The Incredible Shrinking Krista

Sunday, November 8, 2015

UGH----DNF's suck

I went out today to run the Battleship Half Marathon.  This should have been my redemption from 3 years ago when I believe the police officer at mile 12.5 when he said I had another mile and a half and got in his car to have him drive me to the finish line.

Back in September, I had participated in the Student/Staff basketball game.  Unfortunately, playing basketball with 12 year olds, when you are 40, just isn't the best idea, and I did something to my knee.  I went and had it checked out and the doctor said there was nothing wrong with it.  It has been swelling off and on ever since.  I messed it up again last week at intramurals with the kids.

As soon as I started to run today, literally, the first running step, my knee started hurting.  It hurt so bad in the first mile that I stopped and seriously considered turning around at the 5k turn-around and just doing the 5k.  I literally said out loud, 'Not you are NOT giving up!"  I kept on cruising, keeping my intervals going.

I was doing OK and super happy to see that the course had changed enough since I ran it 3 years ago, and no right turn onto the street with cobblestones.  Sadly, the turn was just delayed, and we still had to turn and run down the cobblestone streets twice.  Both of these turns, to get back up to Front Street required a rather large uphill climb.

The climb was so brutal, after a couple of bad steps on the cobblestones, I was just in too much pain to continue.

The frustrating part is that I was on pace to get a PR.  Even with the knee pain, I was staying between 14:30 and 14:55 per mile.

While DNF's suck, they are far less painful when you pull yourself to avoid injury than when you get pulled due to inability to maintain the pace.  I really think I probably COULD have finished in time today, but I would likely have done more damage to my knee.  I have some pretty big racing goals for 2016, none of which include time to recover from knee surgery or a major knee injury.

So, I've had the knee checked out and there is no known injury, just an issue as far as discomfort and inflammation.  I'm going to get in some physical Therapy to support my knee and get it healthy and strong.  I'm going to be working with my running coach, and starting back as square 1--building slowly.  I'm only going to be doing 2 big races in 2016.

I'll be doing RNR Raleigh Half Marathon in April, and then Marine Corps Marathon on October 30, 2016.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Where did the last 3 months go?!?!?!

I'm really not sure what happened, or how I have gone 3 months without blogging.

In the last 3 months I have had some additional testing and found that my foot, while not broken, has a bit of arthritis.  I asked the doctor if that meant I should quit running, to which he said, "No, the health of your heart is far more important than a bit of pain in your foot."  He told me to keep doing what I've been doing, keep my heart healthy until I just can't handle the pain anymore.  Once I get to that point, they will fuse the joint in my foot that has too much wiggle-room.  In the meantime, I am going to be wearing a pretty heavy-duty brace to support my foot and ankle.  In an effort to minimize the pain, I will be using KT Tape/Rock Tape, in addition to my ankle brace and after my long runs, I can take some heavy-duty pain medicine if I need to to minimize the pain.

I have also seen the two year anniversary of my weight loss surgery come and go.  I am at this point still stable, and have been for a year, at between 172 and 178.  I would still like to lose 30-40 more pounds though.  My foot doctor says that doing so will minimize the pain and discomfort in my foot from running.  Also, my primary care doctor says that he'd like to see me under 150.  Sadly, even having lost 95 pounds, I'm still technically considered obese.  In order to be considered just "overweight", I would need to get to 164, less than I weighed when I graduated high school.

I have been doing a great deal of research and everything seems to indicate that to get the scale moving down again, I need to up my cardio.

I also am honest enough to admit that I have gotten comfortable again and allowed myself to fall back into some not so productive habits, primarily, drinking sweet tea, coffee, and eating some carbs again.  I know that I need to "re-set" my taste buds again to get out of these habits.  I have some of my protein shakes I used to drink regularly, and I'm seriously considering going back to my "pre-operative diet" where I had protein shakes 2x/day, and a healthy dinner with protein and veggies.  Once I've re-set myself, I'm seriously thinking of working on doing the "Whole 30" diet.  I know that I need to get away from, and stay away from processed crp, and this seems like a decent way to get started down that path.

So--I'm going to be heading to the gym, and working my bootie off.  I'm going to be on social media a whole lot less, and at the gym a whole lot more.  I still have some big goals, and I'll reach them.  It may take a bit longer and hurt a bit more, but I'll get there.

Raleigh, City of Oaks Half Marathon on November 1
May run the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon in March, 2016
Begin Marathon training April of 2016
Run Marine Corps Marathon, October 2015, raising funds for Multiple Sclerosis

If all that goes as planned, and I can get myself in good enough shape, I may tackle the biggest goal I've ever considered in 2017, and attempt the IronMan 70.3 in Raleigh, in June, 2017.

Big dreams require big plans and a TON of training...that doesn't happen sitting on my computer at night.

See ya out there running....


Monday, July 20, 2015

Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon, Chicago

This past weekend, I took on a re-match with the Rock 'n Roll Chicago Half marathon.  You may remember that last year I Got pulled off the course at mile 8 for being very dehydrated.  This year, was a whole different situation, and I'm so proud to share it with you.

