My First 5Ks: Wrap up

Purple Stride 5K at the Cleveland Zoo

2012 Purple Stride 5K at the Cleveland Zoo 

I did it!  I met my goal of finishing my first 5K in 45minutes doing a combination jog/walk.  I wasn’t really able to follow my original plan which looked like this:

1st Mile – jog 1/2 then walk 1/2

2nd Mile – jog 1 mile

3rd Mile – walk 1/2 then finish race jogging 0.60 mile

The course at the zoo was kind of weird because it wasn’t really a loop but rather doubled back in a few places.  Also the course starts and ends witha short but steep hill. (That’s the part in the NW quadrant of the map.) And in the middle of the course there is moderately steep hill that is just so long that it’s a killer.  (See the entire South portion of the map between miles 1 and 2.)  Up hill for almost 1/2 mile and down hill for almost 1/2 mile.  Whew!  I had to walk nearly all of the hills going up.  I have not trained with any significant elevation changes.

As you can see in the map from my Nike+ app, my pace was pretty slow even when I was jogging.  I’m okay with that.  In fact, I’m going to tell you something majorly embarrassing:  I’m pretty sure I was the slowest runner in the 5K.  Update: I checked the results online and I actually finished ahead of two other runners.  But hey, that means I have no where to go but up!  More than half of the participants did not actually run.  Most of them were doing the 5K walk which was supposed to start an hour after the run but actually started like 5 seconds after the runners began.  Many of the walkers ended up wandering around the zoo rather than following the 5K route.  This meant that at several points in the race the walkers were just standing around clogging up the route  for the runners.  This was super frustrating and kinda stressed me out.

A few good points about this first 5K:  I was joined by my good friend Camilla, The Fella and a new friend Susan.  After the race we enjoyed free fruit, water and Luna bars.  We were also allowed to checkout the zoo exhibits for free.  We had fun after the race visiting the primates and rainforest exhibits.

2012 Brecksville Home Days 5K Run

My second 5K took place exactly two weeks after the Purple Stride.  The Brecksville Home Days Run was very well organized and went smoothly.  My time wasn’t so great for this one but there were also a lot of hills and it was super hot that morning.  Hills definitely slow me down.  Slow, as in I walk up hills.  🙂  But I had fun.  The Fella did this race with me as well as my friend (and boss), Amy.  After the race we stretched in the grass and enjoyed free fruit and water.

A Shot In The Dark 2 Mile Run

Ready for the FUN run!

My third and most recent race was the Winking Lizard’s A Shot In The Dark.  This race took place two weeks after my last race.  I was joined once again by Camilla.  Camilla’s beau and The Fella did the 4 mile run (!) while Camilla and I did the 2 mile fun run.  This race was a lot of fun.  First of all 2 miles is not tough for me and the weather was great.  Also, the race took place in the middle of downtown Cleveland which was just fun!  After the race the event turned into a street party with a beer garden, live music and free Winking Lizard sandwiches for all race participants.  You cannot beat that!

The Fella wrapping up 4 miles in under 36 minutes. Wow!

Now, I am looking here for the next race for The Fella and me.  I’d like to keep adding these events to my calendar for the rest of the summer and  into the fall.  I’m actually pretty excited about fall races and fall running in general.  I loved running in spring weather and since fall is my absolute favorite time of the year here in Cleveland, I just know that running this fall is going to be awesome!

Have you ever done a 5K or a Fun Run?  What upcoming fitness events are you looking forward to?

Learning to Jog and My First 5K

Today I will run my first 5K race.  I started jogging on January 4th, about five and a half months ago. I began with a Couch To 5K program using an app on my iPhone. The first few times I alternated jogging for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds. Each week, the Couch To 5K program helped me lengthen the amount of time I was jogging.  Right now, I am not quite up to a full 5K in training.  My plan is to do a jog/walk starting with at least a half mile or more of jogging followed by walking the remainder of the first mile. For the second mile, my goal is to jog the entire mile without any walk breaks. That might be a challenge since I’ve never done a full mile without walking in my training. But I’ve come very close and I feel like this is a great opportunity to challenge and push myself just a little bit extra. Next, I plan to walk for about a half mile and then finish the last half mile jogging. This 5K is at the Cleveland Zoo which is known for having a pretty challenging hill. Yikes! I’ve never run hills before.

To prepare for the 5K, I’ve made sure to get a good night’s sleep for the past two nights and I’ve been careful to eat healthy food that will not make me feel weighed down.  I’ve done a little research and I’ve planned a smart breakfast for The Fella and me: Half an english muffin with half  of a Tablespoon peanut butter and a banana.  I’m also going to drink water before the race and I’m choosing to carry a bottle of water that is half frozen during the race.  A lot of people hate the idea of carrying something while running.  But I recently found out that I have problematic vocal cords and sipping water when my throat is dry or when I am feeling tense is a good way to keep my airways clear.  I’ve carried water in training the past few times and I’ve found that I really don’t mind it and on hot days (like today) I really need it.

