Thursday, December 30, 2010

Browsing

No, not for new clothes (although I wouldn't mind doing that)!
I'm looking @ 1/2 marathon training guides
and potential races for spring.
To 1/2 or not?......that is the question!
Input welcome.....

Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 Reflection (It's a long one)

So here we are at the end of December and I've been waiting all year to write this post.
The past 12 months have been monumental for me, life changing is not too extreme to use to describe my year. My boys are way too important to me for me to be unhealthy. Everything I do is for them, so this was the year I wanted to make me the best I can be so that I, in turn, can be the best for them - they deserve it!
This is what I looked like in January, 12 months ago (it's taking a lot for me to even post these, but I took them for a reason, so read on):
I was (at least) 30 pounds overweight and felt awful. I've been on the chubbier side of healthy (and at many times FAT) for most of my life, but several years back I lost a pile of weight and knew I needed to get back to that healthy life style.

The boys helped me make a chain link - 30 links long; one link for each pound I wanted to lose. I changed colors every five links just to change it up a little and to try to make the 30 pounds I needed to lose a little more manageable. I started and ended the links with yellow - the first 5 symbolizing the fat that was going away and the last 5 symbolizing gold medals!



On the 2nd of each month, my trusty best friend (and husband) helped me with my measurements (I measured arms, bust, waist, hips, thighs). I kept track of my weight daily (and still do) on a dry-earse board in the bathroom. Jeremy saw my weight everyday. It was good because I kinda felt accountable to him and on days my weight went down, he always complimented me (on days my weight went up, he either didn't say aything or would say something like, "we had a really salty supper last night, I'm sure it's just fluid retention." That's the kind of support that everyone needs.
The combination that I've been using to lose the weight isn't rocket science - it's the simple mathematical thought of
INPUT  + OUTPUT = RESULTS
Therefore, my input had to be LESS than my output
OR
my output had to be MORE than my input.
Diet and exercise.
I've been following Weight Watchers points system (I didn't join WW, just had some of the resources and followed those) and started exercising (being the spoiled person I am, I have access to a state-of-the-art fitness facility @ work).

My workouts consisted of treadmill, eliptical, and other cardio exercises (including some jogging intervals) from January - March, resulting in about a 20 pound weight loss over those 3 months.

Me somewhere around my 20-pound weight loss!
April 2, 2010, I decided that I was going to complete a 5K on May 16th. That gave me 6 weeks to get myself in good enough shape to make it those 3.1 miles without falling over.
My first attempt out running was not pretty - my lungs burned, my stomach ached, my head pounded, my spirit destroyed - I thought it would be easy. Ha! I'd come to find out that running is as hard as hell. Even to this day, there's no 'easy run' for me. I kept pushing forward and eventually ran 3.1 miles (with some walking intervals) in 34:00. So I decided to set my first 5K goal @ 32:00 or less.
May 16th arrived and I was so nervous for this race. It was very cold out that morning and I didn't really know what I needed as far as clothing. To my fault, I under-dressed, wearing just shorts and a short sleeve shirt. I probably needed pants and a long sleeve shirt. About 1 mile into the run, my legs were so freagin' cold I couldn't feel them any longer. 2.5 miles in, I started getting nauseous. I crossed the finish line in 30:03! Way under my goal time. The thought that crossed my mind as I crossed that finish line? Damn, I missed the 30:00 mark by 3 seconds, I'll do better next time. Even though I felt like throwing up at the moment, I knew I was hooked on running.

1st 5K - crossing the finish line
 My cheering squad
 To my total surprise, a medal! My 1st 5k - I placed!

The 5ks kept coming - you can see the list of races along the right side of my blog.
Every race has been different, but the one that that always seems constant is that I end up doing better than I think I'll do.

