Thursday, March 31, 2011

30 In 30 Update: Why I Still Hate Setting Goals

Blah. Yuck. Patooey.

What a terrible run. I just knocked out another 3 miles, bringing me to 26 miles and another 4 days to get 4 more miles in to complete the Spring Into Fitness 30 miles in 30 days challenge. (Whew! Mouthful!) I should be knocking out the last 4 on a weekend run, hopefully on Saturday so I have a bit of a buffer in case something goes wrong.

Anyway, today's run was awful, and I have one theory about why part of it sucked so bad. My legs felt like solid, painful rocks from the knees down, fronts and backs and sides. And then my hips ached, probably from compensating for my shins/calves. After the past few runs I've been stretching my legs a little bit, and that probably doesn't seem so odd until you consider that I stopped stretching before and after running back in the summer after reading Jeff Galloway's take on the issue. (Basically, man has been running since there was man. It's a natural motion that our bodies are built to do, so there's no need to stretch. He thinks this applies only to walking and running, not to other physical activity.) I've discovered over the last year that this is a hotly debated issue in the running world and I think I've finally decided where I fall on the spectrum. After the way my legs have been feeling on runs following runs where I stretched afterward (follow that?), I'm not stretching any-friggin-more.

You can't make me.

But I do still want to know what you think about it. Runners, do you stretch? Have you always? Have you tried both stretching and not stretching? I want to hear from those of you who might not yet consider yourselves runners, too.

Lastly, my fundraising plug!

Do you want to run the Cincinnati Flying Pig (Half) Marathon with me on May 1? No?

Do you wish you could? No?

Well, do you want to show your support for a really worthy cause as I trudge 13.1 miles through downtown Cincinnati and Mt. Adams? Have you been looking for a way to give back? Do you have an extra $1, $5, $12, $27, $50 or $3,000 sitting around and you want a place to put it? Now's your chance! Check out this post about my Fernside fundraising efforts and let me know if you'd like to contribute. I'll be collecting pledges until Friday, April 29.

Thank you for your time!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Close To Meeting A Goal? Me?

At the risk of cursing myself for posting this, I'm going to do it anyway.

I think I just might reach my "30 miles in 30 days challenge" goal.

(ducks and covers to dodge downpour of goal-setting curses)

You know I don't do goals. Hate 'em. Hate 'em personally and hate 'em professionally. Hate 'em all around. But apparently the world is against me and wants me to set goals for myself. Personally, professionally, running-ly.

I think I took this particular goal on because it's worded as a challenge. "Hey, you ... big girl. Bet you can't run 30 miles in 30 days. You already failed at it once so there's no way you can do it now." Yes, I respond a bit differently to that kind of wording. A challenge.

Anyway, in this Spring challenge through, I only have 10 miles left to run in 8 days. I'll get 6 in this week, ideally (3 miles Tuesday, 3 miles Thursday). That leaves me in perfect position to do Five Mile Trail this weekend (4 miles) and knock that "challenge" out before the 8 days are up. (Caitlin, are you writing this down?)

Oooohhhhh boy! That looks like a schedule and a goal to me. Those two combined are sure to bring on a big plate of failure and disappointment. =(

So anyway, good run today. It's Cincinnati at the end of March, so naturally it snowed over night (after 70-degree temps earlier this week). Fortunately the ground was clear by lunch time and I knew Otto Armleder Park would be cleared. I bundled up but wished I didn't have so much on by halfway through my first lap (1 mile in). I did two laps (I think that's a first for me at that park), which is a total of 3.8 miles in 53 minutes. A little poky, but I don't care. At this point I'm just honing my 5:1 intervals in preparation for the long runs I have coming up.

Hopefully next time I post I'll have good news about this here goal/challenge I'm so close to accomplishing. Fingers crossed!


Reminder: I'm accepting donations as a part of Team Fernside for the Flying Pig Marathon. Check out my blog entry about my fundraising efforts.

