Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

I'm back! And it hasn't been that long in between! As I reflect on this last day of 2011, I think of the things that have changed over the past year...good and not so... I gained a new nephew and niece via marriage! Love you Martha and Tater! Ran my first marathon at the happiest place on earth-Disney World Saw Will coach his last game as Varsity boys head basketball coach Inherited the cutest cotton ball ever! Love my Gabby! First birthday without my mama First everything without my mama... Joined a racing team Met some awesome people at the running store Realized I want to coach/help people reach their running goals Celebrated 19 years of marriage with my lovely hubby (who likes to cook for me) I'm sure I could name many, many more I wish you all a Happy New Year! I'm excited what 2012 has in store for this crazy thing called my life...I'm positive running will be a major part!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

USATF Level 1 Certified Coach!

I guess it is time to do a little blogging. oops...sorry it's been so long. So, a lot has happened in the last 2 months. 
  1. I finished the Scientific Principles class. Only 7 more to go to earn the Personal Training Certification from the USA Sports Academy. 
  2. I completed the USATF Level 1 Certification class in early December and passed the exam. I am "official" if there is such a thing. LOL
  3. I also was approached by 2 ladies wanting me to help them train for their first half marathon. Me? Are you sure?...Yes, me they said. I will begin working with them on Jan 9. I'm very excited to see how this works out. 
  4. The next 9-10 months at work are going to be super busy for me. Several large projects to get finished that will take several months. I'm not good at things that go slowly so it is a little stressful for me but it is what it is.
  5.  And...the big thing, of course, is the marathon at Myrtle Beach on Feb. 18! This is what I think about most of the time, this is what my training has been focused on for the last several months now. It's been a radical thing. I've run farther and faster than I ever have. I'm reaching for 3:45...and that will mean a Boston Qualifier Time. "If you want something you have never had, you have to be willing to do something you have never done."
I must share my recent successes. My last 3 races have been huge PRs. Anywhere from 30 seconds to almost 2 minutes faster within the last year.
  • Monster Dash 5K in October-22:29
  • City of Oaks half marathon in early November-1:50:27
  • Myrtle Beach 8K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving-38:01
I have a 22 miler on Saturday. And, yes, as crazy as it sounds to all of you, I am excited about that. I seriously love the training for a marathon. Those double digit miles, especially the 20 miler ones, are super fun--well, let me clarify, there is always pain involved but the satisfaction I get is well worth it. And now I have some cool compression socks to wear as I recover. Will and I are going to MB for the New Year, so I get to run at my favorite place--Ocean Blvd. We are going to move in about 8 years and semi-retire to this place. Oh yeah!!

How can I go further in this blog without saying thanks to my coach, Bobby Mack for helping me reach for the stars! He is pretty awesome!

I'll check back in sooner than later...
One more quote, "The minute you think of giving up...think of the reason why you held on so long."

On a more personal note: Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of my mama's death. I am so much like her it's not even funny. Stubborn, strong-willed, determined, self-motivated, never take no or you can't do that for an answer-just to name a few. No wonder, we didn't always get along. haha Anyway, she died way too young and although she was an athlete growing up, she was never a runner. If she had been, I think she would have been a marathoner like myself. I know she is in Heaven because she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. I know all things are in the hand of the Lord but, I still miss her so much...Her Gabby girl (my Gabby girl now) helps me remember and eases the pain a little.

Gabby aka Gabby girl and the Gabster
Linda Johnson Jones aka Ethel

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fit-tastic, Fair food and Fun classes

This was a good week of running. Total mileage = 37.98 miles. Had a great time with my buddies at Fit-tastic Monday and Wednesday night. Very exciting to see others do something they didn't think they could accomplish.
I ran a 15 miler on Saturday and found some new sidewalks and other places to run around Garner. The last 3 miles were somewhat difficult, but I kept trudging along and finished at a good, slow time of 2:31. The long runs are all about slow and being on your feet for a long, long time. The full will be here before I know it...I'm very excited-but you know that already.

I am still waiting for registration to open for the Dec class where I will hopefully be USATF Level 1 certified to coach. In the meantime, I found something else on the USATF site. It is called the United States Sports Academy and they have different educational programs to choose from. At some point in the near future, I want to work with runners and help them reach their goals. I know that I need a lot of experience, so the US Sports Academy will be a huge help. I signed up for my first class and can't wait for my book to come in so I can get started.

The course is called, Scientific Principles of Coaching and the description:
--In order to optimize performances, guarantee safety, and promote well-being in athletes, coaches must constantly update and modify their coaching practices by regularly seeking out new knowledge in the sport sciences. This course is designated to teach coaches to be active consumers and appliers of scientific information.--

My nephew Ricky Buffaloe, Jr. is getting married on Saturday. I am so excited for him. We love Britney Jones and welcome her to our family. She's a runner too! I can't say now, cause it is a surprise, but something is happening at the rehearsal dinner that will be most hilarious!!

