LIVESTRONG Challenge – 29:42 minutes, 5K

According to my Garmin, this was the most hills I’ve run since I started training. I ran the 5K yesterday morning at a pace close to around 9:30 per mile, and by the time the finish line was in my sites, I was pushing myself to go further, meanwhile feeling an overwhelming urge to cry and hurl at the same time.

My time beat the challenge laid out before me, which was a 5K in under 30 minutes. This means that at the end of it, I raised $375 for LIVESTRONG – where none was required for runners.

The only thing I didn’t like about the race was that the cycling portions were competitive, but the 5K was not. We didn’t get chip-timing, which seemed to have been a possible option. I also didn’t get a tech t-shirt for raising the $250 minimum – I got the standard, oversized, bright yellow LIVESTRONG Challenge t-shirt. The cyclists got tech t-shirts. I know that Mr. Armstrong is a cyclist – and this is a cycling event, however – if you’re going to have triathlons and running events for LIVESTRONG, I’d think it to be just courtesy to have the same options for the runners or triathletes (yes, they cycle, I get that.)

It was overall a pretty great race. It’s hard not to get choked up – everyone has someone they’re running in honor or memory of. I had three people on my “in memory” and two on my “in honor” – and I forgot to add a few people on there. I put the first people who came to mind, one of them being a friend who died last year, who while he was undergoing cancer treatment and a secondary, life-threatening illness caused by the treatment, was still able to buoy me up during my crisis. I get choked up just thinking about it. I wasn’t super-close to Alex K. the way other people were, but last year he was able to cut through the bullshit and make me feel a little less isolated. He also had a bravery in the face of cancer that just kept me, and I think everyone who knew him, in awe. He is missed.

I’m sad that I don’t have another race planned for next month, but I’m sure I can change that easily. I’m resting this week, as that I’m feeling wrecked from yesterday. HILLS. MY GOD. HILLS. I had no idea there were so many hills around Seattle Center. 250ft elevation total! Last week’s race was flat. This was brutal. The GI distress I had lasted for about 2 hours after the race, and I was ravenous the rest of the day.

Yesterday was huge. I made a goal that I set for myself. I am 7 lbs from reaching the upper level of the BMI (which is bullshit, and actually, more generous because my body fat percentage is still too high.)

Today is rest – then I will gently resume training later in the week.

Wow. Go me!

Rest Week and Nutrition

Today’s plan is to go out for an easy, short jog in preparation of Sunday’s race. Last night, I roped another friend into joining me for the LIVESTRONG Challenge, and I’m excited to be coming near to this event that I’ve been training for. I have a $125 challenge on the line, so if I break 30 min for 5K, LIVESTRONG gets another $125. Pretty fantastic!

I’ve been playing a lot with Calorie Count the past couple days. They just released their iPhone app, and I’m loving the app. Their UI for the app beats the site, but I’m willing to forgive a lot of my little issues with the site for what the overall functions are. Tracking online and via smartphone isn’t new to me, as that I’ve been doing it for the past 2.5 years through Weight Watchers, but I’m getting to a point where my weightloss is slowing, and I’m feeling a need to get a true lay of the land. I’ve made huge leaps and bounds in changing my lifestyle, now I need to work on my nutrition.

What Calorie Count is allowing me to do is help me track my ratios of carbs, proteins and fats in my day and even week+, as well as key nutrients like iron, potassium, vit c, vit a, etc. What I’ve learned from tracking the past week is that I’m not getting enough protein, and am getting too much carbs and fats. I think that I often replace proteins with fats (due to the fact that I try to keep my meat and soy consumption low for ethical/medical reasons). I can’t help but wonder how this is impacting my training. I’m also not getting much iron in my day to day, which is something I hope to remedy first through leafy greans, and second by a vitamin supplement.

All this being said, the outcome calorically is also pretty stunning. To lose weight, I should be averaging about 1200 calories per day, but what I’m actually doing is 1500 calories per day. It’s a 200 calorie deficit per day from what I need to just maintain my weight, which is good, but means that might weight loss is at a snails pace.

