Saturday, May 29, 2010

Update, Running Buddy #2, Redlegs, and Bathing Suits

I know, I know! It's been forever since my last post. Let's just say there are reasons and they are good ones. I won't even classify them as "excuses." Don't dwell on the past; look forward.

Well, I do want to look back for a moment more and point out that, while I didn't post about it, I did run this week. Twice. Tuesday's run was rough. It was warm out, but not too warm. It was humid, but not too humid. I had planned on making that run a difficult one, perhaps do 3 miles instead of just the normal 2. That didn't happen. My legs just weren't having it. They were sore or something, I don't know. So, I finished 2 miles in about 30 minutes. Below par, but still okay. Just a bogey.

I also ran yesterday with Running Buddy #2. It was her first time trying C25k and she just had a baby 8 weeks ago. She tackled Week 1 with great determination, pressed through those running intervals, and did great. I'm pretty sure she needs applause.

Go ahead, clap.

During our 5 minute cool down, Running Buddy #2 and I discussed why the program is a good one. It's running and running is scary, especially for extremely out-of-shape and even obese [spit, hiss, hack, booo!] people like me. C25K works because it's doable. The first workouts are so difficult to get past, but it's completely possible to finish them! You'll be tired, sweaty, and panting by the end, but you will have made it to the end, by golly. And for people who are used to not making it to the end, that's a big deal.

Speaking of being used to not finishing -- er, well, of being last to finish (this is a stretch segue, I know) ...

Running Buddy #2 and I also went to school together. We're talking all the way through. I'm thinking kindergarten or first grade or something. In fact, yesterday we shared our first reunion since graduating high school, which happened exactly 10 years ago. Creeeeepy! We grew up with the same gym teachers and, while she tried to steal my title of "always last to finish in gym class" yesterday, I put her in her place and she resigned to, "Okay, second to last." Anyway, I brought up to her that I think our childhood physical education might have been a lot more effective if it involved some kind of fun interval running like C25K instead of the wonderful, "Okay kids, go run around the gym while I sit on the bleachers and pick my nose." I'm pretty sure even tubby little me would have been able to keep up with the other kids and wouldn't have suffered from another self-esteem crash-and-burn. Yes, that might hold other children back a bit, but it's a progressive program and they wouldn't have to stop running, right? Right.

I welcome feedback on this topic. How did you feel in gym class growing up? Were you front, back or middle of the pack? How did it impact you?

I have another bit of information to share with you. I'm pretty sure Hell just froze over, because I just paid to run my first 5K.

I paid ... to run.

What? How? I never thought this would happen, EVER! AND, when I registered today, they had a tshirt that will probably fit me. This is a bigger deal than the 5k! Ha!

I'll be running/walking in the Redlegs Run for Home 5K next Saturday with my best bud, Jeff. He doesn't know it yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to force him to run with me instead of trotting ahead like the fabulously fit stage performer he is. Jerk. =)

So, this coming Saturday morning, please send happy breathing and muscle thoughts my way. As long as it's not thunderstorming and raining buckets, I'll be happy.

One more final piece of news for you. I put on a bathing suit today for the first time since last summer. (Sorry for the mental image.) But, I can now officially see a difference in my body shape. It's subtle, and most people probably wouldn't notice, but I do. I think fat rolls 3a and 3b have significantly decreased, or have become one with 2a and 2b. Maybe they got married. I hope they don't have any kids ...

Happy long weekend folks! Thank a soldier or veteran.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Otto Armleder Park ... And Girly Talk

Welcome to my advertisement for a new Cincinnati-area park. The only compensation I get for my advertising efforts is a free, sweaty run around the park's wonderfully flat bike/walk/run path.

