Children’s TLC Groundhog Run 10K Recap

Well, today was my first 10K.  I had trouble sleeping last night–I couldn’t get to sleep, the dog FELL OFF THE BED at one point, and I woke up an hour before my alarm went off.  But I was excited anyway, jumped out of bed, got ready, and had a breakfast cookie.  We were told to arrive an hour early!

Which made sense when we got there.  Parking was a nightmare.  We had to park about a mile away from the starting line, and it was a cold, icy, and muddy walk there.  Boo.

But we made it!  The whole gimmick was that the race was underground, in the world’s largest underground business building.  Weird.  So, we walked into the side of a hill to enter.

We had about 45 minutes to kill by the time we got there, so we watched the superfast 5K winners (the 5K was at 9, 10K at 10) clock  in at the 15-16 minute mark.  Crazy.  Then we walked around a bit and I picked up some freebies!

Strawberry Gu Chomps, Pineapple Gu Roctane, and Vanilla Gingerbread Gu.  (I have to say, that sounds disgusting.  But it was FREE, guys.  FREE.)

I made Tim take a kicky pre-race photo of me while we were killing time.  You can see the structure of the building in the back–it was supported by these large column-like objects that made you feel kind of like you were in a glacier.  It reminded me of the ice castle in the James Bond movie Die Another Day.

At about 10 minutes out, we lined up at the start.  I was a little confused because they had signs for 8 minute milers, 12 minute milers, and 14 minute milers.  I hung out between the 8 and 12 signs somewhere.

And we were off!  I was super-nervous at the starting line, and when I’m nervous I get bad cotton mouth.  That made the first mile or so pretty unpleasant until I was able to hit the first water stop.  I hit the first mile at exactly 9:40, meaning I was right where I wanted to be pace-wise.  I felt pretty good about that.

Miles 2 and 3 were honestly pretty boring.  I felt good, and I knew I was pacing myself well.  I just kept my head down and ran.  I went with the “walk through aid stations” strategy, which I think worked well.  It gave me a good 10-15 seconds to wet my whistle and catch my breath a bit, but wasn’t long enough to hurt my pace.  Since it was a two loop course, at mile 3, I saw Tim waiting at what would be the finish line on my second lap!  He didn’t see me, though, until I yelled his name.  He commented later that I looked totally calm and normal at that point, which is a good thing.

In other, unrelated news, this is the picture I find on my camera when I leave my camera with Tim unattended while I race for an hour:

Oh, Tim.

At around mile 4.5 I took a hit on my inhaler and took a few extra seconds to regroup at the water station.  I could feel my lungs starting to get panicky, so I wanted to pull my pace back a bit and just relax.

Once I saw the mile 5 marker I knew I could do this.   Just 1.2 miles to go!  This was probably the most eventful mile–I saw a guy on his back on the side of the course with the ambulance roaring to help him.  I hope he’s okay!

At the mile 5 water station, probably around mile 5.5, I slipped on the water slick near the garbage cans and rolled my ankle.  Lame.  I caught myself and kept running, but it did hurt a bit for the rest of the race.  It feels fine now, but I”m going to keep an eye on it just in case.

Finally I made the last turn (yeah, there were a lot of turns on this course) and went down the straightaway to the finish line!

I was secretly hoping to finish in under an hour, and official chip times aren’t in yet (I’ll update when they are), but going by my watch I think I finished in the neighborhood of 1:00:30 or so.  So, I was reallyreally close to my goal, and I feel great about my time considering it was my first 10K!

Immediately postrace, I found Tim, caught my breath, and grabbed some water and an orange slice.  (Really great oranges, by the way.  Note to self: get citrus at grocery store later.)

On the long walk back to the car, my hands felt funny.  I looked down and realized my fingers were incredibly swollen.  I couldn’t get my engagement ring off.  It was kind of horrifying.

While in the car, I googled this and realized it was because my salt was probably low.  So while we were waiting to pick up our food, I amused Tim by shooting a salt packet from the condiment bar.

Not pleasant, but my fingers returned to normal size pretty quickly.

