Friday, July 26, 2013

Running Clothes Make a Difference! :-)

Running clothes for larger women is a problem.  I recently went and bought some clothes at Sports Authority.  The biggest size they had was XL.  I have stuff at home that is that size so I bought it without trying it on.  Big mistake.  I could get it on but everything was so tight I felt like I was a can of biscuits ready to pop.

Then when Joe and I went looking for biking shorts, the kind with the padding.  :-)  The first bike shop we went to didn't have anything bigger than an XL.  I tried it on and I could get it on but again, not comfortable.  So we asked a gentleman who worked at the store if they had anything bigger.  He picked up a box that had liners you can wear under regular shorts.  The biggest size he had was XL but he kept assuring me that he could get them all the way up to size 4XL.  Now, I know that he was trying to help.  Joe's take on it was that he was trying to assure me that there were more sizing options with those liners.  My take on it was that he must have thought I was a huge ole hippo.  He didn't just say it once, he kept repeating that they went up to 4XL until I just wanted to yell at him to quit.  lol  Joe was probably right but if you are going to be working in a service industry that sells clothing you might want to learn how to be more diplomatic when talking to women about sizes.

The second bike shop we went to also didn't not have anything bigger than a XL.  However, this gentleman was much more diplomatic.  He was telling me that he doesn't understand why these companies that don't make clothes for athletes bigger than a size 12.  Sweet man.  Bigger than a size 12 covers a lot of sizes.  :-)  This store also does try to keep in stock 2XL but they were currently out.  Evidently they go fast.  I ended up buying some men's bike pants.  They work pretty good but could use a little more padding up front.  I really am looking forward to the day when I can get into a women's size that they have on the rack.  It's a little embarrassing to have a bigger size in men's than my husband.

Here are clothing options that I have found work for me when I run.

I get my sports bras at Target.  I like the C9 by Champion.  It goes all the way up to XXL and does a good job of keeping the girls contained without feeling like I'm getting strangled.  Also, it isn't too expensive and comes in all kinds of colors.  :-)

C9 by Champion at Target, $16.99
I recently found tank tops at Old Navy that I love.  A lot of running tops are form fitting.  This causes two issues for me.  First, I'm self-conscious about my rollies.  I have learned to wear what is comfortable for me and to not worry about it as much but that doesn't mean I like it.  The tank tops from Old Nave are loose and kind of flow around the waist.  They are called bubble tanks and are super comfortable.   They don't have the built-in bra but since I have a good sports bra that isn't an issue.

These tops go up to XXL.
I also got one of these compression tanks.  This one does have a built-in bra and is just a little more expensive.  I am going to have to take it back though cause it is a little too big in the bust area.  But I like how it feels when I have it on and I like how it looks on me.  I got an XXL but will exchange it for an XL.  :-)

I have had the best luck with running pants, Capri's and skirts at Costco.  You have to watch through the spring and summer for anything to show up.  And if I buy something that I take home and really like I generally go back and get more because you never know with Costco if you will ever see it again.  I have one pair of Capri's that are my favorite.  I wish I had gone back and gotten more.  :-(  I also have three running skirts because I did go back and get more of those.  :-)  The downside at Costco is that they only go up to size XL.  But they fit better on me than the XL clothes I got at Sports Authority so it just depends.  

Another thing that I have noticed, more in the summer cause it's hot, is that the clothes are comfortable when I head out, but they are tight when I get home.  I can't wait to get out of them because I'm back to feeling like I'm busting out of a can of biscuits.  I think this is because I swell up badly when I run in the heat.  But I don't notice it while I'm actually running.  I notice it when I stop so to me it's not too bad and I can deal with it.  

I wear Under Armor Compression shorts under my running skirts and Capri's.  It helps with the chaffing in areas that it is not fun to chaff.  :-)

Because the pictures of the clothing are all slender women I figured I really should have a picture of me wearing them.  Remember I don't like having my picture taken but I'm willing to sacrifice for my four followers.  :-)

Bubble tank, running skirt and compression shorts.  I just finished an 8 mile run!
I had a great run on the hills last Saturday.  For the first time EVER I was able to run the whole route without stopping.  This route has two miles of rolling hills.  Followed by a half mile really steep hill.  Then you get to go down for a bit and then you get a one and a half mile slow and steady hill that gets a a bit steeper at the top.  Then you get to finish up with a nice downhill.  Usually it is about 5 miles but we decided to take a little bit farther route and I ended up with 6.75 miles.  Probably should have tried to get the even seven miles.  But as soon as I got the car my body said DONE.  lol  Since I had run all the hills AND gone 1.75 miles farther than normal for that route I was okay with that.  

