Friday, April 27, 2012

BIG NEWS! We are making a running documentary!

interviewing teammate
(and BL season 10 contestant) Ada Wong
I've been sitting on this secret for a few months now and finally we are at the point where we can announce it, shout it to the world!

We are making a movie!

Specifically, a running documentary!

More specifically a running documentary about my relay team's journey and race of the Miami, 2013 Ragnar!

What makes us so special? Well, each member of the team has lost an average of 100 pounds or more through eating right and running. That's what.

When I was invited onto this team, by Katie from Runs For Cookies,  I was honored and blown away. Thrilled. As a runner this was an unbelievable opportunity and a running dream come true.

As I got to know my AMAZING running-mates, the producer in me realized, "holy shit. There's a documentary in here!"

We will tell the back stories of all the runners, how they got heavy, battled the weight, continue to keep it off and how they began running - we'll then show the nitty-gritty of the actual race.

I think it'll be awesome. :) But I suppose I am biased.

As I spoke it over with my producing partners, we all got very excited and the idea was born.

We started filming a few weeks ago and I think it's going to be an awesome adventure.

We are calling the documentary From Fat To Finish Line. I grappled with this title big time and it made me uncomfortable to call it this. This documentary is NOT my story. It's the story of all 12 of us runners. I haven't lost the most weight on the team and my blog popularity is modest compared to some of my power-house blogging teammates.  So I really didn't want people getting the wrong idea with the title.

Still, my production partners and our agents all thought this was too strong of a title to not use it though. So From Fat To Finish Line the film was born.

interviewing teammate John
We are in the early fundraising stages of the film. Getting financed is never easy but we believe that this project will be super inspirational, motivational and exciting. I am going to DREAM BIG and believe we'll reach this finish line!

interviewing teammate Mary
You can keep up on the members of the team as well as the progress of the film by liking the film's From Fat To Finish Line - the Documentary Facebook page and following the film on Twitter!

Please take the time to follow both building up a community of fans can only help us out!

To say I'm excited is a gross understatement. This is the culmination of all of my passions. Running, health, helping others to get healthy, story telling and film making. This project is super, special to me and I'm so blessed to be a part of it - and so blessed to be on a team of such amazing, inspirational and passionate people.

Wish us luck! This is gonna be a hell of a journey :)

Here are all the runners and their blogs:

Rik (our team captain)
Katie (from 'Runs for Cookies')
Mary from 'a small loss'
Linda from 'Frickin Fabulous at 40'
Allison (no blog, but she's lost weight and taken up running)
ME! (from 'From FAT to Finish Line')
Andrea (who was on Oprah for her weight loss)
Meredith (lost 101 pounds and won her way to the team thru Katie's blog)
Jen S (from 'Miles, Muscles, and Mommyhood')
Lealah (from 'Lealah on a Mission')
John (SparkPeople success story manager, and success story himself)
Ada (from 'The Biggest Loser' Season 10)

What is your favorite running movie or documentary?


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ING NYC Marathon lottery results are in

My dream of running the 2012 ING NYC marathon has been officially crushed.


I understand it's a long shot to get in thru the lottery but for some reason I really, really believed it was gonna happen.

I went in to celebrate the opening day today in Central Park.

It was a beautiful day and I was surrounded by 300 other running nerds / NYC marathon hopefuls:

pick me! Or not :'(
At least I got a cool swag bag and a cute tee-shirt:
116 - not a winner
Better luck next year…

No I'm not. Took this picture full of hope
I went to the gym and pounded a speedy 3 miles to get out the post-no-good marathon news depression. It helped.

Last year was the last year you can get denied 3 years in a row and gain automatic entry. This was my first year - so I have no future net. 

Did you get in?
What's your dream race?
Have you ever been crushed by not getting into a dream race?


Monday, April 23, 2012

A pain in the ass (warning - another rant)

big tall glass of "pain in the ass" comin' right up
The other day I was talking about my new found love for juicing with an acquaintance. I'm not a fanatical juicer, I don't exist only on juice but I like to juice as much as I can - I'd say 5 times a week or so.

From everything I've been learning lately, nothing is better for you than a plethora of fruits and vegetables and while I strive to get many in during my day, juicing ensures I get a super-charged amount in that day… and I genuinely like how it tastes!

Anyhoo. So back to my discussion. My friend just kept saying, "Ugh. But what a pain in the ass. It's a pain in the ass to prep the vegetables and clean the thing and why bother… a pain in the ass." "Oh and all that running. I don't have the time (OK get off Facebook for ten minutes, maybe?) and that's just a pain in the ass."

Everything healthy was a big fat pain in the ass.

It annoyed the shit out of me and I've been thinking about it ever since. And not because it isn't a pain in the ass. It is a little bit of a pain in the ass when it comes to scrubbing the (more expensive organic) veggies and cleaning the thing -- but then again, isn't everything kind of a pain in the ass?

I mean, I have a crazy 4 year old. Truthfully, raising kids is a pain in the ass. Life was easier when I had 0 people depending on me. Yeah. Think I'm gonna stop raising that kid. He's a pain in the ass.

