Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Broad Street Recap

Although I haven't updated this blog in over a year and I am the only one that ever read it in the first place, I think it is a nice medium to share my awesome Broad Street Run experience. Even if I'm only sharing it with myself from the future.

The Broad Street Run is such a large race (the largest 10 miler in the U.S., 2nd largest in the world), one has to enter a lottery and hope to be one of the 40,000 chosen to run it. When the lottery was open, a coworker convinced me to enter it with her. I was nervous but also hoping I would get picked because it would give me a reason to force myself to up my mileage. When I got picked, I was equally excited and scared. The next 2.5 months consisted of running 3-4 times per week (occasionally less), mostly distances of between 3 and 4 miles, sometimes a little more, and I aimed to do one "long run" per week. My "long runs" started out at 5 miles, and I gradually worked my way up to slightly over 9 miles. I had days I felt like I could run 50 miles and days I could barely make it through 3. Some days that were supposed to be long runs got cut short because my body just wasn't feeling it. I think it's important to document this for future me, because I felt really bad about myself on those days and was convinced that this would happen on the day of Broad Street. It didn't. The one day the temperature was in the 70's and I tried to run, I felt like I was going to die. My body was just used to the winter temperatures and needed a few runs to adjust to warmer temps. I have since run in 70 degree weather and although I certainly am more comfortable and probably do perform better at lower temperatures, I haven't felt like dieing again.

The day of the race, I was obviously nervous. I went to bed around 10 and got up around 5:45. I was supposed to be at my co-worker's house by 6:30. I made myself 3/4 cups of oatmeal with water and brown sugar. I didn't want to eat dairy because I was afraid it would mess with my stomach and I would have to poop during the race. I drank a big glass of water, hoping that it would be digested and peed out before we left for Philadelphia.

After picking up Lisa and her friend, we met at her other friends house where I peed (hoping it would be the last time..no) and 9 of us piled into an SUV and headed to Philly. I took a caffeine pill along the way. I don't know exactly where we parked...it wasn't Citizen's Bank Park but near another stadium? I'm the worst with things in Philadelphia. It really may as well be another country. From the parking lot we walked to the subway to take it to the starting line. I was very nervous about peeing before the race started because I definitely needed to. I had been sipping a water bottle but hadn't had much water since breakfast yet I still needed to pee...may have been nerves. There were short lines for the portapotties we passed before getting on the subway, and I was happy. I think I ate one or two gus on the subway. Or maybe in the car? I don't know. At some point, I ate a couple Gus. The subway seemed to take forever to get to the starting line. I don't remember what time we got on, but I'm pretty sure we were getting off at 8:30, if not later, and the race starts at 8:30. Luckily, I'm slow and my corral wouldn't end up leaving until 9. The corrals were packed by the time we got to them. We were in our corral for maybe 15 minutes before it was time to start. I thought I had to pee again, but luckily it was just nerves and it went away by the time the race started.

Honestly, the race is a blur. I lost Lisa in the first mile. The first couple miles were very congested and I was annoyed at how slow people were, although my first mile time according to my phone (which was not very accurate...the course my phone logged is not even remotely right) was 9:24 which is typical for me.  The first few miles felt awesome and flew by. My mouth was rather dry and I was happy to get to the first water station. Wait, did I stop there? I can't remember if it was the first or second water station that I had a gu and some water. I stopped at either 3 or 4 water stations along the way, just long enough to get water and leave. I only ate energy chews at one of the water stations because I felt like it slowed me down chewing them, so at the next 2 water stations I grabbed Gatorade since I figured it should have the same effect.  I felt pretty good most of the race. Although the course is a net downhill, there are ups and downs throughout the course, although none are drastic. That doesn't stop the body from being aware of when you're going uphill, though. Those parts were a little annoying. I saw some weird things, like extremely bow-legged girls running and I was worried their bow legs were going to jut out and take me down, and a guy in a home-made felt snowman suit with a felt carrot nose, and a girl running backwards in a very serious manner. Miles 7-9 were a little iffy...it started to feel like "ok, I've been doing this awhile..." but I just had to keep trying to look around and enjoy the experience. Getting to mile 9 was great because I knew I had almost made it. Somewhere during mile 9 I looked at my armband and saw I was on track to beat my time and it made me so happy. There's a slight uphill on mile 9 that's a little annoying, but once we started downhill I heard someone yell "It's all downhill from here!" I hoped they weren't lying and they weren't. Once you're in the Navy Yard it's the easiest quarter mile of your life. The adrenaline and knowing the finish is soon. I think I actually got chills when I saw the Navy Yard sign. I couldn't see the finish line until it was not too far away, and that was an awesome feeling. I wanted to sprint to it, but unfortunately the entire last mile was a little congested, especially right before the finish line. I don't understand why anyone would walk during the last mile. It is very weird after you cross the finish line and come to a complete stop. My hamstrings did not like that. There was also no room to stretch right away. My muscles got very tight very quickly, and over 48 hours later my quads and hamstrings are still killing me. It was very slowmoving to get my medal, and during that time I tried to text Bill, my mom, and the group text, but nothing was going through. When I finally did get my medal and pretzel, I was kind of dazed. I was so proud of myself for finishing, I don't even remember really eating half the pretzel but I did because it's half eaten in the pic I took. I wandered around looking for the Teva table we agreed to meet at and no one else was there and I got nervous for awhile that I was never going to find anyone again. But eventually everyone arrived and we stood around talking about the race. At some point, I ate my banana because my muscles were really starting to feel tight and I was hoping the banana would prevent serious cramping. Lisa's husband got us VIP passes to a roped off area by the start with a catered buffet. There was lots of good looking food but I wasn't that hungry, although the lemonade might have been the best thing I ever had.

