Archive for the ‘Half Marathon’ Category


Saturday, September 8th, 2012

This morning was the half-marathon that I started training for 12 weeks ago. Even though I never got around to blogging about my training past that first run, I kept up with it! It was hard, and took a lot of time and a lot of people helping with Alexandra (mostly my awesome husband and helpful nanny), but I completed the vast majority of the training runs. I wasn’t as consistent (re: obsessive) about it as I was when I trained the first time, but I had a lot more going on this time around.

Unfortunately, my performance during the race reflected my somewhat half-hearted training.

In training, I worked my way up to 11 miles, which I did this past Sunday without too much trouble (meaning I didn’t walk, which is always my goal). And yet, today, I had to walk shortly after I passed the ten-mile mark. And I walked quite a bit, I’m sorry to say.

It started pouring soon after I resorted to walking, and that didn’t make me start back up with running (or run faster, as it did my training buddies – my sister, and my two best friends). Instead, it made me walk MORE and start feeling sorry for myself: All three of my cohorts were long ahead of me, my entire lower body was tired and sore, I was cold and wet, and I was having some digestive distress… if you know what I mean.

I ended up walking/running/walking/running a lot in miles 10 & 11, and then ran solidly from 12.25 to the finish line.

And when I finished, I wasn’t all that happy (except that it was over) – I was cranky. I was really hoping for a better performance, and I feel like I put in the work to have had a better performance, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, I guess.

My friends did GREAT and I’m super proud of them all! My sister has been having shin splints all through training, one friend had a baby 6 months ago AND was dealing with an ankle injury from a few weeks ago, and my other friend has a weird toe/foot issue wherein he feels a stabbing pain and goes numb after a few miles of running. They were all able to overcome these obstacles and post damn fine times! Like I said: I’m super proud of them :)

As for me? Well, I did it: I finished, and really, that’s the important thing. I was hoping to beat or match my time from two years ago, but I missed that by a good amount. For my first half, my time was 2:24:39, and my time today was 2:41:07. Oh well! At least I did it, and that’s what the main goal was! And now I’m warm, dry, have resolved my digestive distress, and can say that I completed a half-marathon today, and that’s pretty cool.

Here We Go Again…Again!

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

For the last year or so, I’ve been telling anyone who would listen that my plan to really get back in shape following my pregnancy and baby-having was to run another half-marathon. I took it a step further and committed to a specific half-marathon, which takes place on September 8th.

I’ve been saying this so frequently and confidently, that I don’t think I really realized what I was getting myself into.

Until today, the beginning of the 12-week training program.

For starters, WHEN am I going to be able to run? I have a 7-month old baby for whom I am a full-time caregiver, I am a sole proprieter, and – in all my spare time – I try to keep the household running smoothly and spend a few minutes with my darling husband. Oh, and read The Hunger Games.

Besides that, what am I going to do if I actually make it out there? I haven’t run more than 1.75 miles since last summer, and the training program STARTS at 3 miles. Of course, I could walk some of it, but you’re supposed to do in training what you want to do in your actual performance, and I don’t want to have to walk during the race.

Over the last year, I’ve managed to convince 3 other people to run this half-marathon with me: My sister, Friend #1, and J-Rock. My sister just ran her first 5k last month (her furthest distance to date); Friend #1 ran a half last year, but just  had a baby in MARCH; and J-Roc hasn’t run further than a 5k in his life, either (though I’m convinced he’s a natural-born runner). So these three people are committed to running this race with me, and all three of them reached out to me today to tell me that they ran and find out if I had yet.

The answer was no each time.

Until 10:00 this evening, when I finished my run.

I went out after I put Alex to bed, the only possible time to go today. I almost talked myself out of running a dozen times, too. But  I went, and I did the best that I possibly could, pushing through the hills, the cramps, the fatigue, and the boredom. I ran the whole way – slowly, but successfully.

I simply have to make the time. I have to push myself. It’s the only way if I want to do this, and I do (I’m pretty sure I do, at least, lol)

So there it is: Week 1, Day 1 complete! Huzzah!

Btw – Since it’s been so long since I’ve written anything here, I’d love to know if anyone is reading this so that I don’t waste my precious time writing for no one. If you’re reading this, please leave a quick comment here or on my facebook page so I know. If people care, I’ll do my best to document the experience. Thanks!

New Year, New Baby!