This next week I’m going to strive for balance in my diet – something that Weight Watchers, unfortunately, doesn’t help you really track. Which is OK, considering that their big plus is the ease of their system, and that they DO encourage eating lean meats, whole foods, etc – but they leave you a bit in the dark on how to get all your nutrients in, and if you’re actually doing so.

I guess, with dieting, the one truth is the math. It doesn’t matter what system you use – all grapefruit, all frozen, prepared dinners, 2/3 meals out of milkshakes, etc. The heart of all of it is that if you put in less energy than you use, you will lose weight (barring medical/pharmaceutical interference.) You might not lose weight where you want it (lose muscle, lose all from your breasts and not your hips/thighs, etc,) but you will lose it. And in my case, no matter how much I lose, my naked body will NEVER look like a supermodels.

This is what I’m working on in my rest week. Now to get moving towards that short run I was talking about.

(BTW – still achey from Sunday’s run! Wow!)

Yesterday’s Run and My Weightloss Journey

Yesterday’s race was such a triumph for me. I never thought I would be a runner, let alone, run in a race, even a fun race. I took the challenge to try to run faster than 30 minutes for a 5K, not really believing I could do it. It looks completely possible after yesterday, even this morning with my achy calves.

For those wondering, I raced in the FiveFingers Sprints, which got me at least one question before the race. As far as I could tell, I was the only person there running in minimalist shoes. I definitely think they make me look rather odd, having seen my race-day picture, but I’m definitely loving them. I look forward to next weekend when I run the 5K.

One of the main reasons my running is so amazing to me is because I have lost 100+lbs, and I’m in the best shape I’ve been my entire life. I’m still not near goal, but when I take a step back and look at where I’ve come from, and where I’m headed, it’s a bit amazing to me.

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, I’ve just been trying to lose weight for more than 20 years (I’m in my 30s!). I’ve been on multiple diet plans, read books, seen nutritionists and read a lot of the current news/research on weight loss and obesity and have formulated my own ideas on the subject. Always consult a nutritionist, MD or ND before making radical changes to your life/lifestyle. Seriously. I may even disagree with some of their beliefs, but this is what has worked for me.

Just for the heck of it, I used the Tools at Calorie Count to get an idea of where I’ve come from, and where I’m going. To be honest, I don’t use Calorie Count (I use Weight Watchers, which does the same basic thing, but offers meetings and a handy formula to simplify tracking) for my day-to-day tracking, but it is an excellent, free, weightloss resource. There are other similar resources available – Livestrong, Daily Plate, Spark People – just to name a few. The basic idea is to figure out what your normal calorie burn is for your usual day, this is your Base Metabolic Rate. Next is to figure out how many calories you should reduce (and/or how much exercise you should add) to lose up to 2 lbs per week.

Personal facts and Weight Loss Stuff:

  • At my heaviest, my BMR was around 2750 calories per day.
  • My current BMR (to maintain current weight) is 1700 calories.
  • The BMR of the weight I’m shooting for is 1580 calories.

1 lb = 3500 calories, to lose 1 lb/wk, that’s a reduction of 500 calories per day.

I usually exercise daily, in the form of walking or running, and for a burn of between 100 – 400 extra calories per day. On those days, I might eat more.

I eat roughly 1200-1400 calories per day, which means that I’ve gradually reduced my daily caloric intake almost by half over the past few years. It should be noted, though, I started by reducing my daily intake gradually (about 500 cals/day). The biggest change in the past 25 lbs is having to incorporate more whole foods in my diet to keep me from getting hungry. I could eat my daily calories in doughnuts (that’s about 3 doughnuts in a day). Or I could eat an abundant variety of food all through the day for the same calories. Doughnuts give me a nasty simple-carb hangover. Whole wheat pasta and homemade spaghetti sauce does not. In a way, I actually eat MORE food – but it’s the variety that I eat that makes the difference, and where I choose to say “No.” Scone at a coffee shop for breakfast = “No.” A cupcake at Cupcake Royale = an occasional after-dinner decadence worth waiting for.

And for the record, I don’t deny myself occasional beer, mixed drinks, chocolate, ice cream, bacon, cheese, burgers, french fries, pizza, etc. I just don’t eat them all in one day. I eat real food with real ingredients (hopefully, the fewer required to make the food tasty, the better).

