Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Running and Weight Loss Journey Part III

It was May and I was focused on pushing through the grief from my miscarriage in order to continue on the path for which I had set out in January - to lose weight. In January, when I had joined Weight Watchers, dead set against exercise, let alone running, I had set a goal weight of 163 lbs. Based off of the BMI scale, for a women my height and weight, 163 lbs was the highest weight in the "normal" range. 

It was a lofty goal.

The last time I weighed 163 lbs I was a Sophomore in high school. 

Late May 2012
Four and a half months and one miscarriage later, I was weighing in at 176 pounds - just 13 lbs away from my goal weight. I had already lost 16 lbs and I didn't want to give up on the tremendous (for me anyways) progress that I had made towards my goal. I was really liking the way I looked. And, since I was no longer sick from an over-abundance of pregnancy hormones, I was also liking the way I felt.

However, I was not sure I wanted to go back to Weight Watchers. While, WW gave my the jump-start I needed to begin seeing weight loss success, I was tired of counting Points.... I truly felt that if I focused on my fitness and eating healthy foods that I would no longer need the meetings and Point restrictions in order to continue down the path to a healthy weight. 

Around that same time, my sister, Sara, asked me to run a 5k with her in July.  The race supported a cause close to our hearts so I decided it would be a good motivator to sign up for the race. That would give me about two months to "train" and build up to the distance. My goal was to run the entire race no matter what the pace. 

Although it was spring time and the weather was good, I preferred doing my training indoors on the treadmill.  Honestly, I was frightened at the thought of running outside. Outside, people I know might see me running on the trail near my home - a risk I was not yet ready to take. Plus, when you are outside running and you get a mile away from your house, you are a MILE AWAY FROM YOUR HOUSE!! What if I had to use the bathroom, or needed a drink of water? No, thank you! I was perfectly happy running on the treadmill in the temperature controlled gym with my water bottle, sweat towel, and music all at arms length away. 

Still, I knew that at some point, I would have to run outside. I couldn't complete the 5k race on a treadmill, after all.... 

Time was ticking away. I was taking it day by day. My hubby and I had fell back into the routine of my coming home, getting the kids situated, changing to my running gear, and starting dinner. Then, when he got home, I would leave him to finish dinner and head to the gym to run. When I arrived home, he'd have dinner waiting. What an AWESOME husband I have! 

Most days I was 'running' 2-3 miles. I use the term 'running' loosely because I would take frequent walk breaks. Slowly, I built up my running minutes in between my walk break. Even with the walk breaks I was averaging about 12-13 minute miles. Now it was time to increase my distance. 

By June my workouts were three miles long and it took me between 36-40 minutes to complete. At that point I was still running inside on the treadmill and I knew I had to get myself outside. Finally, one Saturday, mid-June, I decided to run outside!

The logistics were tough for me. At that point I didn't know about "map my run", which I now use regularly to track my workouts, so I had to drive the distance in order to map a turn around point about 1.5 miles away from my house. The idea of being 1.5 miles from my house still scared me. Also, what about my music? I don't run with an ipod like most people do - I use my phone to stream iheartradio and listen to this GenX station out of Louisville, Kentucky. (Love me some GenX music :) For my first outside run, I decided I was going to just hold my cell phone while I ran. There was also the matter of water. I decided I would just have to deal with not have water readily available while I ran outside. 

Big Mistake. 

This was Ohio, mid-June, and it was H-O-T hot outside. 

That run sucked and sent me crawling back to the gym. How do people do it? All the time I see these fit, sun-kissed, gorgeous, tone, runners trotting along with out anything in their hands -no water, no phone, no sweat towel, nothing. And I couldn't figure out how they could do it. 

Then, one morning on my way home from the gym, I saw a gal running along side the road with a hydration belt on and I thought, "I MUST have on of those!" I would have my water, phone, and sweat towel all stashed right in that belt. Everything available to me at the gym would be right there - except for bathrooms, but I knew I could make it for a 30 - 60 minute run/walk/jog without needing to hit up the bathroom. 

So I searched for a hydration belt and finally found one I deemed suitable. Then, I geared myself up for Saturday, when I would run the FIVE mile loop I had mapped out near my house. 

Saturday came and it was overcast. I debated whether to call the run before I even set out due to the possibility of ran, but I decided I had to listen to NIKE and Just Do It! It took some time to get my hydration belt adjusted. When I finally got out the door and moving I realized that I did not like the jiggling of the water bottles on the hydration belt at all. 

Slowly, I traversed the path I had plotted out. I ran a good 2 miles before I had to stop for my first of several walking breaks. About half way through my course, the water in my bottles had gotten warm from the heat of the day as well as my body heat. Still, I suppose warm water is better than no water. My belt continued to jiggle and I continued to stop and adjust it throughout the run. I felt very conspicuous as I wiggled and jiggled that belt every few minutes. 

As I entered into the last 1.5 miles of my run, I began to feel sprinkles.

At first there were just a few, but in a matter of minutes there was a downpour. No thunder or lightening - just a refreshing summer rain. A refreshing summer rain that SOAKED my clothes. Luckily, I had put my phone in a plastic ziplock bag before I put it in the pouch on the hydration belt. (I know, I'm a dork, but I was afraid of damaging my phone if it rained.) My socks were sloshy in my shoes. And I was tired, so I was still taking walking breaks as the rain poured down.

But, as I turned that last curve that headed up to my neighborhood, something clicked. I felt free! I laughed out loud. It was almost if that rain was just for me - to cool me down after my first official "long run". 

Looking back, that run was really a comical disaster. And I never used the hydration belt again after that run. Still, that run was a turning point for me... I no longer wanted to be a runner - I WAS a RUNNER!

Things began to get easier when I bought an arm band to put my phone in while I ran - it turns out I am not the only runner who streams music through their phone instead of an ipod. :-) Also, I realized that for longer runs, it didn't bother me to carry a water bottle with me. 

By the time July 28th rolled around, I was ready! 

My race time was 32:24! 

That was a GREAT time for me! Way better than my goal of 36 minutes. And, although I did have to take a couple 'walking breaks' during the race, I ended feeling very accomplished. 

I was really starting to ENJOY running! 

And, I had lost another 8 pounds, bringing my weight down to 168 lbs

... only five pounds from my goal. 

My Mom, Me, My Sister Sara

Mom & Me

Curious how this story ends? 

Stay tuned for My Weight Loss and Running Journey Part IV ....

Missed the beginning?


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