And my job. You know what. My job(s) they are a pain in the ass. I'd really rather sleep until 10 AM and then watch the Hoda and Kathy Lee hour and then eat something. So yeah. My job is a pain in the ass, so I'm giving that up. 

Doing the laundry, cleaning the house, putting stuff in the dishwasher, going grocery shopping. Say it with me: Pain. In. The. Ass.

Oh and running. Forget. About. It. What a HUGE pain in the ass that can be ( and sometimes that's quite literal!!)

Come on. This is life, we can embrace stuff or roll our eyes and be bothered by everything. Taking care of our health and protecting it is a privilege we have a duty to ourselves and our family to safeguard it. It's bad enough when people cite legitimate excuses that stand in the way of health like 14 hour work-days, or something but now we are openly admitting that it's just,  "too big of a pain in ass" to wash a vegetable to take care of ourselves? Puhhhleeeeze. 

It's not like you won't have to pay the "pain in the ass toll" somewhere along the way.

You know what really is a pain in the ass? Diabetes. And heart disease and stroke. Injecting insulin shots, losing limbs, getting out of breath crossing a room, needing help to bathe and help to go to the bathroom. These are things that happen when we neglect our health. 

How about saying goodbye to kids, spouse or grand-kids prematurely because it was "too big a pain in the ass" to take care of yourself by cleaning a juicer? Or picking up a pair of sneakers and moving that big pain in the ass, ass of yours.

Sorry to get fired up. I'm just surrounded by excuse makers. AND I'm a guilty excuse maker myself sometimes. I've uttered those words more than a million times in my life. I'm probably most fired up at myself. For all those years that everything was, "too big of a pain in the ass" for me to take healthier steps. Oy. I fight that person everyday and it's a real pain in the ass. ;) 

Oh God. I hope I still have friends after all these rants! First it was the Biggest Loser gang, now I'm on a rant over a juicer comment. I swear I'm pretty cheery usual. I guess I just get it all out here. ;)


Have you ever wanted to slap an excuse maker in your life?
Do you juice?
What's the biggest pain in the ass for you? Mine is definitely cleaning the house!
I think there might be a new drinking game if you start this blog over and drink to every time the P.I.T.A phrase is mentioned. That's a lot of shots.


PS: I will continue to lovingly raise my not that big of a pain in the ass son who is lucky he's so damned cute and charming.

Friday, April 20, 2012

You know you're a running nerd when...

Score! New gels made with Chia - long run here I come!
It happens slowly. Somewhere between picking up the sport as a hobby and now, a change occurs and BAM. You wake up a running nerd. I'm finally gonna stop fighting it and proudly wave my nerd flag high…

You know you're a running nerd when:

  • You go to the mall for a cute new outfit for a party, get sidetracked and leave with a few tech tees, a pair of running pants and a new water bottle instead.
  • You can't wait for your next long run to try a new type of energy gel.
  • You pay particular attention to new songs to figure out if they'd be good running songs or not.
  • You know at which point your new running song should play (great cool down tune!)
  • You follow people on Twitter simply because the word run, runner, marathon or other running-related term is in their user name.
  • Your heart does a little leap when the new Runner's World arrives in the mail.
  • You are totally psyched over your race day expo even though you've seen most of the products at every other expo you've ever been to! (You're extra nerdy if the people at the booths know you by name!)
  • You watch marathon coverage on television. (You're extra nerdy if you're like me and watch live streaming coverage on your computer!)
  • Your Christmas wish list includes any or all of the following: running sneakers, compression socks, Garmin, hydration system, race entry, and other running crap.
  • You know what "Goofy" means.
  • You find yourself looking forward to analyzing your race, splits, hydration, nutrition and pace post-race to figure out what went so right or what went so horribly wrong.
  • You can debate running outside vs. running on a treadmill or around a track all day long.
  • When you see other runners running and you're driving, you feel both a kinship and a little envy that you're not running too!
  • Not only do you know what negative split means, but when it happens, you have an uncontrollable urge to tell another runner about your run.
  • You hop your ass into New York city on a Wednesday morning by yourself to celebrate the ING New York City Marathon Opening Day just to be near the buzz of it all - even though you have no idea if you'll ever get in or run it (well, I'll get in and run it someday - I know I will)!
YEP. Running nerd. That's me. I'm so excited about this.
What makes you a running nerd?


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Food for thought: Carbo-loading pre race

Atkins is rolling over in his grave
BREAKING NEWS! You should eat carbs before a marathon.

OK, so I know people generally know this but if you've ever had questions about how much, how often, what types and whether you should incorporate other foods (like protein and fats) this is some good information…

I came across this article at which was written by one of my favs btw… Dimity McDowell and thought it was fascinating. It was absolutely packed with awesome information when it comes to carbo-loading pre-marathon.

I have no full marathon on my calendar at this time (though, I'm in the lottery for the NYC ING marathon) but I am always very confused about what carbo-loading really is. For my first marathon last year, I kinda just ate a little pasta (uh - with cheese and meat) the night before, picked at some bread and had a half bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. No special loading otherwise, no big changes, probably too much protein.

