It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

March 27, 2012


Well, I had been doing really well in the weight loss arena until about a month ago.  In late Feb, I was at my lowest weight since October of 2008.  I was super happy.  Gee, if I would only lose 5 more pounds I would be where I really wanted to be.  Then, I went on travel for work….and so began an eating frenzy.  All I know is that in just under a month I managed to gain 10 pounds!!  Ridiculous really.  I mean seriously, I am working out 9 to 10 hours a week – swimming, biking, running, core training, weights??  I didn’t feel like I was eating “that” bad, but apparently I was.

On Friday night last week I finally decided the jig was up!  If I want to do this Half Ironman I need to be at a more appropriate racing weight – plus on top of that I have a wedding and a 20 year high school reunion to attend this year.  All reasons to be lean and mean.  And 2012 was supposed to be my year for change – better, faster, stronger!

Knowing that my husband is super ultra competitive I called him and said “hey, you want to lose some weight right”?  Jim is a string bean.  He doesn’t need to lose an ounce, but he has a certain weight he likes to maintain for his race weight as well.  So I offered up a little competition.  We would weigh in once a week for a month, and at the end of the month we would see who lost the most weight – based on percentage of weight loss.  Whoever won would be awarded a prize at the end.  I think Jim wants a leaf blower (exciting), I’m still not sure what I want, but I’m sure it will involve shopping – hopefully for some new clothes from all this weight loss.

Please ignore my shirtlessness. Vulgar I know :)

I don’t tell my husband my weight…..that’s for me to know…..but for this I had to.  Step 1 is admission right?  So on Sunday we both weighed in and recorded our starting weight.  Each week we will weigh in on Sunday and see what our % of weight loss is for the week and our overall % of weight loss.  I’ll post a blog on Monday to keep you updated on who’s winning – which will be me.

This morning Jim said to me “I’m not sure I have enough % of weight to lose, it may not end up being fair”.  Well dear, I guess you should have figured that one out before.  Insert diabolical laugh here…………


March 26, 2012

A Pretty Much Perfect Weekend!

I haven't posted a blog in 2 weeks.  Work and training is keeping me super busy.  My half ironman training kicked off 2 weeks ago, just in time for my busiest period at work too.  I am seriously having trouble juggling it all right now and trying to have some kind of life on top of it.  Unfortunately blogging is one of those things that gets pushed to the bottom of the list when things get crazy.  Sorry guys, I'll try to do better.

Anyway, training is off to a great start.  So far my shoulder is holding up well during my swims - which are pretty short right now, only about 1000-1250 yards per workout.  I want to do more, but that's all the training plan calls for, so I am sticking with the lower mileage to hopefully keep my shoulder injury at bay.  So far, so good.

Saturday was an absolutely GORGEOUS day in Kansas City.  I met up with a group on Saturday morning for my first outdoor ride of the season.  We met at 8am so it was a bit cool, around 50, but the sun was shining and it was simply beautiful.  It was a bit windy with winds about 12-15 mph, but it wasn't too bad.  Most of the people that were riding are all training for the same Half Ironman so that was good too. I did 30 miles and felt great.  I was pretty ready to be done with the ride after 30, but I was surprised with how good my legs felt. I remember my first outdoor ride last year, and it was tough, alot tougher than this one.  It made me feel great about my off-season training and conditioning.  I was obviously doing something right.

After my ride Sat, I got in a quick 1250 at the pool and then headed home.  Jim and I had plans to see the Hunger Games. I had read the book, so the movie was of course not as good, but overall I enjoyed it. 

Sunday, was pretty much just like Saturday, except the weather even a little nicer.  Temps around 50 in the am, reaching low 80s in the pm with absolutely no winds.  Jim and I headed over to a group run Sunday morning at 7am.  It is a huge group run (as you can see from the pic).  They map out an out and back course of 8 miles so you can pretty much do any mileage you want from like 2 miles to 16 miles, which is great.  I was planning to do 12 miles.  I met up with a girlfriend to run.  I was kind of excited about this because I usually never run with anyone.  It was so nice to have someone to run with.

A few of the people at the group run.  Almost looks like a race.

I discovered something on Saturday.  I am a little faster than I let myself be.  My friend is a faster runner than me.  She generally averages around 10:30-11:00 min miles.  When she asked me to run with her, I said well I would love to, but I’m slower than you.  She said no problem.  It was going to be hard for her to do 12 miles – it would be her longest run in probably a year – and it had been 3 weeks since she had done 10 miles.  We started out and of course were talking and when we reached 1 mile I was right at an 11 minute pace (my warm up mile is usually 12:30).  I said, oh we are going to fast.  Next thing I know mile 2 is in the 10s – I say again oh we are going to fast.  She said – you seem like you are just fine.  I thought, well I do feel fine, but can I last for 12 miles if I go out this fast.  Next thing I know we’ve knocked out 8 miles and I’m averaging a 10:45 pace.  What the heck??  And, I’m feeling great!!  About mile 8.5,I could tell my friend was starting to get a little tired and she stopped to walk a minute.  She laughed and said well “I lit a fire under your _ss, and now I’m the one who can’t keep up”.  So we slowed our pace for those last 3 miles and stopped to take a few walk breaks.  And I still ended up averaging 10:55 overall for 12 miles!!!  That’s 20 seconds per mile faster than my half marathon PR a few weeks ago.  I learned something – I can push myself a bit harder.  And I know I could have finished that run a little faster……hmmm…..maybe another PR in a few weeks??? 

