Monday, April 30, 2012

BCS Realtors 5K Run For Shoes Recap!

If it's Monday, it must be time for yet another race recap, right?  Fear not, we're nearing the end of racing season here, so regular posting will resume soon.  On Saturday, Jeff and I met up with racing buddy Julia for the BCS Realtors 5K Run/3K Walk For Shoes race - this is a fundraiser that our local realtors have done for 14 years now - they raise money to buy shoes for local school children.  As this race had two distances, there were a lot of families, kids, strollers and dogs around, so that was entertaining.  Wish we could bring Paco to something like this, but he turns into Cujo when he's around other dogs, which can be a bit embarrassing.

This was a nice flat course - I've run the area previously, back when I was training for my half marathon in 2010.  I knew that there was only one slight incline, so it should have been pretty easy.  Hah!  Famous last words.  The race didn't start until 9:00 am, and it was warm.  Like, 75 degrees warm.  And windy, naturally.  That makes for a bit more of a challenging run - we had a headwind for close to a mile, plus we were running in the direct sun.  Later starts for these fun runs are nice in that we don't have to wake up super early, but we sure pay for that with the weather.  Trade-offs...oh well.

I did OK for the first two miles, but my pace definitely dropped during the last mile.  And then, our Garmins beeped, signifying that we were at 3 miles  - but we were not anywhere near the finish line.  A 5K is 3.1 miles, and running a little extra is normally no big deal, but as we all know, running is a mental thing - and having to keep going was tough!  I can't tell you how much I wanted to stop running when our Garmins showed 3.1 miles (and it was interesting, because you could see people ahead of us hesitating at the exact spot, kind of like "hey, I should be done by now"), but we kept running.  I had no kick at the end - the heat got to me.  Total distance ended up being 3.3 miles - yes, nearly a quarter mile longer than it should have been!  I think they didn't get the course measured accurately because we started on a path through a park, and that is hard to measure on Map My Run.  So we ended up running 3.3 miles in 41:57, with an average pace of 12:42.

Couple of other notes:  I had my headphones on and my iPod ready to play, but I started out not running with the music on - I wondered if it would help with my panic breathing issue.  And?  I think it did - at least, the breathing went much smoother.  However, I probably should have turned on the music during that last mile because it might have taken my mind off how hot I was.  The other thing is that I had my headphone cord in the front instead of the back like I normally do, and I kept catching my water bottle on it.  Took me a while to figure out why that was happening - oops.  Guess I just got distracted when I was putting them on.

And now, a few pictures:
My new running skirt, and my hopefully leak-proof new running water bottle!
Lots of pink...water bottle, Road ID, shirt, headphones - what can I say, I know what I like!
Jeff and I, ready to run.  He wanted to know what matching shirts we were going to wear for this race and was disappointed when I said I was wearing pink - can you believe he didn't want to match my pink shirt?!?
Julia and I, ready to get our run on! 
Back of the start line, right where I like to be.
And done!  My face is as pink as my shirt - I was a hot, sweaty mess.  But look at that cute dog in the picture - he ran the 3K...what a good boy!
A shady spot in the grass was calling my name...
Perfect place to hang out while we waited for raffle winners to be drawn.
Jeff's hair after he'd been laying down in the grass...frightening!
Another raffle with tons of prizes, and another time that Julia was the only winner in our group.  She won a year's membership to a Zumba gym!  Last week, she received a gift certificate to a BBQ place as her prize for wearing the most teal - she texted her husband "winner, winner, BBQ dinner" - this week, she texted him "winner, winner, getting thinner" - that girl just cracks me UP!  Congrats, Julia!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Mishmash - On the Radio

I did a phone interview for America's Test Kitchen radio a while back (end of January, which explains why I talk about swimming and not running) and it finally aired.  Eeeeek!  I was both nervous and excited to hear how it came out, as I had to think on my feet and try to answer questions - which is not something I'm accustomed to doing!  The host, Christopher Kimball, has the nicest voice and was really kind, which I appreciated.  I tried not to be self-conscious as I spoke - it was hard not to, though, when you don't know what they are going to ask, yet you know they're recording the entire time you're talking.  Anyway, here's the link to the show if you want to listen - the segment that I'm in starts just after the 11 minute mark.  My voice is the first quote you hear, then a couple of experts in the diet field, then more of me.  The segment is called "Do Diets Work?" and I think they made some good points with it..weight loss is definitely possible, although as we all know, it's not easy.


