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.

Invincibility Through Endorphins

I just came in from my most amazing run yet. I’m coasting an endorphin high after doing a short, fast run (only 15 min, but building up!) in my Five Fingers Sprints in a Seattle downpour. I went out, got completely drenched, ran the fastest that I could, and came back feeling triumphant. I threw my Sprints in the washer as that they were caked in mud on the top.

I’ve had Ani DiFranco in my head lately, and the song “Anticipate” from Live in Clip have running through my head. I have songs that go through my head while I run. Usually it has something about running or speed in the lyrics. I’m not sure what gets Anticipate in my head. Maybe it’s just the rhythm.

Here’s the breakdown of this run today:

  • Time: 00:15:02
  • Distance: 1.606 mi
  • Avg Pace: 09:19 min/mi
  • Avg HR: 171 bpm

If I can manage to keep this up for a full 5K, I might actually meet the challenge that was set up for me for my upcoming race (better than 30 min for 5K).

Now, to shower and get to my last ceramics class. 🙂

New Blisters and Minimalist Running

Yesterday I went diving with my husband, a coworker of his, and that coworker’s significant other. Despite various traumatic events while diving (bull kelp ate one of my Apollo Bio-Fins!) I returned from the trip with a renewed gusto to try running my long run in my Vibram Five Fingers Sprints. Thanks to my husband’s coworker, I learned a new (to me) term: minimalist running. He actually was wearing another crazy model of minimalist shoes – though I can’t remember which ones they were for the life of me! It seems that there are people who barefoot run – really barefoot, and those who just run in the FiveFingers – and then others that run in other minimalist footwear.

It’s a whole, crazy world of running out there, let me tell you.

So that brings me to today’s run. I was achey, with my lungs still tired from all the hard work I did struggling against the bull kelp (IT’S ALIVE!), and I put off my run until the afternoon when I believed there to be a chance of sun. I further enticed myself by saying I would go without my regular cushy, supportive shoes, and go for my FiveFingers for my LONGEST RUN EVER without cushioning. My 40 minute run got me a lot of sweat and it looks like at least a couple of blisters. My legs felt all wobbly at the end of my run, my knees felt warm, and my big toes felt the worst of all of it. My trusty Garmin Forerunner 405CX gives me the following stats (among others):

  • Time: 40:15
  • Distance: 3.50 mi
  • Avg Pace: 11:30 min/mi
  • Avg HR: 141 bpm

Not bad, if I do say so myself. I started feeling the friction on my big toe about 20 minutes in, so the fact that I did that well is impressive (to me.)

I also have to state, for the record, that I have yet to really train on a flat surface. I end up doing small, but notable hills on every run. I can only hope this will make me a stronger runner come the LIVESTRONG Challenge.

The Speed of FiveFingers

My ridiculous FiveFinger saga continued today as I broke my usual rule of running two days in a row, and broke out my Vibram Five Fingers Sprints for a short, fast run.

I couldn’t help myself. I’m beginning to think there’s secret crack in these shoes. What else could inspire such madness as to convince not just one reasonable person I know, but another to go out and run barefoot. I just couldn’t stand not doing a little run in them today. So, sure enough, I went out and did a 12:20 min run around my neighborhood. What was STELLAR about this run, was that my average heart rate was 140 bpm, and my average pace was 9:11 min/mi. Now, I’m not positive I could keep this up for a full 30 min to get me the 5K that I’m striving for in 2 weeks, however, I have to say that I’m pretty thrilled at the numbers for this morning.

Are these ridiculous shoes making me go faster?

Tomorrow I may give the same route/distance a try in my Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10. These shoes are the antithesis of my FiveFingers, in that these are super-supportive for people who pronate.

This is madness, I tell you – madness.

The Fad of Five Fingers

Today I went out for my first run in my FiveFingers Sprint. My fitness buddy, Emily has been running in FiveFingers for awhile, including during the LavaMan Triathlon. OMG!

This is my back-off week, and today was my 10 minute run, so since my regular running shoes (Brooks Women's Adrenaline GTS 10) were packed away for a weekend trip, I decided to give the FiveFingers a chance.

I’ve walked around in the FiveFingers before, but I haven’t really done more than skip and jump in them. What is astounding is the way you really feel in touch with the ground, but the rocks don’t quite hurt the way they would with bare feet. Immediately, when I started jogging, I felt the mechanics of my legs move differently. I pronate with both feet, moreso with my right foot, and the first thing I felt was my inner calves contracting as my foot would come down to push off in a way that it doesn’t usually. I felt the rocking of my foot. I’ve read that the benefits of barefoot running are that it engages your natural body mechanics, and doesn’t mess up the natural balance that you already have. At the end of my short run, I ended up feeling almost like my feet were cushioned more against the ground. No blisters, thankfully, though a little bit of weariness could be felt.

I think I might have gone a little faster overall, but it’s hard to gauge at this point. I’m still not sold, but I will be trying this again.