Archive for May, 2010

I Know Squat

Monday, May 31st, 2010

I use the loo a lot during the day… A lot. I think it’s mostly a mental thing due to my proximity to the bathroom. I work from home, and anytime I leave my office for anything – to get the mail, to get something to drink, to break for lunch – I have to pass by the commode. I see it, and I suddenly have to go.

At night or when I’m out, it’s not nearly an issue. In fact, I’m almost camelesque at times. But during the workday, I can go six or seven times. By the end of the day, that jumps to 8 or 10 times.

As insane as that is, it’s not the point of my story.

Since I’m in the ladies so much, and since I’ve been so busy lately – too busy to work out as much as I’d like – I figured I’d try to add a little exercise to my bathroom breaks.

For the last 4 days, following every single trip to the W.C., I’ve done 10 squats. Good squats, too – nice and low. By bedtime, that can add up to 80 or 100 squats! And it takes virtually no time out of my day.

I’m starting to feel some soreness in my quads from it, which tells me that it’s doing something! At some point, I think I’ll switch it up and do squats one day and another exercise the next, but for now, I’m sticking with squats.

Anyone else know squat?

Watermelon Season is Here!

Monday, May 24th, 2010

I’m so excited: I bought a watermelon yesterday for just $3.99, which means it’s officially Watermelon Season in my book! Watermelon is one of my all-time favorite fruits… I don’t want to look like one, but I love to eat them!

I cut half of it up to enjoy with dinner tonight, and it was finger-licking, lip-smacking, melt-in-your-mouth delicious. When I fed a bite to my husband while he manned the grill, he said “Holy crap! That’s quite possibly the best watermelon I’ve ever had!” I couldn’t agree more. Sweet, juicy, bright pink – simply perfect.

Run out and buy yourself a watermelon – and then eat it. It’ll fill you up with its delicious fiberifficness!

How to Choose a Watermelon

  • Look the watermelon over: You are looking for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents.
  • Lift it up: The watermelon should be heavy for its size. Watermelon is 92% water; most of the weight is water.
  • Turn it over: The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.

Health Benefits of Watermelon

  • Watermelon is the Lycopene Leader in fresh produce, having higher concentrations of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. In fact, fresh watermelon contains higher levels of lycopene than fresh tomatoes – a 2-cup serving of watermelon contains an average of 18.16 mg and one medium-sized tomato contains 4 mg.
  • Watermelon has heart healthy properties because it is naturally low in saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol.
  • Watermelon is practically a multivitamin unto itself: A 2-cup serving of watermelon is an excellent source of Vitamin A (important for optimal eye health), Vitamin B6 (used by the body to manufacture brain chemicals [neurotransmitters], such as serotonin, melatonin and dopamine, which preliminary research shows may help the body cope with anxiety and panic), and Vitamin C (which helps bolster your immune system’s defenses against infections and viruses and is known to stimulate the immune system and protect against free radical damage.

For more information on watermelon’s health benefits – and all things watermelon! – visit www.watermelon.org.

Mayday! Mayday!

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

This month has been oh-so-very busy. Exceedingly busy. Extraordinarily busy.

My husband and I own a duplex that we rent out. Both of the tenants we had moved out this month – the same week, in fact. That means I had to clean, complete minor repairs, coordinate big repairs, and do yard work for basically two houses. Not to mention keeping my own household running. Oh yeah, and running my business…

Besides that, there was also the search for new tenants. Our duplex is quite nice and in a great neighborhood, so we typically fill it in short order. Thankfully, this time was no different – I got both sides rented out within a week – but what a week it was! Placing ads, answering phone calls, responding to emails, and giving tours takes up a ton of time and energy.

It’s exhausting really.

By the end of the day, I have had very little energy left. This has not boded well for my physical fitness (or keeping up with my blog!).

We’ve been eating out far more than normal (or rather, eating in, but with food that’s been magically brought to our door…) and far more than is healthy. To make matters worse, many of my workouts have also been sacrificed in order to keep up with everything else. In fact, besides the Race for the Cure, I hadn’t run a single time since the half marathon two and a half weeks ago until I forced myself to get on the road again this past Wednesday. That run felt really good too – I should make a note of how much I like running, because it’s so easy to forget when you’re warm and cozy on the couch watching reruns of The Office.