And, one more thing-the NC State Fair is here this week! I love the fair-not the rides but the food! Sometimes people make comments about my food choices like if I eat some cake or candy, they ask, "are you supposed to eat that?" or, "you eat junk food?" I posted this on FB but wanted you all to know as well, that I ate an entire bag of cotton candy, almost an entire funnel cake, Al's Fries and almost an entire Butcher boys steak sandwich last Thursday night. When I go back this week, I will eat more of the same. Yes, I watch what I eat but, all things in moderation. I don't do this every week. Just sayin'

Have a good week. Here are 2 quotes from I Love to Run:
The pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret.
Run hard when it's hard to run.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The lowdown since mid-September

Yes, I know it has been a while since I last wrote. If I say I've been busy, will you believe me? Isn't that what we all say, even though we know it isn't entirely true. But, here I am again. A short (maybe...) rundown on what's been happening in my world of running and other.

I had a birthday September 21 and turned 41! Hard to believe a year has already gone by since all that hoopla when I turned 40! Now, I know most women don't want you to know their age, but me, I don't care. I'm proud to be 41 and in the best shape of my life! Time for a short commercial--You can make a change today and begin yourself too! Remember, my first training entry was walking 10 minutes on the treadmill...Now 4 years later and 63 pounds I am.

I ran a woman's only 5K the end of September and placed 2nd in the masters category and 6th overall. This was my first race last year in the master's category, so I was excited to run it again.

I am looking forward to the Monster Dash 5K at TAF on October 30. I want to dress like Mickey or Minnie Mouse but I also want a good time so...maybe I'll just dress like a TAF team member. haha

Fit-tastic has been going well and I look forward to the run group every Monday and Wednesday. We have slowly been upping the time and distance for the time improvement group and I am excited to see how they all do on October 30. Helping this group has also solidified in my mind that I want to work with beginner runners, etc in the future. I am planning to take a coaching certification class in December and following a passing grade on the exam, I will be a USATF Level 1 certified coach. This is a small thing but little by little I am trying to learn from those around me and have especially learned so much from my coach. Thanks BMack!

My marathon training is going well. I guess you can say, I am building my base mileage now and the official marathon training will begin after the Oct 30 race. Regardless, the marathon is pretty much all I think about. I am planning to run another half marathon the first of November (City of Oaks) and hope I have a better showing than Disneyland. I have been to a massage therapist a couple of times for my legs. My quads are tight and my hamstrings have been "paying the price" so to speak. It is a lot better and I surely wish I could run with no pain but if I ever had that happen, I would think something was wrong. haha! Oh well, it's only money right.

Aight, this brings you up to speed. I'll try not to be so long in between next time.
I appreciate you taking time to read my ramblings and for all of you that encourage me in this thing called running I'm doing.

A special thanks to my best friend, soulmate, and husband Will aka rach-cause he is a good cook. He is the one who has to put up with my OCD tendencies and listen to my running stories over and over and remind me that yes, I really am a runner. And, he is the one who cares the most and wants me to succeed. I'm glad he finally gave in to his true feelings about running and got a shirt that says it all, from his perspective at least...Running Sucks. He supports me 100% but for himself, he will never be a "runner". That's okay-one runner in the family is expensive enough and I do need someone to hold my stuff during the races anyway. Thank you Will!! And, by the way, it's time for a new pair of trainers. Just an FYI...:)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My 9/11 Tribute

Even though this is a blog about how running changed my life, I must pause to remember those who lost their lives on 9-11-01. I remember exactly where I was on that morning...chapel at WCA. When we found out what was going on, it was hard to concentrate the rest of the day. We watched the news footage and I really was having a hard time comprehending what was going on. It seemed so surreal. So much has changed since that day but it has only made our country stronger! So many have given their lives for the sake of our freedom-can I just pause to say that all of those protesting at military funerals are just idiots! those same soldiers are keeping this country free and allow you to do such idiotic things as protesting...really makes me angry!-okay, back to my rememberance--we owe so much to those military personnel but also to the firefighters, police, EMT, and ordinary civilians who did the extraordinary not only on 9/11 but also in the days following. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your sacrifice!!!!!

I will never forget!
We will never forget!

I do have a runner slant to this as well. In my September issue of Runner's World, they have a section about 9/11 and  how running played a part in helping them to cope with the tragedy. One of the stories is about Lyz Best-she is the widow of Jeremy Glick-Flight 93. She and Jeremy used to run together, she was a casual runner at the time, but following 9/11 running "made her feel good when nothing else did." On November 6, she will run the NYC marathon in honor of Jeremy. There will be 21 other marathoners who lost loved ones on Flight 93 running that day as well. She finished her article with these words, "I love you Jeremy. This one's for you." For more stories from runners on how running helped them to cope after 9/11, go to Hope you check it out...the stories are very moving.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

2011 Disneyland Half Marathon Recap and pics

Let me begin by saying that I had a great time overall at the race. There is something about running at Disney, whether it be Land or World, that just causes me to brim with joy. Our hotel was only a couple blocks from the park so, I went running through Downtown Disney every morning. It was just me and the early morning workers. That was really cool! They did look at me funny that first morning.

Because I am focused on potties, I must say that there were more port o pots than I have ever seen. No lines either. I was able to use one and squeeze into my corral with 20 minutes to spare right near the start line. I did stop during the race-but only took a short break-in and out I say...haha. Now about that George Michael bathroom! Oh, that's another story, nothing to do with racing. :)

Upon exiting the castle, I was fortunate enough to make it into runDisney's webpage shot. Thanks to Karen Bass for seeing it and tagging me on FB. The volunteers were awesome and I've never seen so many cheer teams in my life. They must have dozens of high schools. Someone had a sign that stated, "You are better than Chuck Norris!" did he or did he not run a marathon...I don't know-need to find out though cause I keep hearing about it.

