Sunday, December 27, 2009

A lonely long run

I ran 8 miles by myself this morning.  I'm still shocked.

I was scheduled to run in Yakima on Saturday, but was feeling a little icky (too many Christmas cookies, perhaps?) and decided to spend our last morning there hanging out with family instead of running.  I've "put off" or rescheduled runs 4 out of the 8 times I've had scheduled long runs, and let me tell you... it's usually a bad idea.  Each time that I've rescheduled or put off a run, I end up battling one distraction after another to actually get on the road.  And when I do finally make it out there, my mental game is always much tougher.  There's just something about going off schedule that gives my "Panzy Pants" voice a foothold. 

So Miss Panzy Pants slept in until 9:30am this morning, then moped around for 20 minutes looking for socks and trying to come up with reasons why we should just stay home. 

It's Daniel's day off... I want to be with him!
It's REALLY cold outside...
I'll be all alone, Kaylee is on vacation...
I can always run tomorrow...
My tummy hurts...

I had told Daniel the night before that I was really going to need help getting out the door today, and he was an amazing help.  He cooked us breakfast and got Ethan ready for the day while I moped around looking for socks and mapping... and re-mapping... my route.  When I was finally dressed and whining about going running, he loaded us all into the car and drove me out to the park.  As we pulled up to the park and I was trying to talk him into going to coffee instead, he kicked me out of the car.  As I stood outside the car and pouted about how windy it was, he waved at me and said, "have fun!"  I finally plodded away for my first two miles, and saw Daniel driving along and waving at me. Then he sent me a text saying he would meet me at Starbucks.

The first half was along the Springwater trail.  It was cold and windy and I was whining the whole time.  I kept praying that the Lord would give me the strength and courage to just keep running.  Running can be an act of worship, as it's an opportunity for me to reject laziness, to confront fear and and to force myself to rely on Him for the mental/spiritual strength I need to push through when I'm feeling pouty, lazy, whiney, tired or just plain grumpy.  My calves and shins were feeling really tight, and I ended up stopping four different times to stretch them out.  I'm not sure what the deal is, but I'm hoping to find a solution to help me run without having to stop and stretch so often.

Halfway through the run is that nice hill I've written about before.  I ran it! The entire thing! Without stopping or walking and I was even feeling COMFORTABLE on the hill.  Yay!

Conquering the hill - and being comfortable while doing so - was the boost I needed to get through the second half of my run.  I finally felt warmed up, loose and strong.  My last mile included another hill.  The second hill was a longer one, but had a more gentle ascent so I didn't really notice it all that much.

When I completed my eighth mile, I checked my cell phone clock.  TWO HOURS.  Way longer than I was expecting, but I guess with all the stopping to stretch and then stopping at crosswalks it makes sense.  I don't really have any precise way of knowing what pace I was running at - so I'll just have to leave it a mystery and be proud of my 8 miles.

That sounds just fine to me.  :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tis the Season!

I'm proud to say that it's Christmas week, and I've done both of my scheduled runs so far.  On Tuesday my friend Jenn joined me at the gym for some upper body strength training, and then we did the treadmills.  She's working her way through the Couch to 5k program, and I did an easy two-mile run.  The rest of my day was full of errand-running and secret-santa-ing and packing in preparation to hit the road that night to arrive in Yakima.  We're spending Christmas with my Mom's family, and Mom flew in from South Dakota.  We haven't seen her since this time last year - so it was one of those "can't miss it!" opportunities.

Then today - Christmas Eve - I joined my Grandpa Howard at his gym here in Yakima.  He directed me towards the treadmills and I put six miles in while watching SuperNanny on one of their fancy Cardio Theaters.  AKA - each treadmill had a little tv connected to it that you could listen to with your own head phones.  I must admit that it's actually difficult to focus on running when you've got all those channels at your disposal.  I did a warm-up mile at 4mph and then played around with speed intervals.  I mainly hovered between 4-5mph, and did some speed intervals at 5.5, 6, and even 7!!!  I ran at 7mph.  I'm truly shocked.  There was some walking involved, but I figured incorpoorating osme walking would help me recover a little faster so I could keep running faster speed intervals.  It was worth it, I ended up finishing in until a hour and a half, even with a few walking breaks. 

Now I just have to make sure to get my 8 miles in this weekend!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Training Update

Tomorrow's long run will officially bring me to the close of 7 weeks of training for my first half marathon.  After this week, there are 9 weeks of training and one week of tapering before the big race.  I think that means that Christmas week (next week) marks my halfway point in training.  That's exciting, isn't it?

I realized I've neglected updates on my last few runs.  I apologize to the hoards of you hanging on my every word (Mom).  :)

Last week's scheduled long run (8 miles) ended up getting rescheduled because of ice.  Then cancelled because of ice.  I was going to try and fit in on Monday but got some helpful advice from a friend who just finished her first marathon this past October.  She said to just shake it off and start Monday fresh and do what the schedule says - rather than trying to "make up" the long run.  Otherwise, you end up getting that "I'm behind" feeling - which can be really discouraging.

I did some good thinking about that option and decided she had a point.  Plus, I do happen to have two weeks of "wiggle room" left in the difference between the number of training weeks I have, and the number of weeks until the race.  I figured last week could just use up one of my "wiggle room weeks" and I could just do last week's over.  So that's what I did.  :)

This week of training found me running at night, a big change.  And with Daniel staying home with Ethan while I headed to the gym, another big change.  Tuesday night I did two easy miles.  Wednesday night I did some weights stuff (still working on those pull-ups!) and threw in an extra mile because I really want to hit 100 miles this week.  Friday night I did a 7 mile speed training run.  It went way better than last time.  I finished in  1:32:48, only like 9 minutes faster than my 10k back in October.  And I even did a whole mile at 5.5mph, which is just a sneeze faster than an 11 minute mile.  A major milestone. :)  I also did three separate laps at 6mph - which is an epic triumph in my book. 

I'm looking forward to my longest run ever tomorrow morning.  8 miles, here I come!  I'll cross my "100 miles run" mark.  Good times.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ORRC Y2K10 Race

Great news! I'm signed up for a 10k race for January 3rd!  I'm going to try and get a better 10k time to see if I can move up into a faster starting corral. 

Anyone interested in running there?  Check out the info;
http://www.orrc.net/races/y2k/y2k.htm

Yay!

Cuteness!












I just had to post a picture of this here.  It's a set of little birdies that I crocheted for my friend Emily Wagner.  They're to be her adorable baby girl Ellie's Christmas gift this year, and I made it to match her room.  You can see the cuteness that is Ellie's room by checking out the Wagner Family Blog. You can also read about the amazing journey that the Lord has taken the Wagners on in 2009.  Ellie was delivered 12 weeks early via emergency cesarean, and spent a long time in the NICU.  Today she is a happy and healthy 9 month old -(who has even survived the H1N1 virus!) and is a constant source of joy, and evidence of God's mercy.  I've been blessed to hear about how the Lord has given both Emily and her husband Kit the peace and trust in Him that they needed to get through this year.

Emily was kind enough to be my first "custom order" in my effort to raise money for my trip by creating calorie-free cuteness... of the yarney variety.  So cute! 

Thanks Emily!  And if anyone else is interested in a custom project, just shoot me an email at beccasuester@gmail.com, leave a comment with your contact info, or find me on Facebook. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Calorie-Free Way to Cheer Me On

Alternate blog titles:

Because really, even the most zealous fan can only eat so many muffins...
Fill your stockings with Cute this Christmas...
The Cute Has Arrived...
Mmm... Crochet Animals... *Nom nom...

You get the idea. :)

Finally, a calorie-free way for people to support me in my training has arrived, and it's too cute for words. I got the idea to make some little crochet animals while dragging my poor husband through a craft store. Daniel thinks it's a long shot, but I figured it was worth the try. Worst case scenario, Ethan has a nice little set of animals he can carry around on his adventures with him.

So far I've been able to make three little cuteys and one larger Kitty. Ethan has tested them and given his full approval. Meaning, he has crawled into my lap as I've finished each one and said, "ah dun? mine?" Then after playing with his little friends for a while, he sneaks off into the laundry room and hides them behind the vacuum. He's so tricky.

Here they are!

The Three Amigos & a Huge Kitty

So how can you get your hands on some of this cute? I'll be auctioning off these first four originals this weekend, and then taking orders for newly made ones as well. I'll be taking orders through the 20th (depending on how many orders I get), and mailing them out by Monday morning the 21st - so they'll arrive just in time for Christmas.

I'm also going to be trying my hand at what I'm going to call Running Buddies... little crochet animals all dressed up for a run. Complete with shoes and running skirts. Cuz' skirts rule. I may even make little running shoe ornaments. Stay tuned.

For now - you can hop on over to my Facebook, shoot me an email, or leave a comment here letting me know if you'd like to bid on one of these original guys or order your own custom cuteness.

*****************

Before I go, I had to narrate this whole craft store experience for you, as it was quite comical.

