29 September 2015

Training Tuesday -- Christmas Story 10K

During my Akron Marathon Relay recap, I talked about how I had recently felt like I'd lost my running mojo but doing the relay helped bring it back. Sunday afternoon while giving my legs some time to recover I was thinking of putting together some kind of exercise plan for the last three months of the year and then I realized I am ten weeks away from the Christmas Story 10K! I haven't run a 10K as the complete distance in about two years. I've done longer distances in that time but not a 10K specifically and I don't want to be lazy about it and assume that just because I've done half-marathons and such that 6.2 miles will be easy.

So I decided to start a new series called Training Tuesday that will be like my Half-Marathon Monday posts from last spring.

There are two very big things that are different with this training versus all of the other training I've done over the years. The first is that I've built in one day a week to add in some speed work.

Now, make no mistake. I'm a slow runner and I fully anticipate always being a slow runner. But I can still work on being less slow than I currently am. Lately I've been running 16 minute miles, which I'm happy with considering through the summer I was seeing miles closer to 17 and 18 minutes. That said, when I ran this same race in 2013 I had a 15:42 average which means I need to put some work in if I want to have a better finish this time around so I've built in one day a week to do some speed drills.

The other thing I have that's new is my Believe Training Journal.

I first heard about this from my friend Jamie, who posted about it while training for the Akron Marathon and as soon as I saw a picture of it I knew I had to have one.

This little journal is magical, you guys and helps me set goals of all kinds: food, fitness, personal, etc. Each day I write down my exercise -- and it should be noted this was written by two runners so it's very runner information heavy -- and at the end of the week give a rundown of how the past seven days went. Then after few weeks they have a longer Check In reflection page to see how you are doing on all of your goals. There are sections for writing out Race Day Plans (which helped calm some of my nerves regarding the Relay) and then you write short little Race Recaps, too.

It lasts an entire year and I'm already planning on buying a new one when this one is all done next August. In the meantime, I can't wait to see how it helps me over the next ten weeks as I train for my 10K!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

27 September 2015

Race Recap: Akron Marathon Team Relay

Also known as: that time I finished a sub-4 hour marathon.

Okay. Not really. (Obviously.)

But, I was part of a team that did finish the Akron Marathon Relay in under 4 hours! Specifically, the team made up of fellow CLE Marathon Ambassadors!

Andrew, Me, Dan, Steph, Melissa

The weekend started Friday night when I went to the John S. Knight Center to pick up my race packet and attend the expo, where I also picked up some new shoes. After, I headed to my parents' house, where I was spending the night. I was super excited about my new shoes but knew it would be a bad, bad idea to wear them race day, but I did go for a short 1 mile run before dinner to try them out and to give my legs one final workout before the race. Then it was an early bed time as I had a 5 am wake-up call and was on the road to Akron by 5:45 am.

Earlier in the week I talked about how I was super nervous about this event but it turned out I had no reason to be. Part of it was the logistics of running the relay but this was an incredibly well-organized event. I had the 4th leg, which required being shuttled to the start of the leg, which was at Firestone High School. Andrew was running the first leg and the rest of our team stood on the sidelines to cheer on the full, half, and first leg relay runners at the start of the race.

Photo courtesy of Melissa

Melissa was Leg 2 and could walk to her leg, as could Stephanie at Leg 3. We all had a rough idea of what everyone should be running for their legs so Melissa quickly headed to figure out where she needed to be for her section. Dan and I walked Stephanie to Leg 3 before we found the shuttles and headed to our own legs.

I actually had two friends also running Leg 4 and so for the hour and a half or so I was waiting for Stephanie I was chatting with my college roommate Megan. This is the same Megan who was waiting for me at the finish line of my very first race (which was over three years ago!). We see each other at races every once in awhile, which is always fun. She's also one of the people who inspired me to commit to running one race a month in 2015 and, of course, she asked what my October race is going to be.