Being that I had tummy troubles (what else is new?) during that race, I walked much of it. The downside was I was disappointed that my time was longer than a NYC to LA flight… The upside, I never hit the wall.

But I've hit the wall in my life - I remember it clearly in a long run or two when training and it sucked.

So properly carbo-loading is super important in helping you not hit that wall.

Which is very interesting because while I know that carb-loading is important I also thought that training and "getting used to the high miles" was the most important factor in wall-prevention. While that is a given, it seems that the carb thing is really, really crucial here. Ok. duh. They do all talk about "glycogen levels" falling and what not… but we can't all be this guy...

Benjamin Rappoport hit the wall at the NYC marathon in 2005 - he was also a smarty pants -- a Harvard MD student so instead of just bitchin' and cryin' about hitting the wall, he decided to research it and study it.
"Proper carbo-loading—or filling your muscles to the brim with glycogen—won't make you faster, but it will allow you to run your best and, if you race smartly, avoid the wall," he says.
The article goes on to say that you should begin your carbo-loading a few days before. You can't properly fill your glycogen levels with one or two meals. It should start 2-3 days before and 85 - 95% of your calories should be carbs! (I really didn't realize that.)

Good carb choices would include pasta, rice, potatoes, bread, bagels, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, yogurt and juice. Check out the article for some meal ideas.

Also listed in the article was this handy little calculator. Our smart friend "Benny Rap" - came up with an endurance calculator which will take in account your target race time, age, weight, resting heart rate, etc to come up with a good idea of how much carbohydrate you should aim to have in your system. Maybe I'm becoming a running nerd but I found this compelling stuff.

Anyway - I plugged in my numbers with a marathon aim time of 5:20 and it was pretty cool. It gave me carb guidelines for a "conservative best marathon time," an "aggressive best time" and my "target time."

Now don't freak out, the article says that if you've properly carb-loaded you'll be up 3-4 pounds come race day! (Yeah, that would freak me out - so I'm glad they warned me.)

It's funny because as someone who's always tried to avoid simple carbs (to lose weight) I think properly carb-loading was something I couldn't really grasp. If I ever run another full marathon, however, believe you me I'll be heeding this advice… 3 or 4 pound gain and all!

Do you meticulously carb-load? As in know that you need 2210 kcal's of carbs or do you just wing a bagel the morning of?
What's your favorite way to carb-load?
Have you ever hit the wall?


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Biggest Losers or just big losers?

These Biggest Loser contestants have got to be FRICKEN kidding me. Serioulsy.

I warn you that I'm entirely too fired up over this nonsense. I mean it's a reality show. Who gives a crap? Apparently I do.

If you haven't watched yesterday's Biggest Loser episode yet then I would say stop reading and come back when you're done.

For those who don't watch the show at all, here is what happened in a nut-shell. The five remaining contestants 'caught wind' that eliminated contestants were going to be invited back to the ranch for their chance to compete for the Biggest Loser title.

Apparently, these contestants got a bug up their asses about it and decided that they would quit the show rather than have to compete against eliminated contestants.

They cried, "Not fair!" "They weren't here!" "We don't want them back!"  And were against this "unfair" twist.

I say. Boo fucking hoo.

REALLY? It's not fair?

This is the season of "no excuses." It shouldn't bother you who they bring back to the ranch. Focus ON YOU. This is The Biggest Loser, a reality/GAME show. There's all kinds of f'ed up twists and turns, that's what makes it - say it with me - ENTERTAINMENT -- You sign up for the chance to win a big prize and in the process, these folks SAVE YOUR LIFE. It's a trade-off.  They give you the tools, focus, attention, food, training and resources to lose 100+ pounds. That is an opportunity that millions would kill for, but you, spoiled contestants - pout and take your ball off the playground as soon as you don't like the rules of the game.

It's UNFAIR of you to leave just because you don't like a twist or turn.

There's lots of unfair things about the show. It's unfair that the boys usually have an easier time losing weight or that many of the challenges are easier for men with upper-body strength. It's unfair that sometimes those who work the hardest get voted off early because their hard work didn't show up at the scale. It's unfair that guys in their 60's have to compete against kids in their early 20's, it's unfair that sometimes the ones who need to be there the most, go home the soonest… It's unfair that women have to deal with periods, cramps and extra bloating -- everything is freaking unfair. Suck it up, buttercups.

Ultimately only two out of the five left - the remaining 3 decided to stick it out.

Shame on you two for taking advantage of the process, happily losing all the weight you wanted, getting the benefit of makeover week, getting the opportunity of a lifetime to visit the White House and meet the First Lady and then ungratefully leaving. Someone else would've killed for your spot.

So that's my two cents.

Did you see the show? What are your thoughts?

I know this is a complete over-reaction by the way. I am well aware that my own obsession about this episode makes me slightly psycho but that's how I roll. At least I admit I have a problem.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tummy troubles

Pantoprazole - not taking it. Nope.

So I continue the journey in trying to figure out why I have a tummy ache every freakin' day of my life. 