I was craving carbs, so I went for an Everything bagel and a Panera yogurt parfait.  According to my Polar, this race burned 868 calories, so I think I’m more than entitled to a little bagel love!

It was delicious.  But I have a feeling I’ll need a big afternoon snack later!

Overall, I feel really great about my performance today.  I felt like I paced myself really well and ran strong the whole way, unlike my last race where I crashed and burned and managed to get a good time in spite of myself.  I felt very prepared this time!

Anyway, I wish I could just sit around all afternoon, but there’s laundry and ironing and grocery shopping and chicken roasting to be done!   Thank you all for your kind words and well wishes!

Registry and Race Prep

Surprisingly, I didn’t sleep too late today.  I was up around 9:15, which is early for me on a Saturday!

I batted my eyelashes at Tim so he’d make pancakes for breakfast.  I am seriously terrible at making pancakes and waffles.  He is great at it.  We do chocolate chip pancakes, but only a few chips in each one.  Nom.

Then I hit up Macy’s after a shower.  Long story short…we took our fancy wedding china off the registry because the store couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t be discontinued before May.  We’d already gotten one piece, and I had to return it.  I wanted to get some of our bedding, but that store didn’t carry it.  Good thing, because I came home to buy it online and someone had just bought our entire bed set–duvet, sheets, bedskirt, pillowcases and shams!  Woo!

While I was at Macy’s, I happened to see a display of Nike workout wear…at 70% off! Unheard of.  I ended up picking up two pairs of Dri-Fit capris for $12.50 each!  What a steal!  One is a medium and one is a large–the large is a little bigger than ideal, but still fits fine and it was all they had.  I’ve had to retire a few pairs of workout pants lately, so these are much needed.

I also picked up a New Balance tank (that happens to exactly match my shoes) at TJ Maxx for $15.  It matches my shoes!  Looks like I have a new race outfit for tomorrow.  And I’ll be rocking the pink.  It has a built in shelf bra that actually seems substantial enough to hold the girls in!  I probably won’t risk it tomorrow, but good to know.

I then went BACK to Macy’s and wound up using the store credit from the exchange to get our featherbed and mattress pad.  I’m so excited to be able to use all of our floofy new bedding after the wedding!

I’m actually really looking forward to racing tomorrow.  It’s been awhile, and it will be awhile until my next race, so I’m pumped.  Clothes are all laid out…

…and the playlist is made.  (It is much harder to make a 10K playlist than a 5K playlist!  I had to do some repeats.  Sorry so blurry.)

The course looks really twisty and turny, so I have zero time expectations.  The 5K is one lap, the 10K is two.  Looks like there will be plenty of water stations!

I’ll be back with a recap tomorrow afternoon!  Wish me luck!

Pretzel bread!

Today I went and picked up my race packet for Sunday’s 10K!

I got there just as it was opening and the crowds flooded in.  I have to admit, I felt pretty cool to be going to the 10K side rather than the 5K side.  Woo!  It was pretty busy, since online registration had closed and they have to cap the entrants because it’s an indoor race.

I upgraded to a tech shirt for an extra $10 or $15 when I registered.  I’m so glad I did!   This is a Brooks shirt and it’s so soft.  It reminds me of my childhood blankie.  I haven’t worn short sleeve shirts to the gym very often, but this is light enough I think it would be fine.  I’m looking forward to giving it a go.

After work I decided to try a recipe my aunt had sent me.  I don’t know where she got it from, so if you figure it out, let me know.  Awhile back I mentioned on Facebook that I was craving pretzel bread, one of my favorite Chicago foods I haven’t seen here in Kansas City.

I mixed together:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 T. yeast
  • 1/2 T. salt
  • 1 c. warm water

And let it rise for an hour.  (Best way to make dough rise?  Microwave a cup of water for two minutes.  Then cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set it in there.  The steam and contained environment keeps it cookin’.  It hasn’t failed me yet, anyway.)

