Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Cavity, A Redemption Run, And New-To-Me Running Gear

My tooth hurts. I believe, at the ripe old age of 29, I've just gotten my first cavity. Ugh! I've been grinding and flicking my teeth all day to try to pin-point exactly which one it is. I'm sure by the time my Monday appointment rolls around, I will have aggravated my TMJ issue (self-diagnosed) as well. Good ... two birds, one stone, right?


On a much more positive note. I just ran a wonderfully redeeming run this evening. I've been itching to get out since I saw the forecast for a "heat wave" a few days ago. My car's thermometer read a whopping 40 degrees on the way home! Granted, my car's thermometer is usually a few degrees off, but STILL! 40 degrees, give or take a few, is still better than 23 degrees with a windchill of -18, amiright?

Besides, 40 degrees, give or take, is enough for me to be confident my footfalls aren't happening on black ice. What ice there was, I could see plainly as it crept out from a parking lot glacier (iced-over snow plow pile), and those spots are easy to dodge.

Plus, I got to run in my new-to-me pullover jacket. Back in my Kings Island days (somewhere between May 2001 and July 2003), a friend of mine, Eddy, insisted that I keep his Adidas pullover windbreaker. I don't know what he was thinking, but I was thinking "score!" I've had it this whole time and never wore it. Well, when I was getting ready to head out this evening, I spotted the jacket in my closet and did a little happy dance.

Wicking/compression undershirt + Adidas pullover windbreaker = perfect (okay maybe a little warm) for this weather.

Plus I felt like an Adidas spokesperson in both the windbreaker and my Adidas running pants. Die Weltmarke mit den drei Streifen! (The brand with the three stripes. Yes, I remembered that from some dude's shirt/hat/whatever in my high school German class.)

I also got to wear my brand new reflective vest. (Thank Santa/Mom!) I never felt unsafe in my parking lot, but I definitely felt safer tonight. And, honestly, a bit geeky. All I need now is a fanny pack with water bottles strapped to it and a few sweat bands and my runner image is complete. =)

Oh, the run was so nice! I ran around my apartment complex's parking lot, just like the good ol' days (two or three weeks ago). I hurt a little more than I did last time I did that route, but I'm just so happy to have completed the 30-minute run without stopping (minus the three times I had to take about 5 walking steps to make way for cars). My recent runs have been brutal on my confidence and morale, so I needed this "win" so badly. I think I can get two more outdoor runs in this week and that is so exciting. If I have to get through two or three more months of cold, I at least need little weather breaks like this to relieve the treadmill humdrums.

Thanks for reading. Wish me luck for my dentist appointment Monday. I have a feeling I'm going to meet my first dental drill very soon. Help!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Inspired By A Stranger

I don't know if this will help me through the winter, but I'm sure hoping it does. Liz, who often comments on my blog posts, forwarded me an email from From that email I found my way to a 200+ pounds message board (more on that later) and then to a blog. The blog is Finally Airborne and it follows the running/fitness/weight loss adventures of a fellow who managed to lose more than 100 pounds in less than a year AND run a marathon.

I'm still reading a bit of his back story, and I hope he doesn't mind me promoting him here on my blog, but I just have to. Now, I'm a little skeptical that the female body can transform as vastly as the male body, but that isn't based on any sort of scientific fact (if you have notes on that topic, please share).

Anyway, check his story out. I'm inspired.

I just watched the slide show he posted on YouTube and, while I usually find this kind of stuff cheesy and ridiculous, I was just nearly moved to tears.

Here it is:

I think his tipping point, a too-fat incident at an amusement park, just really struck home for me. I've been experiencing that pain since I was probably 10 - 12 years old, but it didn't really start to hit me until the number of rides I couldn't fit on was passing up the number of rides I could fit on.

Anyway, I'm blabbering on too much. Go. Check his blog out. I know I'm going to keep reading! Talk about inspiration. Geesh!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I Love Juilfs In The Wintertime

Well folks, I don't have many positive things to say about running for the time between my last post and now. In fact, it's been pretty crappy. I'm hoping this is as low as it goes in the land of discouragement. It's cold. It's snowy. It's difficult to run outside, not enjoyable to run on the treadmill, and nearly impossible to get motivated to do any of that. All I want to do is curl up on my couch and watch movies; that's what winter is all about, right?

I clearly have some self-work to do and decisions to make about how to handle this winter issue for the next 2-3 months (!), and you may see posts about it. But for now, I'm going to share pictures of Juilfs from one of my past two runs there.

That's right! Running at a park! That's because the citizens of Anderson Township (formerly me) pay hefty property taxes so the running paths at their parks get shoveled and salted during snowy weather. Praise the citizens of Anderson Township.

I drove around to a few of my favorite outdoor running locations to see if any of them were cleared. Juilfs was my last stop, and lo and behold, it was clear and I was so happy. I drove home, geared up, and headed back to the park, home of my early days of running.

I actually did quite well on that run. I did two complete running laps, plus a few yards, including two runs up Beast Hill (check back to some of my April blogs if you need a refresher on Juilfs and Beast Hill).

I did it! I ran up that friggin' hill twice. I took the advice of one of my coworkers and just put my head down and ran. That was a little hard for me since I've been practicing keeping my head up and looking in front of me since I started this mess 10 months ago. But it worked and I'll be trying it again soon.

So, enough of that. Now for some pictures.

Not run-related, but as I was getting ready to go, someone insisted I stay at home.

She almost convinced me.