Tests recently came back that showed no allergies to anything. Cutting out dairy and gluten seemed to make me feel a little bit better in other ways but, still, the tummy troubles come back.

Today I got to go see a gastro doc. He asked a few basic questions and quickly decided that it is probably IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Could be. I guess. I'm no stranger to Web MD so based on my symptoms I could have that or about every other stomach ailment on the planet.

He prescribed me TWO medications to take for the next 6 weeks. 

One is called Pantoprazole.  The other is Dicyclomine. He didn't hand me a prescription he sends it in "electronically" so of-course, I don't write down the names and didn't know what I was getting until I got it home.

Ugh again.  I'm pissed.

First of all, I'm not a big fan of just taking medication. I mean there's usually 800 side effects and frankly, I'd rather live with the stomach ache. Plus, I hate not knowing exactly what I've got. We're guessing at a diagnosis and it makes me feel like I'm taking the meds for the fun of it. I'd rather adjust my diet or something but I'd have to find a doc that believes in that approach I suppose. I probably should've spoken up while there but didn't even think about it until I was in the car. I was expecting him to run some tests or something before just giving me drugs.

Secondly, after looking up the medication, the first one doesn't even seem to address my issues. This is typically given to people with Gerd (reflux disease). That is one thing I know I don't have. He asked me if I ever take an antacid at the end of the appointment, and I told him I very occasionally take a tums (and that's when I've eaten total crap and have a little heartburn. That's not a mystery to me…) I've pretty much decided to not take the Pantoprazole. 

The second med (the Dicyclomine) has it's own list of shitty side-effects but at least that one is supposed to address IBS specifically.  But it's got side effects like the ones I'm trying to avoid like 'stomach pain,' vomiting, and upset stomach. WTF - great it cured my stomach ache with another stomach ache! Awesome. It also makes people drowsy (just what I need) and how about this little ditty:
you should know that dicyclomine reduces the body's ability to cool off by sweating. In very high temperatures, dicyclomine can cause fever and heat stroke.
Well isn't that just awesome for running in the summer. Sounds great.

Anyway… I don't know yet what I'm going to do - it makes me want to throw out both meds, never go back to the doctor again and just live with the stomach aches. 

I am so annoyed and frustrated right now about it - and I did personally like the doctor.  He's also supposed to be one of the best. I just feel like this is the result I'm going to get everywhere. 



In more fun/interesting news…

In case you don't remember, I was invited to run the Ragnar Race in January 2013 - From Miami to Key West. The Ragnar is a 200 mile 12 man relay race (or 6 man ultra).  I am so excited and honored to be on the team - each member of our team has lost an average of 100 pounds or more! How's that for cool? 

We are trying to come up with a cool name for our team. One that speaks to our weight loss journey but is also kind of fun.  Katie, who writes the blog, "Runs For Cookies" has a great giveaway going on! She's giving away a GARMIN! Woo Hoo - and you get a bonus entry for the giveaway if you throw your suggestions for a team name in. So CLICK HERE to read about the giveaway and pony up a name.

Hope you are having a great day.

Do you ever decide against taking medication that your doc has prescribed?
Do you know anyone who has IBS? Do they take meds or do they just live with it?
Should I give one or more of these meds a shot - am I being a baby? 
What do you think we should call our Ragnar team?


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Boston bound or turn around?

record breaking heat didn't stop me during my first half…
thankfully, the locals hosed us down
Like most of the running world, I'm excited for Boston. Although I'm not running it, I'm looking forward to following the coverage online and rooting on my friends. 

I read earlier today that racers have been given an option to defer their entry to 2013 if they wish because the heat is expected to reach a highly unusual 86 degrees tomorrow.  Yikes! Brutal for sure… 


What would I do in this situation? I have to say I'm 98% sure that I wouldn't defer. I mean this is the day you've been waiting for and training for. I probably wouldn't PR, I would surely slow down and rethink fueling and hydrating needs but defer? Probably not. I mean the bragging rights and the story alone… "I finally get into Boston and of course it's the year that it was like a million degrees… but yeah, I finished. And it was awesome."

I wouldn't blame anyone who deferred.  I should be so lucky to have such a decision to make.  And it's easy for me to say from my will-be-air-conditioned couch, I'm not facing down the horrible temps… and heat can be downright dangerous in endurance races and not to be taken lightly.

So, what about you? Would you be marathon bound or turned around during a heat wave?

What would make you defer? Snow? Rain? Tornado watch? Zombie apocalypse? 

Zombies actually make me run faster ;)


Saturday, April 14, 2012

The dog ate my food tracker and weighing in

Oh yeah. Wine is not a fruit… 
As a lifetime Weight Watcher member I find it very important to go to my meeting whenever I can. Sure, every once in a while there's a race or commitment that might cancel out my standard Saturday morning appointment, however, I make it my business to go as often as I can.

I believe in facing the scale no matter what happened that week. Even when I know I'm not gonna like what it has to say.

Today, I assumed I'd be holding steady at about my average of 144/145. My WW goal was 150 and I usually try to bounce between 143 - 146 or so. I like a little wiggle room. 