Conquering the hills in North Albany!
Tuesday I ran later in the morning.  I'm trying to get ready for Cascade Lakes Relay.  I really hate running in the heat.  I only went three miles but I felt slow and it was a struggle to run the whole thing.  About all I can say is that I got it done.  

Wednesday I went for a swim.  I usually swim for about 15 minutes and then use the kick board for the last 15 minutes to work on my stroke and breathing pattern.  This time I swam the entire time without the kick board and fins and got my 1/2 mile done in 30 minutes.  Which means that if I had to do the triathlon tomorrow I could do the swim portion in 30 minutes.  :-)  That's a good feeling.  Hopefully by October that will be faster.  

Then I went on my bike ride.  I went seven miles.  I felt pretty good for the first five miles but I just ran out of gas the last two.  Still, I didn't want to go out and swim or bike today so I feel like getting out the door was a victory.  

I decided to do my long run today instead of Saturday because we are going camping at the beach.  I didn't want to have to figure out where to go that I wouldn't get run over for a long run while camping so I got it done today.  It was a struggle.  I ran out of steam on about mile six.  Managed to run the whole 8 miles but it wasn't pretty.  I really struggled with my runs this week.  I hope that I don't struggle this way next week at Cascade Lakes Relay.  That would be really frustrating!  

Didn't get negative splits the whole way but did manage to suck it up for my last mile. :-)
I'm still not where I want to be with my weight or my speed.  But I'm so much farther than I was in January.  Trying to focus on that instead.  Some days that's easier than others.  This week has been hard in my head.  Maybe next week will be better.  :-)

Friday, July 19, 2013


I am a runner!  Seems like an obvious thing at this point but I have had a hard time embracing this fact. I always make excuses and explain that I'm slow or can't run as far as my husband and our friends.  I have slowly been coming to the realization that I'm selling myself short.

I am a runner!  Me.  I go out and run.  Maybe not fast but I do it.  And I'm getting better at it and it feels good.

I AM a runner!  I really am.  Crazy to think about what I have accomplished the past few years.  When I started I could barely run the corners of the track, let alone run an entire lap.  While I may not be at the size/weight that I had hoped to be at this point, I have hit many other goals along the way that I am very proud of.

I am a RUNNER!  I run!  I don't sit on the couch.  I don't wish I could do races and get medals.  I am doing it.  I go out four or five days a week and I run.  Not only do I run but I run far!  I am doing things that four years ago I would have thought impossible.

If I measure all my success as a runner on my size/weight then I won't ever feel successful.  That is too narrow a measurement.

If I measure my success as a runner on the following things I have a much better (and rewarding) view:
  • I love how I feel after a good run.  
  • I love how I pick myself up after a bad run and try again the next day.
  • I love how I feel at the end of a race.
  • I really love how I feel at the end of a race that I get a PR.
  • I love being able to share running with my husband.
  • I love being able to share running with my friends who run too.
  • I love that my husband, family and my friends cheer me on for all my accomplishments and pick me up when I'm struggling.
  • I love that I can share my running, goal setting, setbacks and successes with my students and show them that running is a lot like life, not perfect but definitely an adventure. 
  • I love running!  I don't always like getting going but I love the run and the feeling after so that balances it out.  
I have been working hard at not saying things like "I ONLY ran a 1/2 Marathon" or "I am so slow compared to everyone else."  I am finding that because I haven't been saying it out loud I haven't been as focused on it in my own head either.  Cascade Lakes Relay is coming.  It's only two weeks away.  I will be the slowest person on the team, as usual.  I have more miles to run this year and I'm excited about where I am in my fitness level compared to last year.  So the weight is about where I was last year during that race but I think I will be a better athlete this year.  And isn't that a kick in the pants to consider myself an athlete?  Part of the changing of how I see myself, in a good way.  :-)  I am very blessed to have teammates who want me to participate and are always encouraging and supportive of my efforts.  They have never done anything but make me feel like I should be there.  Gotta love it!

This week I have been adding other types of working out.  I am pushing myself outside of my comfort zone....again.  It's hard to try new things because I'm self-conscious about how I look when I am trying to do something and I can't do it right yet.

The bike riding has been fun.  More fun than I had anticipated.  Partly because it brings back so many memories of when I was a kid and I LOVED riding my bike.  :-)  Makes me feel young again.  I am really looking forward to doing the Last Chance Triathlon in October with my youngest goober.

