Thursday, July 30, 2009

Let's Do This...

I figured that I've delayed this post long enough. It is now time to talk about...


So, anyone who is my Facebook or Twitter friend knows that, at minimum, I finished the entire 26.2 miles AND, I finished it the same day I began- which, in all seriousness, what pretty much my goal :o). Check.

My marathon training coach, Greg, gave us a pep talk the week before, reminding us that we were well trained for the race and that all of the hard work was behind us. Hmm...sounds like something I would normally buy in to, although, I was still skeptical. Traveling 26.2 miles still sounded like a lot of work! Anyway, after that last (bittersweet) group training run, my pace group (now formally known as Jackie's Pack) toasted our hard work with mimosas! This was, in fact, my first drink in quite some time. Yikes.

So, on to race week. My nerves were starting to go into overdrive on Thursday or so. Some of my most inspirational bloggers/runners/tweeters, @Marathonmaritza, @Hellasound, @TML26, @chicrunner, @bicoastalite, and @runnersrambles gave me awesome advice and helped me chill- a little. I wanted to go to the race expo on Friday but couldn't sneak out of work. So, hubby and I packed up our poochie and headed to the expo first thing Saturday morning. This is a pic of poochie and I in the car, getting ready to go to the expo!

So, although I'm new(ish) to running, I am a first class nerd when it comes to running gear. Going in to a race expo is like setting me loose at the Diet Coke factory- meaning, I go bananas!! I LOVE gear! I love free samples! I was so psyched. The only thing that kept me in check was the fact that hubby and poochie were taking a walk outside while I "did a quick walk through" (that's what I told hubby was my intention- he knew better).

I checked in for the race and picked up my goodie bag, packet, and race shirt. I was sort of bummed out because when I registered for the race, I was significantly larger than I am now so I ordered a larger shirt. I asked if I could get a smaller shirt but they didn't have any extra. Oh well, now I know! I started walking through the expo and was, strangely, underwhelmed by the various stands. I wasn't interested in buying sunglasses or signing up for another marathon so I bypassed a number of them.

What I was looking for, however, was the RECOVERY SOCKS stand! Really, all I wanted was a hot pink pair of recovery socks like the ones I had seen on another blogger's site. So, I got them and a free pair or running socks and a headband to boot! YES!! Later, I developed a super hero costume with said socks and headband. Check out the pics! I also picked up a Tiger Tail massage stick as I'd been coveting one since I started training.

Fast forward to that night. Everyone told me, with a high level of certainty, that I WOULD NOT sleep the night before the marathon. Huh...I slept so well!! Maybe I have some kind of marathon induced malfunction? Anyway, I went to bed at 8:30 PM and didn't wake up until my alarm went off at 4:00 AM. Ugh.

My pace group buddy, J was so sweet and asked her roommate to pick me up and take the two of us to the starting line. That was a lot better option than taking public transportation at the crack of dawn. Before they arrived, I ate an English muffin and some oatmeal with peanut butter. YUM-O! Then, J got to my place and it was off to the races!

Since we are part of the SF Marathon "official" training program, we were granted access to a VIP tent where we could store our gear, meet up with fellow runners, grab some Cytomax, and stretch. There was even a bouncer checking our names off of "the list!"We met up with the rest of "the pack" and took loads of pictures. Then, J an I made our way to the hellacious porta potty lines. Lucky J, she chose a fast moving line while mine took FOREVER. Oh well. Then, it was off to the starting line!!

As we were getting ready for our wave start time, one of my fellow pack members, S, LOST HIS CONTACT! Well, actually, we know exactly where it fell on the ground but he couldn't just pick it up and put it back in his eye so, he ran the entire marathon with one contact! This made for some entertaining moments when S couldn't really see what was going on. Eventually, though, he commented that maybe he could save half of his money and only buy contacts for one eye from now on! Good luck with that S!

So, the race began and we were successful in NOT getting swept away by the huge rush of people who went out of the starting area too fast. We kept our (slow) pace and I'm really glad we did. We stopped and stretched at the water stop at about mile 2.5 and then, we met our first hill. When we were training for the race, the coaches and pacers told us that this hill was where we found out who 1) trained in SF or 2) came from a flat state like Iowa. As we made our way up, we saw that most of the people around us slowed to a walk. We then (silently and humbly) thanked our coach C, who consistently made us run hills :o)!

After another few miles and another (steep) hill (that we destroyed, by the way), we made our way across the Golden Gate Bridge. Sadly, it was so foggy that we couldn't see the awesome view that I've learned to love so much while running across the bridge. We kept a steady pace and made out way across and back. Here's a pic from the water stop!