Going below that weight is very difficult for me to maintain and I find this to be a weight that I'm pretty healthy and happy at.

Uh. So I was shocked when I got on the scale and the number was 148.somethingIdon'tremember. Boo. I was up 3.8 pounds from my last weigh-in! 

So my immediate gut reaction was an excuse of-course. I thought to myself, "Well, I flew home last night so that must be it!"

While it's true that I ate pretty well while I was away - lots of healthy, organic meals. Lots of vegetables and low-fat protein and stuff... And while it's true that I also ran 13.1 and did one hard-core workout, it's also true that there were many, many things (besides the flight home) that probably affected the scale.

Uh. Like the fact that besides some walking, I didn't do much more activity. (I don't feel too badly about that. My body felt sore up until Thursday and I think I did need the rest.) Still, I wasn't burning calories thru exercise.

Ummmm… and how about the night we celebrated with martini's, cheese and a half of bottle of wine? Or the other night when we "celebrated" with top-shelf margarita's and then got so buzzed that we ate nearly the entire basket of tortilla chips and salsa? (Worth every calorie I might add…) Oh Yeaaaaah… And let's not forget last night, when I landed and didn't feel like going grocery shopping at 8PM at night so we ordered (GASP) chinese food and followed that up promptly with bed time…

Hmmm. Yeah. Could've been that. Oh and there wasn't a chia seed in sight. Sigh.

better to have a gorilla on your head
than a monkey on your back
It's fine. In hind-sight, I treated myself a little more than usual. And I'm OK with that. The cheese came right from the farm, the margaritas and chips were from the best mexican place in town and the wine was my favorite pricey bottle - It was a little indulgent now that I think about it but it was worth it, it was all delicious and shared with some of my favorite people.

All of these foods and cocktails I used to eat with reckless abandon and without a second thought. 

I'll carefully track my organic, whole foods, points this week, return to my running routine and get back in the saddle.

The bad news? My first reaction was to bury my head in the sand about the whole thing.  The good news? I'm able to recognize the issue, take responsibility and take the necessary steps to readjust. I also know that I can bounce right back. A few chia seeds, a little juicing and a lot of running will fix me right up.

Life will never be perfect. My food will never be 100% perfect and this won't be the last 3.8 pound gain I ever have. I enjoyed this week even if the scale wasn't as friendly as I wanted it to be.



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

California love and stuff

I am still hanging out in California.

It's been an awesome whirlwind of a trip. Saturday took me across another finish line at the Hollywood Half. - It wasn't easy but it was awesome.

Sunday, I headed up to San Francisco on a road trip for a little business.

Along the way I was tempted by tons of fast food options. In the old days I would greedily eat a burger and fries and "blame" the road trip for "messing up my diet." But this time was different. Instead of giving into that little voice that was begging for something crappy, I went to Starbucks and picked up this:

It's a little box meal that had hummus, fresh veggies, grilled chicken and a little whole wheat pita. I don't remember exactly the NI but it was pretty good. Had fiber, low in fat, not too bad in sodium and some protein. Way better than anything else I would typically get on a road trip. My biz partner, Ang, also stocked the car with low fat cheese, fruit and hard-boiled eggs so we really were able to eat well on the journey.

While on this trip, I got to meet a few of my fellow Ragnar Racer teammates for the first time! It's been awesome.

Before heading North, I met John after the Hollywood Half. John writes this awesome blog - check it out. 
John looking handsome, me still skanky and in race outfit
While up North, I met Ada Wong (from Biggest Loser contestant) I did a little interview with her (more on that to come) and then took a hard core fitness class with her. Fun but OUCH! (There were NFL players in that class!)

me looking all interview-y and news like
Finally we swung by Merced and met Mary - she writes this great blog that has been documenting her 155+ weight-loss/running journey.

My little grey jacket gets around, huh?
How much do you love the words on her wall?  Me too. I mean, it couldn't be more perfect. Fell in love with this girl.

Hope all is well with you.

How do you keep on track when you travel?

Do you find it harder to resist "crap" food when you're on the road?


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hollywood Half race recap: Action, drama and happily ever after

My latest half marathon racing journey brought me back West to run the inaugural Hollywood Half. As someone who has always had a love for the "lights, camera, action" and old school glamour of Hollywood, this race had my name allll over it. Starting on a red carpet at Universal Studios? Running up Hollywood Blvd.? The coolest bling ever? Sign. Me. Up.

It was an interesting race and challenging from before it even started. I stay with my business partner and running buddy Angela. She lives about 15 minutes from the starting line in Los Angeles and just getting to Universal was a challenge. Every road to get up to Universal was blocked, we wound up having to drive ten miles in another direction just to get to be able to get there. Ugh. Thanks to that minor issue, I once again missed the boat and opportunity to finally meet Caroline, friend and blogger of Canadian Runner in Exile. Boo.  One of these races it'll happen.