Last weekend Daniel made the mistake of consenting to wander with me through a craft store. Though I rarely go to craft stores (maybe once a year), I practically grew up in them. My mom would take one or two trips each week to get supplies for her home business, and my brother and I were always left to wander the aisles and memorize pattern books to keep ourselves from dying from boredom.

So there we were, wandering around looking at yarn. I love to look at the walls of yarn, all the colors. Mmm...

Anyway - there we were wandering around looking at yarn when I came across several books with patterns for little crochet animals. I was overcome with glee, giggles, excitement.

"Look how CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTE!!!!" I said to Daniel.
"Seriously?" -Daniel
"Oh... nevermind..." -Me, remembering I was talking to a grown man and not a pre-teen girl.

Then a stroke of genius hit me...

"I could make something like this and sell them to raise money for the trip!!"

My grandma Ardis taught me how to crochet when I was a kid. I've made a few blankets throughout my life, but haven't picked up a crochet hook since junior high. I did teach myself to knit in college... long enough to "almost" finish a huge knitted blanket for my Mom (there's a good Christmas gift idea... I could FINISH it.... oooooooh... don't tell). Though I hadn't crocheted in years, I clearly remembered how relaxing it was just to sit and work on a project.

Daniel stared at me sideways and asked, "who wants little crochet animals?"
"Moms! My mom... Moms with little kids... I don't know... Who DOESN'T want these?!" -Me
*Blank Stare -Daniel
"But seriously... there are probably a few people who have wanted to offer their support but are either tired of muffins, or not in the market for muffins. What if I made these little guys?" -Me
*More blank stare -Daniel
"Well... I'll at least put some together and see what comes of it." -Me
"Okay dear. Can we go home now?" -Daniel
*SCREECHING -Ethan

We went home. A couple days went by before I finally asked Daniel if he would reconsider taking me seriously about making little crochet animals. I actually woke up from a dead sleep one morning with all sorts of plans and my own patterns in mind and everything.

"Okay, honey. You just have to remember I'm a DUDE and I just don't get it. But I trust you."

So there you have it. I'd love to be able to show my husband that there is, in fact, a whole segment of society who;
  • Understand my fascination with cute little animals
  • Thinks anything handmade is pretty freaking awesome
  • Loves to see Moms use their skills to bless their family
  • Has been moved by my story and wants to be part of it
  • Completely understand how buying a weird little crochet animal can glorify God
Or maybe there's at least a few of those people. :D

Thursday, December 10, 2009

7 miles on a treadmill

That's right. I ran 7 miles on a treadmill today. It just so happens that my speed workout this week (intervals) added up to 7 miles once all the counting was done. Here's what I did (for those who are into that sort of thing);

1.5 miles @ 4mph to warm up
1 mile @ 5 mph for a modest speed interval
.5 mile @ 4mph to recover my heart rate
1 mile @ 5.3 mph to really kick my butt... I'm so proud!
.5 mile @ 4.2 mph to recover my heart rate
.5 mile @ 5.3 mph
.5 mile @ 4.2 mph
.5 mile @ 5.3 mph
1 mile @ 4 mph-ish

Some of those recovery jogs were part jogging, part fast walking. I was trying to concentrate on really getting my heart rate and my breathing back down to a comfortable pace so I could really push it during the speed interval.

I LOVED running at 5.3mph. It's the fastest I've EVER run on a treadmill, and I can't believe I did a whole mile at that pace. :) I felt so strong and so proud of myself. It's really a good feeling. Especially when I think back to the first time I stepped on to one of those treadmills in April and was pushing maximum heart rate at 2.8mph walking. Yikes. I had no idea how far I could come.

I can't wait to see what my body is capable of in these next few months!

I'm due for an 8 mile long run this weekend, and the weatherman is predicting snow. I say, BRING IT!

Spin Class #2

I did it. I went back for another butt-kicking yesterday. The interesting twist is, that there was a different teacher. This one seemed less like a "kick your teeth in" sort of gal, and more like a "kindergarten teacher" sort of gal. She was kind enough to come show me where my seat was supposed to be based on how tall/short I am, and when I told her it was my second class she said she wanted me to work hard but that she wanted it to be "fun." So if I felt like I needed to back off of the intensity a little bit, that was okay. What a sweet thing to say.

And then she started in on the "this is supposed to hurt" stuff.

Silly Spin instructor. :)

We did do this really fun drill at the very end where you're supposed to pretend you're starting at the beginning of a race and trying to get ahead of all the other riders. You set your gear up as high as you can, "get ready" and then start pedaling as aggresively as you possibly can for 30 seconds while standing. Then you take the gear down and do some recovery "sprinting" while sitting on your booty for another 30 seconds, and then you repeat that two more times.

The instructor said something that caught me a little funny at the beginning of the last set. She said, "this is your last one, so be sure to really ATTACK it hard!" I thought that was a really funny way of thinking about it. At least for me. I'm not really an aggresive, "attack-ey" sort of person. But I tapped into something aggresive and "attacked" the last set and really liked it. Then I got all adrenaline-y and wanted to go bark at something or kickbox.

I think spin class is going to be good for me.

And I plan on going back to the "kick your teeth in" lady who made me almost puke the first day.

Fun, fun, fun.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Long Run Success!

I just thought I'd post a quick update to say that my long run went well yesterday. 7 miles in 1:25:12. In very cold weather. :) But I had my new long running tights and fleece hoodie to keep me warm. Thanks to Daniel - who gave me my Christmas present early. What a wonderful man I have!

I'm really looking forward to this week of training, and an 8 mile long run. Hopefully this cold weather we're having will give me a break next weekend. :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Trying to get over a bad run...

On Wednesday I had a bad run. How do I define bad exactly? Well at this point, a "bad run" = "I walked part of it."

My workout for the day was set to be a 4 mile tempo run at 12:25 pace, with a warm up mile and a cool down mile on either side. I was slightly intimidated about the thought of running "6 miles" on a treadmill and worried that I'd get bored. I calculated that I'd need to set the speed to about 4.8 mph to hit the pace I needed to hit, and that freaked me out too. I usually run between 12-13 min/miles when I run outside, so I was okay with that idea. But I've never gone higher than 4.5 on the treadmill for some reason. I think being outside and having a running buddy (who has already done a marathon) gives me enough oomph to push myself a little harder than I would if I were alone and staring at a blinky screen telling me how fast (or slow) I'm going.

Anyways - I was only a couple laps into my warm up mile at 4mph (the slowest I've run in a couple months) and was really panting and feeling tired and weak. I kept it at 4mph and finished two miles. I had this huge mental battle about walking part of the miles, but didn't want to give in because "walking = failure" in my mind. Because it means that I've given up. Somehow I ended up walking and beating myself up for a half mile.

I made myself start running again and got another half mile into it before I was panting and getting tingly in the face. I checked my heart rate and it was over 180... what in the world?

So I decided to alternate walking/running long enough to get the 4 miles of running in that I was supposed to do according to the schedule. I kept an eye on my heart rate and tried to keep it on the chart.

Technically I ran 4 miles... but not all at once. I did 6 miles total. The whole thing took me 1:42:13... my worst personal record ever.

I talked to a couple friends about the run and realized there were probably some things that contributed to me feeling so icky;

1.) Two days before, I'd done my first Spin Cycle class... could that have warn me out that much?
2.) Two days before, I'd started a food journal and limited calories to 2000 a day... down from 3-4000 (I eat like an Olympian... lol).
3.) I had a coffee at midnight the night before the run and hadn't slept well (toddlers!)
4.) I put too much pressure on myself for a speed goal (the 12:25 was based on wanting to beat someone else's half marathon time)

So, I chalked it up to those things + letting it all get to my head, and have decided to brush it off and move forward. Maybe it will help to put a positive spin on it? Here's what I'm going to go with;

1.) I worked out for almost two hours... go me!
2.) On Monday I weighed 185.5 lbs... On Saturday morning I weighed 179.5 lbs.
3.) I put my miles in, even in the face of the temptation to quit

Now it's time for me to run out and by some nice warm running clothes. I've got 7 miles to go tomorrow morning and the weather man is forecasting it'll be in the mid 30s. BRING IT!

For those of you who run, how do you get over a bad run?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My First Spin Class

I attended my first spin class on Tuesday. For those of you who are familiar with them - why didn't anyone warn me about how wonderful/horrifying they are? lol.

For those of you who haven't taken one yet - you should try it at least once. :) You get to pick a bike in a big room of a bunch of other people on bikes, and you spend an hour following an instructor who takes you through several exercises of varying intensity to get your heart rate up and get you sweating your face off. I decided to choose a bike right by the mirror - I've never seen myself in a full length mirror on a bike before. The sight of my chubby little Mama body on a bike was very motivating. I've got lots of energy to use up, after all! I think I will pick that same bike again when I go back next week. It was also rather entertaining to see my entire face pouring sweat and purple during the whole ordeal. The trainer had a lot of encouraging things to say along the way, here are some of my favorites;

That last set was supposed to feel ugly if you're doing it right...