Look at all those 10s!!  I've never done that before.

After my great Sunday run, Jim and I had dinner with my sister and a couple of her friends.  It was a great way to finish off the evening!  It was simply a wonderful, just about perfect weekend.

Hope everyone else had a GREAT weekend too.  What did you do?

March 12, 2012

And So It Begins.......

Half Ironman Training officially begins today.  18 weeks til Racine 70.3.......Gulp!!

March 06, 2012

Little Rock Half Marathon Recap - A New PR!!!

Me & Jim
It was a great weekend in Little Rock, AR!!

I felt like I was going back to “where it all started”.  In March 2009, Jim ran his first marathon in Little Rock and I went to watch him cross the finish line.  I had been running some at that point, and had done maybe one 5K I think, but I certainly wasn’t a “runner” and I had never ran more than 4 miles.  But that day changed everything.  When I saw all the people gathered before the race, the excitement was overwhelming.  I wanted in on it!! I decided then and there I would do a half marathon – and I did just 7 or 8 weeks later.  And so the journey began.

Jim and I doing our pre-race, pre-race dance
But I digress….Jim and I arrived in Little Rock late Friday night, but we would have all day Saturday to enjoy the city.  We stayed at the host hotel, so one huge convenience was the fact that the expo/packet pickup was literally attached to the hotel.  All we had to do was walk down a few stairs and we were there!  The Little Rock Marathon does a new theme every year.  This year’s theme was disco, so there were disco balls everywhere, and yes posters of John Travolta and the Bee Gee’s.  What marathon wouldn’t be complete without those?

We hit the expo and picked up our packets and then I (of course) did a little pre-race shopping.  I purchased a couple of t-shirts – a long sleeve finisher’s shirt and a super cute running shirt, as well as a 26.2 emblem for my car.  No, I wasn’t doing 26.2 here – but hey I had done it before and nothing wrong with proudly proclaiming it to the world.  After spending a little time in the expo we headed back upstairs to the hotel for the “World Famous” Peabody Duck march.
One of my shirts- it says "My therapist has a wagging tail".  Isn't it adorable?  It has paw prints up the back.
The World Famous Ducks
At 11 am, the Duck Master comes out and tells the story of the Peabody Ducks.  He then goes and retrieves the ducks from their home and they get on the elevator (this was probably the most exciting part – ducks in an elevator – there’s a site you don’t see every day).  Then the ducks march up the red carpet and enter the fountain where they will stay for the next 6 hours.  And that’s it.  Then it’s done.  Jim and I both looked at each other and said “Is that it?”  It was a little anti-climatic.  But hey, they are ducks, what do you expect?

We did run in to my friend Sunita at the Duck March.  She was running the full marathon with her friend Meghan.  Sunita has completed a few marathons, but this would be Meghan’s first.  They both seemed pretty excited about it.  We bid them farewell and headed to the River Market area to get some lunch and do some walking and site seeing.
Me, Sunita, and Meghan
The Little Rock downtown area is really beautiful with lots of little restaurants and shops and a great park and amphitheatre.  In standard Jim and Michael fashion we hammed it up for a few pics, and then headed back to the hotel to relax for awhile before dinner.
Me trying to outrun the rabbit!

One of the best parts of the weekend was getting to have dinner with our friends Buck and Samantha.  They moved to Fayetteville, AR a few years ago for Sam to pursue her PhD so we don’t get to see them very often.  Sam’s sister was running her first marathon, so they were going to be in town so we got together for dinner.  It was so awesome to be able to just sit and relax and catch up!  I wish we could have spent more time together, but unfortunately we both had other commitments this particular weekend.

Me & Jim, and our friends Buck & Sam

Finally race morning arrives!  Jim and I are both up early (around 5:15 am) before the alarm even goes off.  The race doesn’t start until 8am.  Jim is excited.  He hasn’t ran a half marathon in a long time, and he wanted to see how well he could do.  He has been working so hard to switch to a forefoot running strike, and it’s taken a toll on his overall speed, but he’s feeling good and thinks he can run strong!  I feel good too.  I have a goal today to see if I can finish under 2:30, but I really have no idea if I can do it or not.  I want to, but I’m not sure I have it in me.  But I know I will run a strong race.  I tell Jim I should finish somewhere between 2:30 and 2:45. 