Once we got there, the race was already starting.  I was lucky enough to find Karen, who is a good friend of mine out here and was about to run her very first half marathon. That was awesome - we got to give each other quick hugs and good wishes for the race and ran the first mile or two together until the crowd got thicker and we lost each other.

even the bib is cute!
The start was a little slow because of the crowd but I didn't care. We started on a red carpet and literally ran thru city walk at Universal Studios. It was super cool.

Then we turned out onto Cahuenga Blvd for our start. Which was downhill - I knew what went down would eventually go back up so I let the momentum of the hill carry me swiftly downward and I was feeling good. My first few miles I was running faster than I would usually run but I felt good so I kept a decent pace. I kept seeing that I was running a bit on the faster side and kept trying to put the breaks on as to "pace myself." I like to typically keep the first half a bit more conservative and bring it up a bit from miles 6-10 and then really power home the last 5K.

Well. I tried.

I was feeling great. I was a little concerned because the water stations began to not have cups after about mile 6 so I wasn't as hydrated as I would've liked to be. I was also a tad concerned because I thought they were to have Vitalyte on the course. Maybe they did but I never saw it so I wasn't getting a sports drink.  Again, I wasn't overly concerned. I often skip the sports drink during the race because sometimes it makes my tummy wonky and I had two gels and a packet of sports beans -- both which has electrolytes so I figured that should be OK.


I never really needed my sports beans and was really feeling great thru mile ten and still running pretty speedy. Around this time my legs were starting to get a little sore and we were now climbing up hill. It wasn't fun. We had a headwind that was unbelievable. What I forgot from the beginning was how much hill it actually was.  The rest of the race became a shit show. Oh. My. God. I could've died. There was a guy holding a big sign, "Kill The Hill." The hill about killed me. I have never hated something so much.

Prior to this F'n hill - I was making unbelievable time. I remember my previous PR was in the 2:24 range and if I kept my pace I was looking at an (IMPOSSIBLE! WOW! HOLY COW) 2:15 finish. Holy hell that would be incredible. I felt like I could do it. Well. I could've if this was a flat course.

But then that hill from hell happened.  The hill got steeper and steeper.  Mile 11and 12 I had to walk. My calves were beginning to protest and I felt PR slipping away. I had to walk. WALK!? I couldn't believe I was walking. I kept pushing to run and I would a bit but my body was done. I kept digging and would run a spurt and couldn't sustain it. I was hating that hill. I called it every curse a Jersey girl could think of.  My pace went from 10' somethings to 12+'s. 

The last .25 or so of the course finally flattened out a bit and I could see the finish line. Oh hell, I could still pull something out. I looked down at my Garmin and I was around 2:17 I could still PR! So I began to run as hard as I could muster. Which wasn't a lot. Now my left foot/arch began to cramp and my left calf began to charlie horse and quiver. I felt it locking under me and threatening to bring me to my knees.  "Oh please lord, don't let me fall now. The finish line is so close!" Please, oh please just get me there. And somehow I crossed that finish line! Success.  Here was the official finish:

Previous best was 2:23:47 so I took almost 4 minutes off! And that was with walking uphill for two miles at 12:30 paces! (Splits here)  I didn't walk once at Surf City.  This was awesome! I was in pain but I was happy and then…

Holy. Mother. Of. God. I. am. going. to die.

I had to take a step up up a curb and I was done. From my ass to the tip of my toes on both legs had had it with me. And they seized in a writhing pain that I'd never experienced in my life. Thank goodness there was a pole nearby that I was able to grab to keep from collapsing but I let out a scream in pain that was unreal and dropped all my stuff to the ground. I couldn't move it was a charlie horse times 8 million in my entire lower half. My toes curled under and my feet distorted in spasm - my calves were on fire and cramped like I had never felt and I was shaking. 

Thank you, thank you for the kindness of strangers who caught me and helped me.  They tried to sit me on the floor but the pain was 4000 times worse so they lifted me from the ground. A 98 pound angel had me tight and helped me - she barked for help and a banana - I told her I was allergic to bananas and then she said OMG - you need electrolytes! Now! So I limply handed her my sports beans and she tore into the package and poured them in my mouth, another guy gave me his gatorade and said, please drink my drink - i'm not sick - I didn't care if he was. I washed my beans down with it. Another lady picked up my stuff and tucked it in the waistband of my pants. Thank you runners for your help. I would've died without it. You have no idea what you did for me.

The beans and gatorade helped. I was still hurting but the seizing subsided. And I hobbled up the rest of the hill to our car and waited for Angela to finish her run.

I think this is my seventh half and I leaned a few lessons. I think I became a little flip about 13.1 and my, "Oh I could so easily do this" came back to literally bite me in the ass. 13.1 is still quite a distance and I need to remember to respect it.

I need to remember the importance of pacing, hydrating, and fueling properly. I need to take in to consideration elevation and challenges and assume to bring my own stuff with me. And even though I was easily running those earlier miles, I still should've slowed a little to be ready to tackle those last 2 miles.

Aside from the challenge at the end (and almost dying) - I would say it was a FUN race. I thought Hollywood Half folks did a great job for an inaugural race - there were a few "bumps in the road" but no more than what's to be expected. Kudos to them.