In Sit and Knit diet news, I took a knitting class that began Wednesday night - we are making a "windmill" bag, which can be easy or complicated...naturally, I'm starting with easy!  Although we have two weeks before the next official class, the other student (who also shares my name although she spells it differently) and I are zipping in this morning to get some extra instruction on adding the second of four panels to the bag.  Which meant that I had to knit close to 100 rows yesterday - not too terribly hard, unless you're me.  I was rolling right along and nearly at 50 rows when I realized that my piece had come in on one side - I stopped and counted the stitches, and only had 19, which was a problem as I'd started with 20.  Unraveled and I'm pretty sure I've gotten it corrected, but you know what?  It's just a bag - if I have one wonky row (there is a chance some stitches might be twisted but I can't really tell), it's OK.  Here's the yarn I chose - it's a nubby cotton and I love how it feels:
I had to use the front window to get the light right for the picture...and nosy nose instantly needed to see what I was doing...
...and then check out the neighborhood for any mail people or delivery drivers that needed barking at.

The other neat thing about making this bag is that it uses the "pick up stitch" technique that I need to do to put the edge on my bulky baby blanket, so I'm hoping that after I learn it for the bag, I'll get up the nerve to finally edge and finish the blanket.  Win-win!


In case you missed my post yesterday, I did a review and giveaway for Snikiddy snacks - click here to enter if you want a chance to win both some snacks and a $25 grocery store gift card!  Winner will be announced next Friday.


Fashion Friday continues with another top that I got when my mom was here - it's similar to last week's tiered top, but pink.  I paired it with my white denim capris, and then for fun, my new darker denim capris:

I think I like how I look in the darker capris more at the moment, but give me another month of running and I suspect I'll be happier with my legs, and therefore the white capris.
 Of course, most of my pictures looked like a version of this:
Not only is he leaning into me, he's standing on my foot.  Silly dog!


Tomorrow is, you probably guessed it, another 5K race.  At first I thought they bunched them up all in March and April here because of the impending hot weather, but seeing as other Texas cities have more races throughout May/June and even July, now I'm thinking it's because we are a college town and after mid-May, the students leave...and apparently that's who race organizers think run these races.  Not entirely true, but since I'm not in a position to change that, all I can do is run every race while there is one.  Any case, I'm looking forward to tomorrow's race, and hope to run just one second faster than last week.  I know, lofty goal, right?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Snikiddy Snacks Review and Giveaway!

I get offered a lot of stuff to review (although sadly, not a Mini Cooper), and I turn down most of it.  Why?  Because it's crap it's mostly products that not only I wouldn't use (diet supplements), but also wouldn't recommend.  Although I freely admit to accepting pretty much every running product that has come my way - hey, I'll sell out for shoes and clothes, but you'll still get my honest opinion about them.  That said, I hesitated before saying yes to the Snikiddy snacks, because honestly, I try not to eat chip-type snacks, period.  But they not only offered chips for me to try, but a giveaway that includes some of their snacks and also a $25 grocery store gift card, so the lucky winner can use it to buy some fruit and veggies and assuage my guilt at being responsible for a nice box of snacks arriving on their doorstep.  And with that out of the way, here's what I received in the mail last week:
Fries, chips and puffs!

Our son Sam was home for a couple of days, so he, Jeff and I broke into the bags and did a taste test.  We all ended up preferring a different flavor.  I was most intrigued by the "Eat Your Vegetables" chips after reading the ingredients - first listed?  Navy beans.  Yep, I'd say that was definitely a vegetable!  I ended up not really liking these - just didn't think they had much of a taste.  They weren't Sam's favorite, either, but Jeff really liked them.  As for the Baked Fries, Sam voted them his favorite, while both Jeff and I were just OK with them.  The Grilled Cheese Puffs, on the other hand, were pretty tasty to an airy, light Cheeto.  Plus, you get a huge amount in one serving:
All of this for 120 calories!

