I'm feeling lazy, so I'm referring to my teammate's post about our race since she actually took photos!

Basically, this was a "fun run" for adults.  There were lots of costumes: Santas, Snowmen, 8 Reindeer, and lots of other festive stuff.

I just wanted to run and feel good, which I did.  My time was 29:44 without asthma attacks, so I'll take it!  It's become clearer and clearer to me that while I like a good 5K race, and I'm super proud of my PR (27:49), I really like the "in the zone" pace of running a longer distance. 

Stay tuned for my 2010 recap post. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holidays and 5Ks

I ran my very first Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving morning.  It was chilly out, but my boyfriend and I got up and raced at 9am to earn our turkey dinners. 

Here we are pre-race:

This was BF's first official 5K, and he did pretty awesome.  I'm sure he ran a sub 30:00, however in something I've never seen before, there was no starting line that I could see.  It's as if they just turned all our chips on at the same time or something.  I didn't hear a gun, a horn, or someone yelling GO.  We just started running when the crowd in front of us moved!  Anyway, my official time was 29:35.

Yesterday, we moved on to the next holiday, and ran the Providence, RI Jingle 5K.  You may recall I ran a 5K in Providence in September with my sister and my 13 year old nephew.  This Jingle 5K was our next group event, adding my BF to the team, and because the race encouraged costumes and team, etc, we named our team "Missile Toes".  I was hoping it would get me kissed along the way by hot men, or at least one hot man (hello, boyfriend!).  We did not stop to kiss along the way, but we did run as fast as we could!  I nearly PR'd with an official time of 27:51.  My PR is a 27:49, but that was an unchipped event, so this might actually be a PR.  Whatever, I ran HARD and was sucking on my inhaler throughout the race!  Cold weather racing is definitely hard on my asthma, but I didn't give up, and unlike last week, I didn't even walk when taking a hit off my inhaler.  Of our team, my nephew and my boyfriend finished before me (in that order) and my sister finished after me.  Here we all are pre-race:

and here I am, finishing!

I'm hoping that my good finishing time and my horrible asthma are enough to get me back on the roads on a semi-regular schedule again, so my lungs can get a bit more accustomed to the cold.  I've got another 5K in two weeks, and then a 5 miler less than 2 weeks after that!  Can't have my boyfriend be beating me all over the streets of New England!  :)  More importantly, I'm almost a full pound over my upper limit as of this morning (though a post-race day is not a good day to weigh in), so I need to keep moving. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

loose skin - my post from an OH message board that warrants repeating

(and perhaps re-reading when i get self-conscious)

is going to happen or not.
is out of your control.
is not worse than being fat.
is fun to play with.
can be removed by a plastic surgeon.
will not ruin your life
is nicely hidden by most clothing.
is not the real reason your partner won't sleep with you.
will not keep you from finding a partner.
cannot be fixed by exercise.

is not the end of the world.

that is all.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

unmotivated. slacking. depressed?

My life is going pretty great right now.

I'm doing ok in my class, my boyfriend is a dream come true, my weight is pretty stable and I've never been healthier.

The last couple weeks I've just been dog-tired and pretty hard to motivate.  I don't want to do ANYTHING at my job (and it's starting to get noticed, NOT GOOD), I can barely drag myself out to exercise and I complain to myself the whole time I do.  Fake it til I make it feels a long way off.

Perhaps it's the post-half, post-trail race slump.  I've got other small races planned, but nothing new and big ton conquer for a while, or maybe it's the fact that I'm freezing despite a space heater blowing at me all day.  Maybe it's not enough sunlight?  I don't know.

I feel guilty for complaining since people have REAL problems to contend with, but right now, i'm just out of it.  Maybe I need to up my happy pills dose?

Anyway, maybe putting it out into the world will free me!

Monday, November 1, 2010

fall running plans

Yup, the chill is really starting to hang in the air.  My asthma gets to battle a new enemy - over the summer it was the high humidity, now it's the low humidity!  Good times.