We were asked to keep ourselves organized by bib number and as each Leg 3 person started coming up around the corner to the exchange zone they would call out the numbers. They started slow and sporadic but then were coming more and more frequently. When I heard our bib number I stepped out into the road and as soon as Stephanie and I made eye contact we both kind of did a little jump of excitement. She handed off the slap bracelet and I was off!

My team knew that I am a slow runner and I had told them that it would probably take me about an hour to do my 3.6 miles. I'd been experimenting with my intervals lately and been having a lot of success with 30:30 (seconds) run-walk-run intervals so that's what I used. Right from the start I felt strong and knew I was going to rock this, so I just went in my zone and followed that famous Blue Line.

Around mile 18.5, out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman in pink wave at me as she passed and I quickly realized it was Jamie, also a CLE Marathon Ambassador. I knew Jamie had been working her ass for this race so her cheering me on while on the course just made my whole day and made me realize how grateful I am to be part of the Cleveland Marathon organization as an Ambassador. It really is an amazing group of people and I feel so fortunate to be a part of it.

After passing the 20 mile marker I knew I only had about 1/2 a mile left and just kept my pace and intervals. When Dan saw me coming up around the bend, he waved and I waved back. I then picked up my pace for the final .10 of a mile and handed him the bracelet. I then sent my team a quick text to let them know he was headed home and hopped on a shuttle to head back towards downtown Akron.

I finished my leg in 57 minutes and 36 seconds, which puts me under my hour goal! Based on chip time I had a 16 minute average which I am very happy with considering there were some small rolling hills which meant I had to walk a bit more than my intervals indicated. But I finished strong and am very happy with my time so that's all that matters.

The Finisher's Festival at Akron was amazing. Like, for real. The finish line came out right onto the field of Canal Park Stadium and the runners all got to hang out on the field while family and spectators were in the stands. I found my team on the field and was there in plenty of time to see Dan cross the finish line and finish for our team!

Photo courtesy of Stephanie

We had a final time of 3:57:59, which should tell you something about the speed of my team mates considering we pulled that off even with my 16 minute miles. Dan was the only one of us who got to officially cross the finish line into the stadium and not gonna lie, I'm totally tempted to run the Akron Half in 2016 just to experience it. (Plus the weather was far more agreeable than what we get in Cleveland in May.)

Several other CLE Ambassadors were running races at this event, which is really how this whole thing started: we saw it as an opportunity to have a kind of mini-reunion and so those of us not running either the half or full thought it would be fun to be on a relay team.

It's not all the ambassadors, but still felt like a family reunion!

I had SO MUCH FUN being part of a relay team! It was the first time for most, maybe all, of us and I think we all had a blast. I'm someone who likes to run alone but being on a relay team meant I was still able to have that Me Time on the course but also benefit from the team mentality.

My cousin Michele was running the full so eventually I headed over to the spectators section and found  some of my family and got to watch Michele get a PR on the  marathon! She's a total rock star and I'm so proud of her.

I feel like I've lost my running mojo as of late, partly because summer always slows me down and it can be discouraging for someone who is already pretty slow. But this race reminded me of how much fun running can be and that I am capable of so, so much if I just trust myself and my abilities. With three months left in the year, that means three more races and this upcoming week I start training for the Christmas Story 10K!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

25 September 2015

Face the Scale Friday: Week Six

Daily Points: 38
Weekly Points used this week: 49/49
Activity Points earned this week: 19
Points remaining at end of week: -19

Weight lost this week: +2.2
Total weight lost: -2
Starting weight: 259.8
Current weight: 257.8

I feel as if I've lost my mojo lately. I did really well the first three weeks, but then I stayed the same two weeks ago and last week I gained 2.2 and now this. I also yet again went over on my points allowance but at least it wasn't nearly as bad as it was last week. I also earned a couple more Activity Points this week over last, so there's that, too. (And, to be fair, some of this week is possibly left over from last week since I fully anticipated gaining more than the 2.2 I did last week.)