I’m happy to say that I have made time for the Total Body Workout class at my gym on Monday nights. I had to skip it for the entire duration of my hip hop class since they are (were) held on the same day, so I’m making a definite point of going now that I can. It’s such a great workout – I can’t believe how much I can sweat and hurt in one short hour.

I’ve also been playing softball, but our last game was this past Thursday, so that’s a bummer. Of course, as much as I love playing, it’s not much of a workout, so it’ll be good to get back to spending that time at Kung Fu and getting a more intense exercise session that way.

With just a few more tasks to complete at the duplex, things should be getting back to normal before long. I can’t wait to have more energy so I can return to the days of home-cooked meals and 5-mile runs.

And blogging on a regular basis, of course.

Close as Two Coats of Paint

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

My goal for this morning’s 5k was to break 30 minutes. Unfortunately, I missed it by this much: My official time was 30:27. So close!

I feel like I did the best I could so I’m not too upset. Also, even though I didn’t break 30 minutes, it was a PR, and my pace was better than 10 minutes per mile (9:49), so that’s really cool.

This is the first race I’ve done where my goal wasn’t to simply “run the entire thing without walking.” For this race, I knew I’d be able to run the whole thing since I increased my mileage so much by training for last week’s half. That makes the next obvious goal speed!

I haven’t really done much speedwork to date. I think I might work some of that into my next round of workouts and see what happens.

Speaking of new workouts, this week starts post half marathon training life. (Last week was recovery!) Tomorrow night, I plan to go to the Total Body Workout class at my gym, which I haven’t been to in months since my hip hop class was on Mondays. I’m really looking forward to it – I could use a total body workout… and a total body massage!

Lazing About

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Most of my week has been spent lazing about. Ok, that’s not entirely true – it’s been incredibly busy work-wise. Workout-wise, though, it was much less intense than last week. Or the last 12 weeks, for that matter.

I haven’t run at all since the half marathon on Sunday. That wasn’t really my intention, but I’m not too broken up about it, either. I did walk twice: To complete a bunch of errands on Monday, and to a restaurant for dinner with my husband yesterday. Both walks were quite enjoyable! I rarely use running to complete errands because I get so sweaty and I’m always running to train, so even though these were walks, it was a nice change of pace. (Ha!)

I am missing the running, though. Luckily for me, I’m running a 5k tomorrow!

It’s the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Pittsburgh. This will be my third running of it, and 2 years ago, it was my very first road race. That gives it a special place in my heart.

My fastest official 5k time to date was last September, at 30:45, but that course was all downhill/flat. Tomorrow’s course is full of hills. Last year I finished this particular 5k in 34:51.

I would really love to break the 30-minute mark tomorrow.

It will be tough, but not impossible at my current level of fitness/training. I’m hoping that with the adrenaline created by running with 35,000 people, and knowing that I only have to go 3.1 miles (as opposed to 13.1!), I’ll be able to push myself to get the added speed necessary to give me a new PR, and under 30 minutes.

Wish me luck! And tune in tomorrow for the results!

The Day After

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

I woke up this morning feeling reasonably normal. Then I remembered what I did yesterday and a surge of pride ran through me – 13.1 miles is a big deal for me! Hell, it’s a big deal for ANYONE, but it feels particularly momentous for me. Let me explain:

Three short years ago, I weighed over 260 pounds, and couldn’t run to the bathroom without getting winded. After I changed my eating habits and lost some weight, I started walking for exercise. Then, in August, I started running, little by little, using the Couch to 5k program which was great, but I didn’t complete the whole thing. (Boo, former Kimberly!) By the time I ran my first 5k race on Mother’s Day, 2008, I still wasn’t able to run the entire thing.

I finally ran 3 miles straight outside – without walking – for the first time in September of JUST LAST YEAR. I then cranked up the training a notch to be able to do 5 miles on Thanksgiving, and then again to be able to do a 10k December 1. That’s still only 6.2 miles – which is a lot, but it’s a far cry from 13.1 – not even half!