Halfway up Beast Hill, looking down the west side of the trail.

A little further up Beast Hill.

See the sledders? I almost asked if I could have a go.

Looking down the east side. Praise be to the clear paths!

Basketball and volleyball courts

More sledding and some wicked lighting!

After the run, I came home to make my carrot cake for someone else. Mmmm...

The end!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meet My Treadmill

I didn't run for 32 minutes straight today, but I'm considering it a victory anyway. The fact that I actually put my running gear on, traipsed through the snow, went to (got in my car to drive 15 seconds to) the workout room at my complex, and ran is a victory in itself. The stairs leading from my second-floor apartment are covered in ice, as is my whole parking lot. I could have died, folks.

But, I risked it all and moseyed on over. I also took advantage of the sunshine and took a picture of my workout room.

See my new pants? Aren't they fabulous? LOVE THEM!
Now, to work on my posture. Hold stomach in for pictures, Beckey!
(But check out my running gams in those pants!)

So, this picture makes the room look huge. There are two treadmills, 1 elliptical, 1 stationary bike, and 1 "nautilus" all-in-one machine. If you look carefully, you can see the lines on the mirrored wall and then figure out how small the room is.

I didn't do a full 32 minutes today for several reasons:
  1. I'm having trouble finding the right speed. Today I felt like everything was too slow to feel natural. I got up to 4.7 before it even felt close. I think my legs were ready to go today.
  2. It got hot. I've lost all my tolerance for heat. Ugh, and I worked so hard to get it in the first place.
  3. The other treadmill wasn't working and a girl came in shortly after I started, wanting to use it. She got on the bike instead, but I felt bad (and wanted an excuse to stop early), so I only did 20-ish minutes of running (with a 2-ish minute walk break in there somewhere).
  4. I really, really would rather have been running outside. It's only halfway through December and I can already tell this winter thing is going to be a huge downer in the land of running. Blah.
I only got two runs in last week, too. It's been awhile since I've slacked off like that and it felt really strange. Guess that's a good feeling to have, right?

That's all I have today. Good luck to you all running in this nastiness. As always, I welcome your insight on the topic.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I Got Pants With Zipper Pockets!

It's true! I'm super excited to announce that I am the proud new owner of these glorious running pants, complete with zipper pockets a-go-go. They're everywhere!

Men's Adidas Astro Running Pants. I got mine at Nordstrom Rack with my fabulous Groupon, but this image is from this website, which includes an extensive product description.

They're all moisture-wicking and fancy and are actually MADE for running. Oh, and they're only XL. YAY! (As a side note, I clearly have the lower body of a man. These fit perfectly.)

I also got a technical shirt, which is what I imagine UnderArmor shirts to be like. I believe it's a "compression" shirt. Basically, I can only wear it under my long-sleeved tshirts because it's bathing-suit tight. That's okay. It's WICKING!

Oh, about that ... we had a bit of a heat wave in Cincinnati today (I think it got above 40 degrees), so I got to run outside in the new gear. I definitely experienced the cold in a new way with these new clothes. I stayed warm and felt cool all at the same time. Weird. I guess these moisture-wicking crazies know what they're talking about.

Last thing. I just did a 32-minute run through the 'hood tonight! Yay!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I can honestly say, with no exaggeration, that I never thought yesterday would have happened, especially more than 10 months ago when I started the Couch to 5K program.

Well folks, this is a picture of what victory looks like:

Well, pretend I remembered to take a screen shot of the app when I actually finished the program, instead of the next day. Elapsed would say 40:00 and Remaining would say 0:00. It happened, I promise. See the green check mark on 9.3?

On Monday, December 6, 2010 at approximately 6:45 p.m., I, Beckey, the author of More To Love Running, ran for 30 minutes straight and completed the Couch to 5K program.

Omigosh! Ahhhh!

Okay, okay, wait a minute. Not only did I finish the program, but I finished the program on a treadmill. On a treadmill running next to some dude I didn't know. Running next to some dude I didn't know who didn't have headphones on and therefore could hear me huffing and puffing and hear my thundering steps.

We're talking HUGE victories here, people!

The most amusing part to me is that I didn't even get a chance to celebrate yesterday because I was busy being a Beckey Crocker failure. I came back from the workout room to the task of making hoards of red velvet cupcakes for my work's holiday bake-off. Let me tell you now that I HATE baking on weekdays. There's a reason: if something goes wrong, there's NO recovery time.

There is, however, an extremely helpful mother. I didn't have sugar or cupcake papers. I was soaking wet with sweat, still in my running clothes, and exhausted. My loving mother rescued me, though, and delivered the sugar and papers. Whew. Thanks mom!

So, this day after my baking almost-catastrophe, and after the cupcakes are iced, I'm officially giving myself time to get excited about my accomplishment.


Er ... now what?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Irony Of Plus-Sized Active Wear

I just had a minor soap box moment on Facebook around this topic, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to post about it because I might learn something and it might be helpful to others.

In case you've never shopped for plus-sized clothing before--more specifically plus-sized active wear--allow me a few moments to educate you. "Active wear" for big girls for many retailers (and the designers that provide clothing for those retailers) equates to coordinating Velour sweatsuits, overly large bedazzled t-shirts, and "lounge wear." Are you familiar with these products? Let me introduce you to one of them: the Velour sweat suit.

Here's a stunning suit from one of the most popular plus-sized retailers, Lane Bryant.

Here's another purple stunner from Avenue. Do you think Velour catches fire when introduced to extreme friction like, say, when a plus-sized gal's thighs rub together while running?