Current pledges: $130
Goal: $300

(and you know how much I hate to set goals)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fernside Fundraising For The Flying Pig Half Marathon

Ladies and gentlemen, it's that time. I gave you a heads up a while back that this day would come and it's finally here.

It's time to raise funds, baby!

As I've mentioned previously, I've joined the the Fernside team for the Cincinnati Flying Pig (Half) Marathon on May 1. If I'm going to run 13.1 miles, I'm doing it for a reason, darn it!

So, as uncomfortable as this makes everyone, please bear with me.

Here's the info from the organization's About Us page:

Fernside, established in 1986, as the nation's second oldest children's grief center, remains today a national leader in providing grief support services and outreach and education to the community.An affiliate of Hospice of Cincinnati, Fernside services compliment Hospice of Cincinnati's comprehensive bereavement program by addressing the unique needs of children.

Fernside provides the following services free of charge with the help of generous donors who support our mission:

  • Peer support groups serving over 900 children, teens and adults annually
  • Camp Erin - Cincinnati program, providing summer camp and retreat experiences
  • Community Outreach, including in-school grief groups, education and training and publications

I'll be honest with you: I haven't had the pleasure of working with Fernside, but one of my dearest friends, Sarah, has volunteered there for a while now and she can't speak highly enough of it.

Having recently lost someone very close to me to cancer, I know what it feels like as an adult with an extensive support system. I can't imagine what the experience would be like for a child or even for a child without that kind of love and support from family. I've seen first-hand what kind of care Hospice of Cincinnati provides and I'm confident that any organization affiliated with Hospice must be doing great work.

You all know how I feel about soliciting funds from others. I don't want anyone to feel pressured or "guilted" in to giving to any cause. But if you're looking for a way to give back, or even a way to show your support to me as I take on this monstrous race, here's your chance.

Now, unfortunately Fernside doesn't have a fancy online donation system set up for JUST the Pig like the Susan G. Komen organization did for the Race for the Cure. But they do have an online donation system (see bullet #4 below). And I can offer you a few other ways to give. If you choose to donate through me, I'll need your name, mailing address, e-mail address, and donation amount. I'll get back to you to arrange a way to get your check to me.

(Fernside asks for a mailing address, but I imagine this will get you a tax document and a thank you note instead of a bombardment of solicitations. Even still, if you ever get a solicitation and want off their list, just contact them and I'm sure they'll oblige.)

Here are your options:
  1. E-mail me your details. Name, address, e-mail address, and donation amount. If you know my personal address, go ahead and use that. If not, please use; I get these messages as quickly as I do my personal ones.
  2. Facebook me if we're Facebook friends. Works like e-mail!
  3. Call or text me (if you're so lucky to have that information ... wink wink)
  4. Contact Fernside. If you don't know me personally and/or don't feel comfortable with me having your contact information or your money, you can contact Fernside and ask how to make a donation to the Flying Pig team. You can mention my name or not ... totally up to you. Actually, they have a website dedicated to donations. You should check it out.
So, there you go. There's my fundraising solicitation. You'll probably see reminders at the bottom of my posts from now until the Pig.

Thanks so much for your time and for your support! Donation or not, you're all wonderful!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Longest Yet

Oh folks, I don't know how to ease you into this, but this could very well be a painfully not entertaining post. I'm so exhausted that each keystroke is like an individual effort. But the key is why I'm exhausted. Naturally from spending the entire day in warm pajama-like clothes, being extremely lazy on my couch.

Oh, yeah, except for that 90-ish minutes this morning/noon when I ran about 6.5 miles with Caitlin.

No big thang ...

Here's our course on Gmaps Pedometer: click here for the course

We took the out-and-back approach on the Little Miami Scenic Trail. The first half was easy. Too easy. In fact, it wasn't until we turned around to come back that I figured out why it might have been so easy. I think it was down hill. 3 miles down hill. Yeah ...