Coming off of the bridge, we had another steady climb and then a long, steep, downhill that would destroy your quads if you weren't careful. I was happy to see my friend, C, who had started the SF Marathon training program and then, sadly, got injured. I guess she kept on going and ended up running the half. Nice work girl! I also saw a woman who had a shirt that said "60 and still running" or something to that effect. I tapped her on the shoulder and said 'Go girl!"

I started to get really excited as we approached Golden Gate Park because I had told my friends that that was a good place to see me run, if they wanted to. As I came up to the park entrance, I saw my friends S and V and then, further down the road, B and B! I hugged them all, disregarding the fact that I probably smelled like a compost bin! B and B made me huge posters too that they were waving. I was so excited and it really helped me keep going!

In Golden Gate Park, we passed the half way point and I felt so great. I even asked my running buddies if they thought we could get a negative split (that means we'd run the second half faster than the first). Soon thereafter, though, the sun came out, my knees started to ache, and Morty (remember him?) came out to play. Ugh. I took some Tylenol and hoped for the best. As we continued through the park (the park seriously went on forever), I saw B and B again, this time with my friend F, on his bike. I have the best friends ever!

At mile 19, hubby was waiting for me to accompany me to the finish. I was still doing pretty good and thought I could finish the race in a reasonable amount of time. Well, I thought wrong. All of those stories and fables about the final six miles of the marathon, hitting the wall, and so on...ARE TRUE! Miles 20 through 26 were brutal. It was hot, the race course was desperately boring, and I just couldn't take it. Hubby and I walked a good portion of these miles and stopped to stretch every few blocks. Seriously, had hubby not been there, I may have considered just stopping!!

Finally, we saw mile marker 25 and I began to feel a renewed sense of excitement. Soon, we could see mile maker 26 and I just about jumped out of my skin. Hubby jumped off of the course and I literally sprinted to the finish line. As I crossed, I ALMOST started to cry but then I got wrapped up in the flow of getting a water bottle thrust into my hand, getting my medal, having my picture snapped, and getting my foil blanket. I found hubby again and we made our way over to the VIP tent. I had separated from "the pack" over the course of the race and I wanted to see how everyone had done. I also just wanted to get my SHOES OFF!!

Eventually, I found my buddy, J and we snapped a quick picture. I also saw S who was able to finish, one contact and all! After changing my shirt and putting on my awesome Recovery Socks, all I wanted to do was get home to my ice bath and some food. We grabbed a cab and headed home.

The rest of the day was pretty boring except that I took a nap and refused to take of my medal. I also wore my medal in my ice bath. I earned it!! I also found that marathons make you lose your mind because although I don't eat red meat, I really wanted a cheeseburger. So, hubby braved the traffic and drove me to In 'n Out. He's a good one, I tell you!

I was pretty sore on Monday and Tuesday and felt much better on Wednesday. Today, Thursday, I ventured out for my first post-race run, a short 2 miler. It was great to pound the pavement again.

Running this marathon has made me so excited for the San Jose Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon and the Nike Women's Marathon, both in October. I know, I know, how quickly I forget the pain and agony of those last 6 miles...

So, now I begin a new journey- Marathon #2 and 1/2 Marathon #5. Let's do this!

Monday, July 27, 2009

That's it? That's it...that's the melody to Funky Town!

So, as you know if you've read any of this blog, I trained for several long months to run the San Francisco Marathon. Well, this weekend, I did the darn thing. I'm still trying to get myself together to really figure out how to explain it all. Until then, please enjoy this excellent clip from a show that I NEVER watch, but frequently quote:

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I work in a field that requires me to offers me many opportunities to self reflect. Sometimes, it's a welcomed opportunity while other times, it's simply something to endure until lunch time or 5:00 PM, which ever comes first.

Today, I was asked to reflect on where I am from. Unfortunately, this opportunity for reflection came after an emotionally draining training session. What followed was a very raw and real experience during which I discovered some "disconnect" (a word that is desperately overused in my field) between who I am and who I think I am.

Confused? Let me get to how this pertains to this blog. Over the past thirty few years, I've been a person who has been defined (by me and, let's face it by others) as an overweight person or as a person trying to lose weight. Now, I'm finding myself in an exciting position as I've reached my weight goal and now, I'm needed to shift my perception of myself to include a healthy person who is maintaining her weight. This is extremely tough! I have no idea how to operate in the world as a person who is not, for lack of a better term, on a diet. Further, I don't know how to be a person who is satisfied, or, even better, happy, with her weight!

So, this week, I weighed in at Weight Watchers to see how my first week on "maintenance" went. I lost .4 pounds and was really struggling because I found myself to be disappointed. I secretly hoped to see a bigger loss, even though that's not where I'm at anymore!