Congestion at the beginning is understandable, but congestion around city hall and the entire last mile? I guess that's where people get funneled into a smaller area. It really wasn't that big of a deal, but I feel like my time could have been a whole minute faster without these two slowdowns. I literally could have walked around city hall and kept pace with the crowd.

Although we didn't miss the start of our corral, I want to get down there earlier next time so I can soak it in a little longer.

My phone was at 31% at the end of the race, and the GPS didn't even accurately track me. By the time we got to the car, it was at 5%, even though I had turned location tracking off in an effort to save battery.

I really needed to use the bathroom by the time we got to the parking lot, and it seriously must have taken an hour to get out of Citizen's Bank Park where Lisa's husband parked. There was no one directing traffic that I remember seeing. And broad street had been reopened at this point. And when I did get home, I spent the rest of the day in and out of the bathroom. Thank you God for getting my home before I needed that.

I overestimated my time rather than underestimating when registering. I feel like everyone else did the opposite, because I was constantly getting stuck behind slowpokes. Next time, I need to slightly underestimate so I spend less time/energy darting around people.

Live-tracking was only available for miles 3, 5, 7, and finish, and the finish text didn't get sent until later. Although I know this now, it would have been nice to know before so I could warn people that no text doesn't mean I'm dead.

Other cool things:
At one incline difference, all I could see in the distance was a sea of heads bobbing up and down. It struck me as funny/awesome because I'd never seen such a thing.

The last couple days, whenever I think about it, it seems really surreal. I thought it was going to be so hard, and although some parts were easier than others, I felt pretty good the whole time. I am so proud of myself for sticking with my training and getting myself to the point where I can run 10 miles without walking. I finished in 1:37:12, under my goal of 1:40. I ran it faster than all of my students that ran it, which I think is an accomplishment since they've done it before and I have a good 10-15 years on them. I never thought I'd be able to do something like this. Like really, I didn't think my body was physically capable of it. I'm glad I stuck with it and proved myself wrong. I am so glad I had this really awesome experience.  It feels like I shared something special with those other 40,000 people that ran it. Except maybe the people that ran it in like 50 minutes. We didn't share anything. You were literally almost done when I started.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

2013 changes

Couch to 5k update...I've been sticking with it! I actually ran 4 times last week, and did the first day of week 3 today WITH a little extra running at the end! The last walking interval meets up with the cool down, and I don't need 8 minutes of walking in a row.  I've also been doing well eating healthier - not perfectly, but much much better than pre-holidays (and concurrent holidays..yikes). 

Healthy items I've been enjoying:
-Smoothies made with 8 ounces of almond milk, 3 large spoonfuls of Cabot vanilla bean reduced fat Greek yogurt, spinach, and some frozen fruit
-Avocado mashed up with lemon and garlic salt on Stacy's whole grain pita chips
-Carrots with Otria Greek yogurt dip

I signed up to do a "Biggest Loser" competition at school, so that's providing an extra oomph of motivation. I passed up doughnuts this week, which was a big deal, because I was really hungry and they smelled amazing. And they were free. Poor + fat = doom.

I'm hoping to keep with the exercising over the next couple months when things get busy. We're hoping to put our house on the market in March and buy a new, big, forever home. This will be an adventure worth chronicling in itself. I need to start taking pictures if this blog is going to be any less boring.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

No more water smoothies

Well, I already proved I suck at sticking to even a simple exercise program. Today was the last day of week 1 of C25K and I, of course, only did 2 out of 3 workouts. Remember when I was all like "yeah I'm going to do 4 this week, NBD." Not so much apparently. I'm not going to get discouraged. I really would have done today's workout but I had a horrible headache. I'll pick up tomorrow with Day 1 of Week 2. I have to download week 2's podcast. The podcasts are coming from here, in case you're interested: http://runningintoshape.com/5k-training-downloads/

Although I didn't work out today, I ate pretty well. I think part of the contributing factor to my headache was dehydration (I forgot to bring water to work yesterday and the tap water just wasn't going down so easily). I made myself a nice little smoothie with 8 ounces vanilla almond milk, 3 large spoons of vanilla lowfat Greek yogurt, a couple handfuls of spinach, a handful of frozen cherries, and a handful of frozen blackberries. It was pretty good - much better than my fruit & water only smoothies.
Mom...want to share??
If I make smoothies more tasty like this one, I'll be more likely to WANT to drink them, so I am not going to make nasty water smoothies anymore. 