Even Macy's is in the Velour game! Wow, look how figure-flattering that fabric and cut is! And only $46 for the pants alone!

Go to any retailer's website (preferably the larger department stores or plus-sized retailers, because they're the only ones that have big girl clothes), and find the Women's Plus page. Then find the link to Activewear.

Check out that selection, huh? WOOHOO! VELOUR PARTY!

In fact, here is Kmart's ENTIRE selection of Women's Plus Activewear:

Top. Pants. Jacket. DONE! What else could fat girls possibly want? And lucky us, they match!

However, in a jaw-dropping surprise attack, the Evil Empire itself, Walmart, seems to be the leader in appropriate and practical workout gear for those of us with big bones. This is practically sacrilege if you know what company I currently work for. Whatever--their selection is HUGE and includes descriptive words like "moisture wicking" and "performance." The prices are Walmart-esqe, and to top it all off, I was just assured by an experienced Walmart active wear shopper, the quality is good.

Shock and awe, folks. Shock and awe.

Evil Empire be damned, let's look at the two items that just made my wish list.

Compare the above pants to a similar pair of performance pants at Dick's Sporting Goods. (Please take care when entering the URL. It's You'll wish you listened to me if you didn't.) Here's the link to those pants. First, they're not made in anything bigger than an XL and there are no XLs currently available (I could potentially fit into an XL at this point). Second, they're $40. And that's one of the cheaper pairs!

In all fairness, I can kind of understand what designers/retailers are thinking in offering only the most unpractical active wear for the "fluffy" population of women in the U.S. I mean, think about it.

Fat women + comfortable but impractical active wear/lounge wear = continued fatness = more sales!


Fat women + practical active wear = fat loss = more regular sized women = loss of sales!

Therefore, impractical, Velour jumpsuits become the strategy for plus-sized designers/retailers.

Oh the irony.

What does that mean for me? Three things:
  1. I will continue to wear my 14-year-old Spandex (aka "slimeys") and holey yoga pants.
  2. I will contribute to the success of the Evil Empire by purchasing the two Walmart products above in the near future.
  3. I will use my existing clothing and practical active wear from Walmart to lose weight and no longer be limited to Velour sweat suits and bedazzled workout clothes.
Happy Sunday, folks!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Warm Goopy Feelings In Week 9

I love, love, LOVE the warm goopy feeling I get after running. Actually, it sets in immediately following any physically demanding exercise. I sit down after a run and I just want to melt away. It's so relaxing.

I firmly believe that there's no better way to relax your mind AND every muscle in your body than to beat the hell out of it. Sometimes it's hard to remember this excellent side effect of running, most notably when it's 26 degrees and dark outside. I forgot about the warm-goopiness today. I was too scared of the potential for black ice in my parking lot and of the equally frightening potential for yet another running failure.

Well, good news. I'm currently in the warm, goopy post-run stage and I didn't encounter any ice to get here. Ladies and gentlemen, I just completed a Week 9 workout of Couch to 5K (run 30 minutes without stopping), and I truly did it this time--without stopping!


Thank you, thank you ...

Actually, I was seriously starting to doubt if I could do it at all, at least until the weather warmed up. My body is just not dealing with the cold very well. I feel like I've gotten used to the cold much quicker in years past, but maybe I'm getting old. Or maybe the cold just got here much faster this year? Who knows. What I do know is that I've been miserable in the mornings this week. I just can't seem to get warm, inside and out. I don't think it helps that my winter coats are like tents on me now and let all kinds of cold air up inside of them. BRRRRR!

(Who wants to buy me a new coat?)

My co-worker and fellow running newbie passed an article along to me today. The blog is for marathoners (and desperately needs to be proofread), but I think we can all find something to help us cope with the cold.

Here it is: Top Winter Marathon Training Tips

And I'll also share a link to Runner's World's website, which is FULL of info. There's so much on there that I don't think I'll ever get through it all, but it won't stop me from trying. By the way, the magazine is pretty fantastic. I recommend it. This particular page has links to all kinds of extreme weather articles/blogs, etc.

And, here's that one: Runner's World Running in Cold or Heat home page

So, that's all I have today. Don't give up through the cold stuff, and PLEASE don't let me give up either. Special thanks to the person who bargained with me this afternoon to make sure we both ran. I really truly appreciate it, and all the warm, goopy feelings I got because I took your challenge. =)

By the way, have I ever talked to you all about what happens after the warm goopy-ness goes away? No? I get absolutely freezing cold, complete with shivers. Sad, freezing Beckey. I want the warm-goopies back! And a heated blanket.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Busy-ness And Bad Runs

Who's a bad blogger? I am!

Sorry for the delay. Turns out I actually had things to do for once. Shocker!

