Monday, September 26, 2011

Weigh in - 4 lb gain

Last week's weight: 246.6

This week's weight: 250.6

4 lbs GAINED

78.8 pounds lost since June 2010

Yep, it's totally possible to gain 4 lbs in a week. Want to know how I did it? Mexican food at 8:30 pm on a weeknight, 3 cookies and a bag of chips for lunch on Friday, noshing on french fries 3 days in a row with several beers thrown in.

Out. of. control.

All I can do now is get back on the wagon. I'm trying to remember to drink lots of water. I'm on my 3rd piece of fruit today and I had a veggie sub for lunch (with a banana instead of chips. Why doesn't Subway carry fresh fruit???)

When it comes down to it, I've let my busy work life catapult the rest of my life out of control. Now, I've gone taken 4 steps back and I have to re-lose 4 more pounds to get to my next goal.


All I can do is focus on how far I've come from a year ago. As I joined my sister's family on their annual vacation to the Smoky Mountains, I was able to do more with my 3 1/2 year old niece. We ran around a mountain top amusement park and rode water slides, the scenic skylift and jetted down the alpine slide together. There's no way I would have been able to comfortably ride those slides at 330 lbs.

Also, I was able to ride the swings with my niece, which she later told me was her favorite ride, and I KNOW at 330 lbs the belt on the ride wouldn't have fit.

So although I have not been very diligent the last few months on the weight loss front, I am now at a size where I feel comfortable doing normal everyday activities. And that isn't something I'll let 4 lbs ruin.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Warrior Dash - Alive, but Maybe not Well

Back in January, I decided to sign up for Warrior Dash. A 3.1 mile obstacle course race dubbed as the "Craziest frickin' day of your life." Yesterday was the day of truth. I competed in the Warrior Dash race in Manchester, TN.

I was lucky enough to have Miss Lynn who was doing the race with me and our awesome Super Stove friend, KG spectating for us. So we got quite a lot of good pictures. (Pictures at the end of this post.) We had an afternoon start time (3 pm) and in the hottest part of the day, the 78 degree temperature felt quite warmer due to the high sun bearing down on the course.

The course was actually on the grounds of the Bonnaroo Festival, which I actually enjoyed because they actually have several "fixtures" set up year-round (like the "Bonnaroo arch").

The race was a lot of good people watching with people in costumes. Our course was primarily flat on gravel and dirt paths that wound throughout the Bonnaroo grounds.

After jogging a good portion a the beginning, we came to the "Hay Fever" obstacle, which at one time was a high stack of hay bales, but at the point we got to it, it was some broken down bales of hay and we easily ran up and over it.

The obstacles weren't evenly distributed along the course. There was a lot of time between the start of the race and the first obstacle and again between the first and second obstacle. While we were walking between the first and second obstacle, we saw a guy SMOKING on the course. I mean, seriously? If you can't go 45 minutes - hour without smoking maybe you should just consider NOT DOING THE RACE. The worst thing to smell while running is smoke. People are so inconsiderate.

The second obstacle was the "Road Rage" obstacle. Junk yard cards sandwiched between two sets of old tires. This was another easy obstacle even though I did walk slowly through the tires to protect my ankles.

Soon after, we hit the "Barricade Breakdown". You had to climb over a waist high wall and then under barbed wire. There were 3 sets of these and I got caught on the barbed wire where I got a minor scratch and bled. At this point, with blood on my arm, I felt like a true warrior!

Another easy obstacle was next - the "Blackout". It was a dark tunnel set up you had to crawl through on hands and knees. It was dirty but easy.

At this point I knew my nemesis was coming up - the "Great Warrior Wall." We rounded the corner and my stomach dropped. Straight ahead was a 10 foot+ wall with ropes on one side to use to climb up and then once over the top you climbed down ladder style. Now, only those who suffer from the same fear of heights and plummeting to your death will understand the anxiety that hit me at this moment.

I'm not sure where my fear of heights and falling come from; however, I did fall off a blow up obstacle course and end up in the ER on my high school graduation night as I was racing my good friend Sarah. Maybe this has something to do with it? I don't know...

Miss Lynn insisted I could do it so up I went. At the top I had a slight moment of panic as I straddled the top of this wall, which was at least 10 feet off the ground. At any moment I could slip and fall. And be hurt very badly. Thankfully, the volunteer working this station saw my pause and climbed up to the top, with Miss Lynn not far behind him, and talked me through my panic. They got me down safely and although I was shaking we continued the course.