This fall I'm hoping to keep up the running as best I can.  Having a partner that is learning to run is actually a big help.  If I were on my own yesterday, I'm not sure I would have gotten off my butt, but he said "I can go for my usual, and you can do your long run".  Well, that pinched my ego.  I've been going for long runs on Sundays since we met - so it's what he expects. Can't wimp out on a nice day when we've got nothing else going on!

So, we changed into our gear and headed out.  We ran the first mile together and then I split off to a longer route and he kept going on the 3 mile loop.  I didn't really know what my plan was for the "long".  I didn't have water, GU or my inhaler, so it was going to be less than 6.  I whined in my head so much that I was going just do 3, but then I didn't like my whining, so I told myself I HAD to do 5 cuz I'm half-marathoner and it should be easy, even on a hard day. 

That's right, I had to yell at myself.  I called myself a whiney bitch.  What kind of role model would I be to my partner if I just said "eh, i didn't FEEL like it"?  So, 5 miles it was.  Around 4 miles I found my groove, too.  I may have found it just because I knew that I only had to do one more and my finish line was a pizza place where John was waiting for me.  Whatever, I did it, and I was glad.

Days like these are why I keep my racing calendar stocked up.  If I don't have a reason to keep it up, I might not.  That scares the crap out of me!  But having a race to prepare for - a new goal to reach, a new PR, a new distance - whatever it is, that really keeps me "honest" with my training.

On the horizon - perhaps a 5 miler on the 14th.  A 5k turkey trot on the 25th, and a 5K Jingle run on 12/5.  I believe we've also got a 5 miler on Jan 1.  John will probably not be ready to run 5 miles straight by the 14th, but New Years he should be ready.  Hopefully his 5K will be without stops on Thanksgiving too.  Right now his stops are mostly for stretching though... so you can't help those if you cramp. 

Our 2011 running goals are lofty, so I'm glad we've got some fun stuff planned to close out 2010.  We've even got ourselves a team name and logo.  I can't release the logo yet, but we are named Missile Toes - born out of our first "team" event, the Jingle 5K.  We may or may not have actual Mistle Toe for that run!

Monday, October 25, 2010

My first trail race! (and first race ever with the BF)

the results are up...and they have John and I finishing 92nd and 91st, respectively, though our times are not right since he finished on my heels.... but whatever.  I think his time reflects our results more accurately.  It was a lot of fun and a new physical challenge - and his first footrace!!!  In just over two months of dating, look what I've done!  I created a new runner!!

The race was in the town forest in Groton, MA on trails that John uses for mountain biking.  LOTS of roots, and plenty of hills.  None too long, but most VERY steep.  I could barely run up most of them and going down was slippery and scary more than a few times. 

We picked the 3.4 mile course (that my Garmin only measured at 3.17 - click here to see my Garmin data) and hoped to finish upright, not bleeding and in under 45 minutes.  Two other couples that signed up with us did a slower pace and hung as a pack for a while, but they came in one at a time, all of them running!  None of us had any idea what to expect of ourselves and the course, but since I had the most running endurance, I figured I would be able to run most/all.  (for the record, I ran MOST, definitely not ALL)  John sprinted out ahead at the beginning, and I hung back doing my own thing.  I didn't know what the course was and wanted to conserve.  I passed him around the 1.2 mile mark and we were never really out of eye sight of each other after that - other than during some turns.  We ran together for a bit, but seeing as he'd never run that far or for that long before, he needed more walking breaks than I did to keep moving forward. 

We accomplished our goals and while I definitely conserved speed-wise on some of the flats at the end, I put on the gas when he caught up to make sure I beat him.  :)

This was us before the race.  Sadly, since we were all in the same event, I have no finish line photos until the pro pictures get posted. I wore my Half shirt to inspire confidence.  Sometimes I looked down and thought to myself - "you've done harder than this!".  I used the same strategy at the BAA Half (I wore my Worcester Half race shirt to remind myself I'd done this before).  I think it was more useful for that event, but hey, any advantage you can give yourself.  Plus, it's a cool shirt!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I created a twitter account for my athletic ramblings.  if you are interested, please follow MsBariathlete

what if I can't do it? what if it's just too hard?