So, as you might have gathered, I tried a new running path today. Otto Armelder Park is a relatively new park on the east side of Cincy. (The website is terribly un-useful.) A family friend of mine (Hi Debbie G.!) pointed me here, claiming it was flat and a convenient 2-mile loop. She forgot to mention that it's beautiful! Well, as beautiful as a flat plot of ground next to the Little Miami River can be, I suppose. Yeah, the river was a total surprise, by the way. There I am, jogging along, and whoa, the river is right there. It's a scenic river, too, so it was a pleasure to stumble across, unlike the Ohio. Yucko. So, I sacrificed my running time to take photos along the way.
The Little Miami River

I saw a few signs saying that the area was being reclaimed as a bird habitat, and they weren't kidding! I saw birds I've never seen before. (Side note: I'm hideously afraid of birds, butterflies, and pretty much all winged creatures, but I still think they're among the most beautiful creatures ever. Just keep your flipping, flapping wings away from me. Simple as that.) There were a few photographers and/or bird watchers around too, so the "habitat" must be doing pretty well. Here's one of the birdhouses along the way.

The birds were perched on top of them, like they were standing guard or something.

It also seems to be a popular place for cyclists. There were quite a few on the short path today; guess they can't handle the length or traffic at the very nearby Lunken Airport Bike Path (5 miles). No worries, though. The wide paths left plenty of room for runners and walkers. Unlike the super skinny path at Veterans Memorial Park.

A guy on a bike. Ooooh ... aaaaah!

It's also a nice, meandering path, so it doesn't feel sterile like a standard running track or anything. Always a plus. Also a plus are the sweet distance markers. 0.2, 0.4, 0.6 ... the path is marked at every two-tenths of a mile. Very helpful.

Now, let's talk about the actual run. I'm still baffled by my abilities lately! I got out of my car, found the "0-0" on the ground, and took off running. Again, ran for a good 3:30 before I stopped to take a picture of the river. I think next time I'm going to just try to keep running. I have a feeling it'd be less shock to my body than I initially thought. If you have advice on that, please share!

On to the girly stuff. Guys, feel free to end here.

What on EARTH do you gals do about cramps and running? Do you press through or do you call it a loss? Right around the 1-mile mark, I practically gave up.

Not comfortable.

I did keep walking, of course, and eventually, after my lengthy photography sessions, I felt better and started running again. I finished 2 miles in a half-hour, so clearly I didn't let it get to me too badly, but still ... I want to know how you deal.

So, the run went well enough today that I'm considering going tomorrow. This would be the first time I attempt two days in a row. Scary! But, gotta get ready to run some 5Ks baby! WOOHOO!

Also, has anyone run the File Mile Trail? Thoughts? How hilly is it?

I'll leave you with an amazingly red, sweaty, triple-chinned, gasping photo of me, mid-run.

Mmm ... attractive.
I'm posting this as proof that I really do fill the credentials of a More-to-Love Runner.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Breaking Free From Codependency!

Guess what I did today? Well, most of you already know from Facebook, but I totally just ran a 5K at my wonderful Juilfs Park. 3.1 miles. I called the park to confirm the track distance today and figured out that measuring 3.1 miles is quite easy. Running it is a different story.

This is a huge milestone, people! In fact, it's two huge milestones. One, I finally did more than the usual 2 miles. Two, I did it all without Mr. C25K, with whom I have a a relationship that was slipping into codependency. I found myself starting to think I couldn't run without his help. Well guess what! I can!

To top it all off, I just did it with some pretty impressive times. You should note that I don't think I've ever, EVER run as well as I did tonight. Not even when I was fit--oh wait, I was never fit.


Anyway, here are my lap times (forgive the inaccuracy of the first two ... I haven't figured out how to use the lap feature of my phone's stopwatch):

Mile 1: 12 something
Mile 2: 26 something
Mile 3.1 (5K): 40:47

Congrats to Leslie for guessing so close on Facebook! WEEE! You're More to Love Running famous now! Shut the front door. Still in disbelief. I also stretched my first running interval out to over 3:30. I can run over 3 minutes at a time. What? Oh, and I'm pretty sure I did a few more that were over 2 minutes long.

And, I feel amazing right now. Nothing hurts. I cooled off quickly (I'm actually freezing because I'm sitting on my balcony) and with little sinus resistance (a topic for another post).