After jogging a little more, we came to the "Chaotic Crossover" - cargo nets you climb across, set up about 5 feet off the ground. Fairly easy, but I got held up behind some people, which made it harder.

Next, was the turning point of the race. We came to the "Giant Cliffhanger." Another 10 ft wall, this time sloped on one side and no traction. After watching one woman get half way up and then come back down, I started my climb. With no traction for my feet to grab onto, I got to the top and slipped. For a brief moment I hung from the top of the wall with both of my arms holding me there. Eventually, I knew all was lost and all I could do is fall/slide down the wall back to the ground and in the process I got a huge friction burn on my stomach, and a small one on my leg.


After this defeat, I had to take a moment to breathe. I already wasn't feeling great at this point and sliding down the 10 ft wall only made that worse. I essentially was done with the race at this point. I told my partner in crime I wasn't planning on running any more of the race. I also I didn't know if I could do any more walls. There were 3 left in the distance and I dreaded them.

The other thing was the obstacles were so close together at this point in the race. They were pretty much one right after each other. The next one was another wall you climbed up on side (there were like ladder steps built in) and then on the other side was a straight drop down. I got to the top of the first side and I couldn't bring myself to jump off the other side, so I just climbed back down the same side. All I can say is at least I tried it.

The next one was an easier wall with steps up and then a pole to slide down. I got through that one OK and immediately after was the "Cargo Climb." Another wall with cargo nets on either side. I really wanted to skip it, but I also didn't want to say I didn't try every obstacle, so up I went. It was a scarier obstacle for me in a lot of ways because since they were cargo nets you could feel everyone else's movements. And you went up really high. I got over it fine though and we were on the last part of the course (finally).

Miss Lynn and I walked up to final two obstacles - "Warrior Roast" and "Muddy Mayhem." We jumped over two lines of fire and then I reluctantly walked into the mud pit. Honestly, I could have just wadded through this calf deep and stepped over the barbed wire, but in the spirit of what the race was about I got down on all fours and crawled through the mud under the 3 lines of barbed wire. And then I crawled out of the mud pit.


They handed us a Dixie cup of water and a banana, which immediately just got muddy. After pictures and a few moments of confusion, we went to hose down the best we could before trekking back to the car.

I'm glad to have done the race. It definitely pushed me physically, and I was beat by the end. I have plenty of scrapes, burns and bruises to prove my Warrior-ness. However, I am also the most sore I've ever been in my life and I don't really
see myself ever doing one of these races again. One in my lifetime is enough, I say.

Overall the race set up was pretty well. If you are planning on doing a Warrior Dash I have a few suggestions for survival:
  • Plan for parking to take 30 - 45 minutes. We sat in traffic for a good part of 30 minutes and had to park a fair walk away from the actual race area.
  • Bring your own water / sports drinks. They only had 1 water stop and the water was hot from sitting in the sun all day. They also didn't have bottles of water or sports drinks at the end of the race for participants. They expect you to buy it at the concession stand. This was actually a huge issue for me because I was hugely dehydrated and borderline sick by time we got to dinner.
  • Bring a change of clothes, a towel AND baby wipes. They have a few hoses at the finish line but 2 hoses and a lot of people didn't really help too much.

Weigh in - 3 lbs lost

Last week's weight: 249.6

This week's weight: 246.6

3 lbs LOST

82.8 pounds lost since June 2010

I promise the Warrior Dash recap is coming today, but for our regularly scheduled weigh in post this week I'm happy to report I've lost THREE pounds. This is consistent with where I was Friday morning, so I am happy to report I controlled my eating (for the most part) over the weekend. We did eat at the world's greatest Chinese buffet last night after the race, but I only ate approx 1 plate of food. A few things coming up milestone wise:
  • I am 17 pounds from reaching 100 lbs lost since starting my blog.
100 pounds lost will be a big milestone for the blog and myself personally, so I really want to have a party to celebrate. We'll see what I (or party extraordinaire, KG) can come up with.

This week, I did well with nutrition, but only got 2 work outs in (including Warrior Dash). I'm hoping to keep my eye on the prize with nutrition and get back to 3-4 work outs a week.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, September 16, 2011

On the eve of Warrior Dash

It's the day before Warrior Dash and I already have a bad taste in my mouth.

First, they ran a Groupon for $30 registration AFTER I paid $50 for mine. Shady.

Second, they charge $10 for PARKING at the race. WORSE THAN SHADY.