One of the online communities I belong to has a few smart people floating around.  Maybe more than a few, but there are a few that strike a chord with me.  One of my self-talk phrases I use when I run to motivate myself is "I can do hard things".  I didn't think of this myself, I read it when one of these smart ladies posted it.  Another smart lady kept that post and reposted it on her blog.  I read it every so often because sometimes I try and talk myself out of pushing myself further. 

Yes, we should learn to respect our own limits.  I'm not saying I would try and hold my breath for 10 minutes underwater or anything.  I'm just saying that sometimes, maybe on a training run, I want to wimp out, turn around and go home.  3 miles is enough, even though the plan was for 8.  really?  is it too hard to go 8?  What are the factors?  is it too hot? too cold?  am i in pain?  is my asthma kicking in?  or is there a cute boyfriend sitting on the couch just waiting for me to come home?  yeah, thought so.  Keep running!! 

Sometimes is is too hot/cold/rainy.  it's hard!  but yes, I can do hard things.  My first 5k?  in the rain.  I didn't know what I was doing, but I just ran.  Now I know I can.  Hell, I willingly gave up solid food for 4 weeks after my RNY.  Hard?  YES!  did it?  YES!  Guess what??? I can do hard things.

YOU.  YOU can do hard things too.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

BAA Half Marathon

Sorry, I haven't posted in a while due 

I'll jump right in with my latest activity: The Boston Athletic Association's Half Marathon.  These are the folks that throw THE Boston Marathon.  Well run, well supplied and general AWESOME event, except for 2 things.  First, I didn't love the course that was a decline until mile 7 when it became and uphill battle til the end.  Seems they may be trying to reproduce the Marathon route.  Second, and the only REAL complaint is that it was a real pain in the butt to find family/friends at the end.  I understand they don't want to feed EVERYONE who shows up, but I was frustrated with working so hard to find John at the end of the race, and I had my cell phone on me.  I imagine plenty of people didn't carry their cell and I saw a lot of lost looking runners and spectators at the end.

With those being my only whining points, it was a great race, really.

Fueling up before the start.  GU w/caffeine!

I corralled with the 10:00/mile folks, and hoped for the best.  It was 42 degrees at race time.  I decided to ditch my disposable clothes about 10 minutes before the start and not "dispose" of them completely.   It was crowded, but it was a fast paced start - we were jogging freely at the start and got up to speed fast.  I pretty much spent most of the race telling myself to slow down since I knew the hills would require some energy at the end.

This is a few yards after the start - we're moving!

I ran the first 5K without stopping/walking, but I planned to walk all my inhaler and GU "breaks".  I mostly stuck to that, but did have a few breaks to stop and stretch and sometimes just to walk.  The walking was disappointing, but it was still forward progress, and that's just got to be good enough for now.  It looks like the walking parts only took up about 10 minutes of my total race, and at least I have a benchmark now to think about.

Other observations:  I wish more people pulled over to the right when they decided to walk.  People walking in the middle of the course really aggravate me.  I was thrilled to see/hear so many runners cheering as we passed (and were passed by) a female wheelchair racer who got caught up in the swarm of runners.  People were supportive to eachother, and I love that about running.  I remember telling one guy who I passed going in the opposite direction close to a turnaround "we're doing this!".  He said "hell yeah" and picked up his pace.  GO THAT GUY!

I'm a sucker for the photographers.  I smile and give the thumbs up to all that I see.  I hope to see some good pictures from the pros when they get uploaded.

I liked having a clock at every mile marker. I wasn't so much concerned with the times, but I liked having the mile markers easy to see! My last half I never saw a mile marker until mile 8 or 9 - it was all guesswork until then. Now I have my Garmin, so I could know how far I'd gone no matter what, but if I hadn't, the mile markers were easy to find.
Anyway, my race went ok. I had broken it up in my mind into inhaler times (mile 3, 6, 9, 12) and GU breaks (4, 6, 10, 12). The inhaler is just what seems to work for me. The GU was timed for distance and hills. The biggest uphills were at miles 7 and 11, so I wanted to be ready.