Now, it's important that I point out that it wasn't easy. Yes, the weather was great: it's a cold and drizzly kind of day. Yes, I was itching to run after an icky personal day yesterday and this morning. But yes, I had to work hard.

And ... it worked.

I did a lot of talking to myself:

"Just let your legs work; they'll tell you when to stop. Breathe. Keep going. If you stop at that tree, you're okay, but if you go to the next one, you're awesome. Just run, just run, just run, just run. Do it. Go. Run. You're doing great."

I always hate hearing how positive self-talk can help you, but I knew from the other day that negative self-talk can really bring you down. So, I thought what the hell, let's give it a go.

And ... it worked.

Oh, and I've mentioned before how important loud music is to me while I'm running. I breathe very, very heavily and really loud, and when I can hear myself breathing, I tend to try to quiet it. Not good. Well, there were breaks in my playlist today where I could hear myself breathing. Today's solution? "Get over it, Beckey. Breathe as loud and obnoxiously as you can. Make people look."

And ... it worked.

So, I'm freezing and starving so I'm going to call it a blog night. Here's something to look forward to, though. Today I decided to sign up for the Redlegs Run for Home 5K. It's a 5K run sponsored by the Cincinnati Reds. Rumor is you get to run across home plate when you finish. How cool. Thanks to Jacqi and Allison for reminding me of this run, and to Sarah and Nikki (and maybe Jeff) who I will be forcing to run with me. Love you! I'm friggin' paying to run? Are pigs flying yet? Oh that was a few weekends ago, right? Right.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

External Motivation

I didn't want to run yesterday. Well, I wanted to run but I didn't feel like running. I wanted to sit on my couch. Does that make sense?

The weather was perfect for running, my body was ready for it, and I wanted to be otuside, but I wasn't mentally present. And the results made that clear. I ran at Juilfs and didn't make any changes in path or interval times. But my legs started hurting right away (maybe I started too quickly) and all I could think about whas how I'd rather be somewhere else. It's kind of hard to keep a positive attitude when that happens. I did a lot of internal yelling at myself instead of the usual internal coaxing and encouraging.

Needless to say, I finished a little behind my last two successful runs, but I'm still under my initial goal. I finished two miles in 27:30 and I didn't cut any running intervals short. I actually was still able to convince myself to run a few meters over on about half the runs, which is good. But Week 3 still seems so far away. I'm struggling to see how I'll ever be able to move on from Week 2.

So, how do I stay motivated to keep running after iffy workouts like that? There are several motivators, but today I'm going to focus on the external motivators. This blog follows this week's trip to Atlanta for work, which included two plane rides (there and back).

Let me tell you, you don't know uncomfortable until you've been a tall, fat girl wedged into an airplane seat for even the shortest flight. In fact, this unfortunate fat-girl situation is one of my top external motivators, along with not fitting on amusement park rides, and exceeding weight limits on anything intended for normal adults (e.g., trampolines). This humiliation is unbearable. Really, weight-related embarrassment is pretty much the only kind of embarrassment that gets me down. To top it all off, these three "I don't fit" situations usually happen with some sort of audience.

Now, I would never suggest that roller coaster manufacturers re-design their seats to meet the needs of the obese. (Airplanes are a different story and I address that below.) For those of you who don't know, I spent three summers working at Kings Island, a Cincinnati amusement park, and one fabulous summer at Coney Island, it's little-yet-older sister. I spent many moments explaining to guests why they couldn't ride if the "bar" didn't click, even if they thought they could hold on throughout the ride and not fall out. (Morons.) "Why can't they just make the seats bigger?" they might ask. Well, because then kids and people of a healthy weight might fall out and there's no reason to risk someone else's safety so fat people can ride.

Tall people, different story -- you didn't chose that. Weight is a choice, unless affected by some sort of extreme health ailment, in which case you shouldn't be riding rides at all. (First PKI-er to name the 5 safety restrictions in the comments wins!) I know, controversial topic, but I am both tall and fat and feel I can speak openly about this because of my experiences. But I'm open to hearing your thoughts.