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

I’m back! And I had my baby! Her name is Alexandra Constantina, and she surprised her father and I by arriving over 2 weeks early. She was born on October 28, 2011 and weighed just 5lb 10oz. We’ve decided to keep her :)

Since this is a health, fitness, and weight-loss blog, I’ll try to keep my posts centered around that – even though so much of my life these days is about feeding this little creature and less about feeding myself…

Prior to getting pregnant, I weighed 178. At my last doctor’s appointment before having the baby, I weighed 224. Riddle me this: If the baby weighed less than 6 pounds, and the rest of the fluids and birth ‘stuff’ weighed about 10 pounds, how did I gain 46 pounds?

Answer: Eating whatever the hell I wanted to eat and not exercising. Shocker.

Since giving birth, I’ve gotten down to 199 pounds (finally, yesterday morning, after weeks of hovering around 201 – how about THAT for a good way to enter the new year?!). That  means I’ve lost 24 of the 46 pounds I gained, and I have 22 more to go to get to my pre-pregnancy weight. Sure, there’s another 10 pounds to get back down to my lowest, and then another 18 to get down to my ultimate goal of 150, but I’m taking baby steps. (Ha – “baby” steps – get it?)

I entered a Biggest Loser Contest that started 2 weeks after Alexandra was born. I felt a little bad at first because during the first 2 weeks of the contest I lost 5 or 6 pounds, which I attribute to the loss of fluids from the pregnancy. However, now I’m struggling to lose weight again (ie: I have to WORK for it) so I no longer feel like it’s unfair. I just got a little head start.

My goal is to get back down to pre-pregnancy weight – 178 – by May 3rd when the contest ends. That gives me 4 months to lose another 21 pounds. I figure if I do that, I might actually win! And if I don’t win but I reach that goal, well who cares about the bragging rights and a little bit of cash?

For the first 6 weeks after giving birth, I wasn’t supposed to exercise. Some days I felt really good though, so I took Alex for a number of walks in those weeks. I felt sore afterward, but it was wonderful getting outside and doing something again! And so nice to have some company, even if she’s less sentient than my cat at this point :)

Two weeks ago I was cleared for exercise by my doctor. I was so excited to get that news, but did I start exercising? No, not really. Not right away at least. I don’t want to be one of those people who uses their kid as an excuse for not exercising, but seriously – a newborn requires a LOT of attention! And when she’s sleeping, I feel like I should either get some sleep myself, do some client work, or do some housework. I’m going to start making more of an effort to schedule it in, though. It’s just as important as those other things.

Last week I exercised a little – I went for a run and I did a 25 minute workout video, both of which I’m sad to say were quite difficult. The run was just under 2 miles and I couldn’t even make it that distance without walking. I walked frequently, but not for long each time. When I returned home, the recovery took a lot longer than it used to. For a few hours, every time I tried to take a deep breath, I coughed. I think much of that had to do with the cold weather, but I’m clearly very out of shape, so it’s likely a combination.

I’m not going to let it get me down, though! It just gives me a good idea of where I am right now. A baseline, if you will. I’ve decided to run another half marathon in September of this year, so I have a long way to go, but I’m confident I can do it. I did it before!

So there you have it: I’m back to eating right. I’m back to exercising. And I’m back to blogging.

I hope you’re all doing well! Here’s to a fantastic 2012! 


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!

Practice Makes Perfect

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

It’s exactly one week before the half marathon. Just 7 short days left!

I used this weekend to “practice” what I’ll do next weekend. For instance, last night, my husband and I made a delicious whole wheat pasta dish with olive oil, shrimp and vegetables. (Carbo-loading!)

This morning, I got up early, had a quick breakfast of a whole wheat english muffin with all-natural peanut butter & jelly and a small cup of coffee, did my… ahem… business, rubbed some biofreeze onto my bum, took an Ibuprofen, and went for an 11-mile run.

Two hours and seven minutes later, I returned.

I ran all 11 miles without stopping to walk at all. As always, it was challenging, but I did it! And with hills! Prior to this morning, the furthest I had run was 10 miles – all flat. Before that it was 9 miles – with hills – and I had to walk some of it.

So today’s run was a huge success!

I am now feeling much more confident about the half next week. I am now convinced that I’ll be able to run the entire thing! Especially since I just looked at the course for the first time, and it seems surprisingly un-hilly… at least for Pittsburgh. Maybe all this training on hills – difficult as it has been – will pay off!

Since today’s run went so well, I’ll eat the same thing for dinner next Saturday, and have the same breakfast on Sunday. I’ll also repeat the biofreeze/Ibuprofen combo if necessary.

Oh, and I’ve decided to get a massage on Friday to work out any knots I’m carrying around.

I’m still a little nervous about it, but now I’m more excited than worried.

11 miles. Wow.

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!

Pain in the Butt

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Thursday was my glorious return to softball! When I say “glorious”, I mean that it was wonderful to play again, not that I played wonderfully. Well, I wasn’t too bad, actually, but there’s always room for improvement!