Let's see, since my last post, I've:
  • Tried and failed to complete Day 3 of Week 8 of Couch to 5K (non-stop 28-minute run)
  • Shopped for Thanksgiving groceries
  • Prepared cornbread stuffing and pumpkin spice whoopie pies for Thanksgiving
  • Celebrated Thanksgiving
  • Shopped for a Christmas tree, lights, and ornaments on Black Friday
  • Assembled and decorated my new Christmas tree
  • Hung lights on my balcony
  • Hung the first picture on my walls
  • Cleaned my apartment
  • Ran with Caitlin Friday afternoon (Week 8, Day 3 repeat, but didn't run nonstop)
  • Visited with old friends on Friday night
  • Went to my 10-year high school reunion
  • Ate breakfast at midnight-ish
  • Ran by myself on Sunday afternoon (started Week 9, but didn't run nonstop)
  • Cooked "homemade" (with a spice pack) Cincinnati chili
  • Had dinner with my mom
  • Went through the Holiday In Lights using my free pass from the 5K
  • Returned to work after a 4-day weekend
  • Watched Scrooged
  • Started a new book (The Help)
  • Started Season 1, Disc 3 of Big Bang Theory
Whew! So, as you can see, while my schedule prevented me from blogging, I still ran. They weren't great runs, but they were runs. In fact, I'd call one run a bad run, one a blah run, and the other an okay run. Haven't exactly had a victory in a while, now that I think of it. Though, this seems to be a common theme among my running friends--at least those who are relatively on pace with me. My guess is that the dark and cold is affecting me more than I want to admit. What about you guys? Do any of you seasoned veterans have any tips on staying in the game through the winter, even if it's something simple?

I need a success, though. I really do. I mean, I'm far from throwing in the towel for the season, but I'd like to finish with a feeling of accomplishment. It's been too long. I plan on getting out tomorrow after work and knocking out my first 30-minute nonstop run. Ugh, unless there's ice. I don't know how to deal with that yet. Again, suggestions?

Thanks for hanging with me through the boring posts. I'll get something exciting up here soon.

Oh, would anyone like to write something? Anything? The floor is yours! (As soon as I figure out how to set it all up, that is.)

Email me!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday In Lights 5K Results

The results are in! Okay, they've been in since Saturday, but someone is a slacker. I wrote most of the post yesterday, but never got to adding the all important photos.

[Allow me to add a disclaimer about the pictures. I forgot my camera, so these are from either my iPhone (not too bad) or my mom's cell phone (terrible). Forgive us.]

In case you couldn't figure it out, the Holiday in Lights 5K was a holiday-themed event. Based on my previous experience with the Jingle Bell Run (I volunteered with my Sports Management classmates for Xavier in 2002), I figured I should probably dress for the occasion. Unfortunately, I decided to dress up about 10 minutes before I got ready to leave for the race. Oops. I had enough time to put on my race t shirt and grab some obnoxious holiday socks.

Socks! I hate how tall socks make me look like I have cankles. I actually don't!

To make the socks extra visible, I committed the ultimate fat girl's sin. I wore spandex pants without something over them.

GASP! EEK! AVERT YOUR EYES! It's worth noting that I've had these pants since 8th grade, when I had to have a pair of "slimeys" for track. Had to have them. (I hope the bold italics help illustrate the drama associated with a 15-year-old's insistence on having these pants, because everyone else had them.) Well, they still fit, so a sound investment, I'd say.

My running "costume" and blatant misuse of spandex pants. Forgive me.

Let's get to the race. I won't make you wait any longer. Here are my results:

  • 44:24 chip time
  • 14:19 minutes/mile
  • 351st place out of 732 (women only)

Not so hot, huh? Five letters, people. H-I-L-L-S

Waiting to start. I think I was a little more than halfway back in the group here.

To say the course was hilly does not do it justice. I wish I had some visual way to demonstrate how un-flat it was. First, I'd say 7/10 of the first mile was up a massive hill. Not a gradual incline ... no. A monster hill. I walked up it and was hugely out of breath.

Mile 2 was completely downhill, so I ran the whole way (with the exception of a stop at the water table and a brief walk (less than a minute) at a flat-ish part.

End of mile 2 from my mom's camera phone. Note the tall socks.

A hot second later that the previous picture.
I'm in there somewhere, entering the Holiday in Lights loop--the beginning of Mile 3.

Mile 3 was through the Holiday in Lights loop, which is essentially a roller coaster full of bunny hills. Up and down, up and down, up and down.

A relatively flat space between hills, and the fitting "bah humbug" sign.

Since I have ZERO training on hills, I knew the up wasn't going to happen. I ran down the hills, ran through the trough, then walked up the hills. I felt useless, but knew I couldn't do better.

Let me expand on that thought. My legs could have done better. That was clear in the way I finished (I'll explain later). My lungs could not handle the hills. It's like they close up or something. Hills and stairs ... my kryptonite. Now, we all know I'm accustomed to being out of breath. It's how I roll. But the kind of "out of breath" I get on hills (including several times on Saturday), is literally out of breath. Nothing to draw in. Closed throat. What the heck?

My guess is this is where my weight actually affects me. My legs are strong from years of carrying myself around. My legs are powerhouses. Allow me to give an example. My freshman year of college, while lifting for track (shot put, discus, hammer, javelin), I leg pressed 400 pounds for 8 reps. 400 pounds. I was pushing more than the dudes, folks. BEAST! My lungs? Not so much apparently. To steal my friend Jeff's example, I will collapse from doing a set of lunges too quickly.

I digress. Back to the run.

Despite the terrible time (very close to the time of my first 5K, the Redlegs Run for Home 5K this spring), and the poor performance of my lungs, I'm pleased with myself. Considering how much I walked, I did well! I ran the whole second mile, the last quarter to half a mile, and SPRINTED to the finish!

Crossing under the timer arches at the finish line! Whee!

I actually sprinted! I kicked my heels up and took giant strides, swung my arms and crossed that finish line like a champ, high-fiving the Hamilton County Parks mascot (a raccoon) and Santa Claus. Did I mention it was a downhill finish? No? Well, it was. But it was awesome.