I don't care too much for baseball but when I came through the tunnel at Angel stadium and heard the roar of the crowd, my pace definitely increased. We ran around the outfield and were displayed on the jumbo tron as we ran by. Too cool!!

Unfortunately, I don't have any funny stories to tell  you like I did from the full at World (I will say there are some weird people in California in general) but Drew Carey was running too. He has lost 80 pounds! I bet he didn't do Weight Watchers though. One of the first things Will said to me when I finished was that Drew Carey had beaten me by 5 minutes. Really...what a thing to say?! Thanks rach! LOL! My time was 1:55:20-my goal time was under 1:47.

So, I did enjoy the race overall but...with that said, I thought I was satisfied with my time, that was my thinking from mile 4 4 days later, not so. Second guessing should be my middle name I do believe. I was far from my goal time (umm...1:55 vs. 1:47-yeah that's a big gap) and, I say this with all sincerity, appreciate the congratulations, good jobs, etc. from all of you, is my right to be unsatisfied with my performance, isn't it?! You that know me pretty well know how stubborn and determined I am-overly so at times. I get it honest, right Ethel?

There are goals I have set and my new mottoas of today is radical. I'm not going to do anything stupid-I've learned I need to listen to my coach or else I'll get hurt but...I am determined to be focused over the next few months. I want to run 3:45 (or below) at the Myrtle Beach full and I am tired of thinking I am satisfied with my race and then the next few days realizing that was just my lazy brain side winning the mental battle. I may not be good enough, fast enough, or whatever enough to get to 3:45 but it is not going to be because I didn't give my full attention. And, I won't know that I just can't reach 3:45 unless I am radical now, right?!

Again, I do appreciate all of your congratulations and your support!! Without your encouragement, I don't think I could continue! So, thank you! It does mean a lot to me!!! Now, support me to 3:45!

Some quotes from I Love to Run:
1. The only one who can tell you you can't is you. And you don't have to listen. --Nike 
2. It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be.
3. The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.

Packet Pick-up (my fav)

Yay for DL!

me on the runDisney facebook page

after the race with my 1/2 medal and Coast to Coast medal

                                                     Mickey said he was proud of me too!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dreamin' of California...

This will probably be my last post until I get back from California next week. I won't have my laptop but I can post information on my facebook page from my phone, so if you aren't my "friend" on facebook send me a request if you want to see how my race goes. With that said...I'm very, very excited for next weekend. I have been waiting for this half marathon for a while now and it will be nice to get back to sunny California for a few days as well! We are doing some other cool stuff like the Dearly Departed tour, a horse race, etc. but my mind is never far from running. How cool will it be to run around Anaheim, through the Angels ballfield and have Mickey Mouse himself cheering you on?!

I feel like I have gained back the endurance I lost from this summer's hammy issue and have had several good weeks of training I am ready to run--hard. Race time is 6am, which is 9am here in NC, so keep a check on FB and I will post my finish as soon as I can.

This week will be low mileage and an extra off day but with travel time included, I'm hoping the taper madness I have experienced before will be at a minimum. I'm sure Will is hoping for the same thing! lol

The Fit-tastic group is going well at The Athlete's Foot too! I'm having a lot of fun getting to know the runners and hopefully being an encouragement to them. They are working hard and will see the fruit of their efforts come October 30. Consistency is the key!

Recap of mileage this week:
Tues: 6.53 miles
Wed: 5.32 miles
Thurs: 6 miles and core work
Fri: 4 miles
Sat: 7 miles
Sun: 3 miles and core work
Total: 31.85 miles

Have a great week! Today is the day to get off the couch and do something active...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ode to my #1 fan!!

I have a little over a week until my 3rd half marathon. I remember well my first half. It was March 2010 in Charlotte. It was a good race and my #1 fan was there to cheer me on.

Let me tell you about him...Will (my husband, aka rach, loves to cook--like Rachael Ray-- he runs occasionally-well...kinda rare to see this actually but the thought sounds good to him, loves history, golf, and basketball) has always been so supportive. He is willing to listen to my endless talk of running and how much I ran that day and how I felt and why it was a good run or not. He doesn't always understand what I am saying with my "runner words" but he can tell if it is good or not. He even lets me tell my stories more than one time. He doesn't hold taper weeks or recovery weeks against me...and he allows me to indulge in my shoe fetish, which I don't really think is a fetish because each pair has a different purpose. He told me one time he thought running would be a cheap! He gives me praise even when I don't deserve it and he thinks I am the best runner ever :0)--such a good hubby. He supports my new passion of working with beginner runners and encourages me to share my story. Now it might be time to pop his big head!

Seriously, I don't tell him enough but, I am so thankful for you Will and I hope to make you proud at Disney...and Myrtle Beach. Then maybe we can take a trip to Bawhstun in 2013...:0)

All-Star 5K in Raleigh

1st half marathon in Charlotte

THE marathon shoes (Mickey has yellow shoes too you know)
...wore these at Disney World full marathon
 and will wear them at Disneyland half...then it's time for retirement

Disneyland here we come!!!
The half begins at 6am Calif time...
9am Raleigh time

Friday, August 19, 2011

Oh the things you see--and do--at marathons...