I've never in my life heard of PAYING to PARK at a race (except maybe in a big city, like Chicago or NYC). The race is in an open field. Them charging for parking is because they CAN and people have no other option.

Other than never wanting to do another Red Frog race/event again, I haven't really thought about the race. I haven't had time to be nervous with work being so crazy. So it is what it is at this point. I may be slow. I will probably break something or fall off of a high space and die. But a full report is expected tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm not dead (yet)....

I've never been a greatly consistent blogger. I'll never be someone that blogs every day because frankly I don't have that much to say and I feel like posting every day just to say I posted every day to say nothing is lame and boring.

But I digress....

What I meant to say is I feel like I am neglecting my blog. Maybe because I am also neglecting Twitter, Facebook, and LIFE. I'm currently at 34 hours logged at work this week with at least another 16-20 to go. I haven't exercised at all this week. I've had a dinners of bowls of cereal and glasses of wine. This is not good. I have things I want to say here, it's just the last thing I want to do after starring at a computer for 12 hours a day.

I want to tell you how Warrior Dash is THIS Saturday.

I want to tell you about a huge NSV on a particularly killer water slide LAST Saturday.

I want to tell you about my training runs (when I do them).

There's probably more, but that is all my brain has capacity for tonight.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Weigh in - Hitting the 240s

Last week's weight: 250.0

This week's weight: 249.6

0.4 lbs LOST

79.8 pounds lost since June 2010

Considering the week I had at work and the fact that I ate pizza and fast food in the same day on Tuesday, I deserve the minuscule loss.

However, I'm also continuing to wreck the work I do during the week on Friday nights and Saturdays. I know what I need to do. I need to plan better. I need to be stricter on what I eat when I go out and I need to stop the snacking on the weekends. I've done this all before, I just need to remember how to do it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tips for learning to run

I'm no running (or exercise) expert, but after trying to run last summer (and failing) and successfully learning to run this summer I feel like I have a few tips to share. Especially for those of us that are carrying the extra pounds (read: overweight or obese). This is just what worked for me, your mileage may vary.

I wasn't comfortable running until I lost a considerable amount of weight at the recommendation of my doctor. At 330 and after a back injury, she told me not to run until I lost some weight. She didn't give me a number so I had to figure that one out on my own. For me, I conditioned myself by training to walk and completing a half-marathon. At that time, I knew my body was in better shape then it had been 6 months earlier (and I had lost 50 lbs), so I started by running a few 1 minute intervals during my walks on the treadmill. Here are some things that got me from walking to running a 5K:
  • Get fitted for good running shoes. I KNOW going to a running store to buy a pair of shoes is EXPENSIVE. But it is worth every single penny of your initial investment to have someone who knows what they are doing look at the way you walk/run and decide which shoes would work best for you. Once you purchase your first pair from the running store and you are sure they are what work for you, you can typically find the same or updated model/style of your shoe online for less. I've had 4 pairs of the SAME shoe. (But don't go to the running store, waste their time getting fitted and NOT buy from them the first time. What I'm saying is you can REBUY online for cheaper.)
  • Buy wicking socks. These will help prevent blisters and make your feet happy. Who cares if they are $10 a pair? Two words: WORTH IT.
  • Find an interval program. I used 5Kin100days and I high recommend this program and the instruction of Brad Gansberg. There are plenty of other programs out there (like Couch to 5K). Find what one works for you.
  • Warm up/Cool down each time, every time. Walk at a moderate pace for 5 minutes before/after you each workout.
  • Stretch after each workout. Pay special attention to any "trouble" spots. For me, this is making sure I do plenty of low back and hip opening stretches.
  • Rest. When you are learning to run, build a day of rest in between each run workout so you don't run two days in a row. Do low impact activities on these days if you wish - beginner's yoga, swimming/pool workouts and strength training are all great workouts to keep your body strong, flexible and stretched.
  • Start on a treadmill. I know the treadmill gets a bad rap, but it's great for learning to run because frankly it's easier to run on a moving object, plus it absorbs some of the shock running puts on your body (knees, back). I did my runs primarily on the treadmill for the first several months. Typically, I would do 2x a week at the gym on the treadmill and 1x a week outside.
  • Listen to your body. Don't worry about your speed. Just worry about covering the distance or completing the time of the intervals as prescribed by your learn to run program. If you aren't able to complete a run interval, slow down. I've found for me running between 4.0-4.3 mph, which puts me around 14:30-15:00 per mile, works.
  • Treat injuries. In the same vain of listening to your body, make sure you are in tune with any pain you are feeling in your legs, knees, back, etc. Be familiar with the R.I.C.E technique - Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. Knock on wood I haven't had any problems this summer. Last summer? Well that was a different story...
Most importantly, everyone is different so trial and error is your best friend. You may find the things above may or may not work best for you. If you try something and it doesn't work, try other things until you find what works for you.