On Saturday, we (my running mom friends and I) headed out early for the 5k.  It is a pretty simple course, all on sidewalks, through parks, and along Lake Michigan.  It is beautiful, partly shaded, but somehow, the windy city hadn't even a breeze to offer us while running along the lake, and I thought for sure I might spontaneously combust.  I was imagining myself like a popcorn kernal just exploding at some random time.  Instead, I finished my 5k in just over my previous PR time.  My average pace for the race was 14:11, for a time of 44:03.

Probably the highlight of my day was when I finished and we headed to the finish line festival, in the hopes of meeting Meb.  Meb is the same age as I am, and won the 2014 Boston Marathon in just over 2 hours.  That means he ran 26.2 miles in about 2 hours and 9 minutes.  Considering that at 2 hours, I'm just over halfway done with a half, he's a flipping speed demon.  As you can see on my blog heading, I did indeed meet Meb, and he was SOOO nice!  He asked me my name, shook my hand, and genuinely smiled and congratulated me on my 5k.

After the race, we went to Giordano's for some amazing Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.  It was delicious!!!  After I felt like I had run the 5k in a sauna, I knew that my plan of running in capris on Sunday was a horrible idea, so we headed off to TJ Maxx and I found what was labeled as a Tennis skirt, and a bit shorter than I would normally wear, but it would be cooler than the capris, so I took the risk.  We ate dinner at the hotel, and then off to an early bedtime to prepare for the half marathon yesterday.  Sitting at dinner, I almost started crying just because the forecast was brutal.  I had a panic attack at dinner just thinking about it.

When a group of moms get together, run away for a weekend, to go running, we can still clean up pretty well.

We were up at 5 yesterday morning to prepare for the race.  Because I get a nervous tummy on race days, I decided to take the pre-emptive strike and take some immodium on Saturday night before bed.  Probably one of the best decisions EVER to prevent dehydration.  Up, ready and out the door by around 6:00 for the 6:30 start.  I was starting in corral 34 out of 36, so the fact that as I walked up, the 3rd corral was starting didn't worry me at all.  My friend Rachael and I hung out in the corral, took a few pictures and tried to chat and relax.  The longer we stood, the hotter I got, the sweat started to run, and I got more and more scared that I wasn't going to make it.

I use an interval timer, and run for 30 seconds, then walk for 30 seconds.  I started out really comfortable.  I didn't even bring my GPS because in reality, the tunnels and underpasses screw it up so badly, its not reliable.  I just turned on my music, and my Gym Boss timer app, and headed out.  My friend Rachael and I agreed that we were going to start out together, but I didn't want to hold anyone back.  I passed Rachael fairly early on, knowing that wouldn't last all that long.  I had to stop at mile 4 to slather everything from my hoo-ha to my knees with vaseline to avoid chafing.  The last thing I needed was chafing.  Rachael caught up to me while I was bathing myself in vaseline to see how I was doing.  I grabbed us both some ice to chew on and we headed back out.

Last year at mile 4 was when I started to fall completely apart and my stomach started to revolt.  Every step beyond that that I didn't feel like I was dying was an improvement over my experience last year.  See, when you've been on a weight loss journey and trying to find yourself for as long as I have, you HAVE to acknowledge not just the successes, but also the improvements.  Life changes take time, and effort, and persistence, and it certainly is NOT a success only journey.  Facing my previous failures is one way for me to push myself beyond what I myself, and sometimes even everyone else, doubts I can do.

When you are on a race course, you look for entertainment, and encouragement, wherever you can find it...This was a good start, yesterday:

At mile 6, I trotted myself through a fire hydrant turned misting station, and LOVED every second that the cool water lasted on my body, even if I did have to hold my tutu up because it got too heavy with the water.  I was rapidly approaching mile 8, which I knew was where it all ended last year.  At mile 7, I hit a major wall.  I didn't feel like I was going to make it, AT ALL!  I was hot, I was tired, and I knew my pace was falling off.  (I had maintained a 15 minute mile through the first 10k, but that wasn't happening anymore).  I walked all of mile 7 I think.  At mile 8, I realized that last year when they were talking about taking me to the hospital, I was on the hospital grounds.  I told them I didn't have time, not realizing I was right there all along.  At mile 8 medical tent, I grabbed some salted Gatorade to try to prevent the dehydration from setting in.  I grabbed a few hand fulls of ice as well.  I shoved 1 handful in my cleavage, 1 down my back, and then put some in that nasty salted Gatorade.  Salted Gatorade isn't nearly as vile when it is cold.  I walked about half of mile 8 while I drank my Gatorade, then picked up my intervals again.  I was able to maintain the intervals fairly well until mile 10.

It got really, really hot at mile 10 and just couldn't keep running.  I kept putting my feet out and going as much as I could.  From mile 10-the finish line save for the tunnel through the parking garage, we were in the sun.  With the heat, that made it super brutal.  I walked the majority of what was left of the race.  At mile 11, There was someone handing out cold wet sponges, and a misting station immediately after that.

I just kept walking.  Somewhere around mile 10-1/2, my running play list kicked to "Just Keep Swimming" from Finding Nemo.  I did just that.  People were dropping like flies around me.  There was someone picked up in the tunnel under the parking deck, and another one within the site of the finish line.