This posting is dedicated to some of the extremely interesting things I observed and was involved in at my first marathon in Orlando at DisneyWorld. It has been 7 months since that semi-chilly morning and when I think of some of the things I saw and did, I can't help but laugh. Being the planner that I am, I did a lot of research about the important things for a race such as, what kind of hydration was available, what time to arrive at my corral, what the weather was going to be like, and most important--where were the potties! Visiting the bathroom is a necessity for us all--even Queen Elizabeth has to go every day--but if you know me at all, you know that I need to visit more than most so, the thought of running 4 hours without going to the bathroom was very disturbing to me.

Okay, so you can see where I'm going with this posting...Upon arrival at the race start, which actually wasn't the start but a gathering of the thousands of people-it was like 4:30am I think-no biggie to me-I am up by this time anyway-I look around first for the potties. People are standing around, some even drinking coffee, waiting for the cattle drive to the starting area. I used the port-o-pot a couple times before we began the trek. Knowing I may have to take drastic measures to be able to pee one more time before the race began, I had stowed some toilet paper in my pack of stuff. I was seriously prepared to squat wherever I was and had even played a mental picture of doing just that in my mind many times during my training runs. Yes, I am an obsessive person about some things. When we got to the corral area and started dropping people off, I thought, I'm sure there will be a pottie at my corral. there wasn't. Oh no, I still had 45 minutes till race start! Me and the other shivering bodies are standing around just waiting and waiting. I am pretending to listen to my iPod but am really watching the other people to see who goes where to use the "bathroom" and finally, there it is....

Okay, picture this-we are on the highway. One side is blocked off and our corral is blocked by those orange temporary barriers. There are people standing like "guards" on the other side of the orange barrier but regardless, I saw people pull down the barrier, hop over and trot over to the woods. Even though it is 4:45-5am, there is plenty of artificial light. So, yes, you guessed it, they were using the woods...only they didn't go into the woods. I look and there is a line of people, men and women, in their respective positions, doing the necessary thing. I stand there for a little while longer and then think to myself, oh well here goes. I too jump over the barrier and trot to the edge of the woods and took care of business. "Apparently, there is no shame in public urination before a race" I think to myself. I almost laughed out loud.

Back in line and ready to shed my "throw away clothes" there is still 20 minutes and you guessed it, I need to go again. Now maybe it's a mental thing but it must be done, so I saunter to the other side of the road to be with a different set of people (I didn't want people to wonder what I was doing haha) and really why should I have cared about what people think-I had just used the bathroom in front of thousands of people, yet I still feel the need to watch to make sure they are going to the woods over here on this side of the road. They are, so off I go. This time I go back into the woods a little...umm...big mistake. I realize I have gotten myself into a brier bush and also have little sticklers (I don't know what they are called) all over me. At this point they have started singing the national anthem and I was trying to hurry and ended pulling a branch up with my running skirt. I started pulling the sticklers off and hurry back to the corral. The wheelchair people are off and here I am still pulling those sticky things off. I did leave the branch in the woods too. At the end of the race, I still kept finding those things and even found a brier stuck in my leg though I never felt it during the race. Oh, this is getting too long....sorry.

To end this story, some other bathroom things I saw: less than a mile into the race, a man runs off to the side of the road to pee-I could have almost touched him he was so close to me. Every second counts I guess. And the guy in the yellow compression shorts who was wearing a pair of Depends. The first time I saw him it was yellow shorts, the next time I saw him, his shorts had turned brown...I ran past him and never saw him again. Gross...

I promise all of this is true and I have not embellished any of it! Serious! And, I am proud to say that I did not stop at all during the race for the bathroom, woods, side of the road, or anything else. And no, I didn't use it in my running skirt either! haha! I finished the race in 3:52:17 and couldn't wait to get back to my WCA buddies and tell them the funny story of bathroom goings on. They love my running stories! Or they act like they do anyway...Thank you for sticking with me on this one. It was kinda long but oh soo funny!!

My next race is very close...I will be running the half marathon at Disneyland over Labor Day and guess what will be in my pack? Yep, toilet paper. Cause remember...public urination is perfectly acceptable at races! Too funny!

You know you want to comment on this one! Take care!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

August 1-7, 2011 recap

This has been a good week for running! I guess the fact that I was going to run regular mileage along with getting some things done at work caused my sleep patterns to be really off. Yes, I am usually awake at 4am but this week I woke up everyday between 3:00-3:40am. That was not so much fun when it got later in the day...but, I remember the days I would require many  hours of sleep and now with regular exercise I don't require as much. I surely don't want to make 3am a new habit though lol!!

Tuesday- 5mi and Core
Thursday-5.22mi (speed work)
Friday-6mi and Core
Sunday-3mi and Core
Total: 36.22mi

The Disneyland Half is in 27 days. I think I will be ready and am looking for a great race. How could it not be great? It's Mickey's race!

This week begins a new venture for me...I am going to help out with a group of beginner runners at TAF. We will meet together 2x a week and they will run the Monster Dash 5K on October 30-I think I will be running this race too. I am excited to get some experience coaching runners and look forward to working with the TAF coaches.

Later! And, Drew Buffaloe--no wise cracks about my bedtime!! Don't hide behind your anonymous comments haha! I knew it was either you or Billy.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Yay for Speed Workout--Finally!

