Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Making Progress

I have kept moving, a little.  I did a run last Tuesday and all things considering I did pretty good.  I was expecting it to be really slow after the Corvallis Half Marathon a few days before.  My average pace was 12'44" which is decent and I didn't feel like I was dying so that was good.

I wasn't able to run the rest of the week.  A combination of homework and a kiddo that needed help getting his resume slicked up.  I got some son time out of the deal so I was happy to help.  :-)  I'll take kiddo time any way I can get it from my older two.  :-)

Easter Sunday my husband decided to go on a trail run in the morning.  I was sad that I can't run fast enough to go with him on runs like that.  This is where I really really really want to be faster.  Not so much because I'm comparing myself to him but because I want to participate with him.  He could tell something was up so I told him.  He came up with a plan.  He would run the long way to the top of Dimple Hill and I would to the shorter (and less steep) way and meet him at the top.  Then he would come down with me.  I would end up with about 5 miles total.  He would run a little over 4 miles to the top.

The weather was perfect.  Usually we have rainy Easters in Oregon, this year the morning was glorious.  The weather was perfect for a trail run.

I had decided to try and run as much of the route as I could without killing myself.  I started off too fast and then the road got really steep.  The combination made me struggle with my breathing.  So after just a quarter of a mile I had to walk.  I walked about a mile and then the road became less steep.  I was still going up but I had my breath back so I started a slow jog up the hill.  I felt like I was doing pretty good and was doing a better job regulating my breathing.  The forest was just gorgeous with the sun shining through the trees.  I got the rest of the way to the top and got an amazing view as my reward.  And I had gotten there before Joe.  Bonus.  He went twice as far as me but he is also twice as fast so I knew I was going to have to move it to get there before him.

When he got there we took some selfies together and enjoyed the view for a moment and then headed back down.  Joe had finished his first activity on runkeeper (the run to the top) and was starting a new activity as a walk with me for the trip down.  Usually this would have worked well because I'm sure that he could easily walk while I run.  Down is much easier than up, that's for sure!  I had decided to run as long as I was feeling it and then walk.  Evidently I was feeling it for over 2 miles because I ran the entire time down.  My Nike+ was saying that I was running at a 13'45" pace but I felt much faster than that.  Joe is pretty sure I was doing a low 11 minute mile pace.  I really like downhill.  Either way, I felt really good and was pretty happy about running almost the whole trip up and back.  Now I have something to work on.  :-)

Joe ran the whole way with me.  This was his comment on his "walk" with runkeeper on Facebook:
Pretty nice when the Ironman thinks you are hauling arse!
Monday I went for a run.  I really didn't want to go because it was raining and I'm still fighting a cold.  But I felt so good from my run on Sunday that I didn't want to lose the momentum so I headed out.  It was raining pretty hard when I first started but then it slowed down to drizzle and that wasn't too bad.  I was having a hard time regulating my breathing and when I heard my pace at mile 1 I realized it was partly because I was moving right along.  So I decided to keep moving right along.  I had to stop, literally at every half mile and blow snot rockets, spit and catch my breath for a moment.  Nasty!  But when I was running I was feeling really good and moving at a pretty good clip for me.

Here is a comparison of my three mile run last week and my three mile run this week.
I know it isn't always like this so I enjoy it when it happens!
This is the first run I have done that has been under a 12 minute mile average pace since the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day!  That's a long time!  Adjusting to the Metformin medication was more of a toll than I had realized.  The last few weeks have been the first runs in months that I haven't had a queasy stomach during the runs and I hadn't realized what an impact that was having on my runs.  It also takes a certain amount of effort to put ME first.  I'm not good at that on front on good days but when I have 10,000 other things that are demanding my time and attention it is even harder.   Okay, 10,000 might be a slight exaggeration but only by a little bit.

I know that the majority of running and getting healthy is about what is going on in my head.  The last few months I have been letting my negative self win but I feel like I'm getting her to quiet down some after the past week.

I also feel like I'm getting back in the groove.  Just being able to run when I need to and feel good about the fact that I am out there.  That is the accomplishment!  Running fast is a goal.  Being willing to get off my butt and do something is the accomplishment.  I need to remember to keep a balance between pushing myself to reach new goals and remembering that every time I run or bike or exercise I am successful

Which reminds me!  I'm still looking for donations towards my Tour de Cure bike ride this summer.  Check out my post Tour de Cure to get instructions on how to donate.  I have been taking some spin classes to get used to how to stand up and work on hills.  It's nice to figure it out on a stationary bike so I don't have to figure out what I'm doing and worry about falling over all at the same time.  The Tour de Cure is a great cause and I appreciate anyone who is willing to support my bike ride!!  Thanks ahead of time.