At the mile 12 medical station, I jogged over, and the medic got nervous.  I told them, I just needed ice.  When they pointed me to a kiddie pool full of ice and water, I grabbed a wash cloth, threw it on top of my head.  I also grabbed a few handfuls of ice, again.  I put some in my bra, rubbed some one my lips and chewed on some a bit at a time.

With just over a mile to go, it started to get very hot, and very real.  We passed Soldier Field:

Which I had to take a picture of for my sister.  Then we went up and over an overpass.  The last person I saw down was laying on the finish line side of the overpass.  I felt so awful for her.  She clearly just couldn't go any further.  I kept pushing along, and was in sight of the finish line.  Every step hurt a bit more.  By this point, my interval time had quit working and shut down, and I couldn't hear my music because the water I kept dumping on my head had gotten into my earbuds.  I took them out, and did what I started my training doing, run to the next light pole, walk to the next light pole, using light poles, instead of a timing app.  I got into the finisher's chute, and I heard the announcer say, "And here's Krista Blackburn".....I wanted to jump up and down and scream, "That's me!  I MADE IT!!!", but I didn't have the energy, so I just kept trotting, then walking...

I finished my second half marathon finish line in 3:40:38.  This was about 13 minutes slower than the Savannah Publix Women's half in March.  That race was PERFECT race weather, about 62 degrees and flat.  Chicago was about 30 degrees warmer, and most-certainly was NOT flat.  For some reason that I don't quite understand, the streets we ran on that were parallel to Michigan Avenue there was a breeze, and they were a bit shaded.  Running up the streets perpendicular to Michigan Avenue, I felt like I was being baked in a Deep Dish Chicago Pizza Oven.  

My finisher's photo is pretty priceless, honestly.  You can see my tears, and I'm trying desperately to smile, but just couldn't quite do it.  After crossing, I just stopped to cry.  The medics kept telling me how awesome I was for having finished.  I had decided prior to finishing I was definitely going to stop and ask them to take my blood pressure to check me for dehydration.  When I reached the finish line and was able to cry; real, wet tears, I knew I wasn't dehydrated, so I skipped it.  I got my medal, and a wash cloth soaked in ice water.  Next was a thing of chocolate milk which I can only describe as tasting something akin to was SOOOO good.  I did stop at the 2nd med tent to get some ice for my sore knee and headed out to find my friends.  

We headed over to the finish line festival to pick up our remix medals (for having completed the 5k, and the half marathon I got an extra medal).  

I took a seat to listen to the after race concert by Andy Grammer, and got to hear this live!

I sat down to listen to Andy Grammer and the reality of what I had done and how I was feeling set in for sure.  I looked pretty horrible, but then reality set in.  This year was FAR worse than last year heat and humidity wise.  I was never in danger of being swept.  I only saw the sag wagon once, and that was when the course had a turn around, and they were about a mile behind me or so.  I am super proud of what I did.  It was brutal.  There were people dropping like flies, and I made it.  I didn't meed medical attention, other than for my knee, and stopping at the doctor today.....

Sitting in the park, listening to Andy Grammer and sporting 2 of my 3 medals

After we got back and showered, 5 of our group members headed out to get tattoos.  So as we piled into a cab (There would be no more walking as a means of transportation after the half marathon was over) I had my left foot in the cab and my right foot in the gutter.  Our not-so-observant cab driver started driving off.  The other ladies yelled at him, and as I felt the tire of the cab rub the back of my heel, I jumped out of the cab and back up onto the curb.  I jumped out of my shoes, dropped my purse, and almost busted my face on the scaffolding there.  Fortunately, the worst part was that I further injured my already painful foot, but didn't end up under the wheels of his cab.  The girls climbed out and we got ourselves another taxi.  We all piled in again, and headed back out to get our running tattoos.  

We had Cheesecake Factory for dinner and headed back to the hotel again.  It was an early night, and I got up to head out early this morning to head home.  

Upon my return home, I decided to get my foot checked out since I can't walk very well at all.  There was nothing on the x-rays, but the doctor is concerned about the fact that I have previously had a fracture that wasn't visible on an x-ray, and only diagnosed with an MRI.  He is concerned that maybe my Navicular fracture from 3-1/2 years ago never healed, or that I may have re-broken it or another bone.  I'm wearing a brace for the next 2 weeks, and then a follow-up, which may lead to an MRI, then who knows what.  

When I was on the race course yesterday, I swore that it was my last ever half.  I should have clarified that it was my last half in July, and until I knew what was wrong with my foot/ankle.  See, the thing is, I had my weight loss surgery to get healthy, not to break my body until I couldn't walk in the name of health and fitness.  I truly don't know how I feel about another half right now.  I'm so very proud of what I have accomplished.  I don't hurt at all today, with the exception of my right foot/ankle.  My legs aren't sore and I feel awesome.  I finished my half yesterday, and was able to continue doing the things I wanted to do, I didn't have to go lay in bed because I was so broken.  The biggest deciding factor for me is definitely the physical well-being of my foot and ankle.  Right now, it doesn't look or feel all that good:  

So, let's see what the appointment in 2 weeks holds, and how well the ankle heals.  I'd appreciate any thoughts and prayers you could send my way.  Rachael, Jennifer, Julie, Michelle and Stacey--you ladies made this weekend one of my favorite get-aways EVER!  You are all so much fun, and it was amazing.  I can't do Chicago again next year, but I just KNOW we'll meet up again soon at another race.  Rachael--I'll be cheering you on at MCM in October.  You all inspire me!  


