30 November 2015

race recap: Cleveland Turkey Trot

Ohmygosh, you guys. Tomorrow is DECEMBER. How did 2015 go by so quickly?!

I hope all of my American readers had a nice Thanksgiving, mine started with the 5 mile Turkey Trot in downtown Cleveland. This was my second time running it, the last time was in 2013. They added a 5K option this year which was really nice but I needed to do 5 miles this week for my 10K training but if they have the 5K next year I'll probably opt for that.

This was....not my best race. I'm not even talking in terms of speed -- I finished in 1:25:58 which is a 17:12 average and not too bad considering I had to walk far more than I planned: Wednesday night I was having some weird stomach issues that were still present Thursday morning. I did my RWR intervals for the first two and last mile, but I pretty much walked all of miles 3 and 4 because my stomach just felt all kinds of icky.

Now, I've run lots and lots of races run by the Hermes organization and have always usually had a decent time but man this was not their best showing.

So, as a slow runner I fully understand and support the fact that races need to open roads. Especially in a big downtown city like Cleveland on a holiday like Thanksgiving where lots of people are traveling and coming and going and such. In this case, the website said that the course would be open until 11:30 am. The race was scheduled to start at 9:30 am so for a five mile race that gives you 2 hours which is a fairly decent amount of time, as in you could pretty much walk the entire thing and still finish in time.

Except, see, that only works if the race actually starts when it's supposed to. Instead, this race started  15 minutes late, at 9:45 am. Then because I a) follow the rules of racing and as a slow runner keep myself in the very back and b) because there were, like, 3000 people in attendance, it took me ten minutes to get to the start line. So right there, I lost 30 minutes that I otherwise could have used.

Then, while they said the course would be open until 11:30, what they meant was "If you take that long, there will only be one single, lonely race employee waiting at the finish line."  By the time I crossed the finish line at 11:20 am, it was a ghost town.

No finisher's food, all the stands and stalls had packed up and left. Not only that, there was nobody to direct us that final half mile -- no markers, no escorts. Those of us still finishing -- and trust me, there was a group of about 15 of us -- had absolutely no idea where we were supposed to turn to get to the finish. We had to ask other runners who had already finished to figure out where the route was supposed to go.

Like I said, I totally understand a race needing to open roads by a certain period of time. But if you're going to hold runners to any sort of course time limit then you need to make sure that the race starts on time, because when a race starts late, the only people being punished are the slow runners who need that additional time. Because of the late start and the time it took to get up to the start, before I'd even begun, I'd essentially lost 2 miles that I otherwise could have completed within the time frame.

Saturday is the Christmas Story 10K, the race I've been training for over the past two months and after that I will have officially completed my goal of doing one race per month for all of 2015!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

24 November 2015

10K Training Tuesday: Week Eight

Monday: 1.68 miles
Tuesday: JumpSport
Wednesday: 2 miles
Thursday: Walk at lunchtime
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Walk

My focus this week was my 4 mile long run. I knew it was going to be very cold this weekend and I wanted to try and get it in before then, which left running 4 miles before work on Friday. That was a new challenge as I've never run that far before work and certainly not in fall/winter when it's still mostly dark out at that time. For this slow runner, fitting in 4 miles means at least an hour which requires waking up early to make sure I have time to get the mileage in. Those that follow me on Facebook know I set a goal of getting out there by 6 am at the latest and I ended up being out and ready to run by 5:45 am!

Sunday was sort of a, well, not really "cheat day" but I didn't walk in the traditional sense. On my training plan, that's an option -- Walk or Cross-Training on non-running days and I tend to walk. BC and I went out to brunch on Sunday and we were in a shopping center with lots of stores and I needed errands to run so I just left my car parked in front of the restaurant and walked all around the shopping plaza. It doesn't seem like much, but I had maybe 1K steps before brunch and by the time I got home I had 6K. Had I just been lazy and driven around to the different stores I wouldn't have had the numbers to show it (plus I finally upgraded my old iPhone 4 to an iPhone 6 and bought some cute new sweaters on sale and picked up my packet for Thursday's Turkey Trot!)

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

20 November 2015

Face the Scale Friday: Week Fourteen

Weight lost this week: +1.4
Total weight lost: +1.6
Starting weight: 259.8
Current weight: 261.4

As my friend Kelly likes to remind me, the scale is only one tool, one data point, to measure progress. So, what other pieces of information do I have?

