Sunday, December 27, 2009

12/27/09-Less than 2 weeks until WDW Half Marathon!

12 weeks of half marathon training are now in the books. Just under 2 weeks until the half itself! 12/19 I completed my longest training run (12.2 miles) with the 3 min walk/1 min run intervals. I finished within pace requirements even with 5 stoplights that I had to wait for. I also tried out my new fuelbelt during that run (A 4-bottle Helium Fuelbelt). Yes, I know I really should have tried it on a shorter run first but everything worked out fine---and I LOVE the belt. It worked out great, no movement and my arms didn't hit the bottles. I used 2 bottles for G2 and the other 2 for plain water (to have with my gels). Even with all four bottles full I didn't feel the weight on my waist/hips at all.

Now for Christmas---DH got me some AWESOME presents. A set of Klipsch earbuds that work with my iPod shuffle (man do these things sound great!)...a Nikon Coolpix 10MP digital camera with a 4GB SD card (OMG this camera is so light it feels like I'm holding a feather, will be perfect to have along to take pics during the half!)...and finally........a Garmin Forerunner 305! Now, I've heard plenty of running friends online talk about the 305 and how much they like it. I tried it out on my 10.2 miler yesterday (more on that in a bit) and WOW! This is the absolute coolest gadget I've ever had. I set it up Friday night...had the screen set up to show time elapsed, distance traveled and current pace (plus it showed my heart rate in tiny numbers up in the corner). It was so cool to be able to look at all that information during my run. I think it helped me to go faster since if I looked at it and it showed my pace was lower than what the pace requirements are for the race, I picked up my pace. Another cool feature-I turned on the "Autopause" which stops the timer when you stop moving like for stoplights! When I got back to the house, I hooked it up to my computer (which BTW is now a Macbook Pro---DH bought a new one so I got his old one) and it uploaded the info from my run. It displayed all the info for me---time, distance, pace, avg heart rate, max heart rate, avg speed, max it had charts showing the change in speed over time, elevation and heart rate over time (for all of those, picture a printout from an EKG, that's what those looked like). So I'm totally in love with my 305! I'm still keeping my Polar F11 HRM for gym workouts and as a backup "just in case" but for any walks/runs it's the 305 all the way!

Back to yesterday's run. After doing 12.2 miles the prior week, now I am tapering until the half so yesterday was 10.2 miles...but doing 3 min walk/2 min run intervals instead of the 3/1's. As I mentioned earlier, when I would look at my 305 and see my pace slowing a bit, I would go faster and I think that is what helped me lower my pace. My overall pace for the entire 10.2 miles (including a 10 minute warm up walk and 5 minute cool down walk) was 15:13 min/mile---my fastest pace yet for a LR. And I'm not even going at race pace. So I'm more confident now about my ability to stay ahead of the sweepers during the half.

Weekday training runs are now getting shorter plus my next LR on Saturday will be only 7 miles. The Saturday after that is the race! I'm getting really excited, I can't wait to get up there! I've got my packing list started and am making my final meal reservations. Not much longer to go!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

12/8/09-Weight update

Just wanted to add an update on my weight. Last week I lost.........3 pounds! Yes, that's right, 3 pounds! So now I've lost 43.2 pounds and I'm down to 209.0. Pretty happy with that; this Sunday though I'll probably have a visit from TOM so I'm not holding my breath for a big number (or even an average number). I'll keep up my training, went to Bally's this afternoon but every single elliptical was in use the entire time (BOO!!! I have started looking forward to using that darn machine...) so just did the bike and some strength on the machines. Tomorrow is a rest day.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

12/5/09-9 weeks done-really feeling it now!

Just let me say oy vey! Today was the last day of my 9th week of half marathon training. I completed 10.1 miles today under massively humid conditions (started out with 100% humidity and stayed within 85-100% the whole time I was out there). I was soaking with sweat after just a couple of miles. Wasn't hot, started at 75 and ended at 80...and the sun was only out for a little while, then it was overcast the rest of the time. But let me tell you, the humidity REALLY can drain you. I did bring enough fluids (G2 and plain water) to hydrate with plus I had 3 GU gels. Hydrated every 20 minutes...on the 40 minute marks took gel plus plain water; the other ones had G2.