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

WLS, My Reality...and questions about Cosmetic Surgery

I've had this post rolling around in my head for the last month, maybe.  I don't know.  It's a kind of weird, rambly, multi-topic post that may not make much sense.  That is all because I can't even wrap my brain around all the things I am feeling.....

So a few weeks ago, after a run, my 11 year old son pointed out how much smaller my belly was than it used to be.  Then a few days later, as I was wearing my bikini and getting ready to get into the pool, he pointed out that I had a "wiggly tummy".  I was mortified that he felt like that was an OK thing to say to anyone, but then again, I have tried to raise my kids to be open and honest.  After having a very calm conversation about the fact that it isn't OK to say whatever it is that pops into your head, and that while things may be a fact, they can still be hurtful and should be kept to ones self, I felt very conflicted.  Here's why.

I had weight loss surgery so that I could be active and be able to keep up with my 3 amazing kids.  I didn't have it to be skinny, or to look like a model (like that would EVER happen anyway), but to be the healthiest wife and mother I could be.  Now that I've lost 95#, the long list of possible plastic surgeries it would take for my body to look "normal" I started to feel very fake.  I didn't want to lose weight to have the perfect body, but to be healthy, so WHY do I feel the need to undergo additional surgeries to "fix" my body cosmetically?

As I stood in the shower and washed my stomach later that afternoon, I realized that my body tells a story.  It tells of a 40 year struggle with the body that God endowed me with.  It tells of my struggle with obesity, and it shows what having 4 pregnancies can do to a woman's body when she is already obese at the time of conception.  But my body also tells a beautiful story of redemption and hard work.  I'll ignore the obvious argument that I've heard about a million times since telling people of my decision to have Weight Loss Surgery that I "took the easy way out" and the million recommendations I've heard of what I should have done instead.

I took control of the only thing in this life that I truly feel has ever beat me.  I have survived a rape at age 18, I survived a verbally and emotionally abusive marriage, I survived the death of my son, Henry James at 18 weeks gestation, WHY couldn't I get beyond the weight issue?  Why was that the 1 thing I couldn't "beat"?

So now, here I sit, wearing my size 14 Ralph Lauren capris (down from a size 22), my 36DD bra (down from a size 44DDD), having completed a sprint triathlon, a half marathon, getting ready to run my 2nd half marathon this weekend, feeling like I still need to have surgery to "fix" me and make myself acceptable.  So, I'm going to do something I NEVER thought I would do.  I'm going to share some pictures that also help to document my journey in a very real, and scary way.  I bought a "goal bathing suit" the weekend before my WLS nearly 2 years ago with the plan of taking pictures in it along the way to see the progress.  Somewhere along the way, that bikini has been lost, but since I bought a new one last month, I have something to show the comparison, which is quite frankly, shocking to me.  The pictures of now show my flaws too.  My thighs are saggy, my belly button barely visible, the girls aren't where they're supposed to be, but that's why Victoria makes so much $$ for her secret.

I'm not saying I'll never have cosmetic surgery, quite frankly, clothes are often uncomfortable thanks to the belly skin hanging down, and the saggy thigh skin.  I may well have surgery at some point, but it would be more for comfort than for cosmetic purposes.  This body has carried 4 babies, 3 to term...It has allowed me to complete a triathlon, a few 5k's and a half marathon.  It has let me fail to complete 6 half marathons, but I've never given up.  This is the body God gave me, and I'm going to do whatever I can to keep it healthy and thriving.  My body shows battle wounds and scars, it tells a story of hard fought battles; some battles have been won, some are ongoing, and some were lost...but it's MY story, MY body, and at least for today, I'm going to love myself and my body.  For today, I'm going to accept the stretch marks, and saggy skin for what it is, proof of progress toward a goal of health and fitness; besides, is there a "loose skin" factor taken into account for health and fitness?  Me thinks not, so for now, I'll keep mine.

The pictures in the yellow bathing suit were taken on October 4, 2013, just 4 days after my WLS, thus the reason for the large bruises, as those were my incision sites.  The other 2 were in May.  I took the standing one in the Target dressing room, trying to decide whether I should be the girl wearing a bikini who obviously had no reason to be at the beach.  The last was taken by my husband.  I was laying out at the beach, obviously I had decided that I didn't mind being "THAT GIRL" that got the rolled eyes for wearing a suit obviously too small for my body, and he thought I looked hot.  Clearly, Gravity isn't kind, but when I lay down, everything kinda falls into a decent place.  This is when I'm most torn about having cosmetic surgery.  I can see the body I "could have" if I let someone take away the extra skin on my thighs and tummy and stretched the skin more taut.....Ah, the struggles of facing reality.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Today is THAT DAY!

I have struggled for years to see myself the way others see me.  This is not something that is easy for me.

I find myself questioning the legitimacy of compliments paid to me, I don't believe that those comments and/or compliments are without strings.

When I look in the mirror, I typically see nothing but a long list of flaws.  It usually goes something like this:

yes, but, I have these scars on my face (from 6 stitches), too many freckles, 3 chins, flabby arms, a horrendously large muffin top, loose/flabby thighs and cankles.