Partly it's weather related -- my seasonal affective disorder kicks in when autumn does (which is just horrible timing since this is my favorite season) so lately I've felt just.......blah. Like, every morning is a struggle to get myself out of bed. All I want to do is just stay under my cozy covers and sleep the day away. When I get home from work I immediately put my pajamas on and crawl into bed. I don't even want to wake up for work, let alone exercise.

Which is why I wore my Suck It Up Bondi Band to the YMCA on Saturday. Because sometimes you really do just need to suck it the fuck up.

I've also been fighting off a cold which has me home sick today which is not super fabulous seeing as how tomorrow is the Akron Marathon Team Relay but part of my decision to stay home stems from wanting to be well rested for tomorrow's 5 am wake-up call.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

23 September 2015

getting relay ready

At the beginning of the year, instead of making any resolutions or anything, I committed to running one race per month for 2015. So far I have held true to that goal and this Saturday is September's race! I'll be joining some of my fellow CLE Marathon Ambassadors in the Akron Marathon Relay where I'll be running the 4th Leg, which is 3.6 miles.

I am, admittedly, super nervous. Not so much about the running part (although, sort of, but more on that in a minute). Mostly about the logistics of the race, as my section requires me to park and then take the shuttle to the start of the leg. It's also in a city I'm not very familiar with but luckily my parents live not too far so I'll be sleeping at their place the night before and leaving early the next morning to get to Akron. I also have to figure out picking up my packet on Friday. A teammate has offered to pick up packets for those of us not super close to Akron, but then, of course, that adds in the logistics of getting my stuff from him before the race. Luckily, I think I'll be able to leave work a little early Friday afternoon which will give me time to get to the Expo and then to my parents by dinner time.

My team, which is full of fast runners, is well aware that I am a slow runner. I mean, when we ran the races back in May, many of them finished the Cleveland Marathon in the same amount of time it took me to finish the Half. They are, quite literally, twice as fast as I am. But even though they know I'm slow, I still feel myself wanting to do that thing where I'm all "No, but, like, when I say I'm 'slow,' I mean I'm really slow."

On Monday we were all discussing the logistics and timing and trying to figure out meeting up for photos and such after and our team captain made a comment related to the anticipated finish time based on what he knows about the other runners. That made me feel so much better because it's about what I figured our final time would be, too, which means that, yes, they know how long it's going to take me to run my leg.

Still, though, being a member of a team is a completely different mindset. Normally when I run a race, I run alone so I don't have to worry too much about finish time unless I'm after a PR. With this, though, I'm all OMG CAN'T LET MY TEAM DOWN. That, I think, is adding to the logistical anxiety because I'm all "OMG, what if I'm late?" or "OMG, what if I can't figure out where to go?" or "OMG what if I take forEVER to finish my leg?"

I'm working out a race day plan to try and calm myself down and my mantra is Team CLE Believes In You. If time really was a concern or priority for any of the other members, they wouldn't have accepted me on their team. I told them how long it should take me and I plan on sticking to that, both for their sake and mine. But if I'm running and feeling nervous or too slow, I'll just repeat my mantra to myself to hopefully get me back into the groove.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

18 September 2015

Face the Scale Friday: Week Five

It's Friiiiiiiidaaaaaayyyyyy! You know what that means!

Daily Points: 38
Weekly Points used this week: 49/49
Activity Points earned this week: 17
Remaining Points at end of week: -70

Weight lost this week: +2.2
Total weight lost: -4
Starting weight: 259.8
Current weight: 255.8

Not going to lie, I am completely content with what the scale showed this week because of this:

Negative 70. And that's after earning 17 Activity Points. So a gain of 2.2? Please. I've gained that from weeks that were nowhere near as bad. Plus, I only know I'm in the negative so far because I stuck to my plan of Track It and Move On. I tracked everything I ate and y'know what? It kept me accountable. Like Wednesday night, I was in bed and really really craving some ice cream and I had some Weight Watchers ice cream bars and they are only 3 points but I was already at -70 and I just told myself those ice creams are still going to be in the freezer tomorrow.

This is one of those weeks that shows why I call this Face the Scale Friday, because sometimes it does feel like facing the music in a way and just owning up and accepting the consequences from my decisions. Whenever you know you have a gain it's easy to want to skip the weigh in, but even if you don't get the confirmation, you still gained the weigh regardless. So you might as well just know where you stand and make a new game plan for the coming week!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

16 September 2015

what I love wednesday: bondi band

I know I've mentioned before how much I lurve me some Bondi Band. Of all the millions and millions (okay, not really) hair or head band things I've tried over the years, they are the only ones that stay in place and keep the sweat out of my eyes. I bought my first one at the 2013 Cleveland Marathon Expo and if you've been reading this blog for any length of time since then you've seen me wear them in various race recaps.

So when I heard they were offering 10 Bondi Bands in a grab bag for $10, I totally had to jump on that bandwagon.

Of course, with any sort of grab bag situation you're taking a risk because you have no idea what items you'll get, but I got super super lucky. Of the 10, I'll wear 9 of them (the only one I probably won't says "I heart soccer") and the Ride Hard one will be perfect for spinning.

Oh yeah, that green one in the bottom has a little turtle and says Wanna Race? I swear, it's almost as if they someone knew it was coming to a slow runner.

And, of course I was super excited to break them in right away on Monday night's run when I decided the skull one was the perfect companion to my Shawshank Hustle shirt.

Pssss. Bondi Band. If you read this and want an Ambassador, let me know. LOL. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

14 September 2015

Track It and Move On

That was my motto this weekend. I knew taking that approach over what turned out to be a not so stellar couple of days would be better than beating myself up. 

Not to fall back on stereotypes or cliches, I'm going to put much of this on, uh, those once-a-month hormones. My period started Wednesday night, but in the days leading up to it I felt completely wiped out. I was so tired I wanted to nap all day, let alone work out. Of course, not working out tended to make me more blah so those days in my Believe Training Journal got zero mileage a sad face.

(I've had my Believe Training Journal for maybe a month now, I'll blog about it soon because it's so super awesome.)

On the food front, it wasn't even a situation of me grazing all day or anything. I had three meals a day with very little snacking in between. It was just, y'know, at those meals I didn't really hold back.

So I weighed in Wednesday night and woke up Thursday wanting to start the week off on the right foot but then we had a pizza party at work and that evening I had a fancy schmancy book event to attend that was catered by one of our local celebrity chefs.

Let's get real here, okay? Because of my stupid bleeding vajayjay, pizza and fancy bacon wrapped things pretty much meant this:

But, as I said, I had a motto and a plan this week, so it turned into this:

I worked from home Friday because BC and I were headed to Columbus for a wedding. We got into town and after checking into our hotel headed to dinner at a local Irish pub where I just had to have the fish & chips with a beer. Right across the street was a Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream and there was no way we weren't stopping.

Saturday was breakfast at the hotel, lunch with friends, then dinner at the reception. I did manage to get in a short work out in the hotel gym between breakfast and lunch so that plus all the dancing at the wedding helped put me in the right direction.

So, it's Monday morning and I'm already minus 51 points in my Weight Watchers tracker. Oh yeah, I've already managed to eat all my 49 weeklies and still ate above and beyond that.


I don't want to blame the whole "I was on vacation" mentality, but, yeah, I totally used that as an excuse. The treadmill and dancing at the wedding at least earned me 6 Activity Points, so, y'know, there's that. But, still. Not my most stellar fabulous week happening here and I have no idea what Friday's weigh in will look like but I'm just going to keep tracking and moving on.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

11 September 2015

Face the Scale Friday: Week Four

Another Friday is upon us! I'm actually working from home today (I lurve that my new job allows this) partly because BC and I are headed to Columbus later this afternoon for a wedding. But, because it's Friday, that means it's time for another Face the Scale post!

Daily Points: 38
Weekly Points used this week: 49/49
Activity Points earned this week: 24
Activity Points used this week: 24

Weight lost this week: -0.0
Total weight lost: -6.2
Starting weight: 259.8
Current weight: 253.6

I'm pretty proud of myself on the Weekly Points this week. Last week, if you'll recall, I managed to eat all 49 Weekly Points in the span of about three days. This week, I didn't get into my APs until Tuesday night (I had a bit of a snack attack after dinner), but that meant I only had Wednesday to deal with and since I was more active this week, I had more of a buffer with APs and knew it was unlikely I'd eat through all of those (plus some) like I did last week.

But then, see, my period started and, well, I ate more ice cream Wednesday night then I probably should have. But I tracked it all, so c'est la vie.

I also decided to weigh in Wednesday because I knew Thursday was going to be crazy at work and I had an event right after, so when left with the option of weighing in a day early or skipping this week altogether, I weighed in a day early (and then went home and ate ice cream, but whatevs).

So, I didn't lose anything this week but I am completely okay with that. To be fair, some of that might be left over from last week, when I went into the negative on weekly and activity points. If there's one thing I've learned over the years it's that weigh loss isn't always linear. That is, sometimes the effort (or lack thereof) that you put in on a given week may not show up on the scale for another week or two.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

09 September 2015

jump jive and wail

I know back in June in my FitBloggin recap I mentioned that after my Ignite Fitness presentation, one of our sponsors approached me and asked if I'd be interested in working with them. That company was JumpSport Fitness Trampoline and after returning home from Florida, I had my very own trampoline waiting for me!

I have a little corner of my office that is sort of a quasi home gym with my Kettlebells, free weights, and fitness DVDs. Naturally that was the perfect spot for the trampoline once I put it together (which, admittedly, was a workout in itself!)

Speaking of DVDs, JumpSport sent me some trampoline workout videos which are super beneficial because other than just, y'know, bouncing up and down I wouldn't necessarily know the best way to take advantage of the trampoline. The videos are challenging but fun and leave me a sweaty, sweaty mess.

They also make a great alternative to going outside for a run -- the Bounce Camp video actually had me run for a little it which was easier than I thought and worked my balance skills in a way that running outside doesn't. The fact that it was 85 degrees outside the day I did this and I was doing it in my nice air-conditioned apartment didn't hurt either so I have no doubt that I'll be using this a lot in the winter when it's all cold and snowy outside. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

04 September 2015

Face the Scale Friday: Week Three

Daily Points: 38
Weekly Points used this week: 49/49
Activity Points earned this week: 13
Activity Points used this week: 16 (yes, I went into the negative this week!)

Weight lost this week: -1.2
Total weight lost: -6.2
Starting weight: 259.8
Current weight: 253.6

So, yeah. I was in the negative on the food choices. Ever have one of those weeks where you want to EAT ALL THE THINGS?

That was me this week. Well, really it was me this past weekend. I weigh in on Thursdays and by Sunday night I had already eaten through all of my Weekly Points. I also wasn't very active, this week which means I didn't have that many Activity Points to pull from. One good thing is that by the time Monday rolled around I was feeling a little bit more in control and on Tuesday and Wednesday I didn't even eat all of my daily points so that might have helped. I don't know, I just wasn't that hungry on those days so I think on Tuesday I had 3 daily points left and on Wednesday it was just 1.

Another thing that might have helped is that over the weekend, BC and I joined the local YMCA!

I am SUPER excited about this! It's convenient and group exercise classes are included in the very reasonable monthly rate. I love going to my spinning classes at a studio but damn that shit's expensive. Plus, one of my friends is one of the instructors at the Y and I took her class on Tuesday and she totally kicked my ass. They also have a pool and water aerobics which I want to try out, at least once. I just showered and got ready there and was at work in plenty of time.

Looking through my tracker, I haven't had three weeks of losses since January. I'm trying to not overthink or overanalyze, I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing because it's clearly working.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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