You're going to feel like quitting this time - don't...

This one is really going to burn, you'll be fine...

Find that place where you feel like you absolutely can't go any further, and keep going...

If you're starting to black out, you don't have to join us on this set, just sprint while you wait...

And my personal favorite;
This is a safe place to throw up if you need to...

Yes please.

I don't have any idea how many calories I burned during that workout, but it was so FUN! Well... now it seems fun, in retrospect. 30 minutes into the workout I was thinking, "WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO, THIS LADY IS WACK!" Luckily I'd chosen a bike on the opposite side of the room from the exit and in the front row. No escape. :)

I'm planning on making this a regular part of my weekly fitness plan - and just need to figure out where to place it in relation to my runs so that I'm not totally fried out for my runs.

Oh - and if anyone wants to join me for a Spin Cycle class next Tuesday... let me know!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Only 101,500 calories to go!

I just love math. Simple math. Calorie burning math.

I found a great little "game" I can play with myself to help keep me motivated on my weight loss journey. A couple days ago I got to wondering exactly how many calories I had to burn in order to lose the weight I'd like to lose. "Well, self... you'll have to define an actual goal before you can find that out..." Oh. .

So I finally took my body fat percentage info out from my weigh-in yesterday.

As of December 1st I weighed in at 185.5 lbs, with a body fat percentage of 32.1%

Calculator says:
~125 lbs of that is lean body mass (bones, muscle, organs, etc).
~60lbs of that is pure fat (uh-oh).

The American Council on Exercise classifies anything above 31% as Obese for women. 25-30% is deemed "acceptable," 21-24% is classified as "fitness" level, and 14-20% would put you in the "athlete category." A woman needs to have 10-13% of her body weight in fat in order for organs to function (and I do like my organs to function). I remember reading that for a woman to be in hormonal balance she needs to have 18% body fat as a minimum.

As I sat with my calculator I decided that figuring out 20% and 25% were going to be way easier than trying to figure out anything in between. I like nice, round numbers. The equation used on the website where I found the ACE stuff was a little confusing, so I just did some of my own renegade math. That kind where you're counting on fingers and drawing pictures and forgetting to "show your work." That kind where you finally get to the end but it was so complicated that you forget how you got there. My math teachers always got frustrated with me. Oh well. :)

I just took my lean body mass (125) and divided it by 4, and then added 125 back in to figure out how much I'd weight if I had 20% body fat. I can't explain without drawing pictures... but trust me... it pans out. Then I took 125 again and divided it by 3, added 125 back in to figure out how much I'd weight if I were 25% body fat. Here's what I got;

20% Body Fat = 156 lbs (125 lbs lean mass + 31 lbs fat)
24% Body Fat = 166 lbs (125 lbs lean mass + 41 lbs of fat)

Those are the numbers I'd be aiming for, assuming that my lean body mass stays the same. But there's a little *twist!*

The little gizmos we use at the gym to measure body fat aren't the most precise method, and can count some of the really deep abdominal fat as lean body mass. I found this out after asking a trainer why my lean body mass was shrinking along with my overall weight and body fat percentage. To be more precise, I'd either have to talk some scientist into figuring it all out using a pool of water (no thanks) or submit to being calipered by a total stranger (also, no thanks). I choose doing my weird math at every weigh-in to update my goals according to my most current readings.

Anyways... back to where my title came from...

So I currently have two weight loss goals. Let's call them an ideal "weight range." Good then. My last weigh-in was close enough to 186 for me to feel comfortable saying I've got 20-30 more pounds to lose to be within my ideal weight range. In the interest of making smaller goals, I'm going to set little 5lb markers along the way. 5 pounds a month is a good solid goal. Here's a little timeline of my goals;

January 1st, 2010 - 180 lbs
February 1st, 2010 - 175 lbs
March 1st, 2010 - 170 lbs
April 1st, 2010 - 165 lbs
May 1st, 2010 - 160 lbs
June 1st, 2010 - 155 lbs

My son happens to turn 2 years old in June of 2010, and I think that's a great little milestone and motivator to work towards. I want my son to have memories of a "fit Mom" and not a "fat Mom."

Okay... back to the math...

I don't have time for a big physiology lesson on how our bodies burn fat (this blog is already too long), but the short version of the story is this;

Fat is energy
1 lb of body fat = 3500 calories to burn
I only "need" 31 lbs of body fat (20%)
I currently have 60 lbs of body fat
I have 29 lbs of body fat that I do not need.
I will need to burn 101,500 calories of energy to get rid of that fat

Rather than thinking of it as
"HOW THE HECK AM I GOING TO USE THAT MANY CALORIES?!"

I've decided instead to have the attitude of...
"Ooooh! Think of all the wonderful things I can DO with those calories!"

Since my goal is to lose 5lbs a month, that means I've got 17,500 calories a month I can use up.

I'll keep you posted on how this fun little math game goes. :)

DISCLAIMER: I apologize if this was confusing. I left out a bunch of details that could have made this a much longer entry. Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wordle!

Wordle: See Mama Sue Run

December Fitness Update

Well, here we are right in the middle of the holiday season. A season which has the reputation of being the time of year when we get to loosen our belts and cram loads of food into our maw. "Cramming my maw" - by the way - is my new favorite phrase... I think I heard my pastor say it once... it always makes me laugh.

From the Oxford Dictionary;

maw / / • n. the jaws or throat of a voracious animal: a gigantic wolfhound with a fearful, gaping maw. inf. the mouth or gullet of a greedy person: I was cramming large pieces of toast and cheese down my maw.

Anyways... Thanksgiving has come and gone. Two months of muffin baking (and extra's eating) have come and gone. I'm sad to report that since my last weigh-in I've gained 5.5 lbs. I'm disappointed but not surprised.

My body fat percentage is down .3% - thanks, I'm sure, to the fact that I'm still faithfully exercising. So far in my weight loss and training journey I've been able to melt off the pounds without changing my eating habits. I do believe I've hit a "tipping point" however - where changing my diet is going to be necessary.

Keeping a food journal has been a helpful tool for me in the past. Even when I'm not being overly careful about exactly what I'm eating, something about keeping a food journal acts as a sort of conscience. For that reason, I've signed up with SparkPeople, a free nutrition and fitness tracking resource. It also has some meal planning and grocery-list-making tools, which will be a huge blessing. :)

Well - there ya' go. That's my update. Hopefully by January 1st I will have a more encouraging update!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Shoes!

I have to admit, writing a post about getting new shoes sure does make me feel like a real runner. Also, I have to admit that the idea to even share this with you is totally something I first saw on my friend Teagen's blog. She recently wrote a post sharing about her new shoes and retiring her previous pair - which is where the idea for this post came from.

My Mizuno Wave Rider 11's- size 8

It's hard to say exactly how many miles I put on my first pair of shoes, I wasn't keeping track of mileage very closely until I started training for the half marathon. Before that, I was doing interval training to prepare for the 5k and 10k races and I felt like it was cheating to count the miles where I was walking any part. Oh well! These pretty pink ladies were there for me when I first tried the Couch to 5k program back after Christmas. I made it to run #2 of week 2 before my knees were absolutely killing me and I could barely walk. I learned later that I'd been bouncing off the tips of my toes, which is BAD if you're trying to run distance. That technique is for sprinters. Oops. Then I stuffed these poor gals in the closet and forgot about them until April when I started working out at LA Fitness. They were still comparatively clean, so I decided they'd make a good "inside shoe" to use at the gym. A couple weeks of using the treadmill gave me enough courage to try C25K again. This time I had no pain and, I'm happy to say, I was inspired to sign up for the Half Marathon as a "big goal" and then picked the 5k and 10k races to help me work towards it. These pretty ladies spent a week in the drawer under my oven. Ethan likes to put shoes in there, and did so before I realized how much he loved to do it. I was complaining one afternoon about how I couldn't find them and it was making me really upset, and Daniel suggested that I look in the oven drawer. "I found a pair of my shoes in there once." And there they were. (I also found our friend Linda's stereo face attachment one day after they'd visited... my son likes to hide things.) I wore these shoes for my first 5k in July, and for my first 10k in October. I'm a little sad to be retiring them, but they started telling me about a month ago that their running days were over. Now they are retired to general "comfy shoe" status, and I'm excited to have a nice pair of supportive shoes to wear around town (and the house) instead of bumming around in my arch-destroying flip-flops all the time.



The New Kids: Asics Gel-Landreths size 7.5

These beauties got their first run in today. I ran 4 miles in my neighborhood; one out to Glendoveer Fitness Trail, 2 around the trail, and one back home. My toes were numb by the end, but I remember that being an issue when I first started wearing the other shoes too... not sure what that's about. But no blisters, no shin or knee or hip pain, and they have a nice round toe-box and mesh cover so they're really roomy and breathable - but not so much that I'm flopping around.