Today, after getting up from having my hair cut and colored. I stood up to look in the mirror, and I saw ME.  I didn't see the long list of flaws that I would typically run off without even a moment's thought.

I actually did a double-take because rather than listing off my flaws, I simply thought, "I love my hair".  I was actually completely dumbfounded by the reality of that and what it meant as far as where I was in my mental journey after my weight loss surgery.  For the first time in my life, I didn't look at my flaws, I just saw me, and I was happy with what I saw.

I shared this with one of my friends online who has been a huge inspiration to me, and she said that this is the first step to loving myself.  I've never felt that way, so this is a brand new experience for me, and one I look forward to furthering and learning more about.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

18 months post-op

I had my 18 month post-op appointment today.

I met with Dr. Bruce and two students that aspire to be doctors.  I had a few questions that I needed to ask so I basically just let it rip.

After my half marathon on the 28th, I had a great deal of difficulty getting warm.  Basically Dr. Bruce told me that my body doesn't regulate temperature well, and never will again.  If I plan to continue doing "extreme activities" like half marathons, etc, I need to plan on having pants/sweat shirt at the finish to keep from the poor adjustment afterwards.

I had also asked him about losing these last 25 pounds or so I'd like to lose.  I was very honest about having fallen back into some old habits, like drinking sweet tea and coffee, as well as skipping meals at times.  He said that he wants me to come back in a month with a food journal to look and see what is keeping me at the weight I've been at since July.  He really thinks that my body is in starvation mode because of skipped meals, and the carbs in my coffee and sweet tea are also preventing additional weight loss.  I'm going to do my very best to get back on track as far as my food and drinks the next month and see what happens.

I'm also going to do my best to stay off the scale until my next appointment on May 6.  I'd LOVE to see a number that starts with "16" when I get back there.  I haven't been below 171.something since high school/early college.

I've set my goal weight to be between 150 and 155, so would like to get this additional 23-28 additional pounds.

I'll check in again soon.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Savannah Women's Half Marathon--Half Marathon Attempt #7

I was reminded of a quote in my old CrossFit box, Fall down 7 times, get up 8.

Well, I fell down 6 times, and have gotten up 7.

We went to the expo on Friday night with the plan of getting our stuff, then heading to the Hotel.  My sister told me to buy the "I did it" or finisher t-shirt and just own it and KNOW I was going to finish.  I was going to, however, they didn't have one to buy.  The only thing I'm sad about is that I didn't buy a t-shirt, and we didn't get one with our registration.

While we were at the Expo, we signed up for the RNR Savannah in November.  I knew I
HAD to finish on Saturday.

We got up on Saturday and got ready to go to the race.  It started in Savannah's historic Forsyth Square.  On the way to the start line, I took a picture of the finish line and posted it on my Facebook page with the caption "See you in about 4 hours".  There was a 4 hour time limit for the race, and I was planning to walk the majority of the race.  I started using my RunKeeper app, and following the 30 second run/30 second walk intervals.  I figured I'd stick with those until I just couldn't stand it anymore and then I would walk.

To my surprise, at mile 6, I was still feeling pretty dang good.  about mile 6.5 I was a bit crampy and decided to eat the banana I had in my skirt pocket.  I missed a few running intervals while I was eating my banana.  I threw my peel away and got right back to my intervals.  The miles were clicking by fairly quickly (I know, I'm slower than slow, but for me, it seemed fast)

I just kept plugging along and running/walking whenever my running app told me to.  I did see the "sag wagon" following the last 3 ladies when I was between miles 7 & 8.  The last ladies were just after mile 6, as this was the part of the course where we went up and back and around the same park about 6 different ways.  I was a good bit ahead of them, but felt my anxiety starting to creep up.  As soon as it started I told myself, "no, run 30 seconds...walk 30 seconds....that is ALL that matters right now!"

I absolutely REFUSED to let anything negative enter my mind.  I had met with my running coach only once, but he told me that running is the most mental sport.  I told him that I have no faith in my ability to be a runner, or have any success athletically.  My sister is the athlete.  She is the one that everyone just knows will be good at things.  Anything she decides to do, if it's a sport, she's gonna kill it, or die trying.  I've always been the girly girl.  No one expects me to be athletic.  I want to be an athlete, but I just don't have any faith in my ability to be successful.

I refused to let anything negative get to me this time.  I started thinking at mile 8, "OMG, I still have 5 more miles to go?  How can I do this?"  So then I turned it around mentally and said, "You've finished 8 miles and the only time you didn't do your run intervals was when you were eating, KEEP IT UP!"

I hit the historic square before mile 9 (I had seen the mile 9 sign before I turned right to run around the square so I knew I was close).  Not long after that my sister called to see where I was.  The cool thing is, even when I was talking on the phone, my running app would notify me of the upcoming interval.  So even while on the phone with my sister, my mom, my kids, my husband, I kept doing my intervals.  When I talked o my sister at mile 9, she said, "oh, so you'll be here in about an hour."  I asked her what time it was, and she said, "9:35".  I almost passed out!!