My legs were perfect the entire time, no shin pain of any kind. My back though-mid to upper back was sore about halfway thru and stayed like that the rest of the way. I think that was from my drooping posture from the humidity draining my body. I kept trying to pull my shoulders back so I stood/walked/ran straighter but they kept falling forward on me.

Wound up going much slower (especially the 2nd half) then I wanted and it took me about 2 hrs and 50 minutes to cover the 10 miles. Yes, I was not at race speed and yes, the humidity really did a number on me but still, the time is a little worrying. I'm not going to let it get to me though, I'll be at the half with a fabulous group of people from Running of the Ears and I know they won't let me get swept :-)

Going to go relax for a while as I really do have to get out of the house today to go shopping---how in the heck did I run out of body wash? Weigh in is tomorrow...can't remember if I posted that my previous weigh in was 212.0 so 40.2 pounds lost at that point. Fingers crossed for tomorrow's number........

Saturday, November 21, 2009

11/21/09-Halfway there! 7 weeks of training done!

Well, I'm halfway there-7 out of 14 weeks of my half marathon training are now complete. It was so darn exciting that I.......hit a wall today *sigh*. Yup, my very first wall. I had 9 miles on my schedule for today, and I was looking forward to it (I really like my long mile days). Had my usual waffles, turkey bacon and orange juice breakfast that I have on my long mile days, then set out (a little later than I would have liked, but it was just one of those mornings). It was 72 degrees and about 80% humidity with very little breeze, and the sun was out most of the time. I was already soaking with sweat after about a mile and a half. My running intervals were feeling sluggish which I attributed to the muggy weather. Had my first gel after 45 minutes and started to feel more peppy shortly after that (it helped that after that my route was totally flat and under big shade trees). But then at about 5 miles I was really starting to feel it, like everything was starting to drag. Even my 2nd gel at the 1 hour 30 minute point didn't seem to make a difference. I got slower and slower...then finally at about 7 miles that wall just loomed up in front of me and WHACK! I hit it. I did keep walking though, albeit slowly. Tried speeding up at the 8 mile point but by then I was out of water too (going to have to cave and probably get a fuel belt) and I just wanted to crash.

Finally made it home, had 16 oz of lowfat chocolate milk (boy that felt good!) and now I'm crashed on the couch. Burned 2179 calories during 9.20 miles...temp at the end was up to 82 degrees and the humidity had dropped to 62%. As I was entering my complex at the end of my route, I realized part of my problem...every Friday night I have a nice plate of whole wheat pasta...which I didn't last night. Didn't have as much carbs in total for the entire day yesterday either.

I just kept pushing through, I wasn't about to call anyone to pick me up. It may have taken me a half hour longer than I wanted to finish, but I finished on my own. Now to go evaluate the first half of my half marathon training...7 weeks done, 7 weeks to go. I KNOW I can make this better!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

11/14/09-Racking up the miles

So today I finished my 6th week of my half marathon training. Today was an 8 miler, actually did 8.42 miles (I had planned 8.17 but mixed up my route by accident, thus the extra 1/4 mile). This past Thursday was my first day of 3 min walk/2 min run (I've been at 3/1 for a couple weeks). The 3/2's kept getting me a little out of breath, but I made it through all of them plus my form/stride drills afterward. Today's LR was with 3/1's though...I don't do an LR with 3/2's for another 2 weeks.

I am doing really bad with my cross training---as in skipping it mostly. I have tons of motivation for my walk/run days (especially my LRs), but cross training I am TOTALLY unmotivated for. I don't know why that is...and I've got to stop that. I really need to be getting in my strength training, especially for my core and back muscles. On my LRs for like the last third of the routes my middle back has been getting tired, making me feel like hunching over which I have been actively trying not to do. So I need to suck it up and do the cross training, no matter what.