A special thanks to the people at Fit Right Northwest. They have a shop down on NW 23rd and Northrup, and were awesome to work with! I was nervous about trying to find a new pair of shoes, but they made it really simple. They did a gait analysis - where they filmed my feet running on the treadmill and noted how my feet were landing and rolling out of the step. Then they helped me find a pair of shoes that would offer the proper support for how I run. I tried on three different pairs and brands, and they let me run on the treadmill with them to see how they felt, and talked me through the differences between each shoe. I paid cash and walked out with my brand new shoes. Such a proud moment!

I look forward to the many adventures I'll have with these guys.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgivingses

I wanted to take a moment to share some of the many things for which I have to be thankful this Thanksgiving. Since it's 11:04pm (as I write) I haven't missed the boat yet! I do have a lot to be thankful for, and since this blog is running related I'll keep my list focused in that direction. It'll help me be concise. :D

This year, I am thankful for;
  • My wonderful husband, Daniel, who has supported me in more ways than I can count. He spends special time with Ethan on the weekends so I can do my long runs. He also works three jobs to support our family so that I am free to care for our home and our son. Without that sacrifice and hard work, I wouldn't have the (small amount of) free time that I have to devote to running.
  • My awesome in-laws, Jon & Harriet Congdon, who have so generously blessed Daniel and I in these first few years of our marriage. We live in an adorable house on their property, they usually spend one evening a week hanging out with Ethan so Daniel and I can have a date, and have - on several occasions - been willing to watch Ethan for me at the last minute when I'm panicking about fitting in a run. She has also been gracious enough to let me borrow her Kitchenaid mixer - which makes all this baking a lot easier.
  • Jeannette Strot, who has been letting me borrow her muffin tins and cooling racks. I was in really sorry shape for a baker with just my six-muffin-tin and my wisk.
  • My first running parter, Sheri Stafford, with whom I trained for and ran with in my first 5k and 10k races. It's been a blessing to share this journey with her and to see the growth we're both experiencing because of the commitment we've made to use our bodies for God's glory and RUN.
  • Kaylee, my "friend who ran a marathon" - who has been running with me on my long runs during my half training. She's given me the encouragement I needed to keep running when I felt like walking or whimping out on a hill.
  • Heather @ RunFasterMommy, for her inspiring blog posts and all that she's shared in the Running Moms group I found on CafeMom when I first got the running bug over a year ago.
  • (Now that I think of it...) The Running Moms group on CafeMom - which has provided encouragement, advice and motivation as I've set - and achieved - what I once thought to be impossible. They inspired me to sign up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon, which kick-started my training.
  • My adorable Mom and funny little brother, who thought it'd be funny send me $200 and ask me to make 200 muffins for charity. Little did they know that I'd actually find someone to take all those muffins and that I'd actually do it. Tonight I baked the last 18 of those 200. HA!
And a special THANK YOU to all of the wonderful people who have supported me in my journey by buying muffins;
Scott Olsen
Britni Foster
Melissa Zollner
Alyssa Jordan
Aletha Brennan
Jenn Kirkpatrick
Haley Baker
Jeremy Buscholz
Heidi Olsen
Hannah Hayes
Charity Curtis
Kelly Wilbanks
Kelsey Daniels
Beth Lane
Melissa Points
Jenni Weideman
Lisa Hezmalhalch
Kaylee Krout
Hafidha Acuay
Erica Fife
Rhoda Miller
Grandma Congdon
Harriet Congdon
Laurie Quigley
Sheri Stafford
Cheree Hayes
Mary McGlothlan
Elaine Dickman
Laura Chapman
Marissa Gleason
Nancy Yelvington
Jonie Kurns
Cindy Dearborn
and my Mom. And my brother Jordan.

*PHEW! I love you guys!

Thanks to all of these lovely people, I've been able to make over 700 muffins towards my goal of 3200 in time for the race. Each muffin I sell nets about50 cents towards my trip. It doesn't sound like much but it adds up!

And thanks to those of you who have been reading my blog and encouraging me with your comments. It's a blessing to know there are people following me on this journey and rooting for me along the way.

Turkey Trot

We did it! We had our little Congdon Family Turkey Trot this morning. The Wilbanks family joined us - Tre, Kelly and Max, their doggie. It wasn't super cold, but we had a nice soaking mist the whole time. I actually don't mind the moisture if it means there won't be sun in my face - so it was a good trade in my opinion. :)

Unfortunately, there were no pictures. :( But we'll have some nice funny memories. Ethan went with Mama and Kelly for the first 1 miles, and Tre and Daniel walked with Max. When we ran into the guys again after doubling back, we took Max for a mile. Then we waited for the guys at the trail head and handed off both "babies" and did the last mile by ourselves. When we met back up with the husbands + babies, we got to hear all about Ethan's adventures on the bridge. Daddy let him throw stuff off of it into the water (sticks and rocks) and he also let him spit off the bridge. Nice, huh? That's my boys. Ethan did a little toddler-jog for the last few yards and we cheered for him when he crossed the "finish line." He just blankly stared at us. Perhaps next year it'll be a little more exciting? Overall, it was a nice, relaxing, fun run. I'm glad we went, and would love to see it become a tradition. :)

Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Trot Tomorrow - YAY!

I'm planning a very low-key Turkey Trot run for tomorrow. Really, it's just my 3 mile easy run for the week, but since it's happening on Thanksgiving Day... it's a Turkey Trot!

My wonderful hubby, cute toddler and family friends - The Wilbankses + their doggie Max. Stay tuned for pictures!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quote-a-potamus

I really don't believe in fear. I believe in putting in the work.

Deena Kastor

Monday, November 23, 2009

SEVEN MILES!!

I had long run #3 this weekend. :) I think I announced that I was planning on doing it Saturday, but it actually happened Sunday morning. Kaylee was kind enough to meet me out at Gresham Main City Park and we ran 7 miles together in 1:23:01.

There's a stretch on the Springwater Trail that's just a little less than 2 miles, that's just really mentally difficult for me for some reason. It's gets especially hard once we cross Hogan (I think Hogan...) and run by some sort of construction/warehouse-yard thing. It might be my imagination, but it seems like that part of the trail is like a 1 or 2% incline. Which shouldn't be a problem because I'm using that at the gym on the treadmill. Perhaps I just had one hard run there and now it's become a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Now that I've done 3 long runs through that section, and run the last two completely without walking (hill and all) I've reinforced a nice predictable sequence in my mind;
1.) I start running and feel awkward
2.) I pass Regner and start feeling sorry for myself
3.) I pass Hogan and start negotiating about walking
4.) I keep running
5.) I hit my emotional/mental wall
6.) I run up that crazy hill on Palmblad & feel like puking
7.) I hit my runner's high and love the rest of my run. :)

I think I'm going to keep using that section as my starting point during runs. The more I have to face those "I can't do this!" moments, and prove that I CAN do it, the stronger I'll be for my half marathon. Mentally and physically.

Plus, it's good to have practice doing something I know is good for me when I don't FEEL like doing it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

7 Miles Today... Gettin' Excited!

This is what my plan is for today. I'm really excited!

Close to a Milestone!





I realized today - while constructing another ticker (aren't they fun?) - that I'm close to reaching one of my first weight loss milestones. My most recent weigh in was at 181lbs, which means I'm only 6lbs away from 175. The last time I weighed 175ish was in my sophomore year of college back when I started counseling. Somewhere in between my sophomore year and my wedding I packed on 20lbs and get married at 195. Perhaps all the counseling led to some emotional eating? I'm going to guess... yes.

It's excited to be so close to this milestone. It definitely won't be the end of my weight loss journey - my main goal is to get my body fat percentage in healthy limits. I'm shooting for "Fitness" level which is a range of 21-24%. Maybe when I reach that point I'll have the courage to aim for "Athlete" level (14-20%) but the Fitness level is a good mid-range goal. I still have to get out of the "Obese" range (only 1% more to go!!!) and through the "Acceptable" range. So I've got a road ahead of me. But I'm sure somewhere amidst the 246 miles I have to put in before my half marathon... there will probably be some fat melting off along the way. Better watch out!



Friday, November 20, 2009

Biffed It Today

I finally got around to doing a lower body weight training workout this week. It seems to be a pattern I've developed that I only do them faithfully for 2 weeks and then skip a week. I tend to dread them a little bit because the first exercise is always over in what I refer to as "Man Land." On one side of the weights floor there are all the nice little nautilus, free motion, and other girly (or nuetral?) machines. On the other side - all of the burly plate-loaded ones. This side is usually occupied by men ranging in age from 20-40, all the crazy body-building guys, and the three body-building girls. The girly side - where I like to play - is usually occupied by old folks, Moms, tiny girls, and chubby folk like myself. I feel safe there. But inevitably, I have to wander over to the plate-loaded area and kick off my leg workout.

It also just so happens that all the squat machines are right next to the huge windows (I'm talking windows in place of a wall) that look into the pool. Because of the time I usually work out (between 8-10ish) I usually have a nice little audience of Grandma's watching me struggle with my squats.