One highlight through all of this was vacation in Ocean City, MD. I actually took several bathing suits with me and LIKED putting them on, and didn't mind wearing them or people looking.
Here's a recap from vacation and how I stayed on my healthy journey:
http://yayformom.blogspot.com/2010/07/who-takes-scale-on-vacation.html

Photos of me from vacation

 (It took a lot for me to post this because I'm usually trying to cover myself up while in a bathing suit. Check out my beautiful running shorts leg tan)

In August and September, I ran my best 5k times 26:38 and 26:25 earning two 1st place finishes in my age category and fueling my fire for more races and maybe bigger races. On August 2nd, I started thinking about trying a race with a bit more distance - 10k - that's 6.2 miles......

October 2nd, 2010, I ran my first 10k race in Hollidaysburg. My goal was to finish somewhere around 63:00, but I came in around 54:25 - - - - -crazy! Another 1st place age category finish. Awesome!

I have 1 more 5k in a few days - it's a New Year's Eve Twilight run through Lakemont's Lights on the Lake display - should be fun.

One last major feat I hit was being able to run 10 miles. Just before Christmas break started last week, I kick the treadmill's butt by running 10 miles in about 96:00 (that still keeps me under the 10:00/mile pace).
________________________________________________________________________
A quick summary of 2010 for me:
Between 33-35 pounds GONE!
Seven 5k races (plus 1 more in a few days) and one 10k race under my belt
Ability to run up to 10 miles at a time (OK, I only did this once so far, but I can still say I did it)
A new set of clothes (in a much smaller size) :)
Ability to manage stress much better
A healthier attitude toward my health
Made some new friends through running
All around happier

My LBD (little black dress) - size small!

 Being silly with Jackson (this was at the Oct 30 5k)

Coaching Jackson's soccer team


My motivation, inspiration, my everything:



So the next logical thought is:
What's in store for 2011?
That will be my next post (that's my way of saying, "I'm not sure yet!")

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Guest Blogger

Head on over to Leslie's blog  - she let me be a guest blogger while she's on vacation!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

An Error Worth Chattin' About

Nobody likes when they make a mistake, but in this case, it's for the better. The Turkey Trot results were posted today and I found that my official time was 27:08, not 27:37 like I thought. But even sweeter than that is that I didn't finish last in my age category, rather 7th out of 19 in the category! That's a big deal because I thought I was last. I guess that'll teach me to stay until all the times are posted (I thought they were, but I was wrong)! This all makes me feel better and I'm OK with my 'mistake!'

Friday, November 26, 2010

Coming Soon

I'm starting to formulate my 'end-of-the-year' reflection post. This was a BIG year for me. One that started BIG and ended much smaller.
I have the stories and photos to prove it.
Coming towards the end of December!

My First Turkey Trot!

Thanksgiving morning - Ebensburg Area Running Club sponsored a
Turkey Trot 5K! Their hope was 50-100 runners. They got over 200! I was one of those 200 runners. We woke up to a 'wintry mix.' I never ran in the rain (not even a summery shower) let alone a wintry mix. I didn't know what to wear, I didn't know how to prepare myself.

This is the main intersection in Ebensburg - notice the trees in the distance are FROZEN!

Not having the opportunity for many photos, Jeremy shot this one of me prior to the race. I think this is my "I-must-be-crazy-for-signing-up-for-this" face. Or maybe I was just trying to keep the rain/sleet out of my face. I decided to run with a rain coat (in addition to the many layers I had on to keep me warm) to try an keep as much of me dry as possible. Check out that super-cute hat. It's from Turtle Fur, a company in Vermont that makes cold-weather accessories. And also check out my Relay For Life rain coat - I earned that for raising over $1000 for Relay in 2007 (it's a little big....I was a tad larger then).

The race finished near the fire station and we were allowed to go in to get warmed up and dry off. Imagine the pure joy of my boys when they found out that we got to hang out in the fire station with about 7 different fire trucks............Jude kept insisting that we go find the 'old-fashioned' fire truck and finally we walked into the side garage and found an antique fire truck. We've never been in this fire station before and have NO idea how he knew it was in there. I guess when you're that into fire trucks you can just sense those things.

As you can see, the rain coat didn't really keep me too dry. You can see the big water marks on my shirt and about 3/4 of my legs were wet. The rain just kept beating my face and although my initial strategy was to try and run around or jump over the puddles (which I came to realize lost me precious time), I eventually gave in and welcomed the refreshing, freezing water gushes into my shoes!