I guess I really don't know what else to say about this except that I know a big part of moving towards a new self-image is to allow myself the same level of care that I'd give a friend in this situation. I wouldn't tell a friend who's met her weight goal that she should be disappointed in herself. I'd tell her to celebrate her successes and give herself some props!

So, I'm on a new journey and it's going to be difficult but, at least my workplace
makes me gives me the opportunity to have these "ah ha" moments. ;o).

Friday, July 17, 2009


Wow- there's so much to talk about in this post! Hopefully I can get it all in.

First, last night, hubby and I participated in the Sunset Run. A local Fleet Feet store sponsored this run to benefit a running program for the Oakland School District. For a couple dollars, we got to run five miles (I know, running is free, right??) BUT we also got really sweet Nike running shirts and we were entered into some drawings for great prizes. Although we sadly didn't win anything in the raffle, hubby and I both ran our fastest five miles, EVER. Our friend, A. came with us and for some reason, that was enough motivation to make me move my @$$ a little faster. I also got to meet fellow blogger, John from Slow MoFo. I wanted to meet Tara from On the GO! and MarathonMaritza but the run started and off we went. Hopefully I will get to meet these cool and inspirational runners/bloggers soon!

So- let's get to the real news. After almost three years of following the Weight Watchers program, this morning, I hit my goal weight (and, actually, I am .8 pounds UNDER my goal weight)! YAHOO!!!! Although I've been really close to my goal for a while, I didn't really know how it would feel to reach it. Trust me, it feels amazing.

Insert weight loss/gain background here:
I graduated from college in 2000 and I was quite heavy. I hit the beer and the pizza one too many nights and it definitely took it's toll. Promptly, I gained more weight because I lived alone and had zero cooking skills. In turn, I ate a lot of fast food and breakfast generally consisted of a few donuts on my way to work. Eventually, I weighed 265 pounds. The picture here is me at about 250, I think.

Around that time, the Atkins diet was gaining popularity and some of my coworkers were on it. I decided to try it (all the bacon you can eat? Yes please! Well, actually not anymore- I don't really eat meat!). That diet worked for me and I lost about 110 pounds. In this picture, I'm about 150 (also, it's Halloween and I was a Charlie's Angel- or something like that).

Ooh ooh, I bet you can guess what happened next!! Atkins is a DIET. That means that you eventually go off of the DIET and got back to REAL LIFE. Well, in real life, I still didn't know how to control my portions or prepare my own meals. Yikes. Also, I started dating my now hubby and most of our meals were, of course, eaten out! Eventually we got married, moved to SF, and I found myself at 214 pounds. This picture is from my very first staff retreat and my weight was around 210.

At that time, I worked with my good friend B. and we had these deep conversations about making change in our lives. After some thought, we decided to join Weight Watchers. So, in September 2006, we went to our first meeting and joined. I found the meetings to be very inspirational and I learned a lot of great things. After the first year, though my weight loss slowed WAY DOWN and I got discouraged. Then, I had a tragic string of events happen to me. My niece was killed in a car accident, my friend B and I got attacked by a women with a handgun, my mom had to have brain surgery, and my dad got sick! All of those things took a huge toll on me and I wound up gaining a little weight back.

It all turned around, though, when I started running- and, as you know, this blog has chronicled most of that journey. I've found an activity that helps me keep the weight off and that I really enjoy. It's a perfect fit for me!

As an indicator of hitting my goal, I got this star to put on my WW key chain. For those of you that aren't familiar with WW, when you lose 10% of your weight, you get a key chain. Then you get small charms for various milestones that you hit. I have a 16 week Stay and Succeed charm, a 25 pounds lost charm, a fifty pounds lost charm, and now, a star. I love my key chain, although, strangely, I don't carry keys!! All of my work and house doors open with a card swipe- like a hotel! The other picture is me- today- literally, like five minutes ago!

So- after losing 65 POUNDS, it's time to start maintenance. I'm honestly pretty terrified because I've NEVER EVER EVER been in a place when I wasn't trying to lose weight- except for the donut era post-college. I know that I've learned a lot of things about myself and about weight control and I'm sure I'll be fine. In fact, I'm sure I'll be better than fine- I'll be awesome!

Oh- and next week, I get to try for my next goal- finishing the San Francisco Marathon. Hopefully it doesn't take me three years ;o).

Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm Not The Only One

I was so excited to learn about this study out of the UK. Basically, researchers found the when people are in pain, swearing helps them endure it longer than people who don't swear.