Also of note - there's this contraption that you can do lower back extensions on that I really like... but it requires that you bend over and show your booty DIRECTLY into the pool window. I think someone made that decision on purpose, and I swear I've looked back after doing back extensions to see all the Grandma's smiling their big "I just saw your booty" smile. But I digress...

As I was saying - leg workouts are a little intimidating for me as I usually feel like I'm being watched, and I'm wandering around in Man Land. Today, the machine I was planning on starting with - the Hack Squat - was already loaded with 90 lbs when I got to it. I actually wandered around for a moment scanning all the faces in Man Land to see if anyone had just stepped away for a moment. Apparently someone just decided to leave their plates there when they finished.

A year ago - that would have ended my workout. Removing someone else's plates would have been way too far out of my comfort zone. What if someone saw me and thought "what the heck is that chubby girl doing?" But - I managed to get over myself (yay!) in the moment today and set about wrestling the two 45lb plates off of the machine. They were mounted at about my knee level, which made getting them off a little difficult. I sort of squat/waddled one of them to the nearest weight stack only to find that it was full! AH! So I squat/waddled it to the next one - which by this point was deep into Man Land territory and sort of threw/pushed it on where it belonged. *PHEW! I went back for the other one and tried squatting down lower to get it off - thinking I'd be saving my back. Apparently I squatted down TOO low, and when the weight came off of the mount it, it fell to the floor - and took me with it. I tripped over my own foot and fell over, narrowly avoiding being smooshed (on the toes) by the weight. I bounced up real quick and looked around. Had anyone seen me? The off-duty personal trainer and GoddessGirl (she's always wearing some shirt that says GoddessWear) were busy doing some jumping/squat sort of thing and hadn't seen me. The rest of the people were busy lifting. I couldn't bear to look at the Grandma'sInThePool. So I just brushed it off and tried to play it cool.

The rest of my workout went by without incident. I did some Leg Curls (for the hamstrings) and some Abductor/Adductor stuff (love those!) and then I tricked myself into going to the mats to do some core exercises. For some reason I've been avoiding those for the last month... I'll fill you in when I figure out what the heck my problem is. lol.

Then I was able to get 10 miles in on one of those little seated bikes (LOVE THOSE!) while watching CNN, the Today Show, and the 700 Club (lol) all at the same time.

So anyway - that's my story. Thought I'd share with you all in case you needed a good laugh.

Runnings Skirts + Disney Race = Minnie Mouse


Is this not the cutest running outfit you've ever seen? I'm saving up my "fun money" to get this in time for the race in March. It'd be fun to buy it right now and train in it... but what if I happen to lose another 20lbs by March? :D

I think a nice little set of Minnie ears to complete the look...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another Way You Can Support Me... :D

I'm sure most of your regular readers have noticed the annoying ads on this little blog. Blogspot has some deal with google to allow Bloggers to earn revenue anytime someone clicks on an ad that's on your page. So, you see something interesting - you click on the link - it's like handing me a nickel.

lol... not as exciting as buying a muffin, but not as fattening either. :)

Since the inception of my blog, I have earned a total of $1.06 from people clicking on ads on my page. I'd like to thank those silent heroes who've done such clicking. Your nickels are appreciated.

Tempo Run - Yay!

After doing my second tempo training run, I've decided that I officially like intervals better than tempo work. Wait... before I go off on that, here's some definitions for those who have no idea what I'm talking about;

My training consists (right now, at least) of three weekly runs:
1.) "Easy/Recovery" Runs - which range from 2-4 miles, depending on how much total mileage I'm doing that week. Higher mileage = longer easy runs. They happen the day after a long run + a day of no running. I guess it's a way to get my legs back with the program - getting the blood moving and such - without worrying about speed or distance. I like these little guys because I get the same satisfaction of crossing something off my list that I get from crossing any other run off the list, but it takes less effort. Haha. They're like little "treats" amidst the "hard work" runs.

2.) Speedwork Runs - comes in two forms in my current training plan.
Tempo runs
are those in which you run at a speed slightly out of your comfort zone and maintain that pace for the number of miles you're supposed to do for that run. This week that meant three miles. The tempo runs build to 6 miles near the end of the training. By pushing yourself just outside your comfort zone and maintaining that pace you are basically forcing your body to confront it's limits, panic, endure, and break through walls. I don't know all the physiology behind the physical part of it - something about lactic acid thresholds and whatnot. But the emotional part of it is sure a doozy.

Interval Runs are just what they sound like; intervals. Last week my interval run included doing just two repeats of one mile at a fast pace (faster than the tempo) followed by a half mile at a recovery pace. The longest interval runs total ten miles at the end of it all, including time to warm up and cool down.

3.) Long Runs are the most important ones. They happen once a week and are the runs where you slowly start building mileage. My first two long runs of this training season were both 6 miles. This week I'll do 7, and the longest of my long runs before the race will be 10 miles. Long runs give your body a chance to slowly build up the strength. By gradually adding miles you give your tendons and joints a chance to "get with the program." From what I've read, the cardio and muscle endurance stuff is easier for your body to adapt to, but it's the joints and stuff that take a little longer to get strong. I imagine it's because they're the shock absorbers. Long runs are also a crucial mental training ground as well. With each added mile you challenge pre-existing barriers and assumptions you've had about your body's ability to perform. And they make for some pretty funny blogging. :)

So there ya' have it. A pretty long explanation for me to just say, "I like intervals more than tempo runs... because intervals are more fun." Haha. Actually, I like having the mileage broken up into little bite-sized pieces, and there's something refreshing about knowing you only have to maintain your faster pace for "just a mile" before you get a break. Funny how my "breaks" now while running (a 15 minute mile jog... 4mph on treadmill) were this earth-shattering pace back when I was training for the 5k. :) It's really cool to see how far I've come, and it gives me some hope that I'll continue to get stronger.

In fact - today when I was cooling off by walking on the treadmill, I slowed it "way down" to just 2.8mph. That's the pace I use to use when I'd hop on back in April of this year when we first joined the gym. That pace use to put me right into the "fat burning zone" on the little heart rate thing, and now it's what I use to bring myself back down into a resting rate. Crazy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's with your Muffin Ticker?

Perhaps you've already noticed the little "Muffin Ticker" here on my blog, or on my Facebook. If not - here's what it looks like;




I sat down and did some math to figure out how many muffins I'd have to bake/sell at $1 a piece in order to pay for the entire Half Marathon trip. For every $1 I raise, .40 cents is spent on materials (flour, sugar, eggs, etc.) and .60 is left over. We plan on honoring the Lord with our money (yes, even Muffin Money) so .10 of every dollar gets rolled into our monthly tithe (I should write a post about all the stuff the Lord is teaching us about money right now) which leaves .50 to go into our trip fund.

Our goal between now and March is to save up $1600 to cover our hotel and food while there. Daniel has been working like a maniac to provide for us, and I'm doing whatever I can to make that $1600 not a concern for him. So my goal is to bake and sell 3200 muffins between now and when we leave for our trip in March. It's a pretty ridiculous goal (who the heck is going to bake all those muffins!?) but I figured a ridiculous goal is better than no goal, and ya' never know who might want muffins, or might like supporting runners, or supporting Mamas trying to be all "Proverbs-31ish" and love their families.

So far, I've sold 490 muffins, which means I only have 2,710 more muffins to go! Woohoo!

So... anyone want muffins? :D

Long Run #2 (of 12)

There aren't really words to communicate how triumphant I feel after my long run this week. I was out of town Friday and Saturday (back in Yakima for a baby shower and some Grandparents time) and came back early Sunday morning with my head full of ideas for how to fit my long run into my very full Sunday. Here's what my schedule ended up looking like that day;

5am - wake up, dress, pack & eat breakfast... oh yeah... with a toddler
6am - leave Grandparent's house in the dark, in search of coffee and a gas station
6:30am - finally leave Yakima, still in the dark
9:30am - arrive in Portland, debate about running to coffee shop to get my run in... decide to drive
10am - begin reading book for Life Work class preparation, drink horrible coffee (throw it away)
11am - facilitate a meeting
1pm - end meeting abruptly to pee (2 coffees, three bottled waters later...), race home
1:30pm - get home and let hubby pack up for band practice
2pm - try to find running clothes and pack up Ethan's stroller and warm clothes
2:15pm - let buddy Kaylee in, wrestle giggling toddler into clean clothes and head to park
2:30pm - deposit sleeping toddler in stroller, wrapped in warm blanket - head out for 6 miles
nearly 4pm - get back to van, race home (church starts at 5)
4:15pm - wrestle giggling toddler into another round of clean clothes, chase said toddler around and try to wrestle him into carseat
5:10pm - arrive to church late (BOO!), miss opening worship (double-boo!), check Ethan into kids club, sit just in time to hear the start of sermon (YAY!)
6:30pm - retrieve toddler (now pajama-clad and hyped up) and head for van
8pm - finally get to van after catching up with friends from church
8:30pm - home and conked out in bed with sleeping toddler
10:30pm - hubby arrives home, send him out again to borrow/find computer cable (so I can work on class) and a bag of sugar so I can bake.
11pm - change mind about working and baking - sleep.