Smiles! Looking a little wiped out. For some reason, it took me about 15 minutes to recover from this run. I felt light-headed and nauseated. I'm not sure if it was because I ate breakfast too early or the cold/wet run? Here's my stuff!




I don't think I realized that Jeremy was taking this picture, but I think it's kinda funny.


Me with my boys - no matter how I do in races, they (including the one behind the camera) are always at the finish line waiting for me and cheering me on (even in the wintry mix). They are my everything.



So, a race is about racing and I've impressed myself this year with the number of times I've placed in the top 3 in my age category. This race wasn't one of them. I finished (unofficially) in 27:37 and that placed me last in my age category :( 
That's a bummer. I mean, someone has to be last, but it's no fun. It is a little motivating to be honest, though.
I'm not sure where I finished overall.

Next race is on December 31 @ Lakemont Park in Altoona. I'll run through the Holiday Lights on the Lake - that should be fun and exciting.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Time to pick my butt up off the ground

I just read my previous post and man did I sound like a loser - come on, Amy, suck it up and get on with things. Geeezzz!
It's Monday and so far this week, I've logged 12.24 miles.
Now, that's more like it!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Running Mantras

I didn't get out for a run today. I didn't do any form of exercise today -add to that my enormous appetite and now I'm feeling like a big blob. I stumbled upon a website this evening and found some sayings that I am hoping will get me on the right track tomorrow.

Courage to start; strength to endure; resolve to finish

Running: Oh the places you'll go!

Never back down

One more mile and the cake is history

If found on the ground, please drag to finish line

Run like a mother

If you can't run, walk; if you can't walk, crawl; never give up

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Inspiration

I've been reading a lot about the ING NYC marathon - it's tomorrow morning. Trying to find a station that has some live coverage. Man, those runners are inspiring. Al Roker, Merideth Viera, Bobby Flay, that Subway guy, the Chilean miner - I know none of them are in it to win it, but I think they're inspiring nonetheless.
So, 26.2 miles - that's from my house to my parking spot at work, the entire way back home and more than 1/2 way back to my parking spot at work. Whew, I got tired just typing it.
Someday, maybe.............

Saturday, October 30, 2010

SFU 5K Race - Jackson's 1st

Today was Jackson's 1st race- a 100 meter tot trot. It was part of the DiSepio Fitness Challenge. There were only 5 kiddos who ran it, but we're pretty sure that Jackson tied for first place (they didn't really keep time or award prizes for this race). I'm so proud of him - he said he liked running :)

Jackson just before his race
 Trying to work the 'sillies' out of systems before our races!
 The tots line up - just about ready to take off. It was so cold; pretty, though!

And they're off - Jackson loves this photo because both of his feet are off the ground!

And the 5K is off! I was really anticipating this race since I had a calf injury 2 weeks ago - I really only got 3 practice runs in before this race.
Course was tough - 4 significant hills, 1 mild hill, and several slow grades uphill (yes, there were a few down hills) - it really seemed that most of the course was uphill. If you know Loretto and the SFU campus, you can appreciate when I use the word, "hilly."
I started off pretty good - lots of people passing me. I was hoping to warm up quickly since the sun was out, but man was it cold - I don't know the exact temp @ start time but it was definitely under 40 degrees. It really took till about the 2 mile marker that I felt like I could take my gloves off.
 Here I am coming around the loop before heading out around campus. I was smiling for the camera- I think my lungs were burning a little at this point.
 Love this shot - it looks like I'm the only one running. This always happen to me - I'm somewhere in the middle - lots of people pass me and I always assume I'm like the last runner. I guess I just find this pace that no one else runs at - I'm not fast, but I'm not as slow as I think I am.
 All done - time: 27:54 - not my best, not my goal, but I'm OK with it (I guess). I really wanted this race to be my PR, but I was about 1:33 over that goal. I still ended up taking 2nd in my age category. And even if I came in in the 26-minute range, like I was hoping, I would've still taken a 2nd place, so I guess it worked out just as it should have :)
 My motivators, the reasons I run - my boys (including the one behind the camera ;) It was a really great race - well organized, amazing breakfast at the finish, nice medals, great facilities. Highly recommend it!