I'm also glad my mom got to go. Thanks for standing in the cold, Mom! Someone (not naming names) apparently got a little teary-eyed at the start of the race. Don't worry, it had nothing to do with her overwhelming pride in her only daughter's accomplishments. No, she was crying because she saw Santa running and they were playing Christmas music.

So yeah, good experience. Holiday fun. Striped socks. Spandex. Oh, and the post-run food was fabulous! Cookies, granola bars, bananas, bagels, miniature Skyline 3-ways, and LaRosa's. Nom!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Holiday In Lights 5K Packet Pick-Up

I'm pretty sure that packet pick-up is the most exciting part of signing up for a race (or getting your packet in the mail). This was never more obvious for me than when I did the Walk to Remember where participants just got their stuff there at the race. Now, that's usually an option for race participants anyway (race day packet pick-up), but that's silly. Where are you supposed to put your crap if you don't have spectators?

I drove up to Fleet Feet after work today to get my packet. Check out the goody bag!

First and foremost, a long-sleeved t-shirt! I think all races, regardless of season, should give away long-sleeved t-shirts. Who needs short-sleeved ones, anyway?. Then the other big ticket items: 3 free Skyline cheese coney coupons, 1 free Chik-Fil-A sandwich, something free from McDonald's, 1 free admission to the Holiday In Lights display, a Holiday in Lights ornament, and my number bib with timer chip (go #571!). Other promo items: water bottle, lip balm, some kind of scraper (ice?), polar bear/igloo fake tattoo, and a brochure with a candy cane taped to it.

Now, I have two big decisions to make. First, do I wear the shirt of the race to the race? I haven't done that yet ("Don't be that guy!" Name the movie!), but this one's pretty sweet. And, I do have two Jingle Bell Run long-sleeved tees (from volunteering years ago with school) that I wear on a regular basis and fit the holiday theme. Tough one.

Second big decision ... how to run.

On Monday's run, I did 4:1 run/walk intervals through my 'hood for 40 minutes. I tried to run a little hard, too, and succeeded, thanks to my new running play list. (Side note -- "Kashmir" is my new favorite running song. Love.) Then yesterday, after guilting myself into running instead of making pizza, I did Day 2 of Week 8. It went well.

The combination of those two experiences makes me wonder if doing planned intervals for the race on Saturday is really the best idea. Is that the best I can do?

Unfortunately, I'm not familiar enough with the course to plan my walks/runs based on terrain. But what if I planned on running all the time, unless I got hung up on a hill? Is that a good tactic or should I stick to intervals? Thoughts?

This is my first race since I've been able to run for a long period of time without running, so I'm kind of excited. I'm also afraid I'll disappoint myself by setting my expectations too high. But mostly, just excited.

That's all I've got for today. If you have any insight on the interval vs. winging it tactics, please let me know!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Your Permission, Please

I was just on the brink of making a decision to stray off the C25K plan this week, but I stopped. I'd like to put the issue out there and get your feedback first.

I'd like to step away from Couch to 5K Week 8 this week to prepare for my race this coming weekend. I just registered for the Holiday in Lights 5K and I'd like to run it in intervals instead of trying to run the whole thing.

Issue 1: It's a 5K. I've only run "straight" for 28 minutes, roughly 2 miles. I'm fully confident that I wouldn't make it 3.1 miles without stopping, but would end up walking the last mile and feeling negative about the whole experience

Issue 2: It's a challenging, hilly course, as described on the website. Hills = my enemy.

So, what are your thoughts? May I practice intervals for my two runs this week instead of proceeding with Week 8 workouts? I'm thinking run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute intervals might be good. That's what Jeff Galloway recommends.

Please pipe up. My last ventures off "the plan" haven't gone so well for me, so I feel like I need permission from rational, detached thinkers.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New Week, New Computer

The day is finally here, my friends! I got a new computer! No more excusing myself from keeping this here blog updated because of a wonky machine.

Plus, it has a friggin' webcam. I mean, really? I have a webcam? You mean I can do crap like this?

Scary Beckey bubbles.

Sad-eyed, fat-lipped Beckey.

Really easily distracted Beckey.

Shrunken head Beckey (my favorite).

New evil character for Super Mario Brothers Beckey.

I'm-wearing-a-watermelon-hat Beckey.

Confused Beckey.

I'm-sweaty-because-I-just-finished-Day-1-Week-8 Beckey.

Excellent segue, Beckey!

So yes, I just did my first Day of Week 8--a 28-minute run (up from 25 minutes last week). This one was difficult, folks! I'm not entirely sure why it felt so much harder than what I've been doing this week while running through my neighborhood, but it did. My theory is that the quick twists and turns of the neighborhood help keep these longer runs from getting boring. Otto Armleder did not have that feature this afternoon. Also, I ran the second half of my workout against a pretty stiff wind . I could actually tell that my body was working harder to move forward. Not fun.

So, that means I only have 5 Days left in the Couch to 5K program! I can't decide if I'll linger on the 25- or 28-minute runs for a little longer than is required. I have a feeling I won't, simply because I'm anxious to cross the C25K finish line.

Let me interject here and say, if you had asked me back in February/March if I thought I'd finish this program, I would have laughed in your face. Today, I'm just going to try on my graduation cap and rehearse my proud/happy/tears-of-joy face.