So that was my big long day on Sunday. And somewhere in there I managed to run 6 miles, and to do so faster than I've run so far. (Wait... there were 2 miles during the Portland marathon where I tried to keep up with Kaylee at a 10:20 pace... I think... but I almost blacked out so I'm not really counting that... ha!)

Kaylee was a dear and pushed Ethan in his stroller for the majority of the run. I'm thankful that she was willing to do that, as I was having a really hard run. I made it about a mile and a half in and the "walk negotiations" started in my head. It sounded like this;

"So, we haven't discussed how much walking we'll be doing today, self."
"That's because there will be no walking today, self."
"NONE!? But it's cold! And I've had only fluids so far today... 'cept for the muffins... and I'm tired!"
"You'll be okay... you can do this, you've done it before"
"But what if I NEED to walk... what then?"
"Well... if you start blacking out, we'll walk. But we're not going to walk just because your butt/legs/arms/back hurts."
"REALLY!?!?"
"Really... now stop whining and just run"

So that was my little conversation that I had in my head every few yards. I'd talked myself into running the entire first stretch (along the Springwater) with the promise that I could either walk right before the big hill, on the big hill, or perhaps after the big hill. Then I just kept right on running up to the hill, and over the hill. I tried convincing Kaylee that I needed to walk a bit as soon as we got up on top of the hill, but she distracted me and told me how to breathe the right way to stay focused. And before I knew it, we'd passed what has been my "walking zone" - a stretch a couple blocks long between the end of the hill and where I usually started running with Sheri. It's sort of been my "off the record" zone for catching my breath after the hill. But somehow, Kaylee tricked/encouraged/talked me into pushing through it and keeping pace. I definitely had one of those... "uh oh, we're really going to pass out now!" moments... but just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. By the time I got to where I usually start running again my body had clicked into gear and I was feeling stronger and more confident. I remembered that feeling from the long run previous, and I just went with it and tried to dig in and enjoy it.

As the run progressed, I felt my body getting warmer and warmer, and feeling increasingly "in gear." I felt strong and capable and excited to keep running. When we hit our last 1.5 mile - right around where the back-roads connect with Powell and the atmosphere changes from nice residential running to loud traffic-filled crazy running - I was feeling like I could fly. As we rounded one of our last corners, Kaylee reported (thanks to her fancy-shmancy Garmin watch) that we were only 2/3 mile away from being done and only at like 1:10ish. I was shocked! We were on pace to blow my last PR out of the water! So we dug in a little and finished that last piece with more enthusiasm and were able to complete the 6.01 miles in 1:14:50. Which translates into an average of 12:27 mile.

This run was full of blasting previously held limits out of the water. I have a feeling that long runs will continue to be that way. I really felt like I was hitting an actual physical/mental/emotional wall when I was climbing that hill. But I managed to run right through it. I'm trying to log that feeling away for the next long run... this weekend I'll be doing 7 miles. The longest I've ever run... EVER. And more than half the distance of the half marathon. I'm stunned to find myself honestly thinking... only 7? We'll be okay. It's only 7. Becca Sue from two years ago would be telling me to "shut your dirty little mouth... I'm not running 7 frickin' miles you clown!" HA! I'm just stunned. And I can't wait to see what else I learn and all the ways this process is going to make me grow up. And I am especially excited to see how the Lord uses it to discipline my heart and mind for facing the challenges that I'll face in my spiritual growth as well. Sometime you hit walls, emotionally and spiritually, and all you can do is keep your eyes on the final goal and take one step at a time - ignoring the voices in your head that are telling you you're on a fool's errand and should just stop and eat a taco.

Hebrews 12:1-3
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Running is a way for me to practice - with my body -the spiritual lessons that I'm encountering in Scripture and learning with my heart. It's a way for me to learn things experientially, and to be able to grasp abstract concepts in a really concrete way. Each run that I do creates a memory and experience that I'll have stored in my mind and heart for when I encounter a spiritual or emotional parallel.

Here's to trusting Jesus to complete His work in me in whatever means He chooses to use - including running. :) Woot!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Neck Update

As I'm sure enquiring minds what to know - I thought I'd write a quick update about my neck. :) I was able to get an urgent appointment at Western States Chiropractic College's Outpatient Clinic. After a little confusion regarding which person I was actually seeing, I got situated with a nice gal who might have been new. :)

I explained what I was feeling and she was able to complete my sentences and then pointed to the specific muscle on a poster. Silly little Levator scapulae! Apparently it's attached to the 2nd and 3rd (or was it 3rd and 4th?) vertebrae, which explains why I was having trouble moving my neck.

To treat, the clinician use a therapuetic ultrasound (different than a diagnostic ultrasound used for pregnancy... but I think different only in the amount of megahertz used... more in this case) to relax the muscle. She also applied a topical anelgesic (ie - a painkiller) to the area and used the ultrasound to allow it to penetrate further into the skin and into the muscle. She said this was so that I'd be able to drive. After the ultrasound, she adjusted my neck and checked and adjusted the rest of my back.

She also used what's called an activator to talk my muscles into relaxing. I've never actually seen them, but they're some sort of metal tool that sort of "thwacks" the insertion point of the muscle. This action is supposed to confuse the muscles to the point that they give up and just relax. After all this, she adjusted my feet (a first time for me... but GREAT!) and gave me some tips on improving my form.

15 hours later, I'm still a little tender but have my range of motion mostly restored. I'm going to get a good night's rest tonight and give my long run a try tomorrow. 6 miles in my hometown. :)

Tweakin' - AH!

I got to do my first speed workout today - so much fun! I ran five total miles on the treadmill at the gym. Here's what the workout plan was;

Warm up mile
One mile @ 12:47
Half mile jog
One mile @ 12:47
Half mile jog
Cool down mile

I ended up doing the first speed mile 1 at a 4.8mph pace, which is 12:30, and then the second one at 12:45. The rest of it I did at a 4mph (or 15 min mile) pace. I think trying the 12:30 was pushing it for me. So far the fastest I've gone on the treadmill is 4.5, and that's felt really good - definitely working hard, but I feel nice and strong. With the 12:30 mile, I was starting to feel the muscles in my chest cramping. Then of course I get all those worries of, "oh dear, am I having a heart attack? Would I know? Am I just wimping out? AAAH!" I focused on maintaining my form and breathing comfortably and the muscle cramping went away. When I did the second speed mile I slowed it down just in case, and didn't have the same problem. I did, however, end up tweaking my neck somehow. I have no idea what happened. It just started feeling stiff on the right side, and slowly got worse. By dinner time I was walking around like Frankenstein, not being able to move my head back and forth to look over my shoulder and what-not. My upper back/shoulders have been feeling really stiff and knotty for a while... but I don't know how to fix that other than getting a professional massage. That wouldn't be a bad idea!

I have an appointment with a chiro tomorrow morning and am hoping they can give me some insight on how to prevent further injury. I've been using a heat-sock this evening and that's made a huge difference. I'm hoping they just tell me to take some muscle-relaxers, apply heat and rest. I'm also hoping that I'll be able to get back to running as soon as Saturday/Sunday so I don't have to push another long run into next week. I've got my first 6 miler for Yakima mapped out and am eager to get those miles in on my home turf!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

H1N1 Vaccination Clinic - Rockwood

It occurred to me this week that my Muffin-selling plan might have a couple kinks;

1.) Several of the people who'd love to support me don't live close enough to actually get the muffins.

2.) I have a bunch of buddies who are watching what they eat - and buying a bunch of muffins doesn't really help them eat healthy.

But, I've found a great option for those who've been inspired by my story and would like to support me, but just don't have a use for muffins. :) Here's my genius plan...

My friend Jenn is involved in helping coordinate an H1N1 Vaccination Clinic in Rockwood, Oregon this month. The clinic is going to offer 1000 vaccinations to low-income and underinsured Oregonians who might not otherwise have access to it. At this outreach they plan on offering meals to some of the patients. They're currently planning for 500 meals.

What does that have to do with muffins? Well, last month my Mom and brother joined forces to buy 200 muffins and asked me to find someone who "needed them." I discovered - as I searched for options - that most shelters weren't able to take home-baked goods. Then I was delighted to connect with my friend Jenn and learn that they could use some muffins for their clinic.

I've been baking up a storm and have already been able to pass along 7 dozen (that's 84... yes I used a calculator) of those 200. I plan on busting out the rest of them this week so they'll be ready for the clinic. So far the plan is for them to have everything gathered so they can be ready to set the clinic up as soon as they have the vaccines. Jenn said they'll have about a week's notice and it could be any day!

I'd love to be able to send 300 more muffins along to the clinic so they have enough for all the meals they're planning.

So if any of you have been wanting to support me but not had any use for muffins, now you can get a 2-for-1 deal! For every $1 muffin, 40 cents goes directly into baking supplies, and 60 cents goes to support me in my half-marathon trip.