Needless to say, the "back" portion of the out-and-back was really hard for me. We maintained a 5:1 run/walk interval the whole way out, but took one medium-long and one long walk break pretty early into the second leg. I thought it might make the rest of the run feel like the second run of the day instead of just a continuation. Not sure that worked so well. I insisted on some other longer walk breaks.

The problem for me came mostly with breathing. That's another reason I'm convinced it was uphill on the way back. I don't have breathing problems anymore unless I hit a hill. I couldn't draw in a breath without making noise. You know, like when your breath catches your voice box and makes that hyperventilating sound?


Well, I know what I'm talking about. It's bad news for me. I've hyperventilated once in my life and it was horrifying; I don't wish to experience it again. (Hello, plyometrics box jumps for track practice at Wilmington College! I think I even scared my coach.) Anyway, I don't do well at pressing past episodes like that, which is why I've cowered away from hill workouts so much (and which is why I think I need to do some hill work this week).

As far as leg pain, I didn't have any really until we stopped at the end and I don't even know if I'd classify it as pain. My legs were just tired and me knees were a little disgruntled. (Side note: Apparently during my freshman year of college I once yelled "disgruntled!" out in the middle of the night. Former sleep walker and sleep talker, right here folks.) I felt so good going in and good through the first half. That second half just killed me.

So my question for myself is whether it was the possible hill that got me or the new longer distance that got me. Essentially the halfway point of our run marked the longest I've ever gone.

Either way, when I finished I was elated to chug down my bottle of full-calorie Gatorade to re-fuel (thanks to my pal, Rob, for reminding me I'd need to do that). I may have chugged too fast because I got a teensy bit nauseated. I also thought I was going to shiver to death for a good hour or two after. My blue lips startled my mother a bit. What's the deal with that anyway? Such a weirdo.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of Caitlin and I after our run. Pictures after 90 minutes of running? We must be crazy ... or really amused by the sign and some well-placed graffiti at the entrance to the trail. Please excuse the grossness and consider that we ran the first part of our run in the rain. Thank you.

Wonder where he went?

Caitlin, do you see him?

Really, where'd he go?

Yay! Caitlin found him!

Monday, March 14, 2011

That Smelled Like A Spring Rain

I went for a run at Juilfs this evening, this first weekday of Daylight-saving time. Unfortunately I didn't beat the rain. It started barely sprinkling halfway through my second lap/mile, but I decided to keep at it for the planned 3 miles.

And I loved it. In fact, if it weren't for fear of my phone getting wet (my armband has an open front so you can access the touch screen), I'd run in the rain more often. It's refreshing.

The beat part of today's run was realizing that the rain smelled like Spring rain. It's completely different from nasty winter rain. There's something earthy and tangy about the smell. That, paired with the lovely extended daylight, made my day and made my run enjoyable.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Emerald Miles: Full Recap

So I had a bit of a goal going into this race. Blech. Goals. You know how I feel about those. I didn't make this one for myself, though. I kind of adopted it from Caitlin. I wanted to run the whole stinkin' thing.

Since she and I had a great 3.1-mile run two weeks ago, I knew we had a pretty good chance of making it happen.

So anyway, backing up a bit ...

I had some buddies in this run. Caitlin, of course. This was her first 5K and the one she wanted to complete before her birthday later this month. Matt also jumped on the bandwagon.

Caitlin in her first race T-shirt and race bib. YAY!

The three of us before the race. (Thanks for the pictures!)

We couldn't have asked for a better mid-March day to run the first race of the season. It was warm enough to leave the gloves, fleece vest, and ear-covering headband in the car. The sky was completely clear and the sun was shining.

The starting line at the start of the Purple People Bridge in Newport, Kentucky.

We found out mid last week that the mighty Ohio had overrun its banks so much that our race route was underwater. During packet pick up on Thursday, they assured us that there was a new path and that it was flatter than the old one (YAY!) Unfortunately, it wasn't all that much flatter. There was still a monster hill to climb during the last half mile of the run. Slow and long. Whew.

