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.