During mile 12 we could see the stadium finish line, so I got excited, but then we turned away from it, and found that to be totally defeating mentally.  I had studied the course map for elevation so much that I was suprised at the turn, and ended up walking part of the last mile, which pissed me off.  I was able to collect myself though, and charge towards the finish.  I just kept telling myself that the pain is short term and that I was tough enough to finish strong.  I dug deep and I'm glad I pulled it out since I could see that a PR was in reach.  I had hoped to make it to 2:15, but figured out for sure at mile 10 that it wasn't going to happen.  The PR did feel great though, and proud to be a 2:20 Half Marathoner. 

FINISH LINE!  I was about 3 minutes behind official race time.

Here is a link to my Garmin readout for the race, and here is a great image the BAA sent me:

And here I am, thrilled to be done and loving my medal!

My awesome boyfriend who took lots of pictures and lugged all my stuff around!

Next up: Trail race in 2 weeks!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

races, races, more races...

I'm training for my second Half Marathon right now.  It's going pretty well.  I ran 6 miles yesterday in the rain on a very boring (but flat!) route without much effort. My schedule called for an 8mile run, but weather and other circumstances gave me a shot a 6 miles and I'm not complaining. 

My event schedule is looking like this: 
September 12 - 26.2 mile charity walk
September 19 - 5K road race ("rematch" with my sister and my nephew's debut where he will likely leave us in the dust)
September 25 - 1+ Mile walk - Walk From Obesity
October 10 - 13.1 mile road race (Half Marathon) with my "other" sister. 

It's really good to have the weather turn cooler and have events to look forward to!  I am definitely feeling so much more motivated than I was a month ago.  I confess to be running a bit less due to falling into a relationship, but i'm sure we will eventually fall into a rhythm with our schedules.  He's got a few races (bike) coming up, so he wants to make sure to get his workouts in too.  In fact, he's just started playing indoor soccer after several years out of the game, and it was interesting to see how the sprinting took the life out of him.  Looks like I might do my speed work when I'm with him, since we both can benefit!  100 meter races against my boyfriend?  Whole new way to get hot and bothered, I suppose!  :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

the heat just melts the motivation right off of me

It's true.  I have not enjoyed running this summer.  Really hot, really humid.... blech.  And the treadmill?  I'd usually rather kill myself.  When I run outside, it's usually in a loop, so the scenery keeps changing.  A treadmill means it NEVER changes.  The wind doesn't blow for relief, you don't see a kid, a cat, a dog, nothing, so I'm pretty committed to running outside whenever possible.

Outside.  In the sun.  The breeze might bring relief, or a rush of even hotter air.  or thick, wet air.  Breathing is near impossible (and I have sports enduced asthma), so my body's natural instinct is to NOT RUN.  It's self preservation!

But, I run.  Somedays I don't meet my distance goal, and that's ok.  I try my best.  I bitch and complain. Why?  Because every once in a while, I'll catch a cool (under 80 degrees) night, low humidity, and energy to burn.  I'll run further than I think I can go, and sprint the last mile.  The right song will come on my MP3 player, and I'll start singing along while I run, or even be tempted to throw in some dance moves.  I'll feel AWESOME.

so who cares about those tuff days?  The good days feel soooooooooooooooo good!

Monday, July 26, 2010

the good old days

Here's me and my mom, in 2006 during the 3-day.  I don't think I was quite at my highest weight yet, but it was pretty close.  I'm so proud of the woman that I was... taking on something huge like the 3-day at over 250 lbs.  I'm not sure I'd ever take that on again.... one day, fine...but 3 in a row?!  My feet were blistered up good despite every precaution imaginable.

Cheering on "old friends"

3-Day walkers on the road to a cancer cure (with video) - Waltham, MA - The Daily News Tribune

 I'm sure I did not know any of the walkers I saw.  It didn't matter, it never will - they will still be my sisters and brothers.

So the Breast Cancer 3 day came through my town this past weekend.  I went out Friday afternoon to cheer some walkers while they walked on a path that did not have them visible to cars.  I knew it would be a good place to cheer, because what keeps you going on those 60 miles is, to some degree, the knowledge that you are being seen, and are showing the world what you are willing to do to stomp out Breast Cancer.