So yeah, unfortunately that hill had me pretty much convinced from the beginning that I wasn't going to be able to run the whole time. I'm wicked bad on hills, which should make the Pig really fun. I walked for a total of maybe 1:30 to 2 minutes in three different places. Two of those were really brief, one (on the hill) was much longer. I stayed in front of Caitlin until the hill up to the bridge where, as I predicted, she kicked my butt and got a nice distance ahead of me. Go girl!

As I finally got to the top of the hill (the middle of the Purple People Bridge), I could see the finish line and REALLY wanted to sprint to the finish. Yeah, turns out it was a bit further away than I thought. That was the hardest I've worked during a finishing stretch yet. My body just did not want to go any faster and I couldn't catch up with Caitlin.

Caitlin finishing. I'm in the white long-sleeved T-shirt over her right shoulder.

All in all, I'm pleased with myself. I set a new PR and I ran more than I could have dreamed I would at my last 5K. Very cool!

Me, post-run and post-post-run-snack, quite content to be sitting and leaving a monster butt print on the pavement.

Somehow they captured our finishing times and pace without timing chips. Someone will have to explain that to me. Anyway, here's the screen shot of mine and Caitlin's finishing times. Matt, the newest runner of the three of us, came in around 33 minutes (WOOHOO!) and kicked both of our butts.
There we are!

The good news is I won't be running another 5K until mid-May (Forest Hills 5K). That will be after a 10K, after a half marathon, and after completing another 4-week session of boot camp. I should be hot to trot! (Oh yeah, looks like Caitlin and I are doing the Rat Race 10K. Yikes again!)

And to wrap up, here's our group post-race picture.

Great job you two!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Emerald Miles - Preliminary Results

More to come later, but here are my final time and mile splits!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Oh good god, now I've gone and done it. I just registered for the Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon.

Now begins the panic, self-doubt and denial. Oh, and stand by for my fundraising pitch for Fernside.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pig Prep And Planning: Please Provide Pointers!

Hey folks, I need your expert advice. I'm starting to think about what I should do for the upcoming Cincinnati Flying Pig (half) Marathon. I certainly don't plan on running the whole thing, but I would like my total running time--executed through run/walk intervals--to be more than half my total time. So, what intervals should I do? Please, pipe up. I want to know what you think ... especially you seasoned runners and marathoners. I really think I'll do much better with a plan and my interval timer set to help me along the way. I like deadlines better than "winging it."

The good news is I think I'll be participating in a 10K two weeks before the Pig so I'll get to test the intervals out (Cincinnati Rat Race 5K/10K ... thanks Caitlin!)

So, give it to me! I need help! Thanks!


On an unrelated note, I have some congratulations to dish out.

First, to my pal Matt, who just completed the Couch to 5K running program. Matt has been toying with the idea of trying the program for some time now, but he finally took the plunge around 9 weeks ago and hasn't looked back yet. He finished the program in 9 weeks. That's how long it's designed to take. I took 9 months. So Matt, you should know that I'm hugely jealous and very happy for you! Judging by the distance and time of your final C25K workout, I'd say you're going to kick some major butt (including mine and Caitlin's) at this Saturday's Emerald Miles race. Well, they find a course for us that's not covered in the Ohio River (it's a little wet in Cincinnati right now, folks.)

My second congrats goes to my running buddy Caitlin. After our awesome 5K victory last week at Juilfs Park, Caitlin knocked out another huge run in her neighborhood this Monday. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what running for stress relief can look like:

48 minutes of running without walking! WHOA! Someone's ready for her first 5K.

Great job Caitlin and Matt!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Anniversary Look Back: Shoes And Socks (And An Announcement)

Continuing my one-year anniversary series, today I'm going to take a quick look at how my feelings about shoes and socks have changed. Hold on to your seats, folks. This is e-x-c-i-t-i-n-g.

So, a few past blogs to reference in case you haven't been reading since the beginning:
  1. My feet issues
  2. When I got my Mizunos
  3. Confusion about lacing up
  4. When I addressed the sock issue
My feet are still the bane of my existence. I wear strictly flats now and still dream of the day that big ol' athletic shoes will become proper office attire.