Later gators!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Running In The 'Hood And A Survey

First and quickly, I returned to Couch to 5K today and knocked out Week 7, Day 2. AND, I did it in my neighborhood. I think this is the first time I've run in a non-park outside of race days. It went well! It was dark, but my neighborhood (a fancy parking lot) is moderately lit, so it wasn't bad. The only hazards I ran into were low-hanging, bare branches and uneven concrete every once in a while. I did the 25-minute run pretty easily with only minimal leg pain. I definitely have a firm grasp on my breath control, though, which is crazy to me. I guess the cooler air is really helping. I almost let myself go another 5 minutes (which is two "Weeks" away in the C25K plan), but talked myself out of it.


So, enough of that. Here's something a little fun ... a survey!

Oh, blog survey. Thank you for rearing your head and reminding me of my very early college years when me and my friends from high school would pass survey upon survey to each other through email. I actually really loved those things and miss cracking up at how funny my buddies were. They were always a very welcome distraction from silly school work.

Anyway, one of those high school buddies, Anne over at thefitbridesmaid, tagged me in this survey game. She gave me 8 questions to answer, then I create 8 more to pass along to 7 of my fellow bloggers. Like the old survey days, I promise to answer most questions indecisively. Here it goes!

  1. Salty or Sweet? Yes please!
  2. What is your favorite movie of all time? Psshhh ... ONE? Yeah right. Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Mary Poppins, The Big Chill, Old School, Mean Girls, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Pride & Prejudice, Footloose, Dirty Dancing ... ohhh, I'm sure there's more!
  3. If you could go anywhere in the world (that you haven't already been), where would you go? I've never been anywhere, so, uh, everywhere? Either London or somewhere like Hawaii if I have to pick.
  4. What is your favorite physical or personality trait about yourself? Well, my legs are shaping up pretty nicely now that I'm running. Personality wise, I like that I can make fun of myself and of course my amazing sense of sarcasm.
  5. What is an ideal Saturday night for you? Couch? What? Oh, ideal Saturday nights ... a moderately chill evening with close friends. But I can dig an exciting night out every once in a while. =)
  6. What is your favorite color to wear? I'm learning to wear colors. I love a good black shirt and some jeans, but I have a few new favorites -- my red sweater and my green long sleeve shirt. Whee colors!
  7. Cats or dogs? You really need to ask, meow? Cats rule and dogs drool.
  8. Name a food/recipe that you recently discovered. Well, this isn't an exciting answer for me. Usually I'm full of ideas, but I have two things to share that both involve hamburger. Mmmm ... burgers. First, a shout out to my new favorite burger joint, Gilpin's Bagel and Deli on 7th Street in Downtown Cincy. Steamed ... cheeseburgers. HELLO! Delicious, goopy cheese. Mmm. Second is a "recipe" I've been using a lot. It's inspired by the Pioneer Woman's recipe for fried round steak. Super cheap, super easy, super bad for you, surely. I make it pretty similar to this recipe, but I have it with sauerkraut. Mmmm again!

So, that's it for Anne's questions. Now I have to make up my own and "tag" my fellow bloggers. I apologize.

I tag:

  • Tad
  • Mal-Pal
  • Ryan (aka Dafonz)
  • Gina H-McH
  • The Ritzmanns
  • Princess Erin
  • Jan with all the free time


  1. Name an approaching event you're really looking forward to.
  2. What TV show is your favorite guilty pleasure?
  3. What are the first three radio presets in your car?
  4. What's the last thing you cooked from scratch?
  5. Describe your most embarrassing school yearbook picture.
  6. What book are you currently reading and what book can you recommend to your readers?
  7. What's your adult beverage of choice?
  8. What's your favorite sport activity to participate in? To watch?

There you go! Have fun!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lunken And Letting Myself Off The Hook

You're lucky, folks. You're lucky I've had some time to get some caffeine, eat some Taco Bell, and ingest some sugar after my run this morning. Otherwise you'd be reading a bunch of woe-is-me crap. Okay, actually, you might still get some woe-is-me crap, but it's less that it would have been earlier. I apologize in advance.

In case you didn't catch on, this morning's run was a big of a bust in my mind.

Let me tell you the positives first, so I don't get off on the wrong foot.
  • I finally got around to tackling Lunken Airport Playfield Trail (sorry, there's no good link to the facility)
  • I finished a little more than 3.5 miles
  • It was a beautiful (but cold) morning
  • I got an early start
  • I had one good section ... must have been downhill
  • I saw deer
  • I selected appropriate attire, despite my initial indecision
  • I took lots of pictures (see below)

"Welcome! This is going to suck!"

Contributing factors:
  • Longer distance than I've ever done (the loop is 5 miles)
  • I didn't get home until a little before 2 a.m. (pre-time change) last night
  • I had two big, fat, delicious beers last night
  • I had three days worth of carbs between 7 and 11 last night

So, what happened?

I pooped out. I guess it is important to work up to distances instead of just diving in, because my body just wasn't having it. The previous night's activities may have had something to do with it, but I'm not sure how much.

Allow me to introduce you to Lunken Playfield Trail. It's a 5-mile loop around Lunken Airport. It's mostly flat, with only two quick hills (one up, one down, of course). I've only ever done it on wheels (bike) and only two or three times in my life. I'd been planning this run all week and elected to do 5 minute runs and 2 minute walks.

The beginning was rough. I actually considered turning around and going backward, back to my car and the warm hoodie inside it. But I pressed on. I'm glad I went the way I did though; I chose to head down Wilmer, getting the crappy part (next to the road) out of the way first. Otherwise I would have been "enjoying" the scenery of a busy road on my walk of shame back to my car.