I am happy to say that tomorrow will be my first speed workout since the hammy issue. I am very excited about this! Part of my workout will include half marathon and 10K pacing. The Disneyland half marathon is in a few weeks so I need to work on my pacing to reach my goal time. I know what I would like to my finish time to be but not sure it is realistic since I had the hammy railroad for the last month. This race is not my ultimate goal-that is in February so, I'm not too concerned about it. Well, a little concerned I guess but I can't help it, I am a competitive, hard-headed person and like to accomplish/finish what I set as a goal.

For the last 2 weeks, my mileage has been low to make sure I was over my hammy problem. This week will be a little higher and so on. I am scheduled to run 8-11 miles on Saturday. I will shoot for 11 miles of course. Hello Timber and Aversboro Drive-I have missed you. If you want to see me-I am planning to run early, early, when the sun is coming up. Honk twice for "keep it up"

Monday was my scheduled off day and Tuesday I ran 5 miles in the gym. It was a great run--the best one in a while. I felt good...I could have gone longer. That's how it is with running-some days it is awesome and others it kicks my butt. The payoff is reaching that goal, not necessarily times in a race but other little things I set as well...could be anything really-so long as you stay motivated.

That's all for now...hope you can find time to get out and exercise this week...a little bit here and there can make a difference.

Don't forget to hydrate!!
And, visit TAF-The Athlete's Foot for all your running needs!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Back at it...kinda

I know it's been a while since I blogged but I have been busy at work and I haven't really felt like rehashing the same injury pity party stuff over again. It's tough to be hurt and not be able to do what you want. Kinda puts me in a bad mood...but I didn't bite anyone so that is a good thing. I know you can learn through adversity and it can make you stronger. I have learned through this. I definitely learned that I don't like being hurt so that means doing as the coach says LOL!

So, last Sunday I ran 3 miles at the beach. It was the first run after my 4 day layoff and I was pretty nervous. My hammy did hurt but not like it had before so I knew the layoff was a good thing. Monday was my regular off day and when I ran on Tuesday (5 miles) I wondered if I had actually been unusual pain, except that one in the butt (and no, I'm not referring to Will) which is technically called my piriformis-I think I spelled it correctly. Needless to say I was very happy!! Coach knowing best, kept me at low mileage this week and is planning to do the same next week. My total mileage for this past week was 23.5. After next week I hope to continue with harder training in preparation for the half marathon at Disneyland over Labor Day weekend.

Be careful out there in this heat. Not a good idea to run in the heat of the day. Early morning runs are the best outdoors. I ran at Benson Park and up Aversboro Rd. Friday and Saturday. It wasn't too bad at 7:00am.

This is a picture of the cool medal I get for completing the Disney World full marathon and the Disneyland half marathon in the same calendar year. Yeah, I'm ready to go!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Still on the DL

I am still having some issues with my hamstring when I run so I went for a sports massage on Wednesday. It helped some I think or at least it seems like it did. Coach said to not run for 4 days but I could walk every other day a couple of miles at an easy pace. I'm still doing my core work too. Today is the 3rd day in a row that I haven't run at all. I will try an easy 3 miles on Sunday at the beach, which is my favorite place to run, so I am really looking forward to that.

I am trying to stay positive and not use food as a stress reliever. I always struggle with eating and being injured and slightly depressed (well, more than slightly I guess) about it makes the struggle even harder. Many people have been encouraging me and making me laugh...this has helped keep my mind occupied with something other than the fact I haven't run for 3 days in a row...

The following post on I love to run's FB page really spoke to me: "It is difficult to train for a marathon; but it is even more difficult to not be able to train for a marathon."

My eyes are on February 18, so I need to get healthy now to begin my training soon!
Thanks for taking time to read my blog. Your comments are always welcome!

This is a picture of my family at the Angels Among Us 5K race at Duke. A few were unable to come this year. We run in memory of my daddy, Larry Robert Johnson, who died from a brain stem tumor. The end of this month marks 17 years that he has been gone. I think of Fred and Ethel aka mama and daddy everyday...

Friday, July 8, 2011

HDL, LDL and total cholesterol levels

I have been waiting since last week for my lab results to come back showing my cholesterol levels. I was particularly interested in my HDL (good) cholesterol level. In 2007, before I began Weight Watchers, my HDL number was 23. This put me at high risk for heart problems. The doctor told me it could be raised to the goal number of greater than 40 through exercise, losing weight, and possibly medicine. I began taking medicine but since my insurance did not cover it, I quickly stopped the presciption. Since then I have been doing all of the above, except the medicine. I added fish oil supplements to my diet each day this past year. Last year my number was 40 and I wasn't sure how I could exercise anymore than I was at that point but I did increase my exercise, lost a little more weight, and am HAPPY-very Happy- to report that my HDL number is 46!! It jumped 6 points in one year!! My LDL number is 96-the goal is less than 130. My total cholesterol is a 156...pretty good!!

And it all began with going to that first WW meeting and walking 10 minutes on the treadmill!

Shout out to John Adamof--he is running his 5th marathon tomorrow at Grandfather Mt. Run well my friend!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Do What Y0U Can...