Today, the day after, my legs are really sore. More sore than after my first full! The sorest I've ever been. It's humbling but fine.

So though there was a bit of Hollywood style drama, I still think I had my fairy tale ending. A gorgeous piece of bling, a PR and a bit of pride knowing that I finished as strong as I could. I certainly made mistakes but I left it all out there. And for that I am a proud.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hollywood Half - pictures are worth a thousand words...

Official recap to come…

All you need to know for now:

click picture to enlarge
And yes if you look at my avg. pace / splits - the last 2 miles were that hellacious… And if you want to know why - peek at the elevation map and also factor in a wicked headwind trying to push you further down the hill…

And somehow, I still got a mighty nice piece of bling and even managed to grit through the pain and smile for the camera…

sitting in front of a pastry case of non-organic and
gluten-filled delights helps me muster happy after hell

Oh and spoiler alert… even with a hellacious last two, I PR'ed. Oh yes I did.

Real recap to come once my body isn't feeling so broken. Lots and lots to tell you.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

3 Things Thursday

1.  Tomorrow, I'll be hopping a plane and heading back West for business and this:

2.  Last night I ran a JOYFUL, not too hard, not too easy - little two mile run. Could've ran forever… Put my head in a good place for the half.

3. Going away is soooo hard. I miss my little musician so much:

He's four and a half and his favorite toy is a real guitar that he is desperately learning to play. He even loves putting it away in it's case properly.

Happy Thursday!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Life goals and other stuff

A little known fact about me…

I'm a computer file hoarder. I have stuff on my computer for years. Lots and lots of dumb shit I don't need or will ever need but I have a problem "permanently deleting" stuff… Ya just never know.

Today I was looking for something in my 80 million files and came across a document named:  100 Life Goals.

I probably have no less than 10 of these types of lists but this one was particularly interesting because I wrote it in 2005 - What were my goals back then?

Here's a sample - check out #71...

So, somewhere between having a crazy time in Vegas, hiking and learning about world politics - I thought I'd run at least a "5 mile marathon." Who knew there was such a thing as a 5 mile marathon? Jeeze and I've been wasting all this time running 13.1 and even doing a 26.2… I wonder if I can get a  sticker like this for my car but with the number 5?

And speaking of life goals… A couple of weeks until I find out about the NYC marathon. I went to the website today to poke around (and get excited for the drawing) and then read the fine print of the lottery… Ugh. Only 8% - 12% of lottery entrants get selected. I'm going to really need to pour some positive vibes into this one!

What are some of your life goals?

Do you like Vegas?

Have you ever run a 5 mile marathon?


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Food for thought: Gluten, organics, sugar, oh my

My head is going to explode.

I warn you that this post might be a bit of a rambling rant.

All of this clean eating is starting to hurt my head. I mean, it's good. I'm trying. But jeeze, every time you turn around there's more to learn and at what point do you say, enough?

The other day there was a report on 60 Minutes about the toxicity of sugar. 

Everything sucks for you. It's annoying.  Everywhere I look now, I see "poison." Soon I'm going to be down to a little bit of organic kale, topped with some chia seeds and served with a few raw almonds… and then I'll really have no friends because that kind of person is about as interesting as unground flax seeds.

Where does it end? Do you have to be vegetarian? What about vegan? If you're not then do you do dairy? Eggs? Where does your meat come from? And what if you want a treat? What do you eat?  

I gave up most gluten and my tummy has still been feeling a little wonky the last day or two.  I have to make the appt. with the GI - we'll see.

Went to Whole Foods today and spent more on six items then I used to spend on 2 weeks worth of food. 

I'm hungry, my head hurts. Maybe I'm 'detoxing?' 

All I know is sometimes I miss the days where I thought I was healthy because I ate a Lean Cuisine frozen meal, a non-organic apple, and a little fat free pudding for lunch, swigged a light beer or two at happy hour and "only" smoked 5 cigarettes that night.  

Oh the good ol' days.

Now I admit I am an obsessive person. So I don't like to half-ass things and I guess that's why I'm abnormally becoming aggravated and consumed with this. It's just confusing. And expensive. 

Eh. I don't know. What do you do? Am I just a nut-ball? I mean maybe it's my extremes. Somewhere between a Whopper, diet coke & fries, and organic, sprouted wheat there has to be a happy place to live - no?


Monday, April 2, 2012

Running stuff worth splurging on

My very first "splurge"
Last week I caught an article on-line at Yahoo Finance about what's worth splurging on and what's not. I think it was an article about big ticket stuff - like, splurging $18,000 on kitchen renovations is worth the investment because you should get that back… or something. I didn't read the article that closely.  Here it is in case you're interested.

It did get me thinking about what's worth the splurge in this whole running/weight loss/ health world.

At heart I am a cheap bitch frugal. I am proud of my thrifty ways.  I am a coupon clipping, deal sniffing, penny-pitching type of gal. I wasn't always like that but with a tough economy and smaller paychecks, a girl does what a girl has to do.