Here's a closer shot of the map, in case you want to follow along.

The turn up Kellogg wasn't too bad. It was long, though. This is really the first chance you get to look out over the airfield to see just how long you have to go. It's not a cheery sight. On a positive note, the portion closest to Kellogg (where you can actually hear the cars zooming by on the other side of the trees), felt really good! I think this was around mile 1.5 or 2. So, still within my normal running length. I don't know what happened; I still hold that it was probably downhill or something.

Then I turned the corner again and faced the LLLLLONG stretch of concrete that goes down the Little Miami River side of the airfield. Geesh. It's long.

It may have been halfway-ish down this portion, just past the 3.5 mile marker, where my body gave up and my mind was in no condition to argue. I cut one of my running intervals short a little, and when it was time to start running again, I went for about 5 steps and let my legs stop me.


I did some thinking on my run, of course.

I concluded that I'm neither ready for nor do I want to participate in the Thanksgiving Day Race (10K). I also really don't think it makes sense for me to do the half Pig in the Spring, either.

I concluded that, while I am perfectly capable of finishing those two races, even if it means walking for the rest of the race because I'm not ready for the distance, I will not be happy with myself, nor feel any sense of completion or victory. If I set out to walk the races, that'd be a different story. I'd be happy with myself. Id' feel accomplished. That would be a part of the plan. But no, I don't want to do it unless I'm ready. I don't expect that I'll ever be able to run an entire 10K or an entire half marathon, but I do expect that I'll be able to hold my own with run/walk intervals like I do with 5Ks now. I'd rather give myself another year (hopefully) to gradually get better, gradually increase my distance, and gradually increase my running intervals so I can complete those runs to best of my ability, without giving up halfway through.

I also concluded that I'm hard on myself. I'm expecting improvements, performance, and distances of myself that people in better physical condition can't accomplish. I need to cut myself some slack and enjoy those little victories that I love so much.

I'm letting myself off the hook. I am a 29-year old obese woman who has only been running for a little over 8 months. I can't compare myself to people that are considerably fitter than I am. I can't expect my progress to move as quickly as others, even if we all started at the same Day 1, Week 1 of Couch to 5K. It took me months to get through Week 1 and Week 2 and Week 3. Why on earth should I expect myself to be ready for a 10K in two weeks or a half marathon in 6 months?

Am I making excuses? It doesn't feel like it to me. I'm not going to stop running, that's for sure. I like it. I'm enjoying myself. I love seeing myself progress through C25K (and soon Bridge to 10K). I feel better and I feel better about myself, so why would I stop? It's only when I try to go to fast, aim too high too quickly, or veer off my training programs that I get down on myself. (Today was "off the program," and look how crappy I feel about it now.)

I have a rough winter ahead of me, beginning with the demise of Daylight Saving Time last night. I don't want to spend that time beating myself up about the half Pig and how I'm not ready for it. I want to use little victories to gently nudge me through the dark, cold months. Day by day. Run by run.

Ooookaaayyy ... Sorry if I killed your mood. Had to get that off my chest.

And now for some pictures! Wheeee!

Quittin' Time - On the back stretch, approximately 3.5 miles into the run.

A view of the airfield.

Part of the backstretch, looking toward the river. Sweet sun stripey thingy!

In the distance is the hill coming down off the backstretch and into the golf course area. It's a steep one!

More airfield, from the golf course side.

I believe that is green #7 and tee #8.

Boring airfield picture.

Incoming! I love when the planes come in!


We don't want the riff-raff mixing with the golfers, now do we? By the way, I almost got bopped in the head by a poorly-aimed drive. And I didn't do the golfer a favor by throwing the ball back on the fairway. Take THAT, bad golfer!

The wonderful mile markers that are along most of the trail. Pretty sure they need to put them everywhere though.

The new-ish P&G hangar near the end of the trail.

Thanks for listening, folks. Have a great week!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bridge To 10K: Getting Ready To Jump

Guess who just dowloaded the Bridge to 10K app. Yeaaahhh ... me.

I'm not technically finished with Couch to 5K yet, but I only have to add 5 minutes to my run and I'll be ready to roll.

So, what is Bridge to 10K? It's the next step in the Couch to ___ program. Instead of taking you from a stagnant couch potato state to running form, it assumes you've finished C25K and picks up where you left off.

That means Week 1, Day 1 of B210K is no walk in the park. It goes like this:

Warm up 5 minutes, run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute, repeat 4 times, cool down 5 minutes.

That's 53 minutes for those of you who are counting. Up from an average of 30 minutes on C25K.

Well, if you can't tell by now, I'm really starting to panic about the Thanksgiving Day 10K coming up. 6.2 miles. That's a long way. That's longer than I've ever gone. Do you think one of the 34,000+ participants would carry me to the finish line if I didn't make it? Hmmm ...

Most importantly, I need to decide if I can justify buying the race tshirt. It is, by the way, the only reason I do these runs. And fess up, it's the only reason anyone does these things. Hello, trophy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dancing (Running) In The Dark

I'm starting to get really worried about the end of Daylight Saving Time. I mean, really, why does it have to end anyway? If it saves energy to extend DST a few weeks like they did recently, why not extend it all the way through the winter?

Why am I suddenly so concerned about the time change? Well, because it's going to take a serious toll on my running. Or at least I'm really afraid it will.

My motivation to stay active already hangs precariously by a thin thread. Add to that a dark sky and cold weather, and it will be quite difficult to NOT put on the PJs and curl up on the couch.