Weight is at 213.6 now, so total lost is 38.6 lbs. I am hoping for 212 at my weigh-in tomorrow to hit the 40 lb mark, but TOM is arriving tomorrow or Monday (might be some of the reason for my back getting tired during today's LR) so I'm not going to hold my breath. *Thinking positive happy thoughts*

All right, on to lunch and a shower so I can get some shopping out of the way!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

11/1/09-Four weeks down!

Fourth week of my training is now done. Finished it up yesterday with a 5K event, then another 4.18 miles after I got home to get my 7 in for my long mile day. I'm pleased to say that while I am still in the turtle category, I am getting faster. For the 5K, I finished in 47:30, a 15:19 pace. The 5K I did on Memorial Day I finished in 47:58. But note to self: do all the miles at once...doing the 5K and then having an hour or so before doing the other 4.18 miles was not a good idea. I was a little tired to start the 4.18 and by the time I was done---well, it was pretty much nap time (except I didn't get to nap, had shopping to do with DH before he left today for work again). This week should be easier as my long will only be 5 miles since I will be changing from the 4:1 walk/run to a 3:1. Monday and Thursday will be doing 10 3:1 intervals instead of 8 also.

So my report from the 5K...started out around 79 degrees with about 80% humidity...I ran for the first minute, then started my 3:1 walk/run (yes, I know my long days thru this week were supposed to be 4:1 but I wanted to do well in the 5K). The event was held at Markham Park and was almost all flat except for a few small bridges. By the time I hit the one mile mark there were already some people coming the other way (the overall winners for M/F were 17 min and change and 18 min and change). The further in to the race, the higher the sun got so during the 3rd mile I had the sun right on me, no trees to cover (thanks to Hurricane Wilma knocking over about 2/3 of the park's trees). Once I finished the 3rd mile, I ran the rest of the way to the finish line. Had to wait about 10-15 minutes after to see my results, they kept updating the board with the preliminary times. I was very happy to see my 47:30 even though I was last in my age group...but there were only 12 of us as compared to 60 of us at my last 5K (but I didn't finish last there, I was 56th out of 60). That's okay, faster is faster so I'm happy.

One thing I've been noticing lately is I really need more warm up walking---my first mile or so is not very comfortable, everything is still a bit tight. I'm going to start adding on more warm up time to see if that helps-I think it will.

Oh, almost forgot---the scale FINALLY started moving down again! Only 0.6 pounds to 214.4 but hey, it's DOWN so hopefully my mostly self-imposed plateau is over!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

3 weeks of training done!

Yup, just finished week 3 of my half marathon training. This week was a little wacky with life getting in the way and making me rearrange my schedule this week. Hopefully all that stuff is done now and I can get back to my strict training plans. Only exception is the next two days...we had a yard sale yesterday (more $$$ to spend at the expo in January!) so I did my long walk/run today. So instead of having a training run/walk tomorrow, I'll cross train tomorrow and do the run/walk Tuesday instead. Wednesday is a regular rest day, then Thursday will be back to normal.

Today did 6.41 miles. Started off about 80 degrees out and finished at 85 degrees. It was sunny and clear the whole time. About 60% of my route was shaded but that other 40% was smack out there in the sun...whew! But I do seem to be getting weekday short run/walks I'm having to go more miles to fill up the time. My first week I started with 2.55 miles for the short ones, now I'm at 3.06 for the same amount of time and it looks like I'm going to have to map a longer route again! So yay for me on getting faster!

Next weekend, Halloween morning (Saturday) is the Women in Distress SafeWalk-Run 5K at Markham Park. I signed up for the timed run...this will be my 2nd timed 5K and 3rd 5K overall. I am participating as part of my Spark Fort Lauderdale team (from the free website that I am using for weight loss). We are hoping to raise at least $1000 as a far we're only at $145 for outside donations, $85 of which is from my friends/family (our registration fee counts toward it too but I don't know how many are signed up on our team). If anyone is reading this and wants to help out (even $10 helps!), the site to donate on behalf of our team is

Okay, gotta go make some lunch so will write again later this week!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

10/6/09-Training plan started!