Back to planes -- is anyone comfortable in an airplane seat? Really, I want to know. If no one is comfortable, then I can stop my ranting and move on. But what's the harm in creating, I don't know, two rows of seats tht have higher arm rests and deeper and wider seats, especially if you charge those people just a little more? I'm not talking about first class seats here. I don't want extra service or squishier seats or my own private bathroom for $200 extra. I want butt, hip, and knee space for $50 extra. You could even make me check my bag if you wanted to. Just a thought.

So, sorry for the rant. It's not like the seat situation is the only thing about flying that makes me uncomfortable. My ears pop constantly, I get ill on the descent (fortunately just the decent), and I'm in constant fear of how my body will react. You see, I'm not afraid of flying like most people are. There comes a point when you just have to realize that if your plane crashes, you're likely going to die. Worrying about it is not going to help. Just relax.

I, on the other hand, get motion sick in cars and some amusement rides at the drop of a hat. Literally, that fast. The smell of a car and its airflow, even when it's sitting still, will ruin my day. Right Sarah? Mom? You've both experienced this first-hand. So, every flight since my first, which was just in February 2008, I've been petrified of uncontrollable vomiting and what have you. But, so far so good. Either my body doesn't react to plane rides that way, or my ritual cranberry-vodka OR Dramamine really helps (not both at once, I promise). Praise be to Dramamine.

So, on that note, a few slightly unrelated photos:

Here's a picture of me waiting for departure at the Atlanta airport from a previous trip.

My fearful expression is a dramatic reinactment of my first ever flight.
Oh, and this was from my trip to DC to see New Kids on the Block, October 2008.
Be jealous.

Atlanta airport, again from a previous trip.

Okay, so what have I learned. I've learned that my exercise efforts between Februrary 2009 (my last flight) and this past week's flight have not made airplane seats any more comfortable. In fact, I should have known that because I haven't lost more about 8 pounds in the last year's worth of working out. Tell me how it's possible, at my weight, to go from stagnant to working out and not see any results? I'll most definitely address this in a later post. Oh, and running when you don't want to is not fun and I'm not likely to get results when doing so.

So yes, I'm ending on a negative note. Boohoo. Please come again! =)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Keeping It Short

Let's see if I am actually capable of a short post. My money is on no.

I ran today. It was fun. The weather was nice and I felt good. Heck, for a hot minute I even thought that I might try to bump up to Week 3, just for giggles. I even got as far as to look at what Week 3 involved ... and that's when I decided against it.

HOLY COW! What a huge jump in workout intervals! Week 2 is run 90 seconds, walk 2 minutes. Week 3 reads as follows

5-minute warmup, then do this twice: job 90 seconds, walk 90 seconds, job 3 minutes, walk 3 minutes

Uhhh ... a minute-and-a-half to THREE MINUTES?! That's a bit ridic, no? I might ask my friend Jeff (Jeff, pay attention) to make me a timed music mix with his amazing music editing skills. I'm thinking of doing a 2-minute run followed by a 90-second walk -- that'll help me bridge to Week 2, right? So yeah, Jeff, if you're feeling adventerous, have at it. No musicals please. =)

Well, I did run Week 2 today and did smashingly, again. Finished with 3:10 on the clock and walked a little more of the track. I now have a new finishing goal: get to the next entrance before Mr. C25K says, "Workout complete."

Okay, that's all! I'll try to run Thursday. I'm traveling for work Tuesday and Wednesday, but if I get back in time on Wednesday, I may try it then. But, eh. We'll see. The good news is I still miss getting to workout if I have to skip it. That's all that matters at this point.

Do you workout while traveling? I know a lot of people do, but I think that requires experience with a treadmill, which I don't have yet.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Another Positive Post ... And A Few Pics

Are you totally sick of my gushy positive posts yet? Well kiss it, because this is another one.

I had another GREAT run today and I'm feeling so hopeful about this whole "project" of mine.

Tuesday's run at Veterans felt good, but I didn't have a way to really measure my progress. Today I returned to Juilfs to see how I'm doing. Well, I finished my normal two laps (one mile each) with 3:10 left on the clock.