Then, I boiled 5 cups of water and 1/4 c. of baking soda.  I formed the risen dough into little balls and dropped them in the boiling soda solution for about two minutes, then transferred them to a greased cookie sheet and baked them for 20 or so minutes at 400 degrees.

Pretty?  No.  Delicious?  Yes.  It tasted like the freshest hot pretzel you’ve ever had.  It was more pretzel than pretzel bread, per se, but still awesome.   I sprinkled a little salt on before I ate it…yum.

Other than my baking adventure, we are having one of those wonderful relaxing nights at home–homemade pizza, television, reading, and animals.  I’m going to do some foam rolling–my quads are still a bit sore–and some reading.   (Now that I am on a set schedule, I’m becoming a huge reader.  I love it!)

What are your hobbies other than fitness?

Flashback Friday Vol. IV: How I Got Smart

Sorry guys.  Flashback Friday’s been on hold for awhile because of the holidays, travel, et cetera!  But I’m back, with the story I promised–how I went from skinny fat, injured, and unhealthy, to healthy, muscley, and strong.

So, as you know, in December 2008 I was 150 pounds.  I was also “skinny fat”–the phenomenon where you weigh a low number, but you’re squishy and jiggly still because you have a high body fat percentage and no muscle.  Through, I discovered the book The New Rules of Lifting for Women.  As you know, I love plans.  Frankly, I was tired of running 6 miles a day, 6 days a week.   And the idea of being “allowed” to eat 2000 calories a day sounded like heaven.  So, I plunged myself wholeheartedly into the program.

And here is where I post progress pictures.  From last year.  In a bikini.  I realize I in no way live up to a lot of the super-fitness bloggers out there, but I am very proud of how my body changed over this program.  Here I am at the beginning:

And the end:

(I cropped my face out for safety reasons.  Also, I look like a huge tool.)

The biggest changes I saw physically were in my upper body.  I still have very well-defined shoulders and biceps even though I lift only once a week or so these days.   My thighs will always be huge, but they definitely got more muscular, and I think I successfully took my waistline in a bit as well.  I also generally looked firmer and less jiggly all over.

But I saw even bigger changes mentally.  This program taught me the following things:

  • It’s okay to eat. Really.  Eat lots of good food.  Your body needs it to get stronger.
  • The number on the scale doesn’t matter. I gained five pounds on this program and my jeans were falling off.
  • Don’t be afraid of the weight room. So many women are terrified of lifting heavy weights, but I was never once treated badly by a man there.  In fact, I got a lot of respect.  I once had two women approach me asking if I could train them!  Just go in with a plan, ignore everyone else, and do your thing.
  • Never lift weights lighter than your purse. Or a Christmas ham.
  • Lifting heavy will not make you sprout a peen. Women develop pretty, feminine muscles, and do not look like men without the assistance of steroids.
  • And most importantly, skinny =/= healthy. Anyone can be skinny.  Being healthy, to me, requires a balanced approach to food and exercise.

This book changed my life, and I’m so glad I did this program.  I can’t recommend it enough.

How do you achieve a balanced healthy outlook?  Do you ever struggle with it?

Strenuous Activity

This morning at work I donated blood.  Good times!

Donating blood is super important to me, and I do it as much as possible.   I had no trouble with it and hopped off the table for some pretzels and water!

Today at work we had a lunch for a lady who is retiring.  It was very sweet and they had catered barbecue!  (Which foiled my plans to make barbecue chicken for dinner, but whatever.)  I had a barbecue turkey sandwich…and a brownie.  Yum!

One of the things they tell you after donating blood is to “avoid strenuous activity” for 24 hours.  I would assume that means running, but I’m defiant.  I waited…7 hours?  Close enough.  I took it easy on the pace–3.5 miles in 35 minutes–just in case.  (Also, my legs are sore from lifting yesterday.)  It felt great though!  I didn’t feel weak at all.  The run flew by.  (Note:  I do not recommend this!  I’ve donated blood a lot in the past and know how it impacts my body.  Do as I say, not as I do, and all that.)

For those of you who have been curious about what’s happened to Blistersquatch, here he is, morphed into the world’s most badass callus:

Unsightly, yes, but I have to admit, I’m a weensy bit proud of that sucker.