That said, I didn't eat an entire serving - I'm really trying to not eat "junk food" - and even though these snacks are healthier than a lot of bagged snacks, I'm not doing myself, a formerly overweight person, any favors by eating them.  I will say that they were good enough that I had Jeff take them to work (I believe in not making my life harder than it has to be when it comes to food, at least at home).  I hear that there ARE people out there who don't struggle with their weight or overdoing it on certain foods, and for them, these would make a decently healthy snack/treat.  Unfortunately, I'm not one of them.  But that's OK.

If you want a chance at winning a prize package of 3 bags of Snikiddy snacks and a $25 grocery store gift card, are 18 years of age or older, and live in the U.S., leave a comment telling me you want in - I'll draw a winner next Thursday and post it in the Mishmash on May 4th (interwebs willing).  Snikiddy will mail you the prize, I'm just the middleman.  If you don't want to wait to see if you're the winner, you can download a coupon for a free bag here.  Good luck!

FCC:  Snikiddy sent me three bags of snacks to try - the review is all my own opinion.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update - What's the Plan, Stan?

Running club is done until late June - and while we have a couple more 5K's on tap for the next two weekends, I'm not training for anything in particular.  Which is a dangerous thing for Lazy Shelley.  Old habits are just too easy for me to fall back into, moreso with exercise than eating.  While I know that eating right is my first line of defense in maintaining my weight loss, exercise helps, too.  In the last couple of weeks, I've considered the following:
  • Going back to my old trainer, Brad.  I did enjoy the small group workouts, and my body definitely looked fitter when I was doing them.  However, I would have to commit to a 12 week plan, and more importantly, PAY for it.  He wasn't cheap, and his prices, like everything else in life, have increased.  I'm not working, and really can't justify that expense.  Plus, there are things I'm not willing to do anymore (basically any jumping move) because I don't want to make my not-quite-healed ankle any worse, and that would mean modified workouts...which he would do, but still.  Mostly it's the high cost that is stopping me.
  • The pool.  I either need to get back to the gym and start swimming again, or else let that membership need to be paying for something I'm not using.  While I don't think I get a great workout with swimming (mostly because of what I put into it), I did see changes when I was swimming five days a week.  Now that I'm running, I wouldn't swim that often, but a couple of days used as cross-training would do me some good.  
  • Yoga.  I really enjoyed my outdoor yoga classes last summer/fall.  They haven't started up again - I wish they would, as I'd be be back there in a heartbeat.  I know that they would not only be good for me with muscle strengthening, but also might help me with controlling my breathing, and I could apply that to my running.  I could look for another yoga class, but that is really stepping outside of my comfort zone - it was hard enough to go to this one.
  • Running.  Well obviously, I'm going to keep this up!  My plan is to run between 2.5 - 3 miles on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then do a 5 mile long run every Saturday.  I like that distance for a "standard" long run - it should take about an hour, and I won't be too sore afterward.  And then, when running club starts back up, I'll have a decent base to being training again.  Training for what, you ask?  Well, I'm going to try for another half marathon, but I'll continue to reevaluate and see how everything feels along the way...while I'd like to do few more, I don't want to do so at the cost of another dumb injury where I can't run at all.
Honorable mentions to the above list include biking (but with my cruiser bike, that's more of a leisure activity at this point) and at-home core work...while she was here, my mom and I were talking about making up a schedule of what to do, workout-wise, on what days, as I just forget to, say, do some planks in the evening.  (and hello, could that last sentence have any more commas?)  So I'll make up some sort of schedule...and stick to it.

Speaking of running, I felt so good after Saturday's 5K that I willingly woke up early on Monday morning to run with Jeff.  Crazy, right?!?  We did his standard neighborhood/store parking lots loop, which was 2.6 miles.  Here's proof:
Sweaty and red-faced...perfect way to start off the morning!
Close up of Ricky Bobby showing the distance...and a bonus picture of Paco showing what he really thinks about all this running business!

Jenny and I ran yesterday, so I've got 5 miles under my belt already - have I mentioned how happy I am to be running again?  It's nice to be back!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Teal Ribbon 5K Recap!