The shoe topic is relatively easy. I still love them. And I can finally lace them up without worrying about tying them too tightly (turns out I like them pretty stinkin' loose). It took me until this winter of running around my parking lot to figure it out. I've started seriously considering low-profile running shoes, though. I'll definitely have to give them a good trial run at Fleet Feet before making a decision.

Now, socks? Well, it turns out I've become a bit of a sock snob. I blame my BFF Jeff, who worked at lululemon athletica (with the pompous lowercase company name) in NYC until about a week ago. He got me a pair of men's socks for Christmas (he knows me so well), and they're the best thing ever.

The lululemon man socks I've fallen in love with and man legs that do not come with purchase (not mine).

They're $14. Yeah.

A year ago, I didn't even know there was a proper kind of running sock. A little less than a year ago, I began to wonder what the big deal was and stuck to my Hanes lo-cut cotton athletic socks. A little after that, I started wondering if my sock choice had something to do with the burning sensation I felt on the bottom of my feet. And now? Now I am now hooked on $14 socks. I now have 3 pairs.

To be fair, I bought a 3-pack of these Converse athletic socks back in December with my Nordstrom Rack Groupon (same one I used for my favorite running pants) and they're super comfy too.

The runners up, forever in the shadow of the lululemon socks.

So, what's next for me? What will be my next snotty runner obsession? I'm feeling the need for some special sunglasses, or maybe a GPS watch ...

To be continued.


AH, I almost forgot! I have HUGE news! Beginning Monday, April 25, I will be participating in another 20 days of Cincinnati Adventure Fitness Boot Camp for Women!!! I'm so fortunate to get to do this again and I can't wait to kick my own ass. I lost between 20 and 30 pounds the first time without much effort on the food front; this time, no holds barred, people. What's even better is that I'll have a buddy this time! My mom's acquaintance, Roselyn, will be sweating right next to me. I love that so many of you have tried it out and succeeded and I can't wait to get back to it.

One small, teensy concern, though. The first week of boot camp falls during the week before the Half Pig. And then I have to go back to camp the Monday following the Sunday run. I took that Monday off work as a planned recovery day, yet I will apparently be at boot camp. EEEK!

So, big BIG news! Who else wants to join in the ABC fun? =)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Non-Stop 5K At Juilfs With Caitlin And A Blowout

Oh good god. I'm so wiped right now. First, yesterday I did Jackie Warner's lower body workout on my lovely DVD. As my Facebook friends already know, I've been acutely aware of my butt today. Why? Because it has been screaming in pain all day, along with my quads. Ouch-ee! It's the "good" kind of pain though ... not injury pain.

Big news though. Caitlin and I rocked 3.1 miles tonight at Juilfs without walking, including two hills. I believe it kicked both of our butts (which made my sore one feel all that much better), but we did it and that's all that matters. It's the longest (time and distance) either of us have run straight, ever. It took just a bit over 40 minutes.

Here are some screen shots provided by Caitlin's phone. (By the way, I've confirmed that my iPhone's GPS is inaccurate. BOO!)

Map of our path at the park

All the stats. I'm loving that distance.

The elevation map. This is not what I pictured.

I also had a pretty interesting day in a way that has nothing to do with running, but I think the pictures are funny. I blew out a rear tire on my way in to work today. I was on the highway, traveling at 65+ MPH, but was very fortunate that the blow-out wasn't a violent one. No accident, no scary moments, all is well. And since my tires were 15,000 miles over what they should have been and were dry rotted, I had to dish out some serious cash for four new tires. Ouch.

Anyway, here are the pictures of my tire. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure I could have patched this up with some duct tape.