I pitched the entire game. It’s a lot of pressure, but I enjoy it. I did pretty well, too. Again, it could have been better, but I only walked a few people, I struck a few people out, and I did a decent job of fielding. (Though there are two balls that I really wish I had caught: One a line drive to my head (eek!) and two, a piddly pop fly that came down between me and the short stop. I could have had them both if I was a little quicker. Next time.)

Here’s the thing: All day yesterday and today, I’ve been suffering from what seems to be a pulled muscle in my left buttock that I believe is the result of the repetitive pitching motion. It’s incredibly painful. Incredibly.

Simply walking around my house makes me cringe, but I still had to do my run yesterday: 5 miles. I went out before dinner with the best of intentions.

And it hurt like hell.

I thought: Just keep going and eventually it will go away.

It didn’t.

I thought: How upset will you be with yourself if you stop halfway through?

A lot.

But I stopped halfway through anyway. I didn’t just stop as in walking. I stopped as in doing one loop instead of two and immediately going home. It was the first time ever that I did this, and I still feel miserable about it.

I know why I did it, and I know that it was probably the right decision: There’s no reason to push too hard during a training run and risk worsening an injury. But that doesn’t change how I feel.

Worst of all, I’m still in pain, and tomorrow I’m supposed to do 11 miles – my last long run before next Sunday’s half marathon.

Did you hear that?! The half marathon is one week away and I’m nursing a pulled muscle in my butt!

Geez louise.

I’m going to try a few tips my massage-ynist mother gave me: Sit in a hot bath for 10-15 minutes, rub the affected area, and treat with biofreeze. Hopefully that does the trick!

In case it doesn’t, does anyone have any other suggestions?

Ten miles? Check.

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

My run this morning was fantastic. FANTASTIC.

It was challenging (obviously), and toward the end I was really tired, but overall, I felt great.

I ran with two other girls: Friend #1 and M-Cat. Both are training for their first half marathon like me, but theirs isn’t until the end of May, whereas mine is May 2. That means I’m a few weeks ahead of them in training. As you know, 9 miles is the furthest I’ve run. That also happens to be the longest run for Friend #1, though she hasn’t run that far since the fall. M-Cat’s furthest run was 6 miles, and she has a knee that’s been giving her problems, so this was an ambitious outing for her, but she was willing to try it!

We set off running from M-Cat’s house at 9:06. It was a beautiful day – lucky, considering we’re in Buffalo and there was actually snow yesterday (Snow! In April!) – the blue sky was perfectly clear, the sun was out, there wasn’t much wind, and it was a great temperature, not too hot or cold. Beautiful morning for a run.

The girls told me to set the pace since it was “my” run. I started out a bit slower than I usually go, and they were both happy with that. I was afraid of going too fast since in my 9-mile run last week, I was out of energy after 6 miles.We ran out five miles, then turned around and ran back. At the halfway point, I was still feeling pretty good, and started thinking maybe I should speed up. M-Cat’s knee was starting to give her troubles though, and I didn’t want her to push harder than necessary.

Around Mile 7, we all put on our headphones to help us with the final three miles. Unfortunately, M-Cat’s knee had enough at Mile 8 and she had to bow out of the final two miles. She called in her back-up plan (aka: husband) who came and picked her up, while Friend #1 and I continued on.

We picked up the pace a bit, and I could really tell the difference. It felt good for a few minutes, and then the excess energy expenditure started to catch up to me… not to mention the fact that I had already run eight and a half miles. At about 9 miles, I told Friend #1 I had to slow down a little, knowing I wouldn’t be able to finish the final mile at that speed. She was happy to do so. (Incidentally, she didn’t seem tired at all – she was actually TEXTING at one point! Machine!)

It’s usually said that the first mile is the hardest. I agree, but only for shorter runs. On longer runs, the last mile is the hardest for me, so mile 9 was tough even at the slower pace. Friend #1 could tell that I was having problems (probably from my loud grunt) and told me that our finish line was “just around that corner.” That you could “see my car shimmering in the sun.”

I searched and searched for that damn car. It was nowhere to be seen. I swear she lied to me. It was another 3 or 4 minutes before I could see the car. Her vision can’t be that much better than mine! True or not, though, it worked: Thinking that it was so close kept me moving. SHE kept me moving. In fact, she asked me afterward if I thought I would have finished without walking if I was on my own. I’d love to say that I would have, but I’m not sure that’s the case. Maybe, but I was damn tired in that last mile. But now I know I can do it, so there’s that :)

I felt so good when I crossed the threshold of M-Cat’s driveway (at 11:03, 1:57:ish after our start), who immediately came out with big cups of water for us – so nice. Of course, as is pretty standard for me, the good feeling was replaced by a feeling of sickness. The sickness subsided once I was in the car for a few minutes, and went away completely within the hour.