It blows my mind how quickly I was able to progress once I finally gave it an honest, consistent try. And to think that I couldn’t do much of anything 3 years ago – Wow! This really is a huge accomplishment! My biggest physical feat to date. And I’m proud :)

Physically, I feel pretty darn good today, too. I thought I would hurt more, based on how terribly I felt immediately after the race. But no! I’m a bit sore today, but no more than I was the day after any of my other long runs. Honestly, the thing that hurts the most is the chafing I got under my arms and on my waist from my wet clothes rubbing against my skin for 2.5 hours. It feels better today than yesterday, though, so hopefully that will go away completely in relatively short order.

I’ve already been asked two questions over and over: if I’ll ever run a half marathon again, and if I plan to start training for the full now.

Will I ever do another half marathon? Probably, yes, but I’m not thinking about that just yet. For now, I’m going to bask in the glory of my latest triumph, and enjoy getting back to a more well-rounded workout routine. For many, many weeks now, I’ve just been running, running, running. I’ll continue to run, certainly, but will likely drop it down to 3 days a week and max out my long runs at 6 miles, instead of double-digit runs. That will leave more time to add back in a little strength training, something I feel like my body has really been missing. Hip hop is over now, too, so that will allow me to get back to my Total Body Workout class at the gym, which I’ve missed as well.

Do I plan to start training for a full marathon now? Hell no! That’s not to say that I’ll never do a full marathon – who knows what the future holds? Especially considering nine months ago I couldn’t run more than 3 miles… For now, though, that’s not in the plans. Training for the half took up a ton of time and was very challenging. Of course, I liked the challenge and I’m glad I did it, but to do double that distance? Wow. Not sure about that. I’d love to SAY that I’ve done a marathon, but I’m not convinced I actually want to DO one. We’ll see, though.

If it’s okay with you, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy my victory for another day before moving on. Because this was a huge win for me.

A Quick Note: THANK YOU to everyone for your encouragement and applause throughout the training process and then event! It means a ton to know that you care and have faith in me – more faith than I have in myself sometimes! Honestly, it has kept me going at times I’ve wanted to stop. So thank you. Give yourselves a big hug from me!

…Go!

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

Three months of training culminated in the half marathon I ran this morning. Spoiler Alert: Consistent training pays off.

Up at 4:45. Out the door by 6. Downtown parking garage by 6:30. Massive line for the porta-potties by 6:45. At the Starting Line by 7:15. (This is all thanks to my husband, King of Logistics! It was soooo wonderful of him to agree to be my driver, photographer, and cheerleader for the day. He’s the best.)

I successfully met up with Fast Willy C prior to the start (what did we do before cell phones?). The gun went off at 7:30, and 7 minutes later, Fast Willy and I finally crossed the Starting Line (we were in the last corral due to our (my) projected finish time).

As any runner can attest, the first mile or two is among the worst: Your body screams out – What are you doing to me? I don’t like this! Cut it out! – and then relaxes a bit after a few miles.

Today that was no different, though the first few miles weren’t nearly as difficult as the last few miles, but we’ll get to that in a bit…

About 3 minutes in, it started to rain. Just a light sprinkle at first, and then an all out RAIN. After a mile or two, it switched back and forth – Sprinkle – Rain – Sprinkle – Rain – for the rest of the race. At first it felt good, cooling off the surprisingly hot (and muggy!) morning. Then it was just annoying: Wet feet, wet clothes, water in your eyes. But as Fast Willy pointed out, there was nothing to do but just keep running!

I was feeling good for quite a while. Not great – I don’t want to pretend that any of it was EASY – but it was a good challenge. One that I had prepared for.

It was Mile 8 when things started to get very difficult. When we first reached the marker, I was excited – 8 miles! – and then I did the math: FIVE MILES LEFT. Oy.

It just got worse from there: My legs started cramping up. It felt like I was getting a blister on my right foot (I didn’t!). I had to go to the bathroom.

I kept going though, mostly because of Fast Willy C. I really wanted to walk. I mean, I didn’t want to, but I wanted to, you know?

When we got to Mile 11, it occurred to me that every new step would be the furthest I had ever run. That was very helpful mentally. Of course, I still had the physical pain. Even so, it was at this point that I told Fast Willy that I knew I would finish.

But I didn’t really know that. It was so hard. I had to keep slowing my pace – the last 2 miles were probably my slowest of the entire race.