That meant that I had done between 8 and 9 miles in 2 hours...averaging about 15 minute miles....and I was at mile 9.  Unheard of for me.  I was shocked, in a good way, and just kept plugging along.

I got past mile 10, then mile, mile 11 was brutal.  Why?  Not physically, no....but I was getting hungry...and someone between miles 11 & 12, somewhere, was cooking fried chicken.  I could smell it.  If I had known who it was, I would likely have busted through their door to steal a piece.  It smelled AMAZING!!!  I wanted a piece of that dang fried chicken.

I got to mile 12....almost the furthest I have ever been.  (remember at the Battleship Half I made it to mile 12.5).  Around the end of mile 11 my hamstrings would no longer let me run my 30 second intervals.  Kara called me again somewhere during mile 12.  I told her that I was somewhere in mile 12 and would be finishing soon.  About that time, I passed two of Savannah's finest, and asked them where I was, they said mile 12-1/2.  I told Kara that I couldn't run anymore, so it'd probably be like about 10-15 minutes.  Not too long after that, I turned a corner and I could see the fountain in Forsyth Park.  I started to cry...I knew I was going to make it.  I didn't give a CRAP about the time.  I was going to finish a half marathon!

I kept going, and a lady near me saw that I was crying and asked why.  I explained I had never finished a half marathon but had attempted it MANY times.  She slowed her pace a bit to stay with me, and encourage me through the last quarter mile or so.

Before I knew it, there was a guy telling us, "'re in the finisher's chute!!"  I was in shock.  There were people sitting on the park benches around the fountain, like spectators at a horse race.  I saw the mile 13 marker, and I wanted to run some intervals to finish.  I made myself run a bit.  I kept putting one foot in front of another.  I looked up at the finish line and could see the clock, which showed 3:27 something.  This is huge, because all Run Disney races, and most half marathons have a cap time of 3:30.  I was going to not only finish, but I was going to finish in under 3:30.  This is HUGE!!

Here are my split times, from RunKeeper, the third column has to do with change in elevation in each mile
1 mi
2 mi
3 mi
4 mi
5 mi
6 mi
7 mi
8 mi
9 mi
10 mi
11 mi
12 mi
13 mi
14 mi

Then I looked up and saw my sister, standing there waiting for me.  She had my medal, and she was going to put my medal on.  I crossed that finish line....and I cried, A LOT!  My sister hugged me and we cried together.  She was there to put my medal on me.  We took a finisher's photos, and I couldn't be more proud.

I am moving forward and will continue to run and work hard.  My next race is the Rock-n-Roll Chicago Half Marathon in July.  I do have a running coach, who will help me to get to reach all of my goals.  I'm hoping to train and get a bit faster, and see if I can't finish that race in under 3 hours...even 2:59:59 would work.  I know I can.

Thank you to everyone who has been so amazing and supportive of me and my goals over the years.  You all help me continue to chase my dreams, rather than giving up on them.

3 years, and I'm STILL fighting!

Three years ago at the end of February my kids went to Florida to watch the final shuttle launch.  While they were there, my Mom and Dad, my kids, my niece and my sister stayed at Shades of Green on Walt Disney World Property.  As a last minute thing, my sister signed up for the 5k during Princess Half Marathon weekend.  She told me how awesome it was, and seeing all the ladies dressed up in princess costumes while running, and that she was going to sign up.  I had decided to seriously work on my weight issues, and thus, the road to me finishing a half marathon began....

I was working with a Personal trainer, and seeing significant changes in my weight and ability, but he ended up leaving the gym, and I was again lost at sea.  My trainer hadn't talked to me about the logic behind what I was doing, he didn't teach me what to do or why I should do it.  I was at sea without a rudder, so I went back to old, unhealthy habits, and pretty much quit working out again.  Not having any concept of what it took to run a half marathon, and in complete denial about just how miserable unhealthy I was, I decided to start training in early January for a late February race.  This was a horrible decision that led to a early diagnosis of having a broken bone in my right foot after just 1 run.  The follow-up with my orthopedist showed no break, so I was basically told that running at 270 pounds was of course going to hurt, but if I kept running and moving, my weight should go down, and thus, the pain in the foot would get better.

February 26, 2012, I attempted the Princess Half Marathon.  I made it a whopping 2 miles before I saw a charter bus pulled across the road, and the bus took me to the finish line.  We were encouraged that even Cinderella had to catch a ride to the ball.  We were given our medals, and congratulated for our efforts.  I found this laughable, and didn't feel like I deserved my medal at all.  To this day, I'm not even sure where that medal is.  I didn't feel worthy of that medal.

I'm nothing if not persistent, sometimes to my own detriment.  I hurried up and registered for the Battleship Half Marathon in Wilmington, NC for the first weekend in November of 2012.  It had a 3 hour time limit for runners, but walkers were welcome, and could start an hour earlier to have a 4 hour time limit.  I didn't train between the two.  I did a 5k here in town and then waited for the race.  Again, I was in complete denial of just out horribly unhealthy and out of shape I was.  That day, I made it 12.5 miles before I threw in the towel.