I started my half marathon training plan yesterday. I started off slow and easy...I figure there's plenty of time to go faster and further after I get used to everything. So yesterday (Monday) I had 5 minutes of warm up walking, then I did 3 minutes walking, one minute running eight times. Finished with 5 minutes of cool down walking. Since I was going slow I only did 2.55 miles. Shins were a little grumbly at first but the longer I went the better they felt. Today is cross training at the gym. Planning on elliptical, stationary bike and weight machines, probably 20 minutes of each. I've been doing the elliptical for about a week and a half and really like it. It does give my quads a heck of a workout...I'm slowly adding time on it-started at 15 minutes and hoping to up that to 20 today.

I made my own music mix for yesterday...put my iTunes in order by length of track, then found two 5 minute songs for warm up/cool down and eight each of 3 minute and 1 minute tracks. Made it really easy to know when to change from walk to run and back without having to keep checking my watch. I need to make a 4/1 mix and a 3/2 mix for future days when I'm doing those intervals. For the half in January though, I'm just making a playlist of songs regardless of length and my DH is going to overlay verbal cues on top of them to say when to change. Since I'm going to make the playlist 3.5 hours (just in case I need it that long, but I'm shooting for closer to 3 hrs) it'll be kind of hard to find enough good songs to walk/run to to fill that much time without constantly repeating.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

10/3/09-Introduction to me

Hello everyone...I'm Carra and this is my first blog on this site. I am 39 years old and live in Southeast Florida (extreme Western Broward county, right before you hit the Everglades). I've lived down here almost all my life (yup, that's right, a native Floridian!) except for 5 years while I was up in northwest mountains of North Carolina going to school---go Appalachian State! I want to use this blog to record my journey as I lose weight and become a runner who eventually completes a full marathon.

I actually started this journey back in September 2008 when I re-acquainted myself with the website. It is an amazing FREE site that has nutrition and fitness trackers and offers teams tailored to all sorts of things-your age, geographic location, interests, etc-where you can connect with others in your same (or similar) situation to get and provide support. There are tons of articles on nutrition, fitness, motivation and more. I could spend hours on there every day just learning (and sometimes I do).

When I started, I weighed 252.2 pounds and really never bothered getting any form of exercise other than the stairs at work. I started walking almost every day...not far, maybe 1-2 miles at a time. By the start of this summer, I had lost 37.2 pounds (I'm currently at 215). Sometime in late December '08 I ran across an article on Sparkpeople that had a guide to prepare you to complete a 5K. I thought "hey, I could do that" and so I started browsing the internet for other information. I started following their plan and being running across other information and somehow I found information about Disney's Princess Half Marathon weekend. I saw they had a 5K that weekend too and thought that would be a great first 5K for me. And so I set out to prepare for it. It was not a timed race, just a "fun run" type thing. They did have a 15 minute/mile pace requirement so I was concentrating my effort on meeting that. I wound up finishing in 47:37 (timed on my heart rate monitor watch), a 15:21 minute/mile pace. I was 224 pounds at the time.

My 2nd 5K was 5/25/09 and I didn't really do any kind of preparation for it. This was a timed race and I finished in 47:58, a 15:35 minute/mile pace. A little slower than my first one (but I am not sure the time from my first one is correct since it is not "official") but I was still happy with it since I wasn't really prepared to "race" it. I was 215 pounds for this race.

I have another 5K Halloween morning. I am still at the 215 pound mark---this summer I wasn't really watching my nutrition and was erratic with my exercising. I have gotten back into the groove of things now as I am signed up for my first half marathon in January---at Disney of course! It is on January 9th (my godson's birthday---he and his parents will hopefully be joining me there) and I start my official training plan this Monday, 10/5/09. I plan on walk/running it as I will not be at the point where I can run the whole thing by then. I will be blogging about my journey to my first half marathon and my continuing weight loss journey here.

Hope I don't bore anyone...but this is mostly meant as an outlet for me so I have a log of my journey. You are welcome to come along with me and offer any insight you may have...anything to make this more fun and fruitful is appreciated!