Well. I've had to let go of some of my cheapness along the way. I soon found out that there's places to scrimp and places you have to "splurge" when it comes to running and stuff.

Here's what I've learned:

  1. Sneakers. Ok if you're a runner you know this already. Me? I TRIED to be cheap when I first started running. Oh yes I did run right to Payless with my 15% off coupon and try to get away with crappy sneakers. You can even read all about those sneakers in one of my first posts. Hmmm, wonder why my knees, ankles and hips hurt so much? They lasted a week or two before I sucked it up and 'splurged' on sneakers from a real running store based on the recommendation of a real pro.
  2. Gym membership or at-home treadmill. Possibly. If you are the type who will run outside no matter what the temperature then perhaps this is unnecessary. For me, my gym membership is absolutely crucial for my success. I spend probably as many days a year racking up treadmill miles as I do outside miles and without access to the dreaded tread I would not get in nearly an many runs. (If I ever get a little more $$ I'll really splurge and switch from my very cheap-o/no-frills gym to one that has classes.)
  3. Food/Fuel. Up until recently (uh, like a week and a half ago) I was really cheap with my food. I really robbed myself of having more healthier and organic stuff in the house because of expense.  I can't tell you how many avocados I put back or how many time I got the cheaper non-organic apples or the processed whatever, simply because it was on-sale.  I'm really working at changing that. It still hurts to see my grocery bill rise but I finally made a decision that I and my family are worth the extra expense. I still have to be smart with our money but health is the epicenter of everything, so making the investment in good/healthy foods now will hopefully eliminate disease and healthcare bills later? One would hope.  (Oh don't scrimp on fuel for long runs either… GU's, sports drinks, whatever is going to keep you hydrated and balanced on those runs are important!)
Other things splurge-worthy (IMHO): Compression wear, hydration systems/bottles, reflective gear for night/dawn runners, the right socks, sports bras, Garmin, Weight Watcher meetings (I splurged on this expense even when times were really tight in my house. I needed the support) and (some) race fees (if races help keep you motivated. They do me.)

What makes your splurge worthy list?

What do you wish you could just totally splurge on? I wish I had a way bigger grocery budget :) 

What do you think is a waste of money in the running/health world?


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Weekend recap and other crap

Porky's next to my WW center never gets old to me - yes,
my actual center
After my crappy run on Friday, I decided to take Saturday off. I camethisclose to taking today off too but I was starting to feel a little depression creep in. Not sure why. I was just having a serious case of the blahs and at 4:30PM I looked down to realize that I was still in my pajamas. Not good.

The rain has me feeling a little ho-hum too.

So I pushed myself to the gym. (I didn't have the hoorah in me to run in the damp, icky rain…) 

Because I was still not feeling particularly motivated I decided not to do my Nike+ thing. My Nike+ app asks for how many miles you are planning to run before starting and it then automatically tells everyone on face book that "Jennifer has just started a 2 mile run" or whatever...  

I didn't want to put the pressure on myself to run a certain distance or pace so I just went. I gave myself permission to do just one mile and to just walk if I really wanted to. I knew that doing just one slow, walking mile would still make me feel slightly less crappy than doing nothing at all.

I got there and started with a walk - before I knew it, I was running and running pretty well. I finished 2 miles in 21:00 or so - better than I would've thought.

And while I still feel slightly blah, I do feel at least 50% better than I did before and that does count for something!! AND it was a waaaay better little run than my Friday debacle.

As far as the cleaner eating - I'm doing pretty good. I would give myself a B to a B+ this week.

The good: I juiced 6 out of 7 days. I had the Chia Seeds 4 out of 7 days. I cut out most gluten, ate tons and tons of fresh fruits and vegetables and swapped most of our meats, eggs, dairy to organic versions.

The bad: I'm still far from being 100% onboard. Yesterday I visited a friend and dove head first into a bowl of tostitos, crackers and goat cheese. I also polished off a half a bottle of wine and a giant piece of cake.  Ooops. Ah well. That's gonna happen. Won't be the first time and probably not the last.

The great: Not one yellow packet of sweetener in more than a week. NO artificial sweeteners of any kind. That I'm going to really try not to bend on.

The kinda annoying: I gained a pound and a half at WW this week. Damn those fattening Chia Seeds and juice! (Just kidding… Eh, it's fine - I'm still well with-in my goal range - just, still, it's a little annoying.)


And speaking of gluten free eating, on Friday my allergy tests came back. I do not have celiac or any food allergies so now the doc wants to send me to a GI - Yippe.   

Still, I do think I could be gluten intolerant because I really have felt better since cutting most of it out. Today I don't feel so awesome but it follows a day that had gluten in it - coincidence? I don't know yet.  Could've been the wine too? 

For dinner I'm going to try this organic brown rice pasta from Trader Joes and will be making a homemade meat sauce to top it.
I tried to make this picture of my pasta a little jazzy ;)

Hope you had a fab weekend!

What have you successfully given up lately?

Know anyone who is gluten free?

Have you ever tried brown rice pasta?

Do you ever go to the gym with the intention of working out for only 10 minutes? (ha) that's probably just me.