Attempt number 3 at a half marathon was the Princess Half Marathon 2013.  I again made it 10 miles.  My foot was really painful.  I reached the point where the pain in my foot was SO BAD that I was feeling nauseous with every step.  I sat down and waited for that oh-so-dreaded charter bus to take me to the finish line.  That afternoon I went to the ER and they suspected I had a stress fracture.  I again followed up with an orthopedist who said there was no fracture or break, just the expected pain from running at 260 pounds or so.

In June of 2013 I ran a local 5k here in my town, and it took me almost an hour to finish, and then I couldn't walk right for nearly 3 days.  I finally went to a foot specialist who sent me for an MRI.  They found a small break in my Navicular bone.  This is one of the bones in the foot that bears weight.  As a result of it being an old break, I got to spend 8 blissful, sweaty and hot weeks in a boot.  Bone healed.

On September 30, 2013, I went ahead with Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery.  Once cleared to start exercising, I did...very slowly.  Then I decided to sign up for a transformation challenge at my gym.  in the first week of the challenge, I went to a Zumba class and tore up my left knee.  I ended up having to have knee surgery a year ago, on March 6.  about 6 weeks later, I had a friend who won an entry to the Diva Half marathon.  I signed up, and made it to 7 miles, but my knee wasn't ready, and locked up.  This is also the race where I learned about the horrors of a Neuroma in my foot.

On to attempt 5, the Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon.  I always end up getting a nervous stomach.  I tend to take an Imodium to prevent it, but forgot it this particular morning.  I started having to stop at every port-o-potty from mile 4 on.  Not a good thing.  Especially as a post-op WLS patient.  Dehydration is a serious danger, which I found out for myself in Chicago.  I got to mile 8 and asked for some Imodium.  When they took my blood pressure I was immediately pulled from the course due to dehydration.  I was transported to the finish line, this time in an ambulance, and got Salted Gatorade (the worst invention since Pitocin in my opinion) to get myself rehydrated.

Attempt number 6 was at the Wine and Dine race at Walt Disney World, otherwise known as "Splash and Dash"  There is nothing more hellish than a night race that starts at 10:00 in 50* weather an pouring down rain.  I was swept at mile 11.

I was supposed to do the Glass Slipper Challenge in February, but I got a stomach bug and ended up in the ER instead.  As a consolation my sister signed the two of us up for the Publix Savannah Women's Half Marathon.  It was so very worth it!!!

Race recap coming up soon!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I have a running coach!!!

So, I've been attempting this running thing for the last few years, and failing miserably, over and over.

Here is what I have learned about myself over the last few years:

1.  I suck at holding myself accountable
2.  I need outside accountability
3.  No matter how much I want to do something I need external support

I found out tonight that I can sign up for unlimited monthly child care at our gym, which costs only $4 more than taking my 3 kids once.  So, this weekend, I'll be adding unlimited child care, so that the only limitation to my ability to work out is if child care is open or not.

The exciting news is that not having any timing stuff with me, just working at listening to Gene, I ran when he said to, walking when he said to.  After all was said and done, I did 2 miles, averaged a 15:41 pace, which include 2 warm-up laps and 2 cool-down laps.  That felt really good.

This is my base-line.  I'm excited for the next few months and training for the Rock 'n Roll Chicago Half Marathon.  I'm going to do measurements, and weight this weekend.  I'm also going to walk the Publix Savannah Half Marathon to get a baseline time

I'll post more when I get done on Saturday afternoon.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sad, but moving on!!

Right now I SHOULD be reveling in the completion of my first Glass Slipper Challenge!  I SHOULD be walking around (more likely hobbling more than walking) around with 3 awesome medals clanging together on my chest.  I SHOULD be happy its over, but excited for having finished.
Instead, I'm sitting in the recliner, praying my lunch stays down.  I was supposed to leave Thursday to go to Disney World.  It was supposed to be my redemption from my previous DNF's.  I got my first serious stomach bug since weight loss surgery late on Tuesday night.

I have read and heard repeatedly since my surgery that throwing up after weight loss surgery is different...but never an explanation of what that means exactly.  You may not want to read this next part, but it's my reality.  After weight loss surgery, specifically with Gastric Sleeve, which I had, I only have about 20-35% of my original stomach.  That means that there isn't nearly enough force to have me be sick the way a person with a full stomach would.  First, I thought my body was trying to throw up my toes.  I knew it was coming for a few minutes before it actually happened I was sweating profusely.  Then it happened, and I realized the lack of force means that my body couldn't get it all out at once.  It was stuck in my throat, so basically, you either keep wretching, or you swallow it....I know that's gross, but it's still my reality.  I was also having intestinal issues to go with it.  I ended up in the ER on Wednesday night with dehydration.  I had to get two bags of fluids, zofran and phenergan through my IV and LOTS of prescriptions to keep me from throwing up any more.   I've had to continue to take the medicine to keep my stomach from cramping.

All of this considered, I wasn't able to head to Florida for the Princess Half Marathon weekend.  I have had to fax and email my ER discharge papers to Run Disney (hoping they'll allow me to defer, even though it's after the deferral deadline since it was for medical reasons) and Hotwire (in the hopes of getting our hotel money refunded, again, because it was medical).  I have spent a lot of time crying this week, and feeling sorry for myself.  I wanted redemption SO BADLY!!