If you'd like more information, or would like to put in an order for some "Medical Muffins" just shoot me an email (beccasuester@gmail.com), connect with me on Facebook, or leave me a comment here!

306 miles

I just did some math, and by the time I cross my finish line in March (at the Disney Princess Half Marathon) I will have logged 306 miles. Well... 306.1 to be more precise. :)

293 of those will happen before I even get to the starting corrals. Wow! I have already done 27... so only 266. I can do it!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hardest Run Yet... but I did it!

Let me start by simply repeating the blog title; today was the hardest run yet... but I did it!

I completed my first week of training for the half-marathon by doing my six mile "long run" today. It was hard in many different ways.

Actually getting out the door
I had originally planned on going running on Saturday. But planning "on" something and actually planning "for" something are totally different. Baking several dozen muffins, chasing Ethan around (he found a stick of butter), and then finally having Mr. Husband come home early (surprise for us!) meant that I just didn't get the run in. And once Daniel was home I didn't want to - I just wanted to be with the boys. Then the plan was to get up early Sunday morning, go to the gym and pound out my six miles on a treadmill, go to the coffee shop to do my office hours, and then proceed with the rest of our Sunday plans (ie - Daniel goes to practice for the band, I hang out with Eoin and Ethan, we worship the Lord until bedtime). Well the alarm came and went and I got up just in time to get to my office hours and have an awesome ministry planning meeting. So no run. So then plan "C" was to get up this morning and go. After staying up late to work on curriculum for my class, I slept through the alarm (and Daniel leaving for work) and didn't wake up until 10:30am (Thanks Ethan!). Yay for getting to sleep in... but boo for missing the childcare hours at the gym. So I frantically called around and texted looking for someone to watch Ethan on short notice so I could get my miles in. I finally connected with Ethan's godparents (our beloved besties, Jay & Linda) and they agreed to watch him at their place. I did end up having a couple other people offer after the fact (thanks Anji and Tara!).

Accepting help
Short-notice, last-minute calls to have someone watch your kiddo so you can RUN are really hard to make. At least for me. Asking for help has always been a difficult thing for me. Not because I don't want to accept it or think I should be totally self-sufficient, but because I worry about being annoying. Some good "Life Work" work for me to deal with. :) On top of worrying about being annoying, it feels selfish of me to ask for help with Ethan so I can go running of all things. It's not like I get paid for it, or like anyone else directly benefits from it. Anyways - it's just hard. Even though it was hard, I made myself at least ask around. The worst thing that could happen is for someone to say "no" - and if I didn't ask, the answer would already be "no" - so you might as well try, right? :) And so far no one thinks I'm annoying... that I know of!

The Cold!
Today's weather was the coldest I've run in so far, and I was not prepared. It was only in the low 50s, so not as bad as some parts of the country. But for a gym-mouse like me... accustomed to my fancy little private hampster wheel...er... treadmill... with heated buildings and nice music and tv to stare at... it was quite a shock. I wore my running clothes around all day, and they're definitely made for spring. I was cold on the inside before I even stepped outside to run. I did put in a 1/4 mile walk to get things moving before I actually started running - but my body didn't get with the program (the feeling warmed-up and enjoying my run program) until about mile 5... yikes! Thankfully, the sky was clear for most of the run and it only started slightly sprinkling towards the very end. Now to figure out what kinds of things I can do to prepare my body for running in the cold! I know the Disney race is going to start at 6am in Florida and it's likely the weather will be chilly when we start out. I want to be prepared. So at least this morning was a real live wake-up call. :)

My mental game
I could not shut off my mind! I think I got myself all psyched out over my run. Apparently having to push one long run back a couple days got me spinning in circles over "what if I can't make time for this entire training program?!" I've had a lot of anxiety about getting my runs in have been doing pretty good at just taking things one workout at a time. Until my run today when it all flooded in. I tried lots of things to quiet my mind. I tried some positive affirmation, "you ARE doing it, Becca Sue!" "Look how strong you are!" I tried visualizing all of the negative energy flowing out of my mouth in little bubbles when I breathed out (really?! who does that?). I tried singing songs. Every stranger I passed on the trail was a potential mugger/rapist (I'm so paranoid) and worrying about that distracted my from focusing so hard on my run. So that was nice at least. Hahaha. The thing that finally made the switch for me happened around mile three. I've been thinking a lot about who I use to be. The little kid me who quit everything sports-related because she was embarassed about her body and didn't want to be made fun of; the teenager me who hated all the athletes because they happened to be the kids who were mean to her until she got skinny; the brand-new Mom me who was reeling from a traumatic birth and feeling like her body was a total waste of space. I realized that if I had known - in those moments - who I would be today it would have made a world of difference. My heart just filled with thankfulness and praise to the Lord for sustaining me through so many difficult times when I couldn't see the gift He'd given me in my body. So I ran that last half of the run for "them"... or me... but mostly as an act of worship to the Lord.

So, those were the hard parts. :) So far it was really the hardest run I've done. However, there were some great victories in today's run!

  • I tackled the hill on 252nd that I've never run before. Not sure how it compares to other hills... but it's 3/4 miles long and is a 2% incline. I walked for about two minutes to let my heart rate come back down and then finished the rest of the route running. My strategy was to tell myself that the hill was a gift from the Lord, and it was meant to make me stronger. So when I was running up the hill - legs and booty burning, lungs aching - I kept saying "thank you Lord!" And there was even a nice little doggy barking to cheer me on (or at least that's how I chose to take it...hehe).
  • I completed 6.11 miles in 1:19... which means I was running sub-13s (aka - 12:55 pace... even with the walking in consideration)... which means I somehow shaved almost a minute (43 seconds) off of each mile. Pretty exciting!
  • The last mile really was amazing. My body had finally kicked into gear, I was in "new" territory (neighborhoods where we've driven by never walked) and I was close enough to the end to get excited. I made a conscious decision to put the first 5 miles behind me and just let myself enjoy this one mile.
So there ya' go. A long-awaited update (oh wait... it's only been a week!) about my running adventures. Now it's off to teach Life Work class tonight. I'll have to explain that in a later blog.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A "long" run in my hometown

This past Saturday I got to kick of my first of many "long runs" by putting in four miles in my hometown of Yakima, Washington. I smile a little when I write "long run" for two reasons. First, 4 miles is not very long compared to the 13 I'll be running in March, or the 6 I just raced a few weeks ago. Secondly, because 4 miles is 4 more miles than I'd EVER thought I'd run if you talked to me a year ago. A year ago I was 40 lbs heavier and had yet to discover all of the unknown abilities I possessed if I'd only apply myself.

I planned my run for first thing in the morning so that I wouldn't get distracted and "forget" to run. I ended up waking up two hours before the sun (more like my toddler woke up 2 hours before the sun) so I got to enjoy a nice breakfast and morning time with my family before heading out.

The weather was nice and crisp. It was chilly but sunny and clear. In Yakima, there aren't a ton of tall buildings,and it's in a valley. You can see for miles if you get in the right spot. And apparently the right spot happens to be right where I ran. The sun was at my back for most of the run, for which I was very thankful. There was some good wind blowing right in my face for most of it, but I just kept reminding myself that it was making me a stronger runner.

I took in all of the colors of the fall, and the relative quiet of few cars passing and no "city" noises or gym noises. I'm officially a fall-lover.

I ran from my Grandparent's house to my Aunt & Uncle's house. That fact is a delightful piece of information because my cousins have always been very athletic (both in high school and on varsity baseball teams) and I've always been... well... NOT. It was nice to share that new piece of my life with them by showing up at their house all sweaty and proud.

Running in my hometown was a sweet victory in itself. When I lived back home - before moving to Portland for college - I was a very different person. At least in terms of my physical activity and my attitude towards sports. You couldn't pay me to run back then, and I had doubts about the sanity of anyone who did any sports for fun. I had been on the "outside" of all the cool athletic kids since I first moved to Yakima and took it rather personally. As a defense mechanism I wrote them - and their silly physical fitness - off and rejected it out of hand. PE taught me over and over that I was inferior at best, and a pain in the butt at worst. I was not needed or wanted in the athletic world, and all would be better if I just scoot myself away from all the healthy kids and go read a book.

Being free to run and just enjoy that feeling of strength and accomplishment was good medicine for my soul. In a way, it was more than a run. It was as though I were simultaneously making peace with all those "weird sports kids" and myself.

I did have some worries. "What if someone from high school sees me running and sees how fat I still am." I'd always avoided sports because I feared it drew attention to my weight. I just reminded myself - like I always do here when I run outside - of some important truths.

1.) No one probably notices or cares how "fat" or not fat I am.
2.) Anyone who wastes their energy on judging me for being fat is not the kind of person whose opinion I would truly seek after anyway
3.) Anyone who sees me running is sitting on their BUTTS in their car. So ha!
4.) Except for other runners... but runners are a nice crowd and usually proud to see a fellow road warrior out there.

So that's the tale. Three cheers for overcoming adolescent fears!