And on another note.  I have reached 10,000+ views on my blog!  Wow!  Seems crazy to me that people read all my silly (and often whiny) thoughts.  I appreciate everyone who stops by to read what I'm up to and all the encouraging things people have said, emailed or commented to me about this crazy journey I'm on.  This blog has really been a blessing for me this past year in ways that I never anticipated.  I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of this year brings in my journey to a healthier me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Finish Lines, Not Finish Times.

Corvallis Half Marathon 2014
This post is short on pictures and long on words.  Sorry about that. :-)  Evidently I had a lot to say!

I didn't want to do this race.  I knew it would be hard since I had not trained for it.  Truthfully I was embarrassed even before I went because I knew it would be SO much worse than last year.

But I have fabulous friends that encouraged me to go anyway and just do my thing and enjoy the day.  Their arguments were as follows:
  1. Even if you walk the whole thing you are awesome because you are beating everyone one the couch.
  2. The weather will be sunny, you get to be outside in the sun!!
  3. You can listen to music and people watch.  
  4. Nobody but you cares how fast or slow you go.  Let it go.  ;-)
  5. Thirteen point one freak'n miles!  That's awesome no matter how you get it done! (Don't forget the point one!)
So I let all my frustrations go (well, mostly).  I decided that I would just do my thing and participate because I could.  All week long I was up and down about it.  Mostly I was okay with knowing I would not be running it but then the disappointment in myself would creep back in.

I worked really hard on Saturday to get all of my homework done so that I wouldn't have to worry about it on Sunday.  Got that accomplished so that was a good feeling.

Sunday morning I got up and had breakfast early.  My husband, Taylor and Meighan were going to a work party at the lake so Taylor came over straight after work.  It was nice to get some time to just visit with my son.  :)  He always makes this mom's heart full.  Joe ended up getting off work later than usual so when got home they took off pretty quickly.  I was all ready to go but there was still a small part of me that wanted to find some excuse to just stay home.  But I didn't.  I got in the car and headed for Corvallis.

Pre Race picture with the fabulous Wendie!
Walking to the start line I saw my wonderful friend Wendie.  She gave me a huge hug.  She knows I've been struggling and that I really didn't want to do this race.  She has told me "You got this!" in many different ways, both gently and with a slight kick to the butt.  Nothing like starting race day with positive energy!  And it just kept coming.  Next was Josh with a big hug and "whoo hoo, it's race day!"  We wandered over to the start line and found other race peeps.  I have a large number of wonderful people that have come into my life through running.  That right there makes running worth it!!  Next we saw Betsy and Hannah, then Spencer and then Kristy and Tony.  Everyone was giving out hugs and high fives, excited to get the race going.  Hard to have a bad attitude with all that fun energy!

We got in a various spots in the line depending on our race pace.  My brother-in-law Steve found me and we got a chance to chit chat and hug.  I have wonderful brothers and sisters who bless me all the time.  And lucky me that they all have married fabulous husbands and wives that I love having in my life!  Steve is always an encouragement and just fun to be around.

The race began and I had decided to try and run a mile, walk a mile for the whole race.  That way I wasn't busting out trying to do something I hadn't trained for but at the same time I was challenging myself a little bit.  That worked out pretty well for the first 10 miles.  Then I just ran out of gas.  The last three miles were brutal.  I just wanted to sit down and have someone come pick me up.  I kept moving though and that was another victory.