I went to my very first yoga class this week.  My good friend is working on becoming a yoga instructor and is giving free classes to friends and family so she can practice teaching classes.  Goober #3 and I went last Monday and it was really fun.  I couldn't do half of the stuff that we were supposed to do.  But I worked up a sweat, tried everything and felt all loose and stretched out when it was done.  I really enjoyed it.  I'm going again next week.  :-)  A little jealous that the goober could fold herself up like a pretzel with no problem.  Oh to be young and limber!  :-)

This week I have ran 13 miles, done one yoga class, one water aerobics class and biked 7 miles.  All that just since Monday.  :-)  I have a long run to do tomorrow to finish out the week.

When I first started this blog I shared a blog post from a runner named Flint.  I have become a follower of Flint's adventures for a couple of reasons.  First of all, he is a runner who loves the community of runners.  And he includes everyone who laces up their shoes and goes out there as part of his community.  Secondly, Flint recently started on an adventure where he is traveling around in a fixed up camper van.  I have enjoyed reading about the getting ready part of the adventure and I am already loving the first few posts about what he's been up to so far.  If you get a chance check out his blog.  It's worth a read.  :-)  His post "Hey Fat Girl" has made the rounds on Facebook several times and he graciously let me copy it onto my blog last winter.

All that to say, as my blogger friend Flint says:

Run Free  :-)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Swimming, Biking, Running...Sounds like a Triathlon

This has been a week full of struggles and setbacks for me.  It is always hard for me to start over.  Partly because I am mad at myself for losing ground.  I don't make that much ground so I really shouldn't put myself in a position to lose any.  And partly because my body really likes being lazy and complains loudly when I go back to convincing it that lazy isn't an option.

I have also added a new activity to my cross-training activities.  I am riding a bike.  My plan is to do a Sprint Triathlon next October.  Yikes!  I don't know why I start thinking I can do these things.  First problem with this plan, I don't have a bike.  Second problem with this plan, I haven't ridden a bike in over 20 years.  The mental picture I have of me on a bike is an overweight woman, one with a significant derriere, that is wobbling all over the road.  Isn't that a great mental picture for someone to have before trying something new?  It didn't exactly make me brimming with confidence.

I didn't want to buy a bike until I was a little more confident about the activity.  It would suck to spend a couple hundred dollars and then have the dumb thing sitting in the garage all the time.  My husband would just give me that look.  lol I don't like that look.  So we borrowed a bike from our friends since D is traveling for work and won't be using his for a few weeks.  A couple of weeks ago I walked over to their house with a bike helmet in hand and then rode the bike home.  I was a little wobbly at first but then I smoothed out.  Made it home without crashing into something or falling down.  That's a good start.

A week ago my husband looked at me and said, "Let's go!"  He took me for a bike ride.  We had to have a lesson on stopping cause the seat is so high that I can barely touch the ground so he showed me how to slow down and then slowly come off the seat and then stop and put a foot down at the same time.  It takes a bit of coordination that I'm pretty sure I did fabulously, when I was 14.  I'm a little bit wobbly when I stop but I'm getting better.  We did a loop that is about 5 miles and I played with gears and just got used to being on a bike again.  It was pretty fun.  I totally could remember what it was like to be a kid and be riding my bike with my brother and sisters.  We used to love riding our bikes around the neighborhood and would go around this big block that had a hill on the way back to the house.  Now I would have imagined that my derriere had enough padding that sitting on a bike seat wouldn't bother me too much.  I mean, I rode my bike all the time when I was a kid and I was a twig then.  No padding at all and I never remember my behind hurting.  I definitely could feel it by the end of our ride. I was trying to imagine sitting on a bike seat for 112 miles like Joe did for the Ironman.  No thank you!!

But I did it and I now know that I can do it again.  Gotta start upping the miles so that I will be ready for the triathlon.  :-)

So Sunday was the day of getting back into the routine of working out.  I went on a great hike with friends and my youngest goober.  We ran here and there but mostly walked but it was fun to be out doing something.  I enjoyed the friends, my kiddo and the beautiful Oregon scenery on the hike.  That's a pretty good way to start out a week of working out.  We went about 6.5 miles and had a great time.

Monday I got back in the pool and swam for 30 minutes.  It took awhile to get the rhythm back.  I snorted and sneezed water up my nose for quite a while.  I think I was trying to go to fast.  When I finally settled down and took my time it went much better.  I don't know how swimming is for most people but for me it is about the rhythm of my strokes and my breathing.  Overall the swim wasn't too bad but I could tell that I hadn't done laps for a few months.  Again with the starting over.  Grrrrr.