Run? Psssh! How about sit? Yeah, sounds good.

Here's another challenge with the early nighttime: I get the winter blues really easily and last year I found great success in exercising at my lame gym through those tough winter months. Running could be a great way to repeat that success. But can I keep it up and fight my natural insticts to hibernate my way through the cold months? Can I make myself run in the dark or hop on the boring treadmill? Can I win in a battle of wits with my couch/PJs/blanket?

I think the time has come for me to ask for help. I need it. All of you. Don't let me slack. Ask me how runnig is going. Pass along your tips and tricks. Hold me up, Buttercups! I want to channel Bruce and keep dancing in the dark. And I can't do it without you.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friday Night Treadmill Party

Two days later, she finally posts about her first treadmill experience.

Sorry folks. I'm late. I know you've been sitting on the edge of your seats waiting ... with baited breath.

As the daylight of summer quickly fades into the crap-darkness of winter, I can clearly see that running outside after work is going to get more difficult, especially since I seem to be staying in the office later and later these days. So, since I got out late Friday and since I wanted to test the treadmill in my apartment community before push came to shove, I gave it a go.

I figured most people my age in this community would be out enjoying Halloween parties and not working out, and therefore the equipment would be free. I was right! There are also two treadmills in the workout room, and though I don't like the idea of huffing and puffing and thumping and staggering next to someone, at least there's a greater chance a treadmill will be open.

Anyway, it didn't go too badly. I expected to struggle with finding an appropriate pace for myself and with the mechanics of machine-aided exercise. I didn't expect to finish 25 minutes without stopping. I was right. I did make it to 20, though, and I think I could have done 25+ if I was wearing short sleeves. I overheated a bit, which a friend of mine warned me about. Even though I powered through the hottest of summer runs, getting hot on a treadmill with long sleeves on is different--no breeze.

Do you have any tactics for staying cool on a treadmill?

The first 5 minutes went so quickly; the second 5 minutes also went well. After that, it was a struggle. While those first 10 minutes flew by, I spent the second 10 minutes staring at the clock. I got bored. I had my headphones and a window in front of me, but elected to not turn the television on. That may have helped.

How do you fight treadmill boredom?

I kept my speed at 4.3 for 16 minutes, then bumped it down to 4.1 until minute 19, then back up to 4.2. What's your go-to treadmill speed? I stayed at zero incline the whole time. Hills? Pshh ... NO! =) Anyway, at least I know I can do the treadmill through the winter if need be. I don't want to skip outside running altogether, though, because I still like it much more.

I'll be running at some point today, if I can get myself off the couch. No, I will run today. I just need to decide how much. The Thanksgiving Day 10K is getting closer and I'm starting to bug out a little about the distance. Should I practice a longer run a few times or will I be okay? I mean, it's not like it'll be hot out or anything. And if I get tired, I can just walk with everyone else.

Okay, so a rather dis-jointed, uninspired post today, but I wanted to mark the occasion of my first treadmill run. Until next time ...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Week 6, Day 3: 25 Minutes

Woohoo! Another long run under my belt! I did 25 minutes straight this evening, thus completing my first C25K week in the amount if time you're supposed to finish a Week: 3 workout days. So long Week 6.

I'm keeping this short tonight, but you should know this: this was a difficult run. I went back to Veterans after a long break from that park. I didn't feel like running at all, but I did anyway, in light of the weather forecast for tomorrow. My legs were tired from a weekend of walking and I was just so tired. Definitely a recipe for running, right?


And no, it didn't get easier once I got going. I wanted to stop far before the halfway point. But I kept going. I guess that's the real victory.

Anyway, I'm tired but feeling good. I'm going to go eat my sugar sandwich (pb&j) and drink my sugary apple "juice" and watch crappy TV (DWTS). Whee!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Little Miami Scenic Trail: Pictures!

I'm feeling extremely lazy and uncreative today, so I'm not going to write a lot about my run this noon-ish. I tried a new trail: Little Miami Scenic Trail. It's a 56.4 mile trail that starts in Newtown at the Little Miami Golf Center, my favorite place to golf. (Okay, so it's the only place I've ever golfed, but it's my favorite.)

I elected to start about 300 feet down the street from the golf course at the Bass Island park/parking lot.

Here's where I started Week 6, Day 2 of Couch to 5K (Warmup 5, run 10, walk 3, run 10, cool down 5). FYI, no hunting on the trail.

The tunnel under Newtown Road. The roadway above was strikingly thin. Weird.

Here's the beginning of the stretch along Wooster Pike (Rt. 50). It was a great day for a run. 65-ish degrees, half cloudy/half sunny.

There are signs posted along the way about trail and river history. I ... didn't read any of them. But I did read the first sentence of this one. Apparently this path used to be a railroad.

Here's the foot bridge and road bridge over the Little Miami River.

The river. If you look closely you can see lots of ... discarded tires.

So, Day 2 was more difficult than I anticipated. I think there's some value in doing these long runs on paths you actually know. Then, you know what to expect and where to start waiting for Mr. C25K to pipe in. This was my first out-and-back experience on this program, so I was just huffing and puffing and waiting and waiting for Mr. C25K to say "walk now" and then "halfway" so I could turn around and head back. The second 10 minutes was easier because I knew what to expect and had a good idea where I was going to be finished.
I may have to do some self-coercion tomorrow to get myself out to run. I think the lazy bug bit me this weekend. Blah. Running is hard. [wink wink]