Why am I so excited? Because this study proves that I'm not alone when I blurt out colorful strings of inappropriate words, especially when I take my post-run ice baths. Sometimes, I get really creative with my curse words. Sometimes I turn innocent words into curse words! For example, while in a particularly cold ice bath about a month ago, I started in with my usual @#$?& and *$@&!^ and then turned to some commercial jingles. Specifically, I started screaming "la la la la la la la la TJ Max!" Not sure why- it just seemed to be the thing to do.

So- if you find yourself in pain or discomfort, try a curse word or two. They f-ing help.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Marlene Is Celebrating Her 500th Post- Check Out Her Giveaway!

Marlene is celebrating her 500th post- check out her awesome giveaway!
Happy 500th Marlene!

Mission to a(nother) Marathon: Giveaway!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mission To The Moon

In this post, I mentioned that Hubby and I were going to travel to Colorado for the 4th of July weekend. While we were there, we ran a four mile Liberty Run. Having never run in Colorado, I speculated that running in the "mile high city" may be akin to running on the moon (due to the thin air and lack of oxygen).

The run was scheduled to begin at 8:00 AM on Saturday, the 4th. We were visiting my parents and staying at their house so we enlisted my mom to come and cheer for us (and we needed to use her vehicle!). My bff also came to watch us as well. We have fans! Anyway, while on the way to the race, we inevitably got lost. Hubby and I have a knack for ending up lost- a lot. So, I got frustrated- I also have a knack for that- and demanded that Hubby use his fancy iPhone to get us unlost. He did- good job Hubby!

We made it to the race and checked in. I was really excited about this race because it was the first race in the United States that did not use paper cups at the water stops. Instead, included in our race fee, we were given a HydraPouch. You clip to your shorts and then fill it up at water stops. It's far easier to drink from than a paper cup- no spilling half of the water or sports drink down your shirt!

The weather was really nice at the beginning of the race but I could tell it was going to get hot. We started at a nice, steady pace but, soon, I could feel the impact of the altitude. I could hear hubby breathing harder than usual and was able to gasp, "It's hard to breathe, huh?" He said, "Uh yeah." We carried on in silence and, eventually, it got much easier to breathe. Soon, Hubby had to stop at the porta-potty so I ran on without him.

Although it was only a four mile race, I still played a few games to get me through it. I chose people in front of me that I wanted to pass. I got especially fired up when a race walker was ahead of me. I thought, "I HAVE to beat the race walker!" So, I did.

I continued running and realized that my husband had not caught up with me yet. I started to get a little worried that he'd maybe thrown in the towel due to the altitude. As I was coming around a corner directly before the finish line, I looked over my shoulder and I saw him! I yelled, "Good job!" and he waved me to keep going. I sped up and finished and he crossed a few seconds behind me. We were both extremely happy that we finished and maintained a great pace- for us, anyway!

After the race, my parents, my bff, my sister and brother-in-law (who were also visiting from Texas) and Hubby and I went out to breakfast. That night, we went to the Colorado Rockies baseball game- they lost *hmph*- but we saw some AWESOME fireworks. Check out the pictures! I wonder if they saw them from the moon...

Giveaway At Nikes and Ponytails

Here's a yummy snack giveaway over at Nikes and Ponytails! Check it out here!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Clean It Up

If you've followed my twitter or facebook status updates, you may have seen that hubby and I started getting Farm Fresh To You produce delivery. Farm Fresh To You is a company that delivers organic, and local produce to customers on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. You can check out the website here .

I knew about FFTY through the University that I work for but didn't really consider it for my household until I read the book Harvest For Hope by Jane Goodall. Without launching into a full on book report, the book talks about the global crisis that is taking place because of factory farming. One of the things that will help address this problem is if people purchase food that is locally available to them, especially from small, independent farmers.

So, we got our first delivery on Tuesday and we received bell peppers, oranges, basil, cherries, blueberries, carrots, and a head of lettuce. We've been cooking some great, organic meals with our vegetables and we've thouroughly enjoyed the fruit for breakfast and dessert. I did have a sad moment when I put together a pesto sauce using the basil in order to freeze it for later use. Having never made pesto, I may have burned the pine nuts. I threw everything in the food processor anyway and now I think it's ruined! I guess I'll find out when I thaw it out to use it.

Overall, I'm so pleased that hubby and I have taken this step to clean up our diets and, at the same time, helping to clean up the planet.

On a running note, hubby and I ran a little over five miles today. I managed to forget my watch and my iPod with Nike+ died around the 2 mile mark so I was completely unware of our time. It was kind of nice to just relax with my thoughts and run without worrying about my time or pace. Certainly, I'm too much of a control freak to ever do this on purpose, though!

Hubby and I are off to Colorado for the 4th of July where we'll run a four mile race. Let's hope that we don't completely die from the altitude. Compared to SF, running in Colorado may be a little bit like running on the moon. We'll see...