More on my hamstring issues...I didn't run until Tuesday and then only 4 miles. Okay, I know when I say "only" some of you snort and think...but, well...anyway, when one is used to running 6 or more miles at a time, 4 miles is an "only" so that's why it comes out like that sometimes...I had core class that evening and was able to do all of the exercises, except I cheated on a couple that threatened to pull on my hammy. Shh...I don't think BMack noticed. Ran 4 miles on Wednesday and could tell I was overcompensating and my gait felt very weird, which was causing my shins to hurt so I played the mental game and finally relaxed enough to run my normal gait, or close to it anyway. I think I was scared to run normally for fear I would pull it again. Today-Thursday, I felt the most normal since last week and eeked out 5 miles. I didn't want to push it too soon.

So, there are all these quotes in the weight room at school and one really stood out to me this week, "Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." John Wooden said this and it made me think that even though I am not running my normal mileage at the moment, I can still do my core work and work on that extra flab on my arms and run some low mileage. That's for now...for the future...I think, I may never qualify for Boston (Lord, please help Will if I don't cause he's gotta live with me) or run any faster than I do now (not that I'm all that fast, but I've never finished last in a race) but I can keep in shape and run consistently and enjoy it all the while.

When we compare ourselves to others it can cause disappointment, anger, and despair. Better to focus on what we are able to do and try to improve those areas. Easy to say, hard to do.

Stay focused and consistent this week. You have to decide you are going to make a change and then do it! Today is the day to begin the run...tomorrow never comes!!
Blessings to you!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Injuries and aches

Each day I run, something hurts...I will say, I had no unusual pains and generally, I have good runs. There have been a few times, now more than ever that I have not been able to run my normal schedule. This weekend is one of those times. Pretty sure I overdid it at the track meet on Wed night. Woke up Thursdsy morning with a sore hamstring or hammy. I waited until that evening to try and run but could only stomach that sharp pain for one mile. No running Friday and it started feeling better so I ran 5 miles on Saturday. Each step hurt, a dull hurt, but a hurt nonetheless. Bummer! I am not going to run today either and this depresses me greatly but I know if I don't let it heal, I will be really depressed when it is time for my half in September. According to Jeff Galloway, if you don't run for 1-5 days straight, you only lose about 1% of your conditioning. I am hoping this is true!
So, if you get injured or have those passing aches, take a rest day or 2. It is hard for me to take my own advice but I know it is true. Consistency is the key and a few days of no running will not erase all the training you have done! Maybe I will go for a swim?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Godiva Track Meet

Below is a picture of me and Sir Speedy...He's my runner hero, my coach, and my friend!

Tonight, Will and I went to UNC-Chapel Hill's track again. The Godiva Track Club's "fun" track meet has different race lengths each Wednesday evening. I decided to run the mile and 800 meters. Happy to say my time for both was faster than 2 weeks ago. Wahoo! It is fun to run with other people and to be on a track, especially in my zoom zoom spikes! Each race has different "heats" and you seed yourself with others of your ability. There are all ages from young children to pushing 70. It is fun to see the different runners. Some are pretty fast (well, I don't think anyone is as fast as Sir Speedy) and some are kinda slow.

As I sat there watching others compete and waiting for my turn I was so glad that these people have decided to make a change in their life and get out and exercise. Someone sent me a message today about reading my posts and wanting to get started with exercising. It made my day! That is the biggest reason I have this blog--to encourage you to make a change. Small steps at first and big results to come. So, if you have been thinking you want to get started, send me a message and I will be glad to help you out. You just gotta get off the couch!

So I'm hoping these speed workouts will be a big help with improving my time for the Myrtle Beach Marathon in February. I've already seen some improvement and feel myself getting stronger. I still struggle at times with the mental side of running but that is coming along as well.

Your comments are always welcome!

                  Me and Sir Speedy (Bobby Mack) at WCA's MOB 5K race

Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 20-26 Run Recap

No matter how slow you go, you are still
lapping everybody on the couch.

This was the wall photo from "I love to run" and it is so true. I think so many don't exercise because they are not sure what to do, how to start, and afraid of failure. Remember, what I said (or go back and read my story parts 1-3) about beginning to exercise. My first entry in my training log was 10 minutes walking on the treadmill and 10 minutes on the stationary bike. You just have to get through this mental thing and as Nike says, "JUST DO IT!"

My week of training was a pretty good one-there were some mental issues I had to overcome and I'm always a little tight when I first get out of bed and then there was the issue with not enough water and the killer headache but looking back it was a pretty good one. I've been trying to average 40 miles a week for a few months now. I am currently training for a half-marathon Labor Day weekend at Disneyland. This week I ran 41 miles total. I'm happy!!

I sometimes get questions about how much I run everyday, so I thought I would list my mileage run during the week. As you will see, the mileage is different each day and there are reasons for that. I am working on my speed and just being on my feet for long periods of time. Halfs and fulls require that lol! Sometimes I will run at an easy pace and others at a faster pace. This is all designed to help me reach a certain time goal for an upcoming race. My eyes are on 3:45 on 2/18 but my next race is at Disneyland and I am excited about that too.

Anyway, part of what my coach does is to discuss my time goals and then come up with a training plan to help me meet that time. BMack does a great job with this and takes the guess work out of it for me. A good coach is the key! I just look at the week and go out and do the run/workout. Pretty simple...I am also working on strengthing my arms and getting rid of some leftover flabby areas. :) I do core work about 2-3 times a week as well.

As a funny side note because I get teased about my shoes...I wore 5 different pairs of shoes for this week's workout. Seriously...they all serve a different purpose!