Woot!
Woot!
Woo-hoot!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


The time is drawing near for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, my friends! Starting on Friday, November 6th, I'll be offering Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins - as well as the highly successful and widely enjoyed Apple Strudel Muffins for those who are less than enthusiastic about pumpkin treats.

I'm selling these muffins for $1 a piece, just like last time, and can deliver for free to any place you desire. Buy some for yourself, your buddies, your kiddos.

Not a muffin fan, but still want to show your support? For every dollar donated, you can send a muffin to the November 2010 H1N1 Flu Shot Clinic. This event will provide free flu shots for those in an underserved and low income area in Gresham, Oregon. They're planning for 500 people and hoping for more - so they could definitely use some muffin love.

Thanks to everyone who helped me out last month. Tell your friends! Anyone who likes muffins, or running, or supporting industrious stay-at-home Mamas trying to help their hubbies.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Know anyone who needs a wedding dress?

Because I've got a pretty one! My dream dress has been sitting in our back room in it's storage box (having been professionally cleaned and preserved) and is lonely. We talked and decided that even though I will miss her, she wants to be free to make someone else's dreams come true, too. Which is very convenient for me - because we're still scrimping and saving to put the money together for our trip to Disneyworld to run in the Disney Princess Half Marathon. :) I've got all the details posted in an ad on ebay... here's the link;

Maggie Sottero "Dion" Gown

And I've got some loverly pictures of her too!





Wednesday, October 28, 2009

132 Days!

The course map is up - just thought I'd share. :)

Princess Half Marathon Course Map

A Fun Comparison

I thought it would be great fun to share some pictures of me from the past year, just to celebrate how healthy I'm getting. :)

This first one is a picture of me from August 30th, 2008. Daniel and Ethan and I had just ventured out for our first hike at the Glendoveer Fitness Trail. We made it one entire lap, walking and pushing the stroller, and I was absolutely exhausted. I believe by this point I was weighing in at about 220.

August 30, 2008 - 220 pounds



This second picture is from my first 5k race - the Oregon Road Runner's Club 4th of July race. This picture was taken after I'd had a chance to cool down after running the longest and fastest I'd ever run - IN MY LIFE - at that point. 3.1 miles in 38:09. I believe I weighed about 198 at that point.

July 4th, 2009 - 198 pounds (I'm on the left)


This last picture is my most recent one, taken just moments after I crossed the finish line at my first 10k. I finished in less than an hour and a half - which is crazy to me! When this picture was taken I weighed 186.

October 11, 2009 - 186 pounds

This will be a fun post to revisit in a few months after I've finished my first half-marathon. I'm really proud of my body. The Lord created it with some rather amazing abilities that I've never fully appreciated until I had a baby and started running. This body has grown an entire person from a couple teeny cells into a whopping 10lb 12oz newborn, then nourished (and is still nourishing) that little baby into a health 27ish pound (and 32" tall) toddler, and is able to carry me 6 miles all at one time... so far! I can't wait to see what else it can do as I take the steps I need to care for it the way the Lord designed.

In the words of the Psalmist;

I praise You (GOD!) because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

May He continue to receive glory and honor from this little body He's given me!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Weigh In Success!

I had another weigh-in this morning and am thrilled with the progress I'm making!

I weighed in at 180.5 lbs - down 5.5 lbs from my last weigh-in (186).
My body fat % was 32.4 - down 1.3% from the last weigh-in (33.7%).

I've lost another four inches over all, which is always exciting.
Some of those inches were from my waist, which is now 32" - which officially puts me 3" below the "increased risk" category. A waist circumference of 35" or higher is linked to increased risk for heart disease.

I'm not sure if I've shared what my goals are yet, so I figured this was as good a time as any!

I have several different goals I'm aiming for, but the primary goal is for my body fat percentage to be at "Fitness" level according to the American Counsel of Exercise's definitions. That means somewhere between 21-24% body fat. The exact weight I would be at (in such a scenario) is a little unclear to me at this point - as I've lost weight and my body composition has changed the little body-fat machine has been telling me that I'm supposedly losing lean body mass. The trainer I talked to at the gym told me this is highly unlikely because I'm lifting weights and eating healthy, but that it is more likely that the machine is "accidently" reading some of the fat surrounding my organs (the worst kind) as lean mass. Sneaky little fat pockets!

So, to reiterate - my ultimate goal is to acheive and maintain a body fat percentage between 21-24%. We'll see how that shapes up as I get closer to that, and I plan on celebrating several milestones along the way to that goal.

Like 1.4% more weight loss for my body fat percentage to be in "acceptable" range and out of overweight range.

Like .1 point drop in my BMI, which will take me out of the "obese" category and put me in just the "overweight" category. Which takes me out of the "high risk" category for weight when I have another baby. Good news!


So - stay tuned and I'll keep you posted!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Getting my miles in

I've been able to get two runs in so far this week, and thought it was time to share about it. I technically have four "extra" weeks in my training time, as the schedule I'm working from is a 16 week-er and there were 20 weeks between my 10k and the half.

The first week after the 10k I gave my legs a break from the pounding of running and spent some time walking/hiking at the Glendoveer trail one afternoon, and then doing weights and the recumbent bike at the gym two other days. The personal trainer I've been seeing taught me how to use the Assisted Pull-up machine (at my request) and I'm well on my way to acheiving my newest fitness goal: get strong enough to perform 10 unassisted pull-ups. Right now the machine is supporting 112 lbs of my body weight and I'm able to do a set of 10, then two sets of 8. I have no idea how long it'll take - but it's a fun little "side project" that finally got me excited about chest/back day at the gym.

(Aside: Did I really just have that monologue?!? Who IS this girl writing my blog???)

This week I was able to get all three of my weight training days in and have done a 2 mile run and a 3 mile run so far. I even found myself increasing the speed to 5mph (a 12 min mile) this evening during the 3 miler. I was doing fartleks (random increases in speed) and I think I did a half mile at that speed and then moved around between that and 4.3. It's fun to see myself getting faster, and feeling my body WANT to go faster and actually being comfortable there.

I'm hoping to get one more run in this weekend - hopefully a long one at 5 miles?

Running on Muffins & Love!

My first half-marathon is only 135 days away and I couldn't be more excited! I'm starting to realize that perhaps choosing for my first half marathon to be on the other side of the country might have been a bigger logistical task than I'd anticipated. I love Disneyworld - we went there for our honeymoon and then again for a "oh dear, we got pregnant by surprise! Quick, let's take a vacation while we still can" trip. Going back there for a half marathon was the motivation I needed to get me through my 5k training earlier this year. Now I love running enough that I'd probably keep doing it for fun - but having a trip to Florida and making it a big deal is still a fun idea.

That said, Daniel and I are doing our best to be wise with our financial resources. Daniel works his little butt off to provide for us so that I can stay home with our son, and we're committed to paying for this trip WITHOUT going in to debt over it. That means a couple extra projects for Daniel, and little ol me trying to figure out how to lend a hand. That's where the muffins come in!

When my grandparents came to town for my 10k, they brought us a huge box of apples from an orchard near their house in Yakima. We were very thankful, but a little surprised and not sure what to do with so many apples. We love fruit, but how can two people eat all those apples before they go bad? Ethan's not a big fan of apples (he prefers squish-ier produce like bananas) so it'd be just me and Daniel trying to eat through the entire box. Then I got a fantastic idea!

"What if I baked stuff with them, and sold them to help raise money for our trip?!"

I thought it was a novel idea that people would probably think was "cute" but not really be that into. But I figured it was worth a shot to throw it out there and see what the response would be. I found a great recipe for Apple Strudel Muffins (mmm!) and posted an announcement on facebook that I was selling them for $1 each. Almost immediately I got responses from my friends and family saying that they'd love to support me and putting in their orders. Over the last couple weeks I've baked over 200 muffins for family and friends. On top of that, my Mom and brother from South Dakota - who live much too far away to enjoy said muffins - are paying for me to bake an additional 200 and give them to various homeless outreach ministries. Can you believe it?!

The muffin-selling has been such a hit! Believe it or not, I've discovered that I LOVE baking. I must, to have baked over 200 already and still be thrilled at baking 200 more. I'm also excited t try new recipes. Perhaps a "Muffin of the Month" sort of deal? I'm thinking for November I will try Pumpkin Chocolate Chip. I'm even going to do a test batch using my own "picked it myself and carried it home" pumpkin. It'll be an adventure for sure!

Amidst all of the financial blessing that this venture has provided, it has given me an even more important gift. I honestly was not expecting to see so many people absolutely jump at the chance to support me. It has truly been a blessing to feel so loved and cared for.

My deepest hope in this whole situation is that someone would read/hear about my journey and recognize the power of God in my life and worship Him in response. This whole experience has really been a journey of me learning to apply the things I know to be true (in my head) to actual real life practice... like getting off my booty and using my body for what it's made for! The Lord made me to be strong, healthy and capable. And I really believe it now!

Running is a celebration of my God-given ability to move!