Well, I know that I earned 27 Activity Points this week which is the most I've earned in several weeks.

I also know that some of those activity points came on Wednesday when I went out for a run before work and ran two miles at 15:21 average pace.

Obviously that might not be a big deal to most people, but as a slow runner who is trying to work on her pace, my ability to do this without even trying is a Big Deal.

I've also been much more diligent about drinking my water every day, thanks in no small part to this awesome insulated travel mug that BC bought me for my birthday.

The water bottle I have been using isn't insulated, which means that if I don't drink the water fast enough it gets warm and there is nothing worse than warm water. So then I just stop drinking it. But now I have a fun and fabulous mug to keep it cool throughout the day and I'm drinking frequently enough to need to refill it several times a day!

I made a decision a couple weeks ago to take the long view. That means there will be weeks like this.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

17 November 2015

10K Training Tuesday: Week Seven

Monday: 1.3 miles
Tuesday: Spinning at YMCA
Wednesday: Walk at lunchtime
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 1 mile
Saturday:  4 miles
Sunday: Rest

My annual autumnal ennui left me a little lax with regards to my 10K Training which also left me feeling a little nervous. Especially once I realized how quickly the Cleveland Turkey Trot, was approaching, which meant that the Christmas Story 10K is also just around the corner.

At 5 miles, the Turkey Trot will both fit perfectly into my training plan and also fulfill my November race thus killing two birds (pun intended) with one stone.

But, in recent weeks I haven't run anything close to 5 miles so I was starting to get a little anxious about the distance. Okay, more than a little anxious. (Also, how is Thanksgiving so close already?!) So on Saturday I woke up and made sure to get out the door early enough to get a run in.

I ended up at Lakewood Park which I had been to before, but not to run. It's actually really nice with a big loop about a mile so I did two on that then decided for a change of scenery to run out on Lake Avenue for a mile, turned around, then headed back to the park. Where I currently live I don't have access to solid neighborhood running, with, like, sidewalks. The plan right now is to move to Lakewood in the spring and I'm already looking forward to having access to better local running routes. Right now, if I want to get anything further than about 2 miles I have to drive somewhere. It will be SO nice to just open the door and head out.

The best part was, I stopped at 4 miles but easily could have gone a bit longer if not for the fact that I hadn't eaten anything before and was starting to get hungry. I got done feeling super confident about finishing the remaining couple weeks of my 10K training and rocking my last two 2015 races!

The day before, on Friday, I worked from home, which meant I had zero excuses regarding a lunchtime run.

Woo-hoo! 14:19, which is about 15 seconds faster than when I did this the last time!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

13 November 2015

Face the Scale Friday: Week Thirteen

Weight lost this week: -0.6
Total weight lost: +0.2
Starting weight: 259.8
Current weight: 260

Who knew I could get SO EXCITED over half a pound? But, no joke: Hopped on the scale Wednesday morning when I first woke up, saw the number, and started grinning. 

After everything last week, I shifted gears slightly this week. By that, I mean instead of doing the Weight Watchers points, I counted calories using MyFitnessPal. That's why there is none of the usual information up there about Weekly, Daily, Activity points. 

Over the past nearly five years I've been doing this whole weight loss thing, I've done both Weight Watchers and calorie counting. Both have their pros and both have their cons. I've lost weight on both, so I can't really say one is better than the other.

For instance, yesterday was my 34th birthday and I admittedly overdid it a bit. But, I tracked all the food choices in MyFitnessPal so I know how many calories I consumed. But MFP is day by day. So those calories were consumed yesterday and today I get to wake up with a clean slate. I still ate those calories, of course, so they can still have the potential to come back to bite me in the ass when I weigh in next week, but they don't alter how many calories I have available the rest of the week.

With Weight Watchers, those extra calories would have made a dent in my 49 Weekly Points. Which, depending on the kind of week and mood I'm in, can be a bad thing because suddenly I'm two days into the week and completely out of Weekly Points and OHSHIT OHSHIT OHSHIT HOW AM I GOING TO SURVIVE THE REST OF THE WEEK?

That said, sometimes coming close to eating all 49 points helps keep me in check the rest of the week. Calorie counting doesn't offer that same accountability. Like I said, pros and cons to each. I guess part of taking a more long term view is recognizing that it's okay to not rely on one method 100% of the time. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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