So here is this past week:
Monday-rest day
Tuesday-6 miles
Wednesday-Track meet-3 miles total (you are thinking, only 3 miles but this was a hard 3 miles including the 100 meter and 400 meter)
Thursday-7 miles
Friday-7 miles
Saturday-15 miles (the last 3 miles were all mental but I won!!)
Sunday-3 miles
Total: 41 miles

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hydration and recovery (water, headaches, and food)

Just a quick note concerning hydration and recovery during and following your workout. Water is very important not only during the week but also during your exercise time. I don't always drink enough water during the week and will end up end up paying the price later. If you are around me much you know I love Diet Dr. Pepper. I struggle with getting the water I need. This week I have not been sleeping well and have not been drinking enough water.

Today was my monthly weigh-in at Weight Watchers and of course I didn't want to eat before I weighed in so I only ate a bowl of oatmeal when I got up at 6:30 and then went for my 7 miler. I also did a little bit of speed workout. I drank about 8 ounces of Gatorade during this run. In a hurry, I went to the meeting without eating anything (um...I did shower first)-it is now about 9:45. I knew it was not smart to wait to eat until after my meeting and knew I was running a big risk of getting a headache...Well, I lost 1 pound (yay!) but the price was..You guessed it-a killer headache (boo!). I've been in the bed since around 11:00am and just finally started feeling better around dinner time and was able to eat some supper. IF I had consumed the necessary water this week and necessary recovery food following my run today I probably wouldn't have been in the shape I found myself.

As an fyi-I eat 3 meals a day and 2-3 snacks (maybe more). I will try to eat something-even 2-3 crackers or piece of cheese-about every 3 hours so I don't ever get really hungry. I'm not really sure what the "necessary" amount of water is, there are differences of opinions, so I just try to drink a glass every time I'm near the fridge and several at work each day.

So, make sure you drink enough water to keep your body hydrated and eat after you exercise. If you don't know how to tell if you are hydrated follow this simple rule. If your pee is light colored, you are well hydrated. The darker it is, the less hydrated. Pretty simple to tell that way!

Happy Running!!
Oh yeah, Bobby Mack placed 9th in the 10,000meter U.S. Track and Field Championship yesterday. He was in the lead with 2 laps to go. It was very exciting to watch! Good job Sir Speedy!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Story Part 3

Okay...part 3...If someone had told me at the age of 37 that I would run 26.2 miles at one time without stopping  at the age of 40I would have told them they were crazy but...I completed my first marathon in January 2011 at Disney World in 3:52:17. By the time of the marathon I knew I could run the distance. Part of the reason I chose the running plan I did was that it had me run 26 miles on one of the long runs. I needed to know beforehand if I could do this. Bobby, my coach, kept telling me that I didn't need to run the entire 26 miles to know I could do it but I was determined I would do indeed run 26 miles before that Disney race. Most marathon plans have 18-20 as the longest mile run. Well, being the extremist I am, I wanted to be really sure I could run that long so I ended up running 26.5 miles that day. Yes, I am a little obsessive and tend to go to extremes at times. But, when I crossed that line at Disney I was in the top 5% of the finishers! One of my first comments to my family was that I wasn't sure I wanted to do any race like that again. I will dedicate another blog to my race experiences and the many interesting things I saw so stay tuned. It is a hoot!! It only took a couple of days for me to retract the statement about not doing that race distance again. I reminded my sister that I never said I wouldn't do it but that I wasn't sure I wanted to. Now I begin to think that the half and full marathon may be the distances I most enjoy. I know it sounds crazy, but I actually look forward to my training each day and get upset if I can't run, just ask my family. I enjoy the long runs and by long I mean anywhere from 10-20 milers. I take a rest day each week because it is necessary for me. I don't know if my body would respond very well to 7 days straight of running. I am so thankful to my family for their support of my running. My husband Will, is my biggest supporter. I wouldn't be where I am without his help!! He is there to cheer me on and thinks I am the greatest runner ever!! :) I love you rach!! My coach, Bobby Mack, has been awesome. He is wise beyond his young 26 years. He has taken the time to learn who I am and what makes me tick--he probably thinks I'm just as crazy as my family and friends do--but he is always there to help  me try to reach my goals. I can never thank him enough for what he has done. He has helped me improve my running form and I have learned so much from him. My race times have improved as well.
So, as I close out "My Story" section I will share what invades my mind daily. M
y dream is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I was 72 seconds short of doing this at Disney and now the qualifying times have been reduced further. This will require a 3:45 finish time, but I am up for the challenge. My next opportunity to qualify will be at the Myrtle Beach Marathon in February of 2012. So, if you see me post on facebook 3:45 on 2/18 you will know what I'm talking about.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my ramblings...I want others to know that while they may never have the desire to complete a marathon or any race over the 5K distance, they can make small changes and see big results in just a few short years. Running can be a life sport. I see all ages at the races I attend. You do not have to be the fastest or even place in your age group to feel the satisfaction of setting a personal goal and meeting that goal. This is what I want others to understand.
Until next time!!
3:45 on 2/18!!
And, Sir Speedy is racing tonight Thursday 6/23. You can watch Bobby Mack run at 10:55pm EST. In the wind BMack!!