For the win!

My last run at Juilfs was last Tuesday and I finished with 2:36 on the clock. So, whoa, big improvement in a short period of time, I'd say. I think I need to up my target of 2 minutes left. Seems a bit weak now, right?

I've been trying to run a little bit -- a really litte bit -- faster, and also continue running for about, oh, 3 to 5 seconds after the walk alarm goes off. That adds up I guess. Oh, and the running down hill thing is way fun. =)

Anyway, I'm not going to drag this out today, but I do have some pictures from Juilfs. I'm continually impressed with the quality photos I can take with my iPhone!

The best playground ever!

From the top of Beast Hill. I generally run coming toward the camera.

This is where I start running. Look how pretty the sky was tonight!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May The Fourth ... Be With You

Sorry, I had to go there. Can I tell you how long it took me to figure out why I kept seeing "May the Fourth be With You" everywhere? Oh, from about 9:30 a.m., when my favorite daily blog, Cake Wrecks, gets posted until around 3:30 p.m. "Who decided it was Star Wars Day, why is it today, and why are people posting this like they have a lisp?" Clearly I'm a huge follower of Star Wars, seeing as how I've never seen any of the movies. It's the one with the guy with the pointy ears, right? Ooooh, just kidding.

Well, the Force must have been with me today, on May fourth, because I just had an excellent run. WOOHOO! "Holidaaaaay. Celebraaaaate." (Name that movie for 10 points.) I just knew I would be rewarded for my two lunchless days of work and missing all the beautiful weather we've been having. My time has come.

I ran at Veterans Park again today. I shy away from this one because I think the total track is just a hair over one mile, and I'm afraid to disappoint myself when I don't finish two laps in the same amount of time that I finish at Juilfs. Oh well, today I went for it anyway because I didn't want to run hills. And I'm glad I went. I got to see the only flying animal I really like: ducks. "Quack, quack, quack, Mr. Ducksworth."

Here are some shots of Veterans, because my pal, Rob, told me I should post pictures. (Hi Rob!)

Such a pretty day!

One of these days I'll ask some paparazzi to get a shot of me dying/running. I promise.

Anyway, not only did I finish in a spot that was farther than I did previously, I extended one of my runs with very little suffering AND added two mini runs during my cool-down. I don't know people, but I think I may only have another week or two left before I can try to bump up to Week 3. YIKES! Now that's frightening!

Frankly, I'm shocked I did so well. I haven't run for an entire week. How does that work out for you? Do you run better after a little break or when you keep a steady every-other-day-ish workout schedule?

Oh, and I need a little info from my veg head friends. I'm getting kind of peeved with people that ask about my protein needs. The Skinny Bitch writers stand pretty firm by saying we don't need nearly as much protein as Americans generally eat. Thoughts? How much protein do you eat? Do you feel like you have to pay special attention to it? How do you ward off protein-questioning skeptics?

Next run should be Thursday since most of my schedule fluctuations have been taken care of. Fingers crossed.

I'll leave you with this photo:

I had to primer the walls in the bedroom of my old apartment.
So, I took the opportunity to do a little branding. Silly, but fun.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pigging Out

Happy Pig Day, Cincinnatians!

For those of you that aren't familiar, Cincinnati hosts a Boston Marathon qualifier race called the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. This town is very proud of its race, and I'm very proud of my friends who participated in some way, shape, or form this weekend.

No, I didn't run any portion of the Pig today, but I'm ever envious of those who did. In fact, I didn't run at all this weekend, and I don't plan on it. I'm so over being busy and not having time to just sit and chill, so I took the weekend to do just that, as well as hang out with two of my friends.

So, as a tribute to my slacker-tude and my uber-fit friends, I'd like to give them a chance to pipe in about their experience with the race. Do you have a picture of yourself participating in the Pig? If so, send it to me at and I'll post it next time. I'll also invite you all to tell your story if you like. I want the world (my 8 followers and handful of readers) to see you in your sweaty, exhausted glory.