What a fun race.  With a cool temperature of 55 degrees(!), a start time of 9:00 am, and a 10 minute drive from home, this was such a relaxed traffic to deal with, and it was even daylight when we left the house!  I even slept pretty good before the race - only woke up a couple of times, which is normal for me.  Usually I'm tossing and turning all night before a race - WHY, I have no idea - it's not like I'm racing racing, you know?  But I felt calm going into this - I think that knowing it was only a 5K, and I could do that (I could, I could!!!) gave me some confidence.
Henry posing with the cute teal ribbon soap that came in our packets...sure, we got a race t-shirt, but how cute is this soap?!?

The Teal Ribbon 5K was done by our local Sexual Assault Resource Center, and the race director happened to be Cary, who was in our running club this last season!  This was the first time they've done a race, and it went really well.  It was in Downtown Bryan - I've run the Downtown Derby there before, so I knew that the course would be pretty flat, which of course, is my favorite.  The only hard part ended up being the first half mile, as we were running directly into the wind, which was blowing a little over 20 mph.  Really, wind - again?!?  But I could see ahead to the point where we would turn, and I knew that the wind wouldn't be an issue after that, so I just powered through it.

My goal for this race was to run the entire time, and also hopefully finish faster than I did my last 5K, which was 39:01.  And?  I achieved both goals!!!  While I struggled a bit with the panic breathing at first, my legs felt good and I knew that I was going to be able to keep running.  Our finish time was 37:18 - average pace was 12:30!  But get this:  my first mile pace was 12:13.  I didn't intend to start out that fast - really, I'd planned on doing that mile in 13 minutes, but I guess the starting excitement, plus powering through the wind made me a little faster.  Second mile was 12:46, third mile was 12:32.  Not bad, not bad at all!

Yes, my jacket matched the balloons...I was quite pleased with that!
Julia!  My USAFit running buddy from the very beginning - love seeing her smiling face!  And how cute was her outfit?!?  I was so proud. :)
Just having a good time before the race...
Wearing our Brazos Running Company technical shirts!
At the starting, crack.  Seriously - we stood behind a crack in the road!  I liked the small-town feel of that.
See?  I wasn't kidding about the starting crack!
I lined up at the back, where I like to start (no worries about getting in the way of serious runners).  Jeff took some pictures, and I laughed later, when I uploaded them and saw the girl in the orange shirt finally give me a look like "who are you and why so many pictures?!?"
Look, I'm really running!!!  See the nice, flat course?  My kinda race!
Finished - with the race director, Cary, who did a great job with her first race!
Jeff, me, Julia and Will - USAFit BCS, finishers!
I promise, I didn't know until after I'd signed us up for the race, but Red Mango was a sponsor and our favorite manager (who sadly is going to be leaving the state soon), Cam, was there, making smoothies for the racers!  Deeelicious!
Wake up, run 3.1 miles, get a smoothie.  What more could you want?  Except for, maybe, some dance tunes???  
Hammer Time - Will and Julia getting their groove on!
Random runner - do you think she got to do the race in a baby jogger?
Julia won the prize for the best teal costume - most deservedly, I have to say!  

All in all, this race was everything I'd hoped it would be - a fun morning spent with good friends, enough running to regain my confidence, and a great start to the weekend!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Mishmash - Feels Like Summer!

I am all ready for summer, thanks to a care package from sweet Katie J:
Flip flops, a huge beach towel (with my blog flower on it...haha, do you like how I "own" the hibiscus?), and a cool insulated cup, again with my blog flower!  So cute - and how does she know I love pink???
She also included a Sweaty Band, which I can't wait to try!
First shot - the light didn't work, but I had to include this because of the background subject...

Katie, you really shouldn't have...but I'm glad you did!  Thanks so much!!


Gecko.  Newt.  Salamander.  Lizard?  I really have no idea what this is, or if there is a difference between all four (there must be, otherwise why the different names?), but this guy was hanging around while I took the Sweaty Band pictures and I thought his color was so pretty:
I don't mind these guys when they are outside.  But every once in a while, they slip inside the house, and then?  All bets are off - it's just them and the cats.  And sometimes?  The cats win.