Love you Mickey!!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Story Part 2

Below is part 2 of my story...I am also including a picture of me taken one month before I began Weight Watchers.

I decided I wanted to run in a 5K race. My first 5K was August 29, 2009 at North Myrtle Beach. My time was 27:56 and I placed 3rd in my age group. This was the first race for this organization so it was a small group of runners. I was so excited to have won something, even if it was only a medal. It somehow validated my hard work up to this point. My second 5K was in September 2009 at North Hills in Raleigh. This was my first experience running on hills and my time was 28:46. I did not place but was proud of myself because I did not stop running at any time during the race. By this point, I was seriously obsessed with running. I was reading everything I could get my hands on about running. I bought several books to try and learn all I could. I was running about 4-5 times a week, averaging 10-15 miles per week. I began to increase my mileage and run at least 5x a week, sometimes 6.  My close friends and colleagues thought I was crazy because all I talked about was running. To this day, it is hard for me to understand exactly why I love it so much. I grew up playing sports but never enjoyed the running aspect with those sports. To illustrate my need to run, I like to use a story from February 2010. Our treadmill was still broken and work was cancelled because of snow. I could not drive to the gym or go for a run outside, so I decided to run in place in the living room. I ran for a total of 30 minutes that day. My family and friends really thought I had lost it. I sometimes wonder if I have myself...  
Even though the thought scared me, I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. I once again started to increase my mileage to about 25-30 miles a week. I was ready for the race by March 2010 and commented to my husband at the finish that I felt like I could have kept running longer. Before the half, I would allow myself to dream about running a marathon one day but I never really thought I would. After finishing the half, I felt like I could do it. More about marathons later...
A highlight during the 2010 year was my 40th birthday. I celebrated by running in the Women’s Distance Festival 5K the week after I turned 40. I am now considered a “masters” runner or just a nice way of saying I was getting old. Fortunately, I finished 1st in my age group. It was at this race, I was introduced to “The Athletes Foot”. I was wearing my red T6 Racers and just happened by the TAF tent. I got to talking to the person there (wish I could remember his name) and he told me I would get a percentage off a pair of shoes if I came to the store and showed my racing bib. I visited the store and really liked all of the items they had to offer. Of course, I bought a pair of shoes. I am actually a frequent buyer of running shoes! I have been shopping at TAF(The Athlete's Foot) ever since and I recommend TAF to everyone who will listen. I thought I was a "real" runner but because of my insecurities with my weight and other things from my past, I was always second guessing myself. I toyed with the idea of hiring a running coach. I thought maybe this was a silly idea, I am 40 years old, what will people think, and what will any coach think of some old woman wanting help. But I came to the conclusion that plenty of people spend money on silly things and if this is one of those times, well, who really cares. Turns out, it wasn't so silly after all. I was very fortunate to hire Bobby Mack as my running coach after Thanksgiving. I cannot praise him enough for the help he has given me. But, I will speak more of him in another post. But, I do have to say this, he is running in the USA Track and Field Outdoor 10,000 meter Championship this Thursday, June 23 in Eugene, Oregon. Let's go BMack!!! I just call him Sir Speedy!

Well, I hope you have enjoyed Part 2. I don't want you to think, my life is easy since I have lost so much weight. I think I will always have an obsession with food. At any point, I could devour a bag of chips. It is a daily struggle that I sometimes win and sometimes lose. I can look in the mirror sometimes and still see that girl below. Right now though, I have the most wins...
 I still have lots to tell and will write again soon. Your comments are welcome and if you have any questions about running or Weight Watchers, please email me!

                                                    This is what 195 pounds looks like...

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Weight Loss Journey: Part 1

I decided to begin a blog and share my story in the hopes that someone else out there who struggles with their weight will realize they can make a change. Running has changed my life. Read my story below and see the pictures for yourself...

My weight loss journey began in late June 2007. I had ballooned to 195 pounds and knew I needed to make a change. In fact, I realized I needed to change a few years prior but was not motivated enough to begin the process. I had lost almost 30 pounds before with Weight Watchers but had gained those pounds back plus many more. I was now at my highest weight ever and ready to take measures to change. I attended a Weight Watchers meeting and began the journey that brings me to who I am today in the year 2011. By December of 2007, I had lost 42 pounds and began to exercise regularly. The first entry in my training log included 10 minutes of walking and 10 minutes on a stationary bike. Over the next several months, I walked on the treadmill about 3x a week. I was proud that I was consistent with exercise. By the end of February 2008, I had lost 52 pounds and began increasing my 3x a week to 4 or 5x a week exercise for about 30 minutes each time. I was still just walking on the treadmill. I began jogging on the treadmill at some point and increased the amount of time I spent to one hour per session. My treadmill broke in early July of 2009 and I began using the elliptical machine at my school's gym. It had not yet entered my mind to actually run outside. This is something I had tried to do when I lost those 30 pounds many years ago but shin splints stopped that real quick. I now understand I most likely increased my mileage too soon. One day in mid-July, I decided to run inside the gym around the basketball court. I ran 50 minutes that first morning. Yes, I ran around and around in circles in the gym. I still used the elliptical machine for a couple more weeks but then switched to running in the gym. I did not have a Garmin to track my mileage so I would count my laps. Twenty laps equals one mile and I usually did 5 miles each session. Keep in mind that my pace was anywhere between 10:00-12:00 minutes per be continued