Then I was just back to feeling good. Sore, yes. But still good!

I feel so proud of myself… of all three of us! M-Cat feels a bit disappointed that she couldn’t do all 10 with us, but her 8 was a HUGE accomplishment for her. Two miles further than her previous longest distance – and with a bum knee! Crazy. And now she knows she really has to get that knee looked at by a doctor, so that’s an added bonus.

Friend #1 kicked some serious butt, too. She said she probably could have gone at a slightly faster pace, but we were just concerned with finishing, and not overly concerned with how long it took. I’m glad I didn’t push to go at a faster pace even though I felt like I could go faster at times because it was so hard at the end that I may not have finished at a faster pace. It was a good call.

And now it’s time to go to bed, knowing I did an amazing thing today. Ten miles. Wow.


Thursday, April 8th, 2010

You could say that Sunday’s run psyched me out. More than a little.

Monday is an off day, but Tuesday is supposed to be five miles. Well, this past Tuesday, I simply wasn’t up for it. So for the first time in over a month, I skipped my run with no plan for a making it up.

Yesterday, I was still wallowing in self pity and – once again – wasn’t up for getting back on the proverbial horse. Even with everyone’s support and encouragement, both in the comments on my last post and from a few folks in person (THANK YOU!), I just couldn’t bring myself to get out there again.

And then my husband said something that struck a chord: Even though I knew I wasn’t “giving up” he pointed out that people rarely choose to give up. Rather, they put off whatever it is they want to do one day. And then another day. And then before you know it, they’ve given up.

I knew he was right. I don’t necessarily think if I skipped one more day I would have stopped training for this half marathon altogether, but it’s a slippery slope, and I didn’t want to cross that line. Plus, I knew that with each run I skipped, 1) I would feel worse about myself and 2) it would be that much harder to get back into it when I eventually did run again.

So I did my best to psych myself up, rather than out. I went for a 5-mile run at 9pm and spent the hour thinking about all of the encouragement and wonderful advice I’ve received recently. I shortened my stride and slowed my pace (a la Rachel). I cranked up the motivational tunes when it got particularly difficult. I considered how far I’ve come and how it’s truly not the end of the world if I do have to walk, but did my damnedest to push past those feelings, since – for the most part – it’s a mental thing not a physical thing at this point. I got in the “zone”, so to speak.

I ran all five miles. Slowly, but without walking. I felt much better when I returned home than before I left. So, as per usual, I was glad I did it… even though every fiber of my being was screaming “No! Stay on the couch in your jammies!” Now I’m back on track, with just one run missed this week. Not too bad, considering.

Saturday is the epic 10-miler. My first double-digit run ever. And I can do it.

I can do it… I can do it… I can do it…

See? I’m getting psyched!

What Was I Thinking?

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Longest run to date yesterday: 9 miles.

It was completely unfun.

I wish I had enjoyed it more. Or that I didn’t have to walk a WHOLE  BUNCH during the last 3 miles. Or that when I was done I didn’t feel ill and sore all over.

But that’s not the case. I was miserable most of the time, and for no reason that I can pinpoint like in other runs that weren’t my best. There were hills, but they were all very doable hills that I’ve conquered over and over again. I didn’t eat a butt-load of terrible food that day. I wasn’t dehydrated or overtired or underprepared.

I just felt tired and weak. I got a few cramps in the final third of the run, and that certainly didn’t help. (I really need to try some of those core workouts from Runner’s World recommended by a commenter last week…)

When I got home, I took a shower and then a two-hour long nap. I wasn’t sleepy; the nap was accidental. The kind of nap that just happens after a period of laying in bed because you can’t force your body to move anymore and there’s nothing else to do but sleep.

What really worries me is not this one run, because – really – it’s just that: ONE run. It’s the next bunch of runs. I’m supposed to do ten miles with Friend #1 and one of her friends (the one I ran with at last year’s Turkey Trot) on Saturday. What if I can’t do it?

The week after that it’s 11. Then 12. Then the half marathon, which I really want to be able to complete without having to walk.

Am I being unrealistic? According to all sources, this is a totally reasonable goal. Maybe – for me – it’s not realistic. Maybe I need more time. Maybe I’ll simply never be a distance runner.

I don’t know…

Maybe this is just too ambitious of a goal for me right now. I’m not sure I can do it.

I don’t intend to give up based on one bad run. Or even 5. But man am I feeling more than a little discouraged.

Now accepting words of encouragement. Go.