But I'm here and alive and just ran 3.1 miles straight. Tires schmires. =)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Anniversary Look Back: Paying To Run

Continuing my series of entries focused on comparing where I am today as a runner to where I was a year ago when I started this whole mess, I'm going to look at the phenomenon of road races. Basically, how did I go from the chubby 5-year-old who just learned to hate running in gym class to the 29-year-old who scrapes her budget to find the means to pay to run?

This topic actually came up this week in a few e-mails I exchanged with my co-worker's husband, Matt, who is very nearly finished with the nine weeks of Couch to 5K. He's joining Caitlin and me on March 12 for the Emerald Miles 5K. It's his first race and he's a little disturbed about having to pay to run. I know the feeling. It was quite difficult for me to get over the concept back in May when I registered for the Redlegs Run for Home, my first 5K. The brief mention in this post doesn't do justice to the amount of shock I was feeling at the time.

But I got over it. A lot.

I got over it when I realized you're paying for more than just the privilege of sweating in front of hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of other people. Based on my vast sports management/event planning experience (2 or 3 semesters as a college major, believe it or not ... so impactful [corporate buzzword] that I can't remember how long I studied it), here are a few of the things I can think of that you're paying for with a race entry fee:
  1. An event t-shirt. Most important part of a race, hands down. Some races don't have shirts. They should be punished.
  2. A race number bib. Second most important part of a race. Makes you feel like a bonafide athlete.
  3. Chip timing, sometimes. There's something special about seeing your name and stats in an official list with tons of other runners. "See? Look! I did do it, and here's the proof!"
  4. Clear streets. I believe road races require permits to shut roads down. They also require police officers to keep cars from running you over. Police officers require pay ... and donuts.
  5. Cups. Lots of cups all over the street surrounding the one or two drink stations (for a 5K ... more and more elaborate for longer runs).
  6. A venue. Sometimes the races have events inside a building before and/or after a run. Or in a tent. Those things cost money. I bet the ones that are all outside have some cost associated with them, like vendor booths (pipe, drape, signs, etc.).
  7. Bananas. I'm sure sponsoring vendors provide their own food for after the race (yum!), but I don't know what vendor would provide bananas. I'm going to assume that the race organizers have to pay for that. Bananas are important.
  8. Health care professionals. People, especially runners, do stupid things and get hurt. Let's just think of it as job security for the EMTs and paramedics of the world who get stuck working these runs.
  9. Awards. I have no personal experience with this, but I bet there's some kind of award for fast people or participants with the tightest running shorts.
So that's just a short list of all the things your entry fee goes toward.

I left out one important thing though. I haven't seen a race yet that doesn't benefit some kind of non-profit organization or cause. These runs are huge fundraising opportunities for these non-profits. Just think of the immense reach of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Bajillions of people participate in a Race for the Cure across the country every year. Many of those people do their own fundraising and earn more than just their entry fee for that organization. I'm no math-lete, but a bajillion people times loads of fundraising money is a hoard of cash, you know?

Some races (the Flying Pig, for example) let you select which charity you're going to help by becoming part of a team. As a way to bribe my friend Sarah to do the half Pig with me on May 1, I decided to join the Fernside team. She is an active volunteer there and ran on their behalf last year. (Okay, I didn't really bribe her with that, but she did decide to join in the fun.)

So, not only am I going to pay for another race (and this one's expensive, folks), but I'm going to try to get you all to contribute to my madness and to a pretty cool organization. (In short, Fernside offers grief support to children, teens, and adults. They're affiliated with Hospice of Cincinnati.) Unfortunately Fernside doesn't have it's own snazzy online pledge system, but I do have a spreadsheet (Ooooh, spreadsheet!) to fill out with pledges.

Wait ... before you get too excited, I'm going to wait until I officially register for the race before soliciting cash. So thoughtful of me, no? So just be ready for it when it comes.


So I guess I got slightly off track.

My shock of paying to run went away pretty much immediately when I got to the Redlegs Run for Home 5K. I knew I was hooked right then and there. The feeling of accomplishment (even for a crap-o run) and the energy of the event is enough. Add on top of that the benefit of contributing to some non-profit cause, and you've got yourself a few good reasons to dish out the dough to run. That doesn't mean I won't try to find the event that gives me the most for my money.