Speaking of pets, I wish you could see how well Paco sits and waits for his treats...he will wait until the cows come home (or we say OK, whichever comes first).  Once a month, he hears the Heartgard package crackling and is RIGHT THERE, waiting for his treat.  This month I tortured him by placing the treat on my knee and taking several pictures before he got the dog.  So fun.  And this helps to make up for all the barf I get to clean up when he throws up in his crate at night.  Pets.  Why???


I have something unusual (for me) to show you with my Sit and Knit diet - a calm, neutral-colored yarn.  You know how much I love color, but this yarn was so soft that I couldn't stop touching it at the store, so I bought it.  I'm making a scarf, using a simple pattern of casting on 34 stitches, then doing a knit 2, purl 2 repeat.  Thought it would be good practice with purling, and I am still fascinated that I can create ribbing by doing this.  So I set off, knitting away...and wait...this didn't look right.  Brought it into the knitting store, where I was told you have to "knit the knits and purl the purls" - and actually LOOK at your stitches to determine which one to do.  Oh.  I was just K2, P2 away...oops!  Once I got that straightened out, the scarf began to develop how I thought it would:
This scarf has also been an exercise in patience to see what subtle pattern develops with the yarn - again, not my usual color choice, but I like it.


Fashion Friday continues with another outfit I bought while shopping with my mom.  I love this top for several reasons:  it reminds me of something from the early 70s, the colors are so summery (can you tell it's getting warm here?) and it's loose and comfortable - the better to beat the heat AND hide my stomach.
Paired with some Lee capris that I bought at JC Penney, during an ego-tastic shopping trip where every pair of capris that I brought into the dressing room FIT.  How often does that happen???  If you're me, never.

Tomorrow we have a 5K fun run on tap - and the weather is forecast to be in the mid-50s!  Perfect running temperature!  I'm looking forward to this race - it's only 3.1 miles, woohoo!!!  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update - 10K Training Review

When I was writing my recap for the 10K race, I started to go down a pretty negative path, and rather than sully the race experience - which was mostly fun - I decided to save the negative talk for today - aren't you lucky?!?  LOL.  Really, it's not all bad.  But it's real, and as this blog is all about my journey (to fit!), I thought I'd share what has been a rocky road (and not the delicious kind) with my getting back to running.

I started this training program with the goal of just getting to the point of running again, which I accomplished, so that was huge for me.  But the hard thing was that while I had mostly good runs, I always felt a little behind, because not only had I already done this once before (back in 2010), I had done it better (And my gosh, I've lived in Texas too long because that sentence structure just flowed out of my mind, bad grammar and all.  Next thing you know, I'll be fixin' to run. I need a California visit, stat!).  Logically, I know it was dumb to feel that way - after all, I'm a couple years older, less fit, AND coming back from an injury.  But logic and my brain don't always coexist peacefully.  So I battled many long runs in my mind, with being the slowest person out there.  It's not like my running club is competitive - that is the antithesis of what we are - but in my head, I was competing against the RunnerShelley Version 1.0.  This new me, RunnerShelley Version 2.0, is not the same, and it was hard to accept that, week after week.  Every time that I ran a bit longer, or ran a new distance, while I was still happy about that (and being able to run, period), deep down, I was full of doubts because I just wasn't where I used to be.  DUMB, I know.  Try knowing that and still feeling it.  Oh, it's fun to be me.

I had good runs and not-so-good runs.  The longest I've run without stopping is 4 miles.  Which is really, really good!  I think part of why this ended up being so hard for me was that every week we increased our long run distance - there was never a chance to "just" run the same distance again...we were always doing more.  I am discovering that for me and my comfort level/mental health, I need to be able to say "oh, we're just running four miles?  I can do that" - it's like I need instant replay (well, a week later instant replay).  Instead, I found myself thinking "oh crap, now we've got to run XX miles..." - it was ALWAYS more, and always a challenge.  We all know that running is hard enough to do on the physical level, but for me, it was turning into a huge thing, mentally.