The 5K I am doing today is the Purple Stride race to raise money for pancreatic cancer research. I lost my grandfather to pancreatic cancer and The Fella’s dad is currently battling it. We also lost the father of a very close friend to the disease just over three years ago. I feel good about participating in this event. For more information, please check out

I’ll be sure to post an update after the race to let you know how I fared.

I’ve lost 28 pounds!

Yep, it’s true! It’s taken just about 4 1/2 months to loose 28 lbs. The first 15-20 came off pretty quickly. That’s pretty much always been the case for me. Then the weight loss started slowing down. And then, it stopped. For about 6 weeks I just circled around the same 3-5 lbs. Up and down, up and down the scale went but never dipping lower than about what I was when I hit the 25 lbs down mark.

Ugh, the dreaded plateau! I’ve lost 20-30 lbs MANY times over the past , oh I don’t know, 15 years. (I’m 33 incase you are curious.) That 20-30 lb plateau has historically been my undoing. I get discouraged and loose my motivation and will power. Or, in the case of Weight Watchers, I can’t justify spending all of that money to just maintain for weeks or even months on end. But this time was different. This time I stuck it out. I made it through the plateau (a first of many I imagine.) And now I’m slowly getting back to actual weight loss. This time, I’m armed. This time I’m loaded with weapons. My weapons are: apps – iPhone apps, exercise (imagine that, what a novel idea!), my wonderful Fella, my informative doctor, and the whole wide internet. I’m gonna break it down and tell you how and why all of these people and things are weapons in my personal Battle of the Bulge.

First of all, the apps. I got an iPhone 4 this fall/winter. I am in LUV with the MyFitnessPal app! This is a FREE app that calculates how many calories you need to lose 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 or 2.0 lbs per week. (It can even calculate your calorie needs to help you maintain your current weight or gain weight.) This app has every food and beverage you can imagine. Seriously, I can type in, for example, Almond Milk and it gives me dozens of choices. I can also use my phone’s camera to scan the barcode on any product and get the nutritional info. Also, if you want, you can connect with friends who are also using MyFitnessPal. I can share my successes and see the successes of others. It’s great, I’ve got my Mom using the app as well as connected with several friends. This makes utilizing a support network so easy! Making weight loss and fitness connections with my friends is so helpful. So, I’ve been logging and tracking what I eat and drink and even my exercise on MyFitnessPal since January 4, 2012. That’s the first weapon in my arsenal. Other apps I’m loving are: Nike+GPS, 5K Runner, and I’m learning to love the somewhat complicated Kinetic.

As you can guess from those last few apps, I’ve been exercising. I hope to create a post about this soon. But for now I will say that I have been working on a Couch to 5K program at a very stretched out, slowed down pace. I’m jogging. Seriously, this is happening. I’m jogging. Crazy! I’m also doing some other stuff like trying out a couple spin classes, walking, riding my bike, and trying to develop a regular routine with dumbbells and/or strength training and core exercises. It’s so satisfying to punch in my exercise on the MyFitnessPal app and see all of the calories I’m burning. I started out in January with two goals. First to exercise (preferably by jogging) 3 days per week. My second goal was to exercise at least 20 minutes each time. Most weeks I’ve been good about getting at least 3 days of exercise. And I pretty quickly was able to extend my exercise time to 30-60 minutes or more at a time. So that’s my second weapon.

My next weapons are actually people. My amazing and super handsome Fella decided to quit smoking in November, 2011. I’m so proud of him. He just decided to go cold turkey and he did it. Just like that! There were some twitchy, irritable and restless moments for the first few months. But he made it and he tells me that although it’s still not easy, it’s not as difficult as it was at first. When the the Fella quit smoking he decided to start jogging,(thus inspiring me to start jogging.) He needed a way to expend what he describes as “freak-out energy”, no doubt a result of the nicotine withdrawal. He also felt that jogging would help to reinforce how terrible smoking was for him and allow him to be hyper aware of how his lungs and his body in general were improving. Six months later, he’s regularly running 2-4 miles about three times a week. Not bad!

My doctor also helped by explaining her theories on weight loss plateaus. I think I’ll write more about that in another post. But this has really helped me see my recent plateau as something to wait out rather than let it derail me altogether.

The last weapon is the whole wide internet. I find that by reading, reading, reading and reading more about jogging, exercise, weight loss, nutrition, and health in general, I stay motivated and well informed. I really love reading blogs written by people who have achieved major weight loss and kept it off. Some of my favorites are: 110 Pounds and Counting and Beth’s Journey to Thin. These two women are close to my age and have lost 110 and 90 lbs respectively. They both are fully committed to regular and intense exercise as well as tracking food and calories for post-weight loss maintenance. Another source of information are magazines and cookbooks. A friend has given me some back issues of Runner’s World that I’ve devoured. Really, I’m a fat girl who can scarcely jog two miles and I’m telling you, this magazine has a wealth of information for beginners and marathoners alike.

Whew! This is a seriously long post. Thanks for hanging in there. I hope that I can get better about posting regularly and share more about my fitness progress. I also plan to follow up on some of those topics I teased about in my New Year’s post.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Have you ever struggled with a plateau in your weight loss or exercise progress? How did you get through it?