I sat out for a while, watching groups of 2, 3, 4, 10, some solo walkers, old, young, men, women, all kinds of people walk along this river path.  I clapped, I told them "looking good" and "half mile to the pit stop" and most of all "thank you for walking!".

I had goosebumps that afternoon in the 90 degree heat.  I have them now in my office as I type.  It's such a deep thing to push yourself to the limit, to finish what you start, to try something that you didn't think you could do.  This event signifies a lot of different things to each participant, that's the only thing I know for sure.  It's emotional and exhausting and exhilarating, all at once.

I wish I could have stayed all day, thanked and congratulated each and every walker....whether they know it or not, they are heroes, they are admirable, and they are athletes.

In September I will join some fellow athletes (I wonder if they know they are athletes), friends I met through having my surgery, and we will take on the Boston Marathon route to raise money for the Jimmy Fund.  We discussed yesterday that when we finish the 26.2 miles (and a few of us are VERY determined to complete this) will we be "marathoners"?  We're not running (in fact, it's not allowed in this event), but we are doing the distance.  My answer?  "HELL YEAH".  I'm a half marathoner (thankuverymuch) - and no one tells me that because I walked a few hundred yards of that race that I'm NOT a half marathoner.  It's about the distance, yes?

So here's looking at you, Marathon.  I'm coming for you!

And if you'd like to donate, click HERE.  I need to raise $250 in order to participate!  It's for the KIDS!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thank you, Garmin!

So, I've used my new running technology a whole 3 times now:  one walk, one run, and one workout of interval running.  I can now operate it better than I can operate the silly, simple digital wrist watch I've had for a year.  Apparently, I can only do complicated.

Here's my take on this fine piece of technology:  OMG!!!!!!!!!!!  I learned more about walking in my first walk with this thing than I did in my first 36 years!  It was really cool to walk along thinking about how fast I thought I was going, and then to look down and see if I was right or wrong.  After 4 miles I was really getting a good feel for what each pace FELT like.  Previously, I only got that kind of feedback on a treadmill, but it's so fake there, cuz the machine is set to make you go that pace.  Anyway, I loved that part.

I took it on a 3 mile run the other night, which was also enlightening, much in the same way.  it's just harder to stare at the display when you are running.  :) 

Then, yesterday I had a 5 X 400m interval workout scheduled.  My Forerunner can help me with that too!  I can actually program it to BEEP at me when I've run the 400m, it gives me a 2 minute rest, and then BEEPS me back into the next 400, and repeat until I've done the whole workout!  Now, I did this on a track, so I didn't need the 400m measurement, but it was still nice to have and not to think. 

I'm really glad I purchased this.  It's brought some life and excitement back to running, which is good.  As much as I love what it does FOR me, sometimes running (especially in the summer) gets old, stale, boring, hard, unpleasant.  I'm also glad I waited a while to get it.  I have a base of knowledge about myself and my running/walking.  This will help me build on it.  i already know what pace I run a 5K and a Half - so this will help me understand if I start fast (too fast?), where my "peak" is... and hopefully help me push myself to reach new goals.

For those interested in what this baby looks like, here is a pic of the Forerunner next to my trusty watch. Yes, it's significantly larger....but not cumbersome at all. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Technology on the run!

I've been wanting this new toy for a long time.  I've investigated all kinds of pedometer, calorie counters, heart rate monitors... any and every kind of technology you can carry with you on a workout.  Even tried a few APPs on my phone that didn't work out so well. 

I finally bit the bullet and spent some money on what I hope turns out to be a worthwhile investment.  It arrives tomorrow, my beautiful new Garmin 205 Forerunner.  What did I do to convince myself I had earned this toy?  (cuz i'm all about earning my treats! - gotta go 5 miles for a proper ice cream cone).  Well, when I finished my half marathon in June I planned on treating myself to something... wasn't sure what though.   I did buy a few running related things, but nothing like the incredible boots I bought myself last November for my 1 year surgiversary

Then this week I was asked to run in the BAA Half Marathon with my "sister", Lisa.  She asked my sister and I to run with her.  My real sister is already booked that weekend, but since I hadn't yet committed to a specific Half this fall, but really kept meaning to, I took this as a sign to GO FOR IT.  I registered us both yesterday morning (good thing, too, cuz it sold out in 2 hours!), and now we are set for October 10th. 