Jackson and I doing a practice run before his race - he's obviously faster than me :)

Running has been so good for me and so good to me. I really think it's the ultimate form of exercise. It's brought me such a long way. I think back to January and how overweight I was and, yes, it's taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, but I am so proud of my accomplishments. I am also so excited that this newly found love of running is catching on with friends and family, because, really, isn't getting healthier all about wanting to live your best life with your favorite people? I think so!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

On the Road Again

What a beautiful morning for run. I met up with my friend from work, Sandy, and did a 3.1 miler this morning. This is the 1st I've been out running since last week (and my minor injury).We ran a slow pace, but it's just what I needed - I needed to see if I could do the distance with no pain - success! We ran the SFU 5k race course, so it was good to see what that course is like b/c that race is next Saturday!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Injury (hate to even write it)

So I'm going on day 5 tomorrow without a run - it's the longest stretch of no running in over 6 months. I injured my calf muscle- not exactly sure how I did it, but boy I did it up good. Pain, tenderness, immobility has been the name of the game since Saturday. I was in so much pain Sunday. For the past 2 days, a co-worker has been hitting my calf with ultrasound and I'm pretty sure that's what is healing me (fingers crossed). Definitely no run tomorrow, but we'll see about Thursday ;)
I guess for now, I'll just take in the beauty of fall and enjoy what I see all around me!




Sunday, October 3, 2010

10K (no photos, just words:)

I did it! I accomplished another one of my goals - completing a 10K. Totally blew myself away when I not only finished, but earned a 1st place medal for my age range - and yes, there were other runners in my age group ;)

Here's how it went down:
7:00am - leave the house -40 degrees - ouch!
7:30am - arrive @ YMCA - 41 degrees - ouch (there were people out there with shorts and a tank on - what?)
8:00am - shotgun and we're off! There's me in my pants, 3 layers of tops, hat, gloves, sun glasses running up Route 36 in Hollidaysburg. People start and keep passing me, but I'm keep a decent pace. About 1/2 way through the course, I was surprised and not only my physical state, but my mental state - I was really enjoying the run. I had no idea where I was in the pack - assuming I was maybe in the back/middle or front of the back. I didn't turn around to see (I was afraid I'd lose my balance and fall). Nice people out on the course. At about mile 4, I started to fatigue and remembered that I could stop running, take a quick breather and pick it back up. I did that twice, not walking for more than 15 seconds. About less than a 1/2 mile from finish line, we had to run a steep hill and I thought for sure that I'd have to walk it, but I pulled in tight, took smaller/slower steps, kept my head down and before I knew it, I was at the top and guess what? The only way to go was DOWN!
8:54:25- crossed the finish line! My goal was to finish in less than 63:30, but to come in in 9:00 under that was AWESOME!!!!
~9:15am - checked the finish/time board.
~9:15:15 - saw my name in the 1st place spot under the female 35-39 slot and just about fell over!!!! WHAT? I double checked and I was seeing it correctly.
~9:30am - went back to the score board to double check if my name was still in that 1st place spot (thinking for sure there was an error)
9:35 - was escorted by my beautiful son, Jackson, as I went up to receive my 1st place medal.
Wow!
Next race: 5K @ Saint Francis University on Oct 30 - tough course - hilly. Gotta run (time to start training:)
Thanks for reading. Sorry - forgot the camera........

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Training In Progress

Just a quick update on my 10K Training: It's going!
(taking off my sarcastic hat) Seriously - it's going well :)
I have been running 5-6 times per week and I've done a few runs that were at least 6.2 miles in length, so I know that I'll be able to at least get through the 10K without falling off the face of the earth :)
I also drove out to see the course and I realize that I'm going to need some hill training, so I have to work that in somehow.
I am starting to get more excited than nervouse about the race. I will continue to train really hard this week (I'm actually headed out in a few minutes for a distance treadmill run) and then slow it down just a bit next week to give my body more opportunities to rest and incorporate the muscle and endurance I've been building. I'll end next week with a massage the day before the race and then next Saturday, 8am, I'm off and running!