I ended up with a finishing time of 3:28:04.  That is significantly slower than last year.  I am not going to figure the exact number in an effort to not be so hard on myself (but it is more than 30 minutes slower, just so you know).  These are my observations that went on during the race.  Remember, I was out there a LONG time.  I had a lot of time to observe and think.
  • The sun was shining and there was a slight breeze that felt wonderful.
  • There were lots of fun people cheering us on along the way.
  • Oregon in the spring is gorgeous!  Cherry trees blooming everywhere, tulips and daffodils in the yards, I love it here!
  • I saw Miley Cyrus.  Ok, not really but I saw a young woman with the same haircut cheering on the crowd who could have been her sister. 
  • On the trail on Bald Hill there were some girls cheering people on.  Most people were just running by, focused on their race.  I waved at them and said thank you!  They waved back and were all excited that I had responded.  This was one of the miles I was running and I was catching up to a woman and they started cheering me on "Go faster, get ahead of her, you can do it!"  Made me laugh.  I told them I would pass her on the down hill.  (That woman actually ended up passing me on the last half mile of the race!)
  • I saw people riding horses on the Bald Hill trail while we were running.  
  • There were amazing volunteers that made sure we didn't get hit by cars.  I personally appreciate this a great deal.  I don't think I would enjoy getting hit by cars.  
  • There was a couple that were on bikes cheering on a friend. I think it was her first half marathon.  She had a couple of friends running with her as well.  It was the woman I had passed on Bald Hill.  They passed me and then I passed them several times along the route.  I think we were walk/running opposite miles.  The couple on the bike cheered me on every single time they passed me.  Whether they were looking for their friend or going up ahead to be ready to cheer her on, they gave me a shout every single time.  I began to feel like they were my friends too.  :-)  
  • I came to one corner at about mile 11 with a whole bunch of volunteers with these clappy noise makers. They were cheering me on and since I was kind of all by myself right then it was like having a huge cheering section just for me.  I shouted "Thank you!" over all the noise and one of the ladies close to me asked me my name.  I told her and she shouts down the street "Her name is Lisa!" and everyone starts cheering my name.  Then people at the end of the crowd shout down to the people on the next corner "Her name is Lisa!" and as I get to that corner they all start shouting my name and cheering.  lol This went on for a couple of streets.  Hard to give up with that kind of awesome encouragement!
  • I couldn't find my inhaler.  My doctor had told me that if I was having difficulties I should talk while walking or running because that would help regulate the breathing better.  If I was alone I should sing.  So, for about 3 miles (miles 9, 10 and 11) I sang to whatever come on my iphone next.  lol  I sang "Let It Go" from Frozen, "Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson, "I've Been Everywhere" by Johnny Cash, "Take a Chance on Me" from Mama Mia, "Stronger" by Mandisa and "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5.  I got some funny looks from people and I'm sure I was off key since I had my headphones in but it worked and was kind of fun.   Someone somewhere could be writing in their blog about the crazy singing lady in the race.  :-)
  • I spent a lot of my time praying.  Walking alone gives you good one on one time for conversations with God.  :-)  Mostly I was praying for my cousin and his family.  It felt good to lift them up in prayer.  Funny how praying for others always makes me feel better.  
  • Just as I'm getting ready to start mile 12 I see my friend and co-worker standing at the corner.  Chad was there to cheer on his wife because she was walking the race with her friend (also the parent of one of my students).  So I got a fun boost for the last mile from Chad and the crew that was there for Beth and Sarah.  (You just never know when you are going to see students! lol)
  • People with dogs should not stop in front of runners to get a soda from people on a bike right in front of someone in a race.  Especially when that someone knows if they stop for too long they won't be able to start again.  They were totally oblivious!
  • Got a text message from my bestie while I was still on the course asking how I had done.  I told her that I wasn't done yet and she texted back that she was proud of me for being out there.  We had talked about the race on Friday night and she knew it was hard for me.  Love my friend!  Just another reminder of the fabulous people I have in my life!
  • When I ran into Reser Stadium (and yes, I was running.  I always finish a race running, no matter what!) the song that came on was "Wild Thing" and for whatever reason I thought that was really funny.  
  • When I was done and finally decided to hobble up the stairs to get out of Reser Stadium I saw two girls at the top of the stairs that were passing out bags of ice because it was so warm.  They asked me if I wanted one and I said of course!  Then one of the girls says "I remember you!  You waved and talked to us on the trail!"  I laughed and said yes.  I couldn't believe they would remember me from all the thousands of people that went by.  They assured me that they remembered the "fun" people.  :-)  They brought a smile to my face during the run and evidently I brought a smile to theirs too.  
  • My husband sent me a text that said "Great job dear.  I knew you would just keep going."  He always believes I will make it.  :-)  Even when I don't.  
  • I got sunburned.  In April.  In Oregon!  I had sunblock on but it was an older bottle and apparently it doesn't work anymore.  :-)  Oh well, guess I have a start on the base for summer.  
I had asked my friends to not wait around for me at the end of the race.  I was really embarrassed by how long it was going to take me and since I knew they were going to finish WAY before me I didn't want everyone to be sitting around for an hour or more waiting for me to finish.  I really thought I was going to be done more around the four hour mark.  No one was gathered at the finish line to cheer me on and that was a relief.  But when I came around the corner after getting my finishers medal and some water I hear a shout and here sit Josh, Wendie, Tony and Kristy.  It was nice to lay on the ground and just chill for a little bit and laugh with my friends.  I was glad they were there.  :-)