So, my commitment to continued fitness and a motivator to keep moving deserved a technology upgrade.  Usually the most technology I run with is my digital timex watch and my MP3 player.  I'm hoping my garmin will help me work on speed AND endurance, as well as let me be a little more free when I run - it will track my route so I don't have to remember where I turned or anything, I can just go where the spirit moves me.

Oh, and in the meanwhile, I signed up for two walking events this fall too!  I am walking in September the Boston Marathon route to benefit the Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber Cancer Institute with some fellow Bariathletes (go team BH20!), and also walking the Walk from Obesity for the Obesity Action Coalition, a great team event that is very personal to me.  I look forward to walking with my friends at these events, and showing the world what we can do when we put our minds to it!

Saturday, July 10, 2010


My experience participating in the Breast Cancer 3-day taught me that I really get energy from people cheering me on. I don't have to know them, just strangers on the street saying "good job" really lifts me up, which, on Day 3 of a 60 mile walk, you need all the lifting and boosting you can get!

After my 10K last week, I had the pleasure of waiting at the finish for my sister and my friend.  Pleasure?  Yes.  I clapped and congratulated a lot of people in that time.  Older people, younger people, active military, experienced runners - whoever!  Anyone that would listen to me say "great job" or "congrats", I said it to (and plenty that were so dazed from their run/finish that didn't hear me).  I saw so many smiles, received more than a few "congrats" in return when they saw that I was not a volunteer, but another finisher.

If you know of an event in your area - whether its a walk, a run, a cycling event - get out and thank people, or encourage them.  Make a sign!  Hand out candy, or spray people with a water gun.  You just showing up outside to recognize the effort people are putting out is SO APPRECIATED.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Harvard Pilgrim 10K race report

Harvard Pilgrim 10K race report

On July 4th, more than 3000 of us gathered outside of Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots to participate in the first running of the Harvard Pilgrim 10K. I have run longer distances, but this was my first actual 10K.

The temperature was pretty high for an 9am start, though I don't know what it was exactly. I got over to the starting line pretty late, so instead of lining up with the 10 min/mile folks, i was in the back with the walkers and everyone else. This works for me, I find it confidence building to start in the back and pass others on my way to the middle.

My sister ran this with me, her first time running more than a 5K. We were together for the first 2 miles, and then I passed someone and she didn't come with me. I had to make two little walking passes for my inhaler at mile 3.75 and mile 5, and thought maybe she'd catch up

The course was mostly flat and through the quaint town of Foxboro, MA. Not a lot of spectators, which bummed me out since I get a lot energy from people, but it was the first time the race was run. It will grow.

The draw to this event was the finish line, which was the 50 yard line inside the stadium. As I turned into the tunnel I realized that I would run onto the field the same way the team does for a game, through a giant blow up helmet. I looked to the woman running next to me and yelled "how awesome is this?!" She smiled and we charged ahead. Then, as a major surprise, I heard them call my name over the stadium's audio, "Sue Doucet, from Waltham". I was so excited that my family, where ever they were, would know to look down and see me running across the field to the finish. I remember waving to the stands as if I had just been crowned Miss America.

After the finish (1:03.26), I waited on the field for my sister, who finished 2 minutes later. We jumped up and down and giggled like little girls. We then waited for a friend of mine, and took some pictures.

Here I am, running across the field:

After some rest

Can you believe one of us used to weigh 272 lbs? I can't!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

She's in here somewhere, right?

I have a race tomorrow.  It's not a long distance for me... it's a 10K, which is what I was easily running on a weekday a few months back.  This should be easy... but I'm PETRIFIED of the weather.  Obviously, it's out of my control.  Obviously, if i need a break, WALK.  I just hate not doing what I set out to do, which is run this sucker.

Today I'm soul searching, and looking for my inner Kenyan.  Somewhere inside, there is a strong gifted woman who can just run.  It's just natural.  She doesn't feel pain, she's not grossed out by the sweat, she just runs swifty, efficiently, and finishes the race.

