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! moretoloverunning@gmail.com

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