It’s been a long road. I still have a ways to go.

Rock Riot Run 5K and New Toy

I did the Rock Riot Run 5K today, despite not getting enough sleep, and barely finding the starting point. It was a small run, I think the first ever, and is part of UW on-campus events to reduce dating violence and address domestic violence issues. I was definitely a decade older than many of the organizers and participants.

I completed the 5K in 33 minutes and 58 seconds. I couldn’t believe I actually did a 5K, because my Nike+ SportBand was telling me that I only did 2.79 miles. Then it occured to me – it’s not calibrated right! I barely really calibrated it, and really didn’t properly do so when I first got it. I’ve been actually runnning MORE than I thought I was, meaning my actual times are really better than I assumed.

I said to myself, “That’s it, I’m getting a GPS.”

I checked out a few places, and finally settled on the too-big for my wrist (but just good enough) all the bells-and-whistles I want (ooh! touch sensitive bezel!) in the Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor. I’m looking forward to trying out this bad boy come Monday (or tomorrow, if I can’t wait that long.) It’s hard to find a user friendly GPS and HRM that also syncs to the computer. I’ll still be wearing my Nike+ SportBand, but I’ll at least be able to properly calibrate it.

Over all, a very successful day. I’m pumped to start signing up for my next race challenges. Whose gonna join me?


I started running at the point where I had lost about 65 pounds, which was June of 2008. I’m at an additional 30 pounds lost, and though I have not been running the whole time (probably about 8-10 months off), I’ve managed to stay in reasonable shape.

A few weeks ago, while in New York for a funeral, I picked up a new pair of running shoes, both to take part in some self-care, and to give me a reason to get rid of my battered Saucony’s, which were needing replacement. I got the award winning Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10. I was fitted for them at the Westchester Road Runner, which is a fantastic place to be fitted for a proper pair of running shoes. Right after purchasing the shoes, I did two days in a row of ambitious running. I say ambitious because I hadn’t been on a treadmill to run in months due to a calf injury (from sprinting) in November. I was achy, to say the least.

Flash forward to this past week. I woke up on this past Wednesday with an itch to run a 5K. I did the 5K in about 45 minutes, with about 10 minutes of that walking. On my route, I passed by a sign at the local Sons of Norway Lodge (did I mention I live in a Scandanavian neighborhood?) for a neighborhood fun run called the Leif to Leif 5K. I decided, since it was for the coming Saturday, to go ahead and do it. After all, I was just going to run anyway, right? It’s also hard not to be inspired by a friend of mine (and former gym buddy) who is undergoing a triathlon in Hawaii tomorrow. (GO EMILY GO!)

Yesterday, though I had a bit of a sore throat from seasonal post-nasal drip, I got up and out the door earlier than my usual and headed out to put in my registration and pick up my Norwegian flag. It wasn’t long before I was chatting with other people from the neighborhood, and after the race started, it wasn’t long before I realized that I was supposed to let myself keep a more relaxed pace. A few weeks of jogging does not lend well to sudden bursts of speed!

I was swiftly lagging behind as I left behind one Lief Erikson statue towards the other Leif Erikson up on the water. However, I was also in front of a few others, and managed to do the entire 5K in about 38 minutes, 7 minutes better than my time on Wednesday! After the run, there were complementary waffles with jam, and another bit of socialization, this time with a man who had lost 119 lbs, and this was his first time running ever.

It was great running socially, even if I wasn’t really paced with everyone else. The smiles were infectious, as was the completion as one of the organizers called to someone with a clipboard toward the end, “Twenty-three is coming!” Hey! That was me!

At my heaviest, I would avoid stepping up on curbs. Now I’m running, and it feels good. Sometimes it feels like I can out-run my troubles. So I’m going to keep on running.

Next up: Rock Riot Run 5K, to support the Eastside Domestic Violence Program, and the LIVESTRONG Challenge 5K, to benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation. I’m raising donations for my LIVESTRONG Challenge 5K – but will not be posting it here (I don’t let my real-name and this blog mix. If you’re interested in making a donation, you can go to here and search for my first and last name and make your donation accordingly. If that fails, please contact me through the here and let me know that you’d like to make a donation.

I look forward to working my way up to a 10K. 🙂