I hope she doesn't take holidays off, cuz it's Independence Day tomorrow, and I'm going to need her.  She can then have the rest of the summer off!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

a quote from another life.

I used to sell Mary Kay. I was pretty good at it too. I even bothered to do my makeup back then.... something I can hardly believe now since I'm so low-maintenance in that way.

Anyway, Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay was a wise woman. I've seen a lot of videos of her, read her biography, she really was an empowered, wise, big-dreaming lady. For an industry some might see as frivolous, she made her own empire on sheer will and drive and gave other women an opportunity to take charge of their lives.

No, this is not a commercial for make up and skin care. One her better known quotes keeps coming back to me here in my new life. It makes us much sense now as it did then, and I thought I'd share it with whoever finds this corner of the internet.

If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you're right. - Mary Kay Ash

The second part is probably the most important part. You've got to believe. I'm just gonna keep saying that.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm proud of someone I've never met.

The internet, for all its security risks and instant gratification does have its benefits. I have met some AMAZING people thanks to the WWW. One person, who I've never met, never even had a conversation with, has got me all goosebumpy today. He's a fellow WLS patient and bariathlete. He attempted his first legit IRONMAN triathalon yesterday. He trained his heart out, sacrificed time with friends, family and his new fiance to give it a shot. He made it through the swim on pace, but apparently got wiped out on the bike with a lot of hills. He did not finish the event, and he is wise enough to know that he has done A LOT, and is proud of his attempt, "I'm totally stoked about what I accomplished and have done"

My hat is off to him for going for broke, giving it his all, and knowing when to stop. His story today reminds me that it's not important to DO great things, it's important to TRY to do great things. Success is in the belief in yourself!!

What great thing do you want to do? DREAM BIG!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Huh. Exercise can be social? who knew? :)

Years ago, I worked out with my best friend. She dragged me to the gym, I got her to do the Breast Cancer 3-day. I guess I knew even back then that if I was to keep up going to the gym, I needed an event as a goal. We walked together - a LOT.

Of course, once the event was over it was hard to stay motivated. Eventually, we fell out of our routine. Then she got serious about fitness and weight loss again. I didn't. I moved in with my boyfriend, had a long commute, was tired all the time, blah blah blah.

So, fast forward a couple of years. It's summer 2009 and I've just moved in with my mom temporarily. I return to the gym, deciding that it's time to take this exercise thing a bit more seriously than walking the dog (plus, time at the gym means time NOT at mom's). I fit the gym into my dinner break, after work, etc. Sometime in August, my brother-in-law and I decide to run a 5k together. I started training with the couch to 5K. I move into my new apartment. I'm taking a class, I'm training, I'm working.... I am ALONE.

The only other person I know that is running is in DC. That friend and I decide to run a race together in the spring, but otherwise, I'm on my own. I'm not complaining.... I'm super focused and goal driven and asthmatic and neurotic. I didn't want anyone else to be watching me try to reach these goals. Self-conscious: my dirty little secret.

I joined up with some fellow bariathletes on obesityhelp, and I love that I found them! We exchange ideas, advice, inspiration, and hardships. We are all over the world, but we know each other's challenges like few others do.

The DC race was great - but I didn't run WITH my friend. We actually ran two different distances at the same event, and we both did awesome. Together, but separate. I went home and rehabbed my knee injury, alone.

My half-marathon was to be alone too. Though I did get a good taste of some socializing. I started the race with two other surgery friends. One knew she would not run the entire event, she had been sidelined with an injury and was going to run/walk. The three of us ran together the first mile or so. That left two of us. We had never run together, but thought we might run similar paces. We ran together for about 6 miles and chatted on and off, which was great. I finally got to find out if I could converse while running - and I CAN! It really made the time fly. We finally had to split up since our paces no longer matched, and other than a few quick chats with fellow runners as i passed them or they passed me, I ran alone with my music.