I am relieved that the 10K is over and done with.  I am relieved that for the next three weekends, we "only" have 5K races on the schedule.  I am really looking forward to them - they are all in town, on relatively flat courses, and I know that I can run 3.1 miles.  I like doing 5K races - this is what got me hooked on running two years ago.  And after the last few weeks, running a 5K sounds so easy!  Don't get me wrong - I know it will still be a challenge to me, but a much more doable challenge.  Most of all, though, I'm relieved that I CAN run again.  I honestly wondered if it was ever going to happen...a year is a long time to not run.  But I am a runner, and I will continue to run, and most of all, enjoy it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Blue Bell 10K Fun Run Recap!

Whew - I am so glad that this race is done!  Unfortunately, I knew going into it that it would not be a super-happy-fun-time for me, and yes, I know that having that kind of expectation does not help, but here's a list of why I was not thrilled to be doing this race:
  1. I have never liked running a 10K race
  2. I don't like hills
  3. I wasn't ready to run 6.2 miles yet
So with all of that, you may be wondering why in the world I did this race.  Well, it was the goal race for my running club's 10 Week/10K program.  I wouldn't have missed it for the world.  It's a really pretty race, out in the country, in a small town where it seems like everyone turns out to support it (the race benefits the local high school athletic programs).  And you get ice cream afterward!  I think the benefits outweighed the detriments, for sure.  By the way, those detriments included:
  1. Waking up at 4:00 am in order to be on the road by 5:00 am (parking was going to be crazy, so we'd rather be there early to avoid traffic hassles)
  2. WIND.  It was really, really windy - blowing close to 20 MPH, with gusts in the 30 MPH range.  That is not fun to run in
  3. Hot weather - it was near 80 degrees when we started the race
  4. Hills.  Yes, I've already mentioned that, but it bears repeating - I am a flatland runner, and I like it that way!
Anyway, enough complaining - time for the recap.  We arrived at the location just after 6:00 am and met up with our running club peeps - Coach Dale had set up our pop-up awning, and many of us brought lawn chairs.  We all sat around and chatted - we were so early, we'd even arrived before packet pickup started!  No matter - it was good company and a chance to catch up with everyone, as we're usually busy doing that running thing.  We also got to hang with another USAFit group out of Montgomery, which was nice.  We finally got our packets and found two fun items inside:
A technical shirt!  Unusual for a fun run, but very cute and much appreciated!
 And a packet of bluebonnet seeds!  Love the "Texas" touches on this race.

Once the sun came up, it was time for some group shots:
The finish line!!!  We were all looking in different directions because there were two cameras going.
At the ice cream truck, where we would later get our treats!
Coach Dale wanted us to show off our shirt backs, but I love how both Julia and I couldn't resist turning around toward the camera!
Jeff had to check out the truck - the difference between us is that I would have checked out the freezer section where all the ice cream was, not the cab!

Then we headed to the start line, where Coach Dale got this shot of us as we waited:
You couldn't miss us out on the race course - love our bright orange shirts!

At 8:30, the race began.  I didn't look at my Garmin for pace - just tried to run without going into that panic-breathing that I've been doing.  And I did pretty well at the start - was surprised afterward to see that my first mile's pace was 12:32.  Of course, it all went downhill - er, UPhill from there, and I ended up finishing in 1:28, for an average pace of 14:08.  Yes, there was walking.  A minor mental breakdown around mile 2.5.  Hills!  Wind gusts - one even blew off Jeff's hat!  Heat!  Jeff started pouring water on the back of my neck at the mile 3 water station, and that helped a lot.  Lots of great course support, from the water stations at every mile, to the spectators who were very encouraging, as well as many of the runners in our pack.  Heck, I even got compliments on my new hat and you know that made my day!
Image taken from here as I forgot to get a good shot while wearing it... 

Finally, the end was close - and thankfully, after a killer hill, the last two-tenths of the race were downhill.  Jeff and I caught up to Molly, who I ran intervals with during the first couple of weeks of running club, and the three of us crossed the finish line together - woohoo!!!  After that?  A visit to the ice cream truck was in order!
About 30 seconds after this picture was taken, most of my rainbow popsicle melted and broke off.  Awww!  That's OK, because there was a delicious Crunch bar waiting for me.  Yum.

So.  Not my best race, by far, but it was fun to be with my running club peeps and see everyone complete the race.  More thoughts on my running season coming on the WWU in a couple of days.