Again, these are things that I found worked for me. Please consult a doctor before beginning a workout regimen or self-treating any injuries.

Okay runners - your turn - what are your best tips for beginning a running regimen?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Random Labor Day Thoughts

I've taken most of the day off work - I say most because as it never fails I ended up checking email/responding to a few emails. It's been a crummy, rainy day in Nashville and there is a fall chill in the air. I'm not going to lie, I almost wish the temperature would stay this way.

But I did find time to turn these:

Spicy, hot Habaneros

by doing this:

Canning Central

into this:

Habanero Pepper Jelly

Other randomness from this holiday weekend:

My adorable nieces. I get to see them in 18 days.

My 3 1/2 year old niece's drawing.
It's a bunny and I think she is so talented, but perhaps I am biased.

My first 14/16 size piece of clothing.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Weigh in - A loss is a loss

Last week's weight: 250.4

This week's weight: 250.0

0.4 lbs LOST

79.4 pounds lost since June 2010

So you can't help but be disappointed by a small loss, but considering my 5.6 pound loss last week I can't really complain. I've been doing this long enough to know that a huge loss one week is usually followed by a small loss the next week. As long as I can keep the scale moving down, I'm happy.

This leaves 13.6 pounds to go to my Garmin Goal.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Diary of an overweight runner - First 'long' run

Today was my first official "long run" for the Disney Half Marathon in January. The word long is relative because in the grand scheme of 13.1 miles my plan to do 4-5 miles is not really long comparatively.

I ended up doing 4.8 miles in about 71 minutes, which calculates to about 14:47 minutes per mile. This included warm up/cool down. But it is still perfectly on pace with where I need to be for the 3 1/2 hour time limit on the Disney race. Proud of this.

I didn't really have a plan for what me run/walk intervals would be. I just listened to my body and ran when I felt like I could run and walked when I needed to rest. It worked out pretty well. I probably walked more than I needed to, but mostly I tried to run 5-7 minutes and walk 1-3 minutes.

I also tried shot blocks for the first time during a run. I ate 2 at the halfway mark and although I'm not sure I really needed them, I did not ever get a light-headed feeling like I sometimes do when I'm out doing longer distances.

I still don't have a plan on paper for training going forward, but I'm hoping Brad Gansberg can help me with that once I get off my ass and email him to take him up on his offer.

I hope to continue the "Diary of an Overweight Runner" series with a report on my training each week. The thought of doing the double digit training runs make me anxious. Yikes!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Diary of an overweight runner - Beginning half marathon training

This is the final week of the 5Kin100days program. Today I ran 4 loops around the library/park across the street from my neighborhood. 1 loop is a little less than a mile, I think, so I'm estimating 3.5 miles or so.

The run was good. Great even. I only wanted to die at the end and I'm ok with that. I'm no exercise expert, but I'm a firm believer that it should be hard. You are building your endurance. If you are training and your walk/run is easy then how are you improving? If it's easy are you honestly pushing yourself?

What's amazing to me is that today's run (10 minute fast walk/warm-up, 2 x 16 minutes with 1 minute of walking in between). I've found 80% of learning to run has been mental for me. Case in point: during rest weeks, I always think to myself, "oh, 4 minute intervals, this is easy peasey." And then it kills me. That's what happens when you go in over confident. I'll learn....maybe.

This weekend I will switch gears from 5Kin100days to my half-marathon training for the Disney World Half Marathon in January. It is 18 weeks away from this weekend and I must train to run 13.1 miles in under 3 hours. This frightens me, but I know this race is going to be one of a lifetime because A) my 3 very good friends (and first time half-marathoners) will be doing the race as well and 2) well, it's Disney World. Enough said.

I don't have a training schedule yet. Anyone out there want to build one for me? (I kid...sort of) This week at least I'll start with 4-5 miles of run/walking. I plan to do 3 runs a week + continue yoga/strength training.

I'm trying not to think about how I'm going to juggle a crazy work schedule and 10-20 miles of training a week. The important part is I know I can do this.