The lessons to take away from this post are:
  • Don't be afraid to pay to run. You'll love it. Promise.
  • Be prepared for a solicitation in the next month or so (which, as always, you are welcome to ignore, because if anyone understands the money pinch, it's me)
Thanks folks. More of these look-backs to come.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Anniversary To Me!

Today, March 1, marks the one-year anniversary of the day I started running.

[pause for applause]

Well, that could be a lie. Please don't throw anything at me. I actually don't know the exact date I started running. What I do know is that my gym membership expired at the end of February last year and I started running because of that expired gym membership. I know that there wasn't much time between the two either. So, for the sake of having a date, I will, from this point forward, recognize March 1 as my running anniversary date.

Happy anniversary to me!

Did I ever think I'd be here? Nope.

Am I still a little shocked that I am here? Yep.

Am I happy I did it? You betchya!

So, to commemorate this occasion, I'm going to spend the next few blog entries comparing and contrasting where I am now versus where I was a year ago. I thought that reviewing the year would be a little redundant, but I think this little exercise could be fun.

I'll start with something I did today and actually just started doing about two weeks ago ...

One year ago, I was petrified of what I looked like and sounded like after a run. I'd finish my workouts (Week 1 of Couch to 5k: run 30 seconds, walk 90 seconds, repeat), and would be tomato red and dripping sweat from every skin cell, hair follicle, and thread of my clothing. My mother was the only person fortunate enough to get to see me like that.

Also, many of you have been with me from the beginning and know about my over-awareness of my heavy breathing. The freight train. A year ago, that heavy breathing would last a lot longer than it does now and would be a lot more intense. There was a lot more choking involved too. Yum! And like now, I suffered from post-run sneezes (hasn't changed a bit, though it goes away in during the hot months).

After runs a year ago, I was lucky to make it home to the couch. I didn't dream of being any more active than putting on my pajamas and refilling my bottle of water before heading to bed.

Finally, I didn't want to be seen in my drenched workout clothes, a dilapidated collection of yoga-pants-turned-pajama-pants-turned-running-gear and old t-shirts. Sweaty? Yes. But they also showed some very unattractive jiggly parts on my 30-pounds-heavier-than-today frame.

Today, after my 2.2-mile run/walk (10 minutes run, 1 minute walk, repeat 2.5 times because I cut it short), I went to Michael's in search of a bottle of the seemingly non-existent strawberry extract that Ms. Paula Deen calls for in her strawberry cake recipe, which I plan on making quite soon. Thanks Paula. (If anyone spots this stuff anywhere, please let me know ASAP

Anyway, I got to Michael's (a short drive from Juilfs), wiped my forehead on my sleeve, put my zip-up hoodie on, and checked for major hair fly-aways in my rear-view mirror before heading on in. No sweat.

Well, yes sweat, but not much and I know how to "hide" it now. Practice makes perfect.

Activity after running? Sure, why not? Actually, these days I feel rip-roarin' and ready to go after running. Not right after running, but give me a 5-minute cool down walk and my legs are good as new. (That probably speaks to the fact that I need to up intensity and/or distance of my runs a bit, but you get the point.) In fact, I'll often have more energy than before I started.

So yes, quite a contrast between today and a year ago.

This is fun! Check back over the next few posts and I'll see what else I can dig up. I'll try to post more frequently for the next few entries, I promise.

PS, I purchased tickets for something today that requires me to meet a maximum weight that I'm currently 25 pounds above. And I have to do it before September.

This is not a goal.
This is a financial commitment (a whopping $35) that I have to adhere to. No big deal.

NOT A GOAL. Do you hear me?

[stops shaking finger at no one, calmly sits back down on couch]

Ahem. Sorry about that.

Anyway, that is why I've reserved Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred on Netflix. I should have it by later this week so I can figure out if it's worth the purchase.

Not a goal.