Where am I going with this? Yesterday I met up with some other lovely ladies from the MA obesity help board. We walked at the cape cod canal. I drove an hour to get there with my crazy dog because I hate to leave him home when I have custody. I only got to walk the first hour with them because the dog was pooped, but it was a lot of fun. It wasn't about racing, it wasn't about timing, it wasn't about anything other than a group of people wanting to exercise and be fit and healthy and be together! Turns out, I need more of that in my life. I need more social time, I need more walking time. The summer humidity is a lot harder on me than I would have expected (I think I'm superwoman sometimes) and running is not where it's gonna be at all summer. I'm gonna fit it in where I can, but there's no reason to kill myself!

Plus, there are way more people to walk with than there are to run with! :)

I look forward to getting together with the canal ladies again, and with anyone else this summer to walk and enjoy nice places!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Rest is the best kept secret in the world of exercise. I know I feel guilty when I'm being lazy doing nothing, but really, the secret to to excelling and building muscle is to rest and give your body time to recover on a regular basis. For some, that means doing a different kind of exercise every day. Weight lifters don't lift every day, and if they do, they work different muscle groups each day.

When training for my 10 mile run, i ran 5 days/week and did NOTHING the other 2 days. I sure wish I had spent those two days weight training and only run 4 days. Live and Learn!

Now that I have some good strengthening exercises and stretches in my brain, I try to make sure to do those at least 2 days/week. They help improve my "runners knee" and keep up my leg strength to support my running. I do other exercises to work on my core, since your core (hips/abs) are what keep you upright doing anything. I have my PT guys and my chiropractor to thank for giving me tips for these.

I still like to have at least 1 day/week where i do nothing. no extra walking, no running, no weights. Maybe some stretching, cuz that always feels good.

Anyway, my point is... REST!!! You won't gain weight from a day or two of rest - as long as you eat within reasonable limits. ;)

Monday, June 21, 2010 - Training Log for beaconeast

I do more than run. I walk. ok, so I'm not the best cross-trainer yet, but for now, I try and throw in walking. I entered into a challenge on to complete a marathon in month. My running doesn't count - so this is good, keeps me fitting in walks here and there. I've got a few 2 mile loops I do on my lunch breaks, but today I fit this near 4 mile loop in after work. It's the same thing i ran yesterday, but it went much smoother at a lower speed and lower humidity.

I try to make sure when I'm doing something "easy" to think about my form. shoulders back, hips forward. anytime I can think about form, it's good since when I'm struggling, those things go to hell pretty quick, but the more you are conscious of it, the better chance you'll do it right in a race or when you're in pain, or exhausted. Whatever i can do to ward off injury!! - Training Log for beaconeast

Girl Talk: Why I Ran A Half-Marathon | The Frisky

Girl Talk: Why I Ran A Half-Marathon | The Frisky

I ran across this today, and having just completed my first half-marathon, I had to read it. This woman clearly felt a bit better than I did during her half, (I don't know for sure what this runner's 'high' is yet), but I at least had more confidence. :) I also wasn't afraid to walk - though it turns out that hurt more than running, so I just kept running despite wanting to stop!

Sunday, June 20, 2010 - Regular Run: Regular Run on 06/20/2010 - Regular Run: Regular Run on 06/20/2010

it's like pea soup outside, so I "only" did 4 miles. I wanted to do 5 or 6, but 4 miles is really plenty. It confirmed that after my July 4th 10K, I REALLY don't want to do any races in the summer. The humidity is murder on everyone's lungs, and with my asthma, it really blows.

There is no need to be a hero!

Saturday, June 19, 2010 - Regular Run: Regular Run on 06/19/2010 - Regular Run: Regular Run on 06/19/2010

Bariathlete's "pilot" episode

Yup, I'm gonna blog. I want to be accountable for my workouts, and I want to share tips, get tips, meet other bariathletes, other athletes in general and runners specifically!

What is a "bariathlete"?

I underwent bariatric surgery for weight loss - specifically the gastric bypass - in November of 2008. I was 34 years old and I weighed upwards of 270 lbs at my heighest weight and stood at 5'6. I am now maintaining a loss of over 120 lbs and have become a runner. I have been running less than a year, but am committed to keep pushing myself to run further, faster, and better.

My running resume, short, includes:
October 2009: 5K
April 2010: 10 Miler
May 2010: 5K
June 2010: Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
July 2010: 10K