Monday, September 6, 2010

My 5th 5k

I completed my 5th 5k this morning with another personal best (every race has been a personal best for me so far:). I ran the Labor Day 5K Pump and Run in Tipton, PA (home of DelGrosso's Park).
This was the most diverse route including running through a wet, dewy field, into the woods and on a path, up a a rocky hill, through a development that had hills, and back. It was 45 degrees when I got to the race, so I dressed warmly (a lesson I learned after running my first race and being too cold).
I didn't want to do anything but finish it, but when I came across the finish line in 26:27, I was #1surprised, and #2 thrilled. I ended up finishing 1st in my age category and got a nice medal for it!
This running thing is treating me really well and I'm really diggin it.
Next on the agenda is to continue to train for the 10K in October and possibly run the Great Race (5K) in Pittsburgh on September 26 - that's what I want to do for my birthday (crazy, huh?)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

1 Month to Go

Today is 90210 - that either means that I'm a huge Jason Priestly and Shannon Dougherty fan or my 10K is just 1 month away.....
Found the race route on Mapmyrun - love that website.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sometimes a struggle is a good thing

Struggling makes us grow and learn; hell, if everything was as easy as pie, it'd be boring and we'd lose interest in things. I committed to a 10K on October 2 and so begins my training. I found an 8-week training plan, but until I decided for sure that I was going to run it, I'm down to 7 weeks (it's kinda hard to believe that October is only 7 weeks away, huh?). So I jumped into 'Week 2' training and so far I've run 3 days in a row this week (I've been on the every-other-day-plan for quite a while).

Today's run was a 3.5 miler - something I should be able to do quite easily, it's only adding .4 miles onto my typical run. But for some reason I struggled during the run. I just kept telling myself that this struggling-thing is probably good for me, that it means that I'm gaining strength and endurance and that this time next week, I'll be running 4 miles.

I've been learning that running, for me, is much more mental than physical. I can run further and better when I reason my way through things, like I did today.

Tomorrow is a rest day, but for the most part, I'll be running at least 5 days a week from now until Oct. 2.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Great Race!

Holy Moly - I set a personal best today, not just for races, but in all of my running training, practice runs, and races - my time today in the Portage Summerfest 5k was 26:38 - no, there's no typo there. My goal was to run it in  btw 28:00-28:20 and I thought in the back of my mind, "Wouldn't it be cool if I got even 1 second under 28:00!" But seriously, I thought my watch was wrong when I crossed the finish line. I ended up placing first in the DD category (Female, ages 30-34).

Today was also a big deal because one of my best friends, Kerri completed her 1st 5K race in her home town. She had a personal best today finishing in 31:41 and scoring herself a 3rd place finish in the EE category (Female, ages 35-39). A big congrats to her!

Kerri and I before the race started.

We're off (We are in there somewhere, I promise).

It was so great to see my guys along the course and here I was a little happy knowing that there was less than 1 mile to go.

Last spring of the race - look at my focus. Holy man.

My gang! Check out my trophy. Jackson was pretty proud of that. He said to me (I hope I remember this quote forever), "Mom, you need to sit down, look at that trophy, and realize what you just did!"

Lucky #73

The next question is, how in the world do I ever prepare to beat my new PR (personal record)?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day of Rest

Tomorrow is a DOR (day of rest) for me since I'll be running a race Saturday morn. I kinda have some goals for Saturday's race, but I never ran the course, so we'll see about the time goal:
#1 - Finish somewhere in the 28:00-28:20 range - that would be a PR (personal record) for me. I figure I'm not really to the point where I can compete against others in races yet, so I compete against myself and if I aim to set PRs @ each race, I will eventually get to the point where I can compete against others (maybe).
#2 (this one is a 'for-sure') - celebrate with my buddy, Kerri, on the completion of her first 5K race - hopefully completing her first race will be as inspirational to her as it was to me. I am so excited for her.
#3 - have a blast and try not to get so nervous - my first 3 races just about sent my level of nervousness through the roof. I am hoping to keep myself calm and focused and channel all that energy into my legs.