I also had carrots with Otria carmelized onion Greek yogurt dip as a snack. I didn't really eat lunch since my head hurt - instead I napped and by the time I woke up I felt good enough to have the carrots. For dinner I had a slice of pizza - not the healthiest choice, but it was only one slice, so I still feel good about it.

Last night, Bill ate 3 Reeses PB trees. This morning he woke up and proudly declared that he lost 3 pounds this week. I hate him.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Is it summer yet?

One day back at work and I'm already incredibly stressed out. I'm going to try not to talk about my job much on here since it's been proven that people in my profession have seriously compromised first amendment rights. All I will say is that it's very frustrating when I am doing my very best to teach my students, and it seems like they are doing everything they can to NOT learn (and not take any personal responsibility for it either. Or care.).

I intended to at least consider Day 3 of C25K today but by the time I got home from the grocery store it was dark. I did buy a lot of healthy food. I had mashed avocado on multigrain pita chips as a snack. We had salmon for dinner, but it was a little bleh. I need a new recipe. Tomorrow I will start my day with a cherry vanilla smoothie - some combo of frozen cherries, almond milk, and vanilla low-fat Greek yogurt. Then I will go to work and frantically try to get as much done as possible before homeroom is over and I am already exhausted. Ugh.

Off to go read in bed...I'm about halfway done with "Flowers for Algernon." It's really good. I wish I had someone to discuss it with. Only 2 more days until the weekend...

Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye, 2012

I have high hopes for 2013.  2012 was ok - I racked up 24 credits for advancement on the salary scale and agreed to co-sponsor my school's Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science and...well that's about it. I gained 5 pounds, lost 4 pounds , gained it back. I watched a lot of TV and read a few books. I gave my dog a lot of kisses, and gave my husband a few too (way less than the dog).

  You'd kiss him a ridiculous amount too, right?

Maybe I should set some reasonable goals for 2013 so I can look back next year at this time and feel proud rather than "meh" like I do right now.

Christina's List of Reasonable Goals to Be Conquered in 2013
1. Move into our new home (this has much less to do with me and much more to do with a lot of factors I have little control over, but it is the main thing I hope happens this year, so it stays).
2. Lose 17 pounds to reach 115 (Maybe I should set smaller hurdles? I will weight 127 by 2/15, 122 by 4/15, 117 by 6/15, and then the last 2 by 7/15. Then I will MAINTAIN).
3. I will achieve Goal #2 by exercising at least 30 minutes a day 4x a week (or 45 minutes a day 3x a week) and eating more fruits and vegetables and less CRAP.
4. Finish my credits for salary advancement (12 by March, the remaining 24 by October)

I think that'll do. In other goals, I started doing the Couch to 5K program because Insanity is too hard right now and I need to get in better shape so I don't hurt myself. It was really freaking cold yesterday (windchills in the 20's!) but I bundled up and did Day 1. You're only supposed to have to run 3x a week and the program will have you ready to run a 5k in 9 weeks. That puts me right around early March. I tried finding a 5K to register for so I had some accountability built in but there aren't any yet. I'll have to check back. I'm thinking I'll do Day 2 today, Day 3 tomorrow, and maybe do more than my 3 days for Week 1 since it's pretty easy right now (60 seconds run, 90 seconds walk). I downloaded a podcast that tells me when to run/walk so I don't have to think too much.

One last thing. I got a Wawa hoagie for lunch. I tried to be healthy. Whole wheat roll, spicy mustard, avocado, spinach, and tomato turn into a goopy mess and sit heavy in your stomach. Do not make this mistake.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Insanity Fail

I've come to the sad conclusion that I'm too out of shape/too weak to effectively complete Insanity right now. They really drill the idea that you're supposed to keep proper form, and I can barely even make my body contort to proper form, much less do the moves enough times to do much good. I'm going to try to look on the bright side of this - at least I'm realizing I'm disgustingly out of shape before my weight gets TOO out of control. Once I've lost some weight and gotten my endurance up a little, hopefully I can revisit the idea of Insanity.  This is very frustrating.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Blog reboot

I started a blog once, but it was dumb, so I took it down. I'm going to start over. I doubt I'll post much, not because I don't have insanely interesting things to say, but because I get tired a lot and generally choose napping over creativity. An appreciation for good, frequent naps is embedded in my genes.

Today, I started Insanity. For those not familiar with this, it's a workout put out by the same company that does P90X. I tried P90X a couple years ago and was seeing decent results, but didn't even make it through one full round before I got bored with it (or was overcome by the urge to nap). My only complaint about it was the need for handweights or resistance bands, neither of which really appeal to me. I can't seem to use them correctly. Insanity is more cardio based and I think I should be fine just using the equipment built into my body. I need to do something either way. I really like food and I've been slowly but surely gaining back all the weight I lost before my wedding. I really don't like being fat, so I suppose I should address the situation before it gets too out of hand.

Day 1 consisted of a fit test. Maybe I'll post my results after I do my next fit test so I can be proud of my accomplishments. There's no point in posting my initial results now since I have nothing to compare it to. All I know is I have no upper body strength, but I never have, so that's not new.

Merry Christmas!