I grabbed a hamburger on the way home because I was starving.  :-)  Imagine that!  I happened to get home at the same time as my family so that was nice.  Decision time.  Do I shower and then nap with a wet head or do I take a nap while I'm still all stinky and then shower?  Normally I don't care but we were going to meet up with a bunch of the running crowd who had done the half and with curly hair, sleeping on it wet leaves me looking a bit like a haystack.  I decided to just get comfy in my recliner and sleep.  I got about an hour nap and then had to get up to pee.  All that water I had been sucking down at the race suddenly need to be gone.

Showers after a run feel so good.  Showers after a race feel even better.  I don't know if it is because the hot water feels so good on sore muscles or if it is just a wonderful feeling to no longer smell like a Yetti.  But either way, I love my after race showers!

Joe, Meighan and I headed back to Corvallis to have dinner with my fellow racers.  It was fun to just hang out and visit.  The skill level of the running people that I hang out with just astounds me.  When I'm doing the comparing thing (which I'm trying not to do)  I can't believe they even think that anything I do is worth celebrating.  But when we are all hanging out and talking about what we have done and what our next goals are, everyone is so excited and encouraging about what everyone else is doing, even me.  Gets me all jazzed up to get out and get going again.  A big shout out to Betsy for her huge PR and Hannah as well.  They have worked very hard and they are getting awesome results!  I'm so proud of you both!!!  Actually I am proud of everyone who did this race.  :-)

The next race I'm signed up for is the Pacific Crest 10K.  I have decided to notch my races down a little and work on shorter distances and getting faster.  I think I will also try to find a couple 5K's to do in May as well.  That being said, I have been asked to join a team for the Hood to Coast Relay.  Yikes!  I reminded my friend that asked me that I'm slower than dirt and her response was "We don't care, we just want fun people."  Guess that makes me a fun people.  I am going to tell her yes for sure tomorrow.  I want to be able to say that I have done that.  Another accomplishment on my list.  I need to remember that the list is pretty long and I have earned every single thing on it.

This picture was on the Run Like a Girl Facebook page yesterday and it caught my eye.

As always, just what I need to remember, right when I need to remember it.  :-)
I'm so thankful for the people in my life, family and friends near and far, who help me remember that I need to proud that I'm out there.  Last week I was overwhelmed by the encouragement I received after posting my blog.  People that I have known and loved for most of my life were immediately letting me know that they supported me and believed in me.  It was a good reminder that I have had fantastic people in all areas of my life for all of my life.  Made me feel incredibly loved.  So a special shout out to my high school friend Kari and to my number one bestie (forever!) Sheryl.  (Sheryl, dinner date soon?)  You both gave me words I needed from people who have known me way back when.  I needed that more than you can know.

 I will be working on focusing on the finish lines, not the finish times.  :-)


A big shout out to my friend Christa who ran her very first Half Marathon on Sunday.  She rocked it (of course!) and has been an awesome encouraging friend the past year.  :-) Thanks Christa!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Life is a Journey....not a Destination

I haven't written anything in awhile.  To be honest I haven't known what to write since I haven't been running and have been struggling.  I am not positive, I don't feel like I've got this and I really have just not cared.  Not exactly the positive attitude I like to think I usually have.

It's hard to write truthfully about the feelings that come with defeat, frustration and sadness.  They are much more personal and by writing about these things I open myself up even more than I have before.  That alone is a little daunting.  But when I started this blog out it was with the purpose of encouraging myself and others by being real.  Sharing the real ups and downs that come with trying to improve my health.  It's not all faster runs, fast weight loss and PRs.  At least not for me.  It's a lot of gains, retreats, stops, laughter, pride and tears (both the happy kind and the sad kind).  What a roller coaster ride!!

I thought that last November/December was the hard part.  New diagnosis, new medication and it was rough but I got through it and managed to keep moving forward.  Slowly but I was going in the right direction.  The last couple of months I haven't been moving forward.  February wasn't terrible but it wasn't great either.  March was positively dismal.  I ran 6.81 miles for the entire month!  Geez!  I went farther than that today!  Pathetic.