Next post will be photos of the race and details! In the meantime, check out the new WIDGET I created on the right hand side that counts down to the race :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Milestone(s)

Not every run is a good run, but there are those runs that are really GREAT runs - like the one I had on Thursday. Although I ran on the treadmill and didn't encounter any of the outside challenges (you know, hills, uneven pavement, fresh air), I had a personal best on the treadmill: 3.1 miles in 27:22. That's my best time ever on a 3.1 adventure. 
I am running a 5K in 1 week and my goal is to do it with a time of somewhere between 28:00 and 28:20 - that would be a personal record (PR) for me. I feel like I need to constantly challenge myself so I don't get stuck in my same old routine.
I'm kinda excited about next week's run because this race will be my good friend's first 5K! I am excited for her and can't wait to celebrate our finishes together.
Another milestone for me - and this one's pretty silly, but still a big deal to me: last evening we grabbed sandwiches and took the kids to a park for supper. I've always admired the way Jackson can just move himself along the monkey bars - like it's nothing. I've never been able to do, but last evening I decided to give it a try because I've been trying to build my upper body strength and this was a good way to test it. I DID IT! It was a blast. I don't think I've ever been able to get myself across those bars. I know it's a silly thing, but losing weight, getting fit, feeling good are all part of being a good Mom and now I can join in with my boys on everything they want me to do.
Fun times!

I just love these guys so much!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tossin' around the idea...

.... of a 10K. I have 1 week to decide since 1 week from today would give me exactly 8 weeks to train for a 10K in Hollidaysburg........hmmmmmm........

Feeling Like Reflecting

Good run today!

Sometimes I need to take a minute or 2 to just enjoy the abilities of my body. I ran a 3.1 course today in 28:24 - tough course with multiple hills. I run this course regularly but I usually have to take 2-3 walk breaks on those hills. Not today -I ran the entire course! It starts and finished on a track so when I got back to the track and finished the final lap, I took a quick water break and picked up my running again and ended up putting in an additional 2 miles on the track! I wanted to do a longer run today and setting my mind to it allowed me to get in a little over 5 miles. It just amazes me:
1. How important your mind is for running distances,
2. How my body will respond to being pushed beyond the norm,
3. How good it feels to reflect upon a good run!

We had supper this evening with some old friends and since we haven't seen them in a while, they were very complimentary of my appearance, saying things like, "You look really good," and "you look younger than when we were in college." I can't tell you how good it is to hear someone say those things to me.

Lately, I've had a lot of people asking me what I've been doing to lose the weight/get in shape. When people ask me how I've done it and I tell them about running, many times their response is something along the lines of, "I wish I could run," or "my knees (ankles, legs, etc) can't handle running."
I am so thankful that my body can handle what I put it through. Thanks legs!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

3rd 5K

I ran my 3rd 5K race yesterday! Since I decided kinda last minute to run it, I didn't establish any goals for myself - just be proud of finishing. It was a really good race - I liked the course- all flat- it was on the Rails to Trails trail - we ran out 1/5 miles, turned around and ran back 1.5 miles and added .1 on at the end. It started @ 9am and that was really good for me because 8am races seem too early. Yesterday I was able to get up, eat a decent breakfast, and chill a little before we loaded everyone in the car and headed out. The weather was perfect - it was a little cool, but the sun was shining brightly.

Here I come as my fan club cheers me on - I could hear Jude shouting, "Go Momma!"
I crossed the finish line in 28:22 putting me 5th (out of 10) in my age group and 51st over all (I'm not sure how many racers, but there were more than 51 :)


Just finished - can't you tell by the smile?


My reason for EVERYTHING - my boys!


Maybe a future runner here? I'm trying to encourage it :)

Next race: August 15, 2010 - Portagefest