Anyway, I’m so glad tomorrow’s Friday.  This week has dragged!   I’ve got a new issue of Runner’s World to catch up on.

Do you listen to medical advice or are you noncompliant like me?

100 Days.

We are getting married exactly 100 days from now.



Here’s what’s going to be happening in the next 3 months, 1 week, and 2 days, in rough order.

  • I’m running my first 10K.
  • Sending out wedding invitations!
  • Tim’s having his bachelor party in Vegas.
  • (Tim also turns 26 that weekend.)
  • Wedding dress fittings.  (And probably lots of pictures.)
  • I’m having a bridal shower in Chicago!
  • …and will be writing lots of thank-you notes.
  • The same weekend, I’m having my hair and makeup trial.
  • I’m running my first half marathon!
  • And then I’m going to Vegas for the first time for work two days later.
  • Then, the day after I return from Vegas, I’m going to Napa Valley for my bachelorette party!
  • Getting a pre-wedding hair color done.
  • Our super fun Mongolian BBQ rehearsal dinner.

And then it will be wedding day.  May 8, 2010.

Deep breaths.  Deep breaths.


Banana Face

Today’s post title is brought to you by my morning snack.

I brought a banana and a teeny raisin box for a morning snack today, and I suddenly remembered that my mom used to do this for me when I was little to make fruit-eating fun.  She would even give them hair, and buttons out of raisins.  What a mom!

Banana Face was delicious, anyway.  Raisins and bananas are a good combo!  When I was little I’d always get fruit salads from dessert made of chopped apples, banana slices, raisins, and peanuts.  I wish I had an apple and another banana to make one!  Talk about nostalgia.

Today’s run was supposed to be a 3.5 miler on the treadmill.  But I got to the gym and it was insanely crowded–all the treadmills were full, and the track was closed for track practice.   I stood around for a few minutes seeing if anyone would hop off, but it didn’t happen.  So…I juggled and decided to make today tomorrow’s weights day instead!  Voila:

  • 10 minutes on the elliptical at butt-searing resistance
  • Squats, 3 X 12 at 135 lbs.
  • Overhead shoulder press, 3 X 12 at 20 lbs.
  • Lateral raises, 3 X 12 at 20 lbs.
  • Deadlifts, 3 X 12 at 40 lbs.  (the heavier weights were ALL being used!  Weird!)
  • Upright rows, 3 X 12 at 40 lbs.
  • Reverse crunches, 12 @ 25 lbs. (these killed my back for some reason, in a moderately uncomfortable way, so only one set.)
  • Prone jackknives, 2 X 12
  • Swiss ball crunches,  2 X 12

It wasn’t what I was planning, but it wound up being a nice little full body workout!  I already feel a little wiggly.  I’ll get to the 3.5 miles tomorrow.

Anyway, lately I have been feeling a little…rundown?  I don’t think that’s the word, but I was super tired yesterday and I’m really quite tired again today.  Plus, I woke up with a stuffy nose this morning, which is never a good sign (although I feel fine otherwise).  Friday and Saturday are going to be rest days to the max after tomorrow’s run.  I want my legs to be nice and fresh for Sunday’s 10K, and I feel like I need lots and lots of sleep before then.

Also, random note: I’ve given up my lunchtime Diet Coke.  I got into a two-a-day habit for awhile, but I’ve gone back down to just one for the last two weeks and I’m feeling good.  I know none is best, but that never seems to stick for me.  One is better than two!

In wedding news, I asked my mother to take charge of finding me some earrings.  I bought a pair, but I wasn’t crazy about them, and she is great at finding jewelry.  Plus, with her job, she basically shops 5 days a week!  She sent them to me and they came today.

What do you think?  I really, really like them.  I think they’re fancy enough that I don’t need a necklace, but not so busy that they’ll take away from my dress or fascinator.  Go mom!

What is your mom really good at? My mom is a great jewelry matcher and banana face maker, obviously, but she is also a really talented baker!  Her caramel brownies are to die for.