I had a break from my grad school classes this week.  Should have been running but didn't.  I fell at work on Monday and did a number on my body.  Just add that to the list of excuses I have had lately.  I still have a huge bruise on my knee, a floor burn on one hand, a cut and bruise on my other hand and a few other bruises that have developed over the week.  I also must have hit my shoulder pretty hard when I landed because my arm and shoulder have been sore all week.  I even bent a prong on my ring (that gave me the cut on my hand).  I fell walking down the hall to the library at school.  Just like my sprained ankle last year, I managed to hurt myself doing nothing, cause I'm talented that way.   I did think about running a lot though.  Why I am not feeling it, why I am not motivated, how to get motivated again.  I also thought a lot about what am I wanting out of this.

Tuesday my husband and I were at Costco and I was talking about how two people I know have been losing weight.  One person has lost over 20 pounds in a couple of months and another over 60 pounds in about eight months.  Makes my 40 pounds in 14 months look really sad and pathetic.  I have tried to keep a good attitude about how slow the weight has come off because I know I have been dealing with other health issues that have affected that.  But it is really hard not to compare myself to others and not be really discouraged and frustrated.  I told Joe that I really wished God would just tell me what lesson I was supposed to be learning because obviously I was not figuring it out.  Joe looked at me in the middle of Costco and said "Maybe He's trying to teach you not to compare yourself with others."  Shit, I hate it when he's right like that.

I compare myself with others a lot and it is never in a good way.  I am never as fast as, as skinny as, as good as others.  I work at it but just never seem to get there.  I have talked about it here many times before how hard it is to always be the one at the back of the crowd, the slow one.  I know that none of my friends think that about me.  They celebrate all my accomplishments just as if I was doing an Ironman.  I am beyond blessed by the amazing people that I have in my life.  And I still, somehow, don't feel like I really deserve to be a part of this amazing, athletic, healthy group of people.  Like I am not enough.  I'm going to be honest and say that feeling like I'm not enough has been a struggle my whole life.  I have always had fabulous friends and I have always felt inadequate and not enough of a contributor to the group or my family.  Guess at 44 years old it is something I still need to work on.

One of the things that I have been thinking about a lot this weekend is that I can't give up just because the last couple of months have been crappy.  I'm not anywhere close to where I thought I would be at this point.  But I'm still ahead of where I was a year ago.  I need to pick myself up by my boot straps and get moving again.  It won't be pretty at first.  Once again I will be starting over.  But that is one thing that I have learned.  I'm only a quitter if I stop, completely.   As long as I'm willing to start over then I am a badass.

I am never going to be done with this journey.  I will always struggle between balancing healthy choices with unhealthy ones, whether it be food or exercise.  Even if I get to my goal weight I will have to make choices every day in order to stay there.  So I am not working towards some magical race or some magical number on the scale.  I am working towards a healthier me, both physically and mentally.  Some days (or months) are harder than others.  I'm going to try not to beat myself up so hard over the hard times.

Today I went for a hike with friends.  I call it trail therapy because it's a good reminder that I don't always have to be out running super fast or worrying about the distance.  Sometimes it is just good to go spend a few hours out in the rain, on a beautiful trail with people I love.  Bonus, I got the benefit from the exercise as well.

I am supposed to do the Corvallis Half Marathon next Sunday.  I was stressing myself out about it because I'm not sure I can run the whole thing since my training has been non-existent.  One of my friends had surgery on his knee last month and isn't up to running yet.  He's still going to do it but plans to walk most of it, run a little and if he feels like he needs to stop he's going to stop.  I'm going to walk with him.  If he needs to stop then I will keep going.  But that took some of the pressure I was putting on myself to have to run it.  I have done a half marathon without training before and it was ugly so I am happy to not put that kind of pressure on myself again.  I'm hoping the weather is beautiful and I can just enjoy burning some calories and hanging with my friends.

Today's hike was good.  I am sore right now but the good kind of sore.  You know, "Yay, I'm sore because that means I got off my ass" kind of sore.
Trail Selfie

Love living in Oregon.  Beautiful trails even on a rainy day.

Not too bad considering how long it's been.
I won't make any promises about how I will do this coming week.  I'm going to try and get out there.  I'm going to try and have a better attitude.  I've got to keep moving through my journey the best way I know how.  I need to remember to focus on the fact that it's my journey and not someone else's.