Jim and I do our World Famous Pre-race dance, of course, and then head to the starting line.  Jim meets up with one of his blog followers Bobby and we all chat for a few minutes.  Then we head out separate ways.  I ended up going into the River Market building to keep warm before the race and ran in to another one of our friends, Christa, who’s also running the marathon.  Christa and I chat for awhile and then wish each other good luck and get ready to race!

About 10 minutes til 8am I head to the start line.  It’s a very narrow start, and there are thousands of people everywhere.  The weather is perfect.  It’s about 45 degrees, but sunny, and the wind is only about 10 mph.  It’s a little chilly to start, but I know once I get going I will be totally fine.  Finally the gun goes off and it’s time to go.  Well, it should be time to go.  I’m pretty far back from the race line.  It’s literally about 5 minutes before we move and start walking to the start line.  I pass the start, turn on my Garmin and get ready to rock!  I know I have to maintain just under an 11:30 per mile pace to sneak in under 2:30, but I know I need to start slow.  It’s so hard to do during that first mile.  Everyone goes out fast and you feel like you are being passed constantly, but I keep telling myself – slow down.  I do ok the first mile.  I don’t go out too fast, I pace myself.  The second mile I’m feeling good and I start speeding up.  Several times I look at my Garmin and I’m in the 10s.  I keep telling myself to slow down.  I probably went a little bit too fast that 2nd mile and I try to slow it down a bit for the 3rd.  For the next several miles I keep a fairly consistent pace in the low 11s.  I know that since I will likely run more than 13.1 miles, so I will probably need to be well under the 11:30 pace.  I have a pace chart with me and I am trying to gauge where I really need to be.  I figure that if I can average an 11:20 on the Garmin, I should come in with some time to spare.  WRONG!

The miles continue to tick away and I’m feeling really strong until about mile 10.  At this point, I’m averaging around an 11:16 pace overall and I’ve ran the entire way, but then I encounter a pretty good hill.  It’s not that steep, but it gradually climbs for about ¾ of a mile.  At this point I am getting tired and I really want to stop and walk for a minute, but I don’t.  I keep going.  I’m too close to my goal.  And I am thinking to myself, if I can somehow keep this pace I’m going to kill my PR.  I finally make it through that and then there are just two miles to go.  I had been trying to conserve some energy so I could push for a strong finish in those last two miles and I do.  My last two miles are my fastest of the race and they are in the 10s!  I finally hit mile 13 on my Garmin and I’m averaging an 11:15 pace, but wait – I can’t even see the finish line from here.  My time reads around 2:25 I think….but I literally can’t see the finish line.  Crap, it’s going to be so close.  I start picking up the pace even more.  I keep looking at my Garmin, the minutes are flying by.  All of a sudden I’m at 2:28, and I can see the finish line but it still looks miles away.  I run as fast as I can, and cross at 2:29:53!!!!  I did it!  I finished in under 2:30!!  I am so excited to have met my goal, but also a little frustrated that my “official” results won’t quite show my effort.  My Garmin pace was 11:14 per mile – let’s put that in perspective – my current 5K PR is 11:16 per mile, so this was FAST for me.  However, my “official” pace was 11:27 per mile.  My Garmin registered 13.34 miles, almost a quarter mile extra.  I really need to get better the tangents I guess.  All of my halfs have been a little off, but this is the longest one I have run.

Check out those last 3.34 miles!  Solid!
Anyway, I am still super pumped.  I just took another 2 ½ minutes of my half marathon PR and I met one of the 2012 goals to run a half marathon under 2:30!  So, score, score!!

That's how a great race feels!
Jim is waiting for me at the finish line.  As soon as he sees me he said “you PR’d” and I said Yes!!  He congratulates me and said he couldn’t believe how fast I was running down the finish line.  He was like you were flying!  Yes, I believe I can fly!  I then asked Jim how he did.  He did GREAT!  He finished the half in 1:33 – just 3 minutes from his half marathon PR!  He was also 8th in his age group.  Amazing!  He’s simply amazing!  We are both ecstatic about our race. 

 It would have been fun to hang out and chill after the race, but unfortunately we had to rush back to the hotel to get checked out by noon.  Yes, the HOST hotel, was not honoring late checkout for event participants – even though they were supposed to, even though I confirmed late check out with them on Thursday.  With no warning, they put a note in our room sometime on Saturday so – oh by the way, no late check out tomorrow!  Luckily we only did the half, so it wasn’t as big a deal for us (although it was still no fun to have to rush after finishing a tough race), but most people who ran the marathon were totally screwed.  It’s the worst customer service I have ever experienced from a hotel.  People were, as you can imagine, extremely upset!  I still can’t believe it.

Anyway, hotel experience aside, it was a wonderful, wonderful weekend.  It was great to spend time with my husband, see some friends, and run a great race.  It is a marathon I would highly recommend to anyone.  Overall, it is well organized and it’s in a great city!  And the medals, well the medals are just crazy!  The full marathon medal is the size of a dinner plate, and our half medal while considerably smaller than the full, is still much larger than most marathon medals.
Me & my medal