At about 12.5, it was clear that Fast Willy still had a lot of energy left, whereas I had none. I told him he should run off to the Finish Line on his own and I would meet him there. He said “We didn’t run this far together not to finish together! We’re going to cross that Finish Line at the same time, arms raised in triumph!”

And that’s exactly what we did. (Photo not taken at the exact moment our arms were in the air, but I promise you, they were up there!)

It felt so good to finish. Right after we crossed, though, we hit a big traffic jam of people going through the chute waiting for their mylar blankets and medals and bananas and bagels etc etc. That part was insanity. And going from running 13.1 miles (!) to standing was very difficult on my body. I cramped up. I felt dizzy. I felt a little sick. Of course, I probably would have felt those things even if I was able to walk at the end, but who knows how badly.

My wonderful husband was there at the Finish Line. I heard him yell my name as I crossed, which was awesome. When we finally met up, he led me to the car – a miserable 10-block walk – and drove me home. And then made me lunch. And then let me take a nap. And is about to take me out to The Melting Pot for dinner. Because really, if there’s ever a good time to go to The Melting Pot, it’s on a day you just ran a half marathon :)

My official finish time:

11:03 pace – Not too shabby. Ideally I would have finished a little faster, but it doesn’t really matter: My real goal was to run the entire thing without walking, and I did that. If I had run any faster, I’m not sure I could have finished without walking. Hell, I was close to being unable to finish at a run as it was!

In fact, even at the pace I went, which was comfortable for me, I honestly don’t think I would have completed the entire race without walking if I didn’t have the support of Fast Willy C beside me. It was fabulous of him to run with me and keep me going, especially since I know he could have finished with a much better time if he had run on his own. I’m very grateful that he helped me reach my goal today!

And I’m thrilled that I did, in fact, reach my goal today. It was hard, but that’s what makes it feel like such a great accomplishment. Yay for me!

Ready… Set…

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Tomorrow’s the big day! My longest ever race – and run – a half marathon (13.1 miles)!

The thing I’m most nervous about at this point is the logistics of the day, because it’s hard to really prepare. My husband has offered to drive me (so awesome) even though we’ll have to leave at 6am at the latest. That definitely takes a big load off. It’s still a little nerve-wracking though: There are a ton of roads closed and the garages are closed for a number of hours – the hours I would want to get in or get out (still not sure how that one works…).

There’s also meeting up with my friend, Fast Willy C, who’s doing the race with me. Have I mentioned yet how fabulous he is? He ran his first full marathon this past Fall (at 47!). He was planning on doing the full this time, too, but didn’t feel like he got in enough training, so he switched to the half with a new goal: Get me to the finish line. Pretty great, right?! He’s easy to pick out of a crowd since he’s so tall, but that means he has long legs, so he’s clearly faster than me. I worried about this for a while, but I’m not going to spend any more energy worrying about holding him back or not being able to keep up. I’d love for him to run with me, but if he’d rather run on ahead, he knows he’s welcome to do that too :)

All of these logistical things are pretty minor, though. It’ll all work itself out. I love that my husband is driving me: If worse comes to worse, he can just drop me off and then go off to find a parking spot on his own. Again, so awesome.

I’m currently working on doing the things I can do to prepare: I have my clothes in the washer. I’m about to make – and eat – the same delicious pasta dish I had last Saturday during my practice ‘run’. I’ll be updating my iPod (and charging the battery!) after dinner, as well as laying out everything I need for tomorrow morning, so I don’t have to do it at 5am (when I’ll instead be spending time in the bathroom, if you know what I mean…). Oooh – and I got a massage yesterday, which eased my sore muscles nicely!

I’m feeling pretty calm and confident about the actual race. I definitely feel ready. Over the last 12 weeks, I’ve missed only about 5 runs from my training schedule, and I’m damn proud of that. The vast majority of my runs have gone very well, too – even the long ones.

I don’t think there’s much more that I could have done. I’m prepared. I’m ready. And I’m going to go out there and have fun! You only have one first half marathon, right?!

Wish me luck :)

By the way, I’ll be using TweetMyTime to automatically update people on my progress, in real time, while racing. If you’re interested in getting those updates, you can ‘like’ Watermelon Waistline on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (@_kimbolina) – or both!