My sister has paid for me to run the Publix Savannah Half Marathon at the end of March, as my 40th birthday gift from her.  There is a 4 hour time limit, so I should be fine.  Other than that, my next half marathon, and the only other race on my schedule is the Rock N Roll Half in Chicago.  I have a TON of time and training to get into shape.

The only positive I can find from this whole situation, is that I am now only 2.5 pounds from losing 100 pounds, rather than the 7 pounds away I was earlier this week.  I've got a lot of work to do, and buckling down to do over the next few months to get ready and to be successful.  I'd LOVE nothing more than to finish the RNR Chicago in under 3 hours....we'll see how that goes.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Day 1 in the books!

So I did the first day of training on the training plan that I could find.  It said 3 miles.  I decided that if I was under my PR for a 5k, I would go to get 3.1.

I did my first mile in 12:24

At this point I was still a bit tentative, I realized I was into my own head, as I tend to be.  I didn't believe I could do 4 mph for my walk interval (I was doing 3.5 sometimes, 4.0 sometimes).  I was doing my run intervals at 5.5 mph.

Mile 2 felt AMAZING!

I realized that I could walk between 4 mph and 4.5 mph.  I also upped my running speed.  I was doing my run intervals at 6.5 or 7 mph.  I would never have believed that was possible.  I have found that I am most comfortable stride-wise at 7 mph.  I feel like I can really stretch out my stride and RUN.  The thing is, I don't have the cardio endurance to do that consistently.  I would LOVE to build up to a point where I could run at 7mph for lon periods of time...and in a complete dream, maintain that pace for a 10k or Half Marathon.

Mile 3 I was tired, but on pace to PR, so I went to 3.1 for the sake of a PR.'s all about PR's, don't say you wouldn't feel the same way....

My fastest 5k previously was 44:38, with an average pace of 14:21.  Today, my average pace would be just over 12:20 per mile. That means that I was cutting off 2 minutes per mile...WOW--REALLY?  I'm just going to say that the possibility of that excites me.  It makes me wonder what will happen if I start to train consistently...could I build up to where I could consistently run at that 7mph pace?  I mean, the possibilities are endless.

I know a lot of people that are runner, with vast experience and training that could probably tell me whether that was a real legitimate possibility or not.

For now, I'm feeling pretty flipping good.  I also found a new shoe lacing technique that is purportedly good to help with Morton's Neuroma.  For the first time in nearly a year, I ran/walked 3 miles, and while I could still feel the neuroma, and a bit of tingling in my foot/toe, but it wasn't numb or painful.  I feel really awesome tonight.  I'm hoping that with repeated running, I can build a base, build some speed, and build my endurance.  I'm looking at the possibility of doing a half marathon in February (PHM), one in March (Tobacco Road Half), one in April, Diva in North Myrtle Beach, and then the RNR Chicago in July.  I'm hoping that at that point, I will have a decent base and be able to consistently run those 13.1 miles with an average speed of between 12:30 and 13:00 minute miles.   Also, if I can do all this and build all this, I can maybe shrink size-wise a bit as well.  I don't want to lose a ton of weight, but if I'm going to run a marathon, I really think that it would be best for my body and my joints if I could do that at about 135-140.   Doing that would mean I would be ready to start training for a Marathon in January, and possibly Goofy at WDW next year.

Till next time.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Let's get this started....

I realized this week that 6 weeks from today I will be running the Princess Half Marathon.

This will be my 3rd attempt, In 2012 I was swept at mile 2, and in 2013 I was swept at mile 10 due to pain in my foot/ankle.  (I threw in the towel, sat down and waited for the sweeper bus).

I realized that we are only 6 weeks away and I haven't trained at all since the Wine and Dine in November.  I feel completely ill-prepared, but I have 6 weeks to get some training in....

I found a 6 week training plan to get myself ready, or as ready as possible in the next 6 weeks.

The reality is, I have lofty goals, always have, but when it comes to holding myself accountable, I pretty much suck at it.  I want nothing more than to successfully complete the Princess Half Marathon and Glass Slipper Challenge.  While the balloon ladies are spectacularly nice people, I'd really rather not see them on the course for the first time ever at a Disney Race.

At the Wine and Dine, even with the horrific conditions, I was maintaining a 15:32 pace for the first 3.1 miles, and dropped back to about a 16:40 pace after the 10k.  By the 15k point I was slowed down to about 18:30 pace, and ended up getting swept just before mile 11.

When conditions are good, even without training, I've been able to do a 14:30 pace.  if, in the next 6 weeks, I can work hard enough and not miss any workouts, I'm hoping that I'll be able to maintain 14:30 pace for the majority of the race, or at least through the 10k.  If by some miracle I was able to maintain that pace for the entire 13.1, that would mean I would finish in just over 3 hours....not a huge deal, just under 3:30 with no balloon lady sightings is really all I aspire to at this point.

So, my blog will likely be much more active over the next 6 weeks as I count down to the race, and post about my training.  I have 6 weeks to make this dream a reality, and I have to grab this opportunity and run with it--no pun intended.

I also may be signing up for the New Year, New You Transformation challenge at my gym.

I have gotten a bit off track lately, and I MUST get back on track.  The scale went back up this morning, which is AWFUL...and I cannot let that continue to happen.  I need to seriously reign that stuff in and get the scale going back down again.