Tuesday I ran.  I went for a four mile run.  I went in the morning but evidently not early enough.  I was hot.  Everything hurt.  I wasn't breathing very well and I was going SO slow!  Starting over sucks!  Have I mentioned that yet?  My average pace was 14'02".  So slow compared to how I was doing in April.  I then walked another mile so that I could get the miles in that my training plan called for.  Wasn't going to be able to run that last mile.  It just wasn't going to happen.

Wednesday was the "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" 5K.  This is my fourth time doing this 5K.  It is the first race I ever did and I have done it every year since.  I was not looking forward to it this year at all.  I knew that I was not where I wanted to be in my running and that would make it a frustrating race for me.  Also, this race starts at 5:30 p.m. and it was hot.  This year it was about 85 degrees.  I really hate running in the heat.  The race started and took off WAY to fast!  My first half mile the Nike app informed me that I was running at a 10'30" pace.  Uh oh.  I can't maintain that speed on a good day.  I slowed down.  At the one mile mark I was going an 11'30 pace.  Well, I slowed down.  Just not enough!  Still going to fast and now I was having a hard time breathing.  I slowed down even more and used my inhaler.  I kept a more reasonable pace for mile two.  During mile 3 I started feeling nauseous. I had about a half a mile left when I had to start walking.  I would run a bit and then walk a bit.  It sucked!  The race finishes in Goss Stadium, which is the Oregon State University baseball field.  We run around the outfield and then run down the third base line and finish on home plate.  I ran the entire time I was in the stadium.  Finished in 41'43".  Not my worst time but not anywhere close to my best time either.  I was hot, I didn't feel good and I was grumpy with myself.  I know I can do better!  I did a 33 minute 5K in May for Pete's sake!

Thursday I went and did Water Aerobics.  In the summer they have a class at the outdoor kids pool in the current pool.  I did it a lot last summer and loved it and this was the first time that I could go this year.  My friend Maureen joined me and we had a blast.  The class is outside and the instructor plays music the whole time.  So I get to play in the water, listen to good music and work on my tan.  Pretty sweet way to get some exercise.  I like being able to do lunges and squats in the water.  I can work on doing them better than I can at home because if I fall down then I will just be in the water.  If I fall down at home it will hurt! lol

Today I decided to do my longer run.  I am supposed to do it on Saturday but we are picking Goober #3 up from camp at 9:00 a.m. and I would have had to get up ridiculously early to make that work.  And if I waited to do it after we picked her up it wouldn't happen.  I would find excuses not to do it.
I was out the door by 6:45 a.m. which meant it was much cooler than the runs I had done earlier in the week.  I made sure that I was starting out slow.  My goal was to get negative splits.  I do much better when I start out slow and work on getting faster every mile.  The first couple of miles didn't feel great but didn't feel awful either.  About mile 3 I felt it.  That really good rhythm that feels like you can just maintain that pace forever.  I haven't felt that for awhile so I was excited.  I was concentrating on my breathing and my posture and just enjoying the summer morning.  Every mile I was trying to go just a bit faster.  I reached the 7 mile point just around the corner from home.  I had a very good run and did a great job with the negative splits.

Love it when the last mile is the fastest!
When I got home I had a water bottle and Nugo bar.  Then I went for a bike ride with Joe.  We did the same route as last time, just a bit further.  It was pretty good.  I could tell that I had just done a seven mile run though so towards the end my legs were complaining loudly.  But I did it!  I'm using Runkeeper to track my bike rides and swimming.  I like that it has more activities than just running.  :-)

Bike ride!
Then I took a very long nap!  A very, very long nap.  I had sat in the recliner at first but I couldn't get comfortable.  And I also had gotten chilled.  I have that sometimes after a big workout.  It's really hot but I'm shivering.  I even had taken a hot shower.  I finally went and laid down in bed with all the covers and snuggled in.  Three hours later I emerged.  That felt soooooo good.  I love summer vacation!

So after a week of working out and lots of frustrations and complaints I finally had a good run.  (Thank you Joe for putting up with my whining!)  I feel like I've got my groove back a little.  I am a little worried about how I will do at Cascade Lakes Relay, not because of the distances I have to run but because of the heat.  I run my best at a temperature under 55 degrees.  Even 60 feels hot to me when I'm running.

Joe shared this video yesterday on Facebook and I wanted to share it here.  After a week of basically feeling sorry for myself, this video reminded me, once again, that I have it pretty good.

I had tears running down my